Sunday, April 27, 2014

Watercolor Class - Irises and Poppies

I finished my latest watercolor class and this is how my iris came out. I still need to do some touchup but it turned out better than I thought it would.
I also started a second painting with poppies.
I noticed on the morning following our latest 9 inch of snow a couple of weeks ago, a bunch of robins having a feeding frenzy in my crabapple tree. They were scarfing down rotten crabapples like they were starving and I'm sure they were since our ground was covered with all that snow, making worms hard to come by.

                          I grabbed my point and shoot camera and took these pictures.
                    They were even eating ones that other robins had knocked to the ground.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

2014 - Easter

Who decides to repaint during Easter weekend?  We do!  Our daughter and son-in-law are really building up their business and offered to paint for us. We needed our computer room (dining room), living room and also the walls and hallway going upstairs repainted.  The bad part was moving everything out of those two rooms and into the family room and kitchen.
This is my family room right now and I feel like I'm living an episode of "Hoarders." I can't imagine how people live that way.
But then again when Rocketman mentioned that we had too much stuff, I didn't hesitate to contradict that notion.
There is stuff everywhere!  I do agree we have too much furniture but I can't seem to get rid of any of it either. See the lotus lantern hanging from the kitchen light? Rocketman kept hitting his head on the light fixture so I added the lotus lantern and although he still hits his head on it from time to time at least it doesn't hurt.
                    This is the finished computer room. We went with a real neutral color.
This is the finished living room. We both love how it turned out.
The only good thing I can say about all the clutter is that Louie has found lots of hidey holes and he loves it.
We are also getting new carpeting. Louie approves of our choice. Now we just have to wait and see when they can install it.
Easter Sunday, the grandkids came over for Easter baskets and an Easter egg hunt. They had already had a bunch of Easter fun with their other grandparents. I really, really wanted to get an Easter photo of the boys.
It only took two takes!  Woohoo!  They were pretty tired by this time from all the fun. The painting was finished on Monday and I must say that they do a better job than Rocketman but don't tell him I said that.

But if you were wondering why I have been MIA for the last week, now you know what's been going on. I'll be so glad when it's all done.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Maedeup Monday!

This was a fun little project I made recently. I made a garakji maedeup and instead of using Korean cording, I used bungee cording. Then some 18 gauge wire curled on one end and I used a hot glue gun to glue it in place. It was so simple to make and you could also use it for place cards for a dinner. It took about two feet of bungee cording to complete. You can find the instructions on how to construct a garakji maedeup in my book "Elegant Knotted Jewelry" or here on YouTube.
Back to reality, the snow finally completely melted this week and this is what the snow was hiding under our backyard deck. That's a 3 inch gap from the footing to the bottom of a post.
 This is one of the center posts of the deck which is also elevated though only about 1 1/2 inches.
This is a photo of one of the footings to the rear of the deck. It has risen about 3 inches over the winter.
Rocketman noticed that our deck was leaning badly. I didn't think it was so bad but then there were three or more feet of snow on it for the better part of six months. When it all melted, you could definitely see it. But it wasn't until the snow melted that we discovered what was causing the problem.
I felt that Rocketman, being the engineer that he is, would know immediately what caused it and how to fix it. But he is as perplexed as I am. It's as if the ground raised one post suport for some reason. We built our house in 1990 and added the deck in 1991.
We scoured the internet trying to find a fix and basically found that with the age of the deck, the best thing to do is tear it down and build a new deck. I'm convinced this is what we need to do but I'm not sure Rocketman agrees quite yet. We may have the contractor we used for the kitchen come out and take a look or we may just choose to ignore it for the time being. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Watercolor Classes - Irises and Other Flowers

I'm back to taking classes at the White Bear Center for the Arts. Last week I started a class with Sylvia Benson.  She took sumi-e classes with me a few years ago. I had also taken a watercolor koi class taught by her last year.

She brought tons of photos for us to choose from as inspiration. This got me thinking so I talked to Rocketman about visiting some botanical gardens with his fancy camera and shooting some flower photos for me. He said that he would love to. But these are the photos I chose.
Next came sketching out the composition. It took me what felt like forever to sketch one iris along with a bud.
This is how the first 2 1/2 hour class went. Now I'm wishing I would have started with a much smaller flower. The hugeness of it is really intimidating me. I have class tomorrow and one more next week.
Here is a quick photo of Sylvia helping a fellow student. She is so patient and kind. I really wish I could take her home with me.

Today was our first day in the 70's since October and, if you are counting, it has been six months. We had steaks on the grill and it was glorious!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Crafting with Noah!

Noah had Spring Break so he spent a few days with us and of course, crafting was on the agenda. I had recently bought a book on peg dolls and we had fun making some. First we had to do a lot of painting.
                                             Then Noah added names to the sweet peas.
      We made some for the entire family.  I just need to stitch up the felt pea pod that they go into.
We also made some bumblebees which were also from the book. Noah kept three and he wants to give three to my sister who just became a beekeeper for the first time.
      Then I made these using some artificial flowers. Noah loved them and they went home with him.
This is the book and it's available on Amazon. I highly recommend it. We had a blast with it.
Of course, we got out the polymer clay. Noah wanted to make a Wii Controller. He designed it first on paper using crayons to color it. He made it entirely himself and he was so proud. I made a funny face. I made them both magnets for his refrigerator back home.

I cherish these moments with him because I know how fast time flies. He's going to be 8 next week already.
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