Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Last year I participated in the 21 Secrets online journaling class.  One of the workshops was Doodlicious Daybook, with Tracie Hanson.  We made funky journals out of painted brown paper, old calendar pages, duct tape, zig zag stitching, and other fun stuff.  On one of my painted pages, I took the paint blobs and made them into ghosties and goblins.

Then I got this card from my dad a couple of days ago.  He likes to make color photocopies of his artwork and make note cards.  This painting from Sunset Beach came with his version of ghosties and ghoulies!

Great minds think alike.

We have not had a trick-or-treater at our house in about six years, probably because of our long driveway.  But I hope that you have a safe and happy Halloween!  It is a very cold one here in central North Carolina.  My grandkids live in South Carolina, where you can usually count on it being in the 80's on Halloween.  Avery and Lily did not look too pleased to be wearing their fur monkey suits on this Halloween a few years ago, but they would be perfect for tonight!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Frosty Fall Weekend

It was a wonderful weekend in the mountains.  Again!  A little rain, snow, clouds...a LOT of wind and then frost on the pumpkins!  But it was still beautiful up there and we had a great time.  We were glad that we did not get hammered with snow like most of the northeast.

With all the winds, many trees have lost their leaves, but you can still see lots of fall color on the  hillsides.

It was so windy on Saturday that I stayed inside and did a little bit of artwork.  The first one is the little McCoy pitcher I purchased in West Jefferson at Antiques on Main. I finally broke down and made an entry in the gorgeous hardbound journal that I won.  I sketched first with black Pitt pen, then added watercolor from my Pelikan watercolor set.

Then I tried to capture our kitchen window in our upstairs apartment of the cabin.  We are under the roof, so there is a sharp angle to all our walls.

I noticed that life was resembling art, as I had brown oak leaves in a pitcher and brown oak leaves in the collage to the left by Annette Rogers.

On Saturday night, the winds calmed down.  The sky was clear and the stars were shining.  Charlie and I both downloaded the Star Walk app onto our iPhones and went up to the top of the mountain in our Gator.  It was awesome!  You just point the phone toward the sky, and it identifies constellations, stars, and planets.  The big bright planet in the eastern sky last night was Jupiter.  I also saw two shooting stars!

Sunday it was absolutely beautiful- crisp and sunny.  We had a gorgeous ride over the mountain.  In the tree farm up top we found a guy we know who had come up to fill his deer feeder with corn...only to find that a bear had completely destroyed the feeder that morning.  Yikes!

Here is our beautiful Kasey, shining in the sun in the sparkling creek.

The ride home was so pretty in the golden light of the afternoon sun.

The ridge lines were clear, and well, blue!

I hope you had a good weekend, too!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Toy

Got my first "Smartphone" a couple days ago.  Apple i-Phone 4s.

Have done very little since then except play with it!

I downloaded a GPS program with voice directions.  Man, where was this gadget back when I was driving over several states to take my boys to swim meets?  I got lost so many times. 

To try out the GPS and the camera phone, I loaded Kasey into the car and drove to Joyner Park on the north end of Wake Forest.  There are several new roads in my area which confused it a bit, but I was pleased with the maps and directions.

And I am in love with the camera!   Here are some shots from today's walk.

Pond along greenway

Beautyberry bush near parking lot

Non-stop roses

Woodsy path on greenway

Formal garden and homestead

This is way too much fun!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Linn Cove Viaduct Watercolor Painting

I think this painting is finished now!  I started it last Wednesday at Art Student Academy in Wake Forest. Steve Filarsky was the instructor for Autumn Color in Watercolors.

Linn Cove Viaduct, 2011, Jeanne T. McBrayer

I punched up the color a bit, added the illusion of a railing, and added more foliage in the foreground.  I added more dark paint under the bridge to make it pop more.  I also added a little bit of gray to the blue ridge mountains in the background.  I mixed a very dark green to make the evergreens stand out.

Here is a very cool product if you want to revise a watercolor painting without starting over. 

It is intended to prepare any surface to accept watercolor paints.  Glass, seashells, wood, fabric, metal...all can be prepared first with Watercolor Ground, and then painted with watercolors.  However, it is also good for covering up boo-boos.  In my case, I did not like the shadow that I painted on the viaduct, covered it in the white ground product, and then repainted it in black.

You can see some tutorials on this product at the Daniel Smith website.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Great Weekend

It was a great party on Saturday...good weather, good food, good friends, good music...and I got to dance with my daddy!

On Sunday, my sister Katy, Dad, Charlie and I went to lunch at a new restaurant at Lafayette Village in Raleigh.  The shopping area has faux European architecture.

At Simply Crepes, they cook the crepes behind a glass screen so you can watch them being made.

The menu was very enticing, with lots of fresh ingredients.  I selected the Tarragon Chicken Crepe.

Dad's Seafood Crepe came wrapped up like a little sack of goodness.

Katy opted for the onion soup and salad.  What a gorgeous plate!

The dining area is illuminated with many gorgeous chandeliers.

It was a nice way to end our weekend visit.

But next time I might start with the dessert crepes!

