Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sedona, AZ

Traveled to Sedona, AZ to pick up donations for the Arizona Quilter's Guild annual fall meeting. Our chapter, Prickly Piecers, is hosting the meeting this year, along with the members-at-large. One of our jobs is creating raffle baskets to raise money to help pay to bring in national quilt teachers to AZ for workshops for guild members. I had an individual and a couple shops that said they had donations if they could be picked them up. My husband was game, so we made a mini-vacation out of the trip. Sedona is one of the most beautiful places in God's creation. The red rock mountains just glow in the sun. We were treated to a rain storm our first night and got some gorgeous photos with storm clouds against the red rock glowing in the sunshine!  We stayed in Cottonwood, a small town about 15 miles from Sedona. It's not as expensive as Sedona is.

Driving along the road from Cottonwood into Sedona. 
Storm clouds made a beautiful sky.

Heading into Sedona. Photo taken from the side of the road.

Pillar backlit with stormy clouds close to sunset.

Golden sunlight striking the mountains.Taken from a pull off at a trail head 
north of town.

As the sun set, the red rocks just glowed orange as they were hit by the sun.
 It was beautiful to watch  as section after section  of rock formations lit up 
and glowed. What a way to spend the evening.

Closer view of the rock pillars (from photo above), also showing the clouds from
the stormy evening.  I enjoyed the contrast of colors between the yellow, orange,
and red rocks to the dark blues, turquoises, and grays of the sky and clouds. 

Heading back to Cottonwood to our hotel. The sun hit the mountains in the
distance making them glow. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Zentangles from Seashells

I was looking at Michele Beauchamp's tutorial on spirals for Zentangles on the Tangle Pattern website. Spirals reminded me of nautilus shells, so I started making a few sea creature zentangles. The first couple,  a nautilus and a scallop, are shown on July 2, 2013's blog. I've created a couple more sea creatures.

Fish Zentangle. 6"x6" on mixed media paper with a pencil and a Sakura 0.1 micron pen.
I used a new tangle, that I call Barscroll, on the front part of the body. Instructions
will be posted in another blog.

With the beginning of fall, I was thinking back to last year when I went to Ohio during the height of the fall colors. I brought back with me a couple of hedge apples, hoping to use them to dye fabric, after finding out that they can be used for that purpose. However, the hedge apples didn't hold up well enough in Arizona's warmer weather and had to be thrown away. But I had made some sketches of their skin, as the texture intrigued me. They were so rough, similar to an orange (another name for a hedge apple is Osage orange), but with greater dimpling. I created a tangle called HedgeApple. Following are the instructions. I apologized for the writing not being blurry. I'm not sure why the red pen isn't showing much contrast from the black one.  I'll try to get a better photo and re-post it.

HedgeApple tangle instructions. This can be made to fit any shape.
Jellyfish. 6"x6" mixed-media paper using pencil and Sakura 0.1
micron pen.  I used the HedgeApple tangle for the tentacles in the
front and several other tangles for the rest of the tentacles.
The umbrella of the jellyfish is done with the Angle Fish tangle.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sun Rays in the Evening

As my husband and I took a walk last evening, the sun was just beginning to set. It was such a beautiful view that I had to share.

The sun was very bright with a brilliant yellow horizon under the vivid
blue sky. Sunbeams radiated outwards. I like the trees in silhouette in
the foreground.

This view was taken with a wider angle. I didn't get the yellow horizon, as I
 wanted to capture the sunbeams radiating out into space. It was a rare sight here
 in the city. I wasn't sure they would turn out as well as they did in the photos.

I edited my photo with Pixlr Express and played around with various overlays.
 I liked this one adding a nebula to the background. It fits so well, that one could
almost believe this was the actual photograph, instead of an altered photo.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

ATC Cards for Sept - Vintage School Days

The ATC groups challenge this month is Vintage School Days or Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes. I chose vintage school days. At my last guild meeting, I won the fat quarter exchange. The theme was "Back to School".  All the fabrics, but one, go together. The one that is mismatched is vintage school days! It was perfect to use for my ATC cards.
Vintage School Days fabric
I made up my 16 cards, with only a few duplicates, thanks to the material. I fused the fabric onto a 140lb mixed-media paper. I like the different school scenes with the children, mixed with writing from school books. After cutting the scenes out, I added some of the writing to be sure all cards had both a scene and writing. Then I used sepia watercolor paint to darken the edges to give them an aged look.

