31 July 2014

Some Trees, Some Bugs and Sunset

Hello Readers! 
I don't have much art to show since the last post. The muse is fleeting these days for some reason. She insists on sewing instead of drawing or painting. And she insists on doing absolutely nothing creative some days.
Today was not a creative day. The day isn't over yet and I may actually get that baking soda clay bowl on the kitchen table done this evening. It just needs one more color of paint, a half hour of drying time and a coat of sealer. 

I'll make an art post later this evening.

Right now I'm going to ramble on about trees, grasshopper sex and some other things to do with nature!  
A little background.....If memory serves me correctly those trees have been growing now for five years, maybe six. One hundred and forty seven little evergreen trees were planted by my 2 sons and their wives on a Saturday probably in May or June. Took most of the day for the four of them to get it done. 
There were 150 of them but for an unknown (by me) reason only 147 of them got in the ground. 
It has been ages since I took a walk to inspect those trees. Some of them are taller than I am! A few only come about waist high to me and one of them is a short little bugger that really looks like it might of been a volunteer that just happened to occupy a bare spot dead in line with the others. It's a tiny little thing compared to all the others! It only reaches about knee height to me.
See? Little tiny thing!

I found only one tree that was dead.

Same dead tree, different angle.

The title to this picture is:

Yep! Dead!

The color on my monitor is all off! This tree is more red than tan. It's a gorgeous color but my photographs do not do it justice. I suspect someone should go out there and cut that tree down. It's a fire hazard. That little tree would explode into flames if it were to be struck by lightning!
It's far enough away from the house it wouldn't be a danger but the other trees around it would be fried too if it caught on fire. I think the elm tree it was planted under is what killed it. Not enough sunshine on it.

I'm sure after walking the length of these trees I will have to check for ticks! Next year those trees will be too big to walk between. It would be cool to cut a tunnel out of the middle of the two rows! No one would know you were in there! 
Most of these trees are just a few inches taller than I am. None over six feet tall. I'm about 5 ft 7 in.

Along the front boundary of these trees is a trench filled with debris from years of people discarding things there. The trench used to be where the sewer system was years and years ago. You cannot get to the trees from the other side of the trench so you have to go on the other side of the fence facing the field to the north of the trees. There's always been a break in the fence. I've known this property for about 20 years and the fence has always been open like that. Sometimes the man who owns the field will put cattle on it but when that happens he erects an electric fence couple yards north of the wire fence to keep the cows in.
This picture is looking west as the sun is fixing to set. It was around 8:30pm when I took these pictures.

Looking south at the evergreen row.

I told you all about the storm in the middle of June. Showed you all the pictures of the downed trees in the yard. I hadn't taken a walk to see if any of the trees in the tree line had been damaged. This one is as dead as it can be but I don't remember it being there the last time I did take a walk out in the North Forty. Most of the trees looked pretty good out there. It's quite thick in the over growth back there which probably helped some.

I'm glad grasshoppers do not eat evergreen trees. Those damn pests are every-freaking-where!

Beings the evergreens are planted along that trench, whenever we get storm damage to the trees, the debris goes in the trench. These are all the branches from the pear trees and the plum bushes.

I had tag-alongs who don't realize they shouldn't be tramping around in the soybean field! That is Fred dog and Tippy cat.Fred was worn out by the time we got to end of the row of evergreens at the pear and apple tree behind my sister's house. (She just lives next door.) There's no telling that dog a long walk wouldn't be good for him. He had to tag along anyway. He's moving a bit slow this evening after that long walk.

I think this is pigweed. I took the picture to make an identification. I have yet to do that.

Same plant as above.

I wish those clouds were bearing some rain. We could use it!

I walked all over the yard after I took a stroll to inspect the evergreen trees. I found these grasshoppers doing their thing on the bamboo stand along the patio out back of the burned house.  I probably took 20 pictures of these two. They acted as though they didn't even know I was there till I reached down to hold the stem still when a whiff of breeze came along. And then the bottom one just moved around to the back of the stem. Guess they don't mind being on display! Exhibitionists! I once knew a man who was an exhibitionist. He was so much fun! Fearless! Who'd of thunk that grasshoppers doing 'it' would bring back such pleasant memories? 
Ah, the wonders of nature!

There's Fred dog. Not moving very fast.

This is the weed crop in what used to be known as the patio flower bed. Weed has taken over! That's marijuana in case you don't know what weed is. As you can see they've taken over the iris bed and grasshoppers have eaten most of the irises. The irises still bloom every year so I know the weed hasn't chocked them out completely. Why, you ask, do I have marijuana growing in my flower beds? Well, the answer to that is because that's where it decided to grow and I really don't have the energy, not the inclination to get rid of it! Could the cops come and say "You can't have that there!"? Yep, I suppose they could. Am I worried they will? Nope. It's been growing all over my property for years! Can you smoke it? I suppose you could, but I would't advise it...it's just ditchweed. It voluntarily comes up where the hell it wants to. It's a nice filler! Pretty green and quite large, some of the plants.

