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!"

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Reaching the Finish Line (21-Day Art Journaling Challenge)

Here are my pages for Day 21 of the Art Journaling Challenge.

The prompt was "Would you like fries with that?"

I used a watercolor wash background, drew and painted the cows, and dripped India ink from an applicator to make the Eat Mor Chikn text on the signs.  The tails are made from yarn.  I printed out the logo from the Internet and enlarged it, then traced it onto white tissue paper.  I colored it in with a red Sharpie, and then applied the tissue with gel medium.

This page was lots of fun to create...and it was a good feeling to actually complete the challenge!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fabulous and Free Art Journal Challenge

Here is a link to sign up for the Fabulous and Free Art Journal Challenge.

The leader of the challenge is Susan Lazar Wojtkowski.  She has a web page called Irreversibly Moi.  Here is the information from Susan:

"The first challenge will arrive, via email, on May 4th (Monday).  You will receive a new challenge twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays.

  • We will keep the same Facebook Group for this challenge as we had for the last one.  There will be a few new features added, though.

  • The challenges will be posted in the Facebook Group files section at the end of each week.

  • There will be an album for each challenge for you to upload your work to.

  • I will have random giveaways during the course of the challenge

  • There will be 30 challenges, in all.  With two challenges per week, this will take 15 weeks.

  • We just may have a few guest artists participating in some of the challenges :)"

I hope that some of you will participate in the challenge.  The last one really encouraged me to start making some beautiful pages in my journal.  I have tried some new lettering, drawing, and painting techniques, and found some that I really like.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring in Bloom in Raleigh

 It's my favorite time of year here in the South...dogwood and azalea time, that is!  We have massive hedges of azaleas around our driveway in front of the house, backing up to the woods.

And there's nothing more elegant or graceful than the dogwood, our state flower, in lovely drifts along the branches of the trees that are native to our woods.

And look at this pretty little bloom in my garden!

I am almost finished with the 21-Day Art Journal Challenge on Facebook.

Day 19:  I've Got to Hand it to You

Day 20:  Mandalas.  I loved drawing and painting this cheerful sun face, inspired by the sunshine artwork on the CBS Sunday Morning show.  I have been sketching several more mandalas in my journals.

I have just one more to complete, and I started it today. I am totally having fun with this one!  Just in time for the next challenge to begin!  I will post details when the rules come out.