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Fun in Athens, Ga.

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This is going on at my house.

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Refinishing the floors. Steve is in charge and the dogs and I ran away to Athens to play.

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My son-in-law has turned in to a sculptor. He had work commitments on Sapelo Island and didn’t run the Boston Marathon this year. We are thankful to his job.

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Across the road from their home is a large wooded area with a great creek. Zachary took me over to tromp around. Yes, I sort of fell in the creek. Rock to rock jumping doesn’t seem to be a skill I possess. Anyway, I was transfixed. It is another world like Narnia or a safe Oz. Hogwarts may be back there. We found a Lenten Rose I want to liberate for Erica.

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I brought basket making materials to play with. The trip to Arrowmont really made me want to make baskets again.

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I made this bird feeder inspired by one in Making the New Baskets: Alternative Materials/Simple Techniques byJane LaFerla (Morrison Branch Library). I used a bit of vine we found in the woods.

We went back to the woods yesterday.

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Erica says I harvested some poison ivy. We researched for my next excursion. Evidently if you are going to harvest in the woods, you need more knowledge than I have. I don’t think I am allergic to it. We will see.

Go make something
More later–

Wingspan, Deux

Felicia's front
Finally, a knitting project finished. This took a long time because I chose the yarn three times. It had to be perfect. It was for a very special person.

Felicia is my doctor’s secretary. She is always cheerful, even when you ask her to send mega documents to your insurance provider who isn’t sure you need all your medications—every year! My 94 year old mother-in-law is also a patient. If she talks to my mother-in-law and doesn’t think she sounds right, Felicia tracks us down so we can check on her. When we go away on vacation, Felicia calls Steve’s mom just to check on her. Where do you find that kind of caring in this world of corporate medicine?

When you do find it, you cherish it.

Here’s the back of the shawl.Felicia's back

She loved it.

More later

Many, Many Projects and a Few Resolutions

Every year a GiftThis past year was so wonderfully productive for me.  I learned to do so many different things.  Well, I began the process of learning many things, and any learning is fun for me.

I received the annual report about my blog from WordPress.  No surprise that the top hits were all on knitting pages, especially free patterns.  Well and good.  I put them here to share and am delighted when someone takes them.  But that sort of presents a problem.  I’m not knitting so much anymore, so there will be fewer knitting entries.

I started this blog to share my enthusiasm for knitting.  The key is “share my enthusiasm.”  So I have decided to just continue to do that and not worry.  I am far from an expert at the things I am doing now, but in some ways that is a plus.  My mistakes and uglies may be just the thing that encourages someone else to give it a go.  The creative world I find myself in now with classes, flickr, and the blog world has certainly taught me that it is the journey that brings satisfaction, not the end product.

Here are some pictures of what I did over the holidays.  Not everything.  One of my resolutions is to take better pictures of my work.  I am in the process of building a light box and will shoot some other things when it is finished.

Making wrapping paper personal a la Joanne Sharp.

Making wrapping paper personal a la Joanne Sharp.

Four Calling BirdsMail Art--Fabric, paper, acrylic paint, Sakura Micron pen, fused and quilted

Four Calling Birds
Mail Art–Fabric, paper, acrylic paint, Sakura Micron pen, fused and quilted

The reverse side of Four Calling Birds

The reverse side of Four Calling Birds

A book for the Hulin's to keep a record of their 7 week journey from Australia around the world, even to Charlotte.

A book for the Hulin’s to keep a record of their 7 week journey from Australia around the world, even to Charlotte.

cover and back of book

cover and back of book

End papers of the book

End papers of the book

handmade tapes to define the signatures

handmade tapes to define the signatures

Urban sketching at dinner

Urban sketching at dinner

Ultra wet on wet watercolor following along  with a video on youtube

Ultra wet on wet watercolor following along with a video on youtube

Okay, I have to comment on this one.  It is really ugly, but I learned a lot and believe I can do a better one the second time around.  It was great fun to watch the colors run and to feel so free about it.  Here’s the free video that I watched.  Once I’ve done a better try, I’ll cut this one up and use it for other things.  More about “other things” later.

Batiks and embroidery make Jake

Batiks and embroidery
make Jake

This is still in progress.  The grey background doesn’t work, so I will cut it off after I finish the handwork and may put it on black linen.  I’ll tell you how I did it when it is finished.

Finally–for today anyway–

Tangling--the art form that started this new pathway

Tangling–the art form that started this new pathway

More later–

FO–Knitting–Wingspan

I finished my Wingspan and I love it.

Wingspan Front

Wingspan Side 1 with gorgeous model

Wingspan Back

Wingspan Side 2

These things are like potato chips.  You can’t knit just one.  This is the beginning of the next one I plan to knit for a dear person who takes care of my whole family.

More later–

Other projects-not knitting

Still working on Tangling and journaling a bit.

My daily mantra

will add the mirror and hang somewhere——–sometime

Planning a trip — Map of France and wine bottle paper weights

I really love the wine bottles!

More later–

Organizing and stuff

The first thing any organizing book says is Start Small.  But if all your stuff is connected somehow and you are moving stuff to new rooms and you are mainly trying to get rid of some of your STUFF—–that just doesn’t work.

Ergo–I haven’t blogged lately.

Still working on Tangling and journaling a bit.

