Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Coloring Book Progress & Spanish Lav jelly

Weed: Herb Robert
A geranium spp
Was all over the property, so I googled it. 

 Oh man, how does two weeks pass when you're not working. Getting back into the Blog thing might be harder than expected.
That's right, still no boats. I'm working towards almost three months boat free. It's crazy. So I've been crafting, and planting, and killing time like a boss.

Tidbit: Coloring Book Update
It's almost here!!!
So most of the knowledge about this has passed through my IG over the last few weeks. Last week the first proof of my first coloring book arrived! Since this was my first full body slam at using I wasn't sure how it'd go. My first try, everything uploaded easy and the formatting was approved.  It was all going well. 

Matte Cover Proof 1 "Well"
Since I collect and correct data for a living, the sticky-note disease 
transferred to my project. It didn't stand a chance.

Round two into formatting, not as easy, not as pleasant, and I was sneaking up on rage when the final edit, the fourth a few days ago, was finally accepted!!! Microsoft word and I were having words. But it was like freaking Christmas when the Email came through.
 Hashtag StressSuccess

I receive my final Proof and finished copy by next Friday! They will be $12.00 and will be super easy to get a hold of once available. SO Stoked. Fish might be next. Who's to say?
My mini promotion of my coloring book through IG has already spawned a fun graphics project and sewing brain child project. RIGHT!?

Tidbit of Food: Spanish Lavender Jelly

One of my favorites has a delightful Lavender bush, going to town, in her front yard. Since the violet jelly was so easy and fun I did a full experimental jelly recipe, all me!

2Cups Spanish Lavender
Steeped in 
2Cups of water
4Cups of Sugar
1/4Cup Lemon Juice
1pkg liquid pectin (3oz)
Hot water bath Canner

I steeped the lavender for ~45min, (until it was cool really), strained it, and put it in the refrigerator for the next day. (It was laaate).
Got the beast canner started, and 8, 4oz jars prepped, clean and heated, in the dish washer. 

Added the tea, sugar, and lemon juice into a pan to boil. Stirring until I couldn't keep the boil down, then added the liquid pectin. Boiled it for another two minutes. I took it off the heat and went to town filling jars. Hot water bathed for 10 minutes. (we're at a low elevation)

Spanish Lavender Via Sara

Freaking ADORABLE jelly jars.

Until Next week! Or something more interesting happens. Shrimp Fleet might finally be taking the plunge.

Happy Tidbitting!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Instagram?! The new favorite. AND Violet jelly.

Hello out there!

It's been much too long. Ever since I discovered the wonders of Instagram, I've been trucking away with my daily life, crafting, domesticities, and sea life on that platform. It felt like a hell of a lot less effort and therefore less stressful. Blogging is stressful, I don't care who you are.

A new idea that struck was to embed my Instagram photos into my blog. What other pictures am I taking, honestly? Here I can expand on the glory that is. Not to mention who reads these things unless there is a recipe?

Queue Tidbit Recipe:

Copied from PrairieLand Herbs Link:
Wild Violet Jelly Copied below too
2 heaping cups of fresh violet petals (see note below)
2 C boiling wter
1/4 C well-strained, clear lemon juice
4 C sugar
3 oz liquid pectin (Certo)

Wash petals well, drain and place in heat-proof glass or nonreactive bowl. Pour boiling water over petals and let steep from 30 minutes to 24
hours. It usually takes about two hours for violets. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving the clear, purplish liquid or infusion. If not using
immediately, refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Place jars and lids on rack in pan or stockpot deep enough to cover them with about two inches of water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, keeping the jars hot until ready to fill.

Ladle quickly into jars to within about 1/8 inch from the top; clean each rim and threads of the jar as it's filled, and place flat lid and ring on each before filling the next.Place the jars in a hot-water canning bath and boil for 10 minutes (or the appropriate time for your area). After canning, carefully check to make sure the lids have all sealed.
Sealed jars will last up to one year in a cool, dark place. Put any unsealed jelly in the refrigerator. it should keep about three weeks. Makes four or five half-pint jars. The flavor and color will vary somewhat due to growing conditions and season - that is part of the joy of working with plants, is the endless variety! The taste is delicate, green/floral.


