Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What a difference a day makes

  I signed up for another sketchbook watercolor class taught by Jane LaFazio on Joggles.  I am enjoying it, the Allium was last weeks assignment, sort of.  We were to introduce some other elements in our sketches, but after I completed the sketch and painted it, I wasn't going to ruin it.  Some areas need a little work, it has been months since I last painted.  Have no idea why I don't get the watercolors out more than I do.  I guess it is like everything else, I have to have a reason.  One reason I took the class.  This week we are making backgrounds to paint on, which aren't completed yet.

Amur Maple is almost bare, only a few leaves remain.  It is the one tree in the yard that actually has more color, more often than any of the others.

The trees in the yard have been exceptionally colorful this fall.  I have included a few photos of them that I took yesterday.  The sky was a beautiful blue and the reds, oranges and yellows looked especially nice against it.

All that changed this morning when it started
The aspen tree has finally turned a golden yellow. 
The first time this has ever happened!!! 
snowing!  I didn't think we were going to get very much, but it was a nice amount of moisture.  The snow was wet and it will help the wheat, as it was a little dry.  It looked terrible after the winds we have had this fall. 

Half of the cottonwood tree in the backyard.

The deck late afternoon.
Much of the snow melted as it fell this morning, but by evening there was a bit of snow covering everything in the backyard.  This is the deck, looking out the patio door.  I do believe summer is over and the plants have seen better days. 

What a difference a day makes, from blue, cloudless skies to a snowy backyard.   

Friday, October 7, 2011


It is October, hard to believe.  Corn harvest is here, they are trying to get the wheat planting finished up and the wind is here.  October also brings with it Breast Cancer Awareness month and that means "Race for the Cure" is here as well. 
This is the second year we have been in the 'Race for the Cure'.  My part is more of a short walk.  I think we probably get a 2K in by the time we walk from the Light Rail to where the walk starts and maybe a 3K by the time we get back to the light rail.
I thought about trying the 5K this year, last year, but that didn't happen.  Fortunately I had forgotten that I said that.  One of the good things about getting older, I guess.  The knees are another year older as well and the problem.
  Jennifer organized our team again in memory of my sister Julie.  We didn't come up with any new buttons this year, sort of hectic for all of us.  I think I am going to dye t-shirts next year, pink ones!!!  One very nice thing occurred, my sister's sons were able to join us on the walk this year.  Most of our team did the 5K, the new mommies, little boys, grandpa and I did the Family Walk.   
  I think the photo says it all.  The 5K walk in Denver is the second largest in the country.  It is impressive to come around the corner when walking in the 1K and see all the walkers coming over the viaduct, upper middle of photo, and back into the Race grounds.  Lots of people.
  Our team was on Channel 9, live.  Jennifer was the spokesperson.  The rest of us just stood in the shoot, thank heavens!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hmm, I see it's been awhile

I missed July all together, posting that is, and I feel as if I missed it physically as well.  Where has the summer gone???!!!  I think my 2 1/2 weeks away from home the first half of June threw the entire summer out of whack. 

 We are half way through August and I feel like I am still waiting for summer to start.  The garden sort of looks that way as well.  Haven't picked any green beans yet and we are getting a few cucumbers.  The tomatoes have a blight, caused by yours truly, so they aren't going to do their best.  Actually they are looking worse each day.  The plants were gorgeous earlier this season.

We have made two short trips to the mountains since my last post.  Nice to get away to the coolness of the mountains in the summer.  Our youngest grandson was on the last trip with his mommy.  Jennifer went along as well and our oldest grandson wasn't going to be left out.  Had a nice time.  Traffic was horrendous, lesson learned here, stay over and come back Monday.  Insanity prevails on I-70, west of Denver, on the weekends.  Make sure you go to the bathroom before starting your trip or pull one along behind you. 

