Monday, December 30, 2013

Finished Junk Mail Journal

I came across an unfinished journal in my studio,  and decided to get it done in time for Christmas gift-giving.

The cover is made from a florist box from Hawaii. 

The inside cover is gessoed and painted and stamped.

I stitched the painted catalog pages together with a long sewing machine stitch.  Then I punctured holes through the pages and the cover, and used pipe cleaners to secure the signature.

I had some colorful lined post-it's and some orange duct tape, and added in places for journaling.

I also used some painted papers I had on hand.

With some colorful paper clips and a few bookmarks, the journal was almost 

I tied some fibers and fabric scraps through the pipe cleaners on the binding, and it was done!

This went to my daughter-in-law's sister, Kate, who is a college student.

Here is a quick little watercolor portrait that I did of my granddaughter, Lily.  We received a photo album full of good pictures of the three kids in our older son's family, and I used one as the reference for this sketch.

We did a lot of traveling during Christmas week.  I slept in five different places in seven days!

We finally got to go inside our new cabin, which is installed in place but not ready for occupancy.

I discovered that from our deck, we can hear the waterfall from the dam on the creek below.

We designed our fireplace while we were there.  We are getting quite excited about our new mountain place!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Visiting my Gammill

I went to Clayton on Wednesday 
to visit my Gammill's foster mother and help her get set up with a quilting project.  That's her working on a very pretty batik quilt.

Even though I've done hundreds of quilts, it took me a little while to remember everything.  We had done several rows before I remembered to attach the side clamps!

This weekend we are visiting our kids and grand kids in South Carolina.  It was so good to see the little ones again!

This will be our Christmas visit with them.   Tomorrow it will be about 75 degrees here!  That works for me...the kids can play outside all day!

It has been warm at home, too.  Yesterday I walked our dog up our road right before dark.  We got to see a spectacular sunset over the lake.

I got my new laptop, which is light and sleek and FRUSTRATING!  It has a touch screen and Windows 8.1.  I used to teach Windows to the teachers and students at school, but I am totally lost!  Maybe after I watch 100 or so tutorials I will figure it out.

I hope you enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Watercolor Painting Exercises

This weekend we went to an office Christmas party, babysat for granddaughter and grand dog, installed a new alarm system, ordered a replacement laptop for me since the insurance company finally came through, and watched the progress of our new cabin through web cam and also photos from my sister.

This little girl lights up the gloomiest mornings!

The cathedral roof and the side pieces are in place , and they have started building the decks.

After the baby went home, I decided to practice some watercolor brush strokes using a free website tutorial from watercolor I should have done this before I ever tried to paint a picture.

These are not videos, but tutorials with descriptions and photographs.  

The first assignment was to paint curvy lines in different colors, leaving white space between each color.  This is to practice brush control.  I have covered my curvy lines with textural brush strokes from a later section on stab painting.

Another lesson was on applying pressure on the brush to make thick and thin lines (top section).

The grassy and branch-like areas are part of a lesson on Wrist Flick strokes.  My instructor Tom Jones was a wiz at this technique.

The wider strokes at the bottom are "Painterly Strokes."  You load the brush and lay it down flat on the paper.

The last brush stroke was "Cutting Edge."  I found this very challenging.  Getting a clean, smooth line of paint takes practice.

I also worked on different ways to hold the paintbrush, from the same website tutorial.  The resulting lines range from controlled to loose.

I also keep on trying new faces that I copy from magazine ads and then attempt to paint with lush color and loose lines.  This lady is almost done, but the eyes need more work, as well as the hair near the hand.

That's about it.  I hope when I get my new computer, I can edit some of these posts from the past month.  The iPad does not let you choose the size of the photos or their placement, or put in web links when using Blogger.  Thanks for your patience!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snowmen on Parade

What a difference a little paint makes!

After more sanding,  I finally got to start painting my little snow buddies.

Some of them still need a little touching up, and I might give them all a coat of clear acrylic varnish.

But I am glad to get this project almost finished!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Half-Baked Snowmen

I decided to try a new craft that I saw in a magazine.  I went to Michael's and bought air-dry clay, styrofoam balls, sturdy wire and even my very own pink wire cutters.  Then proceeded to make a huge mess as I tried to form snowman faces with the clay over the balls.

I have found out that I am not a sculptor!  Looks kind of like the Seven Dwarves, doesn't it!

It took forever for these to dry.  I wanted to paint them yesterday, but after sanding, I still had so many cracks that I had to make a paste with the clay and do some repairs.  See the spaces between the head and the hats?

