Reflections on Life and in the Mirror

Templeton seems to be doing better. The past week, I was worried about him. Praying the medication is going to work to heal his intestines so he will recover completely. Hoping I’ll be able to sleep better as my mind begins to ease.

As for coloring, I completed 3 pictures this week. My mindset is changing from quantity (wanting to finish books completely) to quality. I want to take more time working on each picture so as to do justice to the artist who used their talent to draw the pictures. I’ve been working for the past three days on a picture and though I have no idea when it will be finished, it’s okay!

I’m also gearing up to do cardmaking. I ordered a new small manual die cutting machine which should arrive on tomorrow. I’m watching various card making tutorials and feeling excited to expand on this hobby. Nothing elaborate, like those who sell their creations, but just something handmade to send to friends and family.

As for the puzzle, I sit for about an hour a day and had a great day Saturday when I placed 5 pieces together. Woo hoo! It’s truly a difficult puzzle compared to any other I’ve ever worked.

Looking back over the week, I’ve spent most of my days at home. The weather has been hot, with a couple of days nice enough to be outside. I’ve done a lot of thinking, reflecting on life, and praying. Growing older can sometimes smack you in the face…especially when you look in a mirror! What happened to the young woman I used to be? I can see her in my mind’s eye and in pictures from long ago, but that’s not the image in the mirror. I’ve been avoiding exercise and my clothes are the telltale sign I need to get out of the chair and move more. I should stand at the breakfast bar and work on hobbies. Maybe that’s where I’ll do my card-making. It’s worth a thought! I’m not 80 yet, and my dear friend, who is 80 now, still mows her humongous yard, pulls weeds, and rakes leaves! She’s an inspiration and I need to start taking better care of myself instead of disappearing into hobbies to avoid the truth of how I’ve let myself go over the past years.

Reflections over, it is time to share my finished pictures from the week. The first was colored in Johanna Basford’s Christmas book. It is my contribution to the Christmas in July theme. The second was done with markers in the Love4Flowers book by Prachi Dewan Sachdeva. The third was colored in Christine Karron’s Fairy and Fantasy 2 book. On this one, I used my newest set of colored pencils from Star Joy. I love these pencils. They are oil based pencils and are at the top of my list of favorites.

I am hoping for a better week ahead. Planning on doing at least 20 minutes of exercise per day on the elliptical trainer machine I have. No excuses that it’s too hot or humid. No excuses that impact hurts my back and ankles. This machine eliminates that. I want to finish the picture I’ve been working on, add some pieces to the puzzle, and make a few cards, too. Of course, my plans are always flexible, especially when God has another plan! Lifting my cup of tea and wishing each of you a glorious week full of God’s blessings. Until next time…

Card Making, Tweets, and More

I read an internet news headline about Clint Eastwood. He tweeted: “I think being able to age gracefully is a very important talent. It is too late for me,” the 91-year-old actor said.” I’m not sure what he meant.

Of course this resonated with me because of the title of my blog. For me, aging gracefully isn’t a talent, but accepting the limitations that come with age, the wrinkles, the sagging skin, the slowing down of the body, and not wasting time regretting the loss of youth. It means taking time to appreciate what God has given me and finding peace with the acceptance.

This past week I rearranged my office and crafting closet. Just minor things to make more room and provide better efficiency. Little changes make me happy. Stems from my years in supportive roles within the corporate world. Thank goodness, I’m not missing the “dress for success” habit. I’m much more comfortable in my PJ’s and slippers or barefoot in t-shirt and capris!

I spent more time watching crafting videos on You Tube than I did working on hobbies. I’m getting excited about card making again. I want to start making cards for Christmas and a set of “all occasion” cards, too. I’ve neglected this hobby long enough. More about that next week.

Now it is time to show the few pictures I finished. I have a work in progress that I had hoped to finish yesterday, but didn’t. I did purchase a new set of oil pencils and spent time organizing them in a pencil case and swatching them. Looking forward to using them this week. I love working with oil pencils. I finished a picture using pastels, but can’t show it until after the end of the month when my daughters and I reveal our finished pictures to each other. Here’s what I can show. The first picture was done in glitter gel pens. The second with colored pencils and liquid pearls, the third with markers as I practiced blending and last is a color by number done with markers.

