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Show and Tell — hobbies and talents!

Because our lives — and we — are more than asthma or nebulizers or that beast prednisone!

This AM, I made a cake — not the world's prettiest cake, but it's a cake, from scratch, nonetheless. It's for our church's annual cake drive to take to a children's home. I've been wanting to donate a cake for years, but THIS year I finally got the gumption to do it. 

I know from past pictures that have been shared – @GigiGibson, @Rfinchertaylor, @Nemo88, @glyncor, @Shea, @jujutsumaster – we have some mighty talented people around here. Share your proud moments or your "wow, I can't believe I even SORTA pulled that off" moments … because we are MORE than asthma!

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  • Kathy P

    So one of my hobbies is pastry arts…cake and cookie decorating. Yesterday, I went to a meetup of my cake club. I haven't been able to make meetings in so long! We are talking a couple of years! So I needed to make an effort to reconnect with folks AND reconnect with one of my creative outlet passions. Aside from having a terrible asthma attack in the morning and some lingering coughing, it was great to get out! Oh and I could only eat what I brought! It was a pot luck tea. 

    We decorated cookies. I baked my own gingerbread cookies and portioned some icing out for myself before others started dipping cookies. 

    Not my best work and you can see my hands were shaking from the albuterol! But fun and tasty! 

  • Jen

    Kathy – Those look great!

    Reminds me….I will be doing some candy making soon.  Every year, I make sunbutter (since dd1 is allergic to peanuts) buckeyes for teachers and staff.  I hit up a lot of the elementary school staff – I know so many of them since I've had a kid or 3 there since 2006.  As for the other 3 schools (middle school, high school and special needs school), I don't make quite as many.  I try to get most of my kids' teachers and a handful of other staff members that see my kids now and then.  Not sure how many I'll be sending into the high school as dd1 is getting to the stage where she'd rather not have to make so many deliveries.  

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, those DO look great! I can't draw/pipe a straight line even when I don't have albuterol jitters as an excuse … but I wouldn't have even known you had the faintest tremor if you hadn't let us in on the secret!

    How did you do the contrasting colors??

  • Kathy P

    The cookies are flooded with the base color. Then you put dots or lines of the other color and streak it with a toothpick. And they are all gone!

  • Jen

    So….tell us what you like to do to relax.  What have you been up to lately?  Crafting, home improvements, vacations, baking…you name it, show and tell here.

  • Jen

    I'll add one to the thread – dh and I are big sports fans. We have season tickets to University of Maryland men's basketball games.  We used to go all the time (dh has had the tickets since he was in grad school 20+ years ago). These days, we make it to as many as we can, often with one of us taking the kids. It can be lots of fun, particularly when it's a big game and the crowd is fired up. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Well, it wasn't relaxing, but I feel very accomplished — I recently got through making our family's Chinese New Year Banquet almost completely from scratch. With an allergy to corn, it's hard to buy pre-made ingredients and dishes, so between my sis and me, we made everything from scratch from the egg roll and dumpling wrappers to the pork lo mein and shrimp fried rice. 

    I did have a couple of bottled sauces this year that was safe for us, so that was a celebration moment. And I cheated just a bit and used frozen rolls for the mantou (that's those deep fried buns dusted with sugar or served with sweetened condensed milk.) 

    It was all yummy! And I'm very proud of myself because many of these recipes are recipes used by Chinese cooks and aren't the "stir a bottle of stir-fry sauce and empty a packet of seasoning" kind of recipe at all. My lo mein alone calls for three different homemade sauces.

  • Jen

    @K8sMom2002 - Do you have any pics from your Chinese New Year banquet?

    @Nemo88 - I'm looking  forward to seeing pics and hearing about your WWE adventures.

  • K8sMom2002

    Jen, DD took a video of the feast on her iPhone, but I haven't figured out a way yet to share it here. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Bumping this thread to see what great things everyone has been up to — I always enjoy everyone's talents!

    I have a small that I found earlier this week. Last spring I planted asparagus ferns in our very shady front flower bed in hopes that they would make it. Over the winter, I thought the one to the right of my doorsteps had gotten frozen in one of our rare super cold snaps. 

    But earlier this week I noticed a faint tiny green shoot — sure enough, it's my asparagus fern resurrecting itself!  I can't take credit for it … but it still something I'm definitely delighted in and wanted to share.

  • Rfinchertaylor

    What I've been up to.  The mountain scene I painted today in acrylic.  The feathers I finished last week in colored pencil.  The scarves I crocheted beginning of the month.

