Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What I Used To Do

Nine or ten years ago, I was painting up a storm. Quite by accident, I discovered I could paint pet portraits. I even amazed myself because if anybody had told me I had the ability to do this, I would have told them they were nuts.

I used to have a website, and a display at a groomer's shop. The orders were quite steady and I made some extra money, but the real pleasure was from the owners' reaction. I've painted several deceased pets as well, and always strived for perfection.

I'm not sure what happened, but my paintbrushes have been dry for a long time. Probably because I got involved in quilting, and there just aren't enough hours in the day for me to do everything I love. But I try...

I've got pictures of every portrait I did, but can't locate them (another project on my to-do list). Here are a few to show you. I'd really like to paint again; I've never even completed the portrait of my precious Princess I started a few years ago.

I started out painting on 8x8 tiles. Customers loved them because they were easy to display or hang on the wall.

This is Harlea.

This was the first full portrait on canvas I did for a co-worker of her little King Charles Spaniel, Bailey.

Then another co-worker commissioned me to paint his daughter's dogs as a Christmas gift, also on canvas. Here are Buddy and Daisy. I loved painting tongues and teeth for some reason (I know, I'm weird).

I'll get back into it one day....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Finally, Some Rain!

How glorious rain is after more than five weeks with none. The high temps, sun and lack of rain has taken its toll on plants and animals alike. I've had the sprinkler running almost every evening just to keep my plants alive. But yesterday we had a cold front move into the area and it has been cloudy and raining softly since - hurray!! I just LOVE rainy days!!

My little shell birdbath is full...

My tub with a fountain is full....

Hansel and Gretel are very happy after having a nice long shower.

Oops - I woke them up!

It actually FEELS like fall today and it has made me feel happy inside. I'm tired of the heat and struggling to keep the garden alive and worrying about the chickens running out of water before I get home. Maybe fall has arrived and will stay. It is absolutely my favorite season!

I've made two small pillows using the free pattern that Ariane shared on her blog. I ran out of the fabric I was using for the border, so one is a little skimpy. I'll keep that one and give the other to a friend as a "thinking of you" gift.

I've been machine quilting my bird quilt and hope to get the binding on this weekend. I'm eager to display it on the back of my sofa. I'll show you pictures when I get it all together.

I've sewn all the beads on my crow wall hanging. I have to make a trip to JoAnns to get fabric for the inner boarder; I just don't have enough to make it from my stash.
After I complete these two projects for my own home, I can get back to work on the Christmas gift I'm making for my mother. I'll share some photos as the project progresses.

My phone is starting to ring again with potential job opportunities. I hope that one of them comes through for me. I really don't want to be at Lowes for the holidays.

I hope you have a good evening!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Projects Update

Hi everybody! Time is flying by, isn't it? Fall is almost officially here and I am working on my projects trying to get some of them completed.

I worked on my walkway a few days ago and messed it up. Now I'm very unhappy with it but must press on. I used a different type of concrete and it was difficult to work with and I made a mess of things. I'll continue with the original type of concrete and worry about making it look better after the entire walkway is finished.

I've completed all the beadwork on my crow wallhanging and it's now ready to sandwich together. I could kick myself though. I was at JoAnn's yesterday looking around and didn't realize I needed some flat piping for an accent. I was trying to finish the project using stuff I already had, so didn't even think to look at the directions for completion before leaving the house. Of course I don't have enough coordinating fabric on hand to use, so am at a standstill with that.

Remember the pretty autumn bird quilt top I pieced together last year? It's been in my closet waiting to be made into a quilt and I got it out yesterday. Last night I was able to get the layers hand basted together, which wasn't easy considering three of the critters in the house decided it was a good place to play.

Zoe couldn't get close enough to me. Doesn't she look like an angel? Ha - no way!

Little JoJo kept chasing the thread as I was basting - the turkey!

I couldn't keep him off, so just worked around him.

Smudge wasn't any trouble at all; he just supervised.

I have a phone interview with my old company today. We'll see how things go. I still have another iron in the fire that I'm waiting on as well, and I hope one of these jobs come through for me.

