Flowers, Bees, Gardening, Fairies

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I spent the weekend working in my yard and researching costuming options for the Flower Fairy.  With the weather approaching the upper 80’s, it’s the time of year where flowers start blooming, the live oak trees drop their leaves and pollen, and the weeds start to take over my yard.

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I made a lot of progress on my back patio.  I’m really happy with how it’s turning out.  I added pots with veggies, herbs and ornamental plants, including 2 huge urns of Carolina Jasmine to grow up and over my pergola.  I got my fountain out of the garage, cleaned the pump and filled it up with water and it’s burbling happily just outside my back door.  I finally hung my birthday present to myself from last year (it’s been sitting in my house since May!).  I planted my tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and beans in the garden, and got it mulched.

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I spent a bit of the evening yesterday photographing the flowers in my front yard and trying to catch a particularly fat bee on a frame in focus.  He kept hovering around one of my daisies that survived the winter, blooming the whole time, but as soon as I would get him in focus, he’d zoom off.  Finally – I managed to get one frame of him in focus!

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I’ve been struggling with the direction for the costume for the Flower Fairy.  I want a costume that suggests flowers, but isn’t terrifically intricate as I intend to sell her in my Etsy shop and don’t want to put so much work into it that she gets really expensive.  Mom suggested going to Jo’Ann fabrics and looking at pattern books, when I complained that my normal sources of inspiration were not panning out.  I thought that was a great idea, so I headed there Saturday evening (after my trek for pots and potting soil).  Boy did I have a fun hour going through the pattern books.  I bought a few, since they were on sale for $1.00.  I also picked up the latest issue of Threads, which had more eye candy in it. 

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So, this evening, after watering the plants, and noting the growth rate of one of the vines (12” in 24 hours!), I headed into my studio to play with the fabric and try to puzzle out the costume.  I ended up swapping out the brocade for one a bit less pink and then decided to pull out my journal to work out what I wanted to do.  Thirty minutes and a bit of water color later, success!  So, tomorrow evening, I’ll begin construction!  All in all, it’s been a productive weekend and Monday evening.

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Spring Fever and Imagine!

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I fully planned to write this post last weekend, but I wore myself out, then got hold of some bad shrimp which resulted in food poisoning.  On top of that, work has been a time-consuming affair since I came back from San Fran.  But that’s enough excuses.

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Last Saturday, I dug in 5 more bags of compost into the low bed in front of my sewing room.  I say dug in, but the ground was soooo hard, there wasn’t much digging.  I planted more plants in the berm and the raised bed next to the driveway, some santolina in the berm, some daylillies and verbina in the raised bed. 

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I added Oxallis and Dianthas to the low bed and then I went back in and planted thyme to start creeping along the raised bed.  I built a walk way with some of the left over stone from my patio between the raised bed and the bird bath. 

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And last, but certainly not least, I hauled 1/2 a yard of mulch over the low bed and got the other 1/2 yard out of my Dad’s pickup.  I worked from 8:30 to 4pm on Saturday and completely wore myself out.  My front beds are almost done, though!

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The cats really enjoyed working in the yard with me.

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Prior to all of the yardwork over the weekend, I did my Imagine entry in Susanne’s Word’s Journal.  I wasn’t sure were I was going initially, but I really liked how it turned out.

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The two page spread doesn’t appear to be tied together, but I used the same colors in the Imagine page (right) that I used in the Excavation page (left).  I added a bunch more colors on the Imagine page though.  I used very different techniques between the two pages.

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I started with Excavation, applying a very thick layer of gesso to the page.  I stamped into it with a gothic calligraphy stamp, then stamped off on the Imagine page.  I wiped my gesso brush off on the Image page center. 

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Once the gesso was dry, I used a wash of Bone Black fluid acrylic over the texture on the Excavation page, which I then wiped off the raised parts.  I used successive layers of fluid acrylic in Permanent Violet, Quin Gold, Bright Copper, and a bit of Quin Burnt Orange.  I used some of these same colors in washes on the Imagine page.

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As I got color down on the Imagine page, I decided I wanted to use a stencil of dragon flies and butterflies spiraling up concentric circles in the center.  I needed a way to set it off, so I used very light washes of Naples Yellow, Quin Crimson, and Permanent Violet in the opening I’d left from stamping off.  I laid the stencil down and misted Pthalo Turquoise over the stencil.

Imagine_top I went back in with white to highlight the circles.  About this time, I figured out that I was creating a sunset and added clouds in Dioxazine Purple and Anthroquinone Blue, highlight with white.  I added a sun using Bright Copper, painted over with Quin Burnt Orange and Permanent Violet.  I used a white crayon to write Imagine and then wiped paint off so it showed.

