Winter Color

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The azaleas are in full bloom in February due to warm winds and rain

The azaleas are in full bloom in February due to warm winds and rain

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White blooms of Pieris japonica, part of the heather family

White blooms of Pieris japonica, part of the heather family

pink and white azalea

pink and white azalea

Camelia blossom still remaining after a full month's blooming

Camelia blossom still remaining after a full month’s blooming

hidden in this photo is a woodpecker looking out of a hole in a dead tree

hidden in this photo is a woodpecker looking out of a hole in a dead tree, second from the right —I really need a lens which can enlarge this detail–sorry–the woodpeckers have a home about 6 inches from the top

one of my winter rainy day projects: a fabric wall hanging hand quilted of flowers against a reed fence

one of my winter rainy day projects: a fabric wall hanging hand quilted of flowers against a reed fence

Quilted fabric wallhanging of flowers on a lattice

Quilted fabric wall hanging of Flowers on a Lattice

Another winter project using fabric scraps to make a reversible table runner featuring circles on squares with a crocheted edge

Another winter project using fabric scraps to make a reversible table runner featuring circles on squares with a crocheted edge

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The reverse side of the table runner features browns, greens and blues of a creek flowing through the woods

The reverse side of the table runner features browns, greens and blues of a creek flowing through the woods

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Out With Pink, In With Gold

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A spare bedroom which serves as my sewing room and computer room is where I spend much of my time when indoors.  Four years ago when we moved here, I painted it pink, but I have since gotten the need for that color out of my system. Hoping for a more sophisticated and organized look, I repainted this room a medium toned gold, and changed up the wall décor.  Prior to Jocelyn moving to Scotland, she gave me a box of frames, and I chose several to highlight some collage art.

Wall arrangement of picture frames in diamond shape

Wall arrangement of picture frames in diamond shape

flower collage

flower collage

bird collage

bird collage

butterfly collage

butterfly collage

bird collage

bird collage

the flower is made of intricately small pieces of paper combined with larger paper cuttings

the flower is made of intricately small pieces of paper combined with larger paper cuttings

This butterfly is made of intricate and small paper cuttings

This butterfly is made of intricate and small paper cuttings

collage bird

collage bird

collage flower

collage flower

A hand knitted shawl from friend Barb Frieseman who does beautiful work

A hand knitted shawl from friend Barb Frieseman who does beautiful work

The wall over my sewing work table has four wall hangings which I had sewn, plus 3 framed pictures

The wall over my sewing work table has four wall hangings which I had sewn, plus 3 framed pictures

Fabric wall hanging of flower garden

Fabric wall hanging of flower garden

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Pencil drawing of 2 birds done by Jocelyn when she was a child

Pencil drawing of 2 birds done by Jocelyn when she was a child

A sheer curtain with red and gold design to allow more natural light in room

A sheer curtain with red and gold design to allow more natural light in room

Framed

Framed

This frame had been a bland yellow cream with flowers and butterfly.  I added fabric flowers and paint to give it some charm

This frame had been a bland yellow cream with flowers and butterfly. I added fabric flowers and paint to give it some charm

My computer corner where I moved my bulletin boards from other wall

My computer corner where I moved my bulletin boards from other wall

Guardians of my computer, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil

Guardians of my computer, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil

A gift from Jocelyn with scriptural admonition

A gift from Jocelyn with scriptural admonition

 

 

Family Photos

Ken, Jocelyn, Josiah, William and Audrey

Ken, Jocelyn, Josiah, William and Audrey

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Audrey picking flowers

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William, Josiah and Audrey

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William

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Audrey

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Josiah

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William

sarah photo shoot 2 2016

Sarah getting prepared for photo shoot in Houston June 2016

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Sarah, ever the comic relief taking after her Mother – photo shoot in Houston June 2016

sarah photo shoot 2016

Sarah with her hair dresser with finished look for photo shoot Houston June 2016

Beyond the Wilderness Garden: I am Queen of the Antler Bench

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When you look from Fern Street up towards my house, on the right side, there once stood an untamed wilderness.  The prior owner had tried to cover the ground with centipede grass, but little of it survived in the deep shade. Last year I had thrown some grass seed down which said it was guaranteed to grow in the shade. But I had failed to read the small print which said, “except in Mississippi”.  I managed to get my money back anyway, arguing that “they” had no business stocking the shelves in Mississippi with something that was doomed to failure. After all, it is not as if we routinely carry a magnifying glass in our pocket every time we go to Walmart.  This grass failure set me back an entire year!