I have been taking online classes.  Have nothing to show for my efforts, however.  I had hoped to have something made from the "Goodbye to the Grid" class I took with Dena Crain on Quilt University, but I am having to clean the sewing room before selecting the fabric.  It should have been done last week, but one thing led to another and it still isn't done.  Yes, I am procrastinating about choosing fabric, this is the part I sturggle with the most!!!!  There are two days left before the class officially closes, but I have to clean the house too.   It is a great class.

The other one I have been taking is from Elizabeth Barton on QU.  It was a class on designing a series of quilts.  Time got away, I was concentrating more on Dena's class and well, there is nothing to show or discuss.  I decided I would take 'Inspired to Desgin', on QU from Elizabeth since it is the first of the two classes.   Just started it, so we will see.  My goal, and challenge to myself, is to make something that isn't 'literal', from a photo I have taken.  


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

First Trip

  This past weekend we took the RV on the first, official road trip.  We had a great time and our grandson was able to go with us, along with our oldest daughter, Jennifer, and one of our son in laws came up on Saturday. 

We went to the mountains and it was a little chilly at night, glad we were inside and had a furnace.  I will be the first to admit I am not a die hard camper in the great outdoors like our daughters and their husbands.  Well some of them like it.  A couple of them would be more than happy to be inside the RV instead of a tent.

bugs, threw a number of rocks into the fire pit that was there, caught some fish in the small lake near by and had a hummingbird buzz us on a couple of occasions.

  The water was very high and fast due to the amount of snow this past winter and the late runoff so the fly fishing wasn't very good when Joedy and Dave fished Saturday afternoon. 

Jennifer had given M. a little Davy Crockett hat and he thought it looked very stylish under his camo hat that he wears all the time when outside.  Hard to keep a straight face and hold the camera steady to get that photo.

And of course he had to watch grandpa hook up the grill, making sure he was doing it right.  He pronounced the pancakes made for breakfast as being 'yummy'.  I don't know why I have fixed them all these years.

 He watched grandpa do a lot of things and wanted to make sure he wasn't far from the action.    
It was a good weekend, things went well, and I have decided to make a master list so I am not trying to remember all the stuff that needs to go along with us.  We didn't do too badly though for the first time.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I have been cleaning one of the flower beds this afternoon and this morning I transplanted a few little flowers in the greenhouse that had taken their sweet time in coming up.  These activities always give me time to think, sometimes that is a good thing, sometimes not.
As I was digging around in the dry soil of the flower bed and moving the soil back to where it belongs after the obnoxious pocket gophers went through it, I was thinking about the devastating floods in the lower Ohio River Valley that I had been keeping track of for over a week.  I was glad my garden was still in tact and thought about all those who had lost theirs.
  First, let me say that there is a reason God planted me here, I have no desire to live by that much water, but I love visiting that area and that is why I am interested in keeping track of what is going on there.  We have been through the area that is flooded and I find it sad to see the acres of farm land we have seen, underwater.  Even though we comment that we know we might see it that way some day.  The day has arrived.

I have also been checking in on the Paducah flood wall several times a day.  The Convention Center is its own island now, it sits on the Ohio River side of the flood wall, not within it and I have never figured that out. 
 I always look forward to going to Paducah.  Perhaps it is that we leave the leafless trees, the brown and nearly lifeless flower beds, last year's fields of decaying corn stalks and wheat stubble in CO and as go east and we enter Missouri, spring is unfolding.  There will be a few red buds left and as we travel further east, the dogwoods are usually blooming.  Their lovely, white flowers remind me of dancing fairy lights, tucked in among the other trees.   

Last year's trip to Paducah ranks as # 1.  We were able to view Hollis' outstanding exhibit, "Imagine Hope" at the AQS Museum, I ran into two ladies from a class I had taken at the museum several years ago, met up with  friends who I have gotten to know through the Internet and we all had a picnic lunch on the AQS grounds and had supper with them that Friday night before attending the Ricky Tims performance at the Carson Center, plus I was traveling with good friends.   

