Friday, September 27, 2013

Bloomsburg Fair


We just returned from the
 
Bloomsburg Fair
in
Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.

It is truly one of the nicest fairs that I have attended. 

The needlework and handcraft displays are always my favorite.

But this is also a great display.
The garden clubs create them around a theme.
This year was Kaleidoscope.
Each wedge was the handiwork of a different garden club.
the mantel was red,
one pedestal green,
one pedestal yellow,
the table blue,
the door purple
and
orange,
well, that was in another area.
 
They are judged and what I like best is reading
the
judge's critique.


The dahlias in the historic garden were awesome. 

This was our little group.
What a fun time! 



Beautiful displays of fruits and vegetables. 




My first horse pull.
And really...?
It was way more interesting than I thought it was going to be.
Pulling here is another friend of ours. 

Giant pumpkins


And all kinds of plants.
 
 
Because of being involved in our local fair,
we have the privilege of attending all state fairs for free.
But the best perk of all,
we get to meet fair board members from those fairs
and
learn the insides of how their fair works.
The gentleman that took his time and answered our questions
and
spent time with us,
made our visit so much better.
 
What a great experience! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pumpkin Face Tutorial

Someone asked me about the pumpkin faces last week.
Here are the steps that I use to make the faces.

First of all,
base coat whatever you are using
with shades of orange.
 
You can read about how to do the background
or
 
(Somewhere on this blog, I posted a whole tutorial on backgrounds,
think I can find it? 
Of course not.)
 
Then trace on your face.
I use chalk,
freehand it!
Honestly, they are all different.
 
One little word of caution.
If you are using pan lids,
I drill the hole before I paint them
and make sure that hole is at the top when you start painting.
 
All mistakes that I have made and that we are not going to talk about.
Just trust me.
 
 
I paint the faces with white first.
Yellow just takes too many coats.
 
Then Yellow
and
yellow again.
Paint the noses (handles) black.
 
Sideload a bright red on the bottom of the eyes and mouth.
 
Then, with a dark red/maroon
think about the left and bottom side of the eyes and mouth.
I use a 1/4 inch brush with the paint thinned.
 
Think of the cut inside edge of the pumpkin.
You paint this on the orange, not the yellow.
I put checkers around the edges of the lid with the same color.
 
Then outline everything with thinned black.
Add some leaves and vines to the top, if you wish.
 
Now make about 20 more!
Don't forget to send pics to me if you make some....
really,
hardly anyone ever sends pics to me! 

Who, What, Where, When and Why?

 
Who?
Kendall, the one on the left asks a lot of questions. 
Gracelyn, the one on the right is more , let's say, ethereal. 
She makes up her own stories...
and answers.
Kendall is literal, grounded in the
who, what, where, when, why and how.
They love to play in the tailgate while we are waiting
on the bus in the morning.
Makes me have to keep it cleaned out.
What?
That is not an easy task!
You will see why later.
 
Where?
 
This is my attic. 
This is open house stuff!
I have painted and knitted and sewed
and,
wait for it,
Priced Nothing!!!!
 
So, I spend a lot of time sitting up here
doing inventory
and
pricing.
 
When?
Early morning.
The Great Grout Experience
See how bad the grout looks?
One morning I tried
Baking soda,
Vinegar,
Lemon juice,
Toilet Bowl Cleaner,
Ammonia,
Clorox,
(not mixed of course, I am not that dumb,
well...
to tell you the truth at one point in life
I was that dumb,
but I am smart enough to
learn from my mistakes)
Cascade,
scrub brush,
toothbrush,
wire brush.
What finally worked?
Scrubbing Bubbles and Magic Erasers.
Don't have an after pic, but trust me,
it is awesome
and
white again!
 

 
And finally,
Why?
Another auction
last Thursday.
Why do I think I need these things?
You tell me.
A cute little drop leaf table.
 

 

 
And these hats?
Refer to the little girls above.
They will have fun with them.
 
This cute little doll crib?
Headed to the attic after the open house is over.
Again, refer to those little girls above.
The big WHY?
Another box of material.
 
