Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Boutiques are Coming

       The Boutiques will be located in the Stitchers Room in the Palm Center, Remington Drive, Sun City Grand, Surprise, Arizona.   There will be over 14  participants, including me, selling embroidery and stitched items, handcrafted jewelry, and gift items of all types.
        The dates are:  
 October 31
November 7
December 5

The hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If you're in the area, come in!

Sunday, September 27, 2015




     For years I've been a closet colorer.  I've loved to color ever since I was a kid.  For hours I would color and cut and paste. When I grew older coloring books and crayons were replaced by rubber stamps and a variety of colored pencils and pens. Once you become a grown up, coloring isn't one of those things you can admit to doing.  Until now.
    Adult coloring books are HOT.  Best sellers!  Amazon offers hundreds of them, from anatomy to zen and everything in between.  There's even a name for us adults who continue our childhood favorite.   We're "colorists".

    My newest adult coloring book--a gift from my husband--is Balance by Angie Grace.    It's a great book and the images are only on one side.   The other coloring books I have are printed on both sides, which doesn't work with Copic markers.  They bleed through thinner, softer paper.  Copics will still bleed through the paper used in Grace's books, but you don't lose any of the images.
    Because I use Copics, I cut the page out before I start to color.  But you could also put a piece of card stock between your image and the next page to soak up the excess ink.  On the little slip of yellow paper I write down which marker colors I've used.  I'm not sure if I'll keep this info, but it has come in handy when I've put my markers away and returned later.    

     There's a good video on Grace's website that gives tips for using Copic markers.  Of course you can use whatever markers or pencils you like best.  
     There's a range of difficulty in Balance, which I like.  I started with a medium one (in my opinion).   She has a LOT of books available, including ones with cats and flowers that looked really interesting.  On her web site she has some freebie images, too, that you can print out and color.  I haven't done that yet, but they look tempting.
      Right now I feel the need to re-balance and de-stress.  I'm going to color for a while.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bears at Brooks Falls

Fishing at Brooks Falls

     For the past few weeks I've been eating breakfast and lunch with the bears at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park in Alaska.  The Park Service set up two web cams aimed at the falls and the river.  Though of us who can't make it to Alaska can see the live action, too. features the bears, as well as a lot of other animals, on its site.
      Last night I had an extra treat when I came in to listen to Ranger Mike talk about the different bears.  It was an amazing night at the Falls.   The salmon were huge and plentiful.   The bears would position themselves and wait for a salmon to swim right by.  At one time I counted 13 bears.  The hour flew by!

    This female bear, #409, is a great fisher.  She caught a number of fish last night.   Another female, not shown in the picture, was standing nearby waiting for a chance to take the fish away or to at least get the leftovers.

      The bears are all numbered, and some have been named by the people who watch and regularly chat on-line.   I tried to take good notes as Ranger Mike talked.  There's a free e-book available that has all their pictures and great info.

Adult male #747 fishing in the “Jacuzzi”.

     Holly and her two cubs were there, too.   The small one on the left is a female.  The middle cub is a male that she adopted.  I haven't learned the story about how that happened yet.  He's a year older than the female and doesn't like to share his food.    You can see his darker coloring in this picture.

    These two keep their mom busy all the time.   But she seems like a really good and patient mother.   They fish in an area called the Ripples, away from the bigger males.


       A big male with his catch.

An eagle watches from a high tree.

     Two large males engaged in "jaw popping" as they sorted out who was going to be the dominate male.   It didn't last long before one of them backed away.  I was glad to see that. The fishing was good and a fight could seriously hurt both of them.   One of the bears lost an ear in June during a fight.

