Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Next Art/Craft?

The completion of the crazy quilt block gave me an opportunity to change my evening activity.  Of course, I had promised myself that I would get back to the rug hooking, but there are other things I also want to do and/or need to do.

So here's a list:

  • Rug hooking - complete Autumn Perch 
  • Crazy Quilting - start Spring block
  • Knitting - Start one of many knitting projects
    • oops, sew the pockets on the shawl before I can claim it finished
  • Wool work on the log cabin table runner
At least that's all that comes to mind right now (there are probably more).

Anyway, I've hit on a scheme that may work.  Or not.  At least it's a plan.

Last night I worked on rug hooking.  At this point I'm working on the night sky around the moon.  Since I'm trying to add the rays of light against the deep sky, it's all an experiment which may or may not be successful.  Only time will tell.

The spring block has still to be cut out and then assembled before the "interesting" stitching can begin.  The base is ready, the materials for each piece chosen, and I'm eager to start.

Tonight I started a knitting project.  It's a relatively easy project which is why I chose it.  First I thought it might do as a travel project, but I decided to drop that since knitting tools aren't always viewed enthusiastically on airplanes.  That may mean that I'll put it aside and pick up a knitting project that was started last year and put aside as problems arose.  The two I"m thinking about won't be too dreadful to fix, but they will take both time and close attention.

Today I cut out two wool leaf shapes that I plan to embroider, but then I thought it might be smarter if I hadn't cut them out.  Embroidering the wool while it's a larger piece would be both easier and the wool would have less of a chance of ravelling.

So there it is.  Alternating among the projects has the advantage of keeping my interest keen, but it also might hinder concentrated, consistent work.  It also may not work if I find interest waning in one or more of the projects.

Time will tell.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Caterpillars and Milkweed

When I think of the milkweed plant's flower, I think of a pink flower.  That's the sort of milkweed we always saw growing in ditches when we were growing up and that we have in the back yard garden.  A couple of years ago I discovered that milkweed can also have a white flower and immediately sought, found two, and planted them in my white flower garden.  Last year we had two monarch caterpillars, but they never got to the chrysalis stage much to our sorrow.

This year the milkweed flourished in both locations, and we have seen solitary monarchs flitting about so today we checked the white ones for caterpillars.  The first thing that caught my eye was this:

In the photo above, you can see the white flower of the milkweed and, if you looker lower down and slightly to the left, you may see a caterpillar.  It's not the monarch caterpillar, but it's quite stunning in its own right. The next photo is a close up of that caterpillar.  It's a Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillar.  I think it's stunning!

And just in case you're wondering, D found two monarch caterpillars while I was busy oohing and ahhing over the amazing one I found.  Here are the monarch caterpillars:

There is one on either side of the picture; the one on the left obviously hatched before the one on the right.  I hope that since there aren't two very large caterpillars that may in some way protect them from (mostly insect) predators.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Love Affair with Zinnias

Earlier in this flowering season, I talked about my love of zinnias.  They can be counted on to perform under almost any conditions, give any garden a shout of color, last as cut flowers, and continue to bloom for a long time.  Their form is simple, and they are rugged.  Nor are they too picky about soil conditions or watering.  If one treats them well, they will reward one.

After yesterday's wind and heavy, heavy rain, the very tall zinnias were almost all lying on the ground so I went out and staked them all.  I also cut off almost all the blooms that hadn't already been deadheaded to encourage the plants to recover and put out new buds.  In the pictures you'll see some ragged and/or tired blooms from that storm, but they can still make one smile:

The zinnias above and below are in a very thick, large glass bowl.  Seen from the top in the photo above and seen through the glass below.  The second shot intrigues me as I think it has the appearance of a paperweight.

And this is a pretty standard shot of mostly zinnias (with a red coneflower to keep them company) in a vase.  Such a cheery sight first thing in the morning!

I'll finish with a bit of a palate cleanser.  This is the Casa Blanca lily that is fragrant and beautiful.  Another favorite that is planted in the fall.  I feel quite lucky that the critters allowed this one to live and flourish!

Gardens are good for the soul, don't you agree?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Second Lascaster, PA Painting

Once again I forgot to photograph the first day's work on the new painting, but I did take a photo  today after the second day of work.  It is another in what I hope will be a series (notice "series" with a small "s") from the trip to Lancaster.  And, it's worth noting that this one already has a name.

While on our trip through Amish country, we were fortunate enough to have lunch at the home of an Amish family.  Not only did we have the pleasure of eating foods made using their recipes, visit the barns, talk with members of the family, and purchase various food/household products, we also were able to take some photographs as long as none of the Amish were in them.  That did give me the opportunity to take pictures that I found fascinating - mostly in the barn, but also a few around the house.

We were there on what was a day that laundry was done.  They do use gas power so they have more modern washing machines, but I don't know if they use dryers or if, like many of us, they hand clothes to dry only on good days.  And this is the subject of the painting.

Here is the second day of work on "Washday":

There is quite a bit of work yet to be done, and it may only the first version as I'm not sure I like the dimensions of this paper for this subject.

Also, I had planned to paint the sky first and add the line of laundry afterwards but changed my mind because there are white items on the line as well as the dark.  That is one reason why the sky below the clothes line appears to be a mountain.  That really has to be changed!  Also, the building is larger than I am happy with.  

Some things to work on and maybe somethings that need a new size.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Barbara's Block

Well, the time has finally arrived when I can say that the crazy quilt block dedicated to my sister Barbara is finished.  Now all I have to do is write about it in my Crazy Quilt Journal as I have with the other blocks.


You may have noticed that there are numerous "references" to flight, and if you noticed the uniform Barbara is wearing, you'll understand the reason why.  There are also references to sewing which won't surprise anyone since the entire crazy quilt is about women and stitchery of one kind or another.  The VW bus has its headlights, the little smocked dress is on its hangar, all seams have been covered, embellishments are stitched, and the caduceus is in place (in her time, one had to be a nurse to become a stewardess).  

There are many other details which all gave me great delight to design and execute, but I am looking forward to starting the next block which will be one of the four seasons to be used as the cornerstones for the quilt.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A Day for Bonsai

D asked me if I wanted to go to the Bonsai Club meeting today; it was a workshop with a visiting expert.  I really like the members so even if I wound up painting as I did the last time when it was primarily a meeting about the upcoming show, I said yes.

The workshop leader was a Korean woman who spoke very good English and was a terrific teacher.  Her specialty is accent plants.  At a bonsai show, people show their trees and often have very small accent plants that make a more complete display.  Young Choe gave us a lot of information about how to select the correct plant to go with tree.  It included things like they should represent the same season or they should complement each other physically (like leaning towards each other), or their colors should be harmonious, or that they grew in similar locales.  

I had never heard or thought about any of that!   Oh well, here is our teacher with her accent plant, a moss ball.

Then we all were to choose plants (as with many other arts odd numbers are preferable) that would harmonize with each other.  We didn't have bonsai trees with us so we didn't have to worry about that yet, but some members clearly had one in mind.  

I chose plants by height (small, medium, tall), color (red, light green, dark green), and leaf type (spear, round, jagged).  We were also warned to make sure that all plants were compatible as far as growing conditions.  I wound up with seven plants which I knew were too many for a tiny pot but thought I'd be able to eliminate some as I planted.

While I was doing all that, D was doing the same thing.  The big difference was he had purchased a super pot.  I didn't have one, but I was planning on making a "moss ball" in which I could plant my lovelies.  However, D had a better idea; he suggested we pool our plants and work on one grouping for his pot.  

We had a wonderful trying different arrangements using some of the plants we had both selected and came up with what I think is a really lovely result.  Other members also had lovelies to show.  

Here they are:  The first one is Dorothy's - it's a little difficult to see because of the plants in the background, but it is a lovely weed.

The next one is a beautiful, large collection of plants that live in wet areas.  Done by very good friends of ours I hope this will be in the upcoming bonsai show.

And here is ours. I waited to take the photograph until we got home where I could choose a neutral background.  This one is small as the pot is only about 3" in diameter.  Even so, it's hard to really pick out the different plants.  The background grasses are spiky, one low plant (ginger on the left) has a glossy, round leaf, and the other plant in the front has a more lobed leaf.  All soil has been covered with moss.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Lancaster PA Painting Finished

Well, I can't decide on the name of this one, but the painting is finished.  Sharon had a few suggestions, and I had a few areas on which I wanted to work.  By the end of class, we agreed that it was done.

This is what I had posted yesterday.  The painting appears darker in this photo than it does in the final version, but that was merely the vagaries of my editing.

This is the finished version.

Now, if I could only figure out the title!