  • K8sMom2002

    Man, Renee, those feathers look REAL — I actually thought at first that it was a collage that you made with various feathers. And I love the scarves! 

  • Rfinchertaylor
    K8sMom2002 posted:

    Man, Renee, those feathers look REAL — I actually thought at first that it was a collage that you made with various feathers. And I love the scarves! 

    Thanks a bunch.  I did the feathers for an art competition for Colored Pencil magazine and I sell some of my crochet.

  • K8sMom2002

    How long did it take you to do the feathers drawing? Because it looks like it would have been time consuming to get all that detail done. And good luck on the Colored Pencil magazine competition!

    I've tried to learn how to crochet and never got past the point where you're supposed to able to turn a chain into something that looks vaguely wearable.

  • Rfinchertaylor
    K8sMom2002 posted:

    How long did it take you to do the feathers drawing? Because it looks like it would have been time consuming to get all that detail done. And good luck on the Colored Pencil magazine competition!

    I've tried to learn how to crochet and never got past the point where you're supposed to able to turn a chain into something that looks vaguely wearable.

    Thanks!  I started on it Feb 22 and finished Mar 5.  Lol!  Very time consuming.  It would take me 2-3 hours to do just one feather.  A lot of laying down color and using the pencil to blend.  I think I was starting to dream about those feathers.  Lol!

    My paternal grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was around 8 or 9.  I didn't do much with it until I got grown.  I learned how to follow a pattern and make all types of things.

  • K8sMom2002

    That was a long time!

    My mom was an excellent sketch artist and loved to work with charcoal (I may have mentioned that before.) She always talked about laying down color, but I never could grasp what she meant by that. I look at "simple" things like an overcast sky with puffy gray clouds, and I wonder why I can't figure out how to translate that to the page.

    And crocheting … I just never could figure out how to get from the chain to anything else.

  • Jen

    Renee – Are you working on any arts and crafts projects now or are you taking a break?

  • Rfinchertaylor

    I try to draw/paint everyday Jen.  Lol!  I just finished these landscape paintings and I'm currently working on this drawing.  I'm also crocheting a scarf for someone.  

  • K8sMom2002

    I love those colors! The sky with the silhouetted trees is really pretty — and I'm intrigued by your work in progress. I'm going to show my ignorance about art by saying it looks like a whisk with VERY real water droplets. I'm always impressed with anyone who can make water look "wet."

  • Rfinchertaylor
    K8sMom2002 posted:

    I love those colors! The sky with the silhouetted trees is really pretty — and I'm intrigued by your work in progress. I'm going to show my ignorance about art by saying it looks like a whisk with VERY real water droplets. I'm always impressed with anyone who can make water look "wet."

    Thank you! And you are right about the work in progress!

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, wow! I never get anything right about art … I figured you would be and have to tell me that it was some sort of abstract art. I like it! I like the energy and the simplicity and the color combo … and the water droplets are my favorite! I think, actually, that this is my favorite of all of the pictures/drawings you've shared. I really like it when someone takes an everyday ordinary object and shows it in a new light. 

  • Jen

    Love it, Renee!  I think it's great that you find time for this nearly every day.  How much time do you spend working on your art each day?

  • Rfinchertaylor
    Jen posted:

    Love it, Renee!  I think it's great that you find time for this nearly every day.  How much time do you spend working on your art each day?

    Usually about 2 hours a day.  Once I get started it's hard to put the pencils or brushes down.  Time flies!

  • K8sMom2002

    That sounds like you really lose yourself in the process! Reminds me again of my mom. She would just get into the zone. 

    Have you ever watched/read about the concept of "flow," that feeling where you're so engrossed in something that you have no concept of time passing? Here's a given by a researcher who wrote a book about it. Forgive me for not trying to spell his name!

    I can't wait to see the finished drawing of the whisk!

  • Rfinchertaylor

    And what a name.  LOL.  Very good video.  So true.  You get into the zone and things around you, troubles, etc., just disappear until you "come back to earth."

  • K8sMom2002

    It IS a funny name — I had to look up how to pronounce it! Don't ask me to do it, though — I've forgotten already. I'd hate to have to introduce him to an audience, but he's an awesome speaker, isn't he? 

    When did you first begin drawing?

