Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wild and Windy

Howdy!  Today has gone great so far...except that I cried in my oil painting class:(  But it wasn't crying cuz I was hurt or anything.  My critique went well, but in explaining the meaning of what I am doing I had to talk about Tommy and I tend to get emotional, and so it was a little embarrassing.  But once I got past explaining all of that I was fine, and people liked my idea and I even had some good discussions after class with people about their losses in life.  I think it is like Sister Beck says, that life is a series of losses for all of us.  I find that as I learn more about people that I am learning we all share many of the same hurts and we just need to learn to get to know each other better to understand each other.  That is an awkward sentence.  Sorry.
After painting I went to my photo class and printed quite a few photos.  I think I still need to do one or two more and then I will be done with that.  But they need to be mounted, so maybe I can do that on Monday.  Am I boring you yet?  I am so preoccupied with school right now.  It is all I can think about.  But two of my classes will be over next week.  And the other two the following week.  So yay!  Then I can think about Christmas.  I can't even listen to Christmas music without feeling panicky right now.  I have no idea what I am giving anyone yet for Christmas.  Oh well, it is all good.  Christmas will come and go with or without lots of gifts from me.  And I can always do my middle of the night WalMart shopping.
The wind is really blowing tonight!  I can hear it out my window making a rumpus.  It kind of reminds me of a train it sounds so loud!   But Mel says this is nothing:)  We have had much worse winds.  I suppose he is right.  But these are very loud.
I stopped to see my dad and Barb on the way home from school.  They are so cute!  They had a big gift basket for me and Mel from say thanks for all the help in the yard.  I told them they didn't need to do that, but still it was so sweet.  Literally!  It has all kinds of goodies in it.  Goodbye, diet:)  I ate a couple of Lindor balls already.  I probably need to take a walk....oh wait.  It is dark.....and windy:)
So, I keep thinking about children's illustrations and how much I enjoy doing them.  I suppose I am getting my hopes up kind of high thinking I will ever have the opportunity to illustrate a children's book. But I suppose that doesn't hurt anything.  And it is awfully fun to think about.  I like the idea of making beautiful illustrations.  I know....I've got it bad.  Sigh.  I am excited for tomorrow.  We finally will get the acrylics demo promised by my illustration teacher.  I asked him if he was going to show us a certain technique I was interested in and his answer was, "I can't teach you all I know about painting in one class period."  But then he smiled and seemed to like his joke.  I am really thinking he is one of my better teachers these days.
Well, I hope your day has been wonderful.  Take care out there in cyberspace!  I'm pulling extra hard with this wind!  HAVVVVVGW!!!  Melody
Good morning:)  I am off to face my oil painting critique.  Aaaack!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

News of the Day

Hi again!  I have to report the good news, and that is that my illustration critique went very well.  In fact, the teacher complimented me:)  Now that is definitely a first for him.  But it felt very good.  And the class picked my picture first, so that also felt really good.  I may become an illustrator/artist yet.
In other news, I bravely painted on my oil painting/collage/whatever it is today.  Our mid-painting critique is tomorrow, so we shall see how that goes.  I hope I can defend my painting.  In printmaking I also made some headway on the acorn/oak tree project.  And then on the way home from school I stopped and took a few pictures for my photo class.  So I may get through the next couple of weeks OK.  I wasn't so sure this morning.
Anyway, just to share...I thought you might like to see what it looks like when Gabe greets you at the door.
I think he was kind of surprised to see me:)  But we had fun looking at all of his legos.  Then Taylor wanted to show me his books.  I hope I can use a couple photos.
Anyway, life continues to be busy and happy.  I hope all is well out there in cyberspace!  Take care!  Melody

Running and Jumping for Joy!

Good morning!  I am feeling great this morning!  And I came up with some alternate ideas for my painting.  I think I will just start painting them today between classes.  We have a mid-painting critique tomorrow, and it would be nice to have something done.  I am kind of excited about it because I think it is a way to show how I feel about marriage and the strength that you can be to each other.  Anyway, we shall see how good my painting skills are.
I am a little nervous about today's critique in illustration, but I will be very glad when it is over.  It brings to mind my father's favorite scripture...."And it came to pass."  Some things are nice to have finished.  Some things I wish would go on forever.  I have two pictures of Taylor I will share again.  It is from a couple of years ago, when we went to California to visit family there.  It was a very nice trip and parts of it I wish I could live again!
He was so happy to be able to run and jump after a very long ride in the car!
Well, I have things to get done before I leave.  I just wanted to say hi and that I hope your day is fabulous!  Take care out there in cyberspace.  I'm still pulling for you!   HAVVVGW!!!  Melody
I keep this one on my screen saver.  It always brings a grin!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Evening Post

Good evening!  I thought I would share a few photos.  I have decided to take photos of my grandkids doing things that they love doing for my final project in digital photography.  So I drove to parts unknown after school and had a photo session with Hailey.  She is a bright spirit.  And so fun to photograph.  I wish I was better at it.
I will go over to Liz's tomorrow and photograph her boys.   I am hoping I can get ten good photos...that are artful.  Sounds easy, huh?  Ha, ha, ha!
Oh well.  I think this semester I am going to just have to chalk it up to experience on my road toward becoming a better artist.
I did manage to get a copper plate drypointed.  I am not sure that is how you say it.  But I took a stylus and carved an acorn and some leaves.  Tomorrow I will print it in class.
My oil painting class was a little frustrating.  I have to come up with a better painting idea I think.  My
 teacher thought that the idea I had was too cliche.  So....on with the thinking cap again.  He liked it last week.  Sigh!  But I was thinking the same thing.  I just am not sure what to do with it now.
Tomorrow is my illustration critique for my giant squid.  I hope I do OK with that one.  I really like it....that may not be a good sign:)  But I had so much fun drawing it.  I really think illustration is more up my alley than exotic fine art that makes no sense to me.  But we shall see.  I will not make any snap judgements...especially when I am feeling pushed and stressed with finals coming up next week and the week after.  I can't believe it is almost over.  Then I ask myself, have I learned anything?  And I have to admit that I have.  So it is all good.
Well, I hope your day has been joyful, inspired and full of lots of good turkey sandwiches.  Or are you tired of that by now?  I don't think I ever get tired of it, but today I have been eating less carbs:)  I hope your evening goes well out there in cyberspace.  I'm still pulling for you!  HAVVVVGFHE!  Melody

Good Morning to You!