I could not help myself.
There were some great retro prints in there
and I am seeing a crazy strip quilt,
some rugs,

and
just more fabric added to the stash.
Why?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Circle Snowmen, Part One


You will need:
A surface (of course)
I find that it is easier to do a wet on wet blending technique on canvas.
Anything with a "tooth" will work though
and
canvas suitcases are a great surface to work on. 
Wet on wet blending on smooth surfaces gets a little trickier
so when you are starting or practicing
this technique, look for something that will make it easier.
 
Those inexpensive canvas boards are a good way to start.
Now back to what you will need:
Circle Template (or two)
Pencil, of course
Chalk pen or chalk (not pictured)
Paint
and
Brushes.
 
Ok, so I am pretty loose where it comes to paint colors.
Look for ones that blend together nicely
and
experiment.
I have done these in browns also.
Light Cinnamon,
Bleached Sand...
White.
 
Brushes.
I really like a filbert for these.
It is already rounded and doesn't make hard edges in your blending
as a flat would.
That being said,
I have painted a lot of these with flats,
so don't feel that you have to run out and buy a filbert.
 
I use Loew Cornell brushes, mostly.
Good brushes can be the key to getting good results!
 
 

And so,
Sketch in with the chalk pencil or chalk where you think you want your circles.

Then, with the pencil or circle template
actually draw them in.  

Base all the circles in with a medium blue.
You don't want this to blend in with the background,
but you don't want it so light that you don't have anywhere to go with highlights.
Begin then with the base color and re-basecoat the circle,
while this is wet,
pick up the tiniest bit of the darker blue
and shade the left side and bottom of the circle. 

Now,
here is the most important tip of wet on wet painting....
Wait for it...
Make sure that you hear it....
Do not..
DO NOT!
DIP YOUR BRUSH IN WATER!
 
Did you all get that? 
Do I need to repeat it?
Because I have taught classes and people
and
have said that loudly and no sooner said it
than I heard the swish, swish, swish in the water!
 
Honestly.
 
It makes me want to dump that water right over their cute little painting heads.
 
Sorry!
 
Wipe your brush,
blot your brush,
squeeze your brush between two paper towels,
then pick up some of the medium blue and some of the beigy white
and
lightly start to lay that in on the upper right side of the circle.
 


Lay it in the middle and lightly blend around the edges of it. 

And don't forget to add a little reflected light on the left
ever so lightly.
This really helps to make your ball look round
and a little frosty. 

 
Add another highlight of white, a little smaller
and blend the same way. 
This is what your palette should look like.
This technique does not take much paint.

And there is the first snowman done.
The key of this is to not overblend. 
They are choppy looking. 
Snowmen
and
snowwomen
are not smooth anyway.
The have some cellulite issues.
 
I find it is easier to do several circles at once,
it gives them a little time to tack up for the drybrushing.
 
To Be continued...
 
Hope this helps all of you,
don't hesitate to ask for directions
or help.
 
Oh, and one last thing.
Share this, pin this, use it,
paint for yourself or for profit,
just don't share the directions as your own...
please! 
 


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Children are like Kites

"Children Are Like Kites"
       
You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground.
You run with them until you're both breathless.
They crash.
They hit the rooftop.
You patch and comfort, adjust and teach them.
Finally they are airborne...
They need more string and you keep letting it out.
But with each twist of the ball of twine,
there is a sadness that goes with joy.
The kite becomes more distant,
and you know it won't be long
before that beautiful creature will snap the lifeline that binds you two together
and will soar as it is meant to soar, free and alone.
Only then do you know that you did your job. "
Author: unknown
 
 
I have had this framed and read it over and over for years.
 
Several incidents prompted me to re-read it in the last week or so,
not the least of which was watching my daughter
take care of her baby boy
as he was in the hospital last week.
What an awesome mother she has become!
 
So, for those of you going through empty nest
as your children
continue on their way to whatever stage of independence
they are stepping into,
let out that kite string a little more,
adjust and teach!
 
 
 
 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Two Songs


Ever get songs stuck in your head?
 
I have two right at the moment.
 
When things go a little haywire at the shop
or at home 
we have been saying,
"How Bizarre!"
Like while cleaning up the basement,
inside a porcelain bedpan
I find
these little dogs.
How bizarre?
 
