A Bit of Sunprint Play…

Summer sun and heat are really taking their toll on me this summer…

Front Door Garden from Ash Tree

Front Door Garden from Ash Tree

The gardens keep calling my name, but I can only get a couple 15-20 minute sessions every couple of days working in them in my tick repelling, Geranium scented outfit…  Frustrating, but I have been able to get some veggie plants in the ground and uncover some of the weed buried flowers with lots of “quality time” with my bed in between…  I am really trying to learn to look past the quack grass and just see the flowers…  That is much easier to do with the camera… I can just catch the “good stuff” and ignore the icky stuff…  The photo above shows one view of the Front Door Garden that is pretty well under control. The Echinaceas are blooming nicely, and the Glads (who are on year 4 wintering over here) are even caged. No one needs to know how many weeds are hidden behind the tall bloomers… ;)

Stone Wall Hostas

Stone Wall Hostas

In the back yard, the Stone Wall Garden has needed very little work. The Hostas tend to shade out most of the weeds, and the mulch from previous years is still doing it’s job.  I just need to walk out there and enjoy the view…

Frilly Echinacea Blooms

Frilly Echinacea Blooms

These Echinaceas are in the Mound Garden in the back yard, and did need a bit of “Quack removal” to reveal many hidden jewels… Not all the flowers are as tall as these pretties are…

New Guinea Impatiens Flowers

New Guinea Impatiens Flowers

This annual New Guinea Impatiens plant has given me the gift of really HUGE flowers!  This was just  plunked between a couple Hostas… A few bugs and slugs are having snacks, but they still are impressive… I had to put my fingers in the photo to show the size of the blooms…

Garlic Flowers

Garlic Flowers

This is what the wild Garlic flowers look like right now… Tiny little flowers with clusters of tiny red-ish purple bulblets…  There is LOTS of Garlic this year…

Sunpatiens in Planter

Sunpatiens in Planter

The Sunpatiens in planters near the deck are also growing and blooming with abandon… One Sunpatiens plant is nearly overflowing this large planter with a few other types of flowers.  I hope to be using some of these flowers for some sunprinting someday… The airy white flowers would work great used with some larger flowers for contrasting textures…

Oh, Yea…. Sunprinting… The title of this post did mention a “bit” of sunprinting…  I did get a little experimental session done a few days ago… I wondered what would happen if I sunprinted some Lutradur…  I tiny spark of inspiration!!  A few brain cells beginning to work again!!  I also wondered about trying out my Sizzix Big Shot and my newest bargain dies to make some different resists for sunprints.  Hmmmm… Another Idea??  I know mylar confetti works great for sunprints, so I thought transparencies would work to cut the shapes from… Clear is hard to see, so  I picked up some plastic page dividers in various colors (love back to school supplies), and played….

Lutradur and Spirals

Lutradur and Spirals

Above, shows the spirals I cut from an orange piece of the plastic and the resulting printed Lutradur. I painted the Lutradur as usual, then placed the die-cut spirals on the wet paint and placed it in the sun to dry… by the time I got the paint and spirals on the Lutradur, I needed a nap (pretty sad when I need a nap after only 20 minutes of playing)…  A couple hours later, I went outside to find the dry Lutradur on the grass and all but one of the spirals in a pile on the table next to the paint board… Oops!!  Such a featherweight material easily takes flight with the slightest breeze… I guess no napping while sunprinting Lutradur in the future.  You can see the one lonely little spiral that stayed on even with the breeze… I was amazed that I didn’t have to pick little orange spirals out of the grass!

