Jul 26, 2019

Artistic Endeavors

At the beginning of June, my area has an event where there are 40 miles of garage sales along a highway.  One of the locations listed sewing machines and fabric.  When I got there, I wasn't interested in any of the fabric or the machine.  While perusing, I spied a row of art books -- some of which were watercolor painting books.  Through chit-chat with the residents, I learned her Mom had been into watercolor and had lots of stuff her Dad wanted to sell.  She went in the house and came out with two swiffer containers of watercolor paints and brushes.  I negotiated a price of $33 for all the paints, a package of 22x30" Arches watercolor paper, two 4x6 watercolor blocks, and the books.  Retail cost would be over $600.  I was a happy camper!!



I made a palette of the Grumbacher paints and for student grade, they are very good!  They re-wet nicely and are very vibrant.


While waiting for fireworks to start, I painted a postcard.  Happy 4th!

I participated in a Watercolor Postcard Exchange in June.  These are the ones I painted:




These are the ones I received so far:



I also did a birthday postcard for a little girl in IN. The skirt of the dress is overlaid with metallic paint. So cute!


During one camping weekend, I painted a Monarch Butterfly caterpillar.  It almost looks real!


Until next time...

Jul 25, 2019

Frogging, FFO's, and Final Good-Bye



How important is your stitching lamp to you?  Long time readers may remember when I had to repair my stitching lamp.  Tutorial HERE.  In addition to stitching, I also use my lamp for reading and computer work on my laptop.  One day, I turned it on and I heard a crackling noise.  Tyra (aka Sock Monster) also heard it and ran over to the lamp to check it out.  Then I smelled burning.  At first, I thought the bulb blew so I tried another bulb.  No dice.  I tested the bulb on desktop lamp and it worked fine.  My lamp finally died after over a decade of service.  Good-bye old friend, Good-bye.  ::sniffle::  Thankfully, I had another lamp in my craft room.

In January, my second Mom Sue from VA sent me a stitched piece to make into a pillow for her granddaughter's birthday.  Here is the end result of our combined efforts.


This was the first time I made yo-yo's and used them in finishing. They turned out so cute, I'm sure I will use them again.

After four long winter months, I finally went to the monthly stitch-in with the Stateline Stitchers. I worked on Japanese Garden.  


I made a little progress, but then realized the bridge was off a few rows.  Frogging was in my future!


I re-stitched it and it was still off so I had to frog some more the entire bridge and water underneath.  Finally, I got it right.  Here's what it looks like now.


Last week, the weather was unbearably hot and humid so I stayed in and worked on some FFO's (fully finished objects).


Merry Christmas Grumpy Kitty was stitched in 2014 on 22ct red aida with DMC and Kreinik threads.  I mounted it on a wood snowflake ornament purchased at Michael's a couple years ago.  I "painted" the ornament with silver glitter glue.  Although it can't be seen in the photo, I also "painted" the edge of the snowflake with red glitter glue.  The ornament was embellished with cream handmade cording.  Design is a freebie by Brooke Nolan.



I stitched Snow Much Fun at the North Pole on 32ct sky blue linen with DMC threads.  I started and finished it during my Christmas 2017 visit with my second Mom, Sue V in VA.  The design is by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, JCS Christmas Ornament issue 2017.  I mounted it on the same sled I used for THIS ornament last year.  This sled ornament is embellished with handmade cording and snowflake buttons.


Meet Uncle Sam!  He is a Flatbed Zippie design by Bent Creek.  Love Bent Creek designs!  Last July, I received the chart as a RAK from Carol at Stitching Dreams. (It's only taken me a year to stitch it up and fully finish it!)  This cutie was stitched on 28ct Light Mocha Cashel Linen with DMC and Carries Creations floss.


This is the first time I've done an Altoids tin finish.  I looked at several photos of this type of finish before going my own way.


I made the inside of the lid magnetic which can hold pins, needles, or a pair of small scissors.  


The bottom is covered in the same fabric I used on the inside.  The bottom outside edge is trimmed with red gross grain ribbon and topped with another 1/4" ribbon in red/blue plaid.  The top outside edge is covered with a red ribbon with white dashes through it.  Best of all, I finished this with things in my stash!

Until Next Time...

Jul 24, 2019

Homestead Chronicles - New Toys, Gifts, and Greenery

A couple months ago, I decided to retire my Cub Cadet lawnmower that was given to me.  A refurbished mower that resulted from a dumpster dive.  It's jury-rigged to 'electric' start by attaching clamps to a motorcycle battery.  It's worked well for the past 7 or 8 years, however last year the starter became harder and harder to get going.


After some research, I bought a new lawnmower that is self-propelled and had an actual real electric start. Over the past couple years, I've had difficulty getting a pull-start mower started.  Getting old sucks is not for the faint of heart.


I purchased a Toro Personal Pace.  It's a mulcher and has a bagger.  Not only is it electric start and self-propelled, it determines the speed according to how fast or slow the 'driver' is walking.  I even tested it by running around the yard with it, LOL!  It does indeed keep up.  I mow every week and haven't had to re-charge the electric start battery yet.  I'm thrilled with my new mower!  My only complaint is that the front end is on the light side weight-wise and tends to tip up a bit when going over lumps and bumps in the yard.