Good morning!  I guess it is back to the old grindstone, eh?  The vacation was really nice, but the week ahead will find me running to keep up.  I can't tell you how glad I am that I am not taking math or science or languages right now.  Not that art classes aren't challenging, but I love them...sort of:)  I guess what I love is drawing and painting and taking pictures.
And that is all I have time to write this morning.  I mostly just wanted to greet the day with a song, and say, "Hello".  We saw a cute movie last night on the BYU channel..."The Letter Writer", about a man who wrote letters to people he picked out of the phone book...people he didn't know.  He would rely on the spirit to know what to write...beautiful, encouraging, positive letters.  I will try to make my blog more like that:)  I hope you have a wonderful day out there in cyberspace!  I'm definitely pulling for you!!!  Take care and remember you are the best!  HAVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Raking and Ringing in the Season

Hello out there!  Today has been a wonderful Sabbath day.  But I think we got the best sermon watching the Donahue's in the pew two rows in front of ours.  They have a boy with autism, who is probably about 16, and a big boy!  He struggles with social behaviors, but is slowly learning, and I could see why during sacrament meeting.  He has wonderful siblings!  His older brother was so patient with him, lovingly cradling his restlessness with his own big shoulders.  It made me feel privileged to witness such brotherly kindness and love.  I kept thinking I wanted to take a picture of them together, but of course it was not an appropriate place for photos.
I did take some pictures of our raking adventure yesterday though.  We had so much fun cleaning up my dad's yard.  Mel may not think of it as fun though.  He spent about three hours on a ladder cleaning out the rain gutters.  Such a trooper!  My dad and Barb kept saying how much they appreciated it.  I felt bad we hadn't been over there sooner.  But it was a wonderful service project for my grandchildren.  I don't think they will soon forget how good it feels to help out.
They left today after church and a repeat of turkey dinner.  I am glad they stayed to help eat up all of the leftovers.  Tomorrow I am back on my carb counting diet.  It has been fun to eat and love all of the good tasting food.  But I have been ignoring my health for a little too long I think:)
Oh, before I sign off I have to tell you I am part of a new singing group....The "Ringie Dingies".  Catchy little name, huh?  I laughed when I heard us announced in Relief Society for the upcoming ward party.  The Beautiful Bell Ringers just wouldn't cut it I guess.  Anyway, we are having fun singing and ringing pipes cut to ring at certain tones.  It will make things merry for sure!
I hope things are merry for you today.  Take care.  Keep the faith and remember I'm still pulling for you!!!  HAVVVGS!!!  Melody

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Accion de gracias feliz del poste! (I hope I said that right!)

Good morning!  It is a blustery, blowy day in our part of Idaho this morning.  We have had a slow relaxing morning with Michelle and her family here, just enjoying each other's company.  But we are off soon to go visit my dad.  I think we are going to rake leaves and clean out the gutters at his house while we are there.  It is a little late in the season, but we haven't been able to get over there any sooner, and with a big crew to help the work should go quickly.  We don't have to do too much of that here as we don't have rain gutters and the wind just blows the leaves off into the fields around and across the street.
Today I am going to take pictures and try to get some worthy of my photo class on Monday.  We have to come up with ten really good ones by December something for our final....and we have to have them mounted really nice.  So getting the pictures is only half of the battle.  We have to put them on photoshop and make them wonderful, print them and then mount them.  It all takes time.
I am not really too certain what I need to have done on Monday for my oil painting class.  And I am not real sure how to go forward with my painting anyway, since it is not what I would do if given my druthers.  We went to the Faris's last night for dinner and games, and her house is full of the kind of art I would love to be learning how to do.  Her father was the head of the art department at Ricks....or BYU Idaho as we now refer to it.  She has several of his beautiful paintings in her home.  And they really are beautiful.  There are a couple of watercolors that are fun just to study.  The washes are done so masterfully and then the colors are so gorgeous.  It makes a scene of a farmyard sing with beauty.  I love it!  There is one oil of a woodsy scene that he did with a palette knife that I love to look at while we are playing cards.  I must admit that I am not a good card player...probably because I don't really care if I win or not.  But it is especially hard at Jodell's house because I would rather just look at the paintings:)
This is one from her dad's website
And also I was pretty tired last night.  As we were leaving we passed by a print that her brother Del had done...the famous one of Christ in the red robe.  It made me laugh because the first time we went to their house she was showing me the art, and as we came to that one she said, "This is the one my brother Del did."  And I said laughingly, "Oh, right!"  And she said, "No, really.  Del Parson is my brother." So funny.  Seven of her siblings paint, but Del and Leon are probably the most well known in the LDS church.  I think I am lucky to be able to go on field trips to Jodell's house.  It is almost as good as an art museum:)  I go and think someday I will paint like this.  But in the meantime I will enjoy the art she has hanging on her walls.
Well, I think I had better get going.  It is so fun to be with family.  I am so glad school is Monday or I think I might get sad.  But I will be rushing to keep up with things and I just won't have time to mope.  That's good I think.  I hope your day is inspired and happy!  I am still pulling for you.  We are all in this together:)  Take care!!!  Melody