Sunrprinted Lutradur Swirls

Sunrprinted Lutradur Spirals

The above photo shows the Lutradur held in front of a neutral background, so the icky paint board doesn’t distract.  It worked really well!! There was very low humidity that day with good sun, so the prints came out nice and crisp. The back side has a softer look, so I can use either side!  The plastic die cuts worked great.  Now I have a lot more possible shapes to play with in addition to my leaves and flowers…  I’m thinking some Daisies might be fun with the spirals, and I have dies for hearts, circles, scallops and more, so there can be endless possibilities for playing!  I also think that if printing on the Lutradur worked, then I should be able to get some nice prints on other sheer materials… I’d love to try layering sunprinted sheers over some bright colored cotton sunprints… hmmm… more ideas??  Maybe I really am getting rid of some of those nasty bugs in my brain!!  Some days it seems like things will never improve, then I realize another tiny improvement… Peeks of hope here and there!  I just need lots of patience…. and naps… :)

***See Art Quilt Sale , and Art Quilt Shop on ArtFire, (Coupon code- QA14 for 25% Off at ArtFire shops). Raising funds for expenses treating late stage Lyme Disease***
Posted in Flowers and Gardens, Play, Sunprinting

Back to the Gardens and a bit of Art

Trying to get back to posting a bit more regularly, here is a little update on the gardens…. and a tiny bit of art.  The start of the gardening season found me still feeling hit by a train most of the time, and afraid to encounter more ticks the rest of the time…  The first garden walks of the year were pretty short, but I have been slowly able to spend a  bit more time walking through and puttering in the gardens.

Mini Fiddleheads

Mini Fiddleheads

Here is one of my favorite photos from an early Spring walk… These are tiny fiddleheads unfurling on a miniature Fern, just over an inch tall.  This was taken the day I found the first batch of deer ticks along my walking path… Some were found near where this fern lives… Ewww!  That almost scared me out of the gardens, but I decided that even if hanging out in my gardens caused me to get Lyme, I don’t have to be afraid of them if I know they are there and I take precautions…  My garden attire now includes a generous dose of repellent spray made from Geranium oil to repel the nasty little critters… So far the only time I found a tick on me was a time I forgot to use the spray… Oops!

Flower Tent 2014

Flower Tent 2014

We also ran the Flower Tent in Wysox again this year. I was able to get through the days I really needed to be there to help, but ended up leaving Ken on his own a lot more than last year… Lots of queasies and wobbly days on the medications for treating the Lyme… Really hard to wait on customers when feeling awful, but I did get to play with the flowers some…

Front Yard 5-29-14

Front Yard 5-29-14

Thanks to dead lawn mowers and the Flower Tent, the lawn and gardens got a bit out of control… That is a big problem of being in the flower and garden business… your own gardens get neglected during the busy season… Just like when we had our greenhouses… I never got to work in my own gardens until nearly July… At least with the tent, the season is shorter, so things don’t get as bad as they used to.

My Hero, Ken Weed Whacking Around Gardens

My Hero, Ken, Weed Whacking Around Gardens

The back yard was as bad as the front… Ken did a lot of weed whacking to get things knocked down enough to be able to use a lawn mower. At first, he whacked paths around my gardens for me so that I could access them without having to worry about how many ticks were hiding in the tall grass… Their favorite habitat…

Lilac Garden Path

Lilac Garden Path

The Lilac Garden didn’t look too bad since I had mulched it pretty late last year.  There is one Lilac that died over the Winter and another half dead, but the Hosta and shade plants along the path are doing well.

Peony Hawaiian Coral

Peony Hawaiian Coral

Late May into June brought on the Peonies… Hawwaiian Coral is always the first to bloom… Such a pretty color!

Peony Gay Paree

Peony Gay Paree

Peony Gay Paree was the next variety to bloom… It has a fluffy center  with pale pink petals that fade to nearly white.

Peony Pink Luau

Peony Pink Luau

Pink Luau was absolutely loaded with blooms this year. These have yellow centers and bright pink streaked petals…

Rock Garden 2014

Rock Garden 2014

The Rock Garden is sporting it’s new batch of Sweet Tater Pie Hosta around the base of the Linden tree that I planted late last summer… The pink pinwheel is there in an attempt to scare deer and keep them from eating the Hosta. On the back side of the garden is the Nishiki Variegated Willow. It has gotten HUGE this year… It is wayyy over my head… Within few months, I will need to give it a severe trim to keep it a more manageable size. It will also have the best coloring if it is kept trimmed, too. I love the white on the leaves with streaks of pink that don’t show in this photo.

Harry is Looking Great!

Harry is Looking Great!

