Monday, January 31, 2011

An Incredible January Day...but it's over

Temperature of seventy degrees at the end of January?  Unbelievable, but true here in central North Carolina.  Just had to stay outside as much as possible!  I convinced the hubs to go walking with Kasey and me.  He brought along his new camera.

After dinner (standing rib roast which he cooked on the smoker- yum!) it was still warm enough to sit outside and watch the sun set. 

Alas, January weather has now returned, and it is 37 windy degrees.  But it was a lovely respite for one weekend!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Beautiful Day

I hope it is as beautiful where you are today as it is here in Wake Forest, North Carolina.  The sun is shining, there is not a cloud in the sky, and it is 52 degrees Fahrenheit.  Raleigh is hosting the National Hockey League All-Star weekend, and couldn't have asked for better weather.

Kasey and I just came back from a long nature walk.  They have continued to work on the new section of the Heritage development across Rogers Road from our street.  Unlike the older section which is named for golf courses, the streets here derive their names from flowers and nature.  Here is one that made me smile:

I like the name Evening Snow Street, but I LOVE Fawn Lily Drive!  I will have to show that one to my granddaughter, Lily.  I did not know there was a flower named Fawn  Lily, but I googled it and found that there is, indeed.  Maybe I will start calling my granddaughter Fawn.

I like walking the dog in the new neighborhood, because there is no traffic.  Just wide open spaces and nice paved roads.

The new roads ramble all over through pine woods.  There is no chance of getting lost.  You can hear the traffic from Rogers Road, and then there is this homing beacon.

That's the antenna for WCPE.  It is actually on Chalk Road, but as the crow flies, it is through the woods right behind our house.  We like to sit on the screened porch during thunderstorms and watch lightning hit the tower.  WCPE is known as The Classical Station, and is available via the Internet and satellite and cable TV stations as well as FM stations.  Back in 2003 they increased the height of the tower, and we got to watch men working 1200 feet in the air. 

And here is the old homestead on Shasta Daisy Road.  Too bad it was in such bad shape that it could not be preserved.

It now sits only about 100 feet from these new homes being built in very close proximity to each other.

This is the finished part of Heritage View Drive, which is actually my same street, but across Rogers Road.  I think it looks pretty with Forgotten Pond in the background.

Friday, January 28, 2011

One More Floral Painting

The last "Lessons in a Bag" from Karlyn Holman had two drawings/paintings in one.  So, today I worked on the second one.  These are almost all warm colors.  This was my first attempt at depicting glass. 

Here is how the two paintings work together.  Maybe I will frame and hang them together. 

Now I am ready to get back to sewing and quilting.  And my next painting is not going to be flowers!  Maybe a woods scene.

Of course, my patient assistant doesn't care what I paint.  She just keeps hoping some food will fall off the table!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Watercolor Painting

Today was the first sunny day- too nice to stay in and sew in my little room on the third floor.  I picked up a couple of books that I had requested at the library, and took Kasey to the greenway.  No deer this time!

Here is the latest watercolor painting I have completed from a one of Karlyn Holman's Lessons in a Bag.  The drawing and a reference photo and a few step-outs are provided, along with a photo of Karlyn's painting.

This one is 11" x 11."  I did not add any collaged Oriental papers, nor did I sand watercolor pencils over a stencil to create a background.  The checkerboard areas were drawn in with watercolor pencil and painted.  Some stripes painted in at the end add interest to the background.

I think I am getting better at letting the watercolors blend and not fuss with them so much!  I think that is especially true on the pitcher in this painting.

I had to smile when I looked at my two library books.  Animals Make Us Human, by Temple Grandin, has a beautiful golden retriever on the cover.  I have been listening to this book on tape while I worked on my journals, but my name just came up on the print copy list.  I love reading about books in the newspaper or hearing about them from friends, and then requesting them from the library on the Internet. 

The other new book is Watercolor for the Serious Beginner, by Mary Whyte.  This book has beautiful sample paintings, and lots of instruction in everything I need to know to start composing my own watercolor paintings.  But what made me smile was right there on the first page of Chapter One.

The painting (which Blogger keeps rotating sideways for some reason) is called "Studio Clutter." 

Now, what did that remind me of?

I got a lovely surprise in the mail today.  I got a note-sized decorated envelope, and opened it to find this beautifully embossed patchwork notecard.  Not recognizing the name and address on the return label, I opened the note to find that it was from someone who had purchased one of my quilts at the Heritage Day Auction last October! 

Carol Thrasher purchased my Star of the Garden quilt, and was kind enough to send some compliments about the quilting.  I have given several of my quilts to charity auctions, and have never heard anything back from the purchaser before.  I was just thrilled to get this nice note!  Here is the quilt that Carol purchased.  She is a member of Capital Quilters Guild.

I blogged about this quilt back in 2007.  This quilt had been the Challenge Quilt for the Carolina Longarm Association show that fall.  Since this year's challenge quilt also featured a blue and white color scheme, I decided to donate the previous one to benefit the Capital Quilters Guild and an organization called Military Missions in Action.