  I did receive word from Joedy that a friend died That Friday night, after we returned to the place we were staying, I received word from Joedy that a friend had died that day.  I knew that Darryl had been diagnosed with cancer 3 weeks prior to that and was not doing well when I left, but it was hard to believe as I had just seen him the previous August when we had our 40th class reunion and he looked fine. 

  The other thing that occurred that Friday night was a visit with a woman who I had never met before.  She and other members of her family were getting together that weekend to visit with her sister who was dying of cancer.   Little did I know that night, that I would come face to face with that very thing 11 days later on May 4th.  Tomorrow will be the day my sister called me and told me she had cancer.  Julie died 5 weeks later. 

  So with all that reflecting today on people and places and how quickly things can change, I am reminded that I should take each day as it comes and enjoy it.  Thank God for the blessings He has bestowed upon me. Do my best to ignore those people in my life who are demanding and selfish and not allow them to drag me into their unhappiness and dissatisfaction with their life.  And remember that it could always be a lot worse and pray that it never is. 

This bleeding heart always greets me when I return from Padcah and it is especially pretty this spring.  The butterfly was given to me by sister a few years ago. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sneaking in another one

Thought I should get at least two posts in during April!  The wind is blowing again.  Can't say I have missed it this past week.  Another system is moving north of us, carrying moisture into WY, NE, and parts east.  Typical weather pattern since last fall.

The flower garden needs to be rebuilt.  We cut the apple tree down and now there is plenty of sun.  The tulips are hanging in there despite the mess they have to live in this year.  For some reason, spring has come and I am not ready this year.

The plants in the greenhouse are growing.  The tomatoes have been transplanted twice and will need to be transplanted again next week.  The petunias are looking very nice and will go into the containers and hanging baskets in a couple of weeks, along with verbena, nemesia, alyssum, love in a mist, poppies, and a few other flowering plants.  Doesn't seem like it should be time to do all of this again, but it is. 

The cucumber will stay in the greenhouse throughout the summer or until bugs move in and take it over.  We are hoping the bugs stay out for at least another month, two would be even better.  The cukes are the English variety.  They seem to like the greenhouse better than the conditions outside in the garden.  Can't imagine why those huge leaves don't like the wind in this part of the country??!!!! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April!!! Where did it go???

I can't believe we are completing the fourth month of the year 2011.  I thought I would have accomplished more by now, I am finding that to be the usual scenario around here. 

  The daffodils have bloomed and shriveled and last year's garden debris still surrounds them.  Half of the beds are cleaned, but that still leaves the other half.  The birds have had some wonderful nesting material though.  We did cut down the obnoxious apple tree that produced worthless apples.  I didn't like doing it as a number of birds liked it, but enough was enough.  I was also loosing the sun in the flower bed. 

 I had great plans to work on more mixed media projects, several friends and I were going to hold one another accountable to work on different techniques in dyeing and mixed media.  The only positive thing I can say about that is that they have found little time to do them as well.  I will say they get more done than I do though, just not our challenges, but it makes me feel a little better.   
I was going to draw as well.  I have done a little of that, but darned little.  I will travel to Oregon in a months time with another friend and undertake Drawing II in Hollis Masterclass series.  And yes, I will be in class # 7 next year in TX, but I do things a little backward most of the time.  Nothing new here!!! 

I started the Artful Journaling class with Laure Ferlita .  I have come to the conclusion that is where my watercolor endeavors are going to stay for awhile, journal pages.  Here again, I was taking classes that come after these basic classes.  Ah well.  This is the latest page I painted.  Have another one I did from the England class that hasn't been posted anywhere yet, not even in the class blog.