Here is the bush formerly known as “Poor Harry”… This Red Leaved Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick has had a rough life. It was a nice size when we bought it, but he got munched on repeatedly even before he got planted. The deer must think he tastes like candy… I kept spraying this guy with my garlic and rotten eggs last Summer, then covered him with leftover fir branches from wreath making. I also added a piece of soap on a stick nearby in the hopes of repelling the munching deer… Something worked!! Harry is now well over 2 feet tall and over 3 feet across. He did end up with a couple branches nibbled, but he is finally getting some good size.

Asiatic Lily Lollipop

Asiatic Lily Lollipop

This is the first Lily bloom of the year!  It just popped open today… I used a pinwheel next to this clump of bulbs to keep deer away. It worked some…. The critters did eat the buds off a couple of the stems, but they didn’t get the best buds, so I got flowers!

Pink Flowering Strawberry

Pink Flowering Strawberry

One of my Flower Tent purchases from this year… A Strawberry plant that blooms with bright pink flowers And has decent sized fruits… I already have a variety with pink flowers, but it only gets very tiny berries if it has any… This one has good tasting berries. Not huge, but yummy!

Oops! That strawberry tasted good!

Oops! That strawberry tasted good!

Yep, that was  me who ate the berry :)

2014 Sunprinting Umbrella

2014 Sunprinting Umbrella

Here is June’s Sunprinting setup for the first sunprints I’ve done since 2012…  I was guest blogger this past week over at the And We Set It On Fire blog for sunprinting month, so I decided it was time to do a few new prints.   It felt great to be doing something creative again. I hadn’t done anything at all art wise at all since the end of March. The first of April, I began a higher dose of the antibiotic and that really threw my body for a major loop. I felt totally wiped out, queasy, wobbly and achy much of the time.  It was super frustrating since I had hoped to feel better with treatment… I didn’t feel like trying to do anything creative, so decided not to push it and I barely took photos of flowers.  By mid May, I was having less horrid headaches which was better, but no creative spark…  Finally, by mid June, I actually had an idea for a project while awake in the middle of one night and had to write it down.  Since I knew I needed to have blog posts for the ATWSIOF blog, I really wanted to do some new sunprints. I had enough photos and modified posts I already had here for a couple posts, but it gave me a good reason to get out the fabric and paints to play.  I just used a sun umbrella for my one short session, not ideal, but it worked!  I only had enough oomph to get 3 fat quarters done in that session, but it felt good to create again.

Blue Pink Green Sunprint

Blue Pink Green Sunprint

One of the sunprints with the leaves and some foamies removed, showing the results…

Green and Purple Sunprints

Green and Purple Sunprints

The other two fat quarters I got done… One in greens and one in purples.  It was a great day for printing, with low humidity and a very slight breeze. This time of year it is often too humid for prints to form well. The green piece was done after the purple one. You can see that the humidity lowered from one to the other, giving sharper, brighter prints.

Bargain Sizzix Dies

Bargain Sizzix Dies

During my creative dry spell, I did run across a super deal from Sizzix for dies for my Big Shot. Even though I wasn’t feeling creative at all, the sale I found was too good to pass up. I got all four of these dies for just over $12 Including the shipping…  I find the original type or Bigz dies by Sizzix cut fabrics the best, so I have been slowly collecting new ones.  These were in the Outlet section of the Sizzix online shop, and even better priced for the sale.  I played with the spiral die first.

Spring Theme Postcards

Spring Theme Postcards

It is a good thing that I was starting to feel a little better with creativity sparking a tiny bit, because I was late getting my postcards done for Postmark’d Art. I had signed up for the theme- Spring, thinking it would be easy for me… With brain blanks, it was impossible for a  long time… When playing with the new dies, I decided that the spirals could work as flowers… They reminded me of springs, so I have Spring springing with flowers of spring-like spirals. I named them “Spring Finally Sprang”…  We did have a very late Spring here, after the very cold, long Winter, so it fit! I had been having a lot of trouble with my hands and arms, so machine work has really been hard to do. I decided to try hand stitching to start with. It was a very slow go, but I was able to hand stitch on the butterflies, 2 spirals on each card and a few little flowers. It was taking so long, I decided to give the machine a go again… My free motion stitching was a bit shaky, but I got them done!

