Cherry Blossoms, Falling

Posted July 31, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Art Postcards

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This is a little card I received when I traded decks with someone, I’m not sure how many years ago, probably around eight years ago.

Hiroshige II (Ichiusai Shigenobu) (1826-1869)
Image supplied by the Bridgeman Art Library


I never realized there was a Hiroshige II. He was the first Hiroshige’s son-in-law and student and inherited the name after his master’s death.

It was a sad day today as my mother-in-law died. It wasn’t unexpected as she had been in the hospital for a week, but it was still sad. She was overseas so we weren’t able to be there, but my husband talked to her online a few months ago at least and spoke to her on the phone as best he could given her hearing loss and dementia.

Cherry blossoms for all the grannies who were once young girls, blooming.



Turner Plays with Stars and Fluorescent Light Fixtures

Posted July 30, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Art Postcards

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Another postcard, recently from across the pond, which I finally found shoved in my nightie drawer with all the correspondence I have to catch up on. In a hurly-burly rush I put these postcards somewhere “safe” and then couldn’t find them.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775-1851
Oil on Canvas, 91.1 x 122.6 cm
The National Gallery


I’m never sure with Turner if I’m looking at exactly what he painted. He was known for trying out new paints and formulas, some of which were fugitive, so what we see today is not always what he painted colour-wise. This is a bit murky but it’s supposed to be evening as the sun sets, so I guess this is what he wanted. OR it might be a study for a fuller painting.

I’ve had an epiphany from Mr. Turner: sometimes what you think you want is not what you want.

The spouse and I had a bit of a blowout yesterday due to too much stress and fretting. So today we worked on cleaning the top of the kitchen cupboards and putting new wax paper lining down, cleaning the kitchen light fixtures, cleaning the spice cupboard and the tea cupboard, cleaning the fridge, cleaning acrylic panels for fluorescent lights in the basement, and edging and sweeping the front walk and painting the stoop, all the small things that needed doing. We also cleaned the front door and the screen door windows there and touched up the window paint.

As a reward, I got my inexpensive Chinese Jinhao x750 fountain pen in the mail. I just have to clean it thoroughly to get any machine oil out and then rinse it and give it a spin with Diamine Meadow ink. A nice reward for a day’s work on fiddly stuff.

I shall be able to enjoy the evening star tonight, I can just see it reflected on the sea.




Brewed Strength

Posted July 28, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Art Postcards

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Guess what turned up in the den after I spent nine hours cleaning and rearranging it? That’s right, some more postcards. I bought this in 1983 and promptly tucked it away, never to see light until 32 years later. I feel sometimes this is what happened to my whole life, it’s been tucked away waiting for the light.

From an original in The Robert Opie Collection at the Museum of Advertising and Packaging, Gloucester.


Just what the world needs, another encouragement for men to drink beer! This chap should have been helping me clean my third bedroom. I swear I toted out as much as he is lifting in this picture. Also, what a neat museum to go and see if anyone wants to toodle around Gloucester.

This is also a reminder to eats lots of fresh veggies. I’ve lost 12 pounds since I started working on the house last month so that’s a good sign.

The photographer is coming in three days and then we’re live with our listing for the house. Finally. There aren’t too many properties like ours available so I hope someone snaps it up.

This man says “Stick another load on your head Jude, you can do it!” I dare say he’s right.



Lojong #54

Posted July 26, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Lojong Slogans

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I made it into the third bedroom for an hour or so yesterday, and threw out a full garbage bag full of stuff. Then it became overwhelming. This is the room we refer to as “the den” and it’s a catch-all room for my dollhouses, dolls, craft stuff, and my card deck collection.

Today I woke up at 6 a.m. worried about mildew getting at things I have stored in there and on it went from there. I know the rule about declutter and how if you haven’t used it for a year, get rid of it, but I saw another rule yesterday that made even more sense. It was to ask yourself “Would I buy this today?” and the answer for me in many cases is “No, I wouldn’t” but then where do they go? I can’t throw them out because they are new things, but they are a burden because I have no place to store them.

Worrying, I decided to pull a random Lojong card.

Train wholeheartedly
Photo: A Canada gosling munches on the seeds of Bahia grass.


That made me smile because I am sure getting a workout in uncertainty, change, the ambiguity of being alive and letting things go. Pema Chodron makes the point that training yourself every day in the small things will eventually filter in so that when a big thing comes along to cope with you will know what to do.