Lifting my cup of tea with a smile as I watch the swallows doing their flight maneuvers. Wishing you all a beautiful week. Remember to be kind to yourself, have fun, and be thankful. Until next time…

The Sync is Lost

Aging is a process every single person must face. Every day means another day has been added to our past. No amount of face creams or exercise is going to stop the days and years from passing. What I’ve learned in my personal journey is my mind is willing, but my body doesn’t agree.

My doctor always says I need to walk thirty minutes a day. I know he’s right. Once I was able to walk for an hour or so at a fast pace. I enjoyed it tremendously. I would be very happy if I could still accomplish this. My mind is ready. My body isn’t. If I make it around my condo area, at a stroll speed, one time, I feel good. My hips and back, sometimes my foot slow my progress. If it wasn’t farther to turn around and retrace my steps, I would. I long to see my garage come into view.

The arthritis I’ve suffered with since in my twenties, continues to plague my body. My mind tries to resist this process. Body and mind are no longer synced. Shrug. I will keep trying and I will be grateful for every lap I make! Thank You, God.

Templeton has vetoed the window bed I purchased. He would much rather be closer when I am coloring.

This week I continued to make progress on the puzzle. I won’t give up. I won’t give up. I won’t give up!

And now for the coloring pages completed this week. This first one I colored on Saturday evening when sleep evaded me. Chamomile and lavender tea, an audio book, and color by number.

The remainder were completed using either markers or various colored pencils.

I had so much fun coloring all these pictures. Coloring continues to be a great stress reliever, a time to commune with God, and wonderful therapy to relieve the quiet of living alone. Until next time…

The Many Colors of Therapy

The coneflowers are just lovely! I’m so happy to see them blooming and growing in my little garden area between the coral bells. The rain we had last Thursday and Friday really perked the floral displays in all our gardens. Praying God sends more rain. The heat we’ve had this summer so far has been intense. Like today, which is once again going to top the ninety degree mark.

As I write this, I am sitting on my front porch enjoying the birds singing and eating at the feeders my neighbor has on his porch. I’m happy he put them up, but I sure wouldn’t want the mess I know he has to deal with! But I’m sure he enjoys them from his front window. I’m enjoying the sweet citrusy scent of the citronella plants hanging on the shepherd’s hook in my front garden.

As for July 4th, I went to church in the morning and otherwise spent a quiet day at home. I binge watched some of the episodes of a series I enjoy on Roku and I used markers to color a picture, which will be shown below with the other ones I completed during the past week. Life has been fairly quiet and peaceful. Templeton has been sleeping a lot, but since he is over ninety in cat years, I know this is common. He also misses his brother and sister.

I’ve been working on the puzzle and finally completed the lightest part of the sky areas in shades of yellow and orange. Now I’m SLOWLY piecing together the darkest area at the bottom of the puzzle. One day, I’ll be happy to show the completed puzzle and then display it on the wall in my office! My youngest daughter, who gifted me this puzzle, gifted me another for taking care of their cat while they were on vacation. It’s a beautiful picture of the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras. Am excited about working it next.

Okay, enough catching up. Time to reveal the beautiful colors I added to my life last week. I colored 6 pictures from various books and various media. This first one is the one I did for the monthly color along with two of my daughters. It is from artist Selena Fenech, picture titled, Dragon Fae Pink. Since I didn’t want to color the fairy pink because I figured both of my daughters might, I chose to color the background in pink. This entire picture was colored with Jane Davenport pastels from the pallette “Chilled.” I used white gel pen and some Stickles glitter glue.

The next picture is from artist Derya Cakirsoy titled Chic Fairy. This one I colored with Black Widow pencils. The background is done with Pebbles chalk pastels.

The next picture is from artist Ruth Sanderson. I used a new set of pencils from Brutfuner. They are oil based and budget priced at only $20. I love how they worked on this paper. I also added some white gel pen to her dress and around the butterflies. I learned a trick from colorist Kori on YouTube channel “coloringoptimistic” about flicking to make the needles on pine trees. I used that technique for the grass and I think it turned out good.

This next picture is from artist Jane Maday. This book has 100 easy pictures to color. I bought it to work on learning how to add depth to marker work. This is the first picture I colored besides the introduction pages I shared last week. I had trouble with the brush markers bleeding outside the lines. Going to take a lot of practice, but that’s what learning is all about!