While I’d my love for my creative funk to be  finally over, I am not going to even think it could be… I  have had so many times over the years where I thought I would be back on track (yea, see all the blog posts titled “back to creating” or whatever…), but the funk just kept returning worse than ever… Trying to force things seemed to just backfire… Now I hope that not worrying about it and just letting things flow when they are ready will help…  I may have more creative posts more often, but then again, I might not… Time will tell…. I am sure as I get rid of the bugs in my system, things should get easier all the way around…

***See Art Quilt Sale , and Art Quilt Shop on ArtFire, (Coupon code- QA14 for 25% Off at ArtFire shops). Raising funds for expenses treating late stage Lyme Disease***
Posted in Art Quilt Postcards, Dyed or Painted Fabric, Flowers and Gardens

May Lyme Awareness- My Story

Lime Ginkgo and Phlox Sunprinted Fabric

Lime Ginkgo and Phlox Sunprinted Fabric

May was Lyme awareness month, but I didn’t finish writing this post until June is almost over… I am still posting to help others be aware of what Lyme can do. Thanks to my Lyme, I have a hard time getting things into words, so pardon the rambling nature of this post.

I never planned for Lyme Disease to take over my blog, but the past months have left me unable to do much of anything creative and barely able to take my garden camera walks to get photos of my flowers. Since May was Lyme Disease Awareness Month, I decided to tell my story to hopefully help others who might be going through something similar…

My journey with this disease began well over 10  years ago while  I was still working at the greenhouses we owned while raising our 3 sons, and working in my “spare time” making fabric creations to sell at art and craft shows.  Being a “professional” gardener, I also spent as much time as I could (in more “spare time”) digging in the yard to create my many, many gardens.  My Lyme seemed to just slowly sneak up on me, but back then I didn’t have time to be sick so if I felt like I had the flu, which is the usual first symptom of Lyme, I would have just worked through it. I had also been dealing with lots of back pain and sciatica from arthritis in my spine caused by a car accident in 1988, but I had been able to control much of that pain after learning self care in Physical Therapy.  Over-doer’s aches and pains seemed quite normal, and a good night’s rest usually had things feeling better…. Until….

Sometime near 2000 I began experiencing vision problems, so I thought I needed new glasses…  That wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I got the new glasses, but couldn’t see with them.  After 3 tries, the eye Dr gave up on me and I had to go to another one. I finally got glasses I could see out of, but my vision kept changing often.  Good some days, bad others… No rhyme or reason… Eye doctors said it had to be something else going on, so I went to my family Dr.  He had no ideas why my eyes were causing trouble… Tests were run, and everything showed “normal”… no answers.  I also started noticing “floaters” in my vision that concerned me and sent me back to an eye dr.  Things looked OK, but I was told that if the floaters changed, to make an immediate appointment to get things checked out again. While dealing with my eyes, I was also experiencing more and more pain over my whole body… The family Dr. noticed that something was going on when I was in the office with my guys for a regular check-up and I mentioned the new pains. He thought it was from my working too much… Greenhouse work is hard, but when the off season came in Summer, the pain was still there, so not from too much work.  Maybe arthritis from the car accident was the cause??  I was sent to Physical Therapy a number of times over the next few years.  I got a little relief in the first couple weeks, but as each session went on, things would get worse again by the time I was discharged… Frustrating for me and the therapists. The last round of PT landed me with an appointment with a rheumatologist who diagnosed me with fibromyalgia.  Finally, I thought I knew what was going on. There really isn’t anything that can be done for fibro, other than pain medications and modifying my lifestyle… I did OK for a while, but  I was also forgetting things a lot more. Blamed on fibro fog… I just had to learn to live with it… Chronic Fatigue syndrome was added to my diagnosis along with chronic Epstein Barre virus.

