Tuesday, 21 September 2021

A day trip and a catch up

 Another month has passed so time for a catch up...
 
Hopefully, I will do better than one post a month but it's a start to getting back to my blog on a regular basis. 
 
Covid news - It looks like masks are here to stay for quite a while yet but I don't mind. If they help even a little, I'm happy to wear them despite Brad and I being asthmatics. That said, it's always a relief to get back to the car and remove the masks.
 
Queensland continues to do well as far as Covid stats go. We haven't had a serious outbreak since the Delta variant hit and daily cases are less that 5, mostly 1 or 0. I hope it remains that way. My heart goes out to New South Wales and Victoria which aren't doing so well but, hopefully, they will get it under control soon.
 
Bradley (son) is now fully vaccinated and I get my second Astra-Zeneca early October. My other sons are also part-vaccinated and due to get their second jabs in a month or so. Some employers are already adding 'Covid Vaccination Required' on their job criteria. The vaccinated are also going to be given extra privileges that unvaccinated won't have. Only this past week, a couple of top Cardiologists in one of our southern states had to go into 2 weeks isolation because an unvaccinated theatre nurse was diagnosed with Covid. Some heart patients were awaiting critical surgeries that had to be postponed. I really feel for them. One of the reasons why vaccination is so important. Covid has brought about a new way of life which will be here to stay for a while yet. 

Speaking of heart surgeries, my youngest brother Wayne had open heart surgery a couple of weeks back and is now at home recovering. The first 48 hours after surgery were horrible for him...immense pain. He is doing well now although had an erratic pulse a couple of times that needed medical attention. Apparently this can be expected after heart surgery. It will take 12 weeks for him to be fully recovered.
 
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I was very saddened recently to hear that a long-time art friend, Tracey Fletcher King, lost her 8 year battle with breast cancer on August 21st.  Tracey lived at the bay-side and, although we never did get around to meeting in person, we followed each other via our blog posts, Instagram, and occasional emails. She had a great sense of humour and never failed to make me laugh. I loved her art too. She will be dearly missed and my heart goes out to her family. xx
 
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Kya is not a fan of me sitting at my art/work desk. Here she is sitting on top of my bullet journal as if to try and stop me from focusing on things other than her. lol I don't know how this will work when I get serious about painting again. 
 
In the older photo below she is not asking for a belly scratch but more daring me to try. Cunning little Miss.


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A couple of weeks back, we had another family outing. 
This time to Wellington Point at the bay-side. 

I love the bay-side!

It was a glorious day! 


And I got to see pelicans....which I LOVE!     


We found a lovely spot with dappled shade

Part of the view from our spot. 
Ibis came to visit.
I really love the play of lights and darks in this pic.

Bradley (eldest son)

Aaron (youngest son) with his doggies

I must remember to get a group selfie next time. 

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I recently watched a Netflix documentary on Bob Ross. Have you seen it? I know Bob Ross was huge in the art world over in the States but I have to say that I'd barely heard of him here in Australia. I knew of him mostly through American art magazines. Those Kowalskis seem like a nasty piece of work, don't they?!  Yes, they helped Bob Ross to become famous in the art world but they pretty much controlled him, even pushing him to work when he was sick and dying of cancer. They then bullied people into signing over the Bob Ross name to them after he died...not what he wanted at all. They pretty much stole all rights away from Bob Ross' son when it was clear that Bob wanted his son to have his name, rights, and money. Such a sad story of greed and betrayal.  
 
On a happier note, the Plovers are nesting and, this year, I hope their babies survive. Ever hopeful. 

The warmer weather is here to stay now. Not looking forward to the summer heat and humidity. 

Stay tuned for another post soon...

Love, Light and Peace

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

a day trip and some general natter

WOW! Where did July go?! 
 
As much as I love winters here, this winter sure has messed around with my asthma, as well as me getting a dose of flu...twice! 

We started a 3 day lock-down on Saturday, July 31st at 4pm which was extended to Sunday, August 8th at 4pm. We had 9 Covid cases in that last 24 hours of lock-down so numbers had decreased. Our mask mandate will probably remain in place until December. Some other restrictions will remain in place for 2 weeks. I think social distancing will become a normality until enough are vaccinated where it reduces the spread of Covid dramatically. 

I think they should consider quarantining Aussies returning from overseas for at least 3 to 4 weeks, instead of just 2 weeks. One guy was in quarantine for 2 weeks and was negative on all his Covid tests and then, a week after leaving quarantine, he tested positive causing it to spread into the community. Luckily, our state government acted quickly with restrictions and two lock-downs. Sadly, New South Wales isn't fairing too well because their Premier was slower to act. They are averaging between 250 and 270 new cases a day at the moment. They had 357 new cases on the 9th. I hope they manage to get on top of it.

Bradley (son) had his first Pfizer jab on Friday with only mild side effects - headache and a bout of nausea. Sore arm too but that is to be expected with it being an intramuscular jab. I had my first Astra-Zeneca jab on the 10th (yesterday). I'm nervous because, a very tiny percentage of people had some very nasty side effects such as life-threatening blood clots with the Astra-Zeneca. Cross fingers I don't have that happen but it's a risk I am willing to take for the greater good. If I caught Covid with having asthma, my chances wouldn't be good anyway. The Delta variant spreads like wildfire and is deadly.

