Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas Cards Almost Complete

After a couple of busy days, I finally got back to sketching and painting. And now they're all complete! It was an amazing journey and I learned that the more you sketch the same thing the better it gets. It was amazing to watch the sketching and the painting change and honestly I really like the last ones better than the first.  Reminded me of the bible verse, where Jesus says, "The first shall be last and the last shall be first."

I was so excited to get the last card part printed, cut and folded that I counted out the envelopes and decided to run them through the embosser - so envelopes have a snowflake! Hope it doesn't jam the post office machinery!

So now I prepare to do the real work addressing and one more fun art project of drawing a card for the children in my life. I'm sending them a separate card addressed just to them. Do you remember how much fun it was to get mail as a child?

And then, it's back to the spinning wheel to get some gifts done - just 14 days from tonight, so I'm hoping some spinning and knitting elves arrive to help!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

It's Beginning to Feel a Bit Like Christmas...

I love this time of year! I grew up near St. Louis and I still remember cold and snow and sledding and snow people!  And to top it off, I am taking a most magical winter art class with Junelle Jacobson. All of the posted art has made be even more excited for the season.

Never mind that I'm writing this and it's almost 70 degrees outside. We have had some "cold" 40"s mornings lately. Remember cold is all in perspective! lol

For years I made our Christmas cards. I cut and pasted and stamped for weeks.  A year or so ago I decided to change the program and printed our cards from a painting I had done of a poinsettia. Last year we jumped on the photo card bandwagon and did a fun one featuring our alpacas, chickens, dog and us. We even had one of our dog herding our "fake" sheep.

This year I was led to a stone I painted several years ago of the Madonna and child. Just felt like I was supposed to paint it for this year's card. My plan was to paint one and then scan and print it just like I did the poinsettia, but God had something else in mind.

Initial sketch from stone in journal

As I was driving into Katy for lunch with a friend I was praying about the card and how to do it. I promise, I heard (in my heart) "paint each one."  What???????  I needed around 35.  When I mentioned it at lunch, I was reminded that it was the painting I found joyous not scanning/printing. So it was decided!

 So this was a picture of my the sketch I decided I would use for the cards, after positive reaction of Facebook! But, of course, I tried to do it the "easy" way. Only when you're not being obedient the easy way can often be the most difficult and frustrating way.  The more I tried to print it the crazier life in our house became! The printer wouldn't print. Ran out of ink. Lines and marks appeared in the prints. The colors were so off the sheep were almost purple and I might add this is not theworst picture!

An image of my original with the nearly purple sheep!
And so I cut watercolor paper and I began to sketch. I  sketched and inked 21 pieces Saturday morning. No two are alike. First I started with one sheep, but then as I drew I thought why not a mama and a baby sheep and so there became two.  Late last night I completed the first water coloring portion and at the last I was still changing some things up as I painted. I got the rest of the card printed and ready for the attachments. I will sketch and paint another 15-20 over the next few days.

Most of the 21 complete! I see one unfinished peeking out at the bottom.

And, of course while I was painting, I just had to sketch some shepherds watching over their flocks!

Sheep sleep all close together looking like giant cotton balls! My first try at this  they looked like a stone wall! lol

As I said to a friend tonight, obedience can be a lot of work, but, oh, so joyous!  I'm sure He would have ask me to do more, but knows that I have something to sketch and paint for my sweet husband and I have a church (award for best religious winner for our neighborhood lighting contest) to be completed this week, along with that fun, fun Junelle Jacobson art class! And some special spinning for a dear friend, but more of that in a fiber post.

My sketch in journal and the nearly 5' church to be painted -  doors and windows are sketched in.

Busy time of the year. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

2015 Catch up - Spinning!

It's been a busy arty kind of year so far and I can't believe how far into the year we are now!  The middle of November and that means Christmas is just around the corner! I've used Facebook most of this year to show off my work, but want to catch up my Blog with some notes and pictures of my creative year.