Long story short, many years passed with more and more pain, more fatigue, and vision changing from day to day.  I was tested for so many different things and every test came out fine… I was treated for low thyroid and told I would feel like a “new woman”… Not… still wiped out and in pain all the time even with lots of pain meds.  Bursitis in my hips and arthritis in my hands were added to the diagnoses, but things just didn’t make sense… some days everything hurt, other times things were better. For a while pain was in my hips, then they felt better as my knees got worse, and then something else.. Then things would go around again…  I was told by a friend that she had been diagnosed with Lyme disease and had similar symptoms as I had. After a year or so of treatment she was feeling better, but when I mentioned it to my Dr. she didn’t think it was that. A test was ordered that came out negative, so I didn’t have Lyme… the test said so.

After we started caring for two granddogs, while our son was stationed in Germany, I started feeling much worse… more crazy things happening. More fatigue, shakes, trembly muscles, etc.  I had trudged through the woods one day shortly after the dogs arrived when they decided to take off from the yard on a romp.  The dogs returned, but by the end of that summer, I was feeling even worse… I didn’t think things could get worse than they were…  By now I was barely functioning. I had lost my ability to create my art, I struggled to make even small art cards.  From 2002 to 2007, I had been quite successful selling my art quilts, table decor and other items at art and craft shows even dealing with my pain. By 2008 I had to stop selling at shows after the pain and fatigue got too bad to allow me to do the set-up and standing needed to do shows.  2008 also began the decline in my creative abilities… I began forgetting names of even close friends, losing words for common items, and more crazy things. I had someone else tell me they thought I might have Lyme again… I should find a Lyme literate doctor… where would I find one of them, and from what I had read, none took insurance, so I gave up on that idea again….  I began going to a seniors aquatics class at a local pool in 2012 which was so wonderful… The only time I was free from pain was in the pool… for about a year… then pain started increasing again… I started having days I could barely get out of bed, and then ended up back in bed within an hour or so after getting up… I made my husband do the grocery shopping, I didn’t want to leave home at all… No life I wanted to live, but no one had any answers.  I had not worked since my last full time year selling my art in 2007, and after a part time season in 2008 at a greenhouse…  I could barely keep up with a few online shops and wasn’t making much new art at all… the scariest was when I started having trouble remembering names of flowers and plants in my gardens… I lived and breathed flowers for nearly 30 years by then.  I was scared to death that I was starting with early onset Alzheimer’s, my memory was so bad.  November 2013, I ended up being treated for a sinus infection with an antibiotic and without realizing it, a lot of my pain left for a bit. I was able to make the Christmas wreaths with less pain meds than in past years. I had 2 weeks of feeling a bit better before things crashed completely… I didn’t care to go anywhere, even to see the grandkids on Christmas morning.  Finally, another friend bumped into me in the grocery store while I was dragging myself, propped on the cart through to get a few things we needed. She said she found she had Lyme disease and was feeling so much better after being treated. She knew I had been feeling bad for a long time and my symptoms seemed similar to some of hers… 3rd time someone mentioned Lyme… She gave me her Dr’s name and number with instructions to call that day for an appointment. I called and a month later, met a wonderful Dr who actually listened to me and looked at all they symptoms I had, and after a bit pf poking and prodding with lots of “ouches” from me, I was told I had Lyme and at least 2 other co-infections from bites of deer ticks.  I left the office less a lot of blood for more tests, a prescription for 4 months of an antibiotic and a list of natural herbs and probiotics that I should also take. I also had a new diet to follow… No sugar, white potatoes, pasta, yeast, artificial sweeteners, peanuts, and more… Whew! what was left!  I was told to hold onto the prescription until my test results came back. I had to have a positive test before I could take them and was told that the tests are not very reliable, but I had hope.  that first test was negative again… the third negative I had had… This time it was suggested I have a test done at a lab in CA that specializes in Tick born diseases. After paying for the tests, and waiting a couple weeks, I got the results… Positive for Lyme!!  All those years of things getting worse and worse, and it was probably Lyme all the time…. Finally a Dr with answers!  We figure I had been bitten at least 3 different times (each time things got worse really fast).  I never gave much thought to the ticks we would pull off the cats and dogs.  I had been crawling around in the perfect tick habitats for years in my gardens and in the woods… the little creatures are so small that they are very easy to miss. I did have some odd rashes, but the Drs that looked at them thought they were allergic reactions or whatever… even though they lasted a long time. They were not the usual bulls-eye type rash that often occurs around a bite site.

