A Week in Maine

Oh my word! It is cold! Hahaha! In just a week our weather has gone from fall to serious winter. This is our third winter living in Maine and we still love it – just so you know. And we are still amazed and surprised by many things we encounter. Particularly the weather.

Remember green grass and tractors and such harvesting? Remember rolls of hay being rounded up to feed the animals throughout the long winter? Remember beautiful skies of blue and sunshine? This photo was taken 5 days ago. For real. And the very next day it was this:

Yes. We woke up to snow the next morning. Not much but enough. Most of these photos are going to be either shot through the kitchen window or the upstairs deck window. And a few will be outdoors. But we are talking serious digits here, folks. It was a -1 when we got up this morning.

Front yard. Mark kept insisting the snow wouldn’t stay. That it would melt. I was like . . . nope, it is here to stay. And stay it has so far.

And out the upstairs third floor deck. Notice the icicles that were just starting to hang from the roofline. This snow was followed by an ice storm which started the buildup of icicles.

We have metal roofs which are great for allowing the snow to slide off. But ice just hangs in there until a big push comes along. What you see here is a solid layer of ice that has slid down the roof and is stubbornly hanging on. And a whole lot of tiny icicles dripping down from there.

Absolutely crazy!

Hahaha! Even Belle wanted socks on her feet. Please excuse the state of her dirty socks. Hahahaha!

You can see my big dragons standing out in the snow. Last year before the season was over Maleficent and Mushu were shoulder deep in snow.

Just down the road from our house – we rode up to the diner. We were the only customers. Come on, people, even the Florida folks aren’t afraid to drive in this. That road is clear because we have great snow plow drivers where we live.

Each winter I expect this barn to fall down from the weight of the snow. We will see how it does this winter.

This is a whole new set of icicles on the front porch because I knocked those others down with a shovel. And all of these came back before nightfall.

Later that day we got into the car to venture out for free cake day 🙂 and this was on the floor board of the car. It is the ice from the bottom of my boot. It had been in the car since morning and still had not melted.

Let’s see. I shot this through the living room window. This ice was hanging from the bottom of the second level deck roof. Kind of lacy and cool.

My dragons from the other side. Usually there are a few more dragons out here but the babies are inside the basement safe for the winter.

Upstairs again, those icicles and a solid sheet of ice was just hanging there. I did not go outside anywhere near this. Shot this photo through the glass doors. Some of those icicles were longer than the railing. And some of them were curling up and pointing towards the roof line. Weird.

The streams are already starting to get ice on them. We have already seen one pond that was completely frozen over. It is amazing to me how fast things progress once they get started.

Long icicles! And I didn’t realize Mark was trying to show me how wide they get as well.

Mark actually got to hunt a little last night. Saw a couple birds and a little red squirrel. He enjoyed it and came home freezing. Hahaha! This is actually in our back yard. The bear cave is to the left a little ways.

What was he hoping to see? This guy. He came by earlier in the day and would have walked right past Mark’s hunting blind. Can’t shoot moose up here unless you have a permit and Mark has never been successful in getting one. But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have enjoyed watching such a magnificent beast walking through our yard. Again.

Last picture for this post. This morning we had loads of icicles on the front porch. Look how far that ice pad extended from the roofline. And look how wide some of those icicles are! This extended the entire width of the front porch. Probably 20 feet? I’m not good with that stuff. Let me go ask Mark. 24 – 30 feet long. And solid icicles like this. We stood on the porch – to the right in this photo – and Mark used a long handle shovel and whacked the daylights out of these things and knocked all the ice off of the entire length of the porch. Made a lot of noise and a huge mess out in the yard. And the only thing better would have been if I had thought to video it. May never see this again but if I do – I will video it and show you! Stay warm! Stay safe!

B is For Beach – ATC

Creative Crafty Friends is also swapping Letter B ATCs. I begin the process each time by thinking about words that begin with the assigned letter. Then I go to my ATC box, collage box and stamps and start pulling out anything interesting that begins with the correct letter. This time I found that I had a lot of butterfly items and not much else that began with the letter B. Hahahaha! But I did have a good bit of scrapbook paper pieces that had beach designs. So that is what I went with for this ATC. Beach.

Both these scraps were larger than the 2.5″ x 3.5″ ATC that is hidden underneath. I used some clear gesso to adhere the rainbow piece first, then the surfboard piece over the top. I was hoping the tan portion would be reminiscent of beach sand. And I added clear gesso over the top to seal the whole piece and dried it with a heat tool.

Once the piece was dry I trimmed away the excess. In my scraps I had several squares that had beach related images and I opted to go with these two. I knew they were too big to fit on my ATC without covering everything up – so placement would be key.

Before I adhered the pieces I inked their edges with this lovely Tahiti color from Dyestress.

And this was my placement. Yes, it covered up a lot but you could still get the idea.

From there I trimmed off the excess, then inked around the entire ATC with the same Tahiti color. And I was almost done. This ATC just needed something special to complete it.

And I found the perfect piece in one of my scrapbook drawers. That little dolphin charm was a bear to photograph. I took close to twenty pictures and this was the best one I got. I don’t know who I am mailing this to yet. We don’t have the names just yet but whoever gets this beach ATC – I hope they love it!