Friday, November 25, 2011

A little more blog please

Good morning!  I am alone again in my little least for a few hours.  All of the kids have left.  We got up early to take Kenny and Cindy to the airport to catch their flight back to Fremont.  It's so funny that they go back to the area I grew up in.  We had a wonderful visit though.  I am glad they are so happy together.  Kim and Liz live near here, so they just come back and forth.  Michelle and Gary are visiting with his family today.  Amy is off with Aaron's family.  And Julie couldn't make it this year because Randy had to work.  But I just got off of the phone with her.  It seems her husband Randy hurt his shoulder in their football game yesterday.  But other than that all is well.
I thought I would include a picture or two, but just know that we look much younger, slimmer and generally better looking than the photo would indicate:)
Kenny and Cindy
Today I am feeling school work calling.  I have pretty much forgotten it all the last few days, and now I am feeling like it is crashing in around me.  Well, maybe not crashing....more like smothering.   I don't think I can get it all done in time for Monday morning and I am feeling a little panicky.  So today I will try to get some good street photos or people photos of some kind.   And I also need to sketch up some things for painting class.  Also I should be carving an acorn onto my copper plate.  So that will keep me plenty busy.  And the house needs attention too.  We have lots of dishes left from yesterday that wouldn't fit into the washer.  But it has all been wonderful.  I love these moments with family.  I wish for more moments, but I am learning to treasure the ones we have:)
I hope things are happy and well with you.  Take care!!  I am definitely still pulling for you from this side of the internet.  HAVVVVVGW!!!  Melody
Mel and I

Thursday, November 24, 2011

And you will be singing as the days go by!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am feeling very blessed today.  There are children in my house again!!!  I love the fun and the layer of noise that floats over the whole house.  It is like music in a way...every once in a while a cymbal crash, but most of the time it is a harmonious blend of voices playing imaginary games.  Of course there is Xbox to placate, but I hear them making up stories in between the games and it makes me giggle just a little.  Children's imaginations are so alive!  I try hard to hold on to mine, but it is more tired and less colorful than it once was.
So the men in our household are off playing football.  I am just a bit worried because they kept talking about how tackle football was the only game in town.  I kept saying "touch, touch, touch" like a mantra as they were leaving the house this morning.  There is the hope that it will start snowing, but even that would not stop a Thanksgiving Day family bowl game:)  I did make them promise that they would not complain of any injuries incurred.
Michelle is here and together we put a turkey, stuffed and bagged, into the oven.  The rolls are mixing and rising in the bread maker.  The jello is jelling and the vegetables are crisping.  I think we only have to roll out rolls and make an apple pie and the feast will be mainly prepared.  I am really glad for the already mashed potatoes, and prepared gravy.  My back is already tired, and so I feel I made a good judgement call.
I had a most wonderful birthday yesterday with celebrations all day long.  I think I am most grateful in this world for family!!!  And friends follow a close second.  I feel so very loved and appreciated.  The only sadness I feel is when I realize they will all be going soon and we will be "empty nesters" again.  I am not sure I really am used to that.  And yet I tire easily and am not a good candidate for parenting any more.  I am glad for school!
Well, I hope this Thanksgiving day finds you happy and surrounded by loved ones.  And as you look around may you find much for which to be grateful! (That was hard to not end that sentence with a preposition:)  Keep smiling!  I am smiling from this side!!!  I'm still pulling for you.  HAVVVGD!!  Melody

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Throwing Paint

Good morning!  It is a brusquely windy day today.  Ha, ha!  I wanted to use brusque in a sentence, but I am not sure you can use an ly at the end.  And would you say it in three syllables?  I would like that.  Of course that is the English major in me clamoring for better descriptive words and phrases.  I really do enjoy writing.  But I am sure I bore more than I entertain.
Kenny and Cindy arrived safely and it is so nice to have them here.  We are all going out for breakfast, so I don't have much time to write.  I just need to say hello out there!  And let you know I am feeling very happy and normal today.  It feels good.
I had an odd dream last night....all about being an artist and being overlooked:)  I think my illustration teacher didn't like my squid in the dream...or some drawing, and he completely ignored it and me, and went on and on about another person in the class:)  Do I sound as egotistical to you as I do to myself?  I don't think it would bother me in real life nearly as much as it did in the dream.  I think I was ready to throw paint! :)
Well, I had better go get ready.  I hope you have a lovely day today out there in cyberspace.  Take care and keep smiling.  I am smiling for sure!!  HAVVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Hi again!  I thought I should write and include this photo of snow geese...because I saw a flock of them today!  Right down the hill coming off of the lake.  We do live in such a fantastic area with lots of birds flying by our neighborhood.  The geese looked so beautiful, there were about thirty of them.  And they were flying in some formation, although very windblown as they seemed to be fighting the wind currents heading off to where ever they were going.  It made me think of Kenny and Cindy headed this way on an airplane.  I hope the winds are blowing in their favor.  They don't get here until 10:30...less than three hours now.  Yes, I am getting anxious.  So...I thought I would blog:)  Mel is off doing tithing settlement at the church.  It isn't really his responsibility, but the financial clerk couldn't make it.  When we met with the Bishop I asked him if he had a calling for me yet:)  He seemed very surprised that I didn't have one.  I told him I was a little afraid that maybe I had been black listed or something.  He thought that was funny, and told me that I wouldn't be without a calling for long now that he knew.  He is a nice bishop.  Of course I think that is part of the job description.
So I caved in and bought pumpkin pie at Costco today.  It takes some of the pressure off.  I think it was all beginning to get to me, because I feel tons better now.   I still have lots to do, but a little less now.  I got a cheesecake too...and my birthday cake:)  I figured I'd better get a cake since I invited all of these people for cake tomorrow.  There's a story behind that, but nothing very exciting.
Well, only a few more hours and I will be the legal age for something....false teeth?  Rheumatoid arthritis?  Maybe just retirement.  It sure seems to be speeding by.  Oh well.
Well, I am flabbering away again.  I think I will go make the cranberry jelly.  Take care!  Melody
P.S. Have you heard of the new Jerusalem set they have built in Goshen near Provo?  It is pretty cool looking from the video.  Here's a link Goshen