The various ATC cards created out of the fabric. (I had four duplicates that are not shown) The last photo shows the back of the ATC cards. We also had a sand dollar challenge. One of the members gave everyone one or two sand dollars at the August get together to decorate. Unfortunately, I did not get mine done, as I've been sick the last couple of weeks. I'm not even making the meeting tonight. My DH took my cards over for me. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Zen Doodle: Tons of Tangles

Whoo-hoo!!! It's out! The book from F&W Media (North Light Books) that accepted 4 of my Zentangle designs for publication is out!!  (See post dated March 13, 2013).  I received an email from F&W Media today that the book is being listed for pre-orders.  The book can be pre-ordered at the North-Light website. It's on sale for 25% off right now. I'm not sure how long this sale will last.

Cover of the book.

I can't wait to receive my copy of the book!! They said it should be here by the end of September!! Whoo-hoo!!  (Am I allowed to toot my own horn??). 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Another AZ Sunset

You're going to get tired of sunset photos, but I love them. I love the contrast of oranges, yellows, and reds against the blues, purples, and mauves. Sometimes they are subtle and sometimes they are so bold and in your face.  You wonder why there aren't any sunrises? Well, I just can't get up early enough to catch those!! It's a personal flaw. I use to be an early bird when I was in my 20s and 30s, but as I've gotten older, with health issues, I've become a night owl! So sunsets, instead of sunrises, are more my speed!

Here's a couple more photos that I'd like to share that I took last night.
Sunset with bright yellows, reds, purples, mauves,
and  lavenders taken from the front of the house.

Sunset with bright yellow, reds, lavenders, purples,
and blues taken from the back of the house. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Monsoon Season In AZ

Rainy Days. Created in FotoRus.
We're having a rainy monsoon season this year. It's nice to have so much rain! When we first moved here from upper state New York, I couldn't figure out why people ran to the windows or outside when it rained. It's just water! After being here for almost 25 years, I understand! Now, I'm the one running outside or to the window to watch the rain!  With an average yearly rainfall of 6", we can go months between rain and storms.

I love taking photos when it looks stormy outside.  The first photo I created from a new app that I found called FotoRus. I've been having fun playing with it. You can create magazine style pages with your photographs, collages, picture-in-pictures, as well as editing your photographs.

Bright blue sky peeking through the many storm clouds. 
I was surprised when I downloaded the photos to the computer.  I loved the drama in this shot -the bright blue contrasting sharply with the grays, yellows, and purples - the swirling motion in the upper left. This is one of my favorite pictures  I may check into getting the sky printed onto fabric.  It would work great for skies in quilting landscapes.

Stormy clouds as the sun is setting. 
 Again, I like the play of the oranges and yellows against the dark blues and purples of the sky. It almost seems surreal.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Still Life

I bought some nectarines at the market today. They are so colorful, I thought I'd take photos of them to create a still life.

Two nectarines. 
This first photos of just the nectarines turned out okay, but it seemed something was missing. I like the bright reds and yellows with the highlights and darker purple shadows. I like the green of the leaves, although I'd like to see more green. The main problem is, I broke the rule of "use an odd number of items". It doesn't look right with just two nectarines. So I added some other fruit - a plum and three cherries.

Two nectarines, a plum and three cherries. 
This still life photo looks better. The added plum and cherries help.  I took the shot from above the fruit because I wanted to see the leaves on the nectarines. I like the play of the bright green against the orange and yellows. I like the deep purple of the plum and the deep reddish-purple of the cherries. But the lighting didn't turn out the best. The nectarines look duller and the cherries and plum are just dark with very little highlights. So back to the drawing board.

Fruit Still Life. 
This is a much better shot! The lighting is much better! The plum and the cherries have color now. The reds and purples of the cherries and a variety of purples to bluish purples on the plum  show. The green leaves of the nectarines and how it plays against the reds, oranges, and yellows of the nectarines can be seen. The shadows of the fruit have color. I like the dark background and light foreground. 

After taking all the photos to get this one decent shot, I realized I should have worked harder on my set up. I should have draped some fabric in the background and added a bit of lace. Oh, well, by the time of thought of that, the fruit wasn't as delicious looking. So another time!! I think this shot will still work to create a painting from. 

Friday, August 16, 2013


I've been trying to stick with art and crafty items for this blog, but I couldn't resist these photos of my grandson. He is just over 18 months old. He is all boy!! Full of energy, orneriness, snails, shells, and puppy dog tails.  He is learning right from wrong and is definitely testing his boundaries, as well as, giving Mom a heart attach!! He knows he wasn't suppose to be in the refrigerator, so he hid when he heard Mom coming! Good think Mom is on her toes!!
Mom won't see me if I hide in the fridge!!

Is she looking?


