Sunday, August 7, 2011

Toilet Paper Tag Album Swap

Today is a set of firsts.  This is the first time I have used toilet paper rolls in art, the first time I have made art tags and the first time I have made a slideshow set to music!  This project is for an art swap in one of my online groups.  The color theme was Black/Red/White/Cream.  We each have to make 6 tubes and in return we will get 6 tubes back.  You then bind them together with a ring and voila, you have a photo/journal album that is just too cute!  Most of the photo's I've used are old family photos, however, almost every photo is removable so the recipient can replace with photo's of their choice.  Having never done anything like this before I hope I did it justice!  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Field Trip to Nut Farm Nubians

Take a walk with us up the hill!

Today was horn burning day for our two newest little kids.  So off on a field trip to visit Lynn McAdams at her farm in Trinity, NC - Nut Farm Nubians.  Lynn is a great friend and is one of the most amazing women I know.  She manages her farm - all alone - all 150 acres loaded with about that many goats, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, peacocks, parrots (and the sort), dogs and 1 little crow baby named Russell that she is feeding after it's mum thought it an ugly duckling and booted it out.
Recently Lynn had a birthday so of course a handmade card was in order!  I was rushed for time so it wasn't as layered as I would have liked it, but she liked it and that was all that counts.

Here are a few pics from today's field trip!

How many goats is too many?
Xio loves on a GREAT BIG donkey!

Who said Ca-who-a-who-a's and crows can't be friends!!

Russell (the crow) and Xio

Lick Lick Lick

Lynn, Xio and Saanan babies!
Thanks Lynn for another great day at your farm!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A break in my experiments

I took a break in my Surface Treatment Workshop book to play in a journal today.  I'm still trying to get the hang of "layers" and have a long way to go.  Still, day by day I get a little closer.

Modeling Paste

This morning I ran down to the studio to do a quick trial using my new modeling paste.  I cut a circle out of some scrap cereal box board and placed it on the left hand side of my card.  I just scraped the modeling paste over the circle stencil with my pallet knife.  The smaller circles were made using a plastic stencil as was the "friends" text.  Next I tried different mediums over the paste to see how they would react.
Starting at the bottom
Stripe 1 - watercolor
Stripe 2 - watercolor
Stripe 3 - 50/50 mix of acrylic and glazing medium
Stripe 4 - the same mix as 3 but with a bit of water mixed in with another color too
Stripe 5 - alcohol ink
Stripe 6 - sponged on inkpad ink
Stripe 7 - luminere paint
Vertical side stripe is of course gold leaf.  I took a bit of black ink on my sponge and lightly wiped it over the word "friends" to bring it out a bit more.
Voila  - lots of new ideas in my head now!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Aluminum Foil

This experiment out of Surface Treatment Workshop is very similar to my own experiments with metal tape.  The twist on this is that you glue objects down on your base prior to putting the foil over it.  In this case I glued a few centavos to an illustration board sprayed it with adhesive and then put the foil over it.  The difference with aluminum foil and metal tape is the ability to really wrinkle and manipulate the foil.  The wrinkle "veins" create a nice and interesting effect, especially when alcohol inks are dripped over it.

Cool Glue Effects

Today I am still working in Surface Treatment Workshop book.  This experiment involves using regular white craft glue as a "resist".  It's basically a crackle technique with something you always have on your art desk - plain old white craft glue!  This piece is called "River Dreams" and involves using the technique on two different types of surfaces.  The background was on cheap old acrylic paper.  I underpainted with ultramarine blue and stenciled some gold polkadots on it.  Once it was thoroughly dry I coated the paper with a thick layer of white craft glue (I used Elmer's Craft Bond All-Purpose Glue).  While the glue was still wet I over painted with viridi acrylic very gently so as not to work the viridi color into the glue.  Having little patience for air drying, I used my heat gun on low.  Once the whole piece of paper was cracked and dry I glued a sculpey baked face onto the front.  I undercoated the face with ultramarine blue, let it dry, applied glue and viridi as before.  The face didn't crack as much as the paper, probably because it was harder to get a thick even coat on the face, but I think the look turned out ok, and what an inexpensive alternative to crackle medium!