Next is a picture in the color by number mandala book. It’s a fun book to color when I don’t want to worry about what colors to choose. This one I colored with ColorIt gel pens. I started working on it while watching tv one evening and finished it the next day.

And last is the picture I colored yesterday with markers. The artist is Hanna Lynn. This is the book I want to complete this year. Only 8 more pictures to go!

And that is concludes the colors I added to my life this past week. I so enjoy coloring. I enjoy the pictures like the mandala, the easy bloom picture and the one just above this paragraph because they are very relaxing and quick to finish. The other pictures take more time, concentration, planning and thought. I enjoy watching them as they come to life with the colors I’ve chosen. Coloring is therapy to me. I’m very grateful for this hobby to fill the hours of my day. May your week ahead be filled with beauty for your eyes to see and make memories to last. Until next time…

The Color of Grief

During the past week, I learned the true color of grief. It is the absence of color. A void. Not white nor black either. The month of June is a tough month for me as far as mental health goes. But with God’s mercy and grace, life moves on. I did manage to color several pictures which always helps through depression. But you already know this.

I decided to purchase a window bed for Templeton so he could spend time with me while I color. He’s used it a couple of times. I hope to see him using it more as time passes. Sharing a picture of him enjoying a peaceful nap while I’m working.

Rather than ramble on about last week, let me tell you about yesterday, Sunday. Church was wonderful. The music always makes me feel the presence of God. And the sermon was great. It was about learning to forgive ourselves. I was reminded about the false voice of Satan, which whispers in my ear from time to time.

After church, I was blessed by two visits. First from my youngest daughter and her hubby. Yes, I received wonderful hugs! They had just returned from vacation and brought me a new puzzle as a thank you for taking care of their cat. They also helped find some puzzle pieces on the hardest puzzle I’ve ever worked!

My second visit was from my middle daughter, her hubby, and granddaughter. Oh, how I love my little great granddaughter. So hard to believe she is now 7 years old! I still remember visiting the hospital after her birth. She is so much fun, so full of joy, humor, and oh, so smart. She brought me a picture she colored. My refrigerator is getting filled with her gifts!

And now it is Monday. Rather than talk further, let me just share the pictures from the past two weeks.

This first picture is from Fairy and Fantasy2 Coloring Book illustrated by Christine Karron. I worked it using Black Widow colored pencils. The picture is a bit dark as I took it at night so the colors don’t show up as vivid as in reality.
This picture is from Color’N’Chics Fantasy Fairy Portraits coloring book illuestrated by Derya Cakirsoy. Colored with Black Widow colored pencils.

The next two pictures are from the Chibi Girls 2 coloring book by Jade Summer. Both are done with markers and gel pens.

This next one is from the Colouring Heaven Steampunk Special illustrated by Hannah Lynn.

These next two were colored using gel pens and various colored pencils in a coloring book illustrated by Jane Maday titled Nature’s Sweet Moments. It is a 2-page spread.

The following pictures were colored in Love 4 Flowers Coloring Book. Color by Number illustrated by Prachi Dewan Sachdeva. These are relaxing pictures to color when my brain doesn’t want to decide on colors, but I need to color for therapy.

Sorry there were so many to share at one time. I’m easing into this new week in a better frame of mind. Several appointments this week as June draws to an end. May your week be filled with beautiful things and may your heart be happy, your mind untroubled. Until next time…

Time is an Intangible Gift

I admit I am growing older, well into my “golden” years or the winter of my life’s journey. As I look back, I see all the beautiful memories made and how they all weave together in a most amazing tapestry hanging inside my heart. Every day new memories are added. One day, I might be hanging this tapestry on a wall in my forever home in Heaven. I don’t know what God has waiting for me there, but I do know it will be the most wonderful place ever where time won’t be important any longer. In the meantime, I want to enjoy this time here in my temporary home with my family and friends. All of these memories were created in the gift of time given by God.

One of my granddaughters is turning 16 on Wednesday and following tradition, we will have lunch in the place of her choice and see a movie. She will spend the night, and we’ll have a good time laughing and just spending time together. See time is important to us while we are living in this world. We fill it with people, work, hobbies, and entertainment of choice.

