Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snowy Week

It is rare to get a snowstorm in Raleigh, North Carolina.  But it happened this week!  We got several inches on Tuesday night, accompanied by frigid temperatures.  Life slows down to a crawl as everyone enjoys a snow day at home.  Even my intrepid husband with the big pick-up truck stayed home yesterday.  Loved it!

I actually did a lot of cooking over the last few days...hamburger soup, baked butternut squash, barbecued chicken, roasted veggies, and focaccia bread!  That's not like me at all, but it was very satisfying to fill the house with delicious aromas.  I am trying out the Wheat Belly diet, and am using recipes from the cookbook.  So far, so good!

Here are some more sights from around our yard.  If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, you probably aren't excited about it like we are here in the South!

 This afternoon I get to visit with my grand baby Charlotte.  Usually I babysit on Monday and Tuesday, but I only went on Monday this week.  Now the parents are back at work and the two grandmas are tag-teaming today to take care of our little snow angel.

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Fast Week

Last week went by in a blur.  With the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday, babysitting on Tuesday and Wednesday, and back to the mountains on Thursday, I had almost no time at home!

I bought a new book called Watercolor Tips and Techniques, by Cathy Johnson.  I am working my way through, from brushstrokes basics to mixing colors.  I did not have my good brushes or tube paints with me in the mountains, but I had fun playing with a few pages.

This page was an attempt to mix some juicy colors by letting the paints mix on the paper, rather than on the palette.

This one was just making a color wheel and experimenting to see which were warm or cool colors.  In the mountains I have a set of 24 Pelikan pan watercolors.  I forgot how pretty some of the colors are!

I have only attempted one painting recently.  Karlyn Holman, one of my instructors at Art of the Carolinas, had an article in the current Watercolor Artist Magazine about painting backlit winter trees.  I am not thrilled with this one, but might try it again.  I think I should have started the tree line closer to the foreground.

I had plenty of inspiration for winter scenes in the mountains.  It was freezing cold, and snowed off and on all weekend.  

Here is our new cabin, still not finished, but looking welcoming in the wintry weather.

The creek and pond were frozen, with icicles coming over the dam and also on the rocky cliffs between Laurel Springs and North Wilkesboro.

When we got home, the somewhat icy pond in our Raleigh back yard was reflecting the afternoon sun coming through the evergreens.  It looked so pretty!  I will have to add this to my wish list of future paintings.

After we got home, we went to the Apple store in Crabtree Valley Mall.  I got a new iMac laptop.  I don't think I've mentioned my computer problems since someone broke in our house in November and stole our laptops and wedding silver.  I waited a month to get the insurance check, then bought a Sony touch pad laptop with Windows 8.0.  I hated and did not understand that version of Windows, so I went online to watch some tutorials.  While I was watching one on the Microsoft site, a pop-up window said "You are watching a video about using Windows 8.1, but your computer has Windows 8.0. Would you like a free upgrade?  So I said yes.

When you upgrade to 8.1, you have to have a wireless router that runs on a different system.  All of a sudden, I had no more Internet, e-mail, or printing.  It did not work on anyone else's router that I tried.  I did not want a new Router, and there was no fix for the problem.  

So, I tried going back to Windows 8.0.  OOPS!  You can't, unless you created an image on your computer before upgrading.  I don't remember any window advising me to do that.  Anyway, I got mad and sent the Sony laptop back.  The refund for it just came last week.  

So now I have an iPod, iPad, iPhone, and iMac, and everything is playing nicely with each other.  Charlie already had an iMac and has a back-up drive and CD/DVD drive for it that we can share.  

And we have a good alarm system and are much more careful about hiding our stuff when we leave the house.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Few Updates

When we got back on Monday,  I worked a little on my tissue- bleed fabric.

The one that I embellished with Neo-Color Crayons and then coated with Textile Medium turned out to be able to withstand water.  I stuck it under running water and the design and color stayed fast.

I worked on the quilting around this piece and got the floral outlines done. 

I don't like it yet, and may have to do some more painting/quilting in the background.

We came back up here to the mountains to a deep freeze of negative zero degrees.  They have started the walkway between our old and new cabins.

We went to Deep Gap and picked up the stone for our hearth.

We think it will look great.  They have started finishing the floors,  so we have not gone in.

It is very cold up here!  Minus 2 this morning.  A cold ride across the mountains!

My sister Katy had her puppy spayed yesterday.  Her older dog Fred was sympathetic.

I hope all of you are staying warm this weekend!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Future Sewing Room

This room in the unfinished basement of our new cabin will be my space some day.

They have put in lots of fluffy insulation.

I love the French doors.

There is a great view of the pond out the front windows.

I don't know when we will get around to finishing the basement,  but I sure am anxious to get my Longarm quilting machine in there!

Yesterday Charlie took my sister Katy and I for a Gator ride across the mountain.  It was beautiful!

Kasey and Daisy went with us.  I can't believe they wanted to get in that cold creek water when we got back down!

Kasey somehow hurt her foot yesterday and is limping.  Hope it perks up soon!

