Saturday, April 19, 2014

Busy Days

Sorry for neglecting my blog for awhile!  The days have flown by between moving into the new mountain cabin, driving back and forth to Raleigh, babysitting for my sweet Charlotte two days a week, celebrating two family birthdays, shopping for things we need for the cabin, and everything else.  There has been no new artwork or sewing project to report!

Last weekend we had a cabin full of company as our older son and his family came to visit, as well as our friends Tom and Pauline.  This time Tom got the walkway installed, and it looks great!  Much better than my cardboard boxes laid end-to-end!  There is still some loose sand to continue to work into the cracks between the bricks.

While that project was underway, my brother-in-law's uncle Gary came over with his bulldozer to landscape the rest of the property!  We did not know he was coming.  He worked for two days straight, pushing over scraggly trees and opening up our view to the creek and pond.

He also smoothed out all the holes and trenches from installing the utilities, and expanded our driveway.  Our yard looks at least double the size it once was.

I was a little concerned about the kids playing outside with the bulldozer in action.  It seems they always like to find a hide-away to build their "clubhouse."  This one under the cabin steps was perfect, and kept them out of the path of the dozer!

There was also time for a little fishing in the pond.  For the past several years we have been transporting trout caught in the creek into the pond so the kids have a "catch -and-release" fishing pond.  Some of those trout have gotten very sizable!  Caden hooked a huge one twice, but could not bring it in on his Lightnin' McQueen fishing rod.  I'm the only one that actually caught one, a pretty ten-inch speckled brown trout (caught on the Sponge Bob fishing pole!)

These two little pooches look like Me and Mini-Me.  The little one is my sister's puppy, Daisy.  She says over here with us a lot whenever we come up.  I think she believe that Kasey is her mama.  Kasey says, "Not no way, not no how!"

I took Kasey for her check-up after her mouth surgery and they said she was doing great.  She goes next week for her 8-week check-up following her knee surgery.  I think she is doing fairly well on that leg.  She puts her weight on it some, and we are starting to let her walk the short way from our mountain house to my sister's (just across the pond.)

Meanwhile, back in Raleigh, it is the prettiest time of the year.  The dogwoods and azaleas are in full bloom.  We are lucky to have a beautiful woodsy yard and a pond at our rental house.  There are banks of azaleas all around our driveway.

The dogwoods are beautiful between the deck of the house and the pond.

If only the weather would stay spring-like.  We will have a couple of nice warm days followed by a return to cold, damp weather.  

Here is our little munchkin enjoying one of the warmer days!  She looks like an Easter doll.

Today we are going up on the mountain to dig up some rhododendrons and maybe some flame azalea to transplant to our own little hill.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Looking Up

We're in!  We finally got to spend the night in our new cabin last weekend.  The beds were not delivered until after ten o'clock on Friday night, but they sure felt great!

Although we have had a garage apartment on the same lot for six or seven years, we never realized that we would be able to observe sunsets from our new deck.  The colors are even reflected in the pond below the house.

Our son Dave, his wife Emily, and their baby Charlie came up to help us move in.  It was so nice to have a proper bedroom for them, and lots of room for Charlie to run around.

In fact, she is a Mountain Girl now!  She has been on Gator rides,

run through  the Christmas tree farm,

and played with Aunt Katy's baby goats and chicks, and a whole mess of Hall cousins.

And I think I may have another budding artist in the family.  I got out my box of 64-color Crayolas, and I swear she said, "Oh, Wow!"  She carefully took out one or two crayons at a time and then put them back IN the box without breaking them.  That's my girl!

Back at home in Raleigh, the dogwoods decided to start blooming while we were gone.  Now if only the weather would warm up a bit, we could go outside and enjoy the North Carolina springtime.

Here are two of my pieces featuring dogwoods.  Carolina Woodland Spring is a trapunto quilt with additional painting and beading.  I used real dogwood blossoms for the patterns.

Carolina Woodland Spring, by Jeanne Turner McBrayer

And here is my watercolor painting of the dam over the creek at our mountain place.  

Creek at Dogwood Time, by Jeanne Turner McBrayer

And for those who read my previous post about my dog needing more surgery...she did just fine.  What a trooper!  We have a very good dog.  Getting expensive, but what a sweetheart!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Woeful Week for People and Pup

After a great weekend in the mountains, we ended up having to stay until Monday because my husband got the stomach bug.  We made it home Monday afternoon, and I got the same thing on Monday night.  Not fun, but we both are over it.

Also last weekend, we noticed our dog Kasey had a swelling under her left eye.  It was the size of a golf ball. 

Today I felt strong enough to take her to the vet.  It turns out that she has an abscessed molar.  Tomorrow morning she goes under anesthesia once again (3rd time in 8 weeks) to get two big molars extracted and the rest of her teeth cleaned.

My poor baby has had a rough couple of months!  They say she should feel like a puppy once the broken teeth are yanked and the infection is gone.

And we are supposed to move into the new cabin this weekend...and have a house full of company!  It will all get done.  We are blessed to be able to get this sweet dog fixed up and out of pain.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Color Wheel Flower Collage

Finished another project!  I call it Color Wheel Flower.