Good morning!  Things are so quiet here this morning, that it is hard to believe it will soon be noisy and full of people....thank Heaven!  I am not fond of quiet...unless I am painting or writing:)  This morning I was cleaning the bathroom and was looking at a painting I had hanging in there that has always bothered me.  It is a watercolor, but I used guache in it and I did it wrong along the seashore line, and it has never looked white enough to me.  So as I was looking at it this morning I thought, "I wonder if that new technique that my illustration teacher showed us with watercolor and white acrylic might work."  So I figured I couldn't ruin something I was already unhappy with and I tried it.  This is the result.
I like it so much better with white foam instead of some gray matter I had penciled in:)   I don't think I
had penciled in the foam yet in the before picture.  But it did look awful.  Now I can enjoy the picture and only be half tempted to throw it away:)  I can sure see a difference in the photo!  Did I mention that I really love my DSLR camera?  And I am beginning to learn how to use it.  It's about time I suppose.  I mean I can always point and shoot, but I am beginning to learn how to do stuff manually.  And it is fun.
So today I am cleaning bathrooms, kitchen, vacuuming, etc.  Then I am baking I think.  I say I think because I am not sure I want to do this today.  I would rather do it tomorrow, but we are having a party here for my birthday, so ... decisions, decisions!
Well, I am babbling and I should be cleaning!  I hope you have a lovely day in cyberspace today.  I am still smiling, though I am still feeling a little emotional. I cried at something Mel said this morning about the millennium!  It wasn't mean or anything, just made me miss Tommy I think.  This is weird, right?  Maybe it is anticipating all of the company.  I am sure getting to be an old lady!!!  Oh well, that's what it's all about I guess.  I wish you all the best today... and always!  Keep smiling and I will try very hard to do the same!!!  Kenny and Cindy are arriving tonight, that should help! Wow, do you like all of my exclamation points?  It must be a record of some kind!!!!! :)  HAVVVVGW!!!!!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

More Memories

Haloooo out there!  Ha, ha!  That reminds me of when I was little at Yosemite.  Every night they had a "fire fall", where they would have a big bon fire up on Glacier Point...well supervised by the rangers, and then after a lovely program in Camp Curry and Glacier Point, they would yell back and forth before they would yell, "Let the fire fall!"  And then the guys up in Glacier would push the fire over the edge and it would make a a beautiful glittering, glowing red fire fall down the cliff to the ledge below.  It was all granite and so nothing burned.  It was a real highlight though, and I miss it when I visit there now.
I guess as a little girl, for me it was a little like magic.  It was so beautiful.  And it was always the perfect ending to a perfect day.  I always remember days in Yosemite as being perfect...even though we were camping and things were a little more difficult.  We would get up and have a yummy breakfast fixed by both of my parents, then we would get on our swimsuits under our clothes and pack a lunch and head on over to our favorite swimming hole on the Merced River where we would swim and dive off of this huge rock that sat in the river.  Or we would explore the little island that was in the middle of the stream.  I remember a friend, Hal Madsen, and his wife came with us once, and Hal painted a watercolor of Half Dome, which still hangs at my dad's house.  I loved Yosemite back then.  I love my memories of it now.  And it sort of helps my mood.
For some reason today I have been fighting "the sad".  There is no particular reason to be sad, but I just seem to be emotional today.  Silly, and stupid, and definitely must be hormonal.  So I am trying to cheer myself up.  Blogging is good for that.  Even remembering the firefall has cheered me a little.  Maybe I can find a picture of the river....

Well, this is a bit like the view from our swimming hole...but not quite.  It was soooo beautiful.
Well, what else can I tell you?  I am beginning to feel a little more cheery.  Did I ever tell how one time when Mel and I were going from Merced into Yosemite that it was so hot that we saw deer walking in the middle of the river?  I can still see it in my mind's eye, but I have never seen it before or since.  They must have been trying to cool off.
Another time in Yosemite I saw a deer right outside the store in Curry Village....just hanging out.   I don't know if the wildlife is still as tame as it once was there.  Often in the evening we would go over by the garbage dump and watch the bears.  They would roam all over the garbage looking for scraps, and we had fun watching them.  Of course that is all cleaned up and you hardly see bears anymore.  My favorite animal was the mule though.  They had a mule ride that was kind of fun, and I was so horse crazy that I always begged my parents if I could please, please, please ride the mule:) I guess we spent a lot of summers in Yosemite.  How fortunate I am to have memories that are so dear.  I guess I can remember lots of things that would probably bore you.  But they are making me smile.
Oh, and then there was the time the tree fell on my car.  But I know I have related that story before.  I think I am lucky to still be around to talk about that!!!
Well, I am feeling much cheerier.  Thanks for listening:)  I hope your evening goes well!  Take care!  I will keep smiling!  HAVVVGE!!!  Melody

More Irish Blessings:)

