Sunday, May 15, 2016

Week One in the Bag

Our first week with Bella has come and gone, thankfully without incident. We're still keeping her and Tucker separated. Work schedules this past week wouldn't allow for much time at home to work with the two of them on leashes and I'm just not ready to risk any fighting or injury due to a jealous spat. So, still juggling the two between rooms and yard time for now. Tucker is at least showing signs of mellowing. He's not rushing at the door to snap at Bella when he sees her on the other side and as he watched her out in the yard this morning, his little stumpy wagged happily. Good, good signs! I have such hope for these two--I want them to be the best of friends!

Bella continues to be super anxious at times, especially when it comes to food. It tears my heart to shreds to see her precious face in such a crazed panic over treats and meal times. I only wonder if she'll ever calm down and trust in regular meals and an abundance of treats like Pea and Tuck just casually take for granted. I also wish she'd gain more weight--it's terrible seeing her ribs, hips and spine so clearly. I go into Mama overdrive and have to hold myself in check--I don't want to make her sick with overeating either. She's doing really well, though. Everything will come together in time. Hard to be patient!!

Other exciting news in the family this week is all about Michael! He received his much anticipated acceptance letter to the Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical High School and this morning he is also being confirmed at church. I couldn't be more proud of him. I have to do double takes some times looking at this tall young gentleman he's becoming, quick with a laugh and smile, just like his grandfather--and also just as quick with a jibe and argument like his dad. Smart, kind, funny--he's such a great kid. Love him to bits!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

More From the Home Front

We've made it through another day with our Bella. The vet called yesterday morning with the wonderful report of a full clean bill of health for this precious girl--no heartworm, lyme, or internal parasites. Such good news--and quite the miracle since she'd been left outside and ignored for so long! We are extremely thankful and can begin to fully concentrate on getting her more settled and hopefully gain Tucker's approval as part of the family pack. He's still stand off-ish and wants to snap at her through the door. We continue to keep them separated until we are both on hand to work with them more on leashes. I don't want to risk Tucker attacking Bella--the thought simply terrifies me. She's getting along great with Sweet Pea--if only our Tucker was a bit more amiable!

Lounging in the kitchen while Tuck and Pea are outside enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.
Bella is also not a huge fan of going outside. It's easier to convince her that it's okay if Sweet Pea will go out with her, then she's quite happy to bounce all around the yard, trying to entice Pea to play. But for a simple potty break, she's not as easily convinced--even with a handful of food or treats in an attempt to bribe her out of doors. She sits just inside the door, peering doubtfully at me, as if it's simply a trick and I won't let her back indoors. We're working on trust and patience. She deserves a world of love after all she's been through.

In other news--my friend, Maria, from work--our head cashier, announced the summer reading list for the store (I work at Barnes and Noble--true book heaven!! Sweet book nerd joy!) This is her list:
Seeing as I have eighty books on hand to read--yes, eighty!! I thought it might not be a bad idea to put together my own summer reading list--though it's not quite as long as Maria's, here is my own summer reading challenge:
I'm currently about not quite halfway through Patrick Rothfuss's A Wise Man's Fear, the second in his Kingkiller's Chronicles trilogy. I hope to finish that by the end of the month and begin my summer reading by Memorial Day. What's on your reading list?

Monday, May 9, 2016

Poppie (now known as Bella) Day Two

After an anxious first day and a restless night's sleep, day two went a good bit smoother. Bella (we decided Poppie looked much more like a Bella, so hopefully she won't think we're too incredibly nuts and eventually understand that we're talking to her...And anybody who knows me and my dogs, knows that they all end up with nicknames they hear far more frequently than their actual given names: Tucker is McFinnegan or Finn for short. Sweet Pea has a slew of nicknames--at least close to Pea--Peaster being the most common. long as she knows she's safe and loved...A rose by any other name would smell as sweet...right?) Anyway--Bella is hanging out in the office with the birds. She is completely fascinated with these feathered friends! So close but so impossible to eat! I may end up putting her in Michael's room when I go to work on Wednesday--less temptation when there's zero supervision seems like the safer option. We switch off through the day, putting Tucker upstairs so Bella can come out and run around the house, pop outside to go potty. Sniff every blade of grass, puddle of pee and pile of poo. And the birds can all breathe a sigh of relief for a little while. Sweet Pea is doing fantastic with Bella. She's grumped and grumbled a few times but seriously--she's a Bassett, and completely unthreatening. Bella just side steps around her and life goes on.

After the rain let up, we took the three out back for a walk around the yard again--Tuck and Bella on leashes. Zero aggression, lots of little positive reinforcement training treats when Tuck would get close and sniff but not snap or growl at Bella. And later in the afternoon we took them all for a stroll around the neighborhood, and they did fantastic again! Lots of treats, no bad tempers. A huge sigh of relief for all of us.

