Posted in Family, Medal Display, Medal Displays, Medal Hangers, Medals, Ordinarylife, Paintings, Parenting, Property, Running, Trail Running

2015 – A review

The highs and lows…..

This year has had some serious lows but also quite a few highs.

The lowest of the lows was getting divorced!  Clearly not something anybody wants or plans on happening and as one friend pointed out I hate to fail and to me this is a failure.  Which brings us to low point number 2 Comrades….. See point one for reasons of not finishing…..  At the time I was on a bit of an emotional roller coaster and my mind was not in the race.  I knew before starting I was not going to finish but I wanted to start all the same.

 

The then highs, of which there are many.

The biggest high is how proud I am of myself.  I feel like I have taken control of my life and I bought and renovated a house which Kaylin and I now live in.

When I first showed my brother my house he looked at me and asked what the hell I had done.  It was a dump!  The before photos don’t really show just how bad it was.

I called in the professionals for the heavy stuff – replacing the kitchen, the bathroom, the flooring and bricking in a doorway but other than that I did it all myself.  In 5 weeks I totally renovated the inside of a smallish 3 bedroom double storey townhouse.  I painted it from top to bottom myself, this included the ceilings and skirting’s; and when I say by myself that is exactly what I mean.  I prepped, I filled, I sanded and I even plastered one section.  I worked FLIPPEN hard!  My brother helped me put up the curtain rails but I put up everything else – the towel rails, pictures etc. The only thing that has me stumped a little is upstairs is drywall and I am not sure how to hang pictures on that…. (so far the ones that are up use double sided Velcro tape).  I will do a more detailed blog post with before’s and after’s.  The day we moved in I fetched Krypto from Animal Welfare…. Don’t get a puppy the day you move house!!!!  Having him in our lives is a high though.

Ok, so I didn't do it all by myself.  I had a little helper.
Ok, so I didn’t do it all by myself. I had a little helper.

The other high was finishing the Otter Trail Run in 10h25 a full 35 minutes under the 11 hour cut-off…. I realised then how motivated I am by a medal.  At one stage when it did not look like we were going to make under the cut-off I said to my sister “I have to have this medal, I have had a disastrous year, I NEED this medal”  So we ran – thank goodness it is a flippen big medal because we worked hard for that damn thing!  I am very pleased I did it – I won’t EVER be doing that race again (this time I am serious NEVER EVER)

The Otter Trail - at the start. Before the torrential rain, gale force winds and pain began
The Otter Trail – at the start. Before the torrential rain, gale force winds and pain began
The MEDAL.  Just as well is is BIG!
The MEDAL. Just as well is is BIG!

 

Other highs… I love having a 5 year old (most of the time)  She is still hard work but getting better.

Doing Micro Nippers and loving it
Doing Micro Nippers and loving it

My gorgeous sister got married to an awesome guy in April.  The 3 of us ran  did the Otter Trail together and at one point near the end when we were actually running he said to me.  “We are doing so well, we are going to make this.  Pamela, you are setting a cracking pace……” which I felt I was, until I looked at my watch…. 8:40m/km  It was however our fasted kilometer in the whole race.

Krypto – my cute street puppy….  I went to a second hand furniture place and outside the door were these guys selling a little puppy… I wanted to try and get them to give it to me as it had a chain around its neck too tight and they were carrying it around by that but they wouldn’t. They then put him in the back of a bakkie and were about to drive off.  I could not let that happen so I asked them how much – R150.00  I said I only had R100 so they said ok an gave me the dog…. But now, what do I do with it?  Besides the fact that we had a German Shepherd that is not very social we had also had a puppy visit us a few months before that unfortunately passed away from Parvo Virus. The virus can stay alive for up to 6 months on your property and can then infect anther puppy in that time, so I knew I could not take him home. So I took him to Animal Welfare.  I said to them that I really wanted him and I knew I was moving in about 4 – 5 weeks’ time and could get him then abut at that moment I just could not keep him.  If he found another home they must let him go, but if not I will come back and adopt him.  Which I did 6 weeks later – the day we moved.

The day I found him and took him to AWS
The day I found him and took him to AWS
Finally taking him home
Finally taking him home
He has made himself right at home - that is MY bed!
He has made himself right at home – that is MY bed!