Anyway, about a year and a half ago, I had plunged my shovel into the dirt, to break the ground of my Wilderness garden.  Upon turning the dirt, I realized that I had just spliced the internet cable in half. Slowly trudging up the hill, I knew that the wilderness had trumped me.  It took a week before anyone came out to reconnect the internet and another month for anyone to trench the cable.  In the meantime I was buying as many privet, ligustrum and gardenia bushes on clearance from Lowes and Walmart in order to edge the property line.

I laid a curving path of hand painted square stones to look like a flowing stream through the woods, got my shrubs in, and found some azaleas and begonias.  I bought a metal bench with an antler design and set it at the top of the slope, dug up an old rusty outdoor thermometer which was in the shape of an antlered deer, and got another rickety bench for free from the neighbors.  But what to do about that area where no grass will grow?

That is when I saw a pathway for a shade garden done by Bob Vila.  He had taken square stones in a solid color, and stenciled a design on top with a can of white spray paint.  In the meantime I got some more free shrubs from the neighborhood, found 2 very large ferns in the woods down by the creek bed, lots of moss, more clearance flowers, some black mulch…the Wilderness theme was beginning to look less untamed and more like a park fit for the Queen of the Antler Bench.  This is now one of my favorite sitting areas in my entire yard.

White spray painted stenciled black stone walkway to the Antler Bench

White spray painted stenciled black stone walkway to the Antler Bench

looking down from the antler bench seating area

looking down from the antler bench seating area

the flowing stream through the Wilderness

the flowing stream through the Wilderness

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My security system:  Someone who spends his days catching moles

My security system: Someone who spends his days catching moles

My moss garden

My moss garden

Ye old rickety bench painted robin's egg blue

Ye old rickety bench painted robin’s egg blue

a new hydrangea with a few blue blossoms

a new hydrangea with a few blue blossoms

At the foot of the bench is abstract art.  this bench oversees the street ditch garden

At the foot of the bench is abstract art. this bench oversees the street ditch garden

The street ditch has been planted with cat tails, elephant ears, flowers and grasses

The street ditch has been planted with cat tails, elephant ears, flowers and grasses

the street ditch hidden

the street ditch hidden

one of the large ferns I retrieved from the creek area

one of the large ferns I retrieved from the creek area

an azalea

an azalea

Amaryllis

Amaryllis

dogwood

dogwood

 

Spring Flowers After A Storm

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The peaches are already forming on the branch.

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The wisteria is attracting all the bees.

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Our first dogwood blossoms of the season.

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A really vivid color of red azalea blooms.

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I love the fresh green color of new leaves.

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Half of the bridal wreath blossoms were knocked off by heavy rains earlier today.

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I think I will let the green mold stay on the fence, as it gives the wood an aged look.

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We have had continual heavy rains for the whole month, making it difficult to finish planting the rest of the elephant ears and flowers. The tile could use a little cleaning too at this point. A real swamp right now.

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A professional house and garden photographer stopped by out of curiosity, just to look around at the flower beds and liked my stones.

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My one little Japanese Maple is leafing out.

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The beds just below the front porch.

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Our flowering pears are the last to bloom in this neighborhood.

Our flowering pears are the last to bloom in this neighborhood.

White roses around the bird feeder.

White roses around the bird feeder.

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The most blooms this azalea has ever had.

The most blooms this azalea has ever had.