       This photo was taken about 9 p.m. Alaska time.  The bears were still fishing and eating when I went to bed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Canyon de Chelly

Canyon de Chelly - Images from an Ancient People

     Canyon de Chelly (pronounced shay) is a beautiful, unique land located within the Navajo nation in Chinle, Arizona.  It's a National Monument as well as Navajo land.   People have been living in the canyon for nearly 5000 years,beginning with the ancient Anasazi, then the Hopi, and now the Navajo.
      Wikipedia has a good article about it.
       The site cover over 83,800 acres and contains three large canyons, de Chelly, del Muerto, and Monument.  You can drive around the rim and stop at overlooks.  Or you can take a closer look by either a hike or a jeep tour with  a Navajo guide.   From the comfort of a 4x4 jeep, we toured Canyon del Muerto.

The Anasazi built their homes in caves high up on the canyon walls.

   The National Park Service site has much better pictures that show the vast scale of the high canyon walls.   The writing isn't graffiti but from the Anasazi.

No one knows why the Anasazi left or where they went.

How they reached these high places is a mystery to me!

      The canyon was beautiful and amazing.   Our Navajo guide, J.D., was very knowledgeable and friendly.    We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Chinle, which was great.   Clean, good food, and friendly people. They have info about the tours.  Many of the guides will pick you up there, which is what J.D., from Antelope House Tours, did for us.
      We didn't get to do the rim tours because a large storm was brewing.  So that will have to wait for another trip.   Most people visit in the spring and the fall, although J.D. said they do tours all year, weather permitting.  The Navajos don't live in the canyon during the winter because of the cold temperatures, which is a good sign that it would be too cold for my tastes.   J.D. said the summer temps can be very high.  But we were lucky and had a beautiful morning for our tour.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Standing on the Corner

Standing on the Corner

      Last week we visited Winslow, Arizona, made famous by the Eagles in “Take It Easy”.     

The most photographed corner in the U.S.   
Hamming it up with the girl in the flat bed Ford.
       My favorite site in Winslow was the historic and beautiful La Posada.  Designed by Mary Colter for the Fred Harvey Company, it served as a hotel and restaurant along one of the stops of the Santa Fe Railway.  It opened in 1930.     


      When it closed in 1957, it began to decline.   The beautiful furnishings were sold and the building was turned into offices for the railroad.  It continued to deteriorate until it was rescued in 1997 by Allan Affeldt and Tina Mion.    Along with a third partner, they have restored it and filled it with beauty and art.   They hope to continue its preservation through the Winslow Arts Trust.  

       We had lunch at their restaurant, The Turquoise Room.    I had their signature soup, a southwest mix of black beans, corn and chile cream. Delicious!    

       As you enter La Posada there’s an herb garden, wild flowers, and water features.    
A beautiful way to start our trip.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Early Morning at the Water Feature

Early Morning at the Water Feature

    It was a busy morning for a coyote, a few doves, and the Quail family.

The pictures were captured on my Trophy Cam from about 5:18 a.m. until 7:45 a.m. this morning.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tangerine Treats

Tangerine Treats

      If you like tangerine, you're in for a treat.  Pantone, the color people, has named it one of springs best colors.
      The Christmas in July team on Etsy frequently writes about Pantone color outlooks on its blog.   Today Michelle, who owns Evie's Tool Emporium and is a leader in the team, featured Etsy items made with this great color.    There's tangerine dresses, purses, jewelry, scarves, quilts, and more.   And they included my Aventurine beaded bracelet, too!
       What a neat surprise!   A tangerine treat!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bunny in the Flower Pot Tutorial

Bunny in the Flower Pot Tutorial

       I've returned to making cards recently and thought I'd share how I did this one.  As you can see, I'm not a professional artist, but I love to play with paper and Copic markers.    
       I started by stamping two images of "Pansy Bunny" by Penny Black rubber stamps. This is an older stamp that I've had for quite a while, but it's one of my favorites. It's still in great shape, and bunnies never go out of style.  
      The second image is a partial because I only need a few of the flowers, not the entire image.