I have now been treated for nearly 4 months now. The first 2 months were very frustrating since I felt worse as the bugs started dieing off, but a new medicine added month 3 resulted in fewer of the horrible headaches I had been having.  I still have tons of stiff, painful muscles and joints and I still haven’t gotten much of my brain back, but finally I am seeing some hope for a better life.  I am using natural herbs and supplements along with the medicines to help move things along as fast as possible.  Each change in treatment seems to throw my body for a loop, but slowly I am seeing small improvements.  Finally, I don’t dread the future… I have also had a few tiny peeks of creativity again… small improvements, but improvements.  One of the “bugs” I have in addition to the Lyme is Babesia, which is related to malaria, and tough to get rid of.  It is amazing how much trouble can be caused by a little tick that is not much bigger than a poppy seed… Easy to miss, but carriers of so many diseases.

End of Mound Garden and Woods Garden

End of Mound Garden and Woods Garden… Some of the ticks were found here before the grass started to grow…

For a while, I was afraid to go out into my yard and gardens, especially after finding a bunch of the ticks one day.  I  now use a spray made with Geranium essential oil as a repellent when I go into the gardens. I also check for ticks any time I have been out in tall grass or near the woods… We all need to watch for these nasty little disease delivery systems…  If you find you have been bitten by a tick, and it has been attached for a couple days or you don’t know how long it has been there, be sure to get to a doctor and get treated with doxycycline for a couple weeks to knock out the bacteria before they can get deep into your body when they get much harder to get rid of…  Most early symptoms are feeling like you have the flu, and then arthrits in joints like the knees and more.  If undiagnosed early enough, the bacteria attack the brain and just about every organ in the body… When it gets established, It can hide from our immune system, making it really hard for our bodies to attack it on their own.

Ticks on Tape... My thumb is in the photo to give an idea of the size of these creepy critters.

Ticks on Tape… My thumb is in the photo to give an idea of the size of these creepy critters. These were found within a few minutes during a walk in April, using a white tee shirt placed on the grass.

Learn to be aware of deer ticks habitats… leaf litter, damp areas, tall grass, edges of woods, deer trails in the woods, and more.  The ticks also feed on mice and other small rodents, rabbits and even birds.  They have been found in most states in our country and many other countries… They have been spreading all over…  Using tick repellents when hiking or walking in tall grassy areas, and doing tick checks are needed to be sure you don’t pick one up.  Creepy to think about, but preventing the diseases is much better than trying to get rid of them after they have run amok in the body for years and years… the longer it’s been there, the harder it is to get rid of.

***See Art Quilt Sale , and Art Quilt Shop on ArtFire, (Coupon code- QA14 for 25% Off at ArtFire shops). Raising funds for expenses treating late stage Lyme Disease***
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Posted in Lyme Disease

And Back to Creating Little by Little…

Beginning of Rainbow Sunprint Redo with Inktense Pencils

Beginning of Rainbow Sunprint Redo with Inktense Pencils

It took a while after getting home from the quilt retreat to get back to a little creating and playing again…  It comes mostly in little bits of time, but I  am finding some of the old creativity slowly starting to return… little bit by little bit, now in week 9 of treating my Lyme…  It’s still frustrating when I get started with a little creative project and another “brain blank” hits with everything screeching to a halt, but I have so much more hope now that things  will continue to improve…

The right photo shows one  project that is still in the works… During the quilting retreat, the decision was made to add color to the quilted leaves in the white spaces that seemed to take over. The first thought was green like I had done in the border of the Pulsatilla Sunprint redo in my “Good Therapy” post (just scroll to see the piece if you want to check it out).  There isn’t as much green in this piece, so I thought that might look odd…  Since the sunprint is done in a rainbow of colors, I decided that trying to do the leaves to try to match up with them.  There are still three white sections left, but it is a start!

Doodles Page 2

Doodles Page 2

One thing I have been doing to keep playing in little bits of time is to keep a sketchbook nearby with pens and my Inktense Pencils. I found that by dividing the pages into art card sized sections leaves smaller areas to work in that aren’t as intimidating as a full blank page.  I originally wanted to try to get at least one section filled each day, but that doesn’t always happen, then I might end up filling in a full page on another day… I never seem to know when or what will pop out at any one time…  Just getting anything done has been great.