This year has also made me once again realise how awesome my family and friends are.  Especially my sister – there nearly a 10 year age difference between us but we still manage to be great friends.  I am not sure I would cope so well without her.

My running highs are that fact that I had a PB in nearly every distance this year.  10km, 15km, 21.1km, Marathon and Ultra Marathon.  I have been running for 10 years and am getting faster in my 40’s   (training more probably helps)  I also did my first Trail Ultra – the ADDO 44km and it was AWESOME  I have entered that one again for 2016.  My 2016 race calendar looks pretty similar to my 2015 one except I am NOT doing the Otter Trail.  I might go back and do Dryland.  I really missed it this year.

I also finished a couple of paintings this year… in 2014 I didn’t finish any.  They are both acrylic on canvas and small 20 cm x 30 cm.  I am quite proud of both of them.

An exercise in skin tones
An exercise in skin tones
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Early morning outside The Friendly Stranger in PE.

So, all in all I had a good year.  I am however hoping that 2016 will be much better!!

How was your 2015?

Posted in Art, Baby OL, Baking, Children, Children's Parties, Family, My Art Work, Ordinarylife, Paintings, Parenting

A party planning compromise

So my brainwashing plans are not working so well……
It is 4 (and a half) months to go before Little OL turns 4 and she has decided that she no long wants an airplane party! Hmph…… That is itself is not too much of a problem. I am adaptable (kind off) but she wants a Teddy Bear party!!! She’s had a Teddy Bear party! Her second Birthday Party was a Teddy Bear’s Picnic party.

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I guess I should be flattered – she liked it so much she wants it again! But somehow I suspect it is less to do with her remembering her party and more to do with the fact that Door Stop (her teddy bear) never leaves her side.

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In the background is a work in progress painting of Little OL and Door Stop, from a photo taken just before she turned 2.

So it looks like we are going to compromise, a Teddy Bear in Airplane Party it is going to be (for now at least).  Very cute idea actually. I have started pinning stuff.

Posted in 30 Days of Gratitude, Art, Baby OL, Baking, Children, Family, Ironman, Ironman 70.3, Medal Displays, Medal Hangers, My Art Work, My New Business, Ordinarylife, Paintings, Parenting, Running, Sketches, Trail Running, Training

Happy 5 year Blog Anniversary!

I have had this blog for 5 years – wow time has flown.  Before I started here I had an iBlog account for a short while as well.

Over the years my blog has changed quite bit.  It has gone from being mostly about Ironman training to a real mix up of stuff, Ordinary Life stuff!  I have had a baby, I have started baking and icing cookies, I have shown you all some of my paintings and sketches, I have started a new business – SA Medal Hangers.  And very importantly I have made some great friends!

Thank you all so much for joining me on this journey, I am thoroughly enjoying it!

Here is the link to my first post – published on the 1st September 2008

https://pamiejane.wordpress.com/2008/09/01/windy-city/

Posted in Art, Charcoal Drawings, My Art Work, Sketches

Life Drawing

I once again attended a life drawing session at Art on Target in Target Kloof. They generally hold them once a month and get a different model to pose each time. This time they got their gardern to do it – a wonderful gentleman in his 60’s with lovely features.  It was apprently his first time posing and he did very well.

 

In one of the drawings I tried to focus mainly on his face, but he tended to look around the room a bit and although he probably thought he was only moving is eyes it did change the look – the next few drawigns I stuck mainly to his body.

We started with 3 minute poses, then a couple of 15 minutes, 30 minutes and ended off with 1 60 minutes session.  I love doing this and will definitly try again.  I probably would not have done these had it not been for the fact that I am unable to run (hopefully that changes this week)

Here are some of my drawings – these are all done in charcoal.

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Posted in Art, My Art Work, Ordinarylife, Paintings

Paint the Town Red – Painting

I have been drawing and painting quite a bit lately and love it.  One of my friends requested a large painting for her lounge, saying she wanted a city scape.

I got all excited and downloaded a few pictures to see what she liked and thankfully we had similar ideas.  We both like the same two, one quite abstract and one quite a bit more realistic.  I suggested that I try to combine the two and change the colours a bit to suit her room.  She was game.

