Monday, November 26, 2012

Back to Real Life

I can't believe my trip to Florida is over already.  And it's gotten so cold here!  Katy and I enjoyed trips to the beach, first with our niece Laura, and then with my brother Jeff.

Sanibel Island was my favorite.  We walked on the beach and looked for shells.  They were not hard to find.
The Gulf was extremely calm and serene.
We drove through the Ding Darling Nature Reserve on Sanibel.  The white pelicans were visiting.  I had only seen the more common brown ones on our North Carolina beaches.
Ft. Myers Beach was much more commercial, but very colorful.  I like the multicolored buildings.
We also really enjoyed sitting on my brother's back deck and watching the birds around the lake.  There were lots of ducks, but also a bald eagle.  Once we saw an otter as big as my dog.
My father tolerated the trip very well, and enjoyed being with us in the warmer climate of Florida.
For Thanksgiving, my brother grilled a turkey, and we all made side dishes and desserts.  It was a wonderful family holiday.  My niece has painted all the interior doors in the family home, and one of them is a Gratitude Tree. 
We all wrote what we are thankful for on a leaf, and taped it to the tree.
But I missed my husband and my dog, and am thankful that we are all together again!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Being Gigi

Saturday morning I left for the three-hour drive to my son's home in South Carolina.

Raise your hand if you can identify these large yellow objects seen frequently along the highway!

Yes, quilters, this is the source of your favorite fabric and batting...good old King Cotton, baled up in the fields and covered with what looks like thick protective plastic.

It was a beautiful ride in the full sun.  The farther south I went, the more colorful leaves were still on the trees.

Saturday I took my grandchildren to Kalmia Gardens, a lovely nature preserve on the site of a former plantation.  It is also the site of my son's first wedding.  Here is Lily in the very spot where her parents got married.

There were many great photo ops at this lovely spot.
We took one of the many paths that descends sixty feet below the house and yard to a cypress swamp below.  Along the way are many types of plants such as mountain laurel normally found in the mountains, certainly not in the flatlands of South Carolina.
The Black Creek runs through the base of the property.  It was reflecting beautifully in the afternoon sun.
The creek and the pond at the bottom are surrounded by cypress trees.  These trees have the curious growth habit of developing cypress "knees,"  or woody structures that develop from the root system and stick up above the water.
There were lots of wooden boardwalks to help us keep our feet dry along the way.
The kids had fun climbing on tree trunks and playing along the trails.
The next day we got out the art supplies.  Next door-neighbor Sky came over, too. 
Sky taught us how she draws and colors roses.
I was pleased to see that Lily and Sky have been using the Doodlicious Daybook journal that I made.  Here is a lady that Lily drew on one of the pages.  I think it might be Popeye's girlfriend, Olive Oyl .
It was a nice weekend, and Bryson and Melissa had a much-deserved weekend away in Charlotte to watch the Panthers-Broncos football game.  Guess who was rooting for whom?
Since I stayed until Monday, my husband did not accompany me.  He went on to our mountain place for a weekend of hunting (unsuccessful.)  I am looking forward to a reunion with him for two more days until he goes back up for full-fledged deer camp through Thanksgiving.
I will be heading down to Florida on Sunday with my sister and our dad to stay with our brother Jeff and his family for almost a week.  I am so excited about this trip.  The weather is turning cold again this week after the mild weekend.  I am ready to pack my shorts and bathing suit and head for the Gulf of Mexico!



Friday, November 9, 2012

Art of the Carolinas: Day 2

Today I went to another watercolor painting class at Art of the Carolinas with artist Tom Jones.  Today's topic was painting mountain mist.  And, much to my surprise, there were only two of us in class today!

Here is what I finished up with.

We learned some neat tricks to soften the edges of the mountains, make treelines, make smoke, etc.  Mostly Tom helped me with mixing my colors and loading my brush, which I had never really learned to do very well.
Tomorrow morning I am leaving for South Carolina and a weekend of babysitting with my grandchildren.  Charlie went to the mountains with our dog Kasey.  I won't be back until Monday. 
Can't wait to go see my little monkeys!

Art of the Carolinas: Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of classes at Art of the Carolinas in Raleigh, NC.  The vendor mall was not yet open, but my class was held at the nearby Jerry's Artarama store, which sponsors the art conference.

First I checked in and received my free gift bag with a bottle of water, a bamboo mat that rolls up to hold your paintbrushes, and a nail brush.

Then I went to Jerry's and bought two new watercolor brushes for the class.  When I checked out, I got a free Jerry's T-shirt.

My class last night was with Florida artist Tom Jones.  The workshop was called Sunrays Filtering Through the Forest.

The subject matter reminded me very much of a scene from Ashe County in the North Carolina mountains, where we have a weekend place. 

When I went into the room, I found a slimmer Tom Jones, who has lost twenty pounds since last year.  Also, I was delighted to find that there were only four students registered for this class, and one of them did not show up.  So, we got lots of individual attention!

Tom provided the paper and paints.  He did a great step-by-step demo.  He brought his painting around for us to see up close after each step.

I loved working with those gorgeous autumn colors.  The little green speckles in the water area are frisket, a mask applied to preserve white space.  It is rubbed off when the painting is done.
This was my painting about halfway done.  The water area sort of looks like a blue sky with fluffy white clouds at this point.  In fact, one of the students in class was doing his whole picture upside down and had to start over.