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Experimenting With Left Over Fabric and Paint

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THE PUFF QUILT REVISTED

I have too many scraps of fabric lying around without a purpose, so I thought I would experiment with the Puff Quilt technique which I first saw back in the seventies.  The Puff Quilt traditionally is built up of 4 inch squares upon which has been overlaid a 6 inch piece of fabric.  These two pieces are sewn right sides together, and when turned right side out, they form a puffed shape and a clean outer edge.  Puff squares are filled with batting and then sewn together with a 1/4 ” edge on the backside.

One 12 inch square made of 9 wavy squares using scrap fabric

One 12 inch square made of 9 wavy squares using scrap fabric

What I first did in this experiment piece, was to sew 9 square blocks together to form a 15 inch large square.  This I overlaid on a 12 inch square, wrong sides together, after I had inserted in the middle batting scraps.  I pinned the edges, and machine quilted each individual square.  The result is that the top fabric is distorted into nine wavy looking blocks.  I sewed the raw edges of the large blocks together so that there was a clean edge on the bottom side of the quilt.  Once this was completed, I overlaid the top raw edges with a decorative strip of bias fabric, giving it a wavy effect, and then bound the entire quilt in a similar fabric.IMG_0002 (2)

5x5 lap quilt made of scrap fabric

5×5 lap quilt made of scrap fabric

FABRIC WALL ART-Birds In Flight

I was looking at bird images on the internet, and found a set of time lapse photos of a bird in flight.  Using some scraps of old scarfs, I created this wall hanging which shows four positions of one bird in flight.  I embellished the flower garden beneath the birds with some shiny sew-on squares and beads.  Unfortunately my young cat attacks the shiny elements, and tries to rip them off with his teeth.  He has yet to figure out that there are birds in this artwork also, and I am truly hoping he loses interest in this wall hanging soon.IMG_0015 (2)

FABRIC WALL ART- Tall Flowers in a Summer Garden

This piece was created using scraps and beads, and fraying the edges of raw fabric for a three dimensional effect.  My main motivation for this piece was to have something to do when my husband’s cousin came to visit for a week.  I put the main components together before our company arrived, and did the hand quilting while sitting around the living room in group conversation.IMG_0016 (2)

FIREPLACE MAKE-OVER-Faux Granite

We live in a middle class neighborhood; and the houses, while nice, were seemingly built using discounted materials.  The fireplace, which is the main feature in our “great room” had a mantle which is too high, and painted all white.  One day when my husband was away at a trade show, I decided to surprise him by painting the front to look like granite, using the basic colors in this room. It turned better than I had hoped, and thankfully Gary really likes this look, so I did not have to come up with another scheme.IMG_0007 (2)

STARLIT GARDENS WALLHANGING

A couple of years ago Jocelyn gave me two wool wall hangings which they had acquired years before from south of the border. They had accumulated a lot of dirt, so I hand washed them carefully and laid them out flat to dry.  For some reason they did not dry correctly, and became grossly distorted versions of their old selves.  However, I loved the large flowers, and cut them up and put them with some other upholstery fabric flowers on a starlit background.  This piece presently hangs over the twin bed in my sewing room.  This design turned out rather intriguing in that I have noticed several persons, who were not the original owners of the flowers, mesmerized by this art piece.

Starlit Gardens

Starlit Gardens

 

 

Oriental Wall Design Above A Bed

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The walls of this bedroom are lavender, which is one of the “new” neutral colors being used by interior designers today. The center piece of this wall design is a fabric wall hanging of Two Morning Glory flowers on a Fence. A painted trim board acts as a frame to hold the wall hanging up. I painted a Bamboo stand within the second wood trim framework. And lastly the outer frame is painted trim work which has a small leaf design.

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The overall look of this wall design has the effect of making the bedroom feel cozy and personal.

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This fabric wall hanging made of felt, fabric scraps and embroidery was based loosely on a Van Gogh painting which recently had been discovered.

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The fabric wall hanging based on the Van Gogh painting, in relation to the dresser.

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Reflections in the dresser mirror.

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A framed Reverse Painting On Glass of “Ferns” done in metallic paints. This sits over the bookcases, which still need something done to them to improve their overall look.

