Sunday, July 28, 2013

Busy doing it..........!

I always say " don't know what it is I've been doing but I've been very busy doing it".
Well, that is how I feel about this past week.

Went to the doctor Thursday and she suggested I try a gluten free diet for my stomach pain.  Friday we drove down to Salem to visit a few natural food stores and I discovered there are a wealth of gluten free products out there.  You just have to do a little research.

I've been gluten free for only two days but I think it is helping.  We'll see, it could be wishful thinking because this is not a difficult fix!  I've confirmed that sugar and chocolate are gluten free, so really, what am I sacrificing? ;)

In the meantime, I have done a little art work..........

This is my small pottery bird bath in the backyard!

And I added this journal page that records things I see when I walk the dog........

This is the neighbor's cat in our garden, we have two cats of our own, but I really liked the contrast of this black and white kitty with all the green vegetation.   So, I took a photo quickly, before she had time to run off, that way I could paint it later.
Throw in some housework, some yard work, some time visiting friends and time really does fly when you are having fun!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Living in a small town.........

I live in a small town, pop. 3000, in the Willamette Valley of Oregon! 

The Willamette Valley was formed a millennium ago by the Missoula Flood at the end of the ice age, when a large iceberg(s) broke loose in northwest Montana and came crashing down through Washington and Oregon.  With it, the flood brought a lot of fertile soil into this valley making it rich farmland where at one time, almost, all of the hops grown for beer production were grown.

Now, I understand, that Washington State grows equally as many hops.

Up until the 1950s, families from Portland would come down and camp for weeks in the hop farmer's fields and hand pick the hops to make a little extra money......then, of course, someone invented a hop picking machine! 

At one time hop growers were "king", to celebrate that heritage every year our little town has it's  "Hop Festival".  Organized and sponsored by the local fire department, it is their major fund raiser.

The point of this long story is.....when you live in a small town the parade comes to you and you can stand in your front yard, talk to the neighbors and wave a people you know in the parade.  That's what is going on in my town today. 

Sadly, the parade was half over before I remembered the camera so, my pictures are few but so typical of the small town parade..........

where a puppy in a wagon makes for a float.

Celebrants from a town close by come to promote their upcoming summer event!

What's a parade without music?

There were even a couple of "real" floats.  This is really watching the parade go by with our neighbors from the other side of the fence!

Any way, it is a fun little parade that has horses and rodeo queens, fire engines, police cars, vintage cars and tractors and ALWAYS the hop picking machines!

Now, we are off to the park for a sausage and beer and a visit with old friends.

Last night I drew is the doorway to one of the oldest buildings, still standing, in our town.  Back in the day, it was the drugstore.  Sadly, it has been empty for many years.


The photo I used for my water soluble pencil and ink drawing.
I hope you are enjoying a sun filled summer's day in the park, or some where else you love!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Beach break........

Hi!  Just returned from a few days at the Oregon coast where we stayed in the small town called Pacific City.  In this cute little cottage.........

and in the front yard there was buoy tree........

for some reason, many of the trees on the coast are adorned with these boating accoutrements called buoys.  I guess it is because the are easily separated from their boats and wash up onto the shore where they are found and drug home from leisurely walks on the beach.  What better thing to do with them than hang them in a tree, after all, it is found treasure!

While I am poking fun of people who hang things in their trees, I'll share with you the rock I picked up on one of my leisurely walks on the beach.......


My skeleton rock......I put it in a flower pot when I got home, I did not hang it in a tree.  Funny rock, made me smile!

Collected a few other things while I was there........... I drew them.  Mostly, that's what I did at the beach.......walked, drew, painted, ate, slept, walked, drew, get the idea. 

So, now we are home and back into our crazy life as we
know and love it and planning our next escape.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A working holiday...........

We pretty much spent our 4th of July weekend working in the yard and we accomplish a lot!

With a yard that is planted (over planted?) like ours, you must always keep the pruning shears at the ready or it will quickly revert back to nature.  So, we pulled weeds, dug up plants, cut back shrubs and more shrubs and planted a couple new things!