 I had a hell of a time finding 2 Cups. Like. Damn.
Couldn't cut the recipe, it was already little.
Also, it's canning, you don't mess with canning.
Wild Violet batch

Front yard plants...not abundant.

What to do when you don't have enough? Make Tea anyway. Steeped the flowers in (less) boiling water and popped it in the freezer for safe keeping.

One cup fresh....not really good enough.

Suddenly genius occurred! Why not just dry the flowers until I've enough? Or close enough... Eureka!

Cute as shit jar for the dried wild violets!
Mayday arrives. The day of reckoning!
On the right you see my frozen first go.
It's much more blue then the final product.

When the lemon juice was added, the chemical reaction
made for an adorable lavender/light pink sugar soup.


Sidenote: I did not Can my jellies. Although that was the original intent. Mine are heading to the fridge and freezer. But Seriously, it's 4cups of sugar to two cups of flavored water. It should hold up for a while.

Dried flowers were a win. If I had more like i'd have wanted, it'd be darker. But as nature is, every time is different.
Light, a little tangy. Should go good with a white cheese and cracker like a Boss.
Back to the talking

So I've erased my old blog template and started fresh in all white, with a little color to come. Hopefully the once a week, at minimum, crops back up.

A few things that might come up?
Home improvement
Life at sea (if I ever get a boat. It's been very slow.)
Garden witchery (See violet-life experiment above.)
Trying to make a dollar...

Speaking of ART?

Tidbit: the Color book that never came

Last fall I started a project: Draw 30 color pages in three months (while working) to bind into a coloring book. I kept/keep being told "you should do that". SO Damn it! I have! Except it took waaaay longer than three months.
 If you've been around my IG account ( for any extended period of time, you'd know that the whole project fell off the radar. The computer nonsense tripped me up pretty good. First time blah blah blah ect.

So we fought. I...didn't loose, per se. But you know what's dumb? Cover pages...and formatting. Formatting is super dumb.

It's still in the throws of the platform, CreateSpace, making sure it's all dandy. Also, I'll still need to get a preview before it's out out... You know, make sure it's not the absolute worst! I had to relearn Microsoft word, Acrobat, and createspace's needs. Also I had to buy new photo manipulating software and force it to my will. Unprepared effort, people. Maybe next time I'll make a subversive coloring book. Swear words are always "In".
Happy Tidbitting!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

This is Halloween!

Tidbit: This Is Halloween
Definitely watched Nightmare Before Christmas this fine morning. Which was inspired by my last week's dive into appliqué  hexagons. Oh man.

 I bammed out this pumpkin, appliqued it to a piece of hand dyed fabric, then thought: Damn! That was quick. Foolishly quick. Nay absurdly. Therefore it needed a wee bit of something more. Obviously.
I don't have an armory of embroidery techniques, but the basics worked out great.
I did intend for the dark purple script to be more washed out to maintain the pumpkin's focal. Which it is. However some such folk believe some dimensional highlighting should be added. TBA
But, why stop.
More hand dyed.  
I don't know what I'm to do with this, but I made a dang ton more of the little beasties.
Tidbit: Watercolor Experiments
First I played with salt
Then I played with Saran wrap 
Then I did BOTH 
It was fun...
Tidbit 3: Water Pen Butterfly from the sketch

Mr. Butterfly's model, I named him April. A leopard lacewing Cethosia cyane.
It comes to us from last year's 2014 calendar, smartly titled: Butterflies. Guess what month! I love calendar photos because they're vibrantly colored, glossy and Dang Huge.  
It's sitting on lavender. (At least, he's sitting on lavender in the actual photo.)
Happy Tidbitting!

Monday, October 19, 2015

October midStride Part 2 watercolor

Oh the places Pinterest can lead you!
This lady is my new hero. I stumbled upon her blog page via Pinterest. Essentially anytime anyone says, "I'm not creative" and I think that's complete crap I tend to lack anything useful to add, other then that's complete crap,  which I believe to be 100% true. Also just do it isn't really helpful either. Especially when I find those words epically hypocritical. I can now point and say "Here...Her". Art is experimenting and repetition and this delightful woman's blog is the epitome of that. She's doing all kinds of different things and constantly doing them.