Here is Tom's finished painting with a working mat.  It is taken at an angle.  I think his is gorgeous!
And here is mine at the end of class.  There are a few places I want to work on.  I might even do it all over for practice.
I have another class with Tom Jones later this afternoon.  This one will be about painting mountain mist.  Here is the sample from the website.
Beautiful, yes?  The bare brown mountains look more like the Rockies than the Appalachians of North Carolina, but I can't wait to work on this one.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Jewelry Re-Design

Today my art quilt bee met at Beautimous Beads in Cary, NC.  We had visited there back in August after going to the art quilt exhibit Narrative Threads at the Page-Walker house.  This time, we arranged time for a Jewelry Re-Design/Re-Cycle session.  We all brought old, unwanted, or broken jewelry or beads, and made them into something new.

Bridgette and the other employee at the school were our consultants and experts on putting our projects together.  We sat at a big table in the store and worked on bead mats.

Here are Roberta and Toni hard at work.  (Isn't that a stunning beaded piece Roberta is wearing?  She added the beads to a piece of felt.)

We have a new member, Marion, who I met for the first time today.  She is the one that comes after me in the Surface Design Round Robin challenge.  I handed both my fabric and Toni's off to her.

I went through my jewelry drawer and pulled out all my beaded necklaces that were broken in some way.  Some were missing clasps, or needed jump rings or crimping.  I spent most of my time re-stringing the necklace on the right, that had completely come apart and was missing some beads.  The store staff fixed everything else for very minimal fees, between $1.00 and $3.00 per necklace.

I also found a chain in my drawer that did not have a pendant or anything, so I purchased this little owl pin/pendant.  I must like it, because I also included a picture of it on my blog after my last trip to Beautimous Beads.
Here is the new bracelet that Roberta put together after taking the charms off an old necklace.
And here is our Toni, looking radiant with her hair recently grown back following chemo.  It is now a beautiful silver color!
Ruth-Ellen was there, too, but must have been avoiding the camera!
After I finished with my bead projects, I went to visit my Aunt Billie, who is back home in Cary after being in a nursing home for six months.  She looked so happy to be in her own home with her daughter, Erin, and her frisky cat, Thor.  I did not get his picture, but Thor was trying very hard to play with my newly repaired jewelry as I took them out to show them off!
It was a nice day.
Tomorrow I take my first class at this year's Art of the Carolinas at the North Raleigh Hilton.  I have signed up for two watercolor painting classes with Tom Jones.  I hope my results are as good as last year's.  This is the painting that I did in one of Tom's classes last year.  It is now hanging in my husband's office.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Surface Design Round Robin: Round 1

I completed Round One today of the Surface Design Round Robin for the Anything Art quilt bee. 

I received Toni's yard of plain white fabric.  I decided to do sun printing in a rainbow of colors.  Here is the final piece.

I used Lemon Yellow, Buttercup, Fuchsia, and Cobalt Blue Pebeo Setacolor Transparent paints.  You wet the fabric, dilute the paints with water, and apply them to the fabric with a sponge brush. 

The fun begins when you add objects to "print" on to the fabric, and set it all in the sun to dry.  I added more paint around the objects, such as leaves, flowers, and stencils.

After it dried, I added more colors to areas that were not vibrant.  I tried to print again, but noticed that the wet paint on the dried, heat set paint did not allow the sun printing to occur.

I love the look of this fabric.  I wonder what the next four or five participants will do to it!

Tomorrow we will meet, and I am passing along my yard of white fabric to Marion.  I made a journal for the participants to record their processes or comments.

The cover is made from a piece of fabric paper that I made some time ago.  Fabric paper is muslin that you coat with diluted white glue and collage with various tissues or papers.  On this one, I stitched the word "JOY" in zigzag on the sewing machine.
Here is the inside back cover.  It is a piece of painted paper.  I keep a Rubbermaid box of painted papers and paper towels.  I made a bookmark, too.
Here is the back cover.
After I finished painting Toni's fabric, I had several new painted paper towels and pieces of muslin that I used as wipe or mop cloths.

These will come in handy for another project some day.

Today I braved the cold, gloomy weather to vote.  I had to wait outside for about fifteen minutes.  A little boy was accompanying his mother to the polls, and obviously had been told that they were voting for the President.  He started to walk in the doors, but his mother directed him to go the end of the line with her.  He said, "But I want to go in there and meet the President!"

I appreciate living in a free country where we have the opportunity to vote!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Whacky Ladies Bee Meeting

I have missed several recent meetings of my local quilt bee, The Whacky Ladies, so I was glad to be able to attend last Thursday night.  We met at Mary's house, which is only a couple of miles from my house.

Here is some of our Show-and-Tell.

Sharon made this quilt using squares of fabric from a panel, to which she added several borders.

Carolyn has started putting together the large red and white blocks from her Block of the Month project from Wish Upon a Quilt.
She is doing another BOM using black, tan, and gold fabrics in batiks.
Marilyn showed us her festive quilt top in Christmas fabrics and colors.
Mary also had a Christmas quilt, with trees and cardinals.
Since we were at Mary's house, she showed us her "napping quilt."
And here is another Warm Wishes quilt (slightly out of focus, sorry!)
Lori made a purse from her own original pattern.
Here is a pinwheel quilt.  I think it was made by Paula.

And this is Paula holding a Nine-Patch Pizazz quilt, which I think was made by Mary.  I love the rich colors.

I showed my recently returned Round Robin quilt that had been lost for years.  What a surprise when the person who had it found me on Facebook and mailed it to me!
I also showed the Re-Vision quilt from Cyberbee that I was supposed to have finished over a year ago.  The beautiful top was made by Mary Corcoran.  I have chosen a beautiful hand-dye by Ricky Tims to add a final border.