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Next up is Debbie’s Journal and “Believe”.  I didn’t realize that I knew anyone in the RR besides Naomi, the organizer, but Debbie is my friend Debbie G from St. Louis!  She comes to All Dolls Are Art and silk screened my bags last year.  Her journal is lovely.  I’m going to get it photographed and will post on that later in the weekend.

Growing a Garden and a Bit of Velvet

I’ve spent most of the last month and a half working in my yard.  Spring came with rain, thank goodness, and, in between showers, I’ve been working on my flower beds and my gardens.

I spent time today dyeing some velvet.  I got some great turquoise and a wonderful chocolate color, as well as some yellows.  I will have them posted in my shop tomorrow. 

For now, enjoy pictures from my garden and of Marley!

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Columbine

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Ornamental Kale

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Marley likes to sleep on his back.  Funny cat!

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Look at that sweet face!

Planets with Pizzazz!

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I have been working on the front cover again, attaching planets and, this evening, the sun.  I’m done with it for now, but may come back and add more beads.  Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were caged in with red seed beads.  Mercury and Venus were stitched first to the sun using a sequin and a bead.  Three of the four Earth’s were stitch to the background with aqua seed beads, then surrounded with another line of seed beads.  The fourth was stitched to the sun in the same fashion.  I then attached the sun to the cover, sewing only the sides down and manipulating him a bit so that his face puffs up in the center.  I’m super pleased with him!  The pictures don’t begin to do it justice, but until I get my lights set up this weekend I won’t be able to capture better. 

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In answer to MA’s question, the “page” size is 10”x10”.  I don’t remember if I mentioned this or not, but I intend to bind off my front and back covers.  I’m going to bind the book using a piano hinge binding (book binding, not quilt binding in this context), so when I sew the edge binding, I’ll sew in loops on the spine edge to be used for the piano hinges.  Tomorrow night, I’m going to get to work on Capricorn again.

 

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As I promised a month ago, here’s a partial picture of the flower bed I put in the backyard.  It’s going to be hot and dry this summer, so I’m not sure all of this will make it, but it looks nice for now.  I’ve been enjoying the birds and butterflies, except this evening when there was a loud “thunk” on the window.  I was cooking dinner at the time and was quite startled.  I hurried outside to see if there was a senseless bird on my patio – hoping to avoid said senseless bird being brought in as a toy by my furry friends.  Unfortunately, there was a dead mockingbird there.  He must have gone head first at high speed because I think he broke his neck.  I disposed of him before any of the cats figured out he was there, but I burned my dinner.

A Little of This, a Little of That, a Lot of Gardening

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Since my last post, I’ve been busy with my spring gardening.  We have a very short Spring season here in CenTX, which means we have to take advantage of what time we get.  I lost a lot of my back yard grass to the drought last year, and had a crop of weeds spring up after the winter rain.  I’ve been meaning to convert more of my back yard to xeriscaping as I did with my front yard and this seemed like the perfect time.

I don’t have before pictures, which is good because it was pretty awful.  I spent Easter weekend scalping the weeds, attempting to till the hard-packed clay, hauling a cubic yard of compost, and planting plants.  Last weekend, I mulched all of my flower beds in the front and back (4 cubic yards of mulch), planted a few more plants, prepared my garden and planted seeds for my summer vegetables.

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I’ve been working on Khamse’en a bit, but don’t have any progress pictures yet.  I’ve put her down for the moment so I can get started on my fabric book for Gypsy’s round robin.  I have the front cover design mostly fleshed out and am working through how I’m going to construct it.  I’m leaning towards dye-painting it, but want depth and dimension and need to figure out how I’ll achieve that before I start painting.  Here’s a picture of the sketch from my journal with the color roughed in.  It’s loosely based on a star map from the Harmonium Macrocosmica book I mentioned previously.

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Bear is stable. We had a scare over Easter weekend.  One of the things my vet told me to watch for is white gums, which is a sign he’s not oxygenating his blood.  I have been checking and Easter Sunday, his gums were bone white.  I rushed him to the vet Monday morning and talked to the Dr.  She set him up on oxygen, ran some diagnostics and loved on him all day.  When I got back to pick him up, the vet was full of dogs barking and was a general madhouse.  After an update, which included the news that he had a bit of fluid on his lungs, but was otherwise in great shape, Bear hopped into his cat carrier and communicated quite clearly that he was ready to go home!

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