Friday, July 21, 2017

Bee Trio

I tried a little something different as decoration in our home's entryway. I added a trio of art pieces that are related to each other, but in a couple different mediums. Two are needlework pieces, and one is a photo I took.

First up? One of the finished pieces from that 2006 Cross-Stitch Calendar I've been working on. This was the first design I completed -- all the way back in 2006 (before I started this blog!) It's primarily cross-stitch. The beehive is satin stitch and there are some Smyrna crosses in the border. The bees are buttons I found in a fabric department. The frame was a bit too big for the mat, so I added the black border with construction paper.

Next, I framed Bumblebutt, a photo I took this Spring when the bees were having a heyday in my grape hyacinth patch. I purchased this gold-tone frame at Dollar Tree. I don't often print and frame my photographs, so this is a nice little treat.

Finally, this week I framed Secret Flower Bed by The Trilogy which I stitched in April of this year. This is all cross-stitch with some mini button embellishments. The linen, chart, and buttons came as a kit. I found this frame with the double mat at a thrift shop for under $3.00.

Along with the rabbit, bird, and ladybug, this garden has a couple bees in it, keeping the flowers pollinated.

I'm planning to make more themed vignettes for our home. We playfully call our guest room the love nest. There, I have a number of art pieces that are heart-themed, including stitchery, a poster, cards, art glass, and a painted pallet. But you know me. I have lots more heart-shaped crafts to add there.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Stars & Stripes

I've slowly been working through my 2005 Cross-Stitch Calendar. Each month of the wall calendar came with a piece of aida (this is 18 ct), a themed chart, and a printed mat made of lightweight cardstock. This cheeky patriotic bird called Stars & Stripes was the July design.

The stitched area of each design is 3.25 inches square. Some have fun "specialty" stitches. In this case a modified Smyrna Cross is used for the fireworks, the stars in the flag, and the gold studs in the corners of the black stitched frame.

Each piece also calls for embellishments or charms. My guess is that back in 2005 these embellishments were available as calendar add-ons, but I didn't purchase them. So I used some star-shaped plastic beads on this eagle. Those in my stash are slightly pink, but they read as off-white in the overall design.

[click for larger image]

I found the off-white distressed frame at a thrift store for less than three dollars. I think it works quite well with the Americana themed piece. After I framed the stitchery, I added a label on the back. I usually make labels for heirloom pieces. Even though this little stitchery isn't of that stature, I enjoy the finishing touch.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Palms in the Desert

This is another picture I rediscovered while finessing my photo library last week.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Photo Challenge

In one of the photography groups I participate in on Facebook, a prompt is provided for a photo each day. Most of the time I can find a photograph in my library that fits the bill. Sometimes I can't. Today was one of those days.

Today's prompt is "anchor." I had a few ideas, but settled on this. I bought a nickel plated charm in a craft department. I strung is on some yellow-orange string with a substantial knot. I hung the charm in a jar that I'd filled with water with a little green food coloring. Then I took the jar into a dark room with only a couple spot lights shining through it. That's what give the photo that eerie glow.

Fun, eh?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Dressed for the Big Day

This weekend I spent several hours filing and finessing my digital photo library (a never-ending pursuit). In the process, I ran across the folder from Julie and Jeff's wedding just over two years ago. I took a few of the photos before the wedding, but the majority of the pictures were taken by Julie's friend and photographer Diana Fein.

 This photo of their cat, Fawkes, is so beautiful that I just had to share.

By the way, I made his bow tie.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Introduction

Baby Melody was born to daughter Julie at the end of May in Idaho. Daughter Jeanne got to spend a short afternoon with them the first week.

Two weeks later, daughter Jodie got married in Oregon. Both of Jodie's sisters were able to attend the wedding. Jodie met Melody then.

My heart melted when all three daughters gathered around the newest addition to our family.

Mommy and Aunties

This is my new favorite photo of all my girls together. Makes me feel like Dale and I did something right in helping these young women grow into adulthood.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


My neighborhood is full of flowers that I get to admire on my walks.

Using the RAW setting on my camera allows me to get some great details in editing.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Walk of Fame

Do you think my neighbors might have been inspired by Hollywood?