The late afternoon sun cast long shadows across our back yard and lit up the colorful foliage.

The golden sunshine made me feel even happier!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Annual Pig-Picking

Today is our annual fall pig-picking for some of Charlie's business clients.  We used to have this at our house, which meant having the yard and house perfect.  By the time the guests arrived, I was usually pooped!  It was even worse for Charlie, who had to rise at dawn and start cooking the pig.  One year, my daughter-in-law Emily and her friend Aimee helped me hang quilts on the back deck.  The main purpose was to hide the lawn mower and other equipment under the deck, but the guests enjoyed the outdoor quilt show.  Move over, Sisters, Oregon!

A couple of years ago we got smarter and started having the event at North Ridge Country Club in Raleigh.  The first time, Charlie still cooked the pig, but the chef helped him and learned how to do it.  The next time, we only had to bring our pig cooker.  This time, we told them to rent a pig cooker!  So all  we had to do was make the sauce.  Last night we had a sauce-making party, so even that was fun.

Later today my brother John, my sister Katy, and my dad are joining us for the party.  There is a rumor that Katy's husband Kenny may even join us.  He is the inventor of The Secret Sauce recipe.  He does not like to travel except to go to the mountains, so we'll see. There will be some professional blue-grass musicians on hand to entertain this year, so it should be lots of fun.

My only task is to make some floral centerpieces.  I usually  just buy some mums or pansies and wrap them with a colorful paper napkin and some raffia.  Better get busy!  It is sunny and cool and should be a perfect fall day.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Watercolor Painting Class

Last night I attended a two hour watercolor painting class by Art Student Academy in downtown Wake Forest at the Wake Forest Frame Shop

Photo by M. Theresa Brown

Art Student Academy is a husband-wife artist team with a variety of class formats and locations.  Last night's class was taught by Stephen Filarsky, but Theresa also joined us during the workshop.  Our topic was Fall Color in Watercolor.

Our subject was the Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway, winding around Grandfather Mountain.  We had color photo references, and started with a black and white photocopy that we transferred on to watercolor paper.  All supplies are furnished at the workshop, including brushes, paint, palettes, even water containers.

Only three of the ten of us in the class had ever tried painting with watercolors before, but every student finished a painting by the end of the two-hour class! 

Photo by M. Theresa Brown

Theresa took a photo of each participant.  Here I am with mine- complete with a charcoal smudge or two on my face.  I want to work on the bridge a bit, but I was pleased with my sky and some of the foliage.  Hmm, my evergreen trees seem to be bending in the wind.  Probably true on mile-high Grandfather Mountain!

I even liked the little abstract that emerged on the small paper that we used to try out the paints.  This might become a background for a future collage or journal page.

The session was very relaxed and friendly.  I am sure I will sign up for more classes.  The cost is only $30.00 for a two-hour class.  They offer instruction in acrylics and oils as well as watercolors.  There is even a class called Art + Wine that they teach in the Twisted Vine wine shop in Wake Forest.  That one sounds like me!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


You may recall that I have completed about five or six quilt tops made by my sister-in-law Debbie's late grandmother.   Here are some pictures Debbie sent me of some of those quilts.

The basket quilt is still my favorite of all of her grandma's quilt tops.  I custom-quilted it with feathers.  I liked it so much that I even entered it in one of my guild shows when the theme was "Everything Old is New Again."

If you look at the Hoosier cabinet in the first photo, you will spy a little quilt I made for Chris and Debbie years ago as a "thank you" for having our family for Thanksgiving.  It is a Debbie Mumm pattern called Farmer's Market.

Here are the two Blazing Star quilts that Debbie's grandmother pieced and I quilted.  These caused me much moaning, groaning, and gnashing of teeth...but don't they look great on the beds?

The two quilts are custom-quilted with continuous curves in the star points and feather wreaths in the white space.

You may also remember my post about making two small art quilts for a charity auction.  The Board of Realtor's auction was last weekend, and the proceeds go to the local Food Bank.

I am happy to say that this little guy raised $45.00

and this larger one sold for $60.00.  Very gratifying!

Both pieces are bound quilts that are mounted on artist's gallery-wrapped canvas.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mountain Beauty

I am back from a practically perfect mountain weekend with my family.  We drove up on Thursday night and arrived in a torrential storm in the darkness.  What a treat to wake up Friday morning to glorious sunshine and beautiful fall color!

Charlie and I went to town for groceries via the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Incredible vistas!

We have been stopping each week at this farm below Mount Jefferson to photograph the changing fall colors.  Wow!

Then we had to take a Gator ride up our own mountain.  Double wow!

Our kids arrived later on Friday.  We drove back down the Blue Ridge Parkway on Saturday to visit the Trading Post in Glendale Springs. Here are Lily and Emily by the incredible flower boxes on the front porch.

The quilts lend an authentic mountain craftsmanship feel.

The aprons made a colorful display.

Here is some jewelry and another quilt on display.

The beaded glassware looked beautiful shining next to the window.

But the real shining jewels were the colorful leaves shining in the sunshine on the mountains.