Friday 1 January 2021

Have Gesso, Will Journal

Hello Friends!

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi gyd

Happy New Year one and all

How was your Christmas?  Did you stay up to welcome in the New Year?  I am sure we all found strange and alien ways of marking these days, but we did it, and now, with hope on the horizon, more than ever, diligence and respect for others is so very important if we are to get through this.

In my home, for as long as I can recall, and that's a long, long time, a jigsaw has been part of our Christmas festivities.  Always at least a 1,000 piece, but in truth that is about the largest that is manageable on my coffee table.

This, rather last, year I had two from which to select.  Of course, by "select" I mean which to do first, because finding and placing the pieces does become rather addictive, a truth universally acknowledged by anyone who loves jigsaw puzzling.  If you care not a jot for jigsaws, then look away now!  {or simply scroll by to the next bit}

Here are the two boxes



Both are paintings as opposed to photo images.  I picked Dawn Flight to do first as it's been in the cottage the longest.

I found it truly tried my patience, for it is full of very odd shaped pieces indeed, some curved, some pointy, and even some with straight edges in the centre which caused great frustration during the initial sorting out of the edge pieces! 





I would get them in place, then before I could secure them with proper interlocking pieces, they would slide apart and have to be brought together again.

I persevered and, et voil√†, done!  {apologies, image in two parts, due to Instagram formatting}



One of my favourite books that I read this past Christmas was this little gem



It's called "Home For Christmas" and is penned and illustrated by the inspirational American writer and illustrator, Susan Branch.  It is her memoirs of her particular childhood Christmases in the 1950's which  Her muse for the cover image of Santa Claus is her husband, Joe Hall.   I think he makes the most perfect Santa!

I found it to be one of the happiest, joyful, and most uplifting reads I have had in a long time. I laughed, I cried, I shared her pain of suspense, and excitement in her anticipation, and more as she shows us how love and family are the most important gifts of all.  

Now on to 2021.  Wales is back in lockdown and so I am looking for ways to entertain and amuse myself for a few weeks.  I came across this book, a lovely hardcovered almanac I bought in a January sale from 2019 {how long ago that seems now}.  


I have mixed feelings over it, as it is packed with information, but I found some of it wholly irrelevant to me {for example, hard to calculate tide tables information} yet other things, such as recipes, quite useful. Some of the pages are quite beautifully illustrated too.  However you look at it, it's as out of date as last year's chocolates.  So, what to do?  Well, I'm seeing a trend for altered books, so I am jumping on the bandwagon.  Have gesso, will journal!  

There are around 260 sides and I would guess about half of them are now irrelevant so I shall lightly gesso these, one at a time, keeping some of the text visible, and then journal with my own information, whatever I decide, keeping within the general theme of almanac. I might even use it to keep a record of the garden as it progresses through the year.  We'll see how it goes and I will share regular updates on here, Twitter, and Instagram.

Just for fun, here's a picture of my Christmas dinner.  I made nut roast, roast parsnips and potatoes, braised red cabbage, bread sauce, and cranberry relish.  Normally, I also have a mixed root mash and mushy peas, but really didn't feel like a Christmas Day blow out.  As it was, I was too stuffed for pudding.  After snapping this, a red wine vegetarian gravy was added.  I enjoyed it a lot, and the left over nut roast did well for a few days of left overs.  Sometimes, I think left overs are better than the meal!


Until next time
Stay safe and stay well
Deborah xoxo

22 comments:

  1. Hi Deb! Well done on getting those jigsaw finished, it's not something I am good at! Lockdown is always hard, enjoy your books. Your dinner looks wonderful, so yummy! Have a good and safe new year! Hugs, Valerie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Valerie. My wish for you is a Happy and Healthy New Year full of art!

      Delete
  2. It looks lovely, Deb. A great dinner, a wonderful journal idea. That's really pretty brilliant. Someone gave me a jigsaw that -- well, you know how you have to really love a puzzle to commit to the time and space it takes? Well, this one... I don't think I can live with it that long! Maybe if I had a table out of the way! I love both of yours. I can see why they'd be pretty tough but the end is pretty.

    Susan's book looks wonderful. I thought of ordering it and didn't and should have! Happy New Year, my friend. Stay in, stay safe, and stay well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jeanie. Just started anothe ! My wish is for you and Rick to stay safe and well. You really must get Susan's book, it's so uplifting, and try to watch her Zoom talks too, links are on her blog page. xoxo

      Delete
  3. That is a beautiful jigsaw. I have just rediscovered my love of them and finished one in November and will be starting another one soon. I had to google gesso.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jean. Yes, they are quite addictive. Stay safe and well.

      Delete
  4. I agree about the leftovers dinner - always better without the hours of cooking beforehand.
    Happy New Year to you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sue. Yes, must be because we don't have to work for hours. Happy New Year!