It has been a good day.

Art Journals

That gray, cold wet weather of the past couple of days inspired me to get out my art journals and play with some pretty color.  I finished a page that I had previously painted a hot pink with acrylics.  I drew a lady's face in pencil.  To help get the proportions correct, I cut out a face from a cosmetics advertisement and put it on the facing page while I was drawing.

The butterfly is from a copyright-free Dover image.  I cut up scrapbook paper for some of the collage elements.  The little butterfly was originally a doodle on a Post-It note.  The page also includes black ink from a Pitt pen, and silver markings from a paint marker.

When I was scanning this and the image started to appear from the top of the page, her eyes looked wild and red.  Maybe I should give her some white paint as artistic Visine!

Some of my journal pages were mentioned on Tracie Hanson's blog today.  She is the online instructor for the Doodlicious Daybook class at 21 Secrets.  I need to get that journal back out and doodle some more.  Maybe next time Lily comes to visit. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Art From the Heart

I would like to share with you a wonderful gift from my father to his family.  My dad, Pete Turner, is a retired commercial and fine artist who really does not do much drawing or painting any more.  Once in awhile I get a special card or postcard with his artwork, which I treasure.  If you enter "Pete Turner" in the search text box on my blog page, you can see more examples of his artwork.  This year, my father began a project during our week at Sunset Beach, NC.  My sister-in-law suggested that he make drawings to turn into a coloring book for the great-grandkids. 

The result was a very special book that went not only to the great-grands and grands, but each of his seven children.  I think he made 40 copies in all!  Each contained line drawings in a loose-leaf notebook.

Here is the cover, with a delightful caricature of the artist.

The first page brings back memories of when we moved from the New York area to Cary, North Carolina.  We had a pop-top Volkswagen bus, just like the hippies but without the Flower Power.

I think there is one too many dogs and a few too many kids in that picture!

When my father first began his career as a commercial illustrator in New York, one of his first jobs was to paint Elsie the Cow, the trademark logo for Borden's Dairy Products.  Elsie makes an appearance in the coloring book, as well she should. Part of our family history!

Some of the drawings reflect what Dad was doing at the these sand buckets and shovels that take us back to our beach vacation days.

I am committed to scanning all the pictures eventually, so Dad does not have to keep making hard copies of the pages as new great-grandkids arrive.  My granddaughter, Lily, started working on hers immediately!

Here is another new bit of my father's art.  He has been making Christmas cards every year since he and my mother were married right after WWII.  I heard stories that he used to silk-screen them in the bathtub of our apartment in New York.  Everyone looks forward to his annual Christmas card, wondering what the inspiration will be each year.

This one is a pencil drawing with watercolors added.  I can't tell you how much I love it. 

The retirement community where my father lives in on a very busy highway in Boone, NC.  That these deer find their way to graze outside his window is rather miraculous.  They must know the back way!

Speaking of deer, we have had quite a few sightings lately.  No, not in the many acres surrounding our mountain cabin.  We didn't see even one last weekend.

The last time I took Kasey to the greenway near our neighborhood, we saw four deer cross the trail not ten yards from us.  I had heard them crashing about in the woods, so wasn't too surprised.  But Kasey was on alert long before they crossed.  Yesterday, we went back to the greenway behind Heritage.  When Kasey starting straining at the leash, I thought there might be a deer in the woods. 


Can you see her big white ears sticking up to the right of those birch trees?

She stood there and let me take her photograph until I started moving closer.  When she ran off, I saw two white brushy tails running through the woods.  The other one was hiding!

I think they must have followed us home. When Charlie came home from work, there were two deer in our front yard.

And when I opened the garage door to let Kasey out, there were four in our back yard. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Sketchbook Challenge- Highly Prized

I decided to participate in The Sketchbook Challenge- not to be confused with The Sketchbook Project.  There are sixteen hosts who share their own work, offer tutorials, and encourage participants to create art in any media desired.  Each month there is a prompt, and if you upload a photo of your project, you become eligible for that month's prizes.

The theme for January 2011 is Highly Prized.  If you have been following my blog, you know that my affectionate new dog, Kasey, is a a good choice for Highly Prized subject matter!

I drew this page in a Strathmore 9" x 12" Sketch book.  This is a general purpose sketch paper for dry media.  I used watercolor pencils and black ink.

The text on the left is embellished with Zentangle-type designs. 

There is a Flicker site with uploaded photos of The Sketchbook Challenge projects.  It is cool to see how everyone has interpreted this theme.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Icy Mountain Weekend

We left Friday morning for a weekend trip to our mountain cabin.  This was the first time we have been since we adopted our dog, Kasey.  I have been taking her on short car trips to make sure she was okay in the car.  She was very quiet and calm in the car, but when we stopped just before climbing into the higher hills, we noticed she had been a little carsick. Not too bad.

