Friday, January 30, 2015

With paint brush in hand...

I attended my first "Paint and Party" class.  It's a trend that has been around for a while, especially in metropolitan areas, but it has finally started to trend out here in the rural areas of the mountain west. 
Here's the artist giving us a step-by-step demo.

OK.  Let's start with what I didn't expect:
I didn't expect to see nearly 100 people (all of them gals, except for 2 brave guys!).
I didn't expect a loud-music party atmosphere.
I didn't expect high tech equipment - 2 large screen TV's monitoring the painting process, cordless microphones, and a sound system.
Snacks and cash bar.
I didn't expect a crew of people ready to change my cup of dirty paint water several times, get paper towels, replenish paint, etc. 
Frames were even available, and one of the staff assembled and framed paintings on the spot.

The whole event was very well organized and plenty of staff members took care of all the details so that the actual process of following the instructions for painting a completed picture took only 3 hours.  Pretty amazing.  A fun event.

I had my phone, so I was able to take a few pictures of the process.

It's a four-seasons tree, and at this point, I've completed the left (spring) section of background color.

Background for the summer section was added.
The fall section was mainly blue, and the bottom section (winter) had grey added.
Next we added the branches, followed by painting in all the squiggly decorations.
I took too much time working on these details and was trying to catch no time for pictures on that part of the process.  I still could have used 30 more minutes!!  But I suppose a person can always work on it more at home.  Isn't that kind of amazing?  Have you ever attended a Painting Party??

Thursday, January 29, 2015

February Beret

I finished it in about a week!  The February Beret (from Ravelry) is off the needles and ready to wear.  Of course, right now the snow is melting...hmmm...could have used the hat in January!

Something new for me was to start with an i-cord and then attach the ends to make a circle.  Next, pick up stitches and increase a few before starting the Gull Lace pattern. 

Have you ever tried taking a selfie of the back of your head?  No?  It's a hoot.   Took me half-a-dozen tries to get something half-way recognizable. 

Now I must put time into the lacy's going to be beautiful...but it's going to be slow going...

Something else new will have to go on the needles.  I've got a couple of projects on my list, but haven't made up my mind . . .

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ready to wave good-bye to January


J - Junipers maintain a hint of dark green in winter's landscape.  A couple of old juniper bushes are looking too orange.  They might be sunburned, but could be giving up for lack of deep watering; will find out come spring.  I'm happy they thrive out here midst the  drab-colored, winter sagebrush that covers my acreage. 

A -Appointments - the calendar has been full of lessons, classes, meetings, coffee/lunch with friends, and I am thankful.  It's just what I need in mid-winter.

N - Neighbors are watching out for me.  One of my dear neighbors, a great friend, has plowed my driveway twice already, and despite the few hours of warmer temps in recent days, the piles of snow and the hard-packed drifts are still intact, making turning around in the driveway and hauling firewood a bit difficult.  But my neighbor looks out for me and makes sure I can continue daily tasks.  Another of my neighbors got my truck out of deep, icy snow pack right in my own yard.  Yeah, I thought I could plow right through it in 4-wheel drive, and normally it would be no problem.  This time...not so much.  The snow/ice conditions were just right, and there was NO TRACTION to be had. Bless the neighbors.

U -Undefeated?  Are you following the teams into the Super Bowl?  My team, the Broncos, ... sadly... did not make it past the divisional playoffs.  On the flip-side, I have been totally entertained by watching the Seahawks' last two games. What a team...along with their 12th man!   And that's who I'm rooting for next weekend. 

A - Activity in the arts has been plenteous.  I LOVE the ARTS.  Giving piano, guitar, voice, wet-felting, needle-felting, and knitting lessons has been rich activity for me and others through the month.  Concerts and theater productions are coming up soon! 

R - Rehearsals for the orchestra for "The King and I" have begun.  I missed the first rehearsal, but I have a score and will get more direction next week, prior to the 2nd rehearsal.  I will probably be playing two different parts on the keyboard, possibly cello and a horn part.  Looking at the parts for the harp... yikes...It's a key instrument in this show.   But we have an accomplished harpist, so am looking forward to hearing her play.

Y - Yarn from the stash is getting a good review.  I would like to use up more of it before I'm tempted to purchase new, luscious, beautifully dyed, alluring fibers.  Presently, I have picked up yarn left over from a shawl I made a couple years ago, and I'm hoping there is enough yardage to complete the slouchy beret I've started.  So far, it looks like I'll have enough; plan B is to finish the top of the beret in some left-over scraps of a creamy-colored yarn.  The pattern is February Beret - a free pattern on Ravelry.  I saw one that a teen-aged girl (at my felting class) had made, and it was one of those "I've got to make that hat" moments.  This pattern starts with an i-cord, and then you pick up stitches for the rest of the hat; this is something new for me.

So long, January...rather happy to see you move on...

Friday, January 23, 2015

Anothers wet-felting class

Wednesday evening I led another wet-felting class, making Alpaca scarves. 

