Happy hiking!

Mostly pictures today. We went on a hike to see some waterfalls. The “road” to the trail head was very rough and part of it included fording a small stream–which I did not get a picture of, since I was bouncing around a little bit!

The trail was narrow and steep, starting out going way, way down and then up, up, up! We were so disappointed that the bridge was out at the main stream. There were not enough sticks laying down in the water to make me brave enough to cross it. If it had been warmer though, I probably would have taken off my shoes and waded!

Saw lots of trees down in the forest, of course, and the mushroom growths are so very beautiful.

The most fascinating thing to me, though, was the root system that held the trees firmly to side of the mountain.

And this single tree system continued

…and continued

…and continued.

It was absolutely amazing to see this clinging to bedrock, supporting the tree and a major section of the trail as well.

And since we didn’t get to the waterfalls, we did the tourist thing at an old mill creek and dam.

I REALLY love big old rocks!

We finished our outing with a big ol’ juicy burger and were quite happy to get back for an afternoon nap.

What a great day!

I guess I liked this spot the best…several pictures! Hahaha!


Mountain fun

Most of these pictures are from the top of Bell Mountain, which now has a steep, paved road to the top, with a nice little parking lot and an observation tower. When my family first started coming to this area, it was a dirt road and a steep climb. I’m glad we are doing it the easy way now!

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Looking forward to our next hike…whether it’s high up in the hills or down in a deeply shaded valley!

Family connections

This past weekend I had the opportunity to reconnect with family that I have not seen in years and years. A simple suggestion to meet my aunt while she was back in the midwest from California blossomed into a family get-together. And from a large family, of course it grew into a very large gathering. It was everything we wished for–so much joy and happy memories and laughter…wonderful.

The little town we are from is trying very hard to take advantage of the great local scenery and become a tourist destination. This little park is a good example and I wish them all the luck.

I didn’t have much time for sewing, but I managed a visit to a quilt shop!

I am not doing so well on stash reduction when I keep buying more, but it’s mostly Halloween fabric! That’s really the only specialty fabric in which I indulge, but I sure do love to indulge!!

There is progress being made on this little hand stitching project.

It’s a treat to have a project like this. Totally relaxing.

And that’s about it for how I have spent my time lately. Still have several exhibits that I am preparing for, but my frantic pace has slowed. What I have finished is pretty much what will be on offer, with perhaps a few more odds and ends. Life is slowing as the summer fades into fall and it feels fantastic!


A festival of…fiddly bits!

Of course, I spend a lot of time watching paint dry when I’m mounting work on canvas!

But I’m pretty happy when it finally dries and I get that piece mounted!

Today I thought I might do some more pieces with this type of string background, but I couldn’t make myself work with those strings. I decided to look through my unloved, previously quilted pieces and maybe cut them up for coasters. Thankfully I don’t have too many of those, but the first one I came across is not going to end as coasters!

It was pretty unattractive as a whole piece but when I cut it into smaller chunks—well, it will do! Two larger and two smaller pieces that look so much better in tiny doses!

And then there’s this–

big, very bright, in your face red and stripes. Don’t have a solution yet, but I’m pretty sure there are some coasters coming out of this!

And there is always more quilting to be done. In fact, I thought this piece would be finished with some straight lines in an afternoon. But noooooo–it needs much more stitching than I originally thought.

It really does. So it will take quite a bit longer, but I simply cannot be satisfied with it as it is here. Yep–quilted to death on this one.

All of this is in an effort to organize myself for three–yes, three–upcoming shows! And some of my stuff is out at yet another show now. Usually the shows are one at a time and what doesn’t go in one will go in the next. This time though, there are applications and photos, so some items have to be reserved for each show. I know this is normal for most artists who regularly enter shows, but I haven’t done this many at once before. Lots of fiddly bits to work out and forcing myself to finish all the way–including labels, sleeves, hardware, photos, and inventory sheets!

Not creative, maybe, but necessary.