I'm thinking of making a whole-cloth painted quilt out of this last photo! He's just so cute!! Glad Mom keeps a close eye on him, though!!!  He is a handful!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

ATC Cards

I joined a group at Craft Fusion in Chandler to exchange ATC cards, which are 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" pieces of art or Artist Trading Cards. Every month we have 2 themes to pick from. The month of Aug is "It's All About Time" or "Sweets, Cakes, and Candy!".  I chose to make mine with the time theme. Here are a couple of the cards I created.

ATC Cards - watercolor wash on 120 lb watercolor paper. Then I divided the paper into the individual cards. On each card, I used watercolors to paint a profile of a girl. I gave the girls a variety of hair colors from blond to red to auburn to brunette.  I added a watch face to the head to symbolize our brain always thinking about time - how the past affects the present, which in turn affects the future. I used watch parts for an earring and hair clip.                                                  

Some of the other members of the group also created ATC's with the them Its About Time. 
A few of the other ATC cards with Its About Time theme. (1) A stamped clock with paper hands for the hour and minute hands for "Time stands still when I'm with you.". (2) An old-fashioned clock in a tripod stand that would normally hold a globe on a variety of torn papers. (3) Different framed facial views for various times with a clock halfway in the picture and the number 3 on the other corner. Makes me think of the rat race and how we scurry here and there trying to beat time to accomplish this and that, while really accomplishing nothing. And (4) the sun and moon and a bird stickpin with the saying, "The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time" by Abraham Lincoln. 

The rest of the members created ATCs with the Sweets. Cakes, and Candy theme. There were some very creative cards. Cupcakes was a popular theme. I liked the cupcake made of brown caulk from the hardware store. It really looks like a chocolate cupcake. I loved the TV set with the episode from I Love Lucy  when Lucy and Ethel were working in a factory making candies. That episode sure brings back much laughter!
ATC Cards - (1) TV with I Love Lucy episode. Tiny buttons were used for the dial on the TV and straight pins for the rabbit ear antennae. (2) The other card has a paper punched embossed Teddy bear  with a bead nose and flower bow in front of with gumball machine.Other beads are on the floor for the gumballs that have fallen out of the machine. A jumper ring holds a dangle of beads and a shrinkydink gumball machine. It says "What a TREAT". 
ATCs with a (1) pink paper sucker with crystal bits for candy wrapped in pink saran wrap on a paper doily on stamped pink paper with more crystals embellishments ,  (2) real individually wrapped Jelly Beans and PEZ candy on paper with candies that says "For the love of sweets", (3) Homemade Goodies - homemade pie and coffee pictures with crystal lacquer on green paper with yarn around the edge - the corners have been punched giving a great finish to the ATC card, and (4) a fluffy iced cupcake (paper) with a cherry on top (bead) on coordinating papers.  The icing has "crushed crystals" glued on to make it appear glittery. 
ATCs - (1) cupcake made with brown caulk from hardware store with 'sprinkles' (confetti) and a paper cup recycled from candies with a shrinkydink dangle of a girl holding a cake (2)  A small cupcake created with a paper punch with a tag that says "Life is Short, Eat Desert first!" and (3) another paper cupcake in a foil cup with a saying, "My soul has had enough chicken soup, now it needs cupcakes." 
All the ATC cards were great. Everyone is so creative. It's a fun group!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sunsets in Ohio

Besides clouds, I also love sunsets. These are a few shots I took while we were in Ohio.

From in-laws front yard looking across the street.  Sun is just starting to set.
Returning to in-laws after visiting friends. The brilliant yellow sun is
beginning to set, casting the whole sky in warm reds and oranges. 
Stopped along the road to get this shot. I love the vibrant reds and oranges.  They really stand out
against the deep blue and purple clouds, cool gray sky, and silhouetted woods. 

Monday, July 29, 2013


We stopped at friends of TR's parents our last evening in Ohio. In a tree right by the chairs we sat to visit in were four hummingbird feeders. As dusk fell, dozens of hummingbirds flew in to feed. It was amazing to watch! There had to be at least 3 different species of hummingbirds. The littlest ones were only about 1 1/2 inches long while the biggest were about 3-4 inches long. It was amazing how they would fight over the feeders. They didn't want the other hummers in their "territory". After feeding, they would often just rest on a branch for a few minutes. I took several photos. I only got a few that came out clear enough to see these tiny birds. None are really great shots, as it was getting so dark. But I thought I'd share anyway, as they are just such awesome creatures.

I caught four hummingbirds in this photo. Two at the feeder,
one just leaving, and one coming towards the feeder. 
This hummer with the white throat was one of the a middle size hummer.

This tiny green hummer was so small. He couldn't be more than 1 1/2 inches long. 

This ruby-throated hummingbird was one of the larger ones we saw tonight.