Gouache and Gesso

Easy project today that every one of you can do as well. And it will look just as nice as mine – if not better. For supplies I grabbed:

Miya Arts sent me some of their gouache paints to work with. And my Leda books can handle just about anything! The pages are sturdy but not necessarily thick . . .

. . . so I began with my clear gesso and the color shaper tool.

I used the color shaper tool to apply the gesso directly onto the pages. This gives the pages a little more ‘body’ and prevents color from bleeding through to the back of the pages. I still need to work with the tool to figure out how much gesso to apply. I used too much here and that is why you see streaks. I kept working with it and was able to get the pages smooth, but I also wasted some product in the process.

See the difference? No streaks in this picture. Just smooth. I began the color process with my purple gouache and a flat brush – I just made slashes of color. Nothing fancy. No real talent needed here. Thankfully. I also added some pink gouache but neglected to get a photo.

Just a few acrylic colors is all you need for this project.

Then think ‘mark making’ tools. I will do a post soon showing you some possible tools you likely have at home. This white ring came from a stack of DVDs. I used it to make yellow circles on my pages.

And then I just blotted the white ring on a paper towel and put it back in the drawer. Future projects do not care if the ring is white or not.

This is a white cardboard tube and I don’t remember where I got it but I have five of them. And no, they are not what they look like. They make the perfect small ring to go with the larger yellow ones I already stamped on my pages.

Kind of wonky shaped. I like it that way. And again, I just wiped the tube off on a paper towel and threw it back in the drawer.

A favorite mark maker and most people have access to this at some point. I try to keep some bubble wrap on hand. I cut it into pieces about 6″ x 6″ and stack them up in a drawer. And these I do not try to clean. I just throw them away when I’m done.

From the plate straight to the page. Some people roll color onto the bubble wrap with a brayer, I just put the paint on a styrofoam paint and rub the bubble wrap in it. Whatever works for you – works for me 🙂

You should be able to make several stamps of bubbles with that one inking. And in this photo you see that I also used some blush color on the bubble wrap before I threw this bit away. And that Miya Arts gouache is still showing up and standing out. Nice paints!

Here’s a close up from the photo before. I put some black acrylic on the plate and sprayed it with water. Then took my fan brush and made splatters on the two pages. And that was all I did with color. It really doesn’t have to be precise because you are going to cover most of it up anyway.

I have various templates I keep in a ziplock bag in my desk but I didn’t have small enough circles for this particular size sketchbook. So I cut a couple extras from a sheet of card stock. I figured three size circles would be plenty for the smaller pages I was working on – the pages are approximately 5″ x 8″.

It had been awhile since I used the black gesso. Who knew it would separate and I would have to stir it up to remix it. Weird. But . . . huge popsicle stick to the rescue.

Sorry for the blur but it’s the only photo I took of this step. Place one of the circle templates onto the page and add the black gesso around the circle. You could use a paint brush or a sponge brush – I used a blending tool. Anything that will get the gesso down while you hold your template in place. Continue that process of making circles over both pages, then use a paintbrush or blending tool to fill in the areas between the circles with more black.

I could have added a few more circles, or placed them closer together but I like the open and light feel.

And the last step was to use the white Sharpie paint pen to scribble write around the circles. By going over both the color filled circles and the black gesso – you combine and tie your project together. You may be asking what scribble writing is. It is nothing. Literally. There are no words on there. Just scribbled letters. And typically I start with the letter A and scribble my way through the alphabet. Sometimes on pages like this I may scribble write quotes but I did not do that this time. Lastly I used the white Sharpie to write the star quote, make the star, and to make random dots. Easy project from start to finish that took about an hour – allowing for drying time. And I did use a heat tool on parts of it. Leda’s sketchbook is perfect for this kind of project and the Miya Arts Gouache worked great as well!

Keeper of the Tiles

Don’t you love that feature photo? I know I showed it to you yesterday but I am still smiling every time I look at it. Hahaha! It is perfect for me! Christine made it for me and yesterday I showed you the other art pieces she sent me but I saved one treasure for today’s post.

Just look at that little face <3 Christine knows how much I love dragons. She found this little guy hatching out of his egg and sent him to me, and I have added him in with my other dragons. He fits in perfectly! I think I am going to name him CK after Christine.

All my dragons have names. Some make sense, some don’t. Depending on whether the Frankles named them or if I did. Hahahaha! And I’m not telling you which ones make sense – hers or mine. Hahahaha!

And though I have a lot of dragons I don’t have any similar to little CK. He was kind of bashful and didn’t really want his photo taken.

So I had this great idea to find CK a job. He wasn’t all that excited until I told him he would get paid in bugs and frogs and chicken parts. Then CK was all about that work thang! What job did he get? Keeper of the Tiles. Yep. It is an official role and very important and only a baby dragon can do it. So here CK sits – guarding my precious YouTangle.art Tiles that have been discontinued. And he has strict orders to burp fire at anyone who tries to steal one. Take that, tile thief! Thanks, Christine!