Thursday, February 28, 2013

The "Back to Square One Mystery" February progress

In December, I decided to participate in the Judy Laquidara and Vicki Welsh mystery quilt called "Back to Square One."  After a non-start in January, I have caught up and here are the photos of the blocks so far.

The fabrics I'm using, which are from Vicki's Etsy shop, are gorgeous and I am sure this will be a lovely quilt. 

A Few New Pieces

I've had very little time in the studio this week, but I've managed to do a few cards and sketches.

My friend, Nina, got a shipment of inks from Dick Blick, so we got together to do some creative stuff with them.  We both worked on a scrap of paper, and at the end of the day, it was quite a mess.  But a mess with some potential....

Nina had painted large blocks of copper in two areas to test the opacity/sheerness, and we had both used a calligraphy pen to test the inks.  But I liked the scrap of paper and after she left, I played a bit more with it.  I added some trees with watercolors and tried out some new Old World Oak Gall Ink I'd gotten from John Neal Booksellers.  That made some fairly credible rocks, so I turned the biggest of the copper block areas into a not-very-realistic, but fun, spirit bear walking down the rocky slope.  I actually think the bear looks a bit more like an elephant (note the ink dribble by his muzzle/trunk), but what the heck --  elephants don't live on rocky slopes with birch trees.  A few blotches of green served as leaves and here is the result:

From Nina and my ink testing experiments on a scrap of paper.

 Another day, I was looking out the studio window and saw a clump of birch trees half-buried in snow.  I am so tired of winter, that I decided to make a bit of spring.  So...out came the tags, my brushes, some watercolors, and this was the result:

Wishing for spring.

I was working with some Silks Acrylic glazes one day, and decided to stop wasting the beautiful paint that was left on my brush when I changed colors.  I got out a piece of 90# watercolor paper and started cleaning my brush off on it.  I liked the result, so when I was all done painting, I had a big enough piece of "cleaner" paper to make these two postcards.  I know I will be doing this again!

Cleaned my paintbrush on watercolor it's a postcard.

This is the other half of the watercolor paper...another card from just cleaning my brush.  Silks Acrylics are so much fun to use.

I'm always finding ways to make postcards (yes, I mail a lot of them) and if I can use pieces that didn't work out as planned, I'm even happier.  I was working on a watercolor background for my March Calendar Journal pages and it was darker than I wanted, so I put it aside.  Then, I decided it would be good as postcards if I added more paint.  Layers later, these postcards were the final product.

I got some fantastic new stencils from Joggles, and used one of them, with a couple of colors of Lumiere paints, to liven up this leftover hand-dyed scrap of fabric.  Naturally, it is another postcard!


And, last but not least, I have a new book that is great fun.  It is called "Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals: A Mixed-Media Workshop with Carla Sonheim" and today I tried my first drawing from the book.  I dropped some yellow liquid watercolor onto paper and when it was dry, dropped some blue-green on top of it.  After both were dry, they seemed to suggest bird shapes so I gave it a try.  It was fun!  And totally silly!  

 I really wish I had more studio time.  But then, don't we all?

My Crazy Quilt Challenge Piece: Mirasol

In December, one of my sewing groups decided to issue a challenge:  create a crazy quilted, 3-D fruit.  It would be due on March 28th, and needed to be life-sized. 

I love hot peppers.  Mirasol is my favorite of them, it is a gorgeous plant with peppers that stand high above the plant.  Mirasol means "look at the sun" and that is just what this pepper appears to do.

My challenge piece is finished.   It stands about 20 inches high, and has about 75 leaves, and 11 peppers.  I found an interesting chunk of firewood and drilled a hole in it for a base, since I didn't really want a "real" pot.

What do you think?

The whole Mirasol plant.

A closer view of a few leaves.

The wonderful piece of firewood.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Mystery Solved

Last Tuesday night, our suet feeder disappeared.   Gone completely, not just on the ground below or at a few yards distance.  Gone.  The feeder is positioned over a balcony that is 3 feet wide and the bottom of the feeder is about 7 1/2 feet above the balcony's floor.  The hanger is another 8 inches above that.  The squirrels can occasionally knock it down, but they cannot carry it away.  And to knock it down takes a flying leap on their part, pointed in exactly the right direction to un-clip the chain from the big hook, and it isn't easy.  The balcony connects to our entry courtyard deck. 

I replaced it with a different suet feeder on Thursday.  Thursday night, it disappeared, too. 

Then, I came upon this clue, right on the entry courtyard deck, a few feet from the front door to my house: 

Bear print is about 7 inches side-to-side and this was pretty fresh, not enlarged by melting snow.

A bear!  A BIG bear.  Big enough that he could simply reach up and take down the suet feeder by unhooking a chain more than 8 feet in the air.

I haven't put up another suet feeder...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


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Postcards, a set on Flickr.

A few postcards -- a selection from several hundred

Monday, February 11, 2013

VTpicturesPPP's photostream

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More photos today: sets of art cards, my "Study in Brown" book, my calendar journal for 2013, and some little journal books. Enjoy!