End of June

Wednesday, June 29, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
end of june lily

It’s the end of June; the 4th of July weekend is upon us. June has passed incredibly quickly. Temperatures have either been high or low, no averages. Barely any rain. Things seem abnormally stressful, and I wish I could just let go of everything and enjoy the weather and the season and life. Any suggestions for how I make that happen?

end of june wood block print

I did finish the koi print, above. I’m pleased with how it turned out. I drew the image free-hand on the wood, then carved it and printed it. One of the things I like about carving the wood blocks is they are a bit of a work of art themselves, compared to linoleum. If you would like a printed copy of this koi piece, just email me and I will snail mail it out to you, free of charge. I’m not sure what else to do with the prints? I had said when I finished this piece, I’d go back to drawing/painting, but I have a bit of fear about that. What image will I choose? There’s just a complete fear of the blank page. I’m at my best mentally when I’m doing an art project, so I should start something. Last night I put myself to sleep thinking of Zines, so maybe I’ll do that in the meanwhile?

We’ve had almost no rain, so the garden is struggling a bit. The grass is turning brown and it’s hard to water enough to keep up. We have some green tomatoes, little peppers, and a tiny eggplant. We are trying to work out some watering solutions for Mom’s garden. It takes forever to water everything. As always though, her gardens are gorgeous and everything is three times the size of mine at home. I’m so glad I put the little water feature in this year. If anything, I’d have made it a bit larger. There’s something so peaceful about bubbling water.

Book Nooks & Mini Dioramas

Monday, June 20, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
mini diorama

If you’ve spent time on Reddit, TikTok, or Pinterest lately, you might have stumbled into the world of book nooks and mini dioramas. And if you have found yourself in such a place, maybe you’ve thought of spending some time making one of your own? At least, that’s how I found myself on my latest project. I spent some time making two mini dioramas and one full size book nook.

The image above and immediately below are both of the mini diorama size. The actual box itself on each of these is around 2.5 inches tall. The phone box in the above image is about the height of your thumbnail. The bed below is of similar size. The phone box, bed, clock, desk, and chair all came in mini kits. They require super glue and tweezers to put them together, and you paint them. Honestly, I spent much of the time with the various pieces superglued to my fingers. They take patience. The LED light is about the size of a seed bead, and the wiring is kind of a frustrating process. I don’t actually think I will make one this small again.

mini diorama

The book nook is a bit bigger, maybe nine inches in height. Still enough so you need tweezers to work on some of it. I made the tree and the arch out of a foam clay. There’s a mirror in the back. It was more fun to make overall, though the lighting was still a bit of a hassle. I have ideas for more book nooks, but I’m putting them on hold for a bit to get back to another project.

book nook
book nook

I’m doing a wood block carving for printing. Much like the linoblock printing, this process requires carving a flat piece of wood. I’ve decided on a Japanese koi design. Carving like this I think requires a lot of practice, and I’m not where I would like to be yet.

It was hot, near 100 degrees, last week, and this week is looking to be just as hot. No complaints, though! It is after all summer in Michigan. The garden is looking green and lush. Tomorrow is the first official day of summer. Hope your summer is going great!

Mid April Misc.

Monday, April 18, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
mid april misc snow

Weather & Garden Update

It’s time for some mid April misc. thoughts. This morning we had snow, enough to coat the grass, but the rain later in the afternoon took care of that. With today’s high at 41 degrees and tomorrow at 43 degrees, we’re about 20 degrees below average for this time of year. Our daffodils at home are at least a week behind. The crocuses in the woodland garden did bloom, though the ones closest to the house were eaten by deer.

The gardening group started some spring clean-up at the shelter, and I cut back two bunches of tall grasses, mulched and caged the baby trees near the paw, and put down some plastic to kill the grass under some new beds. I have yet to do any garden clean up at home. You can see progress on my garden at the My Michigan Garden YouTube channel here.

mid april misc. crocus

50th Wedding Anniversary

On Friday for Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary, I took breakfast over and Mom and I ate and looked through her wedding albums. It was a lovely morning. On Sunday, Easter, Bob and I went over for a delicious dinner. The rest of the weekend, we had a plumbing project in the laundry room that took up a good deal of time. Having a washer and dryer in your home really makes a difference.


