Thursday, June 28, 2012

Back after The Long Ride

Hi, friends.  After a road trip consisting of about 2,500 miles, I will be back on line and blogging mid July.

I'll be catching up on reading, knitting, watercolors and family.  Hope your plans over the next two weeks are fun and full of adventure.  Whatever you do, make the best of it!

On vacations: We hit the sunny beaches where we occupy ourselves keeping the sun off our skin, the saltwater off our bodies, and the sand out of our belongings.
Erma Bombeck

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Church Decoration for Ordinary Times

Recently, a post about Church Banners was written here with pictures of sunflowers on silk fabric.

Now all panels of fabric have been hung.  The resulting wall looks thusly:

Eyelashes on Dogs

The question is: DO DOGS HAVE EYELASHES?

The answer: YES

And our other dog Mercy has very long lashes:

from Nancy's Floral Art Blog

Friday, June 22, 2012

Church Banners for Ordinary Times

We Christians are in the midst of a long liturgical season called "Ordinary Time".  It has an associated color: green.  All colors and their associated seasons can be found at the ELCA link.

And from the Lutheran Missouri Synod:
Green is the appointed color for all but a few of the Sundays during these seasons. Consequently, green may be used an average of six to eight months of any given liturgical year!...Variety and change in shades of this color would go a long way in keeping the season fresh and "green." Changing the paraments every six weeks would complement the Sundays following Pentecost and their emphasis on personal faith that is living and growing.
Our church is sprucing up its sanctuary and adding color.  We are displaying rectangles and squares in varying large sizes, along with other appropriate paraments to bring a focal point to one large wall area.

Hopefully, these two pictures on 12 mm silk will be used as decoration to cover one or two of the nine foam boards.  Once all are hung, I will update this post and show the completed wall decorations.

Picture one: 25" x 36" unframed:

Picture 2: 24" x 24"

More to come!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

found in the front garden:

More Wordless Wednesday Posts can be found HERE 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Costume Jewelry and Picture Frames

It seems it is the current rage to use vintage costume jewelry for picture frame decoration.  With just a wire cutter for removing backings from earrings and broach pins, a handy hot glue gun, along with a few decorative buttons and charms and two small purchased picture frames, I made a couple of embellished beauties in just an hour.

Frame #1;  a pair of ruby slippers, a couple of breast cancer pins, a Scrabble pin from 2002, button covers, broken earrings, a few glass marbles, a couple of glass beads, leftover glass squares from a mosaic, one broach, and a rhinestone necklace resulted in this...


Frame #2:

It was fun to poke around in my jewelry boxes and look into bins of vintage costume wares in thrift stores.  It is amazing what you can find. A fun, creative and easy project can be made with minimal effort.  A picture frame can be personalized with your own little treasures that will give your frame special meaning.  Give it a try!

Previously, I wrote a blog post found HERE when I had a milagro necklace made of some of my mother's favorite memory charms.  We dug around in her mementos and found several treasures to use as charms.  Here are some picture from that post showing mother's necklace:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

CASA for Children

Eighteen months ago, I became a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children and wrote a post about it HERE.

This past week I took on another case, and while at the CASA office I found this writing:


We speak for a CHILD 
who wears shoes that are too small
whose nightmares are a reality
who never heard of Mickey Mouse
whose parents ran away

We are the voice of a child
who feels at fault
who lives in fear of daddy coming home
who wonders what it's like to have a friend
who only eats when food can be found

We listen to the children
who don't know what truth is
who are in constant need of a hug
who find freedom only on a swing
who believe they are the parent.

Together we work to make a difference

It was good enough to share. Please think about volunteering your efforts.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Waste Not

Epic failure on blueberry coffeecake as the middle was still doughy after 50 minutes in the oven. Honestly, all instructions were followed correctly:

So I scooped out the middle from the loaf cake and repackaged the dough into muffins.  It worked, sorta.

But the Orange Date Muffins with recipe supplied here by the Mennonitegirls were a bit more successful:

Coffee clache at our house was fun, even though my friends did not want their pictures taken. So I didn't.

Then I bought two new side tables to refresh the living room furniture.  The wood is from India and is a very hard, dark wood called Sheesham.

Two new tables in the house, two previously used tables out of the house and to the consignment store.  My husband's philosophy on all material goods is that if one thing comes into the house, at least one item must go out.  Zen-ish.  It works for everything but my craft room.

Be patient with me, Gene, God isn't finished with me yet.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Drawing Pig Feet

Remember the Queen of the Porcines, that picture I was going to sketch and then watercolor?