In catching up on my e-mail this morning, I read a note from Robert Genn's newsletter, about working on small projects, one after the other.  Learning what works, what doesn't, moving on, failing and learning.  And anyone who knows me, knows I start a lot of things and seldom finish them unless they really turn me on and I have dabbled in a number of things over the years.  It made sense to me, maybe I am on to something?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

I had been thinking about changing the name of my blog.  I have come across a number of catchy names and thought "I Started..." was a little hum drum, but I think I will leave as is for now.  It still fits perfectly.   

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fence post quilt

Thought I would post a photo of a quilt I recently made.  It was an assignment from last year's Master Series class.  And yes, I did get it made before going to TX in February.

 Hollis had given us a photo and we had to make a piece representing our feelings when viewing the photo.  Not the best description of the assignment, but good enough.  

I have been taking photos of fence posts for several years as I find them very interesting.  Probably because they have always been a part of my life in some way or another.  

Some posts have a great deal of character, while others are rather humdrum.  I am guessing most people pay little, if any, attention to fence posts.  If one happens to be checking for broken posts or broken wires, they might give a post a second look. In our area there are fewer posts all the time as most of the land is farmed.  When a fence line borders farm land, it provides excellent pheasant habitat.    

I made the post in layers, did some stitching on parts of the post before putting the layers together and quilting it.  I drew barbed wire, placed that drawing on the copier, fused the brown fabric to steam a seam and then ran the fabric through the printer.  It printed the image of the barbed wire on to the fabric.  After cutting out the barbed wire pieces I then fused them onto the quilt.  I stitched all of the grass before quilting, but went back over some of the grass when I quilted it to anchor that area.  

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Back to watercolors

I finally got back to sketching and painting today.  I am currently taking a class from Laure Ferlita of Imaginery Trips.  Great class, only problem is that Luare posted lesson # 4 yesterday and I didn't paint until today.  I won't even discuss the Visit to the Beach class I am taking from here as well.  I have painted a few things in that one, but not very happy with them and they probably won't appear anywhere.  I can tell it has been awhile since I last painted. 

So long story short, I am not really in England, one just pretends to be there while taking the class and sketching and painting the assignments.  Thought Laure's approach was interesting to this process.  Hopefully things will improve, must stay on top of it though.  As with anything, practice, practice, practice. 

I still haven't unpacked the suitcase full of fabric that went to TX last month.  There is another thing that needs some work.   

Monday, February 28, 2011

Back from Montana

Arrived back home from Montana last night.  It is a beautiful state, but it is was a little cold.  -14 degrees when we landed on Friday.  Had to buy some warm boots as I didn't take heed of the info friends kept sending me. 

 We did drive around the Bozeman area Friday afternoon and I took a few photos.  The first one is of the Gallatin River and those are chunks of ice floating in it.  The second one is looking some direction toward the mountains.  I never knew what direction I was going the entire weekend.

We were there for our nephew's wedding, which was very nice.  Enjoyed seeing a number of people we don't see very often and this was a happy occasion this time. 

The other nice thing about the visit to Bozeman was meeting one of my Dyehard sisters, Sandra. We had a great visit, wish it could have been longer, but we did get a lot discussed in 2 1/2 hours. 

I would enjoy going back there in the summer, but drive this time instead of fly.  Hard to tell what everything really looks like from the airplane.  It was interesting from that angle though.  Wyoming had a lot of snow on the ground!!!   

 A friend wrote that we missed the heat wave today as it hit 41 degrees, but they were headed back into single digits starting tonight.  Stay warm MT friends. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Back from Texas!!

I have been home from New Braunfels, Texas for a couple of days, getting unpacked, things put back where they belong and figuring out what day it is.  That last part will take longer than anything else.

I did get a chance to paint on the flight down and a quick sketch and painting the last morning we were there of the doors on maybe the east (?) side of building where our classroom is located.  I don't know what direction is what down there as I can't see the horizon. 
I was there for two classes taught by Hollis Chatelain.  A one day class on quilting and the annual 5 day class I am taking in her Master Series.  This is year 6, Color Challenge II.  It was great to see everyone again and catch up.  The class was excellent, many things came together and make a lot more sense now.  Need to practice and continue working on the lessons we had throughout the year.  Novel idea.  