NOTE:  Well, since Blogger won't let me comment even on my own post (what the...???) I'll add my comment here.
To clarify, on the background after I applied the glue and paint I dribbled water on it which caused the cracking to feather here and there making it much more interesting.
Hope that helps!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fun With Tyvek

Today's project was to work from mcElroy and Wilson's Surface Treatment Workshop.  There are 45 different mixed media techniques, most of which I am going to try.  The first one that caught my eye was a "subtractive" technique. 
Materials needed are parchment paper, tyvek, iron.
I had some painted tyvek envelopes left over from a tyvek poppies project and thought they would be the perfect thing to experiment with.  The first thing to know is that tyvek will pucker different ways based on which side of the tyvek you heat.  To make it pucker with raised areas you should heat the backside of the painted tyvek and if you want it to pucker away from you with "valleys" then heat the side with the paint on it.
So the first thing you do is to go outside - trust me on this - melted tyvek will give you a wicked headache!  I went onto the concrete patio and laid a towel down and pluged my iron in.  Next take the parchment paper and fold it in half.  Slip the piece of tyvek into it and then start to experiment.  I would suggest experimenting on a piece of unpainted tyvek.  It takes some experimenting to get the hang of it without burning a hole in the tvek.  But once you have it put the tyvek into the folded parchment with either side facing up, based on the result you want to achieve.  Next what I found worked the best was to hold the iron very lightly over the area you are heating.  When the tyvex gets to the right temperature it will shrink very quickly so you really have to watch it.  Anyway, let it cool and start arting with it!
Above is my first trial.  I always like to make an atc with my experiments so I can make notes on the back and use them as references in the future.  The piece above is called "eyes of peace" and utilized a few holes that showed up in the tyvek from overheating.  The eyes are compliments of Abraham Lincoln and fit perfectly into the holes.  The biggest challenge with this was how to adhere the tyvek to your base surface.  I have a piece in my journal that I stuck into a big blop of gel medium and will wait for it to dry.  I got a nice texture on top of that piece with the gel medium by putting a piece of velum over it to push down on the tyvek to get it good and stuck to the piece.  When I pulled the velum straight up it left a nice complimentary texture to the buckled tyvek.  Anyway to adhere the piece above I used E-6000 and then wrapped the top and bottom edges with copperfoil tape and stapled them.  I added a few more pieces of copper tape to stamp my text onto but first I dry brushed the whole card with viridi acrylic.  It really helped to accentuate the tyvek buckling.  And yes, it really is Abraham Lincoln under there!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Catching Up

I've been so busy doing art lately (among other things!) that I haven't made it here to add what I've been working on!  So this post will be a bit of an art dump! lol!
Let's start with a few altered cabinet cards!  While I couldn't bring myself to paint on any of my ancestors cabinet cards, I had no problem doodling on complete strangers!  These really are a lot of fun but good cabinet cards that have that special character are getting harder and more expensive to find.

Next I have quite a few ATC swaps I've been participating in. 
The first swap was a fancy fish swap.  I used a variety of techniques, and I especially liked using the dimensional magic from ModPodge (covered goldfish in upper right).
The next swap was a flower swap.  These were a bit more chunky than my usual so the photo's of those are a bit blurry (I scaned instead of used my camera - lazy, I know!)

Next was a swap that challenged us to use metal air conditioning tape (it's a pretty sturdy adhesive backed foil). The card at the top involved wrapping the base card with yarn and then weaving foil strips through.

This next card below was a great surprise.  I didn't really have a plan for where I was going with it and I think it turned out just great!  On the base card I covered it with the foil tape, embosed little doodlies on it and then dripped and swiped alcohol inks on it.  Next I laid two pieces of recycled silk fiber I got from and then scattered some really cool cello glitter. I then covered the whole card in a sheet of tissue paper and then I applied the butterfly at the body area and bent the wings up.  I then cut the tissue paper away from underneath the wings.  I really like how it came out and it was so unexpected!

The next swap was one I just finished for the Roses On My Table site and had the theme of ocean.  For the top card, I actually wove some funky fiber on the top.  It took me back to my days in Guatemala where I learned how to weave on a backstrap loom from a group of mayan weavers.  I then added some lace that I watercolored and a little shear ribbon bow to finish it off - oh yes, and a fish!

 This card below just about made me crazy trying to get the eyelash yarn to stick to the card!  I started with a base of an old Nat Geo map of the ocean and stamped/watercolored/stenciled over it and then stuck big round blue glitter all over it - which reminded me why I don't use a lot of glitter! lol!  Then came the glue and eyelash yarn... egads, but I think I described it as trying to staple a jellyfish to a fried egg!
 This one was for my husband who is facinated with the giant squid.
Ok, leaving ATCs and moving on to journaling!
This top page was for the Roses Journal Journey and the prompt was "song"
This page below was an experiment for me using techniques I have never used before.  This and the next two pages were inspired after watching Cristina Zinnia Galliher's videos. For this page I started with a collage base of text and music then whitewashed, stenciled, glued fiber, attached photo and text elements, whitewashed again and then took pastels and melted them (blue and white) and applied.  I'm pretty happy with it!

 This page continues some of Cristina's techniques.  The subject is my sweet little girl.  I started with a fabric base, added text and music collage, paint, fiber, ribbon. and a little glitter at the end :-)
 This piece started with a collage base, added dried flowers, paint, fibers, stamped tissue paper and a chalkboard heart that I applied Mona to.  I kind of like this one too!  It's nice when you like your art! lol!
 This page was for a Roses group with the prompt of "Lyrics"  I chose "The Mummers Dance" by Lorenna McKennitt.
Then I think the only thing left are a few art challenges - one for a Marie Antoinette Gotic Arch and a Flower Matchbox.

This was the first matchbox I had ever done.  It was a real challenge to create in such a small space! For the inside of the box I lined it in handmade paper and then attached a glittered 3D flower sticker.  For the cover I wrapped the box in foil tape that had been coated in alcohol inks and a gold brocade ribbon attached to either end.  The flower on the front was made by pulling ribbon through a sewing bobbin and attaching a glass drop to the center.

 WHEW!  I think I am caught up now and can go make some more art! Yippee!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Revisited: Three Days in the Life of a Guatemalan Adoption

I had to scrounge around my computer really hard to find it, but here it is. Back by popular demand!...and yes, it is all true and not exagerated in any way... sad, but true.
3 Days in the Life of a Guatemalan Adoption
Written Friday October 17th, 2003

Now that I think everything is done that can be done for our adoption case I
wanted to take a few minutes to memorialize the last 3 days of my
life. This is not reading for the faint of heart... indeed, I warn
you now that it may be fatal.

Prologue to the Hustle:
Saturday night the Hesses(Michael and Naila), friends who were also adopting and sharing a house with me, and I receive a letter from Javier, our Guatemalan attorney, indicating that our cases have been booted out of PGN (the adoption approval agency in Guatemala) with previos (read this as we forgot to litterally dot an "i" or cross a "t").
As Michael and Naila struggle to interpret Spanish nay... GUATEMALAN legalese I sit biting my nails wondering if it's good news that they reviewed my case by the promised date.. or that it's bad news because the previos are so numerous and demanding. After biting my finger nails to stubbs I decide to start on the toes... as I take a taxi to the airport to pick up my visiting friend from the states.

Sunday we fill the day with shopping and speculating about what will happen with our cases. We discuss the 200 page amparro (attempt to shut down adoptions in Guatemala) filed by what must be an escapee of the local insane asylum sure that UNICEF has no one left to fight their cause.

Monday we call Javier/Sue (our adoption coordinator in the states)/Bob/Parents/the Pizza Delivery man... and arrange to go to PGN/Call Sue back/Call Bob back/Blow parents off/ and order "The Dominator" with extra cheese.

The Main Event - Do the Hustle with Javier:
Tuesday began the strangest of my days in Guatemala. It started out with Javier arriving at our house to pick up Naila and myself and take us to PGN. Upon opening the door and seeing Javier standing there in his weekend love clothes which consists of what an online chat list must be refering to when they say "hooker jeans". Javier entered with his usual flair and proclaimed he must eat! We had Sabina (our
cook) whip him up some eggs while we discussed strategies for our attack on PGN. This is where I made my first fatal mistake of the day... I neglected to eat breakfast. Ordinarily this would not have been a huge ordeal - but as you will soon see - not a mistake to make when Javier and a car are involved. After strategizing and watching Javier eat... and make about 30-40 phone calls - he suddenly jumped up from the table and procaimed "LETS GO!!" Out the door we followed and into the street we followed... until it was certain... he was leading us to a rusty, broken down 1970 Toyota Celica. When entering the car and adjusting to the smell that all cars in Guatemala have (something akin to sticking your head up the tailpipe of tractor trailer and breathing deeply) and boldly deciding that I would refrain from wearing my seat belt because if this was the way I was going to leave the world, let me crash and burn! While Naila slipped into the backseat and I into the front, certain that her selection of the back
was to assure that she not be hit by any projectile vomit that might pop out of my mouth, Javier adjusted the packing tape that was holding his side mirror onto the car and then slid in beside me and
winked and said... "This is my sportscar". It was then that I realized that I would never recover from this trip. As I remember, we left Antigua on at least two wheels of the car. Naila sat in the backseat giggling and reading things that were lying on the seat that she should have known not to read (!) I closed my eyes and tried to hold back the first wave of car sickness. Javier is laughing and telling jokes and taking phone calls and shifting gears and steering and digging in his glove box for american music CD's... while naturally swerving between cars and taking hairpin turns at "only 40 mph", as he would proclaim. As we began to enter surely the biggest hole in the ozone on this planet, otherwise known as Guatemala City I ponder whether or not I should roll up my window to save my lungs from the thick black smoke pouring out of every car in this city. It is my firm belief that not a single car in Guatemala is equipped with a catelytic converter... much less an exhaust system of any type known to civilized man. It was here that the second wave of car sickness washes over me. Javier is chatting away on his cell phone using as many arm gestures as are humanly possible when all of the sudden he elbows me and shouts something in Spanish to me. I risk yet a third wave of sickness and turn my head back to Naila to
say "what's he saying?". She is so engrossed in reading that she looks up blankly and says "He's on the phone". I turn back and look at Javier who is elbowing me again and speaking gibberish when all of
the sudden the car lurches to the right as he takes his one remaining hand off the wheel to shift gears. It's then that I realize he wanted me to drive the car from the passenger seat while he kept his
foot firmly on the gas pedal and continued his phone call and wild gesturing. I decide that not putting my seatbelt on was the right decision. It is here that I consider the reality of dying while in Guatemala, not by one of the thousands of "armed guards" at every corner, not by a revolution of political unrest... not even by a theif, murderer or rogue... no, it will be my attorney who finally does me in with a 1970 Celica "sportscar" which is now making very strange noises. The noises distract me from my daydream of death long enough to look over and see Javier driving with his head out the window like some crazed dog and frowning and swerving in between cars. He pops his head back in long enough to proclaim he hears a noise and I look at Naila who is by this time rolling in tears in the back seat with laughter... A NOISE???? It sounds as if the whole car is getting ready to self destruct! Does Javier pull over to
investigate??? No, in fact he seems a bit iritated by the noise and cranks the radio up louder to cover it up. By this time I have lost track of how many times I have considered puking on Javier's floorboard and he announces that he has to go by his apartment to change clothes. Naila says "Your apartment?" at which point Javier tells us that his wife threw him out for his indescretions and he laughs like a proud macho latino man should. He cuts through the side streets of Guatemala City much in the manner that he took the hairpin turns and finally comes to a screeching halt outside of a little shack of an apartment which Naila politely called a "Studio". We waited in the car for Jaiver to go change into something not reeking of weekend love in utter silence and disbelief. It was then that the cd player began... it was just a few notes... harmless in their origin... but slowly, they began to take form... it was... yes, hard
to believe....The Hustle. Naila and I sat as if some sureal objects in a Salvador Dali painting. Here we sat... in Guatemala... in a 1970 rundown Toyota Celica... waiting for the biggest meeting of our adoptive journey... listening to and finally singing The Hustle. A record 5 minutes and Javier was dashing from his "Studio" back to the car, this time in a suit. I had taken the few moments that the car
had been parked to try and regain part of my stomach lining and was not having the best of luck. Javier, again on the phone, slips back into the car. It was then that I knew I would abandon all attempts
to "settle my stomach" when for one brief second I actually saw the air before me distort slightly as the fumes rush across the front seat. At once my eyes began to water... and my diesel ridden body shuttered with a new onset of attacks... the "don't take a shower and douse my whole body in cologne" attack sent me reeling toward the other side of the car in tears. I briefly wondered if it was indeed cologne or just a can of tear gas that had been set off. But there is no time to ponder these questions as we are off again, wheels squealing and someone who sounds like Perry Como on the radio. At this point things became a bit fuzzy.. and I am not wholly sure I believed that I really saw a herd of goats in
downtown Guatemala by the courthouse... surely it was just a mirage brought on by my swimming head and stomach and eyes. We make our way to his office where I am determined to try and collect some sense of composure so I step into the ladies room. I briefly eye the bathroom checking for the necessities... 1) a toilet with a seat, 2) toilet paper, 3) soap. Finding only one of the three required items I decide to snoop a bit in the drawers and under the dirty dishes for some secreted toilet paper. Finding more than I had bargained for, and none of it toilet paper I reside myself to the fact that I will
have to drip dry. I bravely plant my butt on the toilet seat (ignoring Naila's triangle and square formation instructions for toilet paper) and pee away, meanwhile wondering if the dirty dishes in front of me were
from an extended "lunch time visit" to the bathroom. For a brief and fleeting moment I consider checking the napkin to see if it might be usable as toilet paper and finally deciding drip drying would be the
safer choice. I finish up with the bathroom trip I had hoped would help me feel better and stagger to Javier's office. Naila jumps up to take her turn in the bathroom when I smile sweetly and say in a
language only the two of us can speak "no tp and don't look in the shower stall or you'll be sorry". She looks at me with the same face as a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. I smile even
more sweetly and take a seat hoping that the drip has sufficiently dried so as not to leave a wet spot on my pants. After a quick stop at Javier's office of one or two hours we are ready to go to PGN. After exiting the office I start walking down the street in search of a full strength Coke and something to eat... I need strength for the meeting ahead and a little soda and crackers was needed to calm my
empty car sick stomach so as not to hurl a gutful of bile on the nice PGN lawyer. After walking half a block, buying food and walking back I see Javier and Naila still in front of the office where they
remained for the next several minutes - but I'm used to this now... it's "Guatemalan time"... which is equal to "sometime today or tomorrow". Finally and abruptly Javier leaps toward the car and announces it is time to go and we jump into the car and make our way to the infamous PGN offices. As I have relayed much of our visit to the offices of the esteemed PGN I will not recount it, save for a small side mention of our visit to the ladies bathroom. We were sure to find it more to our liking than that in Javier's office. We walk in and each select a stall. I, pulling open the door notice a mound of papers about the size of the ticker-tapes swept up off the streets of New York after a parade. I again ponder the triangle or square formation and again throw caution to the wind and plant my fanny firmly on the bare toilet seat. While busily doing my business Naila announces in an off hand way that the sign says not to throw your toilet paper in the toilet. It is then that I turn my head to look at the mound of paper on the floor beside me... now realizing the treasure trove of Guatemalan pee samples that I have stumbled into. I quickly wipe, and without thinking deposit my toilet paper in the toilet, flush and
meet Naila at the sink. "I put my paper in the toilet without thinking" I sheepishly announce only to receive her reply of giggling and a "Me too". We wash our hands and leave.
It is now late afternoon and we invite Javier and another attorney we have picked up somewhere along the way to dinner. Following a repeat performance of the morning's drive, I unlock the front door of our
house, walk in and pronounce that I'll be right back... I have to go vomit. It was a day that was more than my physical and mental abilities could take and I excused myself from dinner, not sure that my stomach could suffer much more. Plans were set for our trip back into the city to visit the British Consulate on Thursday to clear up a wee problem with our Scottish marriage license. I drifted off to sleep thankful for a days rest before having to weather "The Hustle" again.

A day of rest and relaxation. My friend Maureen and I went with my weaver friends to their house in San Antonio Agua Caliente. The house was typical of rural Guatemala and it was a nice touch that
they had strung a big blue tarp around a concrete pipe in the back yard just for our "business". Neither Maureen nor I luckily had to decide triangle or square formation during our visit. Then, most certainly, I must have faltered from the extreem stress of the previous day, when I accepted some strange small green fruit (with peal and frozen) to eat. Not wanting to offend our hosts I quickly ate one and prayed not to regret it. The rest of the visit went wonderfully, I learned new weaving techniques, made tortillas, and bargained for beautiful woven skirt. It was time then to go home. And then it hit... sometime around 7pm, luckily in the comfort of my own bathroom without blue tarp. It started with a tiny gas pain... and within 30 minutes turned into full fledged, toss the toilet paper formation out the window and just make it to the bathroom in time event!!! The next wave was only 10 minutes later, followed by chills and then more visits to the bathroom. I decided to take quick and swift action and
took half a bottle of Immodium Advanced. I'll let you know if my
intestine ever start working again. (Note added after this writing: This was the beginning of a month long battle that was finally cured by some backstreet pink pills that a pharmacists shoved through a slot in the door to me). I wearily climed into bed holding my cramping stomach wondering how I would survive another day with Javier on Thursday. Just before drifting off to sleep I dreamed of taking my diarheah ridden body back to PGN and obey their no toilet paper in the bowl rule. And yes, I did ponder the similarity of the toilet rules and my previos.

This day we wisely hired a taxi to safely deposit us at Javier's office at 9am. Somewhere between Antigua and Guatemala City we received a call indicating we should meet Javier at the British Consulates office instead. So we alter our course and make our way to the Banco International building. Naila and I quickly navigate our way to the 11th floor and deposit our cell phones and my camera at the security gate and enter the office to wait for the arrival of our attorney. It is 9am... 9:15...9:30... and then the
phone rings. It's Javier asking "Where are you??" He apparently is in the lobby downstairs. It takes him another 10 minutes to find his way to the BC office at which point he must stand outside the security gate until he finishes his phone call (of course!). We make our way to the window and explain why we have come. The nice lady takes my dossier and passport and promises to return. We wait anxiously. She returns and explains they can not do what we have asked and to make a long story short - I burst into tears, throw myself on the sofa and sob wildly. The poor woman behind the glass looks aghast and asks if I am going to be alright. Javier wastes no time taking advantage of the situation and pleads
with the woman to write the letter so I will stop crying. After much fanagling the consulate finally agrees and I throw myself against the bullet proof glass and offer her my undying affection. Before exiting the building and heading back to Javier's office we decide our bathroom survival chances are better now in the bank building than back at the Javier bathroom and grill. We enter what appears to be a new bathroom, but alas there is a major lack of toilet paper. We laugh in disbelief and begin searchin all the stalls. I find one last remaining roll with about 20 sheets remaining and dash for the stall. As we exit the building Javier decides we need to eat and it's off for bean soup at 10am. After soup, the plan was for Javier to stop by his office and then take us back to our house and do the witness statements, an activity that momentarily drifts into oblivion until approximately 4pm in the afternoon when he jumps up from his desk and proclaims it is time to go. In pure Javier fashion we manage to return to our house narrowly missing death trap after death trap along the way. Javier comes in with his computer and printer and hooks them up... it appears we are getting moving again... when all of the sudden Michael is sent to the living room for a DVD of Benji for Javier to play on his computer. I decide I need to puke
and excuse myself. For the next 3 hours we make no progress when suddenly Javier begins to type madly on his computer. We excuse ourselves to the living room to allow him to work. A few moments
later we hear a crash and Javier has jumped from the table and is frantically whiping his cell phone. He has tipped a drink over and in his maddened rush to save his cell phone he leaves Michael's and Maureens passports in a puddle of Pepsi. I dart to save them, swooping them up and running for the kitchen. Micheal and I work quickly to dry them and agree that we could both thank our lucky stars that the cell phone was saved! The rest of the night went pretty much the same until at 10pm we abandoned him to his pizza while we checked the scores on the Red Sox and Yankee's game... meanwhile a little tune keeps running through my head.... "do the hustle" to which I glibbly add..."do the Guatemalan hustle".