Like this baby Canada Goose gosling, we fall and get up, we teach ourselves how to find things to eat, but we keep going, falling and getting up. Norman Fischer calls this “Be wholehearted” and says pay attention, don’t worry, don’t forget, don’t complain—all these things. Come home and feel your breathing and your heartbeat.

We make excuses for not keeping up with our mind training, but more than that we don’t practice. Here I have a perfect opportunity in selling the house and moving 4500 kms, to keep up, to train each day, to recognize emotions and face things I’ve kept in a room. BUT if I open the door and wholeheartedly get to it, I get to all the stuff I’ve avoided for years, which is fear, sadness, disappointment, a wall of emotion, lingering and festering.

Judy Lief says:

“Pay attention to the boundary between wholehearted practice and a more vague and lukewarm approach. Notice your thinking process, your bodily sensations, and emotional undercurrents. What happens at those moments in which you click in and are really practicing?”

I can tell you what happens, the emotions dissipate, I feel relief and hope and I think to myself “This isn’t so bad.” But it requires some discipline to do it, to practice wholeheartedly.

Time to munch some seeds.

That Magical Siamese Cat, Looking for Jan Huston

Posted July 25, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Art Postcards

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This is a notecard with a lovely piece of art on it. I bought this card around 1985. I was working for a bank in downtown Toronto and had a long commute by bus. One of the managers had this card on her desk and when I inquired about it she had a cat that had recently died that looked like this. The Siamese cat I had at the time looked just like this too so I had to go buy the card at one of the fancy downtown card shops.

It was displayed with my cat figurines for years and when I packed them away recently to declutter for viewings of the house, I put the card in with my postcards. I have several nice notecards with cats that I bought for my collection, but that was long before I lost all my cat friends. We’ve always had a multiple cat household and it’s rather painful after losing nine of them over the years to have the collection and remember my youth when we were all healthy and bursting with life and plans for the future.

by Jan Huston


Look at those remarkable eyes. That is just like a Siamese, so blue and luminous. I have a picture of my cat Nollie sitting in a bunch of leaves just like this cat. There are forget-me-nots on the card among the grass and we have those in our front garden.

Jan Huston seems to have specialized in cat portraits. Back in the 1980s she had notecards and porcelain plates (one at least for the Franklin Mint of kittens), one crewel embroidery needlework kit with her cat art, and a large poster with a cat in tulips. For Athena International out of London, she produced this card (the art was also reproduced on a porcelain mug), one of rabbits, and one tiger that I can find, but I can find no biographical material on her.

I would love to know if she is still alive and painting and what happened to her, just because this piece of art means so much to me.



A Cat Reflects on Talent Gone from the World

Posted July 22, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Art Postcards

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I think I bought a package of notecards with this design around 1980 or so. I found it in the old set of drawers I threw out.



Mads Stage was a Danish artist who died in 2004. I was sorry to hear that as this is a favourite piece of art of mine.

His designs were used on postcards, stamps, greeting cards and notecards, ceramics, textiles, and books. He favoured birds and animals but also did cityscapes and landscapes, as well as scientific medical drawings.

What a loss, I always loved his artwork. He illustrated Walden, I would love that edition with his drawings, but it is only available in Danish, and is very pricey, alas.



The Impudence of Pine Floors

Posted July 19, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Art Postcards

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We finished the floors. We are both shattered from effort and tension. Today is Sunday so we are taking a rest. The floor has to cure for 3 to 4 days; we will leave it for 4 days since it’s humid and we want them well and truly cured before moving the furniture back. If I ever see a paintbrush again I’m going to scream.


While all that was going on, I was throwing out a huge amount of junk from the basement. We had an old steamer trunk that belonged to a relative and it was filled with things from when I was a teenager, plus board games and other detritus. Out it went, except for this, which is a Thermos box I bought to paint and use as an art supply box back when I was 16/17 years-old. I couldn’t part with this one because I painted it one summer when my Mom and Dad were away on a trip and it’s a good memory, but that’s okay I can use it for current art supplies and thus come full circle.


Today I am using a lovely postcard that I bought three copies of I loved it so much back in the 1980s. I found it with some other postcards in an old chest of drawers I threw out. They’ve been airing out and seem to be salvageable.

Reproduced courtesy of A. & F. Pears Ltd.


I am not a Mother and generally don’t go ga-ga over babies, but honestly, isn’t this the cutest kid? I can see myself hugging its head while it giggles.

So I’m going to be like this kid today and relax and laugh, catch up on my artwork, do this card as a digital jigsaw, and just forget about the bloody house for a day!




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