Good morning!  No school today:)  At least not formal school.  I may go over and do a print later if I have some time.  But holiday preparations come first today.  First I am making a list...and checking it several times.  It will include things like buying a turkey, and other assorted things.   I need apples to make my grandma's apple pie recipe...and white flour.  And ... :)
I probably will clean the house well today so that it is ready for Kenny and Cindy's arrival tomorrow night. I am so excited for them to come.  I guess it has been too long since they were here...for our family reunion last August.  We had thought we might take a trip out their way, but Mel and I have both been kind of busy.  I never expected to be this busy.  Somedays I wonder if I shouldn't scale back just a little:)  But being busy keeps me from getting down.  And so on it goes.
Well, I wish I had some wonderful insight or story to share.  But I will think on it and if I come up with something I will write later.  In the meantime...I hope your day is happy.  And just in case you need Irish Blessing for you:
"May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home.  May good and faithful friends be yours wherever you may roam.  May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.  May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours."
I love Irish blessings.  They often reflect how I feel.  And I love the humor in some of them.  Like this one:
"May God grant you many years to live,
For sure he must be knowing.
The earth has angels all too few.
And heaven is overflowing."
Well, I do hope your day is full of good feelings and lots of joy!  Take care out there in cyberspace!  I'm still pulling for you.  We're all in this together.  HAVVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Forever Families

Good Day!  Church was fun this morning:)  I know, that sounds a little weird.  But we had a good speaker who read from his journal some funny stories about his little boy.  Want me to share?  Of course you do.  The first one....he was at the mirror shaving when his son came up and said, "Look at my spiky hair!  Isn't it cool?"  His dad said, "Yeah, chicks will really like that!"  His son replied, "Chicks?"  His dad realized he would have to explain and said, "Girls will really like your spiky hair!"  The son said, "Oh good, that means Mommy will like my hair."
The next one...Dad asks, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  Son answers, "A bobcat!"  The dad says,"Really, a bobcat?  Why?" The son answers, "So I can climb trees and mountains."
And the last.  The dad had involved the boys in putting up the holiday lights when the mom was gone to a meeting.  He told them to keep it a secret to surprise their mom.  They picked her up and then went to dinner.  On the way home the little 6 year old said, "Mom, you are going to love the surprise we have for you when you turn on the Christmas lights!"  Then he turned to his little brother and said, "Be sure not to tell mom our secret about the Christmas lights."
I loved those stories.  It brought back so many of my own fun memories with small children.  They are delightful!  Of course, the talk was more about keeping journals, and staying close to the Lord, and teaching our families to do so.  He talked about how important temple marriage was to him and his family and how he was so glad to be sealed to them forever.  It was such a nice talk....and I have to say that temple marriage and eternal families is my favorite part of the LDS doctrine.  I am grateful for my forever family:)  If you are interested, this is a good video that explains it a little.  Temples
The Oakland, California temple where Mel and I were married for time and all eternity.
Well, I guess I have said my piece.  I hope today is a day of peace and rest for you.  Take care and have a most wonderful Sabbath day!   TTTT  Melody

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Final and Fond Farewell to the Squid

Hi again!  I thought I would post the final of this giant squid.  The photo is a little dark even though I turned up the brightness a little.  Perhaps I should wait and take a photo tomorrow if the sun comes out....naahh!  You can still see what corrections I made.
It looks better I think.  And in real life it is fantastic!  Ha, ha!  I guess I like it because it is so playful.  I am beginning to think I will become an illustrator, especially if I can illustrate for children.  I know it is a competitive field.  But I can do hard things...remember?  I keep reminding myself.  And I keep wondering, will I live long enough to even have a career?  And do I really want one?  We shall see.  I don't have to make any decisions right now.
So, that is all I have to share.  I didn't make any headway on my copper etching except to look up google images of acorns and oak trees.  Maybe I can get Kenny to bring an acorn and some leaves when he comes.  Would they get through security?  Hmmmmm!
Hope you have a lovely night.  I'm still pulling for you.  Life can be so nice can't it?  I hope it is a nice time for a while.  I don't like when it gets hard!  Well, nighty night to everyone out there in cyberspace!! Melody

Back again!

Good morning!  I am back at it.  I have my book, "Color and Light" and I am going to study it this morning;  I sent off an email to my illustration teacher asking him what I need to do to make the drawing better, and I have the laundry started:)  So I thought I would read for a while.  Then I have a video of Joseph Zbukvic doing amazing watercolor skies that I want to review.  The sky in my giant squid illustration is not very interesting.  But maybe it doesn't need to be.  I really want to learn to illustrate well though, so I don't want to settle for mediocre.
So speaking of interesting, have you checked outpinterest yet?  It is sort of like facebook, only it is pictures.  You don't have to join to view.  If you click on a picture it will take you to more related things.  It is very unique.  But it is not well careful of the R rated stuff.  I guess that is always the problem with the have to be careful!
So besides illustration and laundry, I think I will start on my copper etching later today.  I think I will start with an acorn.  We have to make a print then change the image....5 times.  So I thought it might be fun to start with an acorn and end up with an oak tree.  I have a very cool Ansel Adams image that I can use for a reference I think.  Or maybe it is too hard:)  That is always the first thing that comes to mind as I start a project.  But I can do hard things!  And most of the time I really can.  I am really grateful for that!!!!
Well, I hope your day goes well today.  Stay safe ....and happy!  And know!!!  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Friday, November 18, 2011

Squids in my Belfry!!!

