Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tryin' to KEEP UP

We're finally getting some spring color around her, and a little sunshine, but it seems like we've had more than our share of April showers already! I don't know if I can blame the weather or my hormones, but I just haven't had much ambition lately, beyond anything Necessary (eating, sleeping, going to work, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, throwing in a load of wash etc.). I did manage to get my oldest daughter packed and off on her long-anticipated 8th Grade Trip To Washington. She's been talking about it and shopping for it for what seems like months now, so this weekend we pulled out the Large Suitcase (not the little airplane carry-on size) and packed her up with all her necessities. We heard from her last night, they arrived safely, and I'm sure she'll have a great time, especially since the weather is cooperating.

In addition to getting that job done, I was able to add a little color to a few spots around the house. I picked up these lovely lavender pansies last week and was able to get them into various containers to add a spot of color here and there. I especially like them in the window boxes (below) because they really bring the Outdoors In, as the magazines always say. I like looking out the living room window...

...or my daughter's bedroom window, and seeing their cheerful little purple petals, even if the sun isn't shining.

This weekend, I also worked in the backyard a bit. One of the drawbacks to living on the lake is the heavily sloping backyard. When we moved in, everything was just planted with grass, but it was too steep to mow, so we've been slowly getting rid of the grass one section at a time, and replacing it with ground covers -something that doesn't require much care. I began planting the area below with ferns two years ago and last fall I put in some bulbs. All winter, a Huge Pile of wood chips sat just to the right of where that row of stones is. We intended to get them spread out before the winter came, but never got to it (it made a great mogul for our sledding run this winter!). Anyway, I got a lot of exercise this weekend filling a large bucket with the chips, hauling them up the slope, and spreading them around. It still looks fairly bleak in the photo, with only one lonely daffodil blooming right now, but I hope it will look a bit better later in the spring and summer when more flowers bloom and then the ferns come in. I ordered 2 dozen additional ferns to plant, which should be here at the end of the month.

In addition to all the yard work, I also did a little work on my undersea WiP. I decided to start with a plain white quilt top, paint it to look watery, and add the coral and fish as appliques. I debated for a long time about how exactly to go about painting the fabric, or maybe I was just stalling because i didn't want to make a Hideous Mistake and ruin the fabric and have to start all over. But I realized I had double the amount of fabric I needed, so I screwed up my courage and just Dove In! And the results are actually okay! Not really ready to photograph and post yet, but okay!

Then I debated for a while about what to do about the sand beneath my lovely large piece of coral. I debated about using sandy-looking fabrics, or going with paint again, when it finally dawned on my that Hand Stitching may be the way to go. So now I think I'm finally ready to begin making some fish and deciding where to place them, then hopefully really begin making some progress on this piece!

However, I can't work on it tonight because I'll be back at the library with the Creative Playgroup. We'll be altering children's board books. I procured a bunch of used board books from our Book Barn (volunteers collect donated used books and sell them for $1 or less) that were in mediocre shape (or were mediocre quality books in good shape), roughed up each page with sandpaper, and then gave them a coat of white acrylic paint. I created two books myself as samples. In the first (one at right and below), I stamped various flowers, birds and things on each page, then added family photos that I printed on regular printer paper. I added some corresponding captions for each picture. It ended up reading like a child's storybook or a narrated scrapbook or photo album. It's very cute!
In another book (at right), I tried various simple surface design techniques. I painted some pages with a wash of watercolor paints. On other pages, I drew designs with crayons to create a resist, then painted with watercolors. I glued some printed papers onto some pages and stamped others with various images. This one would make a nice personal journal or place to keep your own collection of poetry. I wonder what the ladies will come up with for themselves?

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