Color Wheel Flower by Jeanne Turner McBrayer, 2014

It began as a watercolor study of the colors in my palette.

My sister thought the colors were so cheerful that she downloaded the photo from my blog and made it the background on her iPhone.  I thought it could use some improvement.  I cut the sections into petals and painted more papers to get a range of colors.  Then I glued them onto a gallery-wrapped canvas that I had previously covered with tissue paper and a color chart from a catalog.

The last steps were to glue on some bits of colored glass, and spray with clear acrylic finish.  Now the colors really sparkle!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mountain Tote Bag :Finished!

I finished something!  A while back I posted about an art quilt UFO from an online Pamela Allen class.  I decided it would become a tote bag.

This piece is already quilted with backing and batting.  I just satin-stitched through all layers to attach the appliqué and do the quilting at the same time.

I found an old canvas tote bag that had dark green handles and was approximately the right size.

I remembered a workshop with Karen Eckmeier in which she had covered a canvas tote with patchwork.  I couldn't find her book which I think had instructions for the tote project, but I set out to make a quilted tote bag cover.

I ripped out the stitching along the side seams.

Then I created some more patchwork with mountainy, leafy fabrics to make the cover large enough.  I just happened to have some fabric with log cabins in my stash!

Since the other piece was already quilted, I quilted the new section as well.

I added a narrow dark green binding to each end, using some leftover binding from another project.
Then I sewed the two quilted sections together.  I trimmed the canvas tote to be the same size as the quilted cover.

 I used an overcast stitch on my Janome to finish the tote bag edges, since I cut off the serging that was on there.  Canvas can unravel very easily.

Next I applied a fusible mesh to the quilted cover, and ironed it to the canvas.  Then I stitched the pieces together around the edges.  It seemed like it needed more quilting to hold the layers together, so I just did some in the ditch stitching through all layers.

I sewed the side seams back together.  Then I made a gusset so the tote bag could stand up.

After trimming the seam, all I had to do was turn it right-side out.

Here is the front side.

And here is the reverse side.

This bag is just the right size and padded enough to carry my iPad, a library book, and my chargers when we travel to the mountains.

And we did travel to the mountains this weekend...and look!  We got to see the new cabin lit up for the first time!  They hooked up the electricity and the gas on Friday.

I love the way the house lights are reflected in the pond below.

The fireplace is now functional with gas logs, although the mantle is not finished and the rocks need to be mortared.  But it made a cozy fire and for the first time it was warm enough to be comfortable inside the cabin.

We did not sleep in the new place, because the water is not hooked up yet, and the gas furnace is not yet fired up.  But next weekend we will have new beds, and couch and chair delivered, and hopefully we will be all set.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Family Weekend

This weekend we had a reprieve from winter weather, and beautiful spring temperatures.  Just in time for a gathering of my relatives for a memorial service for my aunt, Cornelia Willoughby Turner Loftus- better known as "Billie."

Billie died in October after several years of declining health.  She has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.  Her three children invited the family and close friends to a "Celebration of Life" in Cary, NC, on Saturday.  All five of my brothers and my sister attended, as well as many cousins from Alaska to Virginia to Florida.

Billie and Jeanne were my father's two younger sisters.  Only Jeanne is left now.  I was named for her.  We have a lot in common besides our names.  We are both tall, blond, quilting watercolorists!

My sister and two of my brothers stayed at my house.  We had a great visit.  Jeff and John are both accomplished guitar players and singers, and we had many hours of entertainment later Saturday night.

When I was waiting for my brother Jeff at the airport, I took some photos of the cherry trees in bloom.  Such a beautiful day with blue skies and warm temps.

And here is another welcome sign of spring...just look at our little granddaughter Charlotte!

After this little teaser of spring, we are supposed to have snow again tomorrow.  It does not seem possible!

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I got the good news that my quilt was juried into the PAQA-South Art Quilt WHIMSY! exhibit at the Page-Walker House in Cary.  This was my first time to enter one of their shows, so I was happy to be one of the 45 accepted.

Now I have to add a hanging sleeve, make a wooden hanging slat with screw eyes attached to the ends, write an artist bio, get a 5x7 photo of myself, make business cards, and sew on a label.  I have until April 15 to get all that ready.

I have no news from the Vintage View Quilt show because I missed the whole event.  We went on our annual birthday trip to Asheville, NC, to visit as many of their fine microbreweries.  We had a DD, but ended up walking from place to place in the downtown Asheville area with a fine group of friends and relatives.

And one very large dog!  Our hosts Lee and Beattie have adopted a ten-year old golden retriever, Jake,  that was in need of a foster home.  He is about as big as a sofa but a very sweet boy.

Charlie enjoyed his birthday, and so did all of us.

Our own personal dog had to go to the kennel for the weekend.  She "emailed" us this photo saying she missed us, but was having fun.  I think she would have preferred to go on the pub crawl with us, like Jake did.

We had great weather Friday and Saturday, but it rained all the way home.  More wintry weather to come???  Let's hope not!