Two packages in the mail a couple of days ago.
One,
giant pumpkin seeds
and the other,
Himalayan Pink Salt.
How Bizarre?
 
And then I heard it....
 


The song,
on the radio,
and I can't get it out of my head.
 
 
Brother Pele's in the back, sweet Seena's in the front
Cruising down the freeway in the hot, hot sun
Suddenly red-blue lights flash us from behind
Loud voice, "All move, please step out onto the line"
Pele breathes words of comfort
Seena just hides her eyes
Policeman taps his shades
"Is that a Chevy 69?"
How bizarre
How bizarre, how bizarre
Destination unknown, as we pull in for some gas
A freshly pasted poster reveals a smile from the pack
Elephants and acrobats, lions, next monkey
Pele speaks righteous, sister Seena says "Funky"
How bizarre
How bizarre, how bizarre
Ooh baby
(Ooh baby)
It's making me crazy
(It's making me crazy)
Every time I look around
(Look around)
Every time I look around
(Every time I look around)
Every time I look around, it's in my face
Ringmaster steps up, says, "The elephants left town"
People jump and jive and the clowns then stuck around
T.V. news and cameras, there's choppers in the sky
Marines, police, reporters, ask where, for, and why
Pele yells, "We're outta here," Seena says, "Right on"
Make your moves and starting grooves before they knew we were gone
Jumped into the Chevy, headed for big lights
Wanna know the rest? Hey, buy the rights
How bizarre
How bizarre, how bizarre
Ooh baby
(Ooh baby)
It's making me crazy
(It's making me crazy)
Every time I look around
(Look around)
Every time I look around
(Every time I look around)
Every time I look around, it's in my face
It's in my face
Ooh baby
(Ooh baby)
It's making me crazy
(It's making me crazy)
Every time I look around
(Look around)
Every time I look around
(Every time I look around)
Every time I look around, it's in my face
Ooh baby
(Ooh baby)
It's making me crazy
(It's making me crazy)
Every time I look around
(Look around)
Every time I look around
(Look around)
Every time I look around, it's in my face
Songwriters
FUEMANA, PAUL / JANSSON, ALAN LEO
 
 
And the other one?
 
Get ready....it's a bit of a tearjerker.
 
Let Them Be Little

Kendall started Preschool yesterday.
 
and I keep hearing.
 

Let Them Be Little 

 
I can remember when you fit in the palm of my hand
Felt so good in it, no bigger than a minute
And how it amazes me, you're changin' with every blink
Faster than a flower blooms they grow up all too soon
So let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh, just let them be little
I've never felt so much in one little tender touch
I live for those kisses, prayers and your wishes
And now that you're teachin' me things only a child can see
Every night while we're on our knees all I ask is please
Let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh, just let them be little
So innocent, a precious soul, you turn around
It's time to let them go
So let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh, just let them be little
Let them be little
Songwriters
DEAN, BILLY / MCDONALD, RICHIE

 
And now,
I am ready to jump into the
every other week
Cleaning Before the Cleaning Lady Shows Up
 
How Bizarre! 
 
 




Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Structure


 
 
JWS is constantly telling me
that I lack
Structure
in my life.
 
For the most part, I agree.
However,
at this age
if that is the worst thing I lack
it is a good thing.
 
Personally,
I think I lack
smooth skin,
toned thighs,
organization,
good driving skills,
the energy of my youth,
feet that don't hurt
and
the ability to remember that I have clothes in the washer.
 
Starting today,
a four year old
and
preschool
are going to start my
path
to
regaining
Structure.
 
My times are set.
I leave at 7:30 to go to Shawnee's
where I will watch
Kamden, Garren and Kendall
while
Shawnee takes Gracelyn to the bus stop.
I will then leave Shawnee's house with Kendall in tow,
come home,
and take Kendall to preschool
at
9:00.
I will pick her up at
11:30 and bring her back to work with me.
Then I will drive back to town
at 4:00 and meet her mother
and send her back.
 
Which all means my morning walk has to take place
at 530,
hence the
4:45 alarm.
 
Whew!
 
That is enough
Structure for me
for the next nine months.