Friday, September 23, 2022

Another Infrequent Visitor

I was happy to see this Nuthatch on the platform feeder this morning but when I snapped the first shot it was flying over to the suet pellets and was nothing more than a blur. It landed on the pellets feeder and stayed there long enough for me to take this picture.



The cat was back today but on a different spot. I carefully opened the patio door, snapped this picture, took two steps, and it was gone through a wide spot in the fence where a board is warped. I think it skulks around behind the branches that an old stump sends up there.


Look what came! The first copy of my second published book, Horizon. I know it's kind of crazy to publish two books a week apart but I've had these two manuscripts essentially done for years so it was easy to do a last run through for typos and a quick edit and get them out there. I'm certain that fame isn't waiting for me around the next corner but I'm happy to have them published and not have to jump through the hoops of traditional publication. Things will slow way down now. I have another manuscript in the works (or two or three, maybe four) but it's not done and that takes time.



It was chilly enough that I turned on the furnace this morning. When I woke up my nose was cold and I couldn't get warm so on it went. I mowed the lawn late in the morning and barely broke a sweat, it was that chilly out there. I was glad when the sun would come out from behind a cloud but it made barely a difference. I didn't warm up until I took a shower and decided that today was a soup day so I made a batch of North African Red Lentil Soup. It's a really easy recipe that takes only about half an hour to whip up. I had some for supper and the rest will wait for me to eat when I get back next Saturday. That way I won't have to stop at the grocery on my way home for lunch food. Pretty smart, huh?

 

The next figure in the 3-D book was Quirky Choir. It was fun to draw and I like that each person is different even though they're all mostly mouth.

 


The mums are a-bloom now that it's autumn. I prefer the formal name of the season, I think it has more dignity than fall. These terra cotta colored ones have really popped this week...

 

... and the purple ones are still going strong. They've been blooming since the beginning of August and don't show any sign of stopping.

 


I spied this lone orange day lily this morning. When I went out to take its picture I couldn't tell whether it was opening or closing and forgot to watch through the day so I guess I'll never know.

 

I finished the Summer Fields Cap at Friday Night Knitting. I knew I could never make it last through the week and into next week, it's just too quick a project.

 


So I cast on another cap with the same pattern and yarn only in a different color. I don't have enough of this pretty blue and green yarn to knit the whole cap but I have some pastel blue of the same stuff that will go with it so it'll be a two-tone cap. Someone will like it.

 

This is my last blog entry for a week. I might hook up my phone as a hotspot during the week but don't get your hopes up. I'll see you for sure next Saturday night. Have a good week.

--Barbara

Thursday, September 22, 2022

A Lucky Shot

I saw movement on the suet pellets this morning and realized that there was a Red-bellied Woodpecker on there but it was on the side away from me. I still got the camera up and managed to snap one shot where you can kind of see the bird. It has visited a few other times that I saw but never stayed long enough to have its portrait taken.



Today I finished the skill levels of the Steps lesson, thank goodness. I can't say that I enjoyed drawing these things. I feel like I don't get the perspective right or the angles or something. I'm sure if I stuck with it and drew these over and over I might get better but I'm just not motivated by them. I'll be glad when I'm through with this book's lessons.


The next figure in 10-Steps: Everyday Things was a calendar. It wasn't hard to draw although I did have a time getting the days neatly set up in rows. I put the days letters a little too close together so I had to squeeze the numbers when it got into the 20s but that's okay, it looks alright.



Once I was done drawing I fell prey to the lure of the computer and sat here going through Better Than Mom's. Mostly I just changed stilted language to contractions. Manuscripts that start out as NaNoWriMos always have "let us" and "did not" because those count as two words and "let's" and "didn't" only count as one. I got through the whole manuscript this afternoon and evening but the story isn't done. None of the threads are wrapped up and I've got characters hanging. Never fear, I'll get there but it won't be fast. Although I did find a website that has free photographs so I did some searching and found a few photos that might work for cover art. This is not the manuscript I plan to work on next week at The Clearing.


My Canadian yarn came today. I had a skein of this yarn that I bought in Bozeman, MT a few years ago that was a dream to knit into a sock so I wanted more of it. It's a tiny bit thicker than regular, Fingering weight sock yarn so it knits up faster. It wasn't cheap but I'm worth it. Teehee. Happy Birthday from me to me!



The cat was back on the retaining wall, snoozing in the same spot. I wonder what's so attractive about that spot.


Today's toss was a handful of metal circular needles. I realized that I avoid using them like the plague, preferring wood or bamboo needles. The metal ones are too slippery.