Not sure I am crazy about the second painting of the windows.  It is loose to say the least, but that is what we are to do.  Quick capture and painting.  And I did leave some white. 

Need to get the class notes typed up.  Never a dull moment. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It is COLD!!!

I have friends who grew up in Canada and who live in Canada and some from MN and ND.  They don't have a problem with this weather we are currently having, but I do!!  -12F and -40F with the wind chill factored in is too darned cold for me!!  I am a wimp and proud of it.  Come on, when exposed skin can freeze in 5 to 10 minutes!!! 
I did go out yesterday and I did get a perm and do my assignment for Jane's class.  We were to go out, sketch and paint in public at a coffee shop.  So I did.  I did the background and writing at home.  I even penciled in the writing before inking and I still couldn't follow the lines and messed up the 'chill' because I was 'chilled'.  The experience of sketching and painting in public wasn't as bad as I thought it might be and it is true, people just ignore you.

The studio froze up through all of this lovely weather.  Thought I had left the water dripping, but apparently not.  Hope the it will thaw out without any major hassles.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January at its end

I cannot believe it will be the last day of January tomorrow!!!  Where, oh where, has the month disappeared??? 
Thought I would post once more before the end.  I am about ready to tie myself to my sewing room chair so that I can get my quilts done for the class I will be attending in 2 weeks time in TX.  I have two that must be made from scratch, two others I would like to redo, we will see how the time goes.  Then I have to get packed for the class.  I was going to dye some wonderful fabrics to take there this year, but alas that hasn't happened either. 
The photo today is of the latest watercolor painting.  Pleased with most of it.  Should have kept the date by my name like I usually do.  I wrote '2010' instead of '2011' and had to fix that.  The blue in the box became a little darker than I would have liked.  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Running a little behind!!!

  Thought I should post a note before January got away from me.  Where did the month go??!!  Time seems to be moving faster.  I blame computers for some of it, I am also thinking getting older has something to do with it as well.  I forget what I am going to get between locations, have to do things over again because they were wrong the first, second and sometimes third time ---- I will stop there. 
  Between bookwork, a few trips to the Front Range, and online classes I have been busy, just don't have much to show for it. 
  I am currently taking two watercolor classes, one from Jane LaFazio and one from Laure Ferlita.  Jane's is a journal watercolor class, one where I am to leave white areas in my paintings, and Larue's is more the way I like to paint.  I have new watercolors and I am learning what they do.  Behind in both classes, but hope to change that in the next few days.
  I also signed up for Susan Sorrel's Funky Felt Pins class on Joggles.  It looked fun and something I can sit and do at night.  Behind there as well as the felt came right before we left for the weekend.
  Cleaned the sewing room, it was necessary to make the felt pins, and have no idea how it became such a disholved mess since I haven't made anything lately.  And then there are those quilts for Hollis' class in TX and it is coming up quickly.  
 The picture is of a key I drew while messing around one evening.  Love Zentangels and it was a fun way to do a lesson, however it doesn't count since there is not any watercolor paint on the thing.  The Zentangle heart does have watercolor on it.  

  I just completed working on a piece of fabric for a swap we had on Dyehards.  It was an ugly fabric swap.  We were to send a piece of fabric we felt left a lot to be desired and transform it.  I thought Mary's piece was lovely, mostly yellow when I received it. 
I was pleased with the piece I did, learned a few things and finally overcame my fear of working on complex cloth pieces.  Now if I had more time to get over to the studio and start over dyeing some of those pieces of fabric I don't care for.
  Life use to be much slower in the winter, I would sit reading garden catalogs, waiting impatiently for Spring to arrive.  I need to get the seeds ordered too, but I am not sure when I will get that done and March is just around the corner. 
  So life moves on at a crazy pace around here, even in the dead of winter.