Sep 23, 2016

Painting Up A Storm!

In my last post, I mentioned taking a watercolor class.  Our first homework assignment was to draw a thumbnail sketch of what we wanted to paint for our masterpiece and then draw a "cartoon" of what it would look like full size.  The instructor really liked my cartoon -- which surprised me because I think it's rather rudimentary.  He thinks it would be fun if I did an impressionist painting.  Me, I'm not sure.

The day I was to take my cartoon to class, it was raining.  Look what I came up with to protect my cartoon!  My classmates thought it was ingenius. LOL

During the second week of class, we learned about and practiced watercolor painting techniques: Wet on Wet, Wet on Damp, Wet on Dry, Washes, Hard Edge/Soft Edge, and Drybrushing.

The instructor walked us through doing our first class painting project using the techniques we learned and practiced.

I thought my painting was going along swimmingly well until the instructor had us "lift" fog into our paintings.  He said my paint lifted a little too well.  I think my fog bank is too wide.  Not bad though, for a first time using some of these techniques.  We also got to use frisket which is really useful to maintain white highlights.

Week three, we learned how to paint florals.  Mine is still a work in progress.

Another student and I have been meeting once a week outside of class to do our homework and practice painting.  I'm trying to get this floral done so I can move on to my "masterpiece" which is supposed to be mostly done by next week. I haven't even started painting it yet. Yikes!

Week four, we learned about painting skies and water.  While my clouds look okay, I think they're way too dark for the water below.

Rocks and trees will be taught in the next classes.  The white areas in the previous painting are where the rocks and trees will go.

In a different class offered by the park district, I learned how to paint trees.  The instructor remembered me from when I took the floral class back in June.  He asked if I'd been doing some painting because I was using techniques I learned elsewhere.  I finished painting one tree and started on a second.

Until next time...

Aug 22, 2016

Have Paint, Will Travel

In my last post, I shared my photographic checks. Thank you all for the compliments. They are really cool, aren't they?  I've had several inquiries as to where I got them.  I ordered mine from Artistic Checks  One caveat... Look for a coupon code to get them really inexpensively.  Normally, they are $20.95 + shipping!

A while ago, I picked up a set of Loew Cornell watercolor pencils and a new adult coloring book called Magical Garden by Cra-Z-Art.  I really like the pencils. They cover and blend really well and are not too expensive.

Two weeks ago, I started a 6-week watercolor workshop taught by a local artist.  This week, we had to come up with ideas what we'd like to paint for our "masterpiece".  These were my choices.

The instructor critiqued our choices.  He really liked all of them except for the hot air balloon. He said the sky didn't have interesting detail in it.  I chose the autumn river scene.  It will be very difficult, but I will give it my best!

One of the supplies recommended for class was an 18x24" thin board for drawing and painting on.  Ahh... a DIY project!  I bought an inexpensive piece of Masonite and cut it to size.  A bit of primer and quite a few coats of polycrylic makes for a nice waterproof painting surface.
On my own, I've been doing some fun things with my watercolor paints.  I've created color cards so I know what the paints look like on paper.
I also did a mixing exercise with the Reeves watercolors using primary colors: red, blue, yellow to make secondary and tertiary colors.

When I was a teenager, entertainment on a Friday night was cruising around the square downtown.  From that, Cruise Night was born.  At first, it was a bunch of people with cool cars, trucks, and motorcycles that drove around the square.  There was a beer tent with music.  Decades later, it has turned into a huge event featuring car shows, music/entertainment, and competitions.  This year, my brothers and nephew decided to take their cars and enter the burnout contest.  My oldest brother placed 3rd out of about 20-25 cars in the competition.  Pretty cool bragging rights, if you're into cars!


My brother in his 1969 Pontiac GTO convertible.  He restored and painted it himself.
Photo from 2008

My nephew entered his 1973 Chevy Nova - He created a lot of smoke, which is one of the factors they're judged on.  He didn't place, though.  Not bad for his first time!


My youngest brother entered his 1968 Pontiac GTO.  Both my brothers vamped up the motor the day before.  He had a hard time keeping it on the pad, and the facilitators shut him down early.

Photo from 2014 - My nephew in his Nova next to my brother's GTO.

Road Trip by Ursula Michael
Get the freebie HERE.

Jul 25, 2016

Did Ya Know?

Did you know today is National Thread the Needle Day?  Me either!  What better reason to thread that needle and get a few stitches in?

I challenged my followers on facebook to post a photo of their threaded needle.  How about posting on your blog, your threaded needle.  Here's mine:

Braving lightning, wind, and sheets of torrential rain, I made the trek to community threatre to see Sugar.   Based on the film “Some Like It Hot” (starring Marilyn Monroe), SUGAR chronicles the zany lives of two musicians, of the prohibition era, who witness a gangster slaying. In an effort to hide from the gangsters, they disguise themselves as women and join an all-female orchestra. Comedy unfolds as they try to integrate with the women and avoid "dirty old men".  Memorable musical numbers include Penniless Bums, The Beauty That Drives Men Mad, We Could Be Close, Doin’ It for Sugar, What Do You Give (To a Man Who Has Everything?), Beautiful Through and Through and November Song. 