We met my blogging friend Tonya and her husband in North Wilkesboro, NC,  to pick up a quilt.  She has a quilt top in beautiful colors of white, blue-green and yellow-green, and patchwork in turtle shapes.  I am very humbled that Tonya liked my quilting enough to hire a long-distance quilter.  But it is pretty convenient that we travel to her part of the state fairly frequently.  And I have a new definition of long-arm.  A friend of hers on Facebook asked if "long-arm" was the opposite of "short-hand!" Love it!

Anyway, on to the mountains.  There was fresh snow on the ground, and a bitter cold wind.  We went on up the mountains to the top.  Kasey loved it!  She was in heaven, sniffing and exploring.  She looked so pretty with the bright sun shining on her golden hair.

Charlie got a new camera with a great zoom.  He was able to take pictures of the snow on the higher mountains in the distance.

He tried to show me how to zoom his camera, but when I took off my gloves it felt like frostbite.  That's a lesson for a warmer day!  Kasey makes a good hand warmer.

There were lots of great photo ops with the snow, ice, and pretty views.  Charlie saw a river otter right above the dam at the creek.  Couldn't get a picture of it, but it walked right across the ice.

The pond looked pretty with a fresh coat of snow above the ice.  I love seeing the shadows of the trees on the pond.

I love this knobby, gnarly tree below the pond.

Our driveway was still snowy, but Sweet Sue the Subaru had no trouble at all.

When it was time to go home, Kasey sat in the sun right by the car.  She seemed to be saying, "Please don't forget to take me with you."

What a difference from Maggy, our last dog.  Maggy loved the mountains, but hated cars, and would hide whenever we started packing up.  If we forgot to tie her up, we would have to drive around looking for her when it was time to go home.  Not this little one!

The drive home was beautiful.  The skies were blue and the sun was shining on the metal barn roof at the state research farm. 

 I love this view of the ridge lines of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

There are some very steep rocky cliffs on Highway 18, and they were decked out in cascades of icicles today.

We pass through many beautiful rural areas.  These horses were sunning themselves very close to the road.  Do you think they can feel reflected heat from the pavement?

It was a beautiful weekend!  Can't wait to go back!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Finished Charity Quilt- and One More Painting

Tonight the Capital Quilters' Guild meets in Raleigh.  Our speaker will be noted quilt instructor and author Marti Michell.  I decided to finish at least one of the charity quilts that I took home to quilt.

This one is pretty wild!  but it will surely brighten someone's life with its cheery colors.  It's not flannel, although those red plaids look like that commercial where Fons and Porter have cut a hole in George's shirt to make patchwork!

This one had some piecing issues, so I did a loopy meander and caught lots of the seams that looked like they might pull apart.

To calm this one down a bit, I used a soft blue and white check homespun for the backing.

After I hand it off at the guild, someone else will take it home and finish the binding.

Here is the latest watercolor painting that I finished today.  It is Field Poppies and Lupines from a kit by Karlyn Holman.  This one had very few directions with it, but on her DVD she shows how she paints poppies.  I like this one a lot.

It is supposed to get cold again this weekend, but we are going to head to the cabin unless it snows hard enough to make travel unwise.  We have not been since Thanksgiving.  It will be good to check on the water pipes.  And we will be seeing how well Kasey travels in the car for three hours.  I know she will love the mountains!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pretty Baby Quilt

Today I ended my self-imposed break from all the quilting I did prior to Christmas.  I should not have waited so long to get back on the horse...I was a little rusty!  The actual quilting came right back to me, but mounting the quilt on the machine took forever.

Here is the blue baby quilt that my friend Marcia asked me to finish, using her mother's quilt blocks.  They found these when they were going through her mother's stash.  There will be a new baby in their family soon, and they asked me if I could make a baby quilt with these blocks.

I got the blocks put together and a border added, and finished the quilting today.  They found out that the baby will be a girl, so I tried to make this a little "girlie" despite all the blue.  Many of the fabrics are floral and have pink accents.   I used a dark pink thread and lots of floral, heart, and swirly motifs.

I originally thought about making scalloped borders, but instead decided to feather the borders and leave them straight.

I think this quilt will be just fine for a little baby girl!

There was one pieced block left over, so I used it and the leftover fabric to piece the back.  That left some nice big "canvases" that show off the quilting nicely.

Now I need to get the binding done and find out if they want a label.  This was a fun project!

I also have gotten a good start on a new painting. This time I am doing poppies and lupines.  This may be my favorite so far.  I still have to paint the centers of the poppies and the petals on the lupines.

It was gloriously warm and sunny today for the first time in a long time.  It was wonderful to be outside without a parka and mittens!  Here is Kasey in the sunshine, sniffing around one of the bird feeders.  She is in there somewhere.

The pond down the street has finally thawed out.

These two pines in my back yard are like sentinels leading the way to the woods.

We had a nice surprise today.  My second youngest brother, who lives in Florida, had to make a quick overnight business trip to Raleigh. Charlie and I were able to meet him for dinner in downtown Raleigh at The Pit, a barbecue restaurant.  It was wonderful to get together, even for a short visit.  Maybe he brought the warm, sunny weather up here with him!