 Hi again!  I thought I would share my day's work.  It only seems fair:)  I kind of like it.  But it needs
some tweaking I think.  But I am just toooooo tired to keep at it.  So I will look at it again in the morning...and maybe start again:)
If I can feel good about this then I only have three more assignments:)  I will probably start on my printmaking next since it is an etching on copper and I haven't even started on it.  And it seems kind of fun.  I can probably sit and watch TV or something.  I have watched the news a couple of times today.  It is just so unbelievable all of the chaos going on in the world at present.  It is a little like a giant squid has attacked....aaaahhhhhh!
Well, I can see that I am just talking silly talk, so I best quit and head for bed.  I hope you have a nice evening....what's left of it.  Take care and sweet dreams:)  Melody

Talking Turkey

Good morning!  It is already looking gray today.  On the news they said it was supposed to snow in a couple of hours.  Brrrrr!  I am glad for a heater.  I got an email from my illustration teacher saying he liked the design much better.  So now I can go forward with my illustration.  That is good because I would like to get it done before next Tuesday when Kenny comes.  And I am a little concerned about the process.  I wanted to try watercolor with acrylic and colored pencil...and maybe ink too:)  And that will take some experimenting.
So the rest of today...I need to do visiting teaching.  And my visiting teachers are taking me to lunch today. They are so nice to me.  And if there is time I should start cleaning the house so that it is all done before guests arrive.  Kenny and Cindy are flying in Tuesday night, and then Michelle and her family are arriving Wednesday.  Amy, Julie, and Liz are not coming this Thanksgiving.  I am hoping they can come for  Christmas.  It is hard to get everyone together anymore.  But those who can come will be most welcome!!!
I found some things at Costco yesterday that will make the dinner preparations a ton easier.  They have turkey gravy, and it is delicious!
I hate making gravy at the last minute.  It is one of those stressors.  Also I tried some mashed potatoes that are really just pop them in the microwave.
It might be worth it to eliminate peeling and all of the work that is last minute with the potatoes.  It would be nice to be able to cook everything else ahead of time and just enjoy the company.  I guess I sound like I am trying to find the easy way...which I am.  It has gotten so hard to fix so much for so many people.  My back has a tendency to go out, and then I just want to escape:)  So I will try to do as much ahead of time as is possible.  Reading this I also sound like I am advertising for Reser's and Harry's...which I am not of course.  I don't advertise on here for anyone except me:)
I will make my list today.  I actually have one from a few years ago that I usually use that outlines what to do each day so that by Thursday it is mostly done...except for the turkey of course.  Wow, I sound like such an organized homemaker:)
Well, I guess I will start the process.  I have been up since 5 again.  I feel like the morning is almost over and it is really just beginning.  I hope you have a wonder filled, inspired day!  I'm still pulling for you!!!  Take care and keep smiling:)  I am definitely smiling on this side of things.  HAVVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tentacles and Large Eyes

Good Evening!  Here is the rough for my giant squid.  It is very rough.  But I just sent it off in an email to my teacher to get the design approved.  Just looking at a picture helps me.  I think I need to put the tentacles down into the water more.  And the two in front look weird joined in the middle.  But other than that:)  Did you know a giant squids' eyes are the largest of any living creature?  They are the size of a volleyball!  An Amazing Fact!  Of course it is exaggerated a little in my drawing:)
My critique went well in printmaking today.  At least the other students liked my prints.  And my teacher said she thought they came out well.  So that was good.  Now I have to start on a copper etching.  That is due on the 8th of Dec.  After that is our final.  I also have this illustration to finish before the 29th.  And some photos for photography.  I think I will do some street photos.  I haven't really tried that before.
Well, I guess I haven't much to report.  But it is good to post these pictures.  It is like looking at them in a whole new way.
I hope your day has gone well out there in cyberspace.  Mine has been good overall.  I am tired though.  I am so glad I have no classes for a week...and three days:)  Not that I am keeping track.  Oh, the sign downtown was kind of cute...something a grandson might say.  "Dust - mud with the juice squeezed out."  It gave me a chuckle today on my way into school.  Also I saw a couple of rainbows.  They were quite bright and beautiful.  I could see all of the colors in the spectrum.  It made me think that Heavenly Father is the best artist of all.  Well, I hope you have a lovely evening!!!  Sweet Dreams!  Melody

Writhing Tentacles- Descriptive, eh?

GOOD MORNING!  It sure feels good to not have to rush around this morning.  I am feeling a little funny about it all though, since I still have plenty to do.  I just haven't done much.  That giant squid is beginning to twist his tentacles around in my brain and demanding more attention.  So I think that will be my main focus when I get around to focusing.  My prints are ready for class, but it doesn't start til 1:40.  So I have been reading the internet blogs and facebook and generally just enjoying low stress.
I have been looking through old yearbooks too.  It is strange to look back and try to remember what life was like back then.  I don't think I would want to go back unless I could be less self absorbed.  Maybe I could be kinder and get to know people better.  But teenagers are necessarily pretty involved in figuring themselves out.  The world around you seems totally focused on you and your shortcomings.  I remember feeling like everyone was watching me and all of the stupid stuff I did.  I am glad for some life experiences and a better grasp of reality.
Well, I am going to go draw writhing, dangerous tentacles on a sea of correctly sized paper.
My favorite google image

Wish me luck.  I wish I felt excited about drawing this morning.  I would kind of like to turn on the TV and watch a movie, or better yet curl up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.  I guess I have been going pretty strong for a little too long.  I suppose the tentacles could wait til tomorrow.  Hmmmm....
Well, have a good day.  I will post any new exciting developments later on today.  Keep smiling, and HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Remembering the Good Stuff