Their feet were not shown in the photograph used for painting, so I had to find some pictures of pigs' feet for models. Here it is thus far:

Here are some of my models (sans hoof polishes...they all needed pedicures)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Watercolor Tutorials Overview

Betty, this one's for you.  Over at the WoodFairy blog, Betty got me back into painting on silk. She had asked for a tutorial on watercolor techniques, so I will gladly oblige.  This may be a bit tedious, so we shall see how it goes.

Not only will there be one, but there will also be several tutorials focusing on using watercolor paints on 140 lb. watercolor paper.  I will add each lesson on the sidebar as they progress and time allows.

Tutorial Outline
  • Materials needed: watercolors, at least 140 lb. watercolor paper, brushes, water, ruler, palette knives, miskit, cloth or paper rags to start.  Paint tubes of watercolors are available in hundred of colors.  They will last years and it takes just a dab of color on a palette.  When the paint dries, just add a wet brush and the lively shades reappear on the brush.  Sable brushes are best, but brush prices vary, so just be sure you have a half dozen brushes in various sizes that are dedicated to watercolors and have no oil or acrylic residue left in the hairs.
But I am getting carried away.  (an entire lesson on just materials to follow)
  • 2.  Material preparation, including soaking of water, wet on wet, wet on dry, etc.  (another lesson)
  • 3.  Choosing your subject  ... the less lines the better as we start off.  Perhaps you might choose a coloring book picture to replicate.
  • 4.  Drawing in the subject you will be painting in pencil...pencil marks will be erased after color is applied. (another lesson on using the grid method for ease in replication of drawing in a picture if you are not painting from a still life)  And using the internet to check accuracy of completing subjects drawn ( ...i.e., porcine feet)
  • 5.  Using miskit barriers (another lesson)
  • 6.  Choosing your palette colors.  Look to the great artists and determine the colors they use in a painting that you are particularly drawn to.  An example below highlights colors I like with pinks, purples, yellows, whites, greens, and blues.  How many shades of just green can you count?
source (Frederick Frieseke (1874-1939)The Garden in June 1911)

 ...and then creating your own palette from the colors you have acquired (another lesson)

(the palette I made and use)
  • 7.  Painting, shading, backgrounds, salt preparation for backgrounds
  • 8.  Finishing techniques
There are probably more parts that will be added later.  Stay tuned!  And if you would care to view a few of my watercolors, they are displayed here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Queen of the Italian Pigs, the Cinta Sensa

The breed of Cinta Sensa, a Tuscan pig, was most notably used for racing in prior times, but now the source of gourmet, pricey meat.

Toscana and Chianti News says:
you can find examples of these animals in very old paintings, in the fresco “Good Government” by Ambrogio Lorenzetti for example, on display at the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, there is a farmer walking with his Senese pig held by a leash. This special kind of pig is also visible in paintings by Bartoli di Fredi ... also in a more recent painting by Giovanni Fattori. 
The Cinta Senese is the forefather of all the Tuscan pigs. It is almost savage and very resistant to bad weather, for these reasons it represented a secure food reserve for the farmers and their families. This type of swine grows very slowly (the slaughtering age is never less than 12 months) and this is one of the reasons to why farmers, in the past, abandoned this race in favour of races which grow much faster. The pigs are raised half wild feeding in the woods and on pasture hills and fields. 
They are immediately recognisable thanks to its large white “belt” around the neck on the black body, they have a short and thin bristle, a pointed nose, sloping ears and a slanting, robust back. The fragrant pork is optimal for cooking but it’s mainly used for the production of various kinds of tasty cold cuts. Classical are the “prosciutto alla spalla” (shoulder ham) and the “salami al lardo e il capocollo” (salami of lard and top neck); typical Tuscan products of the highest quality that you just can’t resist.
"Good Government” by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, 1338

Giovanni Fattori, "Two Pigs on Pasture"

My daughter and I were lucky enough to visit the Tuscan area together in 1997, and shopped at a specialty meat shop in San Gimignana (Town of Towers).  If you look closely, the Cinta Sensa boar heads are at the top of the picture on either side of the entry into the shop.  (Daughter Heidy is posed next to a wild hare.)

We tasted some of the Tuscan boar, along with other specialty items.  I just remember the meat was spicy, and the day was cold, rainy and very dark; not surprising that the camera was not well focused.

I'll be posting some watercolors of these pigs later this week.  Here is my start to a sketch of "Queens Of Italian Pigs" that will be painted with watercolors: