Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Painting Progress

It's been an active day; I've made progress in both painting and quilting.

However, I will focus on the Evansville painting which is turning out to surprise me.  Yesterday I was bound and determined to get the sky behind the building blocked in.  My thought was to lay down a first layer of paint that would eventually be covered with the more intense clouds that I've been working on in study-form for . . . well, for weeks.  I ran into several problems.  First, how to lay down an even layer of moisture on such a large surface.  Second, how to then quickly, quickly, quickly paint the color while the surface was still wet enough to allow the paint to flow.  Third, how to tolerate the result when it didn't match the picture in my mind.  Fourth, how to lift the more egregious areas using whatever blotting materials came to hand (including paper towels, hands, and even a section of my top).  Fifth, how to hide the resultant mess.

Fortunately, I decided to let the whole thing dry and ignore it until today when I would have to take it to class.  When I finally wandered into the studio, a surprise awaited me.  The painting didn't look as bad today as it did last night.  So when I got to class, I merely told Sharon the paint in the sky was intended merely as an undercoat, and she (in her infinite wisdom) suggested that I work on the building instead of going to town on the sky.  That way everything could come together before I could possibly take the sky too far.  And boy, was she right!

Okay, so it isn't finished, but it may be closer than you might think, and I am really liking what is happening.  Definitely time to take some notes before I forget what I did!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Memories of Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving is over once more, but oh my, did we have fun, good food, and companionship!  It was so terrific that I am going to break one of my hard and fast rules: "Don't post photos of family - especially children!"  My reasoning is that my blog is not so popular that it would pose a threat, and that there are so many photos on-line that my few won't make a ripple.

First, Rebecca, Caleb, and Aunt Alice.

 Here's a favorite: David and Alice after (with Caleb's considerable help) finishing the puzzle you see on the table.

Then here's Daughter and Mom.

Another favorite; a grand photo of Papa and grandson.  I think Papa was saying something funny out of the corner of his mouth to Caleb who, very maturely, is ignoring him.

Don't even ask what I was doing (or saying, more likely) in the next and last one!

Finally we have some photographs of one of our family times.  Too often (and I am sure we are not the only ones) we let these special occasions (any time a family or group of friends gets together is a special time!) pass unrecorded.  It happens more frequently when a group has only one photographer.  In our case, I am almost always the one with a camera, and it's hard to be the hostess and take pictures.  It occurred to me that Alice has a phone and could take pictures so I asked.  Simple as that.

I want our grandson to have a record of these days to help him remember . . . all of us.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow our daughter and grandson will arrive to celebrate Thanksgiving here at home.  Thursday one of D's sisters will arrive and that completes our group.  As you notice, we are a small family though we have several members in far flung states, but that doesn't diminish our joy in getting together however briefly or infrequently.

Thanksgiving does that.

So I hope your holiday is as happy and your home as full of love and laughter and good times as ours will be.

I'll be back next week!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Was Your Day Like Mine?

This week will be a busy one for everyone, I am sure.  My tale will sound very much like yours - all you have to do is switch the noun and or verb in each sentence (or whatever else works) and you will have your own day.  Today I . . . . 
  • went for a walk (it was the coldest one so far this season)
  • did the laundry
  • wrote some checks (ouch!)
  • reviewed shopping list and added additional items (of course!)
  • mixed two batches of cookies - one for grandson and one for SIL
  • finished packing up summer apparel (I was quite optimistic for a long time)
  • worked on quilting project (made very little headway)
  • polished silver
  • found the tablecloth I want to use (can't find the napkins I looked for)
Now I'm not complaining about what I did (except for the quilting - I really need to get that project moving) because I really enjoy Thanksgiving, but I wish . . . 
  • I could remember where I put things when I "put them away some place safe"!
  • I knew why I went down to the basement once I'm there!
  • my glasses would be on my eyes when my hands are full of other stuff but I need to read something!
  • the fairies who make my basement untidy would tidy it!
  • the phone wouldn't ring when I'm in the only place in the house that doesn't have a nearby phone (the basement)
  • a mouse hadn't been attracted by starch and nibbled away a third of the decorative crochet on an antique linen runner
How did you do today?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Window Treatment Day

It was a surprise learning how long it can take to put up window treatments.  Today we had 3 valences-only installed in our family room and quite a different set of "treatments" installed in the Garden Room.

First the easy ones put up by the very proficient young man who installed all our blinds earlier in this re-do.  We talked, he measured, we talked, and he measured again.  Then he installed the first and larger one, and I fell in love.  The next two were smaller but a little more tricky.  They went up above the high windows where the roof comes down from a peak.  The tricky part is managing to get the valence as high as possible without ramming it against the ceiling where it meets the wall.  We talked, he measured, and then he installed first one and then the other.  In this first picture you can see the entire family room with all three valences.

In this close up of the end of the room, you can see the larger valence.  This picture also shows the wood burning stove and my desk.  The fact that the valences are covered in the fabric on my chair and on the pillows on the sofa in the TV area unites the two parts of the room which I really like. The thing I had worried about in this new configuration was the two parts would seem separate.  While they are clearly designed for different activities, to me they now seem like a place where many people could be comfortable doing their own thing but still be together.

Okay.  That was the easy part.  Next came the Garden Room.  Well, trying to figure out exactly how each piece was supposed to hang and then do the math to make it all come out correctly was quite a piece of work for both the installer and for me (you know how good I am at math!).  Plus all the pieces of hardware that had to be assembled and then put in exactly the right spot - whew, we were talking about ⅛ of an inch!  You get an idea from the photographs.