In my recent Plein Air magazine, there was an article entitled ‘Painting New Mexico’s High Desert’ by John Meister. Sometimes, I’ll read something that will just have me feel in my mind’s eye the description the author paints in words. This article contained such a description:

“Some people get why it’s called the Land of Enchantment the minute they step out of the airport; others spend years here before they realize it’s part of them. For the visitor, the history, sights, and cultural diversity provide a host of experiences. This is a place where stories are born. This is New Mexico.

Santa Fe, one of the top art markets in the country, sits a 50-minute drive north of the state’s largest airport in Albuquerque. The city’s warm adobe walls cast shadows and pitch light in every direction; bright floral gates and windows trimmed in color provide alluring subject matter for visiting plein air painters. At this elevation, the zenith of the sky is a deep ultramarine, and an outdoor painter doesn’t need much training to see this blue clearly reflected in the shaded areas below.

mid april misc. art

I’ve continued to work on some linocut printing. I’ve turned out a fox that was ok, and I’m using this bee to print on notecards for inclusion in my Little Bee Basket for the shelter’s upcoming auction May 5th, Cinco de Meow. My friend and previous boss Tina Slayton passed away. Though she’s been away from the shelter for some time, she helped me through a really rough period where I wasn’t sure if I could continue to work at the organization. She made things better for me, for the staff members, and for the animals. If there is a rainbow bridge where the animals wait, I know Tina’s Gracie will be there. But there will be so many other dogs and cats from the shelter that will be there too, to thank her for caring for them.

Misc. Thoughts

Monday, March 28, 2022 0 No tags Permalink

I’m not getting much done on any projects, but thought I’d share a few misc. thoughts as March comes to a close. I always do better with assignments and deadlines and without the Cornell class I’m just not getting in my art space as much. I did try this little linocut print (above). I know linocut printing is a skill and you have to keep working on it to develop it. I’m still in the process of two zines as well.

I expect the crocuses may be in bloom today or tomorrow, if they haven’t frozen solid. We had snow over the weekend, and temperatures 20 degrees below average for this time of year. The buds on the maples have popped, but that’s about all the action we’ve seen in Battle Creek. Two weeks from now it will be time to put up the oriole and hummingbird feeders.

Last night we watched the Academy Awards. Most of the winners were the movies I haven’t seen. The biggest item of the evening was Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. I suppose that’s what this year’s show will be remembered for, anyway. As the Oscar pressure for viewing is off now, I’ve returned to watching gardening shows on BritBox. There were enough Hulu ads last night for shows that looked interesting, I may give a few of them a try, including Only Murders in the Building. It’s National Crochet Month and I didn’t make any special posts on it, but I did finish a shawl that I probably won’t wear and now I’m working on a mini blanket that I have no use for. I just need something to do with my hands while I watch tv.

April will bring daffodils and flowering trees and getting out in the garden. It will probably bring kittens at work, and baby geese by KCC. Hopefully, I’ll be more productive around the house and with some art time as well. I think once it gets a little warmer, or at least remains near normal temperatures for this time of year, everyone will feel a bit better.

Spring is Here

Monday, March 21, 2022 0 No tags Permalink

We are past the vernal equinox, and spring is officially here. Mom’s crocuses are up, and perhaps after a warm start to the week ours will be up at home as well. Next weekend is supposed to be cold and snow again, but that’s pretty normal for this time of year. We almost always have a snow in April when the daffodils are in bloom, but we are getting to the end of that kind of weather. In less than a month the oriole and hummingbird feeders will be up. We are starting to hear more spring songs from the birds in the mornings, and Bob’s coworkers have heard the spring peepers. I will start working on the hardscaping on the garden soon and the gardener’s group at work is getting started.

I’ve been working on some zines, and as a side project I’ve been doing some linocut block printing. It’s not great so far, as you can see, but it’s a skill that takes practice for sure. I’m really enjoying it though. I put myself to sleep at night thinking about linocut designs.

This is my first real completed zine. I started out with one on declawing, but I have to adjust the margins to get it to print. I’m working on one on monarch butterflies now. I’ve also amassed my own nice little library of other people’s zine creations. Zines are a lot of fun.