The wooden fence at the background of this picture is where the weed in the previous picture grows. And look! There's an even nicer stand of it on this side of the patio, growing among a pile of pallets that got scattered by the wind.

In the post before the last one I showed you all the field north of the house. I showed you two pictures of it, four days apart. I said I didn't know for sure just what was growing in the field but I thought it was soybeans. It is soybeans. Already has the beginnings of little soybeans forming.

Tippy cat followed me all over the yard and out into the trees. Here she is behind the burnt house, on the patio, on a stack of firewood. A lot of this firewood came out of the front yard when the storm did all that damage to my beloved trees. Least the wood won't go to waste....not all of it anyway.

Here's Tip panting after that long trek from the trees.

This one got outta whack and I don't know how to fix it so it'll just have to be out of whack. This a really cool bug I found on one of the evergreen trees. This is an assassin bug so I know he's not eating my evergreen trees. He's quite a handsome fella! Stank to high heaven though! Assassin bugs are like stink bugs. Same family of species.

A sorry looking stand of marijuana out in the evergreen row. I think this weed looks like this because of the herbicide used on the soybean field. I can't think of any other reason this stand would look like this when the stands on the patio and elsewhere on the property, looks great! I know you can't see a single evergreen in that picture, but trust me....this is out in the row. The trees in the background are a stand of about a dozen trees of various kinds and heights. The evergreens stop just before this clearing and continue on the other side of this stand of trees. I did not go past these trees.

I was getting tired and it was time to head back to the house. This picture is looking up through that stand of trees to the sky. The tree on the left is a pear tree and the one on the right is an apple tree. Neither have any fruit on them to speak of! That storm in the middle of June did a number on the pear trees in the yard so it doesn't surprise me that these trees are in a similar state with the fruit crop. I didn't have my glasses on so I couldn't see way up in the canopy. I did see a few apples on the tree, but not near a many as there should have been. I saw zero pears in that tree.

Coming back to the house, I came upon this beautiful wasp pollinating a marijuana plant. He didn't mind my meddling anymore than the naughty grasshoppers did! Never seen a wasp that looks like this one. Will have to see if I can identify it.

Looking north off the front porch at the soybean field. There was a bit of a breeze. I really wish it would rain.

The sun was getting low in the sky and it was time to call it a day for walking outside.
I absolutely LOVE my little chunk of paradise!

thanks for hanging on till the end! 
be good to one another!
It truly does matter!

21 July 2014

Time for another installment of "What Has Donna Been Up To Lately"?

Hello Readers!
I always assume there are readers, though not many from the looks of the comments section! Thanks for stopping by to take a peek even if you don't have anything to say about what you've seen! 

As usual I've been busy with my hands. I'd be busy with the rest of me if the old body would cooperate, but that doesn't seem to be happening anymore. If the body would cooperate I would have much more accomplished than I actually get accomplished. But beings the old body is in rebel mode most of the time, the hands have to do all the work! I'm not complaining. That's just how it is and nothing I can do to change it.
So, on with "What Donna has been up to lately!"

I'm still active in the altered envelope group over at AFA (link is up in the corner). Someone posted a link on the site about making triangular shaped envelopes and I went with it!

My partner this month listed flamingos as one of her favorite things so I decided to do the envelope in a flamingo theme.
I folded a large tyvek envelope into a triangle and used markers to do the drawing. The picture above is of the back of the envelope.

This is the front. The solid orange spot on the flamingos face is where the address of my partner is. I blotted it out so she doesn't get weird mail or even weirder visitors.
When I took this envelope to the post office, Doug, the postmaster, said, "What the hell is this thing?" He always gives me a hard time when I go in there to mail anything. Especially if it has art on the outside of it! He was impressed even if he didn't say so! As I turned to leave, he hollered from the backroom of the post office, "Hey! Do you want some cucumbers?" Only in small town America can you go to mail a letter and come out with a handful of cucumbers!
I truly enjoy my trips to the post office regardless of what I'm mailing!

I was sitting in my recliner in the livingroom the other day and saw a stuffie I had started months ago sitting on the shelf there and the muse piped up, yelling at me, that we should make an art doll out of the thing. The stuffy wasn't really going anywhere when I first started it and it did sit on that shelf, gathering pet hair, just waiting for the muse to decide what would happen with it. I almost threw that thing away a couple of times.

I cut a head, a couple legs and arms out of cashmere sweater and sewed them up, stuffed them and then sewed them to the stuffy. I wasn't sure what her dress would be made out of at first. Lord knows I'm no seamstress! Luckily I found a sleeve from a blouse I had cut up and it was perfect for a dress for this little doll. The hem was already sewn for me!