Then there is the issue of the TV which is not getting a signal regularly—and during the Olympics!!!!–which has me stuck at home waiting on the cable guy instead of knitting at the shop.

Map of France and wine bottle paper weights

Steve wants to go to France and visit Tour sites and great art.  In September!!!! That is a tight schedule for an overplanner, researcher like me, but I’m giving it a go thanks to Jeannie’s wonderful daughter who has ridden these routes and has advised greatly.

My daily mantra

I am also staying off the computer and unsubscribing to things for a while so I can be more productive.  I am in the middle of inventorying the remaining stash and realizing that more should go.  I’m just incapable of deciding what at this time.  And then there is the other half of the attic to attack.

will add the mirror and hang somewhere——–sometime

Who knew that decluttering and reorganizing would be so physically demanding?  Jake stays right beside me, but having no thumbs, he can’t carry much stuff.

Lotus Batik from Ten Thousand Villages at Cotswold

My mind is quieter which was one of the goals of this destash project.  I am knitting.  Stephen West’s Spectra scarf.  It goes slowly as I am knitting slowly and not too frequently.  But I like doing it.

I’ve decided my art studies will be limited to playing with watercolor and making books, mostly journals.  I like useful things.  I make lists in them more than anything and then I cross stuff off—or move it to a new list.

I discovered my father’s fountain pen and I want to try it out on some lettering.  He wrote beautifully, not exactly calligraphy, but he could do fancy lettering.  Guess I get this gene from him.  He died when I was 9, but the influence he left me has been tremendous.

Must go move things around and discover what is really in those boxes.

More later–

Finished things to share

I have finished the vest I was knitting, but haven’t sewn it yet, nor taken pictures.  I mention this just so you will know that I still am knitting.  I do have some pictures from my online Letter Love 101 class with Joanne Sharpe.  You can spend almost as much money on markers and inks and pastels as you can on needles and stitch holders and stitch markers.  Just so you know.

Tangling with a small quote added.

I really enjoyed doing this over the last few weeks.  I painted the background with every kind of paint I could find around the house.  The acrylic is hard to draw over, but it may just be that I need to thin it.  So much to learn.

Painted with an expired credit card instead of a brush.

This was great fun.  I just squirted some paint several places on the page and then drug an old credit card across it.  You just drag the paint around until it doesn’t drag anymore.  It goes on very thin so dries almost instantly.  (Hair dryer works great here.)  It was so different from anything I had ever done and yet came out looking wonderfully abstract.  I really just laughed out loud the whole time.  Delight–that was the feeling.  You have to try this.  Paint a paper plate.  Get a six year old to help you and laugh out loud.

Lesson 9--writing in circles

First you need a compass–one of those tools from geometry class.  Michael’s has a nice one for $14.00.  I bought the $1.49 one at the drug store.  It didn’t work very well, but I didn’t care.  I want to learn lettering to communicate ideas in a fun way.  You have to be able to easily read the ideas or you won’t be very communicative.  I did learn from this technique, but probably won’t use it very often.  But I do own a compass if you need one.  I also have discovered that Einstein said some really clever things other than E=mc squared.  (Don’t have time right now to look up how to make a superscript on WordPress.  I’ll probably use that technique about as much as I’ll use the compass.)

Lesson 10--Delightfully Doodled Alphas

This was fun.  It is brighter than my picture.  I used one of the credit card pages.  I also used some metallic Gelly pens and my Zentangling skills, such as they are.  The dogwood blossoms are a new thing for me.  I love them.  I think the reason I love them is that I can actually draw them without holding my tongue right and squinting.  The E looks like a Celtic Illustrated letter–sort of.  There are four colors of metallic ink in the vertical bar design.  The point of this was to decorate your letters and have fun.  Point achieved.

Lesson 11-Artfully Abstracted

The directions here were to use your loopiest handwriting and write a word.  Then to write over it several times and begin to decorate using the negative spaces you created.  The emphasis is on the finished piece, not the word.  I learned bunches from this.  I used every kind of art material I own and discovered lots about how they work.  Coolest is the waterbrush.  This is a paintbrush with water in the handle that you can ooze down into the bristles.  Fantastic for watercolors.  No dipping and dripping across the table.  I also learned that my colored pencils will write on top of Sharpie markers.  That is what decorates the orange part of the oval on the left.  Lots of silver Gelly pen and some shading with my Copic marker in gray.  The only thing I don’t like is how big my initials are, but I read in the group digest that I can just paint over them with gesso and redo that corner of the page.   And I have gesso!!

Dropped in on Linda at Rainy Day Creations in Pineville this afternoon to pick up the new bobbins she ordered me for my spinning wheel.  She is maybe more diversified than I am.  Her shop now carries beads and jewelry findings, markers and silk scarf blanks for silk painting, as well as all the yarns, the spinning fibers and the weaving stuff.  It is truly a playground in there for grownups.  I doubt there is an art or craft she doesn’t do.

Speaking of spinnng, the Carolina Fiber Frolic is Mar. 30–Apr.1.  I’m teaching three classes and taking one.  I have extra bobbins so I can learn whatever I can con someone into teaching me and there will be two indy vendors there to tempt me with fiber.  I wish all of you could go with me.  I love the NC mountains.

More later–

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