Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sunset Clouds

Clouds...beautiful to look at, harbingers of rain, symbols of happiness when puffy and white, depression when dark and gray.

I spent some time painting clouds using different techniques yesterday.  Here is one that I liked well enough to finish as a gift for my husband for Fathers' Day on Sunday.

Marsh Sunset, Jeanne Turner McBrayer, 2015

A highlight of our Sunset Beach vacations is always watching the sun set over Madd Inlet from the cottage on 40th Street at the end of the island.  

Here are some of the other cloud studies.

Wet paint blotted with tissue.

Watercolor wash dried, then re-wet with cloth towel, and color lifted with towel.

Wash of colors for sunset clouds.  This one led to the colors used in the Marsh Sunset painting at the top.

It has been extremely hot here in Raleigh, NC, this week.  We are heading for the hills for the weekend.  We have not been to our cabin for almost a month, and we are needing a fix, as well as a respite of cooler temperatures!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Journal Pages

I got caught up on my Fun and Fabulous Journal Challenge pages.

The first prompt was something like "Play Date."  I got out my Tom Lynch book of 150 Charts:  Watercolor Workshop Lessons, and did this one on making juicy, loose color combinations.  I used my new Holbein watercolor paints, which Tom recommends.  They definitely have rich, bright color!

Today's prompt had something to do with Time.  I already had the background, chair, and lamp on this journal page.  I used a watercolor background, then sprayed with diluted watercolor paint in a spray bottle through a stencil.  A quick look through a catalog in today's mail produced a clock to match the patchwork decor.  A little lettering with a Sharpie completed the page.

Today was the first day of preschool for my little two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter, Charlie.  I have kept her two days a week since she was three months old.  What a joy she has been to teach, play with, and love.

My husband is phasing out of his work as a financial advisor, and we hope to spend much more time in the mountains.  Now if we are up there on a weekend and don't feel like coming home on Sunday, we'll just stay!

But I sure will miss my little girl.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Here's Something I Made

It has been a very busy time since Memorial Weekend!  We just got back from a week at the beach with our family.  Our granddaughter Lily had a birthday, and I finished the patchwork bag that we started together when she was on spring break.

The lovely posy was made by my friend Tama Brooks as a remembrance after my father died.  Lily selected the rest of the fabrics to make up the front and sewed them together.  I then added enough patchwork to fold over and make into a tote bag.  

The way I have been making sturdy tote bags is to make a regular quilt complete with binding, then hand-sew up the sides.  The back of the quilt becomes the lining of the bag.  I also make handles that are quilted, and securely sew them to the bag.

Unfortunately, we left the bag of birthday gifts at home, (along with all our towels and the paints and papers I meant to bring) so she will have to wait until we see them in a couple weeks to get her finished bag.

She will also be getting tho framed print of pears on a windowsill.  She was going through my stack of finished paintings and expressed an interest in this one, which surprised me.  I thought she would want one of my more vibrant paintings.  I think it turned out very nice matted and framed.

I have continued with the Fabulous and Free Journaling Challenge with Irresistibly Moi on Facebook.

The "Stamp It Out" prompt produced this ocean scene, just before we left for the beach.  I used a commercial stamp for the ship and also for the little shore bids in the foreground.  I tried some home-made stamps from a carved Styrofoam food package for the clouds, sun, and waves.  Then I brushed on some more paint to make it look more artistic.

Another prompt, "Numbers," happened to fall on my anniversary.  So, I had fun with the 44 years we have been married, and the wedding date.  Watercolor, markers, and white dimensional paint.

I did this quick watercolor painting in response to the "Monochrome Mania" prompt.  It is of course inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

Here is our family group at the beach.  We had a wonderful time, great weather, good food.

And I will leave you with one of our glorious Sunset Beach sunsets.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend in Mountains

We had a very productive weekend at our North Carolina mountain place.  We ordered a storage building being built by the Amish.  It will look a lot like this photo, but with a green tin roof.

Then we started building a rose garden along our driveway.  We already had a masonry wall built by our friend Tom Fissel last year.  The little girls in the family were using it as a balance beam, which made me nervous that they fall down onto the lower driveway.  When these knock-out roses fill out, I don't think they will want to be on that wall.

What a labor of love!  I am sure we will enjoy this garden for years to come.  One of these days we will cover that white wall with a rock veneer of some sort.

We also started insulating the basement that will one day be my sewing studio.  Our friend Big Mike also came up and finished the wiring.  Yippee...lights!  Power outlets!

I had not even turned on my Gammill all winter because it was so cold down there.  I briefly turned it on to check out the outlets.  It fired right up, and I gave it a good cleaning and a nice big drink of oil.  Can't wait to have some time to do some quilting.