The stained glass look of the Korean Pojabi curtain was out of scale with the wall, so I added beige and dark plum panels to give a sense of width and depth.

The stained glass look of the Korean Pojagi curtain was out of scale with the wall, so I added beige and dark plum panels to give a sense of width and depth.

 

The Austin Art Scene

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My youngest daughter Sarah lives in Austin, Texas, and since she is the only native born Texan in the family, her roots run deep in this unique state.  Austin is a high energy city, sophisticated, yet bohemian.  I can only afford to visit Austin if someone else picks up the tab, but this place is great fun if you enjoy the live jazz scene at the Elephant Room, original one-of-a-kind restaurants, and lively, off the beaten path discussions.

Apart from working long hours, Sarah has recently discovered a niche where she can exhibit and sell some of her art work through the RAW Artists commercial venue, which periodically sets up their show in Austin.  In addition, Sarah has begun working with a large resort hotel where she teaches their clients how to paint a particular scene which she has designed, as an art oriented form of entertainment.

A video was done of Sarah’s first show and she is shown at the start here.http://youtu.be/hFs34pFHJRA

Lovely, my dear. I like the black mat and white frame too.

Is this the sketch which you said I jinxed because of my critique?

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Second show. Is that my Christmas present you are trying to sell?

Second show. 

group photo of Austin artists. Sarah, who is that nervy guy who has his hands on you, anyway?

group photo of Austin artists. 

First RAW Artists show May 2015

First RAW Artists show May 2015

Leaving Autumn Behind

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We had quiet rains throughout the night, and the leaves from the crepe myrtles, fruit, hickory, maple, and popcorn trees are on the ground.  I did not get the right front yard finished as desired, as some of the shrubs and grass which I had planted in the spring were over stressed by a hot dry summer.  But nonetheless, there are many changes which were made since some of you last visited.

I had painted numerous concrete squares to look like flowing water, and extended them from the upper yard to curve off for a small entry for the next door neighbours to take a short cut to my yard.

I had painted numerous concrete squares to look like flowing water, and extended them from the upper yard to curve off for the next door neighbours to take a short cut to my yard.

Even though it is December, my azaleas are in full bloom

Even though it is December, my azaleas are in full bloom

I placed a bench with a back that looks like antlers for this wilderness themed garden

I placed a bench with a back that looks like antlers for this Wilderness themed garden

After I bought my antlers bench, would you believe I dug up an old thermometer of a deer with a great set of antlers

After I bought my antlers bench, would you believe I dug up an old thermometer of a deer with a great set of antlers

More hot pink azaleas

More hot pink azaleas

My one and only Camellia bush with a blossom

My one and only Camellia bush with a blossom

Someone threw out these grasses, so of course they ended up in my front yard

Someone threw out these grasses, so of course they ended up in my front yard

This crepe myrtle was planted when the house was first built, so the trunk is wide and the top looms high. Most of the yellow leaves are now on the ground.

This crepe myrtle was planted when the house was first built, so the trunk is wide and the top looms high. Most of the yellow leaves are now on the ground.

Over on the other side of the front yard you can see how the rust colored pine needles are mulching the beds

Over on the other side of the front yard you can see how the rust colored pine needles are mulching the beds

These abstract art concrete stones run across the lower hill in the front left yard

These abstract art concrete stones run across the lower hill in the front left yard

The walkway from the street to the front porch

The walkway from the street to the front porch

The backyard untouched by the gardeners hand

The backyard untouched by the gardener’s hand

My half finished ditch project. Bought some discards tiles which we cemented in. I am starting to add some shrubs and liriope. Cattails and elephant ears to be added later

My half finished ditch project. Bought some discarded tiles which we cemented in. I have added some shrubs and liriope. Cattails and elephant ears are to be added later, plus I will probably get some loose  river stones to be placed on top of the tiles to give dimension

Jocelyn, the strawberry plants I bought with the money you gave me last year are spreading like crazy

Jocelyn, the strawberry plants I bought with the money you gave me last year are spreading like crazy

The back yard swing in autumn

The back yard swing among  the fallen autumn leaves