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Busy Days

For the last several days we have been without phone and internet due to a bad cable.  As I tried hard not to stress out about all the wonderful conversations going on in my art froup that I was missing, I threw myself into busy work!  Last year we had an addition added to our home for my mother to move into.  The construction started last April and finished the day before Thanksgiving.  By that time I was a basket case! lol!  The new addition has given me something I didn't have here before and something that I was sorely lacking in my life.  I have always been a garden person.  I've built gardens at every home I've been at.  When we moved to a farm with more land than I had ever called my own before, I was paralyzed at how to garden.  I'm a small, intimate, garden room gal type and all this space was just too much for me to think about.  The last garden I built was in Massachusetts in a little city-sized lot.  I built a four room garden with nothing more than my sweat and hard work... but I was much younger then!  This time I am going to enlist men-with-machines help!  Below are the pre and post construction pictures of Pennwood Farm.
In this picture you see the original house.  The deck which extended off the back of the house on the right side of the picture has aready been removed.

In this photo this is all the new addition placed onto the back of the house (right side where deck used to be on photo above). 

I now have a wonderful new area for gardening!

And to that end, I, of course, need a new garden journal!  I ran across the cutest journal in the January/February issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine using a file folder.  It has pockets that hold little cards and/or books.  So I spent the day today making my new garden journal.

I started with a few booklets such as, "Plant List".  This will be a place for me to list all the plants I put in the garden so that I can go back later and know which variety I have. 

More pockets and booklets!

I've also been working on some ideas for a new garden gate book swap.
 These are poppies from a rubytuesday tutorial.  They are supposed to be made out of tyvek envelopes, but I was fresh out and the post office was closed so I tried it out using tissue paper.  I think they turned out pretty nice.

This next picture was made using some new fun things from my great wool swaper friends! I layered on circle stencils in different colors and sizes.  I then did packing tape transfers of the photo's of Xio and added those.  Then a little painted flowers and voila!

This picture is just a watercolor background on bristol board with flowers painted using acrylics and gel medium.  I love sunflowers!
So it was a busy several days.  I spread grass seed, fertilizer and 15 bales of straw, cleaned out the gutters, mucked out the hay bin and danced around with my paints and brushes!  It certainly was a productive time, but I sure missed my art froup!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Xio!

Xio turned 8 this past Monday and so last weekend we had a birthday party for her.  It was her very first real live birthday party.  For the past three years her birthday was celebrated in a hospital, nursing home and then again in a hospital.  So it was a pretty big event for her!  She invited all her little girl friends and they had a great time. 

I made rainbow cupcakes and found the cutest cupcake liners in the shape of flowers!  How cool is that? 

The girls made ATC's (artist trading cards) and had fun swapping them among themselves.

The big highlight of the day was the pinata.  I found one that you have to whack with a stick and they must have worked on that thing for a half hour before getting all the candy and toys out of it!

Xio (in pink) blowing out the candles on a great birthday celebration!