Have a good day, whatever you do!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Inspiration from Blowing Rock

I've been back from the mountains for 48 hours and have almost completed a garden project that I saw in Blowing Rock. This is their beautiful piece.

Here's what I've gotten done so far.

I'm going to have to move one of the baskets up higher, but I'm pleased with it.
I've got tons of honeysuckle on my fences, so I pulled some down and wound it around the post. I haven't put the finishing piece on the top yet and will do that later. Next step is to make two small bird houses to hang on the front of the post.

I was so happy to have discovered this idea! I've had a few different things in this spot of my flower bed and none of them were big enough. It just never occured to me to sink a 4x4 and hang things from it. I'll definitely be making a few more of these.

...and here is what my Princess was doing while I was working on my project. The property has been invaded by voles.

Her face is covered with dirt!

I'm Back

What a short trip it was, but so beautiful. I love the mountains and it's been many years since I've been able to go up there. The trip was very quick but I was happy every minute I was there.

Gail's condo is very close to Grandfather Mountain, which is the view from her back deck.

Picures never do the mountains justice, so I didn't take very many of them. I took pictures mostly of gardens and realated projects (like I need more projects on my to do list!)

The leaves haven't begun turning yet, but I didn't care. I'll be able to go again sometime when it isn't rented.

What memories these wilflowers brought back to me. We called them Touch Me Nots because when you touched the seed pod, it would pop and send seeds flying. The feeling of the pods being squeezed between my fingers was such a thrill...a simple pleasure...a crumb of happiness for the child I was.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


The heroes who died at Shanksville, PA

Our Pentagon and the people who died while our capitol was under attack

And the horror that took place in NY

Love this country and what we have! Never take it for granted!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pics from Yesterday

Here are a few pictures that go with last night's post...

My friends' chickens in the garage:

Beauty and Red Robin in the "hospital", also in the garage:

These are some of my new chickes I rescued recently in a separate pen outside. I didn't mention them yesterday but never have shown you.

Dog damage in my planter; already has new footprints in it!

My cleaned up platform:

My clean car:

Gotta pack now...have a great day; I'm going to!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hard At It!!

I've had a very productive day today :) It's my Saturday and I wanted to finish painting the trim on my front porch and take care of a few other chores around here.

I started my morning on the patio drinking my coffee and looking at the mildew on the platforms I have between my two back doors. So my OCD took over and I started scrubbing everything with bleach water. This job wasn't on the list today but once I got started, I couldn't stop.

After cleaning the mildew, I started some major damage control. Zoe (and probably Blair too) have dug up one entire planter box that borders my patio. Then my whiskey barrel with the giant hostas has also been dug into. Grrrrr. So, I put chickent wire in the planter box and filled it up again with nice compost from Gail's nursery. All the plants are ruined so I'll have to wait till next fall to see the perrenials bloom again.

Several weeks ago I purchased seven ferns that were on clearance at Lowes, and finally put them in pots. They'll look really nice next year.

Then I had to fill in another area that Blair and Princess like to dig up right next to the garage. I repaired that damage and gave the plants a good drink of water and then put cinder blocks where they keep digging. That'll stop the digging in that spot.

I took a little break and made a yummy omlet for brunch and talked to my sis on the phone for a while. Then it was time to get back outside to finish what needed to be taken care of.

Next on the list was to clean the geese pools and tend to all the chickens. I have a garage full of cages now due to illness or babysitting. It's turned into a chicken house in there! It's so crammed full of stuff that I had to take the garbage to the dump to make room for my "monster tractor" (mower).

This is Snow White, one of my roosters (Alissa named him when he was a chick). He stays in the garage at night and in a pen by himself during the day. He and Big Rooster don't get a long at all.
Snow White in the garage at night...

Snow White in his outdoor pen...

This is Big Rooster - he's huge but very, very sweet natured.

Finally, I was ready to tackle the rest of the trim on the porch. I just slapped the paint on the spindles as fast as I could. The railings were easy. It looks so nice now and I can't wait to do the porch floor.

