Monday, July 31, 2017

After Bath

The day I visited, it was very hot in Moscow. So Julie and I decided to give Melody a bath to cool her down. She loves bathtime, and was starting to get the hang of splashing with her hands and feet. She wasn't sure how much she liked having a sponge full of water squeezed on her head (Grandma!)

I also don't think she wanted to leave the water. What do you think?

The expressions my granddaughter makes with that precious little mouth just slay me!

Photo credit to my daughter, Julie.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

At the Park

One visit to visit Julie and Melody is sure to spawn about two weeks of blog post photos, don't you think?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Punkin Tears

When I went to visit Melody and Julie on Tuesday, Melody didn't want to have her picture taken. Especially with this strange grandma around.

She even managed to squeeze out a single tear.

Grandma just laughed.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Have Your Cake

and display it, too. In my case, it will be displayed in our guest room. For now, it's on a bedside table resting in a plate stand.

This is the last of the pieces I've stitched thus far from the 2006 Cross-stitch Calendar. Now that these are framed, I feel I have the latitude to begin another in the series. I don't like getting too far ahead of myself.

I sure do like the finished products. I found this antique-white wood frame for three dollars at a thrift store. It came with glass and a quite pretty handcrafted handmade paper and pressed flower piece in the shape of a heart. I'm sure I'll find a use for that in my future, too.

This chart used some Smyrna cross stitches in the border, and a little backstitching for definition of the cake layers, as well as for the word "Love." For embellishments, I found the little heart beads in my stash and added them to the cake in a playful up and down pattern.

Once again, I added a label to the back for a complete finish.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Luau Aftermath

After I took the Luau selfie a couple days ago, I neglected to put the props away. I found them like this when I walked out to the dining room this morning. The flamingos are glowing!

[click for larger image]

I knew the light was fleeting, so I didn't even have time to grab my "big girl" camera. I had my phone in my hand, so used that camera to capture this pretty still life moment.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Embroidery and Pearls

At the end of last year I went on an embroidery-on-paper jag. I used the finished pieces for Christmas cards. I think I stitched about 30 pieces. I kept just this one for myself. I loved everything about it. The colors go with my home decor. And then pearls. I can rarely resist pearls.

I couldn't quite decide what to do with it, though. Until this week. I decided it was so pretty that it needed to be displayed. So I cut it from a rectangle into a square, mounted it with double-sided tape to a piece of scrapbook paper, and framed it in one of my thrift-store finds. This black frame is in pristine condition. Plus, it's a bit too big for my 2006 Cross-stitch Calendar pieces.

I realize the background color choice is bold. It does mimic one of the pinks in the center of the design, so it works on that level. I may or may not keep it. However, I've had the framed piece on my mantle for a few days, and it's growing on me. So for now, it stays.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fabric Frame

Today I did the finishing work on the Strawberry Quilt Block. I completed the stitching in February of this year.

I was attempting to make a frame much like the one I purchased for Just Nan's Rose Lady (finished in 2008). I used that frame as a guide for the one I sewed myself.

I learned quite a bit while constructing this frame, making several mistakes along the way that I can improve upon if I attempt this method again. For example, after the first hour, I learned that velvet is not the most ideal fabric for this project. I learned to use cotton, and to give myself lots of extra fabric, then cut off the excess instead of getting by with "just enough." I learned how to use mat board to stiffen the fabric frame, and how to create an easel. I also have some ideas on how to improve attaching the cord to the frame next to the stitchery.

Most of the mistakes can be seen close up if you know what you're looking for. From a distance, my Strawberry Quilt Block looks fine. The reforming-perfectionist part of me is trying to keep from making another frame for this project, incorporating the changes.

I'm always learning something new and finding ways to improve my skills. It's part of the joy - and frustration - of being an artist.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Pumpkin Patch

Here's another of the finished pieces from the 2006 Cross-Stitch Calendar. I stitched it up this month. This one features cross-stitch, satin stitch, and backstitch. I did change up the colors slightly from the chart, giving the pumpkin a two-toned effect along with the stitch variance. 

Like the other charts in this series, it called for an embellishment - a leaf charm. The problem was that the charm looked a lot more like an oak leaf than a pumpkin leaf. Plus, the placement seemed odd to me, like it was floating in mid air. So I filled the space where the leaf would have been placed with a few more of the green dots in the background. 

The mat on this one is one of my favorites. Simple and whimsical. Again, I found this frame at a thrift shop. If I remember correctly, it cost about $1.50 and it was brand new! It came with the original mat, glass, and photo. It was fortuitous that the color of the wood frame matches the colors of the pumpkin so well. I finished the framing with a label on the backing board.

I have one more in this series ready to frame. I promised myself that I'd complete that task before starting on another chart.

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.