  • Rfinchertaylor

    I started drawing when I was around 12.  Do you remember those ads in magazines about the art instruction schools?  You would draw a picture and send it off to them and they would critique it?  LOL!  That's how I found out I could draw.  I did that and they sent back that I had talent.  I am self taught though.  I've never taken a drawing or painting course other than a class during my senior year in high school.  My local community college might have an associate degree course in Art and I'm seriously considering it.  Right now I take care of my grandson full time and I've seriously thought of taking it when he goes to school.  He is 2 years old now so it will be in about 3 years and I'll be around 56 or 57 years old, but hey, I can do anything I put my mind to.   

  • K8sMom2002

    That's the spirit, Renee! Have you ever thought about approaching the community college's art department to see if the professor might be willing for you to enroll in just one of their art classes? You might be able to fit in an evening class.

    And don't forget — many kiddos start preschool around three and pre-K around 4. So you may wind up with a half day that you can start.

    My mom was also self-taught. I've always been impressed with people who could take squiggles and lines and turn it into a tree or a nose or an ear … do you prefer drawing landscapes or people or still life pictures?

  • Rfinchertaylor

    My favorites are landscapes, seascapes and old and/or abandoned vehicles.  Kind of goes in hand with what I love to photograph.  I have thought about a single class or two, but just haven't committed.  I'm an introvert and you know how that goes.  LOL

  • Kathy P

    That would be awesome if you could take classes to get a degree. What type of work would you hope to be able to do after that? My dd is in her second year going for a graphic design degree. She has to apply to the program at the end of this semester and her professor "thinks she has a good chance of getting in."  Um, dad and I were under the assumption that she was already in the program…but no, she's just in the BFA program!

    I used to draw and paint a lot – but I really haven't done much in years. When I was a kid, I was always drawing! My parents scraped and sent me to classes at the local art school. I loved taking classes! We have non-profit art/music school around here and they have classes for adults and kids. My kids took classes there and went to some summer camp programs too. 

  • Rfinchertaylor
    Kathy P posted:

    That would be awesome if you could take classes to get a degree. What type of work would you hope to be able to do after that? My dd is in her second year going for a graphic design degree. She has to apply to the program at the end of this semester and her professor "thinks she has a good chance of getting in."  Um, dad and I were under the assumption that she was already in the program…but no, she's just in the BFA program!

    I used to draw and paint a lot – but I really haven't done much in years. When I was a kid, I was always drawing! My parents scraped and sent me to classes at the local art school. I loved taking classes! We have non-profit art/music school around here and they have classes for adults and kids. My kids took classes there and went to some summer camp programs too. 

    Not sure of what type of work and don't know if I would look for anything other than promoting my own work.  I've already done 31 years of secular work and don't know if I want to get back in that grind again.  I guess I just love to learn and now that I've retired it has given me an opportunity to reinvent myself and get involved in things that I love.

  • Kathy P

    Sounds totally reasonable Renee! It's always good to learn and improve.Another possibility would be looking for classes at the senior center or through the rec center.I've been working on improving my photography by finding meetups that include workshops or critiques. There is a wildflower hike in a couple weeks that I'm toying with signing up for. My biggest problem is that I go out and take photos but never get a chance to edit them!

  • K8sMom2002

    Renee, back when I worked for our local paper, I would take photos of various country scenes around our county for "filler" spaces — holes where we didn't have enough copy on a page to fill it up. I found myself taking pictures of old barns, trying to get the light just right. One of my co-workers teased me and said that this was my "old barn period."

    You might approach your local paper or community magazine with your portfolio and see if they would want to feature some of your work. As an ex-newspaper editor, I would take you in an instant! 

    I think you'll find that most artists are introverts. Don't let that scare you off from taking a class. But also, at your level of skill, don't be surprised if you're the one teaching others as well. 

    Kathy P, you should totally do that wildflower hike!

  • Rfinchertaylor
    K8sMom2002 posted:

    Renee, back when I worked for our local paper, I would take photos of various country scenes around our county for "filler" spaces — holes where we didn't have enough copy on a page to fill it up. I found myself taking pictures of old barns, trying to get the light just right. One of my co-workers teased me and said that this was my "old barn period."

    You might approach your local paper or community magazine with your portfolio and see if they would want to feature some of your work. As an ex-newspaper editor, I would take you in an instant! 

    I think you'll find that most artists are introverts. Don't let that scare you off from taking a class. But also, at your level of skill, don't be surprised if you're the one teaching others as well. 

    Kathy P, you should totally do that wildflower hike!

    That is a great idea.  I know the editor of our local paper very well.  When I was working, I submitted a monthly article to the paper regarding employment and job seeking. When I was in high school I was the high school reporter and submitted a weekly article on school activity.  I enjoyed doing that.  I have a Facebook page in which I take photos of old and abandoned structures that I come across in my travels.  I usually do research on them to find out the history and include the story with my pictures.  I enjoy doing stuff like that.  