Looks like it is getting ready to snow again.  I think we will stay inside and watch the last two football games before the Super Bowl.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tissue-bleed Fabric

My Anything Art quilt group is preparing to do a display and demo at the Western Wake library using the bleeding tissue paper technique that we played with at our last meeting.  So,  I decided I better start making something with the fabric I created.

I like to make fabric-covered journals,  so I decided that one piece would become a journal cover.

This one looked sort of like an abstract garden to me.  I got out my Caran d'Arch watercolor crayons and sketched in some botanical designs.

Since neither the transferred tissue nor the crayons would withstand water,  I gave the whole piece a coat of textile medium, using a sponge brush.

It was still drying when we left for the mountains, so I have not tested it yet.  I might give it a second coat.  The goal is for it to be waterproof, but soft enough to stitch through.

Then I took a look at this piece, my least favorite.  It desperately needed something.  In this photo it is still wet,  but it was much lighter and less interesting when dry.

This time I got out some acrylic paints and some foam stamps.

Pretty busy!  This one will be chopped up and used with some calmer fabrics.

I started to try some free-motion machine quilting on this one.

Unfortunately,  I ran into tension problems on the back and had to leave it until we return home.

We have a long weekend due to the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday.  We came up Thursday night to clear skies, a huge full moon, and bright stars. The next morning was just gorgeous ,  and there was still some snow on the ground.

We went shopping and bought a couch and chair for the new cabin.  We also bought a piece of granite for our fireplace hearth.  It will have these "cultured" stones and the very dark hearth.

Yesterday afternoon the blue skies disappeared and it started to snow big, fluffy flakes.  Within a couple hours there was at least an inch of snow.  I am getting ready to brave the 12 degree temps to take some photos.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Childhood Memories

Although I have lived in the Raleigh, North Carolina for almost fifty years, I was born in Manhatten, and grew up in the suburbs of New York and New Jersey.  We moved out of the big city when the third child was born in our family, and three children under five was getting difficult to manage in a small apartment!  We moved to a house in New City Park, New York, with a big yard, lots of trees, safe streets, and tons of other Baby Boomer children to play with.   There was a lake where I learned to swim and ice skate.

My father was a commercial artist.  He painted this watercolor of New City Park Lake sometime between 1952 and 1958.  In fact, those boys could be my brothers Chris and Tim!

There was a raft or dock which you had to be able to swim to in order to be allowed in the "Deep End."  There was a clubhouse and and a few homes on the lake.

The reason I am writing about this now is that this painting just surfaced on Facebook!  One of my friends from the New City neighborhood has lept in touch with me all these years, and messages me about this painting!  I don't remember it, but it is signed by my father (Pete Turner) and is clearly his recognizable work.

Having discovered the New City Park Lake web page, I started reading through the messages and photos.  The painting is owned by a woman who lives on the lake, and tells me that this is still the view of her back yard!

Additionally, one of the members of the Facebook group used to live down the street from us, in another Catholic family with tons of kids.

This has been an unexpected trip back in time to my childhood.  I even found a photo on the site of my old elementary school, Chestnut Grove.

Look at that stone work!  I remember the classrooms had "cloakrooms" where we could shuck off our boots and snow suits or leggings after walking to school.  The desks were so old that they had holes for inkwells!

I am so glad that my father signed his artwork.  Quilters, don't forget to sign and label your work!  The quilts you make today could tell a story some day in the future!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Flower Challenge

The Flower Challenge quilts from our Anything Art Quilt bee were supposed to be finished by our January meeting.  Here are three of them together.

These three are by Peg Henderson, Antoinette Brown, and myself.  One of the participants has moved back to her native Australia.  Roberta has Marian's and hers at home, and is going to tack the five separate quilts together at the sides to make one quilt.  Then we will enter them as a group quilt into the Capital Quilters Guild Show in March.

Speaking of shows, Antoinette has put together a quilt exhibit at the Halle Center in Apex.  The show's theme is Windows on Time.  She  asked  if I had anything that would fit that theme.  So, I am sending in this little quilt.

It is only about 7.5" square.  The two ladies enjoying a buggy ride are my grandmother Polly and one of her sisters. I used TAP to make a fabric photo, and added bits of lace, tucks from an old blouse, and other embellishments.  

Since this piece is so small, it will probably be displayed on an easel in a glass case.

The Halle Cultural Arts Center is at 237 N. Salem St., Apex, NC.  The exhibit will run through February 7.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fabric Dying With Tissue

Yesterday was Anything Art Day, and we met at Peg's to try out dying fabric with bleeding tissue.  Toni had demonstrated the technique at another group, and both she and Roberta had some samples to show us.

You have to use tissue that bleeds, which should be indicated on the package.  Toni purchased hers at Jerry's Art-o-Rama, an art supply chain store.

We also used latex gloves, pre-washed fabric, and a protected surface.  Peg has a folding table that is padded and covered with thick plastic.  

Basically, you just tear off some tissue, dip it in water, and dab it onto the fabric.

You also can lay scraps of the tissue and let it bleed onto the fabric.  You can also use sponge brushes and rub them over the tissue.

Of course the colors become less bright when they dry.  Here are two of my wet pieces.

And here they are dry.

This was really fun.  Ruth-Ellen used printed fabric and got some interesting results.

I am looking forward to adding some additional surface design to make something from these pieces.