Monday, October 16, 2017

Family Treasures

I  haven't painted much this season.  I try never to use the phrase, "I've been busy," so I'll just say that life's stuff has occupied most of my time lately.

A couple of weeks ago, my 91 year old dad moved into a retirement center (where he’s very happy, I want to say), so my siblings and I went through all the family things.
The favorite item that I discovered and got to keep was my mother's diary written in between 1939-1943 when she was 13-18 years old.  What a treasure! 
(It’s funny to see it there 80 years old with a tablet in the background. I could have cropped it out of the picture, but I kind of liked its symbol of the passing of time.)
I guess it triggered me to think about other keepsakes that I’ve had hidden away.

I am the 20th out of 21 grandchildren and the youngest granddaughter, so we didn't each get lots of things after my grandparent's passed away. Thanks to my Aunt Anita, the youngest of her generation, 
I ended up with this very special quilt. It has been safely stored in a bag in the back of a closet for… for a long, long time.
I guess I was saving it for… hmmm… for what?
I decided today was the day to find a place to honor it.
I also brought home from Dad’s house, Mom’s quilt rack.  I’m sure there’s a proper way to use it.  I don’t know what that is, but I figured out something that worked.

My mother, along with her five sisters, mother, and grandmother, made this quilt together about 80 years ago. (No sewing machine, just needles, thread, and busy fingers.)

  • I wonder if their personalities show through in the squares that they designed.
    • My mom’s, Gladys, is yellow!
    • Aunt Audine made hers sideways!
    •  Their grandmother sewed hers upside down.
    • Grandma, put her first and last names.
    • Whoever GNT is didn’t seem to finish her block.
    • Aunt Anita, the youngest, only made one.

  • I wonder if this was a winter project for the evenings.
  • I wonder how many hand stitches are in it.
  • I wonder how if all of them enjoyed working on it.
  • I wonder if they purposefully chose their colors or if they just grabbed whatever was in the rag bag.
  • I wonder if there was a reason they put some going the wrong direction, or if they just weren’t paying attention .
  • I wonder if they knew they were creating a special family heirloom, or if they just need a new bed covering.
  • I wonder if this pattern is still a thing, a pattern that modern quilters use.

The other quilt was one that my mother used my whole life.  I believe she got it as a wedding gift from her mother. I think she called it a double wedding ring quilt.  I know she was always proud of it, but that never stopped her from using it.

  • How many tiny little scraps are in it?
  • Was there a plan for sewing them together, or did they just grab and stitch?
  • How long did it take to make from beginning to end?
  • Did Grandma know when she began it that it would be for Mom’s wedding gift?
  • How many different beds did it cover during its lifetime?

So… today… I walked around the house until I found a place where the quilt rack would fit.  I folded and refolded until I found a way to get the two quilts displayed on the rack rather than forgotten in a closet. And… I love that they are no longer safely stored in a bag but out where they can be seen, talked about, and loved.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Blowing Bubbles (Again!)

Let's try this again.

This an example of what happens when you want to be finished... you try to convince yourself it's fine... you focus on all the things that ARE right... "I love the bubbles and the shirt and the toes and the..." hoping the face will miraculously be become right too.
... sigh... 

When will I ever learn?

If you flip back and forth between the two, you'll see the little nips and tucks that made the difference.

* Reshaped the ear
* Moved the eye down and back
* Took some off the lips
* Skinnied up the neck
* Shaved off the chin
* Straightened the nose
* Backed up and softened the jawline
* Lowered and softened the brow
* Lightened the cheek
* Highlighted instead of shadowed the nose bridge

Goodness gracious!  Seems like I just made a whole new face!

I still love the bubbles and the shirt and the toes and... but now I love the face too.

I may sound a little like I'm giving a speech at the Oscars, but I have a few people to thank. First, my art friend Nelvia so gently let me know it wasn't quite finished. Next, my art partner Jolene helped me find each needed tweak during our weekly paint time. And of course my neice Bev trusted me to put her little one on canvas. Thanks, guys!

Next, I think I'll paint something low stress like maybe a lime.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Blowing Bubbles

If you've read even a few of my blog posts, you know that I love to paint stories; I love the story this painting tells. 
I'll begin with the main character.  Meet Judah. Judah is happy and independent and wants to do whatever the big kids are doing. He belongs to my beautiful niece Bev. 
She is the artist behind Inspired Traditions. (You must go visit her shop in late fall when she has all of her items listed.)   Bev and I have kind of a deal; I paint one of her kiddos, and she gives me one of her latest projects.  I think it's a win for both of us. 
You can see the paintings of those brothers and sister here:

Next... the setting.  Judah is sitting in front of one of the cabins at Lake Ouachita.  My family has stayed in those cabins every summer since his mama was a very little girl.
So many memories... so much family fun has happened on the sidewalks in front of those cabins over the years.