Sometimes the hours of a day seem endless, but I’ve learned to fill them with all the beautiful colors God has given me to enjoy. Inside the gift of time. This week has been a little busier than usual with appointments and chores, but I still found lots of time to devote to adding color to my hours. The book I used as a guide to finding specific colors had become quite full. Since it was bound, I decided to take it apart and put the pages into protectors and into a 3-ring binder. I also “swatched” new color blends. This took me several afternoons, but I so enjoyed doing it. After spending years in the corporate world, organizing is a fun task for me. And, of course, I adore placing colors on paper and seeing how they can blend together to make gorgeous results.

I did manage to complete two coloring pages this week. The first one below is from Colouring Heaven’s Fairy Stories Special illustrated by Fabiana Attanasio. I chose the very first picture in the book, from the Beauty and the Beast section. I colored this with Black Widow pencil sets and used Distress Ink for the background. I wasn’t sure how to color the scene mixed into the coat he wore, but as I worked it just seemed to evolve. I tried to get a good picture, but the shading didn’t pick up as it looks in person. The second picture was done with alcohol markers in the Chibil Girls book I want to finish this year. I now have 24 pictures left to color. I will need to color at least one per week to meet that goal. (Ah, there is that invisible piece of time!)

This coming week is also going to be quite busy, but I’m sure I’ll manage to add more colors into my hours! Lifting my cup of tea with a prayer that every person who reads this will receive blessings of joy into their life. May your time be seen as a wonderful, though intangible, gift from God. Until next time…

Dealing with Depression by Adding Color

What a roller coaster week of weather! From heavy jacket weather to “the less the better!” It was over 90 degrees yesterday and my poor porch plants are suffering from the extreme heat of the past few days. I need to be more diligent in watering them. I didn’t spend any time sitting outdoors last week. I did attend the funeral of a sweet lady I know who turned 100 on January 1 of this year. I celebrated her arrival in Heaven, where she was reunited with her beloved husband, her precious sister, and many other of her loved ones who arrived before her. I can’t help smiling when I think of how happy she is now.

This past week has been one where dealt with a bit of depression. June affects me this way every year. It’s the month my beloved hubby’s health deteriorated drastically and on the 26th he took his journey to Heaven. Even though 8 years have come and gone, the pain is still sharp at times. We learn to move on and a healing scar occurs with time, but the empty place in the heart remains. Like my 100 year old friend, I will take my journey to heaven with a happy and hopeful heart when God calls me home.

So before I will have too many tears to continue, let me show you the pages I colored last week. Coloring has helped me with the healing from grief, and I thank God for giving me a gift to create through words and color. The first two pictures below were completed with gel pens. This is a media I choose when I need to just relax. Usually I choose mandalas to color with these, but this week I also chose one from a book gifted in a drawing from a lady whose channel I follow on YouTube. This book I can’t tell you the title of, nor the illustrator’s name, because it is (I believe) from Korea. It is a book of what appear to be princesses. The paper doesn’t take pencil media well, and because markers will bleed through to the back of a page and these books are double-sided pictures, I chose to try the gel pens. The mandala is from Kingdom of Coloring’s Flower Mandalas.

I also did some work on the puzzle that might not be finished before I die! Why? Well, look at what I managed to do in about 5 hours time! See how the pieces are shaped and fit together? It took me a couple of weeks to put the border together on this 1000 piece 26″ by 26″ puzzle.

I did use markers to do a picture in the Fantasy Fairy Portraits book illustrated by Derya Cakirsoy.

The next two pictures are also from the same Derya Cakirsoy book. I decided to try using my Prismacolor Premier pencils and they worked great. I really like coloring with them on this particular paper. And I love the cute pictures to color as well.

And that concludes the colors I added to my life during this past week. I did complete the swatching of color blends and plan to create more this week. It helps a lot to look at these blends when I color so I can get ideas of colors to use for flowers, leaves, etc.

May your life be filled with many joyful colors as you venture on your path this week. I pray good health and love go be with you. Until next time…

Memorial Day Thoughts

We are having a chilly beginning to this Memorial Day. I’m content to sit inside at my desk and plan some coloring for this day. None of my family have planned a get together, so I’m going to spend the day alone. I decided to fill it with inserting some color combinations for my various pencils. By putting them in a special spot in my Colorpedia Notebook, I will be able to refer to them when I’m looking for colors that blend well together. Then I will probably spend the afternoon coloring a new page.