I have been taking some nice walks with my camera phone.  Here are some of the nature shots of this beautiful area.

Fire pinks and ferns in our back yard.

A flame azalea blossom.

Mountain laurel

Mountain Laurel

On the way back to Raleigh on US 421 we were surprised to look up and see the Goodyear blimp overhead.  I think it was in the area for the Coca-Cola 500 race in Charlotte on Sunday.  I took a picture through our sun roof.

It was a great weekend!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

May Days

 Last weekend we took a trip to South Carolina to see our beautiful older granddaughter, Lily, perform in her dance recital.  We were so proud of her!  She will be nine next month.

Our other son and his wife went to St. Croix for a destination wedding the next week.  We kept their 2-year old daughter Charlotte for a few days.  It was hot, and we enjoyed playing outside with the water hose!

I have gotten a couple more journal pages done for the Facebook journal project.  This prompt was "Name", and I chose to devote my page to my married last name.  The tartan plaid is an approximation of the McBrayer plaid.  It is very hard to draw a complicated plaid.  I found a Celtic-looking font and a knot border that I printed out.  The mandala is one that I drew recently and has nothing to do with the McBrayer clan!

Here is another one for the challenge "Calendar."  I tried to paint my granddaughter Charlotte playing with bubbles out in my yard on one of my babysitting days.  I used watercolor paints and markers along with some tissue collage for the flowers.

This weekend we are back in the mountains for a long Memorial Day weekend.  We have ordered a storage shed built by the Amish to put alongside our driveway.  It will be for the lawn mower, a four-wheeler and Gator, and for lots of the stuff currently in our garage.  I want to clear out the garage so we can actually park our cars in there!

There is a big group of family and friends up here this weekend.  Charlie and I spent the day building a flower bed along our driveway, and planting a rose garden.  Exhausting work, but I anticipate years of pleasure from the beautiful red roses.  Pictures next time!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Barn Quilt Square

Finally...the finishing touch for our mountain cabin!  Our wooden quilt square, Dutch Dreams, is now installed!  We decided to hang it "on point" under the peak of the cathedral ceiling roof.

It was a very fun Mothers Day weekend in the mountains.  One thing we did was "walk the cows" from the pasture on the big hill behind my sister's house, down the mountain and across the street to Uncle Gary's new grassy pasture.  This involved a person walking each calf on a halter, and a Gator riding behind to help encourage them to proceed.  Here is my niece Melinda trying to get her boy started on the short journey.

I walked one, too.  He enjoyed the walk, and treated the entire trip like he was going to the salad bar, munching all the way.

 It was also my sister's 60th birthday.  I gave her a little painting of the dam over the creek on her property.  I have painted it several times now.

I also did a quick little painting of a tranquil mountain lake for my daughter-in-law for Mothers Day.

This week I have been keeping little Charlotte, my two-year old granddaughter.  What a delight!  Needless to say I have not gotten much done while she has been here, but I managed to finish another journal page.  The prompt for this one was "Feet."

I used the lyrics from a favorite Zac Brown song called Toes, and a photo from last year's family beach trip.  I painted over the black and white copy with watercolor to blend it in with the background.  This year's beach trip is now only 24 days away.  Bring it on!

Friday, May 1, 2015

All Things Quilty in Ashe County, NC

We are back this weekend at our mountain cabin in North Carolina.  We are finally seeing some signs of spring here.  It looks like there is a wren nest in our Jim Shore "quilted" birdhouse.

We went to the Ashe County courthouse today to inquire about a permit for a new storage outbuilding, and I once again admired this group quilt commemorating many aspects of the beautiful landscape here.

Back in December, Charlie and I ordered one of the barn quilt squares that are so popular up here.  Today we picked it up!  I can't wait until we can get it mounted.  It is hand-painted on wood, 3' x 3'.  We ordered it from the Quilt Square Girls in West Jefferson, NC.  I think it is called Dutch Dreams.

Last weekend we were also here, but spent all of our time at Merlefest in North Wilkesboro.  The weather ranged from sunny and hot to cold and rainy.  My favorite experience was sitting on a quilt at the Hillside Stage for a Sunset Jam with one of our favorite musical groups, The Kruger Brothers.  They were hosting a Doc Watson tribute.  Good stuff!

Here are the six of us, Old Hippies ready to go see The Avett Brothers.  I felt a lot like the Pillsbury Doughboy with all my layers of cold-weather gear and rain protection.  It was so cold and wet, but I found us some seats under the flap at the food tent where we could stay dry and still see the stage.  Everyone was so joyful at the Avett concert, dancing around and singing along even in the bad weather.

This weekend we have no company, and plan to relax.  Come on over and "set a spell!"