This is the same neighbor with this beautiful dog. I've posted this photo before.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Another Coloring Meditation

I tried something a little different when coloring this time. I did a bit of shading on most of the leaves and petals. I also restricted the color pallet to greens and blues, with just a touch of purple. The result is very pleasing to me.

[click for larger image]

I used Crayola colored pencils on this piece. Afterward, I scanned it into my paint programs, played with the saturation, contrast, light, shadow, and noise reduction. This was colored on white paper, so in the paint program I turned the background black, leaving a little white just around the center. It truly makes the colors pop. Beautiful.

Drawing by Thaneeya McArdie from her book Flower Mandalas

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


This little volunteer took up residence in the crack in the driveway right in front the spot where the garage door closes, right in between where our two cars drive in and out, right among the weeds, the stray pine needles and spent pollen cones.

Spunky little beauty, isn't she?

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Square Mandala

Since I was in the mood, I kept coloring. Then I played a while in my paint program with the kaleidoscope feature.

Here's the original.

Drawing by Thaneeya McArdie from her book Flower Mandalas

Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer Mandala

Instead of fidgeting while watching TV last night, I got our my crayons. Wise choice!

Drawing by Thaneeya McArdie from her book Flower Mandalas

Thursday, July 6, 2017


I was looking for a particular photo of our quilting group, and ran across this previously-unedited photo from ten years ago of my daughter Jodie with my adopted grandmother, Katherine.

So. Many. Feels.

I'm incredibly grateful for the women who helped me through that year, and for the love bestowed on Jodie when we needed it most.

I miss Katherine.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Hosta Forest

The hosta forest in our front yard is in full bloom. It's such a strange plant, with lush wide green leaves below, then multiple flowers on a single stem which rises high above the leaves to catch the breeze and attract the critters.

I especially appreciate how the stamens - especially the outreaching longitudo pistilli - taunts the bugs with a "come hither" crook of the finger.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Newest Family at the Wedding

Here's another of my mother-in-law's photos from Jodie and Ken's wedding. Little Melody was only 2 weeks old and made the long trip across the state to be at her aunt's wedding. As you can see, she even has her own corsage ... that we smilingly referred to as a "Buttonniere."

Monday, July 3, 2017

Dale and Joany

Father-of-the-bride with his mom at Jodie and Ken's wedding.

Photo courtesy of Joany Steffan

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Hungry Couple

A few more photos from my daughter Jodie's wedding in early June are starting to surface. My mother-in-law took this one of Ken and Jodie during dinner.

It was an outdoor wedding, and the weather held during the ceremony. Then the clouds opened up and it started pouring. As I show the photos, you'll notice that many of us were wet. We all scurried into the little barn for the reception. It made for a very cozy celebration.

I like that you can see a bit of the lace and beading detail on Jodie's dress in this photo. That's Jodie's bouquet front and center.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

No, Grandma, NO!

Melody just wasn't having any of what I was giving.

[Photo courtesy of daughter Julie Otto]

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Prepping for the 4th

My brother-in-law is moving back to the area after being in western Washington for 10 years. We'll celebrate his return and my mother-in-law's birthday on the 4th of July. Jeanne popped by to help set up a photo booth for the party.

Then we had to have a bit o' fun with the props.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

First Blush

My rose bush opened its first bloom today

and lifted its face into the sun.

While I was photographing, a visitor stopped by.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Berry Good Time of Year

Mmmm! Summer! The yummiest fruits ripen at this time of year.

One of my favorites? The juicy sweet-tart strawberry.

I hear tell the strawberry is the only fruit to have its seeds on the outside.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Three Generations

Another photo from Father's Day

Dale, Julie, Melody
Grandpa, Daughter, Granddaughter

Hands say so much

Friday, June 23, 2017

First Father's Day

Melody and her parents stopped by on Father's Day. I caught a sweet moment between Jeff and his baby girl.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Most of the irises boomed and faded while I was out of town for the wedding. I was lucky enough to photograph this one during the Golden Hour.

I wouldn't be me if I missed a year looking down it's throat.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Our hawthorn tree's tendrils are so beautiful every Spring. It's my favorite non-evergreen tree in our yard.

The flower clusters are gorgeous. Just watch out for the branches. Those thorns don't fool around!

This year the tree bloomed at the height of the pine pollen season which made for some interesting freckling.