For the most part, the play was entertaining, but it wasn't one of the better ones I've seen.  I didn't particularly care for the over-exaggerated gangster scenes.  In an attempt to make it seem humorous, it was over done and I didn't think it was that funny.  On the upside, it was impressive that most of the cast were from an area high school.

Long time readers know my other hobby is photography.  Recently, I found a new way to "display" my photographic talents.  I've shared the following scenic views in my past blogs:

Do any of them look famlliar?
Okay, okay... so what's the big deal?  (Yes, I can hear you tap-tap-tapping your fingers on the desk as I prolong the suspense, LOL)  Well... two years ago I opened a new bank account and just recently I *finally* used up all the starter checks and had to order new ones.  I searched and searched and searched for a company that sold checks at a reasonable cost with no shipping costs.  Gotta love coupon codes!  Just so happened that the company I chose not only had a big variety of check designs to choose from, they also allowed you to upload YOUR OWN photos to be printed on the checks.  How cool is that?!!
my photos above turned into check designs!

I only ordered a box of 200, but I'm sure that will hold me over for years...  All for $6.95!  I was so excited to get my checks... Who knew?!!

Needle flying, I whipped up the Snow Foxy Sled Ornament. These sled ornaments are so fun (and quick!) to stitch up.  This makes three finishes in July!

Linked to Stitching Lotus Smalls SAL

Snow Foxy is a freebie chart I received with the purchase of the Snow Friends chart when I was at the PALS retreat in 2013. The design is stitched on 14ct brown perforated paper with DMC threads and attached to the sled with tacky glue.

As I contemplated what stitch project to do next, I realized I hadn't worked on Eight Immortals since 2014! ::hangs head in shame:: Hard to believe that I'm down to three... whoops... four WIPs.

• Elegance of the Orient

Decisions, decisions... What to work on? Since I really do like Eight Immortals (lovely colors, easy-to-stitch), I pulled it out and made some progress. Look... She has an entire face and more hair!

Linked to SuperMom Stitchery Party #68

Until next time....

Jul 18, 2016

Family, Finds, and Another Finish

My family had some sad news last week. My cousin had a heart attack and after being on life support for three days, the decision was made to let her go.  She was only in her mid 40's (a few younger than me.) and leaves behind a husband and two adult children. Even though we weren't close as adults, she and her siblings grew up with me and mine. We are all saddened by the circumstances and another family loss.

Last week was also the second anniversary of my Dad's passing. So many images of his last months still pass through my mind.  He showed a strength like no one I've known.  He wasn't the easiest guy to have as a Dad, but he taught us many things and had a quirky sense of humor when he let it show. We still miss him terribly.

A couple of weeks ago, I went thrift store shopping to find a frame for Words 2016. While browsing, I came across a Keurig brewer for $30! It looked like it had been hardly used... No scratches, watermarks, or lime build-up. I plugged it in to see if it worked (i.e. could power up) and took it home.

The thrift store offers a 3-day return policy on electric items if they don't work. With that in mind, I attempted to brew something! No instruction manual came with it, so I had to wing it. (I did find a PDF of the manual online and downloaded it) When "Prime" showed up on the screen, I Google'd it and found that this was a common error message. I'm guessing this is why it ended up at the thrift store. Being the resourceful gal that I am, I turned to YouTube.  I watched three videos trying all the suggestions... the Keurig would NOT brew. Ugh. I watched another video and BOOM! It worked. I brewed coffee, tea, and hot chocolate just to make sure I really did resolve the problem. It's been working like a champ since. Thank you, YouTube!!

I did find a frame for Words 2016, but it's about 2" too large. I'm going to take it apart and cut it to the right size. It's on hold right now because my power compound mitre saw is at my parents' house being used for trim work. I may take the frame out there and cut it then bring it back home to reassemble.

I've had another finish! Here's what the original design looks like:

I'm not sure how I want to finish-finish mine yet, but it sure looks pretty. I've changed the colors to be more cheery and match the fabric.

Linked To: SuperMom Stitchery Party

Started: 3/14/2016 ~ Finished: 7/17/2016
Design: Promise Me
Designer: Lizzie Kate
Fabric: 28ct Luguna "Iris" by Hand-Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie
Fibers: DMC, GAST, WDW, and Carries Creations threads

Jul 6, 2016

Freebie, Finish, and App Review

What screams warm weather and summer more than flip flops?  NevaSirenda at DeviantArt created this cute bookmark.  This design is simple enough that you could swap out colors you prefer. Perfect for summer reading!

Click HERE to download the chart.

I have a finish!  This was a stitch-along hosted by Palko in Hungary.

Design: Words 2016 SAL*
Designer: Palko
Fabric:  32ct Dusty Rose Evenweave
Fibers:  DMC
Started: January 22 ~ Finished: July 5, 2016
Other SAL projects can be seen HERE.

*I created the border using a portion the chart,