Friday, December 28, 2012

Resolutions and Goals

This picture is one Mother Nature painted on my kitchen window.
Yes, it's frost.

 I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday season you celebrate.  I certainly did.
I got a very interesting gift this year. It's called a Buddha Board.  I had never heard of one of these before, but it is a flat panel that you paint on with plain water. The picture vanishes as it dries.  It's a fascinating thing, as sometimes, while it's drying, the wet bits suggest a different picture, and then you can connect the dots and come up with a new painting you had not originally planned on.  And as that one dries, it can happen again.  You have to work quickly as there really isn't any time to stop and think. It's really freeing, and already I'm learning that art does not have to be perfect to be interesting.  This may take me in entirely new directions.

The new year is fast approaching and some people like to make New Years Resolutions.  I used to do that, but usually, after getting off to a great start, the whole idea would just fade away. Last year, I thought of my resolution as more of a goal.  I had decided I wanted to advance my art.  I have succeeded in that.

First I started an art journal, where I could try out things, without worrying about how they turned out.  Nobody ever had to see what I'd done in there.  Amazingly, I've dug it out and shown all kinds of people various attempts throughout the year.  I tried a few different mediums, some with texture, some without. I saw progress as the book went on, and I have now bought a new one for next year. 

Then I started gathering with a couple of friends once a week. This was a good move as it forced us to have something new to show and discuss. None of us are the sort that would ever just say, "That's lovely."  While we do encourage each other, we all know we want to hear the truth, so nobody ever hesitates to make constructive suggestions.  We all appreciate that, and move forward in the directions we have been pointed in.

Recently I was in my first art show as a painter (I've been in several as a photographer before).  While I didn't have as much confidence this time, the hardest part was figuring out the pricing.  I had a great time at the show though, and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.  I even made a couple of new artist type friends that day.  One of them, Jayne Couch,  has since shown me a much better way to draw faces, and I truly appreciate that.  That may also take me in some new directions as time goes on.

Finally, over the past week, I got a phone call  from someone in BC who saw a photo taken on the day of the art show. She was all excited about my hibiscus my paintings and wants to buy it.  The deal has been struck and now I just have to get it shipped out to her.  I've had two other artists suggest I take my painting right to the UPS store, and have them package it up for me there.  As I don't have a clue how to do it properly, I will be following that advise.

So, now that I've succeeded in following that goal this past year, I think I will work a little harder at it this year.  I have a perfectly good spot designated to work on my art. The original idea was to be able to attack it anytime, without having to set up first. Over time that area has accumulated piles of stuff, both art related and not, and it is anything but a workable space at the moment.  I'll fix that, even if I have to reorganize a couple of rooms, to get the everything into a more logical and permanent spot. Then I'll try to divert some of my wasted computer time into doing something a bit more creative. That may be necessary anyway as the paint class I have been attending the past couple of years may be folding for the time being.  I have a couple of paintings underway at the moment, and several more in my head so I'll have to set aside some time to work on them at home.  Hopefully that will become more of a habit once I get my space cleaned up.

I want to put some of my paintings on an online shop this year too. Oh, I know that was one of my resolutions last year. At least I have a couple of places picked out, and will decide soon, which to pursue first. I think I know, but need to read all the fine print first. 

And on the blog, I think I may attempt something a bit new here too. I get lots of free things, and I'm thinking of adding Freebie Friday to tell you about those things.  I'll tell you what came in the mail through the week, and do a bit of a review on some of it.  We'll see how that goes. 

So, my usual New Years Resolution is to lose the Christmas weight gain, as always. With a few new art related goals in mind, I have more hope of moving forward in the coming year, just as I did in the past one.  I'd love to hear what you have planned for your coming year too.  Please share.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Refrigerator Cookies

I see an unusual number of people are coming to my page looking for Refrigerator Cookies for Christmas.  That may be because I once tested some for Chatelaine, and you can find that recipe if you go to their site and search for it there.  However, my family still prefers the ones I've always made, so, since so many people are looking for recipes, I guess I'll take a moment and share that with you.

Refrigerator Christmas Cookies

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
 2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup chopped candied fruit or glace cherries

Mix the ingredients together and chill for 1/2 hour.
Shape dough into 2 smooth rolls about 1 1/2 inch in diameter.
Wrap in wax paper and chill overnight or until firm.  (can also be frozen at this point)
Slice into 1/8 inch slices.

Bake on an ungreased sheet at 375F for 8-10 minutes

Makes about 10 dozen

Note:  These are actually easier to slice if frozen.

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Some people do things just because they love them.  It's really not important to make a lot of money or become famous if you are doing something you enjoy.  We enjoy running a small karate club, and the students there seem to enjoy being part of it. They come for various reasons.  Some come for the exercise, some for the discipline and others come for the social aspects. Of course, there are some who become dedicated martial artists, who dream of someday becoming Black Belts themselves.

 Friday, December 14, two long time members, David Valcour (57) and David Burns (66),  were promoted to Sho-dan (first degree Black Belt).  That makes a total of 14 Black Belts for this club, promoted under Chief Instructor, Sensei Ron Wattie. (centre)

Merrickville Karate Club will soon be 29 years old, and has had a waiting list for well over 20 years. People have traveled from as far away as Nepean to take classes as they say they like the family atmosphere. It is, indeed, a family club, with both children and parents attending the same classes together. There have been as many as 5 members from the same family enrolled in this club, and that's possible because of the club does everything it can to keep the rates as low as possible, and had family rates for 3 or more from any one family unit. If everyone on the Spring session waiting list turns up for class this coming February, there is already no room for more, and the September list has already been established. 

Maybe you would like to do something you love too.  Nobody says you have to be the very best at what you choose to do, but until you try, you just never know how much success you will have, or if that even matters.  Maybe you'll just love the experience.