My doctor said to get checked if I develop any symptoms after the 4th day. The peak period is 6 to 14 days but blood clots can develop even a month after Astra-Zeneca vaccination. Wish me luck.
 
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Anyway, just prior to the lock-down, we managed to get away for a much needed family day trip to Andrew Drynan Park. It's so lovely and peaceful out that way. It"s our new favourite spot. Aaron recently bought a new Mitsubishi Outlander SUV and he had attached an awning to the roof racks. It worked beautifully! The grass greens took on a bright yellow tone because the sun was full-on with barely a cloud in the sky. Very reflective.
 






A couple of galahs dropped by

Aaron's dogs - Violet and Scarlett

a family selfie

 

I love the textures of trees



We all had a beautiful day! On the way home, we passed a Paraglider Pilot holding up a sign asking for a lift into town. He had the glider packed up in a huge bag. We were upset that we couldn't help him because the car was already chockers with our gear and no available seat. Aaron said that Beau would stop for him and, sure enough, Beau did pick him up and dropped him into Beaudesert where he was meeting up with other Paraglider Pilots. Beau said they had a nice chat about Paragliding.

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I haven't been doing a lot of sketching lately but I have been keeping my hands busy knitting bed socks. No easy feat when I deal with daily arthritic pain in my hands. I can't even straighten my ring fingers...the middle knuckles are so swollen and very painful pretty much all the time. I hate the shooting pains.
 
Anyway, years ago, I would knit bed socks for the boys and Aaron said he wanted a pair for this winter. The bed sock pattern is very basic. They aren't pretty-looking but hey, they are bed socks.

Aaron modelling the socks. 
Violet and Scarlett adore him.
Nice shot of my Maseurs too. hehe

So that's the goss for now. 

I've been also watching some art classes online 
when I get the chance.

I hope you are all keeping safe and well.

Love, Light and Peace

Monday, 28 June 2021

sketches and drone delivery

This is the latest page spread from my pocket sketchbook. 
 
I had sketched the pizza and garlic bread in ink on Saturday and, yesterday, I thought I'd sketch Liz Steel while watching her Live-stream from her Edges class. I took the class a few years back but, now and then, Liz does a run-through with her classes and the Live-streams are a great bonus. Liz is one of those teachers who goes the extra mile for her students. Great teacher, great personality. I enjoy her classes a lot.

Liz's Live-stream this morning showed her sketching a Stanley knife (box-cutter) and, seeing as how mine has been getting quite a work-out of late, I decided to add it to my page spread. We've been getting lots of deliveries over the past few months and this knife is my favourite tool for cutting the boxes into pieces for the recycle bin. 

OH, and the following monstrosity is my foot. lol I'm giving myself some leeway here as I did this sketch in an almost dark room while we were watching a movie on TV. We like to watch movies with the lights off. The proportions are way out but it does resemble a foot at least.

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After mentioning about drone deliveries in my last post, Aaron (youngest son) decided to give the service a try. He signed up and they offered a complimentary delivery of Tim-Tams (chocolate biscuits/cookies) - free of charge. 

Order placed and we were told it would be just over 4 minutes for delivery. It actually arrived in just over 2 minutes. No kidding.

We'd had rain and it was a very cloudy, dull day so please forgive the dull photos. 

And here it comes...

It arrived overhead and we could see the package tucked up under the belly of the drone.

The drone lowered the package.

Below - The eagle has landed!


The drone automatically unclipped the package, 
wound up the cord and flew away.  
This process only took seconds from the time of its arrival.

Here is a close-up of the package. 
Tim-Tams AND a bottled water inside.

We were impressed with how fast the service was. This has been our only drone delivery so far and I wouldn't rule out any more. Our neighbours a few doors up have been getting drone deliveries also. Surprisingly, the drone was not as loud as I thought it would be. 

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I love when Kya curls up in a doughnut shape beside me. 
Too cute!

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The Delta strain of Covid has been identified in Australia, via people returning from overseas and in quarantine. Some areas in NSW are in lock-down and Queensland is now on restrictions where masks are mandated for 2 weeks. We have already been social distancing, sanitising, and using QR codes at cafes/restaurants. Hopefully, this strain won't spread any further but we may face a lock-down also if any new cases arise in the community.
 
Stay safe everyone, 
Serena x

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

rose drawing and happenings

Another week has flown by. This winter has not been kind to me as far as my asthma goes. Cold, winter air is a big trigger for my asthma and I had another bout of Asthmatic Bronchitis, though not quite as bad as the previous one. Poor Aaron has been sick with flu and his brother Beau was also sick with flu...negative on the Covid test. Phew! 

I thought I might have been getting their flu too but was spared a severe dose, probably thanks to the annual flu shot and taking cold medication as soon as the first sniffle appeared. 'Nip it in the bud' as my ex used to say.

This is another graphite drawing I did in January, back when I was on a roll. I used charcoal for the background. 
 
 
And below was the graphite drawing I did before adding the background and a bit more detailing.  I love how the dark background made the rose pop. 
 
