Talented Friends

7/29/2009 05:14:00 PM Posted In , , , Edit This 3 Comments »
I'm fortunate to have several dear friends who are very talented people. Today with her permission, I'd like to showcase my friend, Julia, who is an amazing woman. When I first moved out here to the country, a neighbor said to me, "there's a woman down the road who does nothing but garden". Boy, was he ever wrong! Julia is a most wonderful gardener, to be sure, but that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to her many accomplishments. She is a spinner, weaver, wonderful gardener (for another post!), seamstress, tailor, and an innovative and creative cook. She is the grandmother of 2 beautiful children who simply adore her (as do her 3 dogs and 2 cats). She is generous with her time and energy and has helped me out immensely during some very difficult times.
One of her most recent projects is so remarkable to me that I just had to share it with you. She made 2 dolls (a big sister and a baby-doll), clothing for each, little baby quilt, and most amazing of all, a doll bed! She spent countless hours adding the most charming details and finishes that only a woman with her talent could achieve. Her patience, devotion and love is apparent in every single stitch, and I am in awe of what she has done. I think you will be, too!

New Winner and Quick Sketch

7/27/2009 06:01:00 AM Posted In , Edit This 5 Comments »
Well, the deadline to contact me came and went, and I didn't hear from Arlene, so we have a new winner of the goodies -- Pat, come on down!! I expect I'll hear from her soon, and I'll send off her box of treats right away. Again, thanks everyone for leaving such kind comments on my blog.

Yesterday while waiting for a guest to arrive, we sat on the front porch and enjoyed the wonderful weather we were having. I had about 15 minutes to do this little ball-point pen sketch of some of the things nearby before he arrived. I didn't get the bell pole right, but it passed the time pleasantly and I think I'll have another go at drawing it again soon.

Treat yourself and the world gently today! nancy

And The Winner Is.......

7/24/2009 05:05:00 PM Edit This 1 Comment »
Before I announce the winner of the box of goodies, I have to explain something. You may have noticed that I deleted one of the comments after I posted it. I did that because I inadvertently posted the same comment twice. I just discovered my mistake today ... good thing, too, since today is the day of the random drawing! OK, (can you hear the drum roll?) the winner is Arlene from Richmond, British Columbia, Canada!! Congratulations Arlene. Please email me your address by Sunday night, and I'll get your box off to you ASAP!! There will be other give-away posts in the future, so please do keep dropping in.
One of the freebies I'm planning on doing (as soon as I learn how) is posting pictures of old cabinet cards for you to download and use. I have quite a few of them - some family members that nobody in the family knows who they are, and lots of ones I've bought over the years. I have lots of other ephemera I'd love to share with you!

Thanks again to everyone who visits, and special thanks to those who leave comments. I appreciate each and every one! Here's one last look at the ephemera and trinkets Arlene won .... maybe next time it will be you!

Great Day

7/23/2009 08:32:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 3 Comments »
Today my good friend Vicki and I went to the warehouse sale at USArtQuest. The owner, Sue Pickering Rothamel is just a wonder. Besides her art supply business (she sells many products that are made right there), she is a fabulous artist. Her creative ideas really amaze me. She paints, invents and develops new products (think Perfect Paper Adhesive and Mica Magic Watercolor paints), and thinks up the most interesting and fun projects. Soon she'll be having a class on making, among other things, checkbook covers using cloth similar to canvas (sorry, Sue, I forgot the exact name of it), paint and paper napkins, of all things! I've seen them and they are really great.
So, anyhow, Vicki and I spent a good deal of time there, and I got some super treasures at super prices (great unmounted stamps, Light 101 Artist's Cement (I'll use it in a future post), some very unique stickers, and lots more. The best part, though, was a chance for a visit with Sue. She's so warm and welcoming - I just wish all of you could meet her. Check her website (usartquest.com) to see (and maybe even order) some of her things. There may be a schedule there of places she'll be around the country. Go see her if you can!
Vicki & I also hit an estate sale on the way home where I bought just a few cool things. After I got home I wanted to do some art, but was completely blocked. I just sat down with my art journal and this is what happened. It's pretty silly and not well done, but then so am I much of the time!
P.S. Don't forget to leave a comment on the "Give-away" post - tomorrow's the last day for a chance to win the goodies!


7/18/2009 09:47:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 7 Comments »
I have two children .... they are both grown men now. When I became pregnant with our first son, I couldn't believe the joy and excitement I felt. When he was born, it was like a miracle .. he was born 3 weeks early and weighed less than 5 pounds. We named him Andrew, and he was beautiful and amazing. Every single day with him was like a wonderful gift. I was enthralled with everything he did and I was certain I could never love another child like I loved him. Less than 3 years later, I became pregnant again. Once again I felt full of joy and excited anticipation. My husband and I were thrilled, but I must confess, I had just a wee voice in the background that spoke up every now and again saying things like, "this poor child will never be loved as much as Andrew is .... it's just not possible .... you aren't capable of that much love".
Then Ben was born. He was a week early (he was in such a hurry to get here, he was almost born in the car), and while he weighed more than Andrew did at birth, he wasn't very big either - less than 7 pounds. I was knocked over by the wave of love I felt for him from the moment I laid eyes on him. All doubts I had about being able to love another child vanished completely. Three days later he was dying. For two weeks he lay in intensive care at the hospital fighting for his life, but he was a strong little bugger and he recovered fully.
Now we are grandparents. Our little grandson is just over one year old. The love in my heart for that child is every bit as intense and deep as the love I feel for his father and uncle. Every day I think of the three of them - two sons and a grandson, and I know they are the best gifts a person could ever have in an entire lifetime. I am a grateful person, indeed.p.s. Don't forget to leave a comment on the Free Give-away posting for a chance to win the bag of goodies!

