Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Baby is Thirty!

Thirty years ago today...a mad rush to Rex Hospital, which was only four miles away, in the middle of the night, hoping to get there before the baby arrived in a Honda Accord...

and that was Dave's BIG entrance to the world!  But he was only seven and a half pounds, average size.

He completed our little family.

He didn't sleep through the night for the first year.

And was sometimes rather strong-willed

But mostly he was our beautiful, sunny little boy (along with Big Brother, Bryson)

who turned out to be an awesome, record-setting swimmer

and always was a good student, with the possible exception of Algebra III...

and has grown into a BIG BIG man

who is a wonderful husband to our darling Emily

has a great group of friends

and makes us very proud.

Happy Thirtieth Birthday, Dave!  I love you!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Quilts and Clouds

Here are some more pictures of the auction quilts on display at the Capital Quilters Guild Thursday night.  (See my previous post for my bee's winning quilt entry!)

 All of these beautiful quilts have been made and donated for the Heritage Days Quilt Auction on October 1.  Here is a big shout-out to all the generous quilt makers who have created these gorgeous quilts for charity.  I am so sorry that I cannot attribute them to their makers, since the "Viewer's Choice" was anonymous.

The one below has a stunning color combination, and I loved the swirly quilting.

I love scrappy quilts, and this one covers a wide range of the color spectrum.

Here is another scrappy beauty.

Here is a bargello quilt in hot colors suitable for this July weather!

This advent tree was one of my favorites.  There are 25 ornaments.

This is a very large, stunning quilt in muted tones.  Lots of piecing here!

Here is yet another beautiful scrappy quilt, in what appear to be Civil War reproduction fabrics.

I like the secondary patterns of circles made from this pattern.

This was one of my favorite quilts in the exhibit.  I like the play of light and the contrast between colors.

Now look at this stunner...all I can say is "Wow!"

This quilt was quite remarkable, and I think it was made by an individual, not a group. Sure would like to have this on the bed in our cabin!

This smaller quilt has a lot of energy.

This next quilt was very popular.  The block is a traditional one known as churn dash or monkey wrench.  But, inside the center of each block are folded triangles, which open to reveal a surprise.

The folded triangles remind me of those fortune tellers or "cootie catchers" we made as school kids.

This one opened to reveal a raccoon.  Isn't this a great idea for a kid's quilt?

The next four pictures show some of the above quilts that won awards in the Viewer's Choice voting.

Things have been very busy since my Thursday night post about the guild meeting. On Friday morning, I had to go back to Rex Hospital in Raleigh for my first blood test since starting anti-coagulant therapy. (I sprained my ankle July 10, and developed a Deep Vein Thrombosis ten days later.) The goal is a PT/INR level of between 2 and 3.  I passed with flying colors with a 2.3. The best part was that I only had to take two more of the hated Lovonox injections after that! Yippee! I took ten total, and have ten bruises to show for it, making my abdomen look very much like a Dalmatian! I'm still on Coumadin.  I went back to Rex again this morning and it was 2.2, so I am doing well on the blood clot treatment.

The ankle is doing much better, as well. We went up to our mountain place and I was VERY careful not to fall again. I just had to dodge the seven children and five dogs, and stay out of the creek. We got a lot done, which is good, since we have a huge crowd coming in next weekend.

When we left Wake Forest Friday afternoon, it was 102 degrees.  We arrived at our mountain place just following a thunderstorm, and it was 72 degrees!  What a relief!  The hot ground air meeting the cooler air from the storm created a blanket of fog that crept across the mountains.

It started in the west...

crept down the valley and obscured the hills...

finally covering everything!

It finally rolled off to the east.  I love these weather phenomena that make for exciting photos!

As always, our Kasey was a happy camper!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Heritage Star is a Winner!

Thanks to my friend Janice who picked me up at home and delivered me right to the door of the guild meeting, I was able to attend the Capital Quilters meeting tonight.  I took lots of pictures of the Heritage Day auction quilts.  The Whacky Ladies quilt, Heritage Star, had a prominent spot on the front side of the display.

I was pleased to see that it was hanging pretty straight, especially since it was just pinned to the backdrop.

I will show you some of the other quilts in a future post.  There were some outstanding quilts in the collection.  Quilters are generous people to give such beautiful creations away!