The reference image credit goes to Karsten Paulick on Pixabay. A direct link to his photograph can be seen HERE. Thank you, Karsten...much appreciated. 
 
You may remember this Sumi ink painting of daisies I did back in 2017 for INKtober. I think I might try painting the rose above in Sumi ink also.
 
 
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Over the past few months, I've been hearing a lot of buzzing/whirring from the sky...kinda like a remote controlled car.  Earlier today, I snapped a rather fuzzy pic of the culprit. It was some distance away. A commercial drone!
 
 
After further investigation, I discovered that our area now uses commercial drone delivery! Cool! Apparently, commercial drone deliveries are only active in our area (Logan) and Canberra, as far as Australia is concerned. Do you get drone deliveries in your area? The company hopes to expand which could well happen as it seems to be quite popular around here. You can order coffee/tea/hot chocolate drinks, snacks, hardware, hair products, clothing, pet products, and even some grocery items, etc...as long as it weighs 1.2kg (2lb 10oz) or less. You can learn more about commercial drone deliveries HERE. I wonder what the delivery costs are?

Another thing I saw in the sky recently was a cloud funnel. I get a kick out of seeing stuff like that so ran for my phone to take a pic.


Apparently, a cloud funnel is made up of condensed water droplets, associated with a rotating column of wind and extending from the base of a cloud but not reaching the ground or a water surface. Interesting!


To end this post, here is a pic of sleepy Kya wondering what that thing is that I'm always pointing at her.


Her look makes me think of the following meme that circulated around social media ages ago. So true...in Kya's case anyway. lol To be fair, she is the perfect cat 99.5% of the time.
 

Will post again soon, 

Serena x

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

my bullet journal set-up and a hummingbird drawing

For many years, I tried to maintain shop-bought planners/diaries but I would always fizzle out by the time I got to March or April. Then back in 2015, my friend Rita, mentioned Bullet Journals and I was hooked. The Bullet Journal has been the only planner that I have stayed with religiously. Maybe because I can tailor it to my own needs, and chop and change things up, as desired. I like to use stick-in tabs to quickly access the section I want.

For the most part, I stick to a the basic layout similar to what Ryder Carroll recommended. Ryder is the creator of the original Bullet Journal method and you can see a short video on his original method HERE. Bullet journaling then became a phenomenon where it gathered a huge following on YouTube and Instagram. It was warped into something very decorative and, in my view, time-consuming...not what Ryder intended. Like him, I wanted simple all the way without all the glam. He uses an index, I don't, as I find tabs easier to work with.

So I thought you might like to see my basic formula and what works for me. I love setting up each month as it comes, deciding which format that month will take. I flit back and forth between vertical columns and horizontal layout for my daily task lists and entries.

At the start of a new year, I draw up pages containing vertical columns for each month. Here I keep important dates such as birthdays and appointments which can be transferred across to the monthly/daily pages. 

Then, I follow with my Tracker pages (below). Some people like to do their Trackers beside each month in their journals but I prefer to have them altogether where I can compare, side-by-side, at a glance. These are not necessary to the Bullet Journal method but are helpful if you are trying to get into regular habits.

Then, I follow with my Monthly To-Do notes OR commonly referred to as Future logs (below). Here I will add tasks for upcoming months that I haven't drawn up yet. They are then transferred to that month when it is drawn up. 

Then I have my annual Books Read/Completed pages (below). I love to read and I like to keep track of what I've read, month to month. On average, I read 5 books per month.

Then I follow with my annual Donations pages (below). I'm big on supporting Farm Animal Sanctuaries among other things. 

Note, that not all of the above sections are necessary to the Bullet Journal method. It's an entirely personal and different set-up for everyone. You tailor it to suit your own needs. 

After the annual pages are set up, I just work month-to-month. As one month nears to a close, I set up the new month. 

I start with the Month view which I have in three sections. I log things relating to the Personal/General, Creative, or Finance columns. This includes appointments and birthdays in the personal/general section.

 
Then, I follow with Gratitude and Quotes pages (below). I like to keep track of quotes that make an impression on me that particular month.

Then comes the Brain Dump and Check-in pages. Brain Dump is for notes on anything that may crop up that month, that I don't want to forget. Or just info that I may find useful at a later date..quick notes. 

Check-in relates to how I'm feeling at the beginning of the month, emotionally and physically. Plus mindfulness where I think about where I'm at spiritually and if I'm aligned with my beliefs etc.

From there, it's straight into each day as it comes. I sometimes do 2 days to a page using a vertical column for each day, e.g. below....or I split the page in half horizontally, so still 2 days to a page.  Occasionally, I will do one day to a page....see, no set format, just whatever suits my needs at the time. Daily tasks are always listed just under the day/date, then Notes from the day are below the tasks.



I love my Bullet Journal!

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Now to my drawing. This cute little Hummingbird was drawn back in January using Graphite. 

Sincere thanks and credit goes to James Marvin Phelps, on Flickr, for the use of his image as my reference. Link to his original photo HERE.

And that ends my post for today. 
 
I hope you are all keeping safe and well. 
 
Serena x