Thursday, December 21, 2017

A sad note.

My awesome brother (and only sibling) died in February.   By this time last year when we celebrated his 80th birthday, it was apparent he was losing his valiant battle with a very advanced agressive cancer.   We talked on the phone every night.   We visited in person a week before he passed. His wife and the family were so supportive and in my mind heroic in their devotion and care.    He was one of a kind.    I was lucky to be his sister/sidekick while were growing up.  And even as adults i knew he would always have my back - and it went both ways.


Well I see that I stopped writing in this blog in December of 2015.  A lot's gone on since then. I was searching at that time for a more convenient place to live. Something that didn't have 17 steps up and 17 steps down every time I came and went. I was increasingly frightened of falling on those stairs and in fact had one minor fall that was like a wake up call for me. Two other falls in my sweet Garden also were making my gardening time worrisome.

So I started looking at other options. My favorite which ended up to be my option of choice was to move into a senior mobile home community just 20 minutes from our current home. So I can still be close to my family and yet be independent living and be more secure as my age is creeping up on me.

In the early spring I found my dream mobile home. One that has a sunroom facing Southeast which is an ideal Studio with wonderful morning light and not as much sun in the afternoon.

It also has a nice laundry area of very convenient roomy kitchen with space for every member of the family to be cooking at the same time which is fun especially around the holidays.  Another thing that helped me determine this was the one was a large enough dining room for my long table to open up so I can entertain my friends and also have my art groups over to make art around one big table.   I had given up entertaining because only a couple of friends would brave my stairs in daylight and none after dark or in the rain.  Now everyone comes to visit.

This is a gated community and feels very safe the neighbors are friendly. I have gotten involved in some of the community activities such as the Arts and Crafts group that meets Tuesday Mornings.

This year I entered the golf cart parade at Christmas time as the golf cart was a a birthday gift that followed a bad scare with DMV who decided my eyes were not good enough to issue me a driver's license again. I followed up with many eye doctor appointments and finally was able to pass the their test well enough so that they filled out the forms that I could take to DMV and get my driver's license renewed. This was a very nerve-wracking experience and I know I won't be able to drive too much longer as my eyesight is failing and it's a progressive disorder that I have.   But I still feel like I'm safe enough to drive to my local activities. I don't drive at night. I don't drive on freeways. I don't drive to places that I'm not familiar with unless someone is with me.

I'm all settled in here.  The kids helped tear up the carpets and paint the floors for me in that same nice green that I had at the house and all my furniture fit.  They moved everything for me, they helped me pack.    I'm very glad I made that decision while I could still do it for myself and found a place that I'm delighted with every day. 

I am back.

After being shut out of this account for so long i hope to reactivate it.   I have been posting to my artsandgardens blog. You can see a link on the left.     I had some extra time and using the blogger forum I found the hint that ultimately allowed me access again.   Im very glad.    I hope to see you again here soon.    Janene

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Needle felting - to teach or not to teach

I take my felting projects to the Monday morning painting class at the senior center, and work on it there.   People are so fascinated and are beginning to approach me to teach them.     I also take felting to the other senior center on Wednesday mornings, and to the gallery when it's my day to work.    I get so many questions and requests that I'm considering teaching.     Or perhaps a demo on a Sunday afternoon with question and answer period.    

My friend Jean is my only student.     She is the most fabulous watercolor artist and has a good following of students and fans.    She sits the gallery with me, and never brings her paints, it's just too much trouble.  So, since felting resembles watercolors in a way that the fibers are layered like watercolor paints, it seems that this would suit her well.   She is taking to it, and her use of color and design is going to shine out when she masters the actual puncing of the fibers.     She purchased her needles and tool at Hobby Lobby.   Its made in China, unlike my old one by the Clover brand from Japan.   I have yet to break a needle, and I work them really hard.     I just ordered a new set on at a really good price, much less than I paid in the yarn shop where I found this years ago.   

If Jean breaks more needles, then I would suggest she returns them all as defective merchandise (and they were not inexpensive) for a refund.     I hope the new ones I ordered will be of the same strength as these old ones.    

I spoke with my friend Sandy, from whom I have purchased her own hand dyed wools, and she would be willing to come to the gallery with her spinning wheel and demonstrate that the same day I'd demonstrate felting.     That way it would be a fiber day.    Lisa, who also felts, but  not landscapes or images, is also willing to demonstrate what she does with her felting.  She has done hats, and ornamental objects.     Much different than anything I have done.  

It would  make a nice mix.     Then we could sign people up for instruction is we choose to.       This would all happen after the first of the year, during the winter doldrums, when felting and sipping something hot is comforting and fun.   

This landscape is from a little sketch I did in pale pastel colors.    I meant to follow the sketch but the deeper wool colors carried me along in a different direction.     It's not done yet.  

needle felting - a cute little owl


This  piece is a little owl, I did just for fun.    It measures roughly 4 1/2 inches across.  All done with needle felting through a piece of craft felt.    I started with the little sketch I used earlier to carve a rubber stamp.       

holiday cards

I finshed my second batch of holiday cards and have them ready to mail now.   Here are a few. 

These were made to send as post cards, but instead I'm putting them in envelopes.    I was afraid the mail machines would eat them alive.       Merry Christmas everyone.   

Monday, November 23, 2015

Boiled Books plus fabric

An overripe pomegranate  was sitting on the counter and I thought I'd try using the bright red juicy berries to add to a boiled book.  Maybe it would turn red inside?     Hmmm... Do you think?   

I also thought it would be a good time to try some liittle pieces of old cotton fabric from a pillow case.  Seems like it should absorb about anything it's so old.      So, I alternated fabric and watercolor paper in a stack with leaves off my deck, and the pomegranate seeds.      Same routine as former experiments, layerd between tiles with rocks on top in the pot.  This time I didn't use any clamps.     I trusted the weight of the rocks to keep some pressure on the papers.      Boiled1 1/2 hour, took out and let them settle overnight.      Here's how they looked the next day.

Here is the fabric as I peeled it off the leaves.   

 Some good leaf impressions on the papers.
 This page shows the pomegranate seeds on the page after the cooking.  All the color disappeared.    Darn.   I had high hopes.
 This is one of the fabric pieces after it's dried.  there is a pinkish cast - perhaps from the pomegranate?
More of the fabric pieces.

I don't know how lasting this color will be.  I didn't pretreat the fabric with anything to help it set the color.      I guess time will tell.   I might try ironing half of them anc compare later.    

I'm not tires of this process yet, so will probably do more experiments as time permits.      I hope you have tried it too.