Page One of Drawings Outlined with Inktense

Page One of Drawings Outlined with Inktense

The above page was the first one I began with. I have been doing the drawings with a black gel ink pen. Something quite different from anything I have done in the past… I rarely ever drew much, my quilts just seemed to “happen” with the fabric, thread and free flowing ideas.  Maybe it will happen like that again, but for now, it’s good to be doing anything creative…  Once I get a bunch of drawings done, or am just ready to play with color, I break out my Derwent Inktense Watercolor Pencils. They are so nice to work with to add color to my drawings. All I need are the pencils and my blender pen. No water or brushes for watercolor effects. The page above shows the drawings outlined with pencil before any water was added. Below is what things look like after using my blender pen. The colors intensify and the pencil becomes a blend-able ink that becomes permanent when it dries.  The color from the outlines can be pulled  inside the drawing areas to give shaded results.

Drawings with Pencil Blended

Drawings with Pencil Blended

The Inktense pencil colors change quite a bit from their dry state when water is added. When I first got my set of pencils, I made up a “cheat sheet” with all the names of the colors written on fabric, then dampened with water to let me know what the final colors will look like.  It helps me choose just the right colors. You can see it in the photo below, under page 2 of doodles with most colored in. I played with shading in the large flower to see how far I could pull color from just an outline. The photo also shows the blender pen I use. It works well on paper or fabric.

Colored Drawings with Pencils and Blender Pen

Colored Drawings with Pencils and Blender Pen

Large Flower Drawing Outlined, Beginning the Blending.

Large Flower Drawing Outlined, Beginning the Blending.

 

The blender pen is perfect for working with details. the tips on each end of it deliver just enough water.  Also, if it dries out, I just soak it in water for a while and it’s ready to use again.

The photo, right, shows the large flower above as I was beginning to blend the colors in from the outlines.

I have also been trying out some new things with the grandkids after school.  A fun way to pass the time…  Keeping art supplies by the kitchen table makes it easy for everyone to play. Most recently, I found some raspberry scented shaving cream at the dollar store, and also picked up a new cookie sheet for playing with shaving cream printing.

Supplies ready for play...

Supplies ready for play…

Jenna and I had lots of fun…

Shaving Cream on Tray

Shaving cream on tray

Paint Drops

Paint drops after cream was leveled.

Paint drops swirled on top of the shaving cream.

Paint drops swirled on top of the shaving cream.

We used a craft stick to swirl the paint, then it was ready for placing fabric or paper on it.

First Pull... Cotton Fabric

First Pull… Cotton Fabric

 

This photo, right, shows the first print we ended up with. We started with a piece of cotton fabric, pressing it gently into the surface of the shaving cream, then carefully pulling it off…

 

Paper One just after pulling.

Paper One just after pulling.

Paper One with foam scraped off.

Paper One with foam mostly scraped off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The paper we tried next, held a lot more of the shaving cream as it was pulled off.  Once the foam was scraped off, the design was revealed. If we had left the foam on, the design would have looked quite different.

Jenna Swirling Paint

Jenna Swirling Paint

Jenna got right into the fun, dripping and swirling the paint on the top of the shaving cream.

A Great Night's Work

A Great Night’s Work… Jenna posing with our results.

 

Finished Artwork

Finished Artwork

Jenna really liked the the square of fabric above, so I fused a piece of painted and stamped paper I made in January to a piece of mat board, then fused the square in the center after pinking the edges… A finished work of art we made together that she can hang  on her bedroom wall…  A fun night of playing and creating!

This is being linked to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday’s

***See Art Quilt Sale , and Art Quilt Shop on ArtFire, (Coupon code- QA14 for 25% Off at ArtFire shops). Raising funds for expenses treating late stage Lyme Disease***
Posted in Off The Wall Fridays, Play

Lyme Update and The Gardens

Back Yard 3-21-14 Looking pretty dead and brown...