This weekend has been one where I’ve thought about my mom and her younger days. I always wished she would have talked more about the time she and my dad had together before she passed. See, my dad was one who gave all in World War II. He was killed on a naval boat on December 7, 1944, just two weeks short of his 20th birthday. I have one picture of him and I sent to receive his military records, so I do have those. I also have just a few letters written to my mom while he was deployed. He died when I was one year old. Those days are lost forever and I can only imagine what it was like at that time. I do have a memory of a memorial service for him after his remains were returned home. I must have been very young. I just recall flags, folding chairs, and I see me bending over the seat of a chair as young children do. As a few tears sting my eyes, I cling to the promise God has made that I will be reunited with him in Heaven.

Let me move on before I become too maudlin. I did color a few pictures this past week, and I can share the picture I colored with my daughters this month as well. I’ll show that one first. I colored it with Faber Castell Pitt Pastel pencils (which is like a chalk). I added some dots with white gel pen to imitate “sparkles.” The book is Fairy Companions, artist Selina Fenech, and the picture title is “Glow and Shimmer.”

The second picture is titled “Angel Eyes” from the book Fairy & Fantasy 2, artist Christine Karron. This picture was colored with Brutfuner oil pencils. I was aiming for a very pastel angel effect and I hope I accomplished this.

This next picture was also colored with the Brutfuner oil pencils, which have become my favorite pencils. I received them as a gift in 2018. The book is Colouring Heaven Steampunk Special Issue #74. I just received this book and this is Dawn first picture colored in it. The artist is Dawn Davidson. The title is “Errand Boy.”

The next picture is from the Chibi Girls Grayscale. I’m still hoping to complete this book by the end of the year. I colored it with Belleza alcohol markers and used some neon and white gel pens for some “glitter” around the lights which I tried to portray as revolving neon lights. LOL!

These last two pictures were colored in Colouring Heaven Steampunk Special Issue 47, artist Hannah Lynn. This is another book I’m trying to finish this year. I colored them with Caliart alcohol markers and Brutfuner oil pencils.

And that is all I have to share for this week. I wish you all a safe and happy Memorial Day. Until next time…

Plants, Coloring, and Bees – Oh, My!

What a beautiful week this has been! The temps have been really hot, but I’ve enjoyed the sunshine and heat so much after the long, cold winter. I’ve spent a lot of hours sitting on my porch and doing Bible Study, brain puzzlers, reading, and coloring. I especially enjoy using my pastel pencils to color outdoors. They do leave a chalky residue that is easier to blow away outdoors! Also, when there is a breeze blowing, nature takes care of that for me! LOL!

Saturday, I was hounded by an aggressive yellow jacket. He would not leave me alone! He buzzed around and around my head, and when I swatted at him with paper, he kept coming. I escaped into my home, but even after waiting, with no sign of him, he came after me only seconds after I stepped outside! I have looked but find no nests anywhere and haven’t seen him since. I had an infestation of them underneath the front door at my old house and had to call the exterminator twice. They even managed to get inside the house! I sure don’t want to go through that again.

Due to the extreme heat, I’ve had to water my plants more than usual. Here is a little tour of my “garden” area. The cone flowers seem to be doing fine after the transplant from my friend’s garden to mine. I can’t wait to see if they bloom this year.

I planted coral bells two years ago, and they are doing great. All these pictures were taken from me standing on the porch and hanging over the railing, so consider the perspective! I have one bush on each end of the porch.

I bought two “mosquito” plants, also dubbed “citronella”, though true citronella is a grassy plant. These are a variant of a geranium, but I love the scent and they are pretty. They are sitting on two plant stands on the porch.

I purchased a lovely hanging basket of zinnias. Love the beautiful yellow color!

And, lastly, a beautiful mixed floral hanging basket.

I’m fortunate to have put up sun shades on my porch since I get the direct west sun, from about 1pm to 8pm. It shines straight at the front of my condo. And with this heat, it can really make it unbearable to sit outside. The grass, which was gorgeous, just a short week ago, is now turning brown from lack of rain. I am praying we get some relief this week. According to the meteorologists in the area, the high heat will change near the end of the week and drop to near normal in the low to mid 70s. A nice change for sure from this near 90 degree heat.

