Nose-prints on my window

A feral colony of three sibling kittens born in my garden this summer, have decided to stay on for the winter.

The black kitty I named Coal. From a very young age he’s been the most gregarious. The kitchen window looks out on my garden (not pretty in winter). When I walk in the kitchen, Coal jumps from his napping spot on my jacuzzi onto the window ledge. He is captivated by me, regardless of what I’m doing. Anytime I’m cooking is his favorite time to visit.

Recently he’s taken to high-fiving me through the glass then walking back and forth rubbing against the window. He’s now “trained me” to pet him through the glass. This goes on until I’m tired. Not once a day but rather each time he sees me – including after dark when he’s visible only by his topaz eyes.

As a result, my kitchen window is dotted with nose-prints from Coal and fingerprints from me. It’s messy but I love the connection we have and look forward to seeing him each day.

Messy window vs visits from Coal. Coal wins. Windows can be easily cleaned.
On my deck when he was very tiny
Coal and his siblings, Toffefay and Stormy

 

Creativity during a pandemic

During the pandemic with endless days of solitude, I’m increasingly grateful that I discovered a passion for painting. I immerse myself in the vibrant colors and create art that continues to surprise me. Hours melt away….

Clearly I’ve been obsessed with the tiles I’ve been painting with alcohol ink, as evidenced by recent posts. I wanted to share a few of my favorite artistic endeavors in this post; all are alcohol ink on Yupo paper.

Gratitude

A year ago I was beginning preparations for the annual Wolfe family Christmas Eve, a tradition that Spence and I started years ago. For my grandkids, it’s the only Christmas Eve they’ve known. With the house decorated, delicious food, surrounded by family, laughter and gifts galore in front of a roaring fire, the tradition continued even after we lost Spence. This year the house is decorated but the Christmas Eve festivities had to be cancelled due to Covid.

So you might be asking, isn’t this post titled gratitude?

In a year fraught with crisis, chaos and isolation for long periods of time I make a point of reminding myself that I’m okay when staggering numbers of people are not.

I’ve lost no one to Covid.

I have my health, a warm home and no worries about where my next meal is coming from.

Tipper and Biscotti, (my cats) are my roommates. They entertain me, snuggle endlessly and don’t seem to mind that I talk to them…a lot. I may be the only human in my home but I’m never alone.

I’m grateful that I moved Mom to my home for six weeks when the Covid crisis was in the first surge. She loves my cooking. We played games and had non-stop quality time together while remaining safe. I introduced her to the Gilmore Girls – a favorite of mine that I’d recommended countless times. She was hooked and it seemed fitting to share a show featuring a mother and daughter with my own mom.

Home delivery of groceries is something I hadn’t imagined I would ever do but that changed in March of 2020. It was a godsend during those early months.

I’m grateful for my garden. It got me out of the house and into fresh air and sunshine creating beauty that surrounded me all summer.

Puzzles, countless puzzles kept me entertained for hours while shifting my focus away from the worries of the outside world.

I’m grateful for knowing myself enough to take breaks from the news. While I want to be informed, watching the news felt like being bludgeoned for most of 2020. Sometimes a girl needs a break.

Music and books have always been things I love. They became an essential and integral part of coping during long stretches of alone time.

Streaming took on new meaning in 2020. I’ve discovered fascinating documentaries and series that captivated me. I’ve watched critically acclaimed movies that I’d always intended to watch.

After postponing a road trip to my beloved Wears Valley in May, I was able to go in September. Having traveled here many times, I sought out activities that avoided crowds and would be safe, which brought me to the Great Smoky Mountains Art community. I took classes in pottery, glass blowing, fused glass and painting with alcohol ink. It was transformational and something I might not have done if not for Covid. From the number of blog posts, it’s clear to see that painting is now a hobby/passion/obsession of mine for which I’m grateful.

I’m grateful for the scientists who worked tirelessly to find vaccines that will eventually eradicate Covid.

I’m grateful for the return of hope I feel for our country as we approach inauguration of qualified, compassionate leadership in January 2021.

Thank you to my followers, you have my gratitude as well. I wish you a Merry Christmas, good health and a Happy New Year. Be safe.

My new obsession….

Recently I did a post about my first 24 alcohol ink painted ceramic tiles. I love the process and results. It provides me a creative outlet that’s both therapeutic and soothing.

Last week I launched an Instagram account called laurasprettytiles if you’d like to check it out. I’ve already connected with artists across the globe. I feel a kinship with them and am inspired with the beauty they’re creating. Here are my latest tiles:

Surprise on my Porch

In September I took my first (and only since Covid) vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Traveling solo during a pandemic, I sought new experiences that were safe and uncrowded. The first was a pottery class at Fowler’s Clay Works, something I’d always wanted to try and I loved it!

My creation had to remain behind to cure, be glazed and fired. My expectation was to receive it after three months which would be mid December. To my surprise, it arrived on my front porch this morning. It’s so pretty and I flashed back to an especially fun and memorable day. I’m including photos and this link, https://spencesgirl.com/2020/09/26/tennessee-great-smoky-arts-crafts-community/ to my earlier post about the art classes I took in Gatlinburg if you’d like to check it out.

My first 24 tiles

I’ve been sharing my tile art through various social media accounts and garnering lots of positive feedback. One question (likely due to the number of posts) is “what’s the plan for these”? That’s a great question….for now I’ve been enjoying them displayed like this!

Creating beauty and focusing on art rather than the sadness, uncertainty and stress of 2020.
I pop in my AirPods, select my favorite playlist and start painting, like a spa day for my mind.

Fun with Painting

During my September trip to Tennessee I took a painting class introducing me to alcohol inks – and just like that I was hooked! These are paintings that I’ve done since returning home.

Sun Reflecting on Dewy Grass
Inside an Agate
Abstract
Abstract
Abstract
Morning Glory Leaves from my Garden
The view from my cabin in Wears Valley was my inspiration for this tile.

Tennessee – the Beauty of Storms in the Smoky Mountains

One of my favorite things is watching afternoon thunderstorms roll over the mountains. Protected by my covered deck, I watched one front move through Wears Valley followed thirty minutes later by another. The heavy downpours, booming thunder and crackling lightning set against the Smoky Mountains is magnificent to witness. As the storm passed, thick fog slowly blanketed the valley, making the mountains disappear before my eyes. The air cooled as mist enveloped my cabin. It seemed I was in a cloud.

First storm coming my way
The clouds and fog roll in
Mountains disappearing
Peace, tranquility and the beauty of nature.