Back Yard 3-21-14 Looking pretty dead and brown…

March is flying by and the calender says it is Spring, but the gardens are still pretty brown with frozen earth…  This is another post devoted mostly to my journey with Lyme Disease.  I’ll try to keep it out of most posts, but I feel it is important to journal about my experiences, hoping eventually it can help someone else out in the future. Two weeks ago, I got confirmation of my Lyme disease with the latest test showing positive.  Finally!! After sooo  many years of knowing something was wrong, with doctors treating me like a nut case, I have an answer!  I was able to fill my prescription for the antibiotic the doctor sent me home with 6 weeks earlier. I will be taking it for four months to attempt to get the “bugs” out of my system…  The way things worked out, it may have been for the best, even though waiting for results was extremely frustrating.  I now have been treating the Lyme for 8 weeks altogether… using diet change, herbals and supplements for the first 6 weeks, adding the antibiotic for two weeks so far.  Starting with the herbals first may have kept me from getting as sick starting on the antibiotic as is possible when the disease has gone undiagnosed for so long. The bacteria have had a chance to go wild, and if too many of them are killed off too quickly, it can make one even sicker than before treatment started. I have had some really bad days so far, but know it could have been much worse. Herbal  antimicrobials are started at very low doses and build up slowly.  Many are liquids that are started only a drop at a time and increased over time. (Amazing what just one drop of an herbal tincture can do…)

March 26, 2014... Where is Spring??

March 26, 2014… Where is Spring??

Usually my bad days are the result of treatment dosage increases. A few have been the result of having a good day and using it to catch up on housework or chores that have gone undone on the bad days…  I finally learned that I should enjoy my good days and not “waste” them on the vacuuming, dishes, or whatever… I finally have had a few days where I felt better than I have in years! Every good day is another toward the hope of being back to “normal” again… whatever that will end up looking like…

First Snowdrops of 2014

First Snowdrops of 2014

Using natural treatments along with the prescription(s) has been found to increase the chances of the lyme and co-infections being controlled faster, so that is how I will be treating things. I really would love to be done with it Now, but realize that isn’t an option for me… It took over ten yrs getting sicker and sicker, so if it takes 8 months to a couple years to knock it into remission, I can deal with that… at least now there is hope…

As things start greening up and the gardens begin to show their colors, I will be paying much more attention to how I “play in them…  The top photo shows the back yard and beginning of the shade garden at the top corner of the woods where I most likely picked up the tick(s). Especially in Spring, the woods are quite damp with wet weather springs. Add to that the leaf litter, weeds and grasses in the more open areas and edges, perfect homes for the deer ticks (not to mention the herds of deer, mice, rabbits, squirrels, birds and other critters that help infect the ticks with Lyme).  Ticks are also not limited to the woods, either they have been found often in lawns too. Probably the way I have been building my gardens, I have been giving the critters even more ideal habitats since I include trees, tall plants and grasses that add shade and also attract the various host critters.

No Winter Aconites Yet...

No Winter Aconites Yet… Just Walnut leaves, nuts and branches… possible Tick habitat??

The days of wading through the weeds and crawling around in my gardens without a thought, unprotected, are over…  I will be more careful with letting the grandkids play unprotected also. The doctor told me to get Permethrin to spray on our clothes to repel the ticks. I am not really fond of adding more chemicals to my clothes or my body, so I have been researching other options.  I found that Rose Geranium essential oil made into a spray is supposed to work well as a natural repellent.  Supposedly ticks really Hate the smell of it…. wouldn’t you know…. relatives of my least favorite plant (from spending so many years propagating and growing Geraniums commercially) might be my best ally…  Actually, it is oil from Pelargonium graveolens that is used… It smells just like a cross between the hybrid ones I worked with all those years and various scented varieties…  Funny how life can turn things around…

***See Art Quilt Sale , and Art Quilt Shop on ArtFire, (Coupon code- QA14 for 25% Off at ArtFire shops). Raising funds for expenses treating late stage Lyme Disease***
Posted in Flowers and Gardens, Lyme Disease
A Little About Me

I love to create beautiful art with fabric, paint and thread; using flowers, gardens and my surroundings as inspiration. Painting and sunprinting fabric, Nature photography, Printing photos to fabric and more help me to bring my inspirations into my Art.

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