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, I think you talk to the editor! Maybe you could pitch the idea to the editor as a regular series — Local Scenes or something like that? I know I was surprised by how many people really did enjoy my old barns! 

    There's something eerily peaceful about an abandoned barn or home, especially if you catch the light just right. Other things that I photographed for the paper were cemeteries, wildlife, flowers (tricky in black and white!), pets and people. 

    There have been two photos I regret NOT taking in my life.

    One was when I was a teenager and didn't even own a camera. I was in the back of my mom's car, riding through a city street in a small town. An older lady with an apron was leaning against a screen door that had been added to a side door of a beautiful old building — the screen door looked totally out of place with the architecture, and the lady — stereotypical grandmother type with fluffy white hair, a dress and an apron — looked as though she should be in a house and not a commercial establishment. It was in the late afternoon, and the light highlighted every crevice and line in her face in the most beautiful way. The incongruity of the screen door and the architecture and the domestic flavor of the lady got me. None of it fit, but it would have made a great photo! I still drive by that building, and every time I think of that lady, and that's been over 30 years ago!

    The other was one that I missed because of timing. I drove past a house by a pond out in the country and spied a pair of girls enthusiastically rowing a boat — on dry land by the pond. By the time I turned the car around and headed back, the girls had moved on to somewhere else. 

  • Rfinchertaylor
    K8sMom2002 posted:

    Oh, I think you talk to the editor! Maybe you could pitch the idea to the editor as a regular series — Local Scenes or something like that? I know I was surprised by how many people really did enjoy my old barns! 

    There's something eerily peaceful about an abandoned barn or home, especially if you catch the light just right. Other things that I photographed for the paper were cemeteries, wildlife, flowers (tricky in black and white!), pets and people. 

    There have been two photos I regret NOT taking in my life.

    One was when I was a teenager and didn't even own a camera. I was in the back of my mom's car, riding through a city street in a small town. An older lady with an apron was leaning against a screen door that had been added to a side door of a beautiful old building — the screen door looked totally out of place with the architecture, and the lady — stereotypical grandmother type with fluffy white hair, a dress and an apron — looked as though she should be in a house and not a commercial establishment. It was in the late afternoon, and the light highlighted every crevice and line in her face in the most beautiful way. The incongruity of the screen door and the architecture and the domestic flavor of the lady got me. None of it fit, but it would have made a great photo! I still drive by that building, and every time I think of that lady, and that's been over 30 years ago!

    The other was one that I missed because of timing. I drove past a house by a pond out in the country and spied a pair of girls enthusiastically rowing a boat — on dry land by the pond. By the time I turned the car around and headed back, the girls had moved on to somewhere else. 

    I know what you mean.  I hate it when I miss a unique shot.  I always travel with my camera and when my husband is driving I'm scanning the scenery and snapping pictures as we are traveling around.  That would have been a great shot of the older lady–I'm seeing it in my mind's eye. 

  • Kathy P
    Rfinchertaylor posted:
    I have a Facebook page in which I take photos of old and abandoned structures that I come across in my travels.  I usually do research on them to find out the history and include the story with my pictures.  I enjoy doing stuff like that.  

    Oooh, I'd love to follow your page! There are several IG travel/nature photo accounts I follow. Sometimes I scroll through those just as an escape.

  • Rfinchertaylor
    Kathy P posted:
    Rfinchertaylor posted:
    I have a Facebook page in which I take photos of old and abandoned structures that I come across in my travels.  I usually do research on them to find out the history and include the story with my pictures.  I enjoy doing stuff like that.  

    Oooh, I'd love to follow your page! There are several IG travel/nature photo accounts I follow. Sometimes I scroll through those just as an escape.

    Here is the link to the page Kathy.

    I also have a page with my art work, crocheting, etc.

     

  • Rfinchertaylor
    Started feeling better so decided to finish this one. Had not touched it since Tuesday. Not the best but I'm still learning how to manipulate colored pencils.
    Whisk, Colored Pencil, Canson Multimedia Paper 9×12

     

  • K8sMom2002

    I like it! Glad you were feeling well enough to tackle it! What would you have improved on it? What's the trickiest part of manipulating colored pencils? 

    I know my mom preferred to work with charcoal because getting the colors just right with pastels or colored pencils seemed tricky to her and she could never get it where she wanted it. But I really like the way your little water droplets pick up the color behind it. That's amazing to me! They look so wet!