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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Myakka River State Park.....

.....in beautiful SW Florida!  My grandkids and I had a perfect day hiking around this semi-wilderness park yesterday. Read all about its attractions HERE.

We've finally had some cooler nights here in the sunny south and it felt so good to be out in the crisp dry air after a long humid summer.  As always, if you want to take a closer look, please click on the individual images.......

The suspension canopy walk is a major feature of this park.  It is 25 feet off the ground and extends through the tree tops for 100 feet.

Here we are at the terminus of the canopy walk getting ready to climb an additional 50 feet to the top of the tower!

And here's the view from about half way up.....

Rural beauty

A bit of wetland and oak hammock

And a lovely, sunlit clearing.....

Among the many kinds of wildlife that live in or near the park, wild boars root around in the sand looking for supper.   Here's a snap of wild boar tracks.  We didn't see any close up on this trip, but we have before.  They are fairly scary critters!

Peaceful vista

We found a leaning  palm tree trunk to play on!  It was a wild horse,  a circus high wire and we also pretended to be monkeys ;-0  (see next shot)

And here's the nana monkey!!

riding double.....

For those of you who know, wild turkeys are very shy.  We were quite fortunate to see a flock of  eight.  Mostly hens, and two youngsters who looked about half-size - maybe from a spring hatch?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A great week for rainbows!!

Who would ever have guessed that in the same week I would make a rainbow quilt (see the post previous to this one) and then receive one in a swap?

Participating for the second time in Kate North's Another Little Quilt Swap (this is her 6th as hostess...) I received this absolutely gorgeous quilt from Marie Joerger.

Introducing "Baby Rainbow Bright"

Please click on image for a closer look!


A larger version (the "Mama??) of this quilt hangs in Marie's home and she made this one especially for the swap.

This is the most informative label I've ever seen, and how kind of Marie to include my name ;-0



The quilting is a perfect all -over meander done in a very subtle shaded rainbow rayon thread so the whole quilt has a magical sparkle.


The nine batiks used in the color blocks are the perfect complement to the bright and bubbly border fabric and even the backing is true to the rainbow theme.


If you haven't visited the ALQS blog please do.  Kate does such a great job of organizing and encouraging her swap participants that maybe you'll find yourself wanting to do a swap the next time she announces one - it's great fun!!  And do visit Marie's blog and Etsy shop - she's a talented gal.......

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rainbow Bright "Charmer"

Not blogging very often, but still sewing up my stash ;-0  The pleasure of scrap quilts has taken over my life (when I'm not out working in my new yard, that is...)  I'm discovering a creative outlet I never dreamed existed in my previous world of more predictable pre-planned quilts!

This small jewel is 16x48 and fits nicely as a runner on my kitchen table or hangs easily in several skinny wall spaces in my house.  Each fabric is different, even the backing and binding - my first charm quilt.  Many thanks to Mary Mashuta for the circles!  I found the idea and pattern in her book, Cotton Candy Quilts.

Please click for larger view

Please click on image to get a closer look

Please click on image to get a closer look

Please click on image to get a closer look

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Postcard swap.....

The creative and organized artist and swap hostess, creativelenna, has completed another successful swap.  The theme for this swap was, "A Summer's Day."  These three postcards arrived safely in my mailbox yesterday and what a lucky girl I am to have them!!

As always, please click on each image if you want a larger view ;-0


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Being a beach girl myself, the carefully constructed beach scene is perfect for me!  Amanda in California has captured a relaxing seaside day with layers of water color, rubber stamps, collage elements, and even bits of real seashells glued on.  And the little fish swam all the way to the back of the card, which is as carefully created as the front....  Thanks, Amanda!!




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When Tiffiny (also in California) created this sea horse postcard, little did she (or Lenna) know that it would end up with a woman who counts these tiny oceangoing pseudo-equines as her second-favorite (after giraffes) critter.   Tiffiny created a wonderful underwater coral habitat for her glittered guys and added an informative list of sea horse attributes on the back of the card.  Thanks Tiffiny!




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And what says summer better than a picnic complete with ants...?  Barbara in Illinois crafted a three-dimensional scene so perfectly.  The basket is woven from paper strips, the sandwich is created in actual layers with two slices of bread, some lettuce peeks out, and is that bologna we see in that sandwich?  A red checkered tablecloth and colorful napkins are arranged on the "grass" background, and there are even tiny ants made from the tiniest fuzzy craft balls I've ever seen.  Thanks, Barbara!