Free Give-away

7/16/2009 08:35:00 PM Posted In Edit This 21 Comments »
Well, I have something to celebrate - I have had over 1,000 visits to my blog! So, to thank everyone for their kindness and interest, I've put together a package of art goodies to use in your projects. There is all kinds of cool stuff in it -- little puzzle pieces, scrabble tiles, beads, buttons, keys, old Holden Red Stamp pages (anyone remember them besides me?), paper napkins with neat things on them, fabric swatches -- well, you get the idea! My good friend and computer guru Vicki showed me how to find and use a Random Selection tool on line, and I will use it to see who the lucky person will be who gets it. Just leave a comment on this posting between now and 5:00 p.m. July 24 (Eastern Standard Time), and then I'll pick a winner. I'll post the name of the winner, and you can email me with your address so I can send your goodie box to you. Here's a picture of some of the stuff you can expect. If I haven't heard from the winner by the end of the weekend, I'll use the random thingy again to pick someone else.
So, thanks again everyone, and good luck!

Sketch & Wash

7/13/2009 08:22:00 AM Posted In , , Edit This 9 Comments »
Not too long ago I got a couple of new pencils. They are called, "Sketch & Wash", and they are water-soluble graphite pencils. Now I was really intrigued when I heard about them and thought it would be great fun to try them. So yesterday while the rice was cooking, I sat down with a Vanity Fair magazine and did a sketch using one of the photographs as a model. Here's what I learned. They seem like a regular, fairly soft, pencil and can be blended with your finger (or a stump or chamois, etc) just like a good old-fashioned pencil. By adding water (I used a brush, but you could use your finger or a cloth) the color gets a lot darker than when it's dry. I wanted to remove some of it, but found once it was wet I couldn't easily do it. I definitely need more practice with them, but all in all, I think I'll really like using them. I like the way the water helps the color blend and soften. I'll noodle around with them some more and see if I can get a bit better!

New Toy, New Color Weavings

7/12/2009 07:57:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 1 Comment »
My new friend Susan Pickering-Rothamel, owner of USArtQuest, graciously gave me a new toy to play with. It's by her company, and it's called The Fine Liner - A Calligraphic Drawing Pen. You may remember that earlier I did a number of color weavings using her Mica Color watercolor paints. I did that set on white paper, and Sue asked me if I would do another set of them using the same paints on black paper. Of course, I said I would - another chance to play with these wonderful mica paints! Sadly, the scans of them don't begin to show you what they really look like. The interference colors especially are impossible to either scan or photograph (at least with my Very Limited photographic ability) in a way that will show you what they look like. The Pastelle colors also don't come close to giving you an idea of how lovely they are on black paper.
The new toy, The Fine Liner, is really fun to play with. It is made of brass (I think), and you can use it with paint thinned to ink-like consistency, Duo Adhesive (another product by USArtQuest), or ink. You just fill the little chamber with the medium of your choice, give it a wee tap on scrap paper to make sure the liquid if flowing, and off you go! Sue demonstrated it for me in her store, and I was wowed - not just by the Fine Liner, but also by her calligraphy talent (of which I have none!). If you want one of these for your very own, go to www.usartquest.com and I just bet you can fine one. You won't be sorry, I promise!

Back Home Again

7/07/2009 05:35:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 6 Comments »
Well, we went to Luddington over the weekend to visit our close friends, the Burkes. If you hold your right hand up like a mitten, Luddington is just about a tad above the knuckle of your baby finger. I love living in Michigan - you can tell anyone where you are just by holding up your hand! We took our dog, Abby, (drugged with Dramamine so she didn't throw up), who was a wonderful house guest ... well, almost. Jim and Lynn, their good friends from Luddington, brought their really cute, well-behaved, dog Moses. He may be the sweetest dog I've ever met. Abby treated him just awful ... growled at him every chance she got, especially if she thought he was getting more attention than she was. We kept her on a leash the whole time he was there. Other than that, she was very nice .... of course, the Burke's doted on her and let her do whatever she wanted - including get on the furniture to lounge around. A definite no-no at home.
We got back Sunday - my fever came back and I wasn't feeling so very merry. I took it really easy yesterday and am much better today. I sat on the front porch today and did a quick watercolor sketch of a hanging basket of begonias. I didn't like the way the pot looked, so I ended up using Titanium White acrylic paint to try to fix it. I have trouble with backgrounds, and this sketch is no exception! The colors are kind of washed out in this - they're much more vibrant "in the flesh" so to speak. I wonder why sometimes the colors in the downloads seem to be pretty true, and sometimes they are so bland you wouldn't know they were the same painting! Just another one of those mysteries of life, I guess. Hope to be back soon! Bye bye