--Barbara

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

A Visitor

I glanced out the patio door this afternoon and saw a gray and white shape up on the retaining wall. It was that cat that I've seen around a few times. When I first saw it today, its head was under the flowers but then it moved and sat there snoozing and grooming on the warm stones. I wonder whose cat it is or if it's just a feral cat that lives in the neighborhood and eats mice, which I am a big fan of.



One lonely orange day lily bloomed today. I don't expect to see many more of them now that autumn is upon us.


I got a shipment of birthday yarns and needles today. I forgot to take a group picture so I'll just show you one of the skeins of yarn. All of them are somewhere in the red family and this one is the flashiest. Can't wait to make something of it.

 


The pink sedum is still a bee magnet. I'm especially happy with this shot because it's so sharp that you can see the flower parts.


I'm still working my way through the skill levels of the Steps lesson in the 30 Seconds book. This one was an untimed challenge to draw a castle of steps with ramps and scoops, windows and arches. It was pretty fun to draw.



This evening I watched a little TV and knitted a bit on the Summer Fields cap. I'm loving the colors of this yarn but I'm afraid that the cap will be done before I go to The Clearing on Saturday. Last year I took knitting and didn't knit so maybe it won't be a problem. I'll find something, maybe just another cap. It's a fun pattern and I have more yarn like this in other colors.


I was determined not to spend the day glued to the computer screen and I did okay. I paid a few bills online and ordered a copy of Horizon to come quickly and a bunch of author's copies to come after I get home from TC on October 1. Then I folded a basket of laundry, did two loads of new laundry (I wanted to pack a shirt that was dirty), and started packing for my week away. I can't decide if it's going to be cool or warm so I've packed short sleeved shirts and long sleeved shirts that I can layer, plus a hoodie and a fleece. Oh, and a windbreaker for if it rains. Sheesh. You'd think I was going to be gone for a month with all the packing agonizing I did today.

Today's toss was a bag of fabric I ran across in the basement when I was digging for a small plastic bottle to put shampoo in to take along. I don't know where the fabric came from but out it goes.

--Barbara

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

I Watched Videos

And I followed the steps to publish my next manuscript and then decided to do it the easy way with Kindle Create. They were talking about formatting and setting gutters and bleed and all sorts of confusing publishing terms that I just couldn't see myself doing. So I went through the manuscript on MS Word one more time to make sure that I had all the typos caught and had it laid out the way I wanted it. This is the Print Preview function that shows you how your eBook will look on a Kindle, phone, or tablet. It's a great way to make sure that you don't have any glaring errors in formatting or any blank pages.



Then after supper I pushed the "Create" button and followed the steps to publish it on Kindle first and then segued right into publishing it in paperback. I've been having the devil of a time falling asleep lately and I don't know if it's because I'm spending so much time staring at a screen or because I'm so excited to get another book published, one that's been done for a long time, so long that I had to update the tech references. Anyway, here's the stage I'm at: the eBook is publishing and the paperback is in review. I can't wait until they're both Live!


I was awakened at 7AM by thunder grumbling overhead and then it started raining. I tried to go back to sleep since it had been long after midnight when I finally fell asleep but no luck. See how dark it was? I had to turn on a light to fix my Cheerios.



I took a break to give my eyes a rest at suppertime and went out to take flower pictures while my supper heated up in the microwave. There were bees all over the flowers. This fat bee was crawling across the sedum flowers...


... and another one was investigating the perennial asters. I like the way these little flowers look I just wish that the plant wasn't so invasive. If it stayed in one place, I'd leave it alone but it spreads like mint so I uproot it when I see it but I was too slow this summer and now I can't pull it because of the bees.


I didn't draw. I didn't paint. I didn't toss anything today. All I did was do yoga, take a shower, get dressed, and sit at the computer getting Horizon ready to be published. I did knit a few rounds on the Summer Fields cap after I hit "Publish" but that wasn't any easier on my eyes. My eyes are tired.

--Barbara

Monday, September 19, 2022

Well, I Was Wrong

 I was lying in bed last night when a thought occurred to me so I got up, rebooted the computer, and double checked when my author's copies were arriving. On Saturday I was so excited to be able to order them that I got the date mixed up and they're not coming until after I go to The Clearing. Dammit. There's nothing I can do to change it. The only possibly redeeming thing is that they'll probably have the new, sharp focus cover art.