We don't have a large backyard only about 40 feet by 80 feet, it is long and narrow.  This photo is looking south closer to the house and the one below is looking south, too, but across the lawn from the Hydrangea....basically two flower beds with a little grass in between.

This is one of my favorite spots in the yard......... includes my gate to "no-where",  a large blue flower pot with a mini-Spruce, Hosta, Fuchsia, Ferns and grasses under the Lilac tree.

My favorite Dahlia, well, my only Dahlia and we share a name.....Rozella, my middle name.

Watering cans or ladies in waiting!

The bed next to the house with Roses, Barberry, Heuchera, Azalea, Sage, Daylily and Crocosmia.

I planted my new Coneflower, that I just can't get enough of, and the Coreopsis in the bed next to the gate and added a few Lobelia for their beautiful, rich blue color.

And then there is our garden shed.........

.......and my sketch of the garden shed........

It was a busy but relaxing way to spend a few days and a clean yard feels as good as a clean house.  Sadly, neither stay that way for long!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

More plants......really?

 My name is Jan and I'm a plant-aholic!

I swore I was not buying any plants this year and had been doing really well until I innocently (?) stopped at a local nursery......just like that, I was "off the wagon".  These two lovelies just had to come home with me!

The beauty in the foreground is "Double Scoop Orangeberry" Coneflower and, indeed, looks good enough to eat!  I really like Coneflowers, anyway, but this baby is AWESOME!

Behind is a "Ruby Frost" Tickseed or Coreopsis and it has these amazing ruby red and gold petals. 

Hey!  They were on sale....half price because it is a little late in the season.  They'll be fine, as long as, I don't forget to water them!

Birds are the latest subject fodder for our Nature Journal class.  Last fall, this very round Robin landed on the tree right outside the living room window and stayed long enough for me to take several photos.  Today, he became the subject of this little sketch and watercolor.

I'm really being inspired by the nature journaling on-line class that I am taking.  This collage is made up of natural and faux natural material layered on vintage papers and a tea stained tag.


 This afternoon......I had a Walt Disney movie moment as I watched two Swallowtail Butterflies dance their way through my garden......DELIGHTFUL!

I hope you can see this one, it is on the far left just below the mid photo.

On the photo below the butterfly is, also, on the left  about mid photo.

I hope those of you in the U. S. are having a great 4th of July and everyone has had a great day.  I know I have.....even with my scraped knees after falling off the wagon;) !!!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

We're having a "heat wave"!

I'm lovin' this current "heat wave" (in Oregon, that is anything over 80 degrees) and using it for an excuse to stay inside, in air conditioned comfort, and play. 

I'm still taking Roxanne Stout's Nature Journaling on-line class and really enjoying it, so I did this.

Watercolor and ink!  I think the difference between a weed and a wildflower IS where you find it!

Roxanne does wonderful mixed media pieces, so she has encouraged us to do nature themed work of our own. 
For this piece, I used a real leaf that I inked and used to stamp a piece of rice paper.  I stitched the rice paper to handmade paper and added the bling!  The "bling" is a cool piece of vintage trim made with wire and rhinestones.  I laid the jewels on a piece of linen fabric that I dyed gray with fresh plant materials and layered it with ribbon and lace.

Here is a detail of the "ecco" dyed fabric and the rhinestone trim!

The next piece required a little more fresh plant material.....for this one I pounded a leaf and let its juicy, juices stain a piece of tea dyed muslin.  This leaf was just right, not all of them will be that fresh and leave that much stain. 

The muslin was stitched to a piece of burgundy velvet and I added some burgundy trim with a tassel, short lengths of embroidery thread and for the piece de résistance..........

a beautiful Abalone shell button.

All the pieces of dyed and stained paper and fabric were pounded, stamped and boiled over the last two summers.  The pieces were added to my "stash" and I was saving know.....for something "special".....well, special is here!