It’s been a while since I’ve done a “stuff I’m loving right now!” post, so I thought I would do one.
- Spending time outside.
Not only am I loving spring gardening (so much to do all of the sudden- so much growing!) but I’m also going outside every evening.
I used to go outside for the sunset every night. Usually, Delilah would join me. After she passed, I was hesitant to go out there besides when I was out gardening or swimming. To be honest, her fur still coated my favorite rocking chair out there, and I couldn’t bear the thought of either looking at the fur up close or running a lint roller over it. So I just didn’t go out there to sit.
But about a week ago, I was really aimless and frustrated and not any getting work done, so I decided to grab my book (on my iPad) and go out back and read. I covered the chair with a soft blanket, and made myself comfortable. And it was bliss. There was beautiful sunset, and not only did Ginger and Chester come out and join me, but Tom and Gracie eventually wandered out, as well.
Since that evening, I have been going outside every night.
I’m also loving Daylight Savings Time. I usually hate the time switch, and I am struggling with it in the mornings (my internal clock has not reset!), but being able to work in sunlight in my studio later in the day and then go out and watch the sunset before dinner (instead of at 5:30pm, which is kind of the middle of my “workday”) is BLISSFUL.
- Demeter perfume oil (still).
Yup, still obsessed. A few weeks after my first few orders with Demeter, I found out that they are *very* serious about their “no questions asked” 60-day return policy. After I got a few fragrances, had them for a while, I realized that there were some I just didn’t like and wouldn’t really wear. So, I decided to test their return policy and send the unused ones back. A day or so later, I had a full refund. So I placed another order, trying to find some good scents to replace the ones I sent back. Lather, rinse, repeat.
It’s great, because I can order and not worry I will get stuck with something rancid- I’m free to try out fragrances that pique my interest without worrying it will be too much of a risk/waste of money if I hate them.
Some scents have been great surprises (chrysanthemum! rain! mimosa! salt air! laundromat!) and some have been very disappointing (clover, lilac, cinnamon bun, all the tea fragrances I have tried and assumed I would love but really did not…)
I’m slowly building up a little library/collection of scents that I really love and wear often. I love going to the little bottles (which are like tiny test tubes) and choosing what I want to smell like. Their perfumes don’t have much lasting power (which I actually like- I hate going to bed smelling like stale perfume and having it linger on my sheets and pillowcases) so it’s kind of like a perfume free-for-all- I change scents a couple of times a day. It’s very subtle, too, so it’s kind of this personal aromatherapy. I’ve even got my mom into it.
The funny thing about this whole Demeter obsession is that it has made me SO aware of smell. Not just pretty smells, but ALL smells. Because Demeter offers some off-the-wall scents, I tend to look for them around me so I can get an idea of what the perfume might smell like. For instance, “black pepper”- Demeter has a “black pepper” fragrance, and while I wasn’t interested in ordering it, I realized I had no idea what pepper SMELLED like, so I went in the kitchen and smelled it. And it surprised me. I still don’t like it, but pepper doesn’t smell like what it tastes like.
Now I smell anything that might be pretty or (pleasantly) interesting. All the leaves on my plants. The way the clothes smell coming out of the dryer. Paper. All the foods I eat but never took the time to smell.
And when I’m outside in the garden, and smell something in the air (salt water, soil, grass, even garden chemicals) I immediately stop what I am doing and pay close attention. It’s like hearing an interesting sound, almost. I want to know what it is. When I go outside every day, the first thing I notice are the smells, not the weather or the sounds or the temperature. I smell EVERYTHING now.
And I make up smells for things that don’t have them. I love that I’m suddenly so in tune with this one sense I have always took for granted.
- Taking art classes online.
Last week I started Lisa Congden’s “The Art of Line Drawing” class and I was reminded how much I LOVE taking online art classes. The aimless, unfocused feeling I have been fighting for months (since I finished the “Bloom True” painting class) disappeared and I was right back into the groove. I love watching the videos and reading the lessons and writing a zillion notes on my graph paper.
When March started, I really planned on putting my painting aside for the month and focusing on drawing- I’d take Lisa’s class and maybe another and brush up my skills with pen and ink so that I could translate those pattern-making concepts into my painting process.
But about half way into the first class I realized I was likely going to take everything I was learning and take it directly to my painting. I’m kind of excited about that.
It’s ironic in a way, because before I decided NOT to choose a “One Little Word” for 2014, the one word that was forefront in my mind was “Learn”. Now I return to that.