In the first photo you can see the complexity of the installation (although the color isn't accurate):

And here is how it looks from the doorway.  Looking at these pictures, I realize it's not really possible to see all the work that was entailed.  The cream colored linen drapes are mounted on wooden rings that are in turn on a spliced wooden rod.  Then the handkerchief draped valence is hung with fabric loops over a spindle.  Everything had to be measured 40 times (yes, I exaggerate, but you should have been here!) so nothing would show that shouldn't, and things would be evenly spaced.

I think we should all just be grateful we don't have to do that job.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Evansville Painting

Today I decided to take the plunge and begin working on what could be the final painting of the stormy sky in Evansville (which is only a working title).  With that in mind, I took my 18" x 24" watercolor paper to class.  

Once I arrived I took out my supplies and found I had to start by taking the wrapping off the block of paper, then remove the protective cover over the paper itself which required a sharp blade, and then I could begin to think about where I wanted to place the main element of the composition and begin to draw.

Drawing takes time that I prefer to do at home since I think it can be a waste of teachable moments.  "Can be" is not "always is" as I discovered yet again today.  In the beginning I very carefully plotted where I wanted things to be; I even borrowed a long metal ruler from Sharon (I had forgotten mine) so I could make tic marks (okay, so I can be anal at times) where necessary.  Once that measurement compulsion was satisfied, I could begin to draw so I did.

It went well.  I've looked at my photos so many times for several years, and we've visited the site frequently since the pictures were taken.  I have an understanding of the building's perspective, but as it turned out I hadn't considered its mass.  When the drawing (very light and "bare-bones") was almost finished, I took a moment to back off and take a look.  

Oops!  The building was smack in the middle of the darn paper despite my little tic marks to which I obviously paid not one whit of attention!  Well, with rueful chagrin I showed my work to Sharon, and she said, "But it's in the middle!"  Helpful comment, right?  No.  She knew and was laughing with me because she knew I was aware of having made a real mess of my carefully constructed plans.

So I turned back to the drawing trying to figure out how to deal with it when Sharon said, "Just draw a line down the paper!"  It took me a moment or two to understand what she meant until she said, "I mean draw an actual line down the side of the paper [making a wide margin], and the building won't be in the middle any more!"


Monday, November 14, 2016

Super Moon Again

A morning spent in the garden cutting down plants and raking leaves has left me a little sore but full of a feeling of accomplishment.  Especially since I also laid down 40 lbs of bone meal, and it may rain tomorrow.

This evening we went over to a friend's home to watch the UConn vs Florida State.  UConn won but nowhere as handily as they walked away with games last year.  Still it was fun to watch the game in the company of good people.

But as the title of this entry makes clear, this is really about the moon.  On our way to our friends, we passed the most perfect scene - the truly super moon in a gloriously clouded sky with a pond below.  It was so very beautiful . . .  Now, do I have a photo?  No.  Despite the fact that D is always willing to let me take pictures, there was a car behind us who was too close to allow us to stop safely.

Sometimes, things don't go the way we want.  That means that we find an alternative.  When we arrived at our destination, I did take a picture.  It was hurried, but better than nothing:

A bit out of focus, but the clouds were still great!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Super Moon Night

Back after an unseemly time off.  It seems my "dark side" believes if I have no photographs and/or exciting news, there's no reason to blog.  And my "bright side" agreed!  Do you believe that?  I mean, really?

Oh well, I am still working on the sky for the last watercolor I mentioned.  Truly, that will be the last time I promise to show every study and discuss my progress in detail.  Ha!  I probably jinxed myself with that one.

But I am really making headway with my quilting project.  Quick reminder - it is a traditional quilt pattern with stars.  Nothing truly outstanding about that, either.

So since tonight is a super moon night, I actually have some photos.  The first has a great nimbus; I found myself wondering how I could capture this effect in embroidery.  

I like how the moon appears to be an ornament hanging from the branches.  As luck would have it, the automatic lights on our garage cast the light on the branches; that was not moonlight.  And if you look carefully you can see the silhouettes of more trees at the bottom of the photo.

All in all, it is a lovely evening.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Day of Dismals

The "ho-hum" and lazy-dazy and "hey, it's Halloween" bugs hit this week.  That and some unexpected, disappointing things kept me from blogging.  

While I was getting ready for a quilting retreat, I thought I was way ahead of things as far as organizing so I'd be ready to work on the planned quilt.  Everything seemed to be going well.  I had been putting elements in plastic bags and labeling them.  Then I turned to look at the single complete block I had to check again how many parts I would need for the entire quilt.  This is to be a king-sized quilt made up of 24" blocks: 5 patterned blocks, 4 solid blocks, and borders.  All of a sudden I realized I had been thinking I needed pieces for only 3 more block when I needed enough for four more.  It may not seem like a lot, but it adds up to over 150 pieces for one patterned block.  Being off even one block is daunting.

Then today I went to painting class, and I hadn't done any painting at all this week.  I really am having difficulty getting back into my pre-renovation schedule, and it can't be chalked up to that any more.  Anyway, I did go and I did paint, and no, I'm not going to show you because once again, I have nothing worth showing you.  There are at least 9 studies for this painting, and they're all pretty awful.

However, I am stubborn, and by golly, I'll work on it some more!