Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Finishing Up a Visual Journal

I have been trying to put the finishing touches on a 9" x 12" visual journal that I started last year.  It is a Strathmore Visual Journal for Mixed Media

I used some of the printed/painted papers from the Traci Bautista Strathmore Artist's Workshop to make the front and back covers and inside covers.

Front Cover

Inside Cover and Title Page

This spread had remained half done until today when I added a lot more collage elements to make a "Spring Fever" spread.  There are more of my printed/painted/stamped papers at top. Hopefully the photo will enlarge if you click on it.

This one features a print of one of my watercolor figure paintings on the lower left and a silly painting doodle on the right.

This one is a hot mess.  Had too much stuff going on in the background, so I added some white elements (dogs and clock) and large text on vellum.  Still not crazy about it, but it looks better in real life!

I've been adding finishing touches to a few other pages.  Forgot to take pictures of the back cover and inside pages.  Next time!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Artsy Stuff

With all our travels and company this summer, I have not been very productive.  But here is a little watercolor page from my journal.

I worked from a painting by Karlyn Holman in her book Watercolor:  Fun and Free.

And yesterday I got my Marsh Sunset painting back from the framer.  It looks so great in that gold frame!  I hardly recognized it!

Here is a Peace Pole that I gave my husband for our anniversary.  It is in the rose garden at our mountain cabin.

I love the colors and whimsical designs.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Baby Quilts

Hello out there!  I'm still here.  I actually did some long-arm quilting recently!

First up is a baby quilt that a friend asked me to quilt for her.  It is what is known as a "cheater panel" because the top is actually just printed with the quilting design.

I love the colors and the Noah's Ark theme.

I decided to use swirls and curls free-motion quilting.  I try to find something in the quilt top to echo in the quilting.  In this case, both the sheep and the clouds had the curly design.

Love these little cuddly animals!

The backing is a pastel stripe.

Next is a baby quilt for our mountain neighbor's new grandson.  His father is the one for whom I recently repaired the binding on his high school graduation quilt.  The baby's nursery decor is puppies  with lots of light blue and tan.   I had the perfect top...which I did not even have to sew!  I purchased it online a couple of years ago.

This one is not a cheater cloth.  The top is actually pieced from Minkee, flannel, cotton, and some sort of soft fleece for the puppies.  But it came already assembled.  Woo hoo!

The puppies are adorable.

This quilt is so soft and cuddly!  I just did some loopy free-motion quilting since the border print had big dots.  The back is blue Minkee, and I chose not to use any batting so it would be super soft.

We have been gone so much in the past month.  We spent ten days in the mountains over the Fourth of July.

 We took the grandkids up Grandfather Mountain, about an hour's drive from our cabin.  It is famous for the mile-high swinging bridge.  Here are my hubby and I just after crossing the bridge.  It was so gusty and cold up there that I had to stop at the gift shop and buy myself a warm hooded sweatshirt.  My husband Nanook, on the other hand, was perfectly comfortable.

We all had a great time at this fun family attraction.

The next weekend we went back to the cabin, this time babysitting for our youngest grand baby.  Her parents were at a destination wedding in Mexico.  We had such a good time with little Charlie!

I have lots more to show you and will try to be more faithful about blogging.  It was kind of hard while playing with the grandkids non-stop for a couple of weeks!

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!