I thought about taking pictures, this time, recording the process.  Good thought.  But I totally forgot to do it.  I got too wrapped up in getting the area set up and meeting the folks in the class.  One was the husband of one of the gals!  I don't think he felt all that comfortable about being there, but it all went well, and he made a great scarf... actually the dimensions were more shawl-sized. 

Five students was a full class, as it takes a lot a room, everyone having their own 6 ft. table to work on.  And of course, there's lots of water and soap... so clean up involves a big ol' mop and bucket!  It's a fun time...and everyone went away happy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lizard Scarf off the needles!

Finally.  It's off the needles.  It's been blocked. Happy dance!!  The ends need to be woven in, but that's it! 

It's nearly ready to wear.  I probably had enough yarn to knit one more "tooth," but I wasn't sure.  I figured it was better to be safe than sorry.  So, it's a short scarf, which I expected, but wouldn't have minded if it was just a couple inches longer. 

This picture is the most accurate, in terms of color.  The scarf is a heather, a two-ply, one strand of cream and one strand of purple.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Winter wool

I had another opportunity to teach a wet-felting class.  This one was at the Lander Art Center, and we made Alpaca scarves, using Alpaca wool from local sources in Clearmont and Powell.  I had four gals, and have another class scheduled this week for another 4 gals. 

It's kind of a messy project with all the hot water and soap, but with a cement floor, it's a pretty easy clean-up.  I did have a bit of a disaster, though.  When I was setting up all the materials before class, I put hot water into my crock pot to keep it heated.  I heard a pop, but dismissed it.  Suddenly, water was flowing off the table and onto the floor...lots of water.  One of the gals ran for the mop.  We had a couple other hot pots going to heat water, and we couldn't figure out what was leaking.  Then I took the lid off the crock water.  The entire bottom of the crock cracked away from the sides, and all the water had run out. Holy buckets!  Lesson learned:  If your crock pot was in the backseat of your pickup on the way to the event, and it's the middle of winter, the pottery is probably too cold to have hot water poured into it.  I don't suppose a person can just buy the new pottery to go into the crock pot.  Dang.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Drumming up some excitement

The kids at my old high school now have the opportunity to join a drumline!  Chad R. has started the group, and they are adding excitement to the basketball games and other events.  It is so great to hear them learning various cadences, and for just getting started, they sound VERY GOOD. 

One of my friends said, "I wish he'd start an adult group," and I have to agree.  Wouldn't that be FUN???

I took this photo from across the gym...but next time I'll get a decent close-up.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Then one foggy winter's day...

Oh my goodness, the heavy fog has set in again!!  The hoar frost looks cool on the trees, the wreath, and lawn ornaments. However, I'm happy to be inside (with a warm latte) looking out over the computer screen as I compose today's post.

Today might me the day to close in on finishing the Lizard Scarf.  I have one last section to complete.  Yahoo!  I can see the light at the end of the foggy tunnel.

My thermometer says 12 degrees.  Brrrr.  Although I'm thankful it's not below zero.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Winter birds

A small flock of birds came around, scavenging for food.  I think these are House Sparrows.  Love the red breasts and striping.  Anyway, I took these pictures through the screened window, using the zoom; they are not very clear, but you kind of get the idea.  The sparrows found the sock of seed, and they may have been able to get a few seeds.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Cast On

I started a new scarf from some yarn I purchased in Massachusetts at Webbs, a HUGE yarn store.  It was YARN OVERLOAD the minute we walked in the store.  Anyway I found this yarn, and it was made up into a sample hanging there...and it was irresistible: the Sonoma Shawl.  Just check out the way the yarn is dyed.  The color at the other end of the shawl is fantastic.

It will be fun to see the progress as the yarn changes color.  I love the lacy pattern, but it's slow going...for me.  More to follow...eventually.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Still knitting the Lizard

After a long break from the Lizard Scarf, I finally picked up this WIP and am determined to get it finished.  If I recall correctly, I need 11 repeats of the scales, and I'm getting close to that number.  Even if I get only a few rows a day, I'm committed.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Looking puzzled?

I suppose this has started to become a family tradition: put a puzzle together over Christmas vacation.  We've done this on and off for probably more than a decade.  This puzzle was only 500 pieces (thank goodness) and took about 3 days, with concentrated work only taking place after dinner, or early in the morning as one or more of us would pass by the table and stay just long enough to place "just a couple more pieces."  The snow at the bottom was...  well, you know.  And the dark blue sky at the top was the same.  But what a great feeling to see it completed!

Would you like to skate on the rink at Rockefeller Center in NYC?  Or have you done it?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Bunny in the Snow

The Bunny who has adopted me and is living under the boardwalk which is close to the grass, is finding his living quarters quite satisfactory. 

He's finding nice little spots of sunshine in which to bask as he preens himself and takes a nap. 

But then when it's feeding time, I'm observing that he's digging down through the snow and nibbling away at the lush (as lush as it gets around here!) grass below.  As Nancy S. pointed out to me, that's the part that I don't appreciate - as they eat the grass right down to nothing... and I have big ol' bald spots in the yard in the spring. 

Oh well... whatcha gonna do?  He's so darned cute.  And a bunny's got to eat.  And I'll just work at filling in the bald spots through the summer.