Beaverdam Park


Grand hike last week with Chesterfield County! The hikes are available thru Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation, but we travel all over the state.  This time we were just outside the small town of Gloucester at Beaverdam Park. We followed the well maintained trail thru rolling terrain, along side Beaverdam Reservoir, for about a mile and a half, then came back.  It was a beautiful warm winter day, with daffodils lining the first part of the path!  (Gloucester is famous for it’s daffodil festival, which will be held this year on April 2 & 3.)

We saw a LOT of turtles, a great blue heron, some coots, bull frogs, and a black racer snake.  Definitely worth a trip.  We were on the hiking trail, but there’re also around 7 miles of multiuse trail for hiking, bikers, and horses.  In addition, there’re boats, canoes and kayaks available for rent. Great day trip from Richmond!

Music to My Ears


Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival is this week!!  Show opens on Thursday, February 25th, and runs thru Sunday.  Richmond Quilters Guild has an exhibit, for the third year in a row.  Our challenge this year is Music to My Ears.  I contemplated sitting this one out, as ideas weren’t coming to me.  Then my resident quilt consultant made several excellent suggestions, and we were rolling!  The image I eventually used came from a morning on the beach with my grandson, just before leaving with him and his family for their newest home in Rhode Island.  The sounds of his squeals as he chased the seagulls still ring in my ears!

The quilt is based on a photograph using fusible applique.  You may have noticed from my Dan Springs Collection companion blog that I’ll be teaching a class on this technique in March for the Virginia Consortium of Quilters.  I had a thermofax screen made for the seagulls, which you may have seen used in an earlier post.  I was planning to use printable organza for the child’s face, but couldn’t find any in the Richmond quilt stores. So I went with printable silk and decided to do the whole child.  Then the printed seagulls didn’t look right. So I also printed them on the silk and fused each seagull over it’s printed version, which worked well.  Ta da!

Poem printed in the border of the quilt:

Squeals of delight by the pounding sea, Calls of the seagulls, skree, skree, skree.

Artful Healing

2016 Artful healing postcard0001

A week from this Sunday the Bon Air Artist Association is presenting a fundraiser on behalf of World Pediatric Project at the Jepson Alumni Center at the University of Richmond. I’ll have my photographs on exhibit in the ballroom. Come on out!

Winter Hike

Almost balmy here today after a very cold and snowy long weekend. Also pouring down rain, so I’m glad to be inside.  Last Thursday I joined nine others from Chesterfield County for a local winter bushwhack thru the county’s newest, not yet open to the public, park next to the Mary B. Stratton playing fields.  We hiked thru what was one of the last dairy farms in the area, following Trampling Run to Falling Creek. It was very cold – below freezing all day, and sunny. One of our group found a good as new Loews bucket, so we picked up discarded beer cans and assorted trash along the way, carefully avoiding vestiges of barbed wire fencing.  We had beautiful views of winter foliage, entertained by sporadic birdsong. Fortunately, my toes only got chilly when we stopped for lunch.  Always a delight to get out in the woods, especially just down the road!!

Water Colors Accepted!

Another sunny, chilly day in central Virginia!  Here’s a look back on last summer and fall, thru water color.  These are the five pieces I submitted for Bon Air Artist Association’s February jury process. To exhibit with the group, you must be juried in for the media you wish to show.  I was successful on my first attempt with photography. Watercolor, however, has been a challenge.  I think I finally wore them down, or maybe I’ve improved – take your pick!  Now I have to get serious!  I kept a journal over the past six months of sketches for possible larger pieces and I feel that really helped my composition.  If it doesn’t work small, chances are its not going to work large.  There is still much for me to learn.  I found this great quote from Robert Wade: “Watercolour is a lifetime pursuit…mostly uphill.” Another one I like from Selma Blackburn: “In watercolor, if you are not in trouble, then you’re in trouble.”

On my list for this week is a visit to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to check out their exhibit of watercolors by John Singer Sargent and Edward Hopper. To close, here’s a quote from Edward Hopper: “If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.”




Watercolor Adventure Continues


It’s a warm, foggy morning in central Virginia! Is winter finally releasing its grip? I doubt, but there’s always hope! Speaking of which, tomorrow I’ll try once more to jury into the Bon Air Artist Association for watercolors. I’m already exhibiting my photographs with the group, which you’ll be able to see at the Artful Healing show on Sunday, February 28 at the Jepson Center, University of Richmond. The barns shown above are ones I did for the September jurying; the chairs on the porch of the mountain house were for a ‘threes a charm’ challenge. I’ve been working to add a wider range of values and enhance my composition – we’ll see how it goes! Next week I’ll show you what I’ve done so far this year!

Sketch Pack / Water Color Kit Tutorial

In my last post I included rough notes on how I made my water color kit. Here’s more detail on a simplified version, with illustrations. Hope you find this helpful! The dimensions are the same, but I didn’t cover the canvas or bind the edges. I’m using this one for my nature journal!

Water Color Kit for Half-fold Sketch Book

This kit will accommodate one or two half-fold sketch books, a small water color palette, and multiple pens and brushes.

¼ yard of canvas or denim
1 old t-shirt
10” piece of ¼” elastic
24” of ¾” satin ribbon, or a couple of old shoelaces
a ball point needle for your sewing machine (optional, but will work better on the t-shirt fabric)
safety pin for threading elastic

You may wish to rip the canvas fabric rather than cutting it for a softer edge.
All seams are ¼”.

Cut (or tear for canvas)
E – main piece: 9 ¾” x 14 ¾”
B – left pocket: 9 ¾” x 6 ½”
A – palette pocket: 10” x 6 ½”

T-shirt (see cutting layout):
C – pocket for pens: 7 ½” x 6” so that one 7 1/2” side is hemmed
D – right pocket: 6 ½” x 10 ¾” so that one 10 ¾” side is hemmed

1. Fold A/palette pocket with 6 ½” edges together. With fold at bottom, stitch along the left edge. (see figure 1).
2. Pin safety pin to one end of elastic. Thread elastic thru the hemmed edge of D/right pocket and tack or pin both ends.
3. Lay C/pocket for pens on top of B/left pocket, aligning left, bottom and right edges. Tuck along bottom of C/Pocket for pens as needed. Stitch around left, bottom, and right edges. Make additional lines of stitching from hemmed edge to bottom of C to form pockets for pens. (see figure 2).
4. Layer B/left pocket on left side of E/main piece; D/right pocket on right of E/main piece. Tuck along right edge of D/right pocket as needed. Pin in place matching outside edges. Lay A/palette pocket on top of B/left pocket with stitched side to left, a ¼” from left edge, and fold toward bottom; pin. Cut ribbon into two 12” pieces. Slip end of one between E/main piece and B/left pocket at middle of left edge; pin. Slip end of other piece of ribbon between D/right pocket and E/main piece at middle of right edge; pin. Stitch around outside edges, being careful not to catch left edge of A/palette pocket. Stitch around outside edges a second time. (see figure 3).