Tuesday, February 28, 2017

American History Museum First Ladies Gowns

On my first high school visit to DC, we went to the American History Museum. It became one of my favorites. One of the more interesting exhibits - to me - was the First Ladies gowns. The six wives of Henry VIII display at the St. Augustine, Florida wax museum also piqued my fancy when I was in grade school. It must be something about the clothes that brings history to life for me. Since then, I've read about most of these characters that all had stories to tell. So as we make our way on our morning walks on the mall, we have lately been stopping by the various Smithsonian places if the crowds are small and there are no lines to get in. Today was the American history museum and we headed right to the First Ladies section. The museum is under renovation so there were a lot of exhibits closed or moved. It's always nice to be able to actually see the items without a lot of people in front of and behind you. The gowns of Martha Washington, Mary Todd Lincoln, and Dolly Madison are striking, as is anything Jackie Kennedy. The display gives you a real feel of the sizes and shapes of these historical figures. Included also are china displays of which Abigail Adams is my favorite. I'm glad this was an exhibit that was still open to see, but it really deserves an update. The first time I saw it the gowns were in chronological order and there were more of them. It had a big impact and I remember it to this day.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Zazzle Website Issue Unresolved

I set up a Zazzle shop a couple of years ago. It's called LITDigitalArt and it's an opportunity to showcase my digital artwork. The images I create on my iPad are uploaded on the website and all the products that are a available on Zazzle become custom art options for purchase. I am impressed by the fact that my items have actually been found - out of the millions out there - and purchased. I never had any difficulty working with the program to create new options when I first started it. But for the last year or more, the website just wouldn't work. I couldn't create any new products with fresh images and it didn't matter if I used my iPad or my laptop. I kept getting error messages without any sort of explanation. So I finally sent an email message with the documented error message, and received a response saying the technical team was advised and are working to solve the problem and to be patient. It's been a week and nothing has happened. I've requested a status update and have not received one. Perhaps I am just impatient, they can't figure out what the problem is, or worse. It is frustrating not to know. Sometimes all it takes is a simple update, even if the issue has not yet been resolved. That's how I used to communicate when I was working. It sure avoided a lot of bad feelings.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Payne Elementary School Fundraising Auction Donations

Since I began painting digital art portraits, I have received notices requesting that I contribute an item for various causes. Most of them are pooch related organizations since I do a lot of pet portraits. I've done at least three for the Chicagoland American Eskie Rescue, and sketched a few used by the National Borzoi Rescue. Last week I received a notice from Payne Elementary School in DC - they noticed that I live in DC and have an Etsy shop. Since the auction is in the neighborhood and it is for an elementary school, it was a no brainer. I've done a lot of digital paintings of DC landmarks, and many of the images were incorporated into three children's books that I wrote. Two of them were produced by StoryChimes and are apps in the Apple Store, and all three are available on Amazon as eBooks or paperback. The main characters are my grandsons and the stories are about a tiny fish, a trip to Washington DC, and a parent child separation. So I donated a set of my three paper back books, and twelve DC related digital art images. And, because I love to do pet portraits, and have a "gallery wall" at the Wagtime shop on Capitol Hill, I also donated one of those. So I'm looking forward to being included in the April auction to support a great cause.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

LLBean Casual Skirts

Since I retired a year ago my wardrobe has completely changed. Gone are the suits and skirts that I wore entirely for the work setting. In comes the LLBean walking outfits made for any kind of weather. I waited a year to see if there are other items that I would still wear - and I never do. I really need to edit the closet again soon. However, some of staples I was lacking were casual straight skirts. I had a couple skorts, but that's not the same as a longer length a line or straight skirt that can be dressed up or down, is good for travel, and errands. So we went to LLBean last week to see how they might fit. Unfortunately they can only be bought on line. I was very hesitant to order any because I'm in between a size 10 and 12 depending on the cut. Twelve is oftentimes too big in the hips, but good in the waist; 10 is good in the hips and tight in the waist. So I gambled and ordered size ten and kept my fingers crossed. They were all on sale, I had a coupon and ended up with three skirts for next to nothing. They are all different styles, and lengths. I have to say they all fit okay - I liked the one with the stretchy waist band the most and they all come with some "flexible" fabric. When you get older, you want to be comfortable -  but not too baggy. So I'm hoping they work out. It's amazing how tatstes change as the decades pass by. Things are getting back to a much more simpler and easier pace.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Target Threshold Indonesia Salt and Pepper Shakers

We left a full set of fine chine and a other set of lovely dinnerware in the Midwest when we moved here. We now have Williams and Sonoma French Apilco Porcelaine salt and pepper shakers that match the white dinnerware pieces. We got this Apilco set when we moved here because our son and daughter in law had the same brand - and we could borrow whatever we neeeded if we needed it. Well, they moved a couple of years ago and that advantage no longer exists. But the salt and pepper shakers were never an issue - except the bottom plastic piece that you need to remove to refill the salt and pepper was impossible to take off. They now look like they've been chewed up. So we have been on the lookout for replacements - they needed to be white and plain. So when we were in target the other day for a few Corelle replacement bowls and Oneida flatware, we checked out the salt and pepper shakers there. Although they are bigger than what we prefer, there was a nice porcelain set from Indonesia under the Threshold brand. What made them even nicer was that the small plastic piece on the bottom comes out without even a slight struggle. So as pieces of our French Apilco chip, they will be replaced with Corelle and Threshold. We are long past making any impressions. These pieces work nicely. Let's hope they last.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Costco Run

We always wonder if having a Costco card is worth it with a $55 annual fee.  We haven't been to Costco since late summer, so it was time for another run and decide - again - if we should keep going. We end up shopping there probably twice a year. So we went to the warehouse in Arlington. It was packed - but it was also noon. That's not a good time to go. We always start at the electronics and home end, work our way towards the groceries, and end up by the toiletries and medicines. Some of our favorite items are there and are really worth getting just for the major discounts on Boursin and p'tit basque cheeses. Two huge bottles of olive oil are unbelievably cheap. Some of the products come in such huge volumes it will take forever to use them - but they are daily use items like paper towels, napkins, lotion, and razor blades. Of course the huge pack of Hersey chocolate bars for $21 was the best purchase. Batteries and light bulbs are always needed, and we even ended up with regular paper and photo paper for my printer. I use the photo paper for displaying my digital artwork on my gallery wall at Wagtime. We would have gotten more grocery items but the quantities were just too much for just the two of us. Will we keep our membership? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. Is it tiring? Yes. Do we still need to go to the grocery store on Saturday? Unfortunately yes. There are just some things that aren't available in the brand we like and the size we need. Maybe I should look at what is available on line. Or maybe not!