2015 has been a year of working in many different medias - beginning with spinning and all of the prep that goes into that such as shearing (see Jack and the Alpacas for more on that) carding, blending and, of course, buying pretty fiber.  Weaving wasn't left out as I worked on and completed a set of six placements for a friend. Planned on them for Christmas 2014, but turned out to be birthday June 2015!

And then back to my first and second love - photography and painting. I've taken a number of online art classes this year, with Jane LaFazio, Junelle Jacobson, Valerie Weller, Jeanne Oliver and Julie Johnson.

It's been too busy to do just one post, so this first will feature spinning, followed with weaving and watercolor/journaling.

I had to show one shearing picture (see more at Jack and the Alpacas) - it shows the process from the beginning. Shearing, sorting,washing, carding and the spinning: There are no pictures of the first sorting and washing.
Lefty being sheared - a nice size blanket!

First run through the carder!
Looking better - almost ready
to spin!

And now just a variety of the various yarns spun this year. They are wool not alpaca and the initial fiber was not prepped by me. I just did the spinning.

Next up weaving. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Silly Little Birdhouses

Kathryn and Aiden painting birdhouses summer 2014
I have had more fun with these little $1 birdhouses from Jo-ann's.  I picked them up during the summer and have been playing with them ever since.  I have two on our mantle, my great-grandson and his mom both painted some when they were here during the summer and I played with a couple today.

I always seem to have some in the works - one phase or another.  I took the time to gesso all of them so they would be ready when the urge struck.

The best part of these is that you can't mess up  If you do, you redo and they only cost a $1.  And there's always a paint over and start over!  That's the part I love.  It's sort of like the wood blocks that Junelle Jacobson has taught me to paint in her various classes.  She has a new "Saturday Morning" class starting soon and we will be working with blocks again.

My first paper piecing flowers on wood blocks.
Again, thanks Junelle!

But, as usual, I've jumped topics - I'm all about the birdhouses right now.  So I did two this weekend. Thanks to Junelle I now play in gesso and Mod Podge like I'm a three year old. So I put on my apron and got out the papers, glue and paint and had a blast.

My first house was all torn papers.  I used some fab Tim Holtz papers with some birds on it.  Also, had some papers with French writing and had to add that too.  Ended up pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

When Archivers was going out of business I bought some interesting sheets of paper, so did my next house with a map of the Paris bus system or so it says, I think.  In other words, they could say that and I wouldn't know, but I like the paper.  End result, if I have a French bird fly into my studio he will like this house!

Starting a block class with Junelle soon, so watch for some cute painted blocks!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Looking Back - Mom's Memory Book!

Lid from box of new Christmas balls - now wonderful
decorations for next year!  See why I save?
I have decided that this is the year of cleaning out, using up and moving forward lighter.  If you know me at all, you know that I'm a keeper of all things.  As a previous antique store owner and a collector I tend to place a value on everything that crosses in front of me!  As a mixed media artist, everything I see can be used in something, sometime, some way.

With the passing of our parents I gained even more things to hold on to (some of you would use the word hoard) I use hold on to and treasure!  Except, that I'm feeling overwhelmed by stuff!  I didn't know it could happen, but it has and this must be the year of use it, sell it, give it away or with a very deep sigh throw it away!  Eek, you may or may not know how that makes me feel, but it's scary!  Not the use it, not the sell it, not the give it away, but the THROW IT AWAY!

We had a couple of nice, warm and sunny (for January) days and so I dug into my garage.  One side is for the car, but the other side planned for a outside studio has become a storage bin.  I have some woodworking ideas, some fiber cleaning to do and so I began my clean up the chaos here.

My mom and dad had a trunk that as a child I loved to look through.  Dad stored it in the back of a closet and occasionally he would pull it out,  open it up and let me look at the goodies.  Well, when Dad passed and Mom moved to Texas with us along came the trunk.  Finally, I went through it and found that most of those childhood memories didn't really amount to much, but there were a few items hidden away that are treasures.

