27 February 2012

Artist Journal ~ Day 3

2012 02 27 AJ
Having fun getting going with more watercolor and ink sketching!  Very inspired by Cathy Johnson's book, Artist's Journal Workshop: Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures.  I've missed painting SO much!  It's good to be getting back at it!

25 February 2012

A Lovely Day Outdoors

Wow ~ I haven't gone so long between posts in a long time.  It's a good indication of how busy life has been these past couple of weeks!  I have, however, been posting daily photos (along with some watercolors) on my Annual Project blog, so feel free to check it out!

Catkins on trees
Today was such a nice day that I just had to get outside and enjoy it.  It was still somewhat cool in Flagstaff, so I drove south towards Sedona and spent some time in Oak Creek Canyon.  It was lovely to see hints of early spring, such as the catkins on the tree tops and fresh green grass coming up through the ochre thatch of last year's grass.

Oak Creek
I took a short hike down along the creek.  Here I stopped and spent the longest time watching the birds.  The trees were filled with Hairy Woodpeckers and White Breasted Nuthatches.  I don't think I've ever seen so many woodpeckers in one place before!

Duckweed
Oak Creek is peaty brown and all along the banks, there were more signs of spring.  The wild watercress and duckweed were brilliant spots of green!  All sorts of fun critters to watch, including a fuzzy winged bug I've never seen before.  I'll have to get the guidebooks out and figure out what it was.

2012 02 25 Artist Journal Entry
I spent some time with my watercolors and tried to capture some of the things that I saw and enjoyed!  While I was sketching away, a woman stopped and told me that I brought beautiful energy to this spot!

Smoke Trail 1
After a few hours on the northern part of Oak Creek, I drove southwest of Sedona to Red Rock State Park, where Oak Creek continues the journey south towards the Verde River.  I'd never been there before, but had seen the signs.  It was getting late in the afternoon, so I didn't have a lot of time before the park closed for the day, but it was enough to take a short hike along one of the many trails in the park.  The Smoke Trail goes along side of Oak Creek for about a 1/2 mile.  The creek is at a much lower in elevation at this point and the flora and fauna are completely different than further north in the canyon.

Smoke Trail 2
The trail was a lovely walk.  In one spot, it went over long a ledge of rock with cliffs above and the creek on the other side.

Smoke Trail & Oak Creek
Here is a view looking back the way I came.

Petroglyphs
You can look at the cliffs above and see the faint markings of petroglyphs carved into the sandstone (at the center of this photo).  Evidence that people have been enjoying this area for nearly 1,000 years!

Smoke Trail 3
Another view of the trail ~ I love the tree shadows across it!

Oak Creek
Oak creek in this area appears to be green from the thick algae growing on the rocks in the creek!

Sycamore Hole
I loved the "window" in this old sycamore.

Juniper Bark
The bark on the juniper was fascinating.  The stripes of color were amazing, as though someone came along and painted stripes around the tree.  And the bark seems to braid and weave itself in places.

Juniper Bark
In other places it is simply weathered gray, but still beautifully textured.

Heron Sculpture
Across from the visitor center, there is a nice little walk with interesting signs about the local plant life.  It culminates at this metal sculpture of a heron that I thought was quite fun and whimsical!

What a lovely day it was!  Warm and sunny and filled with the wondrous sights and sounds of God's magnificent creation!

09 February 2012

Hearts Garland

Heart Garland
After a couple of busy weeks filled with work related stuff, things finally slowed down enough to have a little time to stitch this afternoon.  It was good to finish this little linen and lace heart garland!

Embroidered linen Heart
This heart was simply embroidered with lots of lazy daisies and french knots.  It became the centerpiece of the little garland.

Hearts & Buttons Garland
In between the hearts, I strung little mother of pearl buttons on strong cotton thread.

Hearts Garland
I love the way it looks hanging across the front of the little old white shelf!

Little Old Shelf for Valentine's
Here is the shelf, decorated for Valentine's day.  At first I added several more items, but it looked cluttered and uninspiring, so I pared it down to this simpler look.

02 February 2012

Winding Balls of Wool

Winding Yarn
After being distracted by other projects, I pulled out the ripple afghan to work on again.  I quickly finished off the yarn I had wound into balls and needed to wind some more.  Like spinning, I find winding yarn balls to be a relaxing meditative kind of activity.  For years I simply laid the skein over my knees when winding, but a couple of years ago, my Mom gave me a wooden yarn swift.  It makes the job so wonderfully easy!

I don't use a ball winder.  Years ago, I had seen an article about winding balls using a Norwegian Nostepinde that looked just like they'd been wound with a ball winder.  After experimenting, I learned to use the Nostepinde technique to wrap the balls just using my thumb to start!

Ripple Afghan in progress
I really like that I don't need to have extra equipment taking up space in my apartment and yet I still end up with a nice wheel of yarn that can be used from the outside or as a center pull ball.  Time to finish this post and get back to crocheting!

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