Besides her general awesomeness, her Aug 6 2012 article introduced me to the Water Pen or Water Brush. I don't have art classes under my belt. So I suppose, actual artists might see the Water brush as just another no-big-deal tool. I see the Holy Grail of watercolor painting.

It's a brush, shaped like a pen, that holds water in the pen stalk which you squeeze to bring agua down the bristles. HOLY GRAIL

She also mentioned Crayola paint. Uh. I have Crayola.
AND I keep seeing people ink over watercolor. Freaking Pinterest. But I've been doing a lot of zentangle type doodling. Who's to say I  not try to watercolor paint a flower, then just draw a flower over the not awesome painted flower? Okay

Tidbit: Water brushing
I literally said Holy Crap! outloud. I've seen plenty of videos of flowers and people adding pen and me thinking...pff I can't do that.
 It's also loose (which has taken me 28 years to do) and something I just made out of my head rather then trying to use a model (which never goes well). I am dumbfounded. A fluke perhaps. So...again!

Tidbit: Poppy field model of a horded Calendar.

 Tidbit: Brain autumn tree with a pumpkin patch and hopefully
                               the background isn't complete deuce.
I give it an 'A' for effort and...Not an 'A' for, well, everything else. It reminds me of my middle school watercolor days...if perhaps mildly better. Mildly.
But, add some Pigma Micron and the heinous is markedly lower, like magic!
It's like coloring in a colorbook backwards. You add pen where the color changes. Rather then add color inbetween the lines. Magic.
 Happy Tidbitting!
Never end the experiments!


October midStride: Part 1

Oh Man October.
Part 1
The TidBite that started it all.....
This was an ongoing page in my Mixed Media  Canson sketch book.  I started it merely as an inspiration catch, or a "just start for F*** Sake!" page. As I've discovered, any creative process can be stonewalled when you haven't been arting your art in a while. I'll stare at a piece of paper and ask myself "now what?". I don't know? I can't draw that, it's too hard! BAH!!
...It escalates quickly.
 I broke up this paper and slowly just filled in the varying polygons, with whatever. The checked polygons were the focal, and finished last. When I sat down with this tidbit, I finished it 15 minutes later. I wasn't ready to be done. I was in pj's, forest was gaming, we were enjoying our rapt silence four inches apart.

TidBite: Halloween cards
Therefore, I busted out my stamps, ink and cards. In September I got my stamp carving on. I podged these cards last year in preparation for Halloween then...nothing for 12 months...
The wee witch's hat was free hand carved stamp and the initial focal of my scraped Prevalence of Witches modge.
This is black speedball ink, that I blotched around the edge. Then I used a micron pen for the webs and, because done isn't good enough, I found oil pastels and did swirly ghost-like....swirls. 
I lurv them!

This thrust me into my present Tidbit stide that I'm loving. Work is down and Art is up!
 Got on a boat soooo.....
Tidbit: Steaming at Sea
 Started with the little pumpkins and it evolved into a single giant JackOLantern.
Then... I found this gem online and thought, Yesssss. 

Doodling into a real shape...uuuuhhh.
New life experiences: spray painting a pumpkin, drawing on a spray-painted pumpkin. It's goofy, but I love it. If there were to be a next time, I wouldn't use a sharp point Sharpie.  It made this harder then I think it should have been and is what causes a sketch look over the bumps of the pumpkin. 

In person, it's pretty nifty. In this photo it nearly looks like a Pinterest Fail. Ha.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Oh the many TidBites of September!

September was crazy insanely busy.
So much so, that now it's  October. But that's okay. October is superior!
Shrimping was pretty much the same damn thing...over and over and over. I did receive a few reprieves.  Some baby rougheyes for example. When identifying a new species of rockfish, you look at the headspine count.  The photo below shows the headspines of a juvenile Rougheye Rockfish. The count is one of the first steps in narrowing down the ID. This photo you can see all eight spines which is unusual (for me off Oregon) since many species are lacking HS 6.
Nerd alert over.
Tidbit 1: Sketching with pencil on Rite in the Rain paper.
 It (Rite n Rain) doesn't take to erasing, much like pen. So I went about drawing in a zentangle type of fashion. I was pretty proud that I didn't get all eraser happy. My first trip I read the whole third novel of Diana Gabaldon's. This was my second week at sea.