So, I think we're still juggling turns from who's in a separate room and who gets free reign so smells and potty breaks and love fests are equally enjoyed by all. Bella has her first trip to the vet this afternoon, get her set with all her immunizations and blood work and flea/heartworm medicines. I'm anxious to find out what she weighs so we can start to track her progress back to full health. She already looks amazing after what she's been through--I can only imagine how beautiful she'll be in another couple months of regular food and plenty of treats, love, and exercise! Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

For the Love of Poppie

It's probably easier to tell this story in a blog post rather than just the bits and pieces you'd get on social media, so let me introduce our newest family member, Ms Poppie:
A friend had posted this picture on Facebook, commenting another friend was trying to find a new home for this precious love. She had just been rescued from a very sad situation. She had been terribly neglected and desperately needed a new family to take her in. Well, one look at that sweet face and I was hooked, line and sinker, the whole nine yards. I needed to bring this baby home to us. Friend contacted friend, plans were then made, and Friday night my too sweet hubby drove off on an eight hour trek to the other side of NY to pick up our dear Poppie. He really is the best!

This is what our new baby looked like when she first arrived at the rescue in NY:
The family that had her, had a child with a nut allergy. The dog food they were feeding Poppie apparently contained nuts or nut byproducts and every time she ate and then licked the child, child had an allergic reaction. Instead of finding another nut free dog food or even possibly rehoming her, they chained her to a tree and simply stopped feeding her. It's uncertain how long she suffered this way but after just a week at the rescue, she'd already started to regain some weight and was looking pretty great:
Just a-chillin'
So Saturday morning, Bill met with the lady from the rescue who'd come the last leg of the journey across NY.
On the way to meet Bill
My new Dadz!
Headed home to MA!
Once they arrived home, we had a 'through the door' introduction with Tucker and Sweet Pea. They're not quite sure what to think of this strange new sibling. We're having the biggest struggle with Tucker, he's been fairly aggressive towards Poppie. Sweet Pea is having her share of things to say but she's doing much better at least. Poppie is just taking it all in. We have her separated for the time being and will work more on introductions again today and tomorrow. Hopefully these guys will all settle down and be more agreeable with a little time and patience. I see some long, neutral territory walks in our near future...but hopefully all friends in the end!

Welcome home Poppie!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Weekend Update 2

Welcome Winter! Storm system Jonas brought us a wonderful eight or ten inches of beautiful white snow yesterday and overnight (I will take pics later today after the sun has come up--my camera doesn't take great photos in the dark...) Can't wait to get out there and start shoveling! But first--my week in review...

Last week I began a daily tracker in my bullet journal and did so-so with it:

I did manage to get the newest set of journaling Bible bookmarks finished and listed in my Etsy shop:

And I've revamped the tracker for the coming week, taking out some of the less important tasks and hopefully will find better direction this time around.
Other projects I've been playing around with:
A water soluble graphite grid envie
This is a bit blurry but just a quick shot of a couple tie dye papers I'm making for some envie mosaic work this week...
My February monthly layout in my bullet journal
And this is Tucker staring down his arch enemy The Squirrel. These two have a daily chase--The Squirrel will taunt Tucker from atop the fence, running back and forth in some death defying balancing act while Tucker chases him below. Every. Day. Best friends or Best frenemies? I'm just super impressed with this little fella's agility!

So today will be digging out from Jonas. I need to get a five mile run in as well before any arty play time--but for now breakfast is calling--oatmeal with mixed berries--yum! Have a great day--enjoy the snow, and hopefully I'll see you again next week!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Weekend Update

It seems I have lost the entire week of blogging opportunities. I had wanted to do another What's Going On Wednesday but ran out of time and just never got back to it-hence, The Weekend Update! There's always a fix if you look hard enough, right?

So! What a week-we've lost David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Dan Haggerty...Cancer's got its glutton on--enough is enough already! Keith Richards at least, still alive and well, probably always will be. Thank heaven for small favors.