     The paper is Cougar Opaque Cover 80# white.  In the picture it has a blue tint, but in reality it's totally white.  It has a smooth surface that works well with Copic markers.  I buy it in the 8 1/2" x 11" size and cut it into smaller pieces as needed.  I get my good paper at Marco's Papers when I go back to Ohio to visit family.  But they also sell online, and the paper is available other places as well.

This paper came from Hobby Lobby.  I'm using a sheet of it for the card.  

 Here are the Copic I used on this card:

    I have a mix of Copic Ciao (the round ones) and Sketch (the square ones).  I really like the way the smaller Ciao's fit my hand, but they're not available in all colors and in all stores.  I buy Copics whenever I have a few extra dollars and I find a good bargain.  Lately I've even picked up a couple on E-bay.   So far they seem to be a good deal.  We'll see.
      I started with the flower petals using V01 and V05.  Copics have a unique numbering system that you can learn about on many sites.  It's one of the things that makes Copics so great.  The numbers help you know what colors will blend well.
       I used Y08 for the flower centers.
       I used YG21 and YG23 for the leaves.  I'm happy with the way the light seems to bounce off of the leaves where I used YG21. 
       The flower pot is BG57.  I would have liked to have blended in another shade in the BG family, but I don't have any yet.   I added YG03 in the center to try to show where the light would hit it.  Since I don't have a lighter BG color, I thought a lighter green would work well with the leaves.   What do you think?  I'm open to suggestions regarding better options for this one.  
        Next I cut out three pieces of flowers and leaves to layer over the basic image for added interest and dimension.   I attached them with Pop Dots.   

    Last, I added the ribbon around the flower pot and to the top of the card to tie it closed.   I used additional Pop Dots to attach the entire bunny and pot to the card.  Finished!

     Here's the same stamp done in slightly different colors.  I used W-3 and W-5 for the bunny.  To make the "terra cotta" pot I used YR23 and dabbed in G17 with a piece of paper towel.   I used the same green to color the torn edge of the decorative paper.  The base of the card is plain burgundy card stock.  A piece of pink ribbon is taped to the top for added color and interest.

I can't wait to send these out.  I hope my friends like receiving them as much as I liked making them.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

White Tanks in Spring

  I went to the White Tanks with my friend Chris a few weeks ago to see the wild flowers.   White Tanks is a county park near here.   It's one of my favorite places.   Here are a few of the pictures from the day:

Hedgehog Cactus

Saguaro and friend

 The view from the Black Rock trail.

Yellow is a popular color in the desert.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

          Tucson Gem Show Treasures

       For rock and gem lovers, February means the Tucson Gem Show.    At the beginning of the month, I spent two days there and visited four shows.    The Tucson Gem Show is actually a lot (many, many in fact) of individual shows set up in hotels, convention centers, parks, and pretty much any flat, open space in Tucson.  To help you navigate the event, there are shuttle buses between many of the locations.    The Tucson Show Guide, which you can pick up at many of the shows, lists the location of the shows and how to get there.  Advertisers can buy space to let you know what you can find at their show.

           Since this was my third time there I was a bit more prepared and experienced.   I went to a few of my favorites and added a new show.  I ran out of time and energy (not to mention money) before I got to all of the places I wanted to see.    

         My first stop was at the Doubletree Reid Park Hotel where the To Bead True Blue show is held.   This is always my first stop not only for the great shops there, but also because the hotel has a great patio cantina.   After a little shopping Kent and I always go there for lunch.   From the patio you can watch the A-10s and other military aircraft that fly in and out of a nearby base.    I skipped the Margarita since I had bead business to do, but I hear they are great.

        I was first attracted to the To Bead True Blue show because of its beautiful brochure.  At a different hotel they hold a sister show, The Tucson Bead Show, which has an even more beautiful brochure.   I went to that show last year, but decided to skip it this year.   I had found my best beads at To Bead True Blue, and I needed to spend my time wisely.