It got a little morbid when I saw the eye balls, but I still really like it.
Tidbit2: Field sketching cont.
This is a shiner surf perch. It's scales were odd to attempt being more horizontal in layout then grid-like.


TidBite1Oceanic Advent Calendar. (fully lacking any actual religious affiliation.)
Last year I saw an awesome calendar on the Pinterest.(yep) Each day is an ornament; that is placed an a mini tree.  Their version was all white, and classic, and beautiful. My ornaments are all going to be beaded what-nots with a marine theme. Obviously.
I was making a frame to hang these loverly jute bags (a garland from Michael's from last season) (which will contain the ornaments) but then recently came across this fantastical wood frame instead. So the last frame is scrapped, hard. In the mean time, I'd made two said ornaments then moved my house and lost everything into packing. Well, shortly after I bought the frame, my bead pieces reappeared! So this morning, I made two more! ...only 21 days, worth of what equates to single earrings, to go. Gah.

TidBite2: Knitting!

Really this is making me look like I've got Christmas on the brain. I'm knitting a baby hat for a to-be-born-in-December fetus. Of which I know not the gender. Variegated grey for the win! It's father is a fisherman. It only made sense.

TidBite3: Stamp carving
I started working on some Halloween and Christmas stamps for my coming postcards! I'm way to stoked about the holidays...

Happy Tidbitting!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Field sketching

Creature Feature Week.

I was out observing on a shrimp deck this week, and a bar in their grate excluder was busted out. As a result I got to see some larger critters for the first time in a few months. The monotony of seeing the same damn thing week after week gets old. I don't know how some people do that. BUT

Tidbit 1: Creature feature!
Above: Yellowtail Rockfish Represent. This is a an average size fish. Way the eF too large for a shrimp trawl when excluders are functioning properly.
Below: A middle sized Spiny dogfish shark. He was feeling picturesque.

Tidbit 2: Field sketching

Field sketches are the best kind of practice. You don't have all day, the critter is either moving or decaying (seriously, fish drying out is deeply irritating.) There is a need for speed, of which I am a work in progress.

Below is a Dwarf Wrymouth (which was ironically much harder to draw then the Pink shrimp below it). Notice my excessive erasing. Rite-in-the-rain paper doesn't take to erasing for crap. The dude looks a little cartoony, which is unfortunate. But, wrymouths are goofy anyway. I could see the striation of the muscle tissue beneath the skin, as these guys dont' have scales, which is what that weird cross hatching is about. They are actually very smooth and rubbery looking. My representation is...lacking.
Below, the second head sketch is a better representation of the extreme oddity that the wrymouth is.
These folks are drawn to size.  
Meet the Intact version of your tiny salad shrimps.
I've always wanted to try my hand at a little shrimpy. But I never think to save one aside. I found a strangely intact critter on the deck after we were done and cleaned up. Segmented bodies are easier to draw as there are a lot of separate pieces to tease apart which can be sized against each other . Unlike a smooth fish which is one Long piece. It causes a proportional nightmare ( in my world )when visually trying to down-size it, like the Pollock below, to get it on the blasted page.

The Pollock was drawn on Dura-rite "paper" which is actually the far superior version of Rite-in-the-rain. I was recently in Powell's in Portland and saw a miniscule Dura-rite pad to buy. It was dumbly small. Expensive too. So that didn't go down. It's straight-up smooth plastic that erases like a dream when wet. This is a NMFS Spp ID sheet, so I cut off the verbiage. But this "paper" is what we use on deck so as not to ruin our raw data while working.
Now if only I could get my hands on a ream of 8x12 blank Dura-rite. A lady can dream...

I'm going out on the same vessel tomorrow. Hopefully we'll see some more interesting kids.

Happy Tidbitting!