Good evening!  I have had a very fun and productive day today, and it feels good.  I went to my painting class very nervous.  I told my teacher that I had abandoned ship:)  He laughed and wanted to know about my new idea.  I started to tell him, but I got more emotional than I usually do and was shaking just a little trying to tell him about my son who had died.  It was not my calm self, but my emotional, timid self that came out:(  I don't like to show emotion....except for happy smiling kinds.  But anyway, he thanked me for sharing and said he thought the idea was excellent, not too sappy, and he thought I should go forward with the idea.  So I did.  As I was starting to work the T.A. came over to see what I was doing.  I explained to her and she also really liked the idea.  I showed her the article I had written for Candlelighters' newsletter....and she started tearing up.  She is a very sensitive, and kind lady...near my own age...maybe forty:)))) (That's all the double chins laughing at my funny joke).  Anyway, once I got past the emotional outpouring I was having fun, picking out pictures and cutting up the article, gluing stuff all over the canvas.  We have to maintain the grid, or I think it might have been a more interesting design.  But here it is.
I know it doesn't look like much yet.  You can probably recognize the cutouts from Where the Wild Things Are, Curious George, and The Little Duck.  There are also some of Tommy's artwork...copies.  That was the frustrating part.  The guy at the print shop did just the opposite of everything I asked him to do.  I didn't want to seem rude, so I just paid for it and left.  But I had wanted the head that was on Tommy's body drawing to show his smile and his name.  Somehow the guy couldn't get them both in and it was getting expensive.  Oh well.  I am going to do a transparent painting over the top of all of this...of a couple sitting watching the ships go by.  Somehow I will indicate that they are in a hospital....I hope.   It seems a little ambitious, but I can do hard things!!!  At least I will try.  Time will be a thing that is hard.  It is due in three weeks.  My next step is to do ten or more sketches of the couple over this photo. I am excited about all of this though, so it is fun to work on it.  In fact I stayed after school today to finish the collage part.
In photography we watched some inspirational videos.  One was a slide presentation of my teacher's trip to the Guggenheim in New York.  That was interesting.  Then we watched a film about a local artist gone famous...Matthew somebody.  I didn't like his work too much.  It was too too.  But the artist looked so familiar.  I wondered if one of my girls had dated him or something.  It was weird.
The last video we watched was of William Wegman videos.  It was hilarious....but I think most of the kids didn't pay enough attention to it.  But the teacher and I were laughing.....maybe some of the references were too outdated for the kids to understand.   Or maybe life is so fast paced anymore that they don't have the patience to watch a slower paced clip.  Oh well.  I enjoyed it immensely!
So now I am home.  Mel left to go do his home teaching.  I have to finish flattening my prints for tomorrow's critiques.  And I need to work on my illustration of a squid.  But class is cancelled for tomorrow morning in illustration.  So I could sleep in...hahahahahahaha!  Sigh!!!
So I hope things are happy and bright where ever you may be this evening.  But before I sign off...Mel told me a funny joke this morning.  He said he thought his body parts were mixed up....his nose was running and his feet were smelling:)  I thought it was really funny, but he said it was an old joke.  I guess somehow I missed that one.  If you have already heard it I apologize:)  Take care and remember all of the good stuff!!!  And looks good on you!  HAVVVGE!!!!!  Melody

It's Morning!!!! At Least it is Here

Good morning!  I am up early...worrying about subject matter for this next painting.  I thought I had it clear in my head, but perhaps it is too close emotionally.  I had pictured a couple in front of a window looking out over the Bay with a big ship passing....holding hands and looking sober.  And then underlaying the picture with pages from storybooks, hospital gown material, my article from the Candlelighter newsletter, etc.  This morning I am wondering if this is tooooooo sappy.  I mean for me it is real and not sappy.  But you know...too sappy for a classroom setting.  I guess that is what my teacher is run things by and see what he thinks.  He may be a little surprised at my 180 though.
Well, I need to scoot.  Just thought I would complain a little before getting ready for school.  I hope you are having a most lovely morning out there in cyberspace!!!  Notice 3 exclamation points:)  I know I overuse them, but hey, Mrs. Denny is not here to ding me for them.  And I've always thought they were soooo expressive.  At least they don't have open circles underneath them....with faces[:0)}  Seems like I went through a phase where that seemed cool.  Have a great day!  I am pulling for you....smiling still!  Melody

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Evening Edition

Good evening! I promised a photo of my prints. So here they are. I am a little disappointed in the one with the turtle. You can see the brayer marks, the bleeding ink, and the general poor quality of the print. But it is better than I expected it would be:) The Colorado Potato Beetle is pretty cool though, huh? It printed very well, and of course the carving on the plate was excellent:)  But I didn't get the whole print into the photo.  Sorry!!  Like I said....I don't think I am going to be a printmaker. But I don't feel as bad as I did about it a week ago.
Today in printmaking we had a guest artist...Tyler Kowalski I think. He is a printmaker with the "Drive-By Red Press." At least I think that is the name of the printers. They travel to universities all around the country in a van with a printing press and try to educate people about printing. It was fun to see his prints. I guess everywhere they go they collect prints from willing student donors. They have over 3000. I would have donated one, but I only had enough for my critique on Thursday, so I thought better of it.  At any rate it was fun to hear his story. He is from Austin, Texas and has been on the road since the beginning of October going from one university to the next. I am sure he meets lots of people!
In illustration class I didn't do so well today. We were supposed to come up with our final design, and mine was not the right dimensions, so it was kind of a waste (my teacher's sentiments). But he offered some suggestions anyway, and said I could email him my final design before I drew it up for the critique.  So I will. I have just been so pushed, and last night I was too tired to worry about getting the dimensions right. And being so tired it didn't register that it might be important:) Sigh, and double sigh!
But I came home today and found this cute note from Hailey on Facebook:
"Grandma, Please come to my house.  Grandma, would you like to play with me?  I have toys that you can play with.  I love you. Would you like to see a picture? And, do you want to have a cookie? Thank you for giving us chocolate! Hey, Grandma, would you like another cookie? Uh, my name is probably Hailey. Hey Grandma, would you like to pretend I'm a puppy and I grab stuff with my mouth? Grandma, this is so nice, huh?  Grandma, I love you. Would you like another cookie? I really love you. Do you want to play with my toys? You can only play with some of them. Would you like to make cookies with us? And, would you like to make cupcakes with us? Dear Hailey."
That cheered me right up:) We did visit her on Sunday, but I guess we may have to return soon. The problem is that it takes a couple of hours from our house to hers. Life is never really simple is it?  We like to talk about building a hacienda where we could all live close to each other.  I am thinking maybe a cul de sac with so many grandkids:)
Well, I guess that is all of the news for today.  I hope things are going well in your neck of the woods.  I'm still pulling for you!  And smiling while I do.  Take care and HAVVVGE!!!  Melody