I am enthralled with getting Horizon, the next manuscript edited and tidied up so that I can upload that to Kindle Direct Publishing. This time I'm watching the tutorial videos and reading the info so that I'll have an easier, more seamless experience. It's amazing what can happen when you read the directions.



Today's foray into drawing was more Steps out of the 30 Seconds book. I confess that I've stopped setting a timer because I seem to be categorically unable to draw the figures in the allotted time. So I'm just drawing them as quickly and as sketchily as I'm able.


Then to have a more satisfying drawing experience I opened 10-Steps: Nature to see that Lily of the Valley was the next thing to draw. The flowers really aren't pale blue in real life but I think they look good and I especially like the way the leaves turned out.



This morning I went to Joe's to get new tires. When I had my oil changed last time Jenny said that I needed new tires so I thought I should get them before winter. They also had to replace the sensor that tells the tire pressure so it was a little more expensive than I anticipated but when isn't a car expense more? Now I have new tires and the car feels different to drive, plus I figured out how to adjust the steering wheel so now I can see over it easier. How long have I had the car and I'm first figuring that out? Ah well, it's adjusted now. I took along the little cloth bag with the Into the Wind dishcloth in it and finished it while I waited. I also told Joe and Jenny about The Seaview and they both want copies. Hooray! Good thing I ordered a bunch.


Finishing the sock yesterday and the dishcloth today means that I need to find something else to knit--again. I could probably knit on the cap that I cast on meaning to take to The Clearing but then what would I knit there? I'll think of something.

I watched some of Queen Elizabeth II's funeral tonight on PBS. All that ceremony, all the regalia, it was really something. I was impressed with the pallbearers carrying the casket up the steps to the cathedral. It was kind of creepy watching the casket sink into the floor at the end.

--Barbara

Sunday, September 18, 2022

You Can't See It

But there's a Hummingbird at the nectar feeder in this picture. If you look closely you can see the tip of its tail below the feeder. When I picked up the camera it was on the side of the feeder closest to me but as soon as I focused it flew around and landed on the back. Arrgh!



The copper mums are just starting to pop open a few flowers. I love the color. It's so autumnal. (what a word!)


The next lesson in You Can Draw It In 30 Seconds! was Steps. I drew a few sets of steps but then I drew the penguin with a pizza on the next page. I don't know what it has to do with steps but I like it.



I finished the Villasol sock this afternoon and evening. All I had to knit was the toe and that gets smaller every other round so it goes pretty fast. I get distracted by TV and end up with my knitting in my lap but I got it done.


Today's toss was another sewing book. Why keep them just to gaze at the pretty pictures a few times?

I updated the cover of my book today. Turns out I missed a marker telling me that my original photo was too small but it let me publish it anyway. Naturally I have 25 copies coming with the old cover but it's okay. I'm sure people won't mind. Maybe the original ones will be collector's items? You know, like misprinted stamps and coins.

There's a Packer game here tonight and I missed the fly over, darn it. They flew over at about 7:20pm. I thought it was too dark for them to fly so I didn't go outside. They sounded cool too. Rats.

--Barbara

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Got It!

When I got up this morning the first thing I did was boot up the computer and check to see if the "Order Author Copies" button was live on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. And it was! Hallelujah! I fumbled to sit down and get my copies ordered tout suite. I sprung for 2-day shipping so that they'll arrive next Friday just before I leave for The Clearing. Yippee! Now I'll be praying that they arrive on time.



That way up high rosebud bloomed. I thought about pulling it down to my level to take its picture but liked the way the sunlight was shining on the petals and just took the picture as it stands way up high.


I got so excited about being able to order Author Copies of The Seaview that I spent the entire day rereading the Horizon manuscript and formatting it on KDP. I searched for free photos of the horizon online to use for the cover and found a perfect one, and then I found a couple quotes to use as epigraphs in the front matter. I am so tempted to declare it finished and press "Publish" but I know that I need to reread it at least once more to scout for typos and to make sure that I've updated all the tech references. I finished it in 2009 so lots has changed since then. I'm fixing it and then I'll shove it out there. Next month.



After supper I pulled out my sketchbook and Draw Like an Artist and drew this cormorant. I think the feathers turned out a bit better this time--or maybe the smudged shading over the whole thing hides a multitude of sins. I don't care. I like it.


The Amazon truck pulled up late this afternoon and delivered my new stick blender, a pack of blank booklets for the grandkids to write stories and draw in, and the copy of The Seaview that I ordered the first instant it was available. I couldn't wait. The cover photo is a bit pixelated but it looks good from a distance. I'll do better on the next book.


Today I tossed another sewing book.

--Barbara