As for coloring, I did finish the monthly picture I do with two of my daughters as a color along, but can’t post it until we all reveal on the last day of the month. I also had “ruined” a pretty picture to color in my newest book. I forgot to put card stock behind the one I was coloring with alcohol markers and the green bled through. I didn’t want to trash the picture, so I used darker colors of alcohol markers and tried to salvage the picture. While the colors weren’t what I would have chosen to use, I kind of saved the picture. It’s not the best, but I want to share the good, bad, and ugly! This picture is from the Color n’ Chics book Fairy Fantasy grayscale by illustrator Derya A. Cakirsoy.

Next I finally finished the two page spread on the Introduction pages of the Jane Maday “Natures Sweet Moments” coloring book. I used glitter gel pens to color the top of both pages and for the bottom I used a variety of colored pencils: Black Widow, Brutfuner, Crayola, and Cezanne.

Last, I colored a picture in Ruth Sanderson’s book, “Fairies” grayscale fantasy coloring book. This one was done completely with Faber Castell pastel pencils with added “glitter” of Gelly Roll white gel pen. I had so much fun coloring this one.

And that is all I have to share this week. I hope you are all had an enjoyable week, and I am praying you will be blessed richly during this coming week. Until next time…

Conversation and Nature

I’ve settled back into my normal routine since waving goodby to my daughter on Thursday. She made it home safely and I’m so grateful she spent over 9 hours on the road to visit me for a week. We didn’t do anything outside the house except for grocery shopping and church. Our time was spent doing things we love to do. She had lots of uninterrupted time to do her crocheting and cross stitching, while I colored. We watched a series on television based on books she has read. Mostly we shared conversation which is something I lack most days. But summer is approaching and we’ve had some very nice days where I enjoyed sitting on the front porch and catching up on entering all the color swatches for new coloring tools in my color chart book. I love to sit there and enjoy all the beauty and sounds of nature, all created by God speaking them into existence!

Today is cloudy, but the temperature will be in the mid 60’s, so that’s okay with me since I need to run errands. I need to stock up on healthy foods. I’m back on track with WW after taking a week plus break. I hope to step up my exercise as I know it will help with the weight loss and ease the joint and back pain. As I type this the sparrows are doing their acrobatic flights catching their breakfast in the air. They are so fun to watch. They have a nest on top of the drainpipe outside my bedroom window. I am waiting for babies to come. I adore hearing them when their parents arrive to feed them. But that time is a few weeks away.

As for my coloring this week, I have two pages I began working on with varied coloring tools while my daughter was here. I worked on them for about an hour every morning before she woke. Still have a lot to color since these are busy introductory pages to one of my newer purchases. Hope to finish and show them soon. I completed one page in the book I received for Mother’s Day, Fantasy Fairy Portraits Grayscale by artist Derya A. Cakirsoy. I decided to venture out and color her skin green since the picture is titled “leaf fae.” It was fun to color outside the box and remember this is fantasy only! I colored her with markers, and used Distress Inks for the background. Also colored the outside border ring with glitter pen. Pardon the lighting which makes one eye look clouded.

The next picture I colored is in the Fairies book by Alena Lazareva. I wanted to color an entire picture with the Crayola pencils 120 set which I purchased for around $20. I just love all the vibrant colors in the set. I enhanced her makeup with Jane Davenport pastel pallette “Birthday Suit” and the background with Jane Davenport “Chilled” pastel pallette. I did spend five days working on this one, but I love the results. Her jewelry was colored using two different glitter pens by ColorIt.

And lastly, I pulled out my Chibi Girls and my markers and colored this page. I set a goal to color at least one picture a week in this book in order to complete it by year end. These pictures are fun and easy to color with markers. I used my 168 color set by Belieza (or Bellieza?). The set is cool since it includes a lot of pastel colors and grays.

So, friends, that is all I have to share this week. Thank you for being so faithful in following my blog. I post morning inspirations Tuesday through Sunday, and on Monday I post a weekly reflection. You can read more of each specific category by looking at the two categories in the right hand margin and click on the appropriate one. So may the good Lord bless you and yours during this coming week and may you find many opportunities to thank Him! If you need prayer, feel free to leave me a comment with your request. Until next time…