Monday, November 14, 2011

Misty Water Colored Memories

Good evening!  I am feeling so good tonight!  I have made a few good strides today and I think that always makes me feel like life and school are worthwhile.  In my painting class I explained to my teacher some of my ideas about shipping routes, cleaning up the atmosphere, etc.  He explained to me how I needed something besides just interesting charts and images:)  He asked me what I was going to bring to it as a painter.  Did I want to paint a ship?  Or a map of the earth?  What was my message?  I told him I wasn't sure yet, and wasn't it a process?  He made some joke about how I was a little bossy today...which I suppose I was.  I don't like to be pushed much so I tend to push back.  Anyway, just a few minutes ago I had a breakthrough!  I was thinking about ships, and in particular the ships in the SF Bay.  And all of a sudden I remembered watching the ships in the bay from the window of the pediatric ICU at UCSF.  Tommy had a very extensive surgery when he was just four years old to remove what tumor they could.  It was wrapped around his aorta and so it was really delicate surgery...or harsh depending on how you look at it.  They actually removed all of his blood, stored it to replace it after the surgery, and replaced it with saline, lowered his body temperature so that his metabolism would slow way down, and then they took all day and into the evening.  We had to sign all kinds of papers because he was only the 6th child in the US to have this kind of surgery and it was very dangerous.  Anyway, he spent 11 days in the ICU there and the first few days we were only allowed in for a few hours during the day.  But we were never sure when that would be, so we waited in the hallway til they called us.  And at the end of the hall was a huge window that looked out on the bay.  The weather was very clear in March of 1981,  although the bay was windy and rough, and we could see the huge barges coming into the bay from the ocean.  The waves were huge and would surge over the ships.  It was beautiful.  I had sort of stored that memory away I guess, with the sad memories that accompanied that time of our lives.  It was complicated by the fact that Julie was born two weeks before the surgery....a whole other set of circumstances.  Anyway, I think I might make a painting of it somehow tying all of the memories together with the ships coming in.  I will have to think on it some more.  But I am grateful for the inspiration....which always seems to come.
Then in photography we had a critique.  I had my Max photos.  My teacher really seemed to like them.  I think he really likes William Wegman.  The other students had excellent photos, so it was fun to see what other people had done.  I really enjoy that class.
After class was over I grabbed a sandwich and then went to the print lab.  It was packed!  It was hard to find a place to even work, but I did.  My relief print went well.  I got several prints of my potato beetle that I think will work well for our critique on Thursday.  But I stayed until 5 working on it all.  I will take some pictures of it all tomorrow and post them when I do my blog tomorrow night.
Now I am home and the finish line is in sight.  I have a rough draft to do of a giant squid tonight.  It is our final draft before the real thing, which is due after Thanksgiving break.  We get the whole week off next week!  I am excited for that.  Of course I will still have things to work that illustration, and a new photography assignment, and another print....oh, and the painting of course.  But hopefully I will be able to enjoy the break.  I will be turning another year older the day before Thanksgiving:)  Kenny & Cindy are coming so that is a nice gift!
So I hope things are going well for you.  Take care out there in cyberspace!  Keep your stick on the ice:) I am smiling!!!  There are lots of ways to conserve fuel:)  HAVVVGE!!!!  Melody


Good morning!  I have a grid!  I would take a picture, but I doubt you could see the pencil marks, carefully measured out on my large canvas.  It makes 36 little 8 inch squares.  It will be interesting to see what I do with this:)  Or not.  I hope it morphs into something beautiful.  But if not, I suppose I can take the canvas off and paint something else later.
Well, I need to get going.  I just wanted to wish you a lovely day out there in cyberspace!  Remember I'm still pulling for you!  We're all in this together!!!  HAVVVGW!!!!  Melody

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sweet Notes

Good Sabbath! I am glad for Sunday! It is nice to look forward to a day of peace and rest. I am feeling pretty good about all we accomplished yesterday. I have a very, very, very sturdy and gorgeous stretcher underneath the stretched canvas:) I am so grateful for Mel! I don't think I could do this by myself. And I wonder how the young girls in my painting class do it. Perhaps they charm some young man into helping them.
Well, I don't have much to say this morning. But I thought I would share a sweet little note I got yesterday from my cute granddaughter Hailey.  She is four, I think.  She is so smart I always think she is older than she really is.  You can be sure this note warmed my heart!
"Grandma,  Please come to my house. My name is Hailey and please come to my house. My house has cookies and they're made out of rainbows. I made the cookies by myself. So please come to my house. I got a surprise for you Grandma. I love you Grandma. Hey Grandma I've got some toys for you. You are so special Grandma. You are special Grandma. Would you like a cookie? Love Hailey"
I told Mel that I think we may have to make the trip this afternoon to see her...if he can spare the time.  He is the ward clerk, so it depends on the Sunday how busy he is.
You may recognize her as my model for the "quiet knife" illustration:)

Well, I hope that all is well with you and yours.  Take care.  Keep smiling.  And be grateful for family!!! I know that I am!!!  And HAVVVGS!!!  Melody