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If you've never done a swap, especially not one with Lenna, might I suggest that you jump in and give it a try?  FUN!!  FUN!! FUN!!







Friday, September 9, 2011

art journalling

Back a few posts ago, I mentioned that I'd finally begun some intentional art journalling.  A cross between art with no/few words, and a more conventional diary composed mostly of words.  Separate from an artist's sketch and notebook, art journaling is another means by which anyone can discover the self.  Whether it takes particular courage and or any special talent to do this remains to be seen.

I chose to use 9" x 6" sheets of water color paper.  This is a handy size for me and the loose sheets can be arranged in a variety of ways as the journal progresses.  Chronological order is obvious (date each sheet!!) but the pages can also be sorted by color, mood, theme, etc.  I know many of you are in love with your Moleskine's of varying sizes, but for some reason the flexibility of individual sheets of paper appeals to me.  There are no rules in art journaling!!!!!  I even bought a pretty box covered in yellow roses (my favorite flower) to keep these first sheets in.

please click for larger image

One of my great pleasures is to read about and study whatever catches my interest.  All the local librarians are used to seeing me standing at the check-out desk with arms full of quilting and art books.  And now, I'm reading about art journaling.

In a book by Diana Trout, Journal Spilling, I found the following quote [brackets mine], which has banished forever any qualms I might have about the utility or purpose of writing and making art.  Cyril Connolly was a British literary critic.

"Better to write [make art] for yourself and have no public than to write [make art] for the public and have no self."

Some quotations are sappy-gooey in their sentiment, but not this one from Connolly.  And reaching back into ancient days, one of the quotations that prompted several life-changing 180's in perspective on my life several years ago, is this from Seneca,

"On him does death lie heavily who, but too well known to all, dies to himself unknown."


Ideas to think on as we ease on into the weekend and into the rest of our lives.........

Thursday, September 8, 2011

ALQS #6

Another Little Quilt Swap hosted by Kate North.  This is my second quilt swap with Kate and her talented followers.  Kate is an organized and enthusiastic hostess and so far, the quilts I've seen for this swap on her blog are gorgeous with a capital G!!

Mine own, "Lone Melody" is a 21" square - machine pieced with hand quilting and lightly beaded.  100% cotton (except for the beads of course), it is also the first (and maybe the last!) Lone Star block I ever made.

Please click for a closer look.....

Please click for a closer look...

Please click for a closer look...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Color my world!!!!!

Although I've been mostly offline for several weeks taking a break from spending what felt like too much time sitting in front of the computer, it definitely pays to cruise the hyperlink byways on the 'net from time to time.

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Click/larger.....
Would you believe I made these magical colors on fabric in my very own utility room???

It all began with "daisy yellow", which led me to Fannie Narte, which led me to Caran D'Ache Neocolor II wax crayons.  So, I go to my local art supply store,  Keeton's Office and Art Supply, but for some frustrating reason they don't stock the Caran D'Ache water soluble pastels.  They do have a cheaper substitute, however.  Since I'm always on a budget and since I had a 40% off coupon plus the usual 10% savings Keeton's gives to local artists, I was able to purchase these beauties at a give-away price.

A Binney & Smith (of Crayola fame) product
So, back to the 'net and back to the helpful and free tutorial I had found on the above mentioned Fannie Narte blog (which actually included a link to a Squidoo web site)  Whew!!!  All this travel has a girl in a whirl........ anyway.....

In addition to limited cash, I also have limited work space and no real outdoor place for complex fabric dying and drying operations.  The beauty of this color process is that it is non-toxic and requires no gloves, vats, chemicals, or extra ventilation.  I mostly work on small art pieces, so I don't need to dye yardage. I do want lots of little pieces in a wide variety of color combos.  I can use them for backgrounds, or cut them even smaller for applique.  Water soluble means just that, however, so any finished piece is NOT WASHABLE.  

So, tickle me pink (and lime green.)  In the Squidoo tutorial, no one mentions how to get the little 'belly button' of fabric that was twisted around the bead ironed out, but I'll play some more and maybe next time I'll scrunch and fold instead of twisting.  A 1/2 yard cut of Kona white goes a long way when you only need 8" x 8" pieces.

I'll play with the less costly substitute (and invite my grandkids to join me!) until they are used up, and then treat myself to the real deal - a small set of the Caran D'Ache Neocolor II water soluble wax crayons.  BTW - whichever brand one uses, they work beautifully on paper too!!!

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