And finally the plot... the bubbles. Judah found the bubbles in his Lake Bag of goodies. (Every G4, Generation 4, cousin gets one.)   

Once he sat down and began to blow bubbles, I knew this would become his painting. 

 Original Oil Painting on 12"x 16" Wrapped Canvas.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Baby Chicks

CUTENESS OVERLOAD at the Eaton's house this weekend!

Here's where the story begins.   Ron's feeding the  girls their treats, dried worms.  They love them.

About a month ago Sylvia got "broody."  She'd sit in the nesting box all I'd take her out, and she'd get right back in.

I called my friend Cheri for advice.  She said, "You ought to get her a couple of fertilized eggs!"  

I texted my friend Mary and asked if she knew where I could get a couple of fertilized eggs.  She replied, "I'll bring you six tomorrow!

And so the 21-day wait began.  Sylvia was absolutely committed.

I'd take her out once a day just to check.  Sometimes I'd find an extra egg that someone had layed there.  One day I found one of the eggs broken. She looks a little miffed and puffed up about being taken out of the box.

Whenever Sylvia would leave the nest to have a drink, use the bathroom, or eat, Fancy would take her place.  I'd marked the fertilized eggs with a Sharpie so I would know which one she'd tried to sneak in.

When I lifted Sylvia up Saturday morning, I found a surprise! 

Before long the little thing was perked up!

I tried to give them their peace, but I could not help myself!  So sweet!  And "peep, Peep, PEEP" for mama when she's not in the box with her.

I'd gotten chick food and chick feeder and chick water but I had no idea how she'd get the baby out of the box, across the roosting bar, down the ramp and too it.  After this, I just put it all in the nesting box beside them.  That worked.

Sunday right when we were about to leave for church, I decided I needed to check one more time.  Yay!! another one!

So sweet!  But, they love their mama best!  I know she's annoyed that I keep "checking on them."
These sweet little things will get to go live in my friend Brooke's classroom.  I've loved them.  The first graders will love them so much too!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Say hello to Oliver... Oliver T. Kitty.(The T. stands for The.)  Oliver lives with my son and daughter-in-law as well as with Copper and Chewy.

Living with these two happy, happy dogs can get a little much for this kitty, so he needed his own little private get away.  My daughter-in-law got creative with a piece of furniture and built him condo.  Only he can fit in the door she cut on the side. His food is in there, and no one else can get in to eat it.  She says sometimes he goes in and just hangs out.  The dogs can only look in the door and wish they could pester him. 
She cut another door leading to his bathroom.  He can go on into his litter box, and the dogs can't get into that either.   On the shelf above his living/dining space is his pantry where she stores his cat supplies.
This is what you'd see if you walked into their den.
This is what you'd see if you looked at the side of it.
This is what it looks like when she opens the doors.
I think it's genius!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Introducing the Chickens

No artwork today, but let me introduce you to our chickens.

Miranda has a brown head and a whitish coat.  She's the bossiest one of all. (I named her after Miranda Bailey on Grey's Anatomy.)

She's is brave enough to eat from my hand.

And she lays the most beautiful little pinkish tan eggs.

Dolly is a pretty big chested blonde.  

She recently discovered the wood kindling box that had some leaves in it.  She decided that was a good place to lay her pretty tan eggs with small speckles.

Mabeline has the biggest red floppy comb. She's a little... slow, bless her heart.

She's also a free-loader.  I don't know if she's too young or too old to lay, if she's laying somewhere in the woods, if she's just lazy, or if she's a he... yikes!

Fancy is white with feathers on her feet.
She's very shy and usually at the back of the crowd.

I think she's also a free-loader.  Although someone has started laying that hasn't previously.  I'm not sure which one.


Sylvia looks like a hawk.  She's gorgeous.

She has been the funniest to deal with.  She has a mind of her own and and attitude!

Her eggs are beautiful and blue.

But.... recently...

ME: Cheri, I think one of my hens is broody.  She just wants to sit in the nesting box.
CHERI: She wants to be a mama.  You should get her a couple of fertilized eggs and let her raise a chick or two.
         ... Hmmm...
ME: Mary, do you know where I could get a couple of fertilized eggs?
MARY:  I'll bring you six tomorrow.
         ... Hmmm...
RON: I like that you always have projects going on.
ME: Speaking of projects... I think I might get some eggs for Sylvia to sit on. 
RON: You've already done it, haven't you. 
ME: (grin)


She's been sitting on these for a week now.  Two weeks to go! (The white ones are the fake eggs.  I tried to take them out, but Sylvia wouldn't have it.)