      Delete
  5. Deb, I feel your pain about the oddball shaped jigsaw puzzles. They are certainly enough to make a preacher curse! Even so, your puzzle is quite lovely and I know you were happy to have it finished.
    I too, loved Susan's new book. The charm she is able to convey in her writings always bring joy.
    Your dinner looks lovely and I agree with you about leftovers. I've never understood the complaints about them!
    Happy New Year, dear friend! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Martha Ellen. Never any complaints over leftovers, in fact I often cook extra to have them! Did you join in any of Susan's online talks? They were lovely, a way of connecting in this strange world. Stay safe and well my friend, and Happy New Year to you and Grayden. xoxo

      Delete
    2. Deb, I too love making ample amounts of soups and stews to enjoy more than once. I have a friend whose husband refuses to eat leftovers. Seems quite odd to me and my sensibilities!
      I've not been able to join Susan for her talks. Hopefully I will join her if she continues. Have a nice weekend and continue to be safe! xoxo

      Delete
  6. I love jigsaw puzzles and haven't had one for quite some time. It's on my to do list for 2021 and possibly get hubby involved too! Happy New Year, ladybug!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Rita. Yes, go for it! Happy New Year.

      Delete
  7. Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year Deb. The jigsaw is super but gosh it does look very very difficult!! What a good idea about the journal and making it in an almanac style. I had last year's as a present and it is very good but, as you say, a lot of the information is not relevant. Look forward to seeing more of your journal and your Christmas Dinner looks delicious :) Take care.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, my friend. You are good at drawing, so you should try it too. Those dated almanacs have little use now. Go for it! The dinner was good, even though I say so myself. Stay safe and well, Happy New Year!

      Delete
  8. I've never seen a jigsaw like that and I'm not sure that I'd get on with it . Scrabble is one of the Christmas traditions for my sister and I, Martyn isn't games player so does his own thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sue. I hadn't either, not until I started sorting it out, then I looked back on the box and it says "unique and varied puzzle pieces".

      Delete
  9. Blyddyn newydd dda i chi hefyd!

    I stayed up, but more because I happened to be awake than anything to be honest. The only years I've ever bothered staying up intentionally because it's New Year's Eve have been ones where I have to because of family things going on that I'm involved in. I'm one of those boring people who doesn't drink alcahol, and have never been able to see any reason other than the potential of some fireworks to enjoy to stay up for midnight, since it will still be the new year the next day, regardless of whether you start it right after midnight and then sleep in, or get up early. So, if I'm tired and it's not yet midnight, I go to bed. This year though, I happened to be awake watching a movie on my Kindle.

    I used to love jigsaws when I could still see to do them. Now I do those metal or wooden puzzle things instead. My hubby got me a new tactile rubix cube too, so I'll get to have fun trying to do that. He even messed up thepattern well for me, so it will be nice and challenging.

    Your Christmas dinner sounds delicious. I love a good nut roast, and agree about leftovers sometimes being even better than the meal was to start with.

    Since we just moved back to Wales at the start of December, I have plenty to keep me busy during this lockdown with boxes to finish unpacking. If I happen to run out of those, I have some puzzles I haven't solved yet (like my new rubix cube) and a whole load of craft projects I want to work on, along with writing projects I'd like to get to, and rather long to-read and to-watch lists. So, if we have another year of being in and out of lockdown I'm ready for it with plenty to keep me busy at home. I hope we don't, but at least I won't be bored if we do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Victoria. I think I go to bed late anyway, usually after 11 o'clock, so an extra hour isn't much. I guess I do it because I've always done it. I have never yet successfully done a Rubix cube. Croeso! Welcome back to Wales. I dislike unpacking, and have done more than my fair share, so good luck with it all. At least it sounds as if you have plenty to keep you busy, for it's anyone's guess how long our current situation will last now. I wonder if you've had snow? You aren't so far away from me, but we seldom have snow here.
      Stay safe and well, and I hope you can start getting out soon to explore your new home!

      Delete
    2. Yes, we had snow here. Not loads, and it didn't stick around all that long, but still. I know to enjoy Welsh snow while it lasts. ;) It has tried to snow again since, but not enough to even know it had unless you happened to look outside - or take the dogs in the yard - at the right moment.

      I'm with you on the boxes thing. I've had to deal with packing and unpacking way too many times for my liking. Still, as I said, it's something I can freely do even while we're in lockdown, so there's that. Think positive and all, right?

      Diolch. I have some familiarity with the area, since I've moved to only a little way up the road from where I grew up. But it will be nice to be able to go find out what's changed and what's stayed the same in the little over nine years I've been away when lockdown is over and I can. I didn't get a chance before it hit, since I'd literally been back in Wales for two weeks when we went in to lockdown, since I'd arranged things so I was ready to move just as England's November to December lockdown ended, so ended up literally moving in between lockdowns.

      Delete
  10. And, best wishes to you as well, Deborah, for a better and happier new year and, no, we did not stay awake to welcome it as it inevitably arrived on its own. While we did hear fireworks going off, we were too lazy to get out of a warm bed to see any. While I have never done puzzles on a regular basis, I can appreciate that they can be addictive and am considering trying one, but have to find a suitable space which is the problem with apt living at times. Thanks for the book recommendation and as I not read anything by Susan Branch, she will be added to my future reads list. Leftovers are my favorite meal!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Beatrice. Do have a go at a jigsaw, they can be frustrating, but if you steer clear of odd shaped pieces and go for the regular kind I am sure you'll find it fun. Maybe start with a 500 piece one? You can also buy puzzle mats that you can roll up and put away when you need to reclaim your dining table for meals.

      Delete