around here – January 26th, 2014

hibiscus in the garden…

What’s going on around here:

Outside my window…
I’m still loving the winter weather and trying to enjoy every day since I know that spring (which is really summer part one) is coming soon.

It’s actually raining here- sort of a sunshower. When I woke up, the sun was shining brightly. But then it got very breezy and the temperature dropped and the rain came down. I know I complain about the rain in summer, but in winter, when the rain doesn’t last all day, when it cools things down, when there’s no lightning attached, I love the rain. I love a cloudy day. It makes me feel so cozy and snug inside, and it also makes me feel like the world is a little less expansive, if that makes any sense. Like I’m tucked into my own little nest.

Something odd going on behind my house: they are ripping up the seawall a few houses down and it’s a bit odd. To be honest, I don’t mind construction noise nearly as much as I mind vacation-renter-noise, but I do worry a lot about the impact the construction has on the native creatures that live in/near the area they are working, both on the ground and in the bay.

I think I am coming to terms with the fact that after the holidays, it’s FULL-ON here. Tourists, snowbirds, industry. There’s no quiet. But like I said, construction noise is easier for me than people-noise. I don’t know why that is.


In the art studio…
I’m painting. A lot. I was really intending on spreading out time between the four main creative projects I have going on this year (painting, art journal, scrapbooking, watercoloring) but I’ve felt really compelled to paint for the last week or so, so I’ve been letting myself do that.

I’m still following the Bloom True “arc”, but I’m a little more relaxed about it since I don’t feel like I have to keep up with the class schedule. I’m working on something, like, SEVEN canvases – usually one or two a day, just playing around with paint and mark-making. Having lots of fun.

I’m also playing with color palettes. In Bloom True it’s recommended not to start drilling down the color palette on the canvas until later layers, but I LOVE color palettes- I love making them, I love finding them, I love looking at them. And pretty much the whole point of Bloom True is deveoping your own style through trial and error, so I decided to embrace my obsession with color palettes and am experimenting with defining them earlier on in the painting process. I had a lot of fun this weekend with that- actually making little swatches for different paintings based on the colors I saw coming through in the early layers.

I think I mentioned before that one aspect of choosing “peace” as my word for 2015 is to relax, and that goes into my creative projects. Playing with the painting process is a good way to do that, I think.

I did work on my art journal yesterday afternoon, though, and it was fun. That was encouraging. I wasn’t feeling so great, so instead of pulling out my paints, I decided to pull out a few pieces of paper and images and make a little collage for the next quote, and it came together nicely. I was really, really happy about that.

Haven’t really watercolored or scrapbooked in a few weeks, but I’m okay with that. January is a slow month for notable events, so besides some photos of Gracie at school (I love that her teacher and staff at her school share so many photos of their daily life on the school [private] Facebook page!) and some garden photos, there’s not many pages for the scrapbook in January.


In the garden…
It rained this morning so maybe I don’t have to water today. I love working in the garden, but when I get a surprise day off and everything is FINE out there, it’s a little bonus.


I think Gracie has a playdate today but I’m not sure if she’ll have it here or go to her friend’s house so that will determine the afternoon. Hopefully there will be time for some painting or art journaling once the daily “stuff” of everyday life gets done.

Can I just say how much I love it that Gracie is at the age where playdates are now mostly kids-only, meaning that the moms/dads don’t have to stay with the kids at the host’s house? The kids come here or she goes there. That’s the way it ALWAYS was for me growing up and for Tom, too, but for some reason younger kids here have playdates with parents accompanying the kids the entire time.

It made it really hard for us to do playdates because of Tom’s work (he works from home and his schedule is very flexible, which means he can work at odd hours) and my swimming schedule and health stuff (and my general desire to spend the little free time I have in my art studio). Now Gracie can go play with her friends any time or they can come here, and I don’t have to worry about putting out a spread and not boring another adult to pieces OR spending the afternoon feeling like I’m invading someone else’s space. I know a lot of parents like the whole mom/dad/kid playdate thing because it’s a chance to get to know other people and spend time with friends, but it’s really hard for shy people or people who work at home and have to have conference/video calls, etc.


“Morality for Beautiful Girls” by Alexander McCall Smith. I’m re-reading the entire “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series and enjoying it.