But, a little closer to home--the hubs and I ventured out to a new art supply store in Somerset last weekend, Riverside Art--this place is an artist's dream! I'm almost a little afraid to go back...I had to rein myself in being with my other half--but holy mackerel! What a great place! When you first walk into the store you enter their gallery where they have displayed all these beautiful creations from local artists--it's like a special little art show! Down below the gallery is their art supply store and they have the best of the best-no penny ante Michaels or AC Moore crafty student grade art supplies, this is the real deal! I drooled through aisles of pastels, paints, papers, pens, pencils, rulers, books, canvas, easels...a sugar starved kid set loose in a Willy Wonka level candy store! I gathered up a small selection of goodies that I couldn't forgive myself for if I'd left the store without them, and THEN! We got our own personal tour of their scanning/Giclee printing rooms! Okay, I completely geeked out over this. Their Cruse scanner has a room all its own--it's gianormous! And their printers, huge--three or four of them--I was too excited for it all to really sink in--top of the line, state of the art, beyond all coolness...Kim, their printing pro, let me drool over some of the prints she'd been working on from another artist's amazing sketchbook--it all made my mind spin! I walked out of the store with a zillion ideas to play with and super excited for the day I let myself go back for more goodies!

And, home at last, I've been busy playing with a few odd things through the week...I've been completely obsessed with graphite abstracts lately, so decided to create an inspiration board for my arting area. I printed out some pretties found on Pinterest and hung them on a simple cork board bought at Walmart:
And this little guy is from one of the books I posted last week that I'm working through: Draw Realistic Animals by Robert Caldwell. Husky fur is challenging so I'm taking my time with it--no rush, it is just a practice piece after all. He's still got a long way to go but I'm happy with his progress so far!

This morning I came across a bullet journal challenge on the Tiny Ray of Sunshine blog--to create a daily focus log. I have so many little project ideas and inspirations, even if I manage to jot them down into my bullet journal, they often get overlooked and eventually forgotten. So Kim's Focus challenge seemed like a great accountability tracker that just might help me crack down and actually get some of these projects finished!
(First, if you're not sure of what a bullet journal is, you can check them out here)
I thought it might be easier to understand what I'm talking about if I gave a full view of how I work my bujo...This is a two week spread. I list daily cleaning chores, appointments, rowing and running days, my weekly budget (which sadly gets neglected but one of my goals is to get that under control this year!), snail mail replies, and the week's Action Items--projects that need to be prioritized. Sometimes that works, other times maybe not so much...And of course, doodle and lettering space! Oh, and the week's menus. The left side is this current week and the right page is next week. I don't typically fill the whole week in ahead of time--you never know what can pop up at any given time and it's better to leave yourself some wiggle room. However, with this Focus challenge, I wanted to work in a daily log space to track some of the projects that seem to be falling between the cracks, so I've done that at the bottom of the right page:
Two week spread
The upcoming week
Daily Focus Log
Below is my monthly January spread--I'll pencil in daily cleaning tasks and appointments each week, then along the side I keep track of things that I'm working on, need to complete, and also projects I'd like to think about for the coming month:

I got the idea for a project breakdown sheet from the This is a great planning system and a beautiful book but bullet journaling allows room to create these pages in my own way and so, viola:
My only problem seems to be remembering to incorporate these projects into my daily task lists. So, I'm hoping that's where the daily focus log will help bring about the accountability and eventually get these projects DONE!

And one final shot of the stash I just grabbed from the library this morning and will be working on for the next six weeks:
I'm most excited about the two Lee Hammond books, and Hillberry's Textures. The Basic Perspective book is for an upcoming project I'm pretty psyched about as well!

I think that catches us up. I am hoping to get another post in for the coming week--fingers crossed! In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the weekend, hopefully it's snowing where you are--I wish it was here...See you again soon!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

What's Going On Wednesday

I wanted to give a quick peek at some of the books I'm working through right now:

I've been a big Danny Gregory fan forever--I love his books and am really enjoying Art Before Breakfast. I've also been playing off and on with his Creative License for the past few years--his books are so fun, beautiful to read and look at, and always encouraging and inspirational!

The Sketchbook Challenge is another one I peek into from time to time--it's great for getting through creative slumps when you just don't know what you want to do!

I discovered Lynda Barry's Syllabus through Danny Gregory's blog He had listed several books that he had found to be greatly inspirational and Syllabus is a whole lot of fun to play through! The fact that it looks like someone's old composition notebook makes it seem all the more appealing to me--like sneaking a peek into somebody's lost diary!

I just picked up More Creative Lettering at the library yesterday--it has one of my current favorite lettering artists: Lindsey Bugbee of the fabulous blog: The Postman's Knock. I'm a huge snail mail nut and love love love pretty envelopes. Lindsey is a generous spirit who posts all sorts of great tutorials to inspire you not only in making beautiful mail but also all kinds of fun artsy projects. She's got a great creative challenge and giveaway going on for the month of January, so you might want to pop on over and check it out here!

I've really enjoyed Draw Realistic Animals and Realistic Drawing Secrets. It had been so long since I'd actually done any graphite drawing, these two books offer fantastic direction and step by step instruction to get you from a beginning sketch to a fully realized drawing. I've gotten myself quite a stash of graphite pencils now and feel like a little kid every time I take them out to play! It feels like I've found that one thing that just makes my heart and soul soar...I love it!