I had just a small amount of that beaded ribbon to use around the neck of her dress. That hid the awful sewing job of sewing the dress to the doll's body. I cut a little teddy bear out of pink felt and then promptly changed my mind and covered it will wool roving and needle felted it into her little teddy. She's about 9 inches tall or so. Her little bear is about 2 inches tall. I thought I had sewn teddy to the doll but I later learned that isn't the case. Ma was taking a look at her and pulled that teddy right out of her arm! Her arm is sewn to her chest and holds teddy quite tightly. Maybe teddy doesn't even need to sewn to her?  Her facial features (and teddy's too) are sewn with embroidery thread.

I'm still on the wool ball kick.

This one is about the size of a softball....a might larger than normal for my wool balls. I got carried away with the plastic bags inside the ball and that made the ball larger than normal. If you are a regular reader, you've the process to make these wool balls and you'll understand why there are plastic bags inside.

I had gotten a check from the Art Center in Lucas, Ks a couple days before I finished this ball. The ball was made, it just needed some embroidery on it. The check is important in this because a hot mat I had made in 2013 sold. That mat had a skull with flowers on it and it made me think....ah ha! Let's make a ball with a skully!

So I did.

This is the first ball I've made with appliques of felt instead of just embroidery on them. I don't know how well this one would hold up in the dryer if used as a dryer ball. I really don't know how well any of the balls will work for that! I really need to dig a half dozen of them out of the closet and do a test the next time I do laundry. Just did the laundry the day before yesterday so will be awhile before I have enough to laundry to do some more!
I think there will be more appliqued wool balls in the future. 
I need to drag out the wool sweaters and make some more mug rugs!

Baskets have been on the radar as well. I'm in a crocheting mood these days.

The blue basket above and this burgundy colored one are both made from gross grain ribbon. Crocheted in single crochet. The blue one is a bit bigger than the burgundy one. Each about 5-6 inches across and 3-4 inches tall.
I still have two spools of gross grain ribbon that will be turned into baskets eventually. Probably in the very near future as the two spools are sitting on the 'to-do' table.

I went through the ribbon drawers day before yesterday just to see what the heck was all in those two drawers. I came across quite a bit of curling ribbon and decided to see if it was possible to crochet with that ribbon.
Yes! Yes, it is possible! This little basket is just that....LITTLE! It measures about 3 inches across and an inch deep. Not sure just what good it would be but it's a cute little basket!

Then I came across some Christmas curling ribbon. There was even more of this ribbon than the pastel colored stuff the previous basket is made out of. This basket is about 5 inches across and maybe 2 inches deep.

And then there's the pink fuzzy basket. This is the same yarn the art doll's bow is made out of. I've used this yarn as monster hair in the past as well. This basket is about 5 inches across and about 3 inches deep.

And yet another basket. I did say, baskets were on the radar! This one is made from your run-of-the-mill acrylic yarn. It is not a sturdy basket at all! It's about 4-5 inches across and 5-6 inches deep.

The last time my granddaughter, Annie, was here, we made some baking soda clay and played with it out on the front porch. We made a couple of bowls and some other little flat rounds things with the leftovers of the clay. Unfortunately only one bowl survived out of it all. It was my first experience with baking soda clay. I learned a few things during this experiment that I can apply to the next session of baking soda clay play.

I should have sanded the rim of the bowl but when I went to get the sandpaper....for some reason it wasn't in the drawer where I have kept sandpaper since the beginning of time! No clue where the sandpaper resides now so I skipped the sanding and just painted the bowl. It isn't done quite yet... needs another coat of paint and some decoration of some sort. This bowl is cereal bowl sized. I used a cereal bowl for a mold. 
Baking soda clay is a bit fragile when dry. And this bowl really isn't all that smooth and refined. But for a first project in that material, it didn't turn out too awful. We'll see what the next one looks like. I'll have to cook up a batch of clay and do some more experimenting!

I've been playing with the wool roving.

Six little pocket birds. Each no bigger than an inch and a half tall. Some of them, most of them, still need some seed bead eyes sewn on. There are three more of these little fellas in the works. Not sure what I'll do with them. Probably send them off to the Art Center for the gift shop.

My first attempt at needle felting a four legged critter standing on his four legs. I was going for a lamb but others have said he looks more like a dog. My four year old granddaughter, Annie said he looks like a lamb though. Guess he can be whatever you happen to see! He's about three inches tall.

I learned that you can needle felt steel wool. I have no picture of the cute little bird I made from steel wool. I forgot to take his picture. He's hanging off a metal shelf with quilting pins stuck in him! He's hanging there by a magnet. Makes a great pin cushion! I'll take his picture for the next post!

It's going to be a hot day in Kansas so I've got the A/C cranked up and all the furkids in the house and we are just chilling today!

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember.....be good to one another!
It matters!