We'll see how they turn out after drying and sanding a second time.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Whacky Ladies Christmas Brunch

Friday was a treat for me, since I got to visit with my quilting buddies from The Whacky Ladies bee in the Wake Forest area.  We had breakfast at Brig's Restaurant.  It is fun to see the staff and other patrons enjoying our show-and-tell!

We always have a gift exchange, with the chance to "steal" someone else's gift.  Carolyn ended up with the most coveted gift...a quilted pillow with a Christmas tree made of yo-yo's and buttons!

Irene was very happy with her Santa who could hang around by his arms.


We also exchange small gifts for each member.  I did not make mine this year, but brought a basket of memo pads in beautiful paper covers.

But I collected some lovely gifts of fabrics, ornaments, and yummies.

I showed the ladies the new red and white blocks that I have made to go with the sampler blocks that they made for me.  I don't think I have posted the latest one..."Moon Over the Mountain."

Speaking of mountains, we did not go back this weekend as planned, since my hubby came down with what we think is Norovirus.  Try not to get it!  Plus, they are supposed to have an ice storm today. But we have gotten a few pictures of the cabin with its cathedral ceiling in place.

   With the bad weather and the approaching holidays, I'm sure there will be a lot more delays in building the decks, walkways, etc.  that's okay, we will enjoy it when it is ready!     

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's A Cabin!

Yesterday was quite a day!  Let's just say, nothing went smoothly,  but at the end of the day, we had a cabin!

Many of the delays were due to our steep driveway which had gotten very muddy from recent rains and all the heavy vehicles on it recently.  First, one of the worker's trucks was stuck in the driveway.  Along came uncle Gary with his bulldozer to pull him out.  Then fourteen people from the log cabin team stood around and watched while Gary prepped the site for the two cranes.

Then, the cranes arrived, and got stuck both at the bottom and top of the driveway!

They backed down and refused to come up until we had some loads of gravel delivered.  It was very frustrating!  All these guys standing around, and nothing getting done!

Finally we got not two,  but four loads of gravel delivered, and the cranes roared up the hill.

It took awhile to get them in place.  But finally, they lifted the first half of the house.

It was so exciting!

It was nerve-wracking to have Gary back the house with his bulldozer within inches of our current building.

But the second half went into place!

The next setback was our roof.  Half of the cabin has a cathedral ceiling, and the roof was already constructed and on a separate truck.  The truck had an accident coming up the hill in North Wilkesboro.  One of the beams to support the roof got broken.  Even worse, weather again played a role.  Fog set in down the mountain.  The highway patrolman who investigated the accident would not let the oversized-load truck proceed.  So, at the end of the day, they were wrapping the open half of our new home in plastic.

We had to come back to Raleigh, so we decided to go home a different route and visit our roof on the way.  I know, silly, but we wanted to see where it was, and if it was being guarded for security.  

Lo and behold, we passed our roof heading our way on Highway 88!

My sister who lives up there has already said the weather is clear, so I guess they will get the roof on today, and start doing some of the finishing tasks.  They are also going to build some decks, porches, and walkways.  We can't wait to go back and see it!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Giving Thanks

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving this year.  We enjoyed hosting our son and daughter-in-law and some of her family.

Of course, we all adored our sweet grand baby, Charlotte.

Dave and Em stayed until Saturday.  On Sunday, we put up the Christmas tree that Charlie brought back from the mountains after his week of deer camp.  I will add some pictures when we get back home.  

Because we drove back to the mountains this morning to be here when our modular log cabin was delivered!

The two halves of the cabin arrived today, and tomorrow the roof and two cranes will arrive to put it in place on the foundation.

There were some hairy moments.  First they had to get across the bridge over the creek.  Yikes!

They did not have room to make the 90 degree left turn to our place, so they went up the steep driveway to my sister's old trailer.  My brother-in-law's uncle Gary was recruited to do the hauling with his bulldozer.

After that, it was up to my sister's new home and down her driveway to the earthen dam across the pond.

Yes, that's half of my future home trying to make another sharp right turn without falling into the pond!

And then came the scariest moments, when the right side wheels of the truck bed were not on the driveway, but in the soft dirt on the hill.  I should see the whole thing toppling over!

The pond was partly frozen, but would not have supported a house tumbling onto its surface.  Things were stalled for at least an hour while they shored up the hill with planks from Gary's old barn across the street.  

Then, our contractor got behind the truck bed with his Bobcat and pushed while Gary pulled.  Success!

Then they did it all again with the other half of the house.  Relief!

We are thankful to get this difficult part of our new home progress completed.

Home Sweet Home!