I really DO enjoy being a student, and learning new things, and having a container for what I am working on. Classes give me that structure that I crave, with a little guidance thrown in for good measure. I feel like I am doing something useful with my time, and growing as I go. I’ve always entertained the idea of going back to school (that’s a total understatement- the truth is that I would LOVE to go back to school) but I’m not REMOTELY interested in the idea of formal papers and assignments and the academic work of being in school. So this is a happy medium. I just have to remind myself to stay enrolled and that art classes are a great investment, both financially and time-wise.
- Rediscovering the love of books.
I have to admit, the iPad mini has made me completely addicted to reading again. I just finished re-reading “The Happiness Project” and just started “Happier at Home”. Before that I blazed through “War of Art” and “Stitches”. Since I carry my iPad around the house with me (it’s very compact and I often use it to take photos), reading has become so much easier. I actually find it more compact than my iPhone, which is weird.
I think the key for me is reading books that I enjoy, even if it means re-reading books over and over again, which is what I am doing with “The Happiness Project: books. I got a lot out of them the first time I read them, but wanted to read them with the ability to digitally highlight.
Of course, now I want to start my own Happiness Project. I really think I might, to be honest. I already started a “One Sentence Daily Journal” for March (which I really enjoy adding to every night!) and I’m thinking about different aspects of what a Happiness Project might encompass for me.
- Working on Project Life.
The “One Sentence Journal” is also good for my Project Life. I’m really enjoying working on it. I love almost every aspect of it- taking the photos, organizing them, printing them, laying out the pages, and then putting them together with pretty paper and glue and stamps and stickers. (I especially love Wood Veneer pieces).
It’s not only a chance to be creative but also reflect on how we spend our time. And a chance to enjoy aspects of it again as I look at the photos and write the captions. And because of the project, I have become very aware of little things that are easy to forget in the jam of our day-to-day routine.
And, I’m a sucker for all the beautiful spring-themed art/craft supplies that are available right now. I love the soft but vibrant colors and the watercolor-esque paper designs. And I’m a sucker for anything with a brush script on it.
- Art Journaling (observing, not participating…)
I’m not art journaling anymore, but lately I have been reading a ton of art journal-related blogs and going through back issues of Art Journaling magazine. I have such an appreciation for what people do with their journals. It’s almost like now that I am not keeping an art journal, I appreciate the whole practice of art journaling even more.
The one thing I realized is that my art journaling became too much about focused journaling and not enough about just letting go. I started forcing every page, image, collage, etc. into some sort of story or expression. I could never just put down a bunch of images and paint and then turn the page- I had to force some sort of order or meaning onto what I had done and how it related to my life at that moment. And it became too much to do. I think that’s why I switched back to scrapbooking and Project Life- scrapbooking actually seemed like a breath of fresh air- I just picked out some paper, glued down some photos, scribbled a bit about what was going on, and that was that. It seemed completely fuss-free compared to what I was going for in my art journals.
Now I’m drawn to “random” or “collection/style” art journals. Journals with snips of random images and doodles and color and not much writing. Journals with one sketch for each day. Or journals that are just collections of color or shapes and whatever catches the eye of the artist. Maybe someday I will try that. Just ONE thing. But right now I am enjoying looking at other people’s art journals.
- House of Cards.
As I mentioned before, every day, Tom and I break for lunch (we both work from home) and we watch an episode of whatever show we’re working our way through. Right now it’s “House of Cards” and we are both captivated. It’s funny, because this WASN’T on our list. I think US politics is probably one of the most irritating and boring topics for a show. But we ran out of available stuff to watch so one day I just flipped on Netflix and fires up the series and we were in awe. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are amazing. We only have three more episodes left of the second season and then we’ll have to wait for next year, like everyone else.
There are aspects of this TV show I DESPISE (two animal-related incidents, sexual exploitation of women…), but Tom and I are addicted hook, line, and sinker.
- Spinach and Carrots.
I’m suddenly ADDICTED to raw baby leaf spinach. I started adding a few leaves to my Tofurkey sandwiches at lunch, and now my sandwiches consist primarily of a giant pile of spinach – add a few slieces of Tofurkey, some hummus, and some whole grain rye- and wow). And I want cooked spinach with dinner every night.
And fresh carrots grated into my salad. Like the spinach, I started out with a bit for crunch and now I put a tremendous amounts of carrots on my salad and douse the entire thing in Balsamic. It’s so good. I love that I’m sort of rediscovering veggies. First it was sweet potato, then the carrots, now the spinach. Nom nom. Just thinking about it makes me want a salad *so* badly. (Now if only I could convince Gracie to love salad. She loves big bowls of green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower, though, so I think we’re ahead of the game with that one. She even packs a tupperware of veggies in her school lunch. BUT NO SALAD. Oh, well. More for me!)leave a comment...