          My best finds at To Bead True Blue came from Dakota Stones, Holy & Pure Gemstones, and Clover Needlecraft.   Lately I’ve been working on bead embroidery projects, and I had bought some great cabochons from Dakota Stones online.  I had hoped to pick up a few more cabs in Tucson, but they didn’t bring any.  However, I found some great stone beads, including Red Tiger Eye.  When I purchased my finds, I received a coupon that I can use later online, where I know I’ll find some great cabs. 

           Another of my favorite shops is Holy & Pure Gemstones.  They are based in Georgia.   Lapis, apatite, azurite, and onyx were my best finds here.   They also had some great metal beads and chain.   The quality of everything is great.    

The mini loom in its package.

          My most unusual buy was a mini beading loom from Clover.  I’ve been wanting to make some native inspired beaded bracelets and earrings, which I’ve seen done on looms.  I’m excited about learning this new technique.  I bought some seed beads and Tulip needles from Beyond Beadery, which will go with the cabs and the loom.    

          After a few hours here we went to the Best Bead Show at the Kino Community Center.    My favorite shops there Whimbeads, which has a huge supply of seed beads, and Scottsdale Bead Supply, which has great hand cast bronze.    I’ve never been to their brick and mortar shop in Scottsdale, but I always shop at their booth in Tucson.   Go figure.   But no matter where it comes from, I love their bronze.    I've made earrings as well as necklaces with their bronze pieces.  

A few of the bronze pieces. 
This necklace has two pieces of bronze.  I kept it for myself and wear it often.

      The new show for me this year was the J.O.G.S. Tucson Gem & Jewelry Show, located at the Tucson Expo Center.   I went their specifically to see the cabochons from Colorwright, a Tucson online shop that I knew was going to be there.   As soon as I signed in, I went directly to their shop.   It was wonderful!    Colorwright had fantastic cabochons, and the two women who were working that morning were friendly and knowledgeable.   I wanted one of everything!    I restrained myself a little, but I admit I bought enough to keep me busy for months.   The picture doesn't do them justice, but here are a few of my finds:

      J.O.G.S. is H.U.G.E.   We spent a few hours looking through the other shops, but I only saw a fraction of what was there.   I bought some great turquoise mined in Mexico and Colorado from Cowboy Trading.   I found silver charms and beads from other shops.   We saw a lot of international dealers here. Many of the shops sell high end gems and diamonds, which were wonderful to look at but out of my price range.   They even had a booth selling whomp-um jewelry, which is very unusual and beautiful.   The artist was Cherokee.    I’ll definitely return here next year.

      The last show we stopped at was the Miner's Co-op Rock Show on Travel Center Drive.    We found them last year and wanted to go there again.   This show has more real rock hounds, many living and working out of their RVs and trucks.   You can find everything for sale here:   finished jewelry, strings of beads, polished cabs, chunks of rock and used lapidary equipment.  
The dealers are set up in an open lot.   The weather was beautiful, and the open air venue was a nice change from being inside hotels and expo centers.   We had a great time looking at their items and talking to many of the dealers.  And, yes, I bought more cabs here.              

       Look for my finds to start showing up in my Etsy shop soon.  I’ve already made a few things.  In fact, I sold a pair of dragonfly earrings that I made as soon as I returned from Tucson.   They sold at the craft fair held in February.    The next craft fair for me will held on April 4 here in Surprise.   I hope to have some new items made from my Tucson treasures there.   

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

    Grand Stitchers Boutique

     We had our first boutique of the new year last week.  Despite the unusually crummy weather and a ton of competing activities (it was Super Bowl weekend), we had a great time.
       A few of us didn't make it into the picture, but here are most of us:

 Setting up
 Here we are with our shops:

      Our next boutique will be this coming Saturday, February 7, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  We're located at the Palm Center, inside Sun City Grand on Remington Drive.    If you live in Surprise, AZ, stop by and shop with us!