Sunday, March 29, 2015

More: Owl, Bowl, Pause in Lent

Olly is back, but too frightened for me to get a better picture of him. This was as good as it happens on zoom lens. He is present only in the early morning, before sunrise; our neighbor says he is likely inside the box sleeping during the day.

Just the moment I got a bit nearer and steadied the camera on the fence railing, as I peered into the camera for a snap, he was gone.

More fabric bowls finished yesterday in prettier fabrics:


Today is Palm Sunday and I join in with Floss in A Pause in Lent, where Henri Nouwen's comments can be seen here on Path to Writing.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fabric Bowls and Laundry Line

As usual, when Elizabeth posted her pretty fabrics bowls here on Washing-Line Tales, I had to copy her and make a fabric bowl also.  Monkey see=monkey do.

I had a bit of trouble envisioning how to start off the center part, but Link #6 below from Crafty Stylish gives a good picture of the beginning of the vortex of covering the laundry line.

Using up odd bits of fabric from the closet and discarding the rest, it was a good way to not only have fun seaming up a quick bowl, but it helped in de-cluttering pieces of fabric previously used in Liturgical Art projects.

These links will give you all you need to know about how to make a fabric bowl if it does not come to you intuitively. Links will also lead you to some very pretty bowls made by other bloggers.

1 here (Mrs. Tittlemouse)
2 here (Radiant Home Studio)
3 here (Pretty Prudent)
4 here  (This Year's Dozen) explains continuous strips and a button decoration idea
5 here  (Cynthiaf) her dog sports one of her bowls on his head, sweet!
6 here for Crafty Stylish
7 here for Craftsy coils at the end
here  Wikihow shows the zig-zag stitch in detail

Besides reading and learning from the links above, my further suggestions include the following:

  • Cutting the strips of fabric about 1.25 inches wide on the bias makes twisting the fabric around the laundry line much easier and cleaner looking

  • Use a cording foot; my trust old Pfaff machine came with one in its box of attachments

  • use coordinating fabrics (I did not, so the resulting bowl looks like it was made out of Depression era materials)

  • Take your time and enjoy the process!  It took me about two hours total to make a bowl out of half a package of $5 cotton laundry line purchased from True Value Hardware

  • Find a decorative piece of jewelry or crochet a flower to cover the ending tale of the bowl

  • Now go out and do as I say, not as I do!

    Monday, March 23, 2015

    Spring Luck

    As I have previously said, Jeans Knitting is one of the first reads of the morning when sitting in my chair, or actually my husband's chair, after I get up and turn on the fire and have coffee in hand.  She blogs daily and wakes me up with her perspective on her coming day.  Jean makes lists of things that she needs to accomplish that day. And updates me, for of course she is writing to me from Edinburgh, telling in her quaint ways of what on her yesterday's list was accomplished and what yet needs to be finished from her uncompleted list.  Most days she gives herself  a 100 percent rating, but a few times she laments that she was just too tired to finish one or two of her self assigned tasks.

    Seems I follow Jean closely because I think of her as my one-generation-older friend who is keeping it together in her own way.  So maybe a list is the thing to keep in the forefront of my mind as I try to age with grace and wisdom.

    So back to Jean's list, or my list, for the day.  Half of her day seems to involve taking care that her octogenarian, somewhat cranky husband, as she gets his lunch and keeps his writing files in order. That part of my day, compared with hers, does not exist, since my husband is in a reverse role with his own mother and ensuring she is fed and watered,  Although she still lives independently, except for not driving and having severe macular degeneration and not being able to read much or change the time on the clock or figure out how to order on Amazon.  But he needs no care whatsoever, other than being listened to, and occasional affectionate words and kisses.

    Then Jean's list goes on to her knitting.  My, what a knitter she is, even to the point of designing her own laces and looking into software to aid in her motif designs.

    My knitting, sorely neglected as of late, consists of this pair of socks on the needles, using picture yarn.  Google it and you will see clever yarns that have been mathematically designed to create pictures within the pattern, no matter the gauge you are using.  Here is a picture of my watermelon socks.  Notice those little black dots of color that play into the reds for the seeds within.

    these are The Perfect Fit Socks, Abi Grasso Etsy Shop yarn

    On the cooking front, two recipes I made this weekend are absolutely the best: carrot cake and hush puppies.

    No pictures, but the carrot cake was found here, originally published by Southern Living. It has the usual suspects in the batter of grated carrots, crushed pineapple, with a little surprise of coconut.  We liked it, the neighbors liked it and I am serving it to friends today at coffee and tomorrow (frozen, but thawed) to the pinocle card group.

    I was looking for an old fashioned sweet hush puppy like my grandmother used to make, but times have changed and what I found was from Paul Prudhomme, found here. We had fried trout with the couture hush puppies. Those puppies have onion, green onion tops, red pepper and only one egg, but after setting for a couple of hours in the fridge, the juices from the vegetables incorporate themselves into the flour and cornmeal and give an excellent texture. Beware these pups are fried, and I used only a film of grease, but they soaked up every bit of that canola oil. Not low calorie, but delicious. (And I did not find one recipe that called for just cornmeal, flour, egg and sugar, like Mom used to make.)

    Saturday, I thought I was buying plain ol' johnny jump-ups for a splash of blue color on the patio while waiting for anything to rear its pretty head from the cold soil.  When I got home, I looked at the label more clearly after planting it and was happily surprised to learn I had purchased Rock Cress Axcent Lilac plants, a perennial.  What luck!  I needed new perennials.

    The husband reminded me of what Garrison Keillor said:

    “Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known. ” 
    ― Garrison KeillorLake Wobegon U.S.A.