This is the result and I am very happy with it.  (So is she, which is probably more important)

Paint the Town Red
Paint the Town Red

 

Her lounge wall is red so this works very well.  Here is a photo of it in place.

Paint the Town Red - in place
Paint the Town Red – in place

This one also gives you more of an idea of the size.

It is acrylic paint on canvas.  Each canvas is 50cm by 100cm, meaning that the entire painting is 150cm (wide) x 100cm (tall)

Posted in Art, Charcoal Drawings, Courses and Workshops, My Art Work, Ordinarylife

Life Drawing

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

For me it was on Saturday when I went to my first ever life drawing session.  I was really nervous beforehand, I did not know what to expect, I was not sure if my drawing would be “good enough” and I did not know anybody else that was attending.

As with most things my worrying was unnecessary.  I absolutely loved it.  Although not a class or workshop they did give us a couple of pointers when requested. There were quite a few people there that were also doing it for the first time and it was fun to walk around and see what everybody else had done.

There were some people that had never drawn people before and there were some professional artists.  Nobody was made to feel that their work was inferior or “not good enough”.  And the lady hosting it did give some pointers for us “first timers”.

How it worked was they got the model to pose for short burst first, extending the time.  It was first 60 seconds, then 5 minutes, then 30 minutes, then 1 pose of 1 hour.  I was amazed at how quickly the time went.

Below are the two of my drawings that I am most happy with. The first one is a 30 minute pose and the second is the 1 hour pose.  I took these photos with my phone, so they are not the greatest.  I think I will need to try to scan the pictures.

30 Minute drawing
30 Minute drawing

 

60 minute drawing
60 minute drawing

 

Both drawings were done with a mixture of pencil and charcoal.

Posted in Art, Courses and Workshops, Family, My sketchbook, Ordinarylife, Paintings, Sketches

I want to learn how to…. (a Bucket List of sorts)

I don’t have is a bucket list – for some reason it has never appealed to me.  However I have always had a vague list of stuff that I would like learn how to do.  I love learning about new things.  I get overly excited, I Google it extensively, I watch tutorial after tutorial on You Tube, I buy books and read everything possible about it, I might even attend a course or two and eventually I will attempt it.

I love the challenge of learning something new, pushing my boundaries and trying stuff that I have never tried before.  The problem is that as soon as I have figured out how to do it (not even mastered it, just how to do it) I get bored and move onto the next project.  Sometimes I will go back to that project because I really enjoyed it, or I found out more about it and realised I only just scratched the surface with my abilities and then I will get all excited about it again.

My problem though is that my list of things I would like to learn about it is endless, varied and I forget about the one as soon as I have thought of something new.  So ci decided to write them all down ….  Here are just a few that I can think of at the moment:

  • I want to learn how to do quick sketches on location (and make it look like the people are people and not monkeys) – STARTED – WORKSHOP BOOKED, BOOKS ORDERED, GOOGLED EXTENSIVELY – See other blog An Ordinary Life – Sketched
  • I want to learn how to take a decent photograph
  • I want to learn how to paint a decent portrait (properly) – STARTED – SIGNED UP FOR THE DIARY OF FACES ONLINE WORKSHOP – PART ONE with Sharon Tomlinson
  • I want to learn how to work with chocolate
  • I want to learn how to make fondant (sugar paste) figures decently
  • I want to learn how to design a website
  • I want to learn how to use my Silhouette machine properly
  • I want to learn how to illustrate a children’s book (I will even settle for drawing a decent greeting card)
  • I want to learn how to use a photo editing program with a little bit of skill
  • I want to learn how to use a graphic design program
  • I want to learn how to make money out of property
  • I want to learn how to retire rich (don’t we all)
  • I want to learn about trading on the stock exchange
  • I want to learn about permaculture
  • I want to learn how to reupholster furniture
  • I want to learn how to write more creatively
  • I want to learn why my tomatoes keep dying
  • I want to learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • I want to learn how to bake a Black Forest Gateau
  • I want to learn how to swim more efficiently – for long distance open water swimming
  • I want to learn how to hand bind a book
  • I want to learn how to do Lino Block Printing

As you can see my list is extensive and varied…..  Although you will note there is nothing musical on there. Even I know my limits.  I am totally tone deaf!!!