All electric start mowers have a safety feature whereby a bar needs to be engaged in order to start the mower.  The downside to this is that if the bar is released then the mower shuts down.  Annoying if you have to bend down to pick up branches or trash from the yard.  Back in the day, I was chit-chatting with my Dad about it and he tied an old shoe string on my Cub Cadet.  So, when I got the Toro, I removed Dad's shoestring and put it on it.  It's a reminder of how smart he was at hack solutions. :)

A while back, I received some beautiful gifts from India.  My friend, Akila from Mostly Cross Stitch and More, sent me beaded ornaments and a set of four little vases.  The ornaments are so pretty and oh-my the vases are adorable!


Thank you Akila and V!

I haven't had the gumption desire to do any gardening since my parents passed away five years ago.  This year, I made up several planters with flowers, tomato plants, and basil.  They are coming along quite nicely.  I have two large 24" long planters with beautiful molded designs on the front. I put quite a few plants in each one.


A month and half later, they filled in quite nicely.


Last year, I saw a 3-tiered planter at my local Aldi store.  I didn't get it when I saw it and when I went back, they were all sold.  At Aldi, you never know if they'll get seasonal items like again.  When I saw they had them back in stock this year, I grabbed one up and filled it with flowers.  It fits nicely in a little alcove I have next to the side entrance steps.


The basil grows profusely and is so fragrant when harvested.  I ate my first cherry tomato off the vine yesterday. It was SO good!



Until Next Time...

May 3, 2019

Eight States in Nine Days - Part 2

The second part of my vacation involved driving three hours to Washington D.C. 

Ford's Theatre/Petersen House
Parking is at a premium in Washington D.C.  Thankfully, there is a parking garage under Ford's Theatre.  Ford's Theatre is where Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, was shot by John Wilkes Booth.  It is still a working theatre.


From looking at the outside, one would not think it's filled with so much history.  Before entering the actual theatre, you enter a museum that details politics during Lincoln's era, the timeline of the day he was shot (both Lincoln's and Booth's).  I am from Illinois as was Lincoln so it's fascinating history for me. 

The theatre itself is very ornate and is a step back in time.


The box where President Lincoln was shot.

Across the street from Ford's Theatre is Petersen House where Lincoln died from his gunshot wound.


Only the downstairs is accessible to the public.  It contains: Front Parlor where Mary Todd Lincoln sat while the President was dying.  Back Parlor where politicians stayed in the aftermath. The room where Lincoln died.  Even though there is a bed in the room, the actual bed Lincoln was on is in Chicago History Museum.

Next to Petersen House is an education center with history and artifacts of the assassination and funeral of Lincoln.

At the end of the Petersen House/Ford's Theatre Education Center tour, there is a 34ft tall a Tower of Books... all about Lincoln.


National Mall
The plan was to park at Union Station and take the DC Circulator to the National Mall.  As they say, best laid plans...  After going around and around and around and around (I'm not kidding) the street in front of Union Station, we realized the parking garage was closed.  I scrambled to find a parking garage (Thank goodness for smartphones!) that was a 20 minute walk from Union Station.  Luckily, the weather was nice.  It did curtail how late site seeing at the Mall was going to be.  For the months of March and April, the DC Circulator bus was free to ride.  Normally, it's just $1 to ride.  Just hop on and hop off at whatever spot you wanted to see.  All of the monuments and museums have free admission!  It definitely takes more than one day to see everything.

National Museum of American History
The only reason I wanted to go here was to see the First Lady dresses. It was so awesome!  I did think of Vickie at Reading and Stitching... she loves 'fancy lady' dresses.
Caroline Harrison 1889-1892
Frances Cleveland 1893-1897
Lucy Hayes 1877-1881
Mary Todd Lincoln
Mamie Eisenhower 1953-1961
Michelle Obama 2009

There were many, many more as well as several sets of White House china used during different presidencies.

Also in this museum were the ruby red slippers from the movie, Wizard of Oz.  One of my favorite movies after Gone With The Wind.

There is lots more in the museum, but since there was a time crunch I set out to see the things that really interested me.

While in Washington, D.C., I had to see the presidential memorials. 

The Washington Monument was closed due to renovations so I didn't get to go inside.  My two favorite photos:

Washington Monument and Infinity Sculpture
located in front of Museum of American History
View from the top of Lincoln Memorial

Both the Jefferson Memorial and Lincoln Memorial are very awe inspiring.  When standing at the foot of the stairs, these monuments are so massive!  Of course, I climbed the stairs of each one.

Jefferson Memorial
Thomas Jefferson's words are etched in marble
on the inside walls of the memorial
Also in the interior is a 19ft bronze statue of
Thomas Jefferson
Lincoln Memorial.  It was spring break so there were lots of kids everywhere!
Inside the memorial is also 19ft tall. With the pedestal, it weights 175 tons!
Walking to the bus stop, I noticed that all the state names are carved into the stone around the top perimeter of the memorial.  I found Illinois... how cool is that?

Also while in D.C., I saw the Capitol Building and the U.S. Court House.


As dusk set in, it was time to head to Tennessee.  If you can't tell, traffic is horrendous in Washington D.C., daylight or dusk.


See that car directly in front?  Not sure what the problem was, but it stopped right in the middle of the interstate and put it's flashers on.  Because it was bumper to bumper and side to side traffic, it was quite the trick trying to get out from behind it in order to go around.  Ugh.

Until next time...