I found both of their 8th grade graduation certificates and the condition is remarkable, I'm only showing one as they're both identical except for the names.  I think I will be able to remove some of the wrinkles and use them for a journal cover??
The cover with her name in gold!

I found my mom's high school memory book - and I'm going to let the pictures speak for themselves. I hope to scan some of the pages, so I can print and use them in future journals and some I will just use as they are.  I will add some of the Valentines  and other cards to art pieces, but I just wanted to share some of these pieces here in my blog.  I loved reading some of the notes mom's friend had written to her and notes she had made along with the things she had placed in her book.  It's getting to know mom in a totally different way.  I wish we had gone through the book together and although I know I have heard many of the stories, there were many more for her to tell!

I love the art work!

This is one of those pop up, die cut cards!
Still perfect and so intricate!

Another pop up card!

Look at all the gift tags - those haven't changed much
through the years!

This napkin is like new and it was for her
surprise 16th birthday!  Never knew she
had one!  

Loved that she wrote that they ate candy during Study Hall -
well nothing changed - she ate candy up to her last day!

What a stylish valentine!

She noted on this that the party guests confused her and her sister! They were just two years apart in age.  The menu was always listed in her notes and that never changed - She always told me what they had to eat at every event she ever attended! 

These last cards were actually postcards!  Personal notes were
on the back and could have been mailed, but appeared to
be just given to her.

I didn't keep a book like this when I was in High School and have really never been a "scrapbooker."  I have thousands of pictures, fortunately for heirs they're mostly digital now, but I don't know that I have anything that will tell the story of my early life like this has for my mom.  Oh, just remembered my mom kept my baby book and a school scrapbook for me too!  It just goes through grade school and does have some fun valentines in it. Well, that's another blog for another time!

Hope you enjoyed my walk down memory lane and now I will decide how to use these items.  I see some journals and art in these pages.  Some I will scan so I can print and use more than once and others, well, we'll just have to wait and see!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Place Mats & Table Runners from Jelly Rolls

Happy 2015!!!

Last time I posted I said I would be back soon with pictures of weaving with jelly rolls!  That was in October and here it is January 2015!  Eek! Sorry!!!!

When I got my first loom it was all about table runners and place mats!  Of course, you start with scarves!  Everyone does!  Kind of like knitting. :)

And one more!  Love this yarn!
Scarves I've women.

In the fall I discovered Lois Weaver, got a pattern and now have made three runners and completed one set of place mats.  Another set is started on the loom, but has taken a back seat to the holidays and getting the new year started.  As last time, I'm going to let the pictures with brief captions tell the rest of the story!
Moda Jelly Roll - normally think of it for quilts!

Side view of Moda Jelly Roll

Jelly roll strips laid out and cut in 1/2 for weaving!

Table runners has begun.

Checking how it looks - getting close to done!

Checking again - beautiful!

Washed and hanging to dry - love the striping.

Fringe has been trimmed.

On my table - I love it!

I cut the strips for this table runner from some fabric stash!

I wove two shorter runners with same warp.  Still connected together - but love the colors!
Scarf completed between runner and place mats!  Love this new yarn.
Love these colors - used for the following  place mats!

Made all four with one warp and cut apart.  Love the colors.
I toss all of the strips into a bag and pull them out blind - that makes
the mats go together, but each place mat different from the others!

And now the next set begins.  I warped with four different colors
that all match the fabric. 

I'm making 14 of these place mats - 6 for my friend Deb and 8 for me.
The colors go with our Fiesta dishes!  

So that ends the saga of the table runners and place mats for now.  I will post pictures of these last mats when they're done.  I'm so far behind, but have them at the top of my to do list!  Hopefully, they will be complete soon!

I really am going to try and post more regularly, however, I have a lot on my agenda. I just had a great fiber weekend and so there is much to post, but also much to do.  I have a fiber area to prepare in the garage and lots of organization and clean out to do this year and yet so little time!

I will TRY to be back soon!  Be sure to follow my blog Jack and the Alpacas - I'm going to try and use it for my fiber posts, especially if it includes using the fiber from the boys…..

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