I have decided that instead of just having a vague idea of things I would like to learn and randomly doing some as I come across them I am going to try and work my way through my list.  I am not saying I am going to try and learn them all.   Some I might scratch off the list all together.  I am also not giving myself a time limit.  Who knows, I might find one on the list that I absolutely adore doing and get stuck on it for ages.  Then again I might try and do two at once.

There are also some obvious constraints – obviously money is a huge one (if you offer courses in PE or online and want to donate a space to me in any of the above I will gladly accept – just saying…..). Time is the other biggie – I have a full time job and a 3 year old.  Space is another – the garage is my husband’s domain (or he so he likes to believe) I can’t really just take over the entire house and garage with my stuff.  I have already taken over about 95% of all available storage spaces (including the garage) with my hobbies (yes, I have a few).

So, with this in mind I have asked to attend a Pen and Wash workshop held by Talbot Cox for my Birthday, it is all about sketching on location and using your sketchbook as you go.  It sounds exactly what I am after at the moment. The course is in a couple of months and I am very excited.  HERE are details on the workshop if you are interest.

What would you really like to learn how to do, or like me do you have a list?

Posted in Art, Charcoal Drawings, Crafts, My Art Work, My sketchbook, Ordinarylife, Paintings

My voice

On all these reality TV shows, whether it is cooking, singing, dancing or home decorating, you always hear the judges saying the contestants need to “find their voice”.  At first I did not really understand what they meant, but as I watch more (purely research purposes of course) I got what they meant.  The contestant had to find the style that suited them.

I feel like I need to do that with art.  I am not talking restrict myself to one thing like only paint, or only draw.  I will always be trying new things and techniques but I need to discover my style.  I will still bake, sew, make cards, do various crafts, spray paint chairs, renovate and upcycle etc. but I am talking specifically about my artwork.  I see fantastic works of art that people are creating and think – wow, I’d love to paint like that or draw in that style or whatever.  But I know, I would never or could never do that.  It is not my style!

But what is my style?  That is the problem.  I feel that I need to define it, to “own” it.  I don’t know if I am making any sense??  But I feel that I need to concentrate on what works for me and I know that this should be easy and perfectly clear but I am finding it hard.

There are a few things that I know for sure.  I love drawing!  But I need a reference. I can’t draw “out my head”.  I love people and portraits.  I like paining in oils, but also love pencil, ink and charcoal.  I am better at realistic than fanciful.  But that is probably just because I have no confidence in my creative abilities.  So taking these as starting points I am going to try and work on defining my style.  I know it will change over time and I will improve.  For now I am going to draw more, as I mentioned in my post “Making a Plan” I want to try and draw something every day.  Not a masterpiece or even a full sketch.  I am happy if it is only a doodle, but I want to pick up a pencil or pen and draw.

Do you know your voice?  Are you trying to find it?

If you look at the tabs at the top of my page there is one labled “Art Work”.  I have some of my pictures and paintings there.

 

 

Posted in Crafts, Family, Ordinarylife, Paintings

A fun project

Mr OL had these pair of bar stools that he refused to part with… They were old, the varnish was peeling off and they were covered in paint splatters – he called them his painting chair – from the days before he had a ladder.

They had pride of place in our entertainment area (we had nowhere else to put them and the skip was out of the question.  I figured that if he was not going to let me get rid of them I was going to make them a feature – and paint them red!

It was the first time I have tried to repaint furniture and as I wanted them glossy I decided to use spray paint.  I am not sure if I would do that again – or just opt for the more conventional paint brush next time, but I am really happy with how they turned out.

My steps were

  • Strip of all old varnish
  • Sand
  • Fill all cracks using wood filler
  • Spray paint – a number of coats were necessary (5 cans……)

Here are some photos

Before
Sanded and cracks filled – already looking better
After
Pride of place

The only thing I did not do is replace a missing cross bar.  I did not want to spend too much money on them incase I (or Mr OL) hated them.  Although initially sceptical about the red he loves them!

And its another thing crossed off my list.  The hardest part of this project was trying to find a windless day – yip PE has been living up to its name lately.