Our guest speaker was from Interact of Wake County, the organization that will be the beneficiary of the auction.  She explained all about the services that Interact provides for victims of spousal abuse/domestic violence.  A worthy cause indeed!

Then, she announced the winner of the Interact special prize for her favorite quilt in the collection.  She said it was traditional but with a modern twist- full of texture and beautiful fabrics.

And the winner is...Heritage Star!  That is Kate George (thanks, Katy!) on the left and Cathy Kirk on the right, holding our winning quilt up on the stage.

We won this cute basket of chocolates and cooking goodies and cookbook for winning the special prize.

And then they announced the Viewer's Choice Awards, and we won Third Place in the Group Category!  We got a check for twenty-five dollars, and another ribbon!

These beautiful hand-made ribbons include a tiny ribbon replica that can be pinned on your nametag.

It was a good night!

The actual auction will take place on October 1 at the Wake County Office Park on Carya Drive.

Art Journal Pages

I was able to put together a couple of journal pages in my Moleskine journal yesterday while I was propping my leg up (I have a sprained ankle and a blood clot).

You may remember that I used leftover paint on my palette last week to create some painted background pages.  I used one of them to preserve this fabulous photograph by my father's first cousin, Cort Clifford, of Maryland.

Cort is a serious amateur photographer.  He took this photo in a cemetery on Kent Island on Maryland's Eastern Shore.  He sent me the photo and a poem about a mockingbird, which I transcribed on the facing page.

     The morning the Mockingbird
     halfway up the pale dune, and only
     a pitchpine for a pulpit, offered
     with infrangible exactitude
     Phoebe, Robin, Blue Jay, flicker, towhee,
     goldfinch, ovenbird, titmouse, linnets,
     grackle, bobwhite, cardinal, Carolina wren,
     Chickadee, Nuthatch, English Sparrow, Crested
     Flycatcher...Then he flung his body into the air!
                                        -Author Unknown

This was a wonderful surprise to get in the mail.  I have known Cort since I was a little girl.  He was about the same age as my father and my Uncle Bob.  But unlike his cousins who married right after World War II and created their own Baby Boom with 16 children between them, he was the Playboy Bachelor type.  He always had a Porsche and a fast motorboat and a pretty girlfriend.  One of my fondest childhood memories is going with Cort in his boat to watch the fireworks in Annapolis near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on the Fourth of July.  He later finally succumbed to the charms of a beautiful lady and got married.  She just happened to be the heiress to a Fortune 500 company.  They had one child.  I saw them about ten years ago at a beautiful horse farm that Lani was building near Asheville, North Carolina.  They are now divorced, and Cort lives in a condo on the water where he has a wonderful world of nature to photograph.

I also decided to journal my thoughts about my recent bad luck, healthwise.  The collaged papers are scraps from a watercolor test page and some Gee's Bend quilt pictures from Keepsake Catalog.  Note the very fat lower leg!

Tonight I am going to the Capital Quilters Guild meeting.  My friend Janice offered to drive me so I don't have to hoof it all across the parking lot, which is hilly and sometimes involves walking across a mulched area.  Sure don't want to fall again!

The Viewer's Choice voting for the Heritage Days auction quilt will be held during the meeting.  I am hoping that the Heritage Star quilt made by my Whacky Ladies bee will make a good showing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Not-So-Good News

I did not do so well yesterday at my appointment with the foot specialist.   I reported pain in the back of my calf, which I thought was a sore muscle from all the limping.  He sent me right away to a nearby hospital for a blood test that screens for blood clots. 

That was positive, so then I had to go to a hospital farther away in Raleigh for a Venous Doppler test.  Sure enough, I have a blood clot, or Deep Vein Thrombosis, in my leg.  After many hours at the hospital for more blood tests and learning about my new medical regime, they let me come home.

I was very happy not to be admitted to the hospital, and I am very happy that my wonderful doctor recognized that I might have a blood clot.  They caught it pretty early. 

I'm not so happy to have a blood clot, in addition to a sprained ankle., Or to be on Coumadin and injecting myself twice a day with Heparin.  But, you do what you gotta do, right?

 I was planning to attend a going-away party on Thursday for my father at the retirement home in Boone where he lived for six years.  Instead, I have to attend the Anticoagulant Clinic at Rex Hospital on Friday to check my blood levels.  But, they said I could travel to the mountains if I prop my foot up and stop for a break on the way.  So, I am looking forward to going back to the mountains next weekend.