Drawing 365 is another one to dip into here and there--anything that encourages a daily art practice is a wonderful inclusion in any collection!

So that's what I've got going on here. I need to go print out the details of Lindsey's new challenge and get that worked into the month's schedule...Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

First, A Look Back

Before plunging straight into the new year ahead, I want to take a look back at the successes of the past year and maybe create a platform to build upon going into 2016.

I've gotten my Etsy shop, the Blueberry Loft, stocked and selling. It did quite a bit better than I had imagined it would--who knew? So my plan is to create more inventory and hopefully continue this endeavor as the year goes on.

I finally reached and surpassed my fifty pound weight loss goal and have lost sixty pounds total. I made it through the holidays without any gains and am looking forward to fitting into a size two later this year!

I successfully ran my first 10k and loved it! It was a gorgeous fall morning, the weather was cool and overcast with a slight drizzle--perfect for a good run. I was very happy with my time which was much better than I'd anticipated: 1:05:15, and this year plan to PR that in each of the two 10k's I want to run. I've been doing a lot of speed work since racing season ended and hope to get my pace up a good bit this year. Next year I'll be moving into a new age bracket and being on the young end of it, I plan to contend for a win!

I rowed in several water races and managed a first place win in the Slocum River Regatta Challenge with the team Lorelei--wins are always gratifying and encouraging to keep on at what you're doing! Rowing is so much fun and great exercise, winning a good race is like icing on the cake!

I've also finally started drawing again, a long lost passion that, for the life of me, I can't imagine why I ever gave it up! My favorite of the year was a portrait of our grandpuppy, Monticore:

This was given as a Christmas gift to Ashlee and Kyle. I'm working my way through several drawing books and had signed up for a drawing class at our local Voc-Tech but it was sadly cancelled due to personal reasons for the teacher. I'm hoping they'll reoffer the class for spring, but in the meantime, I'll just keep practicing!

So, that's the best of the best of 2015. I'm definitely looking forward to what 2016 holds in store for us. It's going to be a good, good year!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016 Happy New Year!

A new year, a new blog. I've kind of gotten away from blogging this past year in an effort to cut back on how much time I was spending on the computer. Social media, mindless matching games, and other online endeavors sucked up my day and I never managed to get anything outside of barely skimming through the household chores accomplished. So I had to go a little cold turkey--dropped my blog and Facebook, packed the laptop away after a quick morning perusal of email, calorie counting, and a zip through Pinterest--and amazingly I found time for the things I actually wanted to do every day!

So why am I starting back? I still waste a good half hour playing a PC game every morning that I can easily drop and use that time more productively. I've signed up for a couple online challenges this year that I'd like to actually be able to link up blog posts and share my work again. And I've found blogging can be a helpful accountability tool as well. So, I'm back to sharing and blogging--for now. If I find myself spending too much time at it, it may just go back to the chopping block. I did learn to set some priorities in 2015 and I plan to stick with it.

And so to begin this new blog as we embark on another new year, I thought I'd share my list of goals and my One Word for 2016:

Goals 2016

  • Draw at least five days a week
  • Expand offerings on Etsy
  • Work towards commissions (get my work out there!)
  • Calendar drawings
  • Run the New Bedford Half Marathon
  • PR my 10k time
  • Reach race pace of 9:35/mi
  • Read 25 books
Road Races for 2016
  • March-New Bedford Half Marathon
  • April-South Coast CARE 5k
  • June-Fairhaven Father's Day 10k
  • July-Mattapoisett 5 mile; Fisherman's Tribute Fund 5k
  • Sept-Acushnet 4.1 mile; Fort Phoenix 5k
  • October-Spooky Spooner 10k
My One Word for 2016 is Commit.
Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and He will establish your plans.
Proverbs 16:3


1. to give in trust or charge; consign.
2. to consign for preservation
3. to pledge (oneself) to a position on an issue or question; express (one's intention, feeling, etc.)
4. to bind or obligate, as by pledge or assurance; pledge: to commit oneself to a promise; to be committed to a course of action.
5. to entrust, especially for safekeeping; commend
6. to do; perform; perpetrate
I come up with lots of ideas and plans, grand schemes and wild dreams--but I seem to have trouble with following through any of them to completion. This year I intend to commit to the work, and to commit that work to God--in all I do: art, health, family, relationships. Trust in Him to lead me and help see me through. And committing it all here is my first step of accountability as well.
I have lots on board this year, I hope you'll stick around and see how it all unfolds with me! For now, have I wish you a happy, healthy and productive new year! Thanks so much for stopping by!