I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately in my art studio, and also catching up on a lot of videos from different art classes I have signed up for in the last year. I found out that I enjoy watching art classes *while* I make art even if the two projects are NOT related. It’s a little weird because it’s like going to an art class and while the teacher is showing you technique, you’re sitting there working on a different project.

But my thing with art classes is not to create very specific projects, but to learn technique and new approaches to stuff I like doing. So it’s more observation and picking up information, which I can do while I paint or collage or scrapbook or whatever.

Right now I’m taking two classes for 2015- LifeBook and One Little Word. I signed up for One Little Word specifically for the writing prompts and NOT for the scrapbooking projects, even though that’s a big part of the class. I just know that if I add some sort of extra scrapbook project on right now I’ll get behind and get frustrated, so I’m not even considering it.

LifeBook is an art journaling class where you create one art journal page a week for the entire year of 2015. Every week there’s a new video from a different teacher showing you their techniques and project, step-by-step. I’m interested in a few of the specific projects and teachers, but I’m mainly interested in absorbing and exposing myself to more creative approaches and styles across the board. It’s a SUPER cool year-long project, but again, I know if I add on a project of that scope, it will mean having to give up a project that I’m already working on, and I’m not willing to do that. At least not now.

I’m just approaching both classes as stress-free as possible. Great information, great content, fun stuff to watch while I’m in my studio, making art… why make it more complicated?


We saw WHIPLASH this weekend and LOVED it. I have obsessive tendencies and I get VERY passionate about things that matter to me, so that movie really resonated with me and made me think. I probably will write an entry about this soon, but I highly recommend it, if you haven’t seen it.

We’re still working our way through The Wire- we’re on season two- we can’t really watch it when Gracie is around, so we watch it when she’s over my parents’ for the night or at an activity. It’s super compelling.


I just finished a “pashmina” type scarf using Red Heart Unforgettable yarn in Dragonfly and I LOVED working with it. Probably one of my favorite yarns ever. I will have to post a photo of the scarf. I am not a technical crocheter (I know a few basic stitches and I’m pretty happy with that) but the coloring came out beautifully because of how the yarn is.

Now I’m working on a blanket or a throw or something with some Caron yarn I had in my stash. It’s really to keep me busy until some yarn I ordered arrives- I’m making Tom a cotton throw for his birthday in blue cotton yarn from Knit Picks. I made him a blanket in some cotton yarn way back when I started crocheting, but it’s basically a giant trapezoid full of holes because a) I had no idea what I was doing and b) I realized it’s super important to use cotton yarn with another fiber in it to give it a little bit of elasticity or else the fibers don’t bounce back as you stretch them over the crochet hook. So I’m giving it another go.


During the holidays, I got a gift certificate from Adagio from a friend and just went crazy restocking myself with all the black and oolong teas I loved. *swoon* I love tea. For a while, I was sort of “meh” about it, just working through my stash, but I realized that when I have a full drawer, tea drinking becomes a lot more fun and delicious. So now I’m back to total tea obsession. I am loving mixing different oolongs and different black teas right now. Every day a new happiness 🙂


Hoping/looking forward to…
There might be a trip to Universal Studios to see the new Harry Potter section in our future. Just a day trip, since the park is only three hours away and sometimes planning a longer-term vacation up there is more trouble than it’s worth. But since we have annual passes, I really want to try to get up there more often.

I mean, it’s an hour drive to get into Naples (the nearest town) to go to the movies or whatever, so why not just make the trip up to Orlando and go to the amusement parks every few weekends? If we go often enough, we won’t feel the need to try and jam everything into a single visit. I want to get back into the habit of going up there more frequently. I am also jonesing for Epcot and Magic Kingdom.


Thankful for…
a new week, creative mojo, my family, tea, the weather, the pool heater (especially on a blustery day like today!), my sweet pets, crochet, painting, mechanical pencils (random, yes, I know…), Mary J. Blige songs to listen to in the pool (I’m on a kick with her music), online classes, friends, windchimes, and seeds that sprout quickly.



Have a GREAT day!!

4 thoughts on “around here – January 26th, 2014

    1. Thank you! When I write these posts out and then see the length, I think “Chel, who is REALLY going to care about all this?” and then I got your comment and it made me so happy! 🙂

  1. I love this post too. Posts like these give a really nice, cozy view into your world. I’ve been reading your blog for what feels like, forever, and I still come back regularly! It’s really fun to sorta ride the waves of life with you. 🙂

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