A single drop of water…

There are many quotations that refer to starting with a small step, a single stitch, a single drop of water that leads to a journey, a garment, a waterfall. Today I felt like everything I was doing was but a single drop of water heading towards becoming a lake.

I wanted to mount some finished pieces on canvas, but I needed to screen print my label on the back of the canvas first. And then I need to paint the canvas to complement the work. And the canvas needed two coats, so I had to wait for the paint to dry. Some of the canvas blanks are too small for my screen, so I had to get out the multi-label screen and print on paper or fabric to make small labels………and wait for those to dry!

One step, two step…….and the string background was sitting there waiting to be noticed. I like to do an envelope turn on most of these, but with fusible interfacing, not fabric. And I play with designs by drawing on the back until I get close to what I want.

Sometimes I sew a guideline on the back and then stitch the design from the front. This time I put glittery thread in the bobbin and stitched from the back.

And now I have another one waiting to be mounted. More waiting for the paint to dry. Unless I look at it a while longer and decide that it needs something more!

Time to attack those little red houses. Might as well keep adding to that pile of pieces waiting for the finish! Didn’t take long for them to get some details and some quilting.

Thought I was going to quit there for the day, but I did one more bit of painting and while it’s drying, I finished the edges of these houses.

I need to finish them with some eye catching beads or buttons and then it will be back to more painting. At least there is no indecision in my mind on paint color for these. Dark blue will be perfect for a small edge all around.

Meanwhile………..back to paint drying. Wonder what else I can pick at, one little drop of water at a time………………..?


Scraps and strings again!

Finishing things up….well, there is quite a bit of time watching paint dry. That gives me an opportunity to continue cleaning and straightening things and, of course, to get distracted!

Small pieces of interfacing left from the small finishes, so it occurred to me to use even smaller pieces of fabric and make some quick pics.

Don’t know if you remember those red houses (here) that I made with these string pieces, but I have quite a few more strips!

Light neutrals for a quick background

and red strips for the houses

add a triangle roof

and boom! ready to quilt, embellish, stitch and have fun with!!!

I think some trees and flowers and we are done. I needed some hand work, so I think these will fill the bill.

And sitting right next to the bag of strips was the bag of even skinnier strips…and some wools from one of those fabric sample books…….all stuff that was going to go in the purge. But doesn’t this look like it has potential?

And now you can see why it’s so hard to purge and how many distractions jump out at me everywhere I turn.

Okay, so I may not quickly purge the studio, but I’ll keep plugging away at it. The distractions, though, both keep me sane and keep me from accomplishing my cleaning goal. What a dilemma to have, but it really is a good one.

Oh, sweet lavender…

We decided to go to a nearby lavender festival this past weekend. Would never have dreamed that there would be a traffic backup! On a long stretch of country road with no cross roads or turn offs. And a fender bender. And another disabled vehicle. Couldn’t hardly¬† move forward and the police and tow trucks had us blocked the other way, so we simply gathered our patience and waited our turn to get into the festival.

The aroma was noticeable the moment we stepped out of the car. Look at these full, beautiful bushes!

And we finally arrived just in time for the lecture and demo I had wanted to hear, so it was all good. I learned about French and English lavender and planting and pruning, and when to call it a day and pull out the plant!

I never knew it was such a “thing” to have your photo taken in a field of lavender, but there were lots of little girls in fancy dresses becoming very pretty pictures!

I did not take too many pics but I sniffed in that delicious aroma a lot! There were vendors and oils and jams and sachets……………I successfully resisted.

It made me very happy to see lots of bees around the plants, too.

Interestingly enough, they were plentiful around those big, full bushes, but where the ones were not as full, I did not see any bees. I guess they know where to get a good meal.

There is a lavender labyrinth near Blue Lake that we visited last year and that inspired the desire to visit this festival. I really never knew how much I loved this fragrant plant until I had a bush of my own. Now I am almost obsessed…I will be making room for more plants in my garden! Perhaps now I can actually keep more of them alive!