I'm supposed to keep my leg elevated, so probably won't be doing any painting for the next few days.  Maybe I will get out some of the art quilts from my Pamela Allen online classes and work on the hand stitching. I have quite a few of those piled up!  Here is one of them that is ready to stitch.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Two New Watercolor Paintings

The watercolor marathon continues...only one painting left that I am still working on at present.  Here are the latest two that I finished today.

The first is of a workman's cottage in New Zealand, drawn by Karlyn Holman.  It has black ink and watercolor on Arches 140-lb. Cold Press paper.

This one was very fun to paint.  I used Karlyn's companion DVD to her book Watercolor Without Boundaries.  The focus of this lesson was to frame a picture with foliage.  Most of the leaves and flowers were created by "throwing" paint with a Chinese squirrel-hair paintbrush.  The problem with these book lessons is that she teaches the main technique, then leaves you kind of dangling about how to finish.  I did not purchase the whole kit with the step-out instructions, just the drawing.  The book and DVD don't tell you how to do the roof, chimney, or windows.

The second one I finished uses the same technique of throwing paint to create foliage.  This one is a door in Europe.  Karlyn teaches painting on site all over the world.  I would dearly love to go with her on location and spend a week learning to paint with her at my side.  Maybe I will start saving up for a trip to France next year!

I love the warm color of the doors, which I achieved by layering first blue, then orange, then many more layers of gold and orange.  They have a nice glow!

I also loved creating the terra cotta pots of geraniums.  Very loose but effective, I think!

The last painting is an autumn woods scene which has at least one more step before it is complete.  I am supposed to run it under the faucet!  We will see what happens!

As I have been painting, I have kept my Moleskine journal close by.  When there is a lot of paint left on the palette, I have been applying color to journal pages for future backgrounds.  I started working on one of these today.  The background looked like this.

I was reading the blog of The Sketchbook Challenge, and saw a tutorial by Diana Trout that I thought I might adapt for this background.

I made the rock shapes, but for texture I doodled in some Zentangle designs.  I have found a few magazine words and glued them in.  Now I need to decide how to finish it.  I like all the texture and color on the page so far.

Charlie is ready to reclaim the kitchen table to eat on, so I will probably put the art studio back in its tote bag after tomorrow.  I am going to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in feet tomorrow.  I hope I will learn how to rehabilitate this sprained ankle.  Every time I think it is getting better, I have a little setback.  I probably have not been patient enough to let time do its work.  But it is much better than a week ago!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


When I work with my watercolor palette and all my supplies, I like to paint in our eat-in kitchen. The room gets light on three sides, and I paint at one end of our long kitchen table.  On the other end I can set paintings to dry.  I worked on two new watercolors in the past two days, which are almost finished.  During drying times, I got out some of my previous paintings for a little critical editing.

Here is one of my favorites, Poppies and Lupines.  I never thought the stamens in the center of the poppies were dark enough, and some of the other lines needed to be a little more crisp.

This one of a glass vase with flowers had the edge of the vase and water line refined, and some of the stems darkened a bit.

I did not do much more to the sunflower except define a few of the stems and leaves a bit.

All of these paintings are from drawings by Karlyn Holman, and many of them have instructions in her books and DVD.  I took a class from her at Art of the Carolinas last fall, and enjoy her teaching style as well as her painting style.

Charlie spent the day trading in his car for a new Ford pick-up truck.  I am astounded at all the gadgets and electronics.  It is very comfortable.

We celebrated by going out to dinner at Girasole in Wake Forest.  The sun was setting and made a lovely vignette at the front window.

And it was even prettier when we got outside.

My foot is getting better each day.  Today I walked up our long driveway to the mailbox for the first time.  I have ventured out several times in the last few days after being housebound almost a week.  The worst was a trip to the library yesterday, since I ran out of books during my convalescence from the sprained ankle.  Walking across the paved parking lot was not a great idea.  I have a new favorite author:  Claire Cook.  I read her novel Must Love Dogs at the beach, and enjoyed it so much that I got four more of her books from the library.  Each one is about a woman who is divorced or trying to rebuild her life after some traumatic event.  The film based on Must Love Dogs starred Diane Lang and John Cusack and was cute. 

That's about it for tonight...I'll try to finish the two new paintings tomorrow.  They are quite different from all the floral and still life paintings!