    If you are following Angela in A Pause in Lent, I have written a piece on Path to Writing concerning what I heard yesterday in church since we are just two weeks away from Easter.  (It is under revision, in case you click on it and do not see it.)

    Have a great week, and haste ye back in a few days to see the laundry line bowls in progress, thanks to the tip from Elizabeth, seen here when she writes about Washing-Tale Lines.

    Friday, March 20, 2015

    Odd How Colors Play in Spring Time

    The finished tetraptych does look bright when photo-shopped together:

    (panels 10"x 30", acrylics)

    But this is how it looks on the walls, with northern light the sole illumination in the room:

    If the lamp between the chairs were lit, it would create even more of a glare in the photograph. Colors are still somewhat underplayed with help from natural lighting.

    In the evening, after the sun has retired from its day duty, the colors on the panels are still somewhat subdued.  I like how the cottonwood trees living in the background of the glass mimic the painted tree branches with differing background colors.

    "Spring" from Camille Gotera:
    When the cold, harsh winter has given its last breath,
    When the sky above shows life instead of death,
    When the claws, reaching to the frozen sky becomes decorated with
    When the animals-long in hiding- scurry from trees,
    We know winter has ended.
    Joining in with PaintPartyFriday!

    Monday, March 16, 2015

    Wall Panels in Acrylic

    not finished, but hanging on the walls to mature and let the colors settle into a new environment, each panel 10" x 30", in acrylics

    updated 3/19

    updated 3/19/15

    updated 3/19/15

    updated 3/19/15

    Joining in with PaintPartyFriday!

    Saturday, March 14, 2015

    A Musing

          One goes through a lifetime very sure about one's parentage, or at least I did. You were either born to a mom and dad, or to a single mom, or you were adopted by a family who very much wanted a child because your parent or parents could not adequately care for you. And if you were not adopted, you grew up in an institution called an “orphanage,” not a preferred method of living for a child since Charles Dickens' writings and the story of Oliver often comes to mind. As a kid, I must have become aware of how children came to be in families or other various iterations of children being cared for. It is likely a prevailing world view of how children begin their lives.

         I was born in the south in the early '50's to a stay-at-home mother and a father who was farming a family dry land ranch plot outside San Angelo, Texas. My two older brothers, six and three years old at the time when I came into being, may or may not have been aware that their world would change when a new baby was brought into the house. There must have been infant crying and other demands on their mother's time which they would likely have felt as intrusive. But then again, most of the families I knew as a young girl had many siblings at home, so new babies were just a fact of life.

         Cousins, childhood friends, kids at school, in fact anyone born to a parent were all compared to their mother or dad in these terms: she/he has his mother's/father's nose, or hair color, or body structure, or temperament. My older brother was said to have my mother's artistic talents and more sensitive temperament. Our male cousins so strongly resembled their father that it was always commented on. And my mother lamented the fact that she did not inherit her mother's musical abilities for playing piano and organ. My father did not inherit his mother's musical abilities either, and could hardly carry a tune. I must say that choral singing was one of my childhood favorite past times, and I spent years singing in choirs.

         Both my brothers, as they came into maturity, had idiosyncratic ways of speaking or moving their hands in a certain way when talking that it often brought on comments, especially by mother. As in, “you look just like Charlie when you do that.” They were of similar height, too. But I was always taller than they, and I was blonde whereas they were deeply brunette with skin that easily took the sun. I always burned when outside for more than a few minutes, whereas they sported nice sun tans during the summer, like our dad.

         Fifteen years ago, as my mother was dying and when the cancer had reached deep inside her brain, she became less inhibited. Once she looked at me and said “Are you really my daughter?” I assured her I was, patting her hand and giving her consolation. But then just a few weeks before she died, she asked me if there were anything I wanted to ask her about before she was gone, while I still “had time.” I assured her that I thought we had talked everything out, and that I could think of nothing else to ask her. I prompted her and said “Is there anything you want to tell me?” but she shook her head “no.” Pushing her a little further in this direction, she again responded negatively. The moment passed.

         It was a year or two after she died that my brother and I had a conversation about this odd, amusing event of mother asking me to ask her a question. It was then that the light bulb flashed on in my subconscious. Was my father of 94 years my biological father?

         I don't know. I will never know now. Funny thing, at this point, in the grand scheme of the universe, it does not matter.

    Sunday, March 8, 2015

    Lenten Season and New Starts

    Joining in with Angela and the Henri Nouwen discussion groups, I have responded to this third Sunday in Lent, writing on this blog some thoughts about the Prodigal Son and how the elder son might have perceived being left at home.

    Our church as been having soup lunches and dinners during the Lenten season, and we all pitch in and bring soup and bread after noon services on Wednesday.  Here is a recipe I have made several times, and it is a pretty darned tasty crock pot recipe:

    On the painting front, I am in the throes of creating four panels, 10"x 30" each.  The term, according to Wikipedia is a "tetraptych."  It will be of a tree, in four colors.  Here is the first panel:

    then again on the wall in the living room to see how the greens look against the peach colored paint on the walls...

    Have a great week and make some delicious soup!

    Sunday, March 1, 2015

    Mereta, Texas and a Cardboard Box

    It appears that I have abandoned this blog in favor of Path to Writing, but alas, that is not the case. Seems that  now I am spending more time for my class with writer Sandra Dorr.  And it also occurs to me that I have not shared a picture that my talented brother and commercial artist Charles H. McCarroll put together some years ago of the farm house where we spent our formative childhood years in Mereta, Texas, dry farm land in Central Texas.

    Here is his rendition of our farm in mixed media:

    ... this is my rendition of the farm house in watercolor (yes, it was a pink house)

    I wrote about a corrugated refrigerator box where I made-believe when I was five years old.  It can be read here if you are interested, which is a stretch of the imagination, even for me.