The Eighteen-hour Butterfly

I never took art in high school. In grades 9 through 13 it was an elective, and I didn’t think it worthwhile since my marks in grades seven and eight had been so poor. The following account, fleshed out from my time sheet, will suggest why.

On December 5th, I practised a watercolour technique using felt-tip pens. Mark only the outline of a given space — a petal, say — with the pen, and then use a fine paintbrush and a little water to spread the ink throughout the space. Nifty, n’est-ce pas? I also used the brush and water to blend three different green markers for three-dimensional effect.

Then I got greedy. How about more markers, for more shading fun? 

Unfortunately, Michael’s was having a sale on themed ten-packs of the kind of pen I was interested in, congealing my lust and soldering it to my determination. What colours were in each package? How could I purchase the maximum number of colours with the fewest duplications? Why is this website so bleepin’ slow? Three hours’ research scuppered December 6th’s time allotment.

Of course it turned out next morning that the store offered different packaging options than did its website. Only half an hour later, though, I was staggering triumphantly to the car, bearing five packages totaling 48 new colours. That evening I passed three febrile hours testing the reds, oranges, and yellows in a colouring book.

Three hours, and barely into the greens.

On December 8, I scattered the new pens across my desk in rainbow order, plus pinks, greys, and browns, and made a swatch sheet in my drawing book. Two and-a-half hours.

On December 9, I redid the swatch exercise onto stiffer, smoother paper, only this time tripling my work by adding in the markers I already owned, and doubling it again by organizing one swatch sheet by brand name, and a second sheet by colour groupings. Six hours to make 268 little squares. 

Thank heavens I’m not into makeup.

Yesterday, December 10, I went to Catapult Café (yes!) with my swatch sheets (no!) and my butterfly photo book. Over a 50-minute mochaccino, I squinted at the photo of a brown and yellow butterfly, sussing out eleven different hues or shades of swatch. Once home again, I traced and coloured the little beast. The day’s total: three hours, twenty minutes.

So, a mere eighteen hours and twenty minutes over five days produced a rough-copy, 3-inch by 2-inch butterfly. You can imagine the number of finished products I produced in those mandatory 7th- and 8th-grade art classes.

Maybe today I’ll practise music.

From Yuck to Yuks

This is Janet, reporting that I’ve finally started in on a regular, 20-hour week in creative pursuits, eleven weeks later than the planned start of mid-September. Who would’ve thought that moving house was such a time waster?

Anyway. The first two four-hour days were spent in card-making. Here are both attempts at a Christmas card for Gillian’s cousin Angela, whose beloved, sweet and funny husband Bob died this summer.

With Angela’s bereavement in mind, I at first considered the Darkness of Advent, and the sliver of Light that appears at first so faintly, it may be misconstrued as an idea of light rather than light itself. Four hours of work on Monday produced this:

First attempt.

Hmm, not so good. More faded than fresh, more mournful than merry, and tauntingly reminding me of the Bad-Apple Forest from “The Wizard of Oz”. I kept the ornament, but ditched the rest, and started over the next day.

“I’ve considerably lightened Angela’s card,” I announced to Gillian, before showing her the brand-new version.

“You certainly have,” she replied, understanding my multiple meanings.

Second attempt, outside.
Second attempt, inside.

Household Haiku

Haiku. More of a word puzzle than a poem: one line of five syllables, one of seven, and another of five — 17 syllables and you’re done!

But there’s more to it. First, there should be two distinct images, separated by a turning-point word. And second, there should be a seasonal reference.

So I guess I didn’t write any real haiku yesterday. Several of my quasi-haiku have turning-point words (“no,” “none,” “but”), and “The Mud Room” pretty much sounds like winter, but no poem here follows all the rules.

However, they’re fun, so here they are. One for each room of our house and a bonus haiku about the telephone.

Note: Hitting return in this program double-spaces the lines, so I’ve set them down here with a slash between each line.

B edroom. Loud pulse wakens me. / Padded footfall on wood steps? / No. Cat throwing up.

ashroom. Brush. Toothbrush. Nail brush. / Toilet brush. All useful; none / interchangeable.

M ud room. Food bank for street birds. / Unassuming socks line-dry. / Peaceable kingdom.

G illian’s studio. I used to clear it, / revealing floor to vacuum. / Now I shut the door.

C all display. “To what do I owe / this unrequited pleasure?” / Marketer ends call.

M y study. I think, work, or read / at desk or in papasan / (unless Cat’s in it).

K itchen. Aging leftovers / seek Narnia, but the back / of the fridge is closed.

L iving room. Cardigans reign here. / We curl up, dogs on our laps / and fur in our tea.

The Smoke Alarm Jump

Two alarms actually, the lower one next to the staircase, the upper one at the top of said staircase, with neither wall nor ceiling between them. At slightly different pitches. In a post-war, one and-a-half storey home.

Whatever possessed us?

Even after the noise ceased, poor little Savvy sat as if frozen to the couch cushion, shivering twice, pausing, shivering twice again. “Poor little tyke,” I soothed her. “Shiver shiver scree, shiver shiver scree, eh?”

And voila! An idea for a blog post. I may not be able to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but even I’ve gotta admit that discovering music in a pair of electric banshees and a dog with satellite-dish ears is pretty resourceful.

Bored or Crazy? How to Tell the Difference

The road to Hell is lined with good utensils.
Photo taken by me on my iNonPhone.

My Wednesday post is late. Neither of my public is miffed — just terribly, terribly disappointed.

It’s been a long ten — no, make that eleven, she’s stuck on standby in Toronto — days without my sweetie. But I assure you, my readers, both of you, I’m ferpectly pine. The weather has been — oh, GAWD, PLEASE don’t talk about the weather! And NO, I do NOT WANT ICE in my ginger ale! I NEVER wanna see ICE AGAIN, EVERRRRRRR!

Well. You see how it is. I feel I have numerous qualifications for discerning the difference between bored and crazy, this week having been a refresher course.

1A. Bored: There’s a break in the w**th*r, so you browse the Dollar Store and return home with half a dozen items.

1B. Crazy: No matter what the w**th*r, you return home with half a dozen items from the Dollar Store for ten consecutive days.

2A. Bored: Although alone, you use up all the wilting veggies in a stew big enough for eight people, and eat it over the course of a week.

2B. Crazy: Your stew for eight makes your stomach bloat, but you eat it all week anyway.

3A. Bored: You spend three days revamping the kitchen pegboards with a fresh coat of paint and more hooks.

3B. Crazy: You replace all of the kitchen utensils onto the pegboard in alphabetical order.

that’s alll ofr now. My Gillian deprivation ahs made it almost impossibble to ytpe.