Monday, September 30, 2019


I've been working on some creative projects this summer.  A lot of what I have been doing is learn new techniques... you know, practice.  So there is not that much to show.

I did get another photo book done!

I really like the books that produces.

A 'galaxy' painting using watercolors.

A watercolor using a reference photo of a Highland coo (cow) I took in Scotland.  

Acrylic 'dot painting' on a watercolor background.

I really like the Australian aborigine art using dots.  It is a LOT harder than you'd think!  I'll continue to work on this style.

There are other things I've been working on, such as journal (book) making and some mixed media pieces.  But they are not at the stage to show yet.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Rock Hound Field Trip: Selenite

Himself and I recently joined a Nashville based 'rock hound' club.  We had our first trip recently.  We headed to west central Tennessee.  There is a site that is rich in selenite crystals.  It also contains some nice fossils.  We spent about 3 hours here before we got too hot and called it a day.  We have plans to go back this winter and try again.

This is a selenite star (2 pieces have already been picked up by Himself).  Stars are one of the 'trophy' finds here.

When we got home I printed the above photo to help me get the star back together.

And here is the star laid out on a piece of cloth.  I now have to figure out how to mount it for display in an upcoming project.

This is where we did our rock hounding.  As I understand it, the landscape is natural.

Here's a close-up of the side of one of those mounds.

Even with clouds, it was pretty warm that day... but not bad at all when you consider it was still summer in The South.  That is Himself in the middle of the photo.

Me... working on a mound.

In spite of the hook in my hand, you do not dig here.  I can't stand dirt under my finger nails so I use the hook instead.

Here's another piece of selenite in the shape called a 'bow tie'.

A few other keepers.  The ones in the bag I don't want and will take them back next time to scatter for other to find.

My other interesting find was this fossil bone.  I'm working on getting an ID for it.

We had a lot of fun with this group.  Can't wait for the next rock hounding trip!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Monday, September 23, 2019

Refreshing! (Review)

I love a good coconut water... but I do not love the outrageous price most places charge (upwards of $3 a can).

The other day I was in the Dollar General picking up some eggs and I saw this coconut water down in the juice area.  It was only $1 a can!  Of course I tried it...

It is great!  There will be some of these chilling in my fridge regularly!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Busy with Bonsai

This year has been a big step forward for me and my bonsai.  With classes, workshops, and my trees coming of age I've been gaining new skill sets.  So I've had quite a bit going on this summer.

In July we had our annual show.  I still don't have any trees ready to show... but I hope to have one or two ready for next year for the novice class.

These are the winning trees from this year.  Amazing, aren't they?

"Best Display"

"Best Evergreen"

"Best Deciduous"

"Best Shohin"
(Little bonsai)

"Best in Show"
(This juniper is about 450 yrs old.)

"Viewers Choice Award"

However, I did have my accent plants (kusamono) ready for display!

Five here are mine.

I found this limestone slab with a perfect square hole.  The viewers really liked it.

A miniture hosta.

Traditional kusamono is to envoke the feeling of walking in the forest.  This arrangement captures that perfectly.

This mushroom display was not easy to put together.  They come and go so fast.

We also had a display of 'viewing stones' (suiseki).

About 7 or 8 of these stones are mine.

These four are mine.  

At one of the meetings John W gave a class on how to defoliate a bald cypress.  This causes them to come back even stronger and more lush.
(John is the one whose bald cypress workshop I took in February.)

You literally strip of every single leaf!

This tree is so large it took two people to work on it while the 'business' part of the meeting happened.

All the little pulled off leaves...

At the end she looked like this!

The club had a special workshop last month.  They brought in Andy Smith of Golden Arrow Bonsai in Deadwood, SD.  Andy one of the top collectors of trees from the wild (yamadori).  It was an exciting chance to get a tree that you are not going to find around here!

Meet 'Sturgis', my Ponderosa Pine.  This little scrub is about 30 years old!  Seriously.

My tools for working on him... wire, branch cutter, and a scraper to develop 'jin'.

Andy and I talking about the direction to bend the branches I've just wired.

There was a lot of wiring to be done.

Finished... for now...

Throughout the summer on the first Saturday, there are "bring a tree" days where mentors will help you work on whatever you need help with.

For the August session I brought THREE trees!  However, I was so busy I didn't remember to ask Himself to take photos until I was working on #3.

This is "Willow", my very root bound willow ficus.  
I did a lot of cutting back to get this mess under control.

My sensei (teacher) Eileen helping me get Willow into her new pot.

Love this photo Himself took of me working!

For the September 'bring a tree' day I brought 4 trees, but really just one to work on.  The other three were seeking advice on 'what next'.

My tree to work on was "Goldie" ... and 'Old Gold Juniper'.  What a shrubby mess!

A bit later in the thinning and cleaning up.

Eileen advising me on branch selection.

Here she is doing some fine tuning for me.

I'm pretty pleased with how it came out.

Wire wrapping.  The is called a 'ram's horn' wrap.