I was pooped but there was one more thing I just had to do - wash my nasty car. I'm going on a trip to the mountains tomorrow with Gail and the car was beyond embarrassing. It looks like new now! I actually detailed it and rubbed stuff on my headlights so more light would shine through, applied RainX on the windshield (that stuff is great) and vacuumed the inside really well. I also applied that vinyl cleaner stuff everywhere too. Living on a gravel road, the car will be filthy again in a couple of days, but at least it's clean for our trip.

I'm so excited...I'll take my netbook with me and maybe I can post from there.
I'll post some pictures tomorrow morning before I leave so you can see what I've been talking about.

Now I'm going to try to sit still for a few minutes before going to bed.

Rest well ...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy Weekend!

Before going to Lowes yesterday evening, I got all my acerage mowed and things outside are in pretty good shape right now. I've been itching to paint everything - inside and out, so this weekend I'll start with the porch.

In between spending time at Lowes, I'll be re-painting the trim on the porch. I've already bleached it tonight after I got home from cleaning Gail's house. That alone has been an improvement. I keep white exterior trim paint on hand and already had it. Next I'll be painting the porch floor a completely different color. I can't wait till it's done! I just want everything clean, pared down and more simple.

I stopped at the grocery store and bought lots of fresh fruit and veggies, so I'm all set for the weekend. I've been "making do" with what I had and haven't eaten very well lately.

The other night while I was job searching on-line, my two black cats were playing on opposite sides of the door. They are so funny together. Smudge really doesn't want to act as silly as these two! He's above all this foolishness!

Have a great and safe Labor Day weekend! See you at Lowes if you stop by :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Another Busy Week

Well, once again I've let too many days slip by without posting. I'll catch you up on all my doings. After all, I was supposed to be using this as a way to document my accomplishments to myself.

So...Monday was my day off and I worked outside pruning some hugely overgrown holly bushes. I hate pruning them because of the pricks they cause, but it had to be done. I also mowed the back yard and pulled weeds from a flower bed that had been gobbled up by them.

Alissa was here till the evening (after school) and she climbed up in her tree again and ate her snack. She said all she needed was a plasma TV and she'd be set! How funny.

I managed to get some beads added to my crow wall hanging. I'm really liking the way it is going to look. Soon, I'll have it ready to hang - just in time for autumn.

I love the black fabric I'm using for the crows. I bought it at Jenny Byer's studio last fall when my sister and I went.

Tuesday I only worked five hours at Lowes. They've hired more p/t cashiers and cut hours for existing cashiers. It makes no sense whatsoever and that small income won't even make the house payment this month. I'm quite disgusted with them but will stick it out till I can land something else.

Speaking of which, I've had interviews for two separate positions recently. They are both incredibly low paying but the salary for either one of them is more than I'm currently making at Lowes. While I'm cautiously optimistic, I'm certainly not getting my hopes up. I'm too familiar with this dance.

Each day I've been working in my yard trying to tidy everything up. I seem to do better at keeping that than keeping the inside of the house straightened. Although I did clean and mop one day. As I came out of my bedroom, I discovered Miss Blair in one of my donation boxes. She's so silly and such a sweet dog.

I've got two more sick chickens - this time with something called bumblefoot. It's a bacterial infection in their feet and tough to treat. I've got them in a cage in my garage and treating them with meds I bought for them. We'll see how it goes.

JoJo caught his first mouse Tuesday - a very tiny baby. It wasn't more than 3/4 inch long, not including its tail. Alissa was here and she got upset so I saved the baby mouse from my baby kitty. I know it's what I wanted JoJo to do but I don't like to see it in progress. If he catches them in the garage at night, that's ok though.

Yesterday I worked from 10-3, which chopped the day right in half. I worked outside till dark and then cooked some vegetables for supper. I haven't been eating enough fruits and veggies the last few weeks, mostly due to working stupid hours. Then I added a few more beads to my crow quilt till it was time to go to bed.

This morning I've done some laundry and will try to clean the house before going to Lowes this evening. I really hate working nights and get so excited at the prospect of having "normal" working hours again.

Tomorrow I'm off again and will clean my friend's house and then work on my own projects around here.

I need to get going - tons to do around here before leaving. I hope you all have a good day!