30 Day Challenge for Brush Painting!

Oriental Art Supply is hosting a 30 day challenge on Facebook to paint everyday for the month of June. I was tempted to join the challenge because I injured my wrist/hand by grinding almost 50 pounds of pork for sausage in 4 hours in early May. I kinda overdid it the Monday after I enrolled E in school for the last month. I guess I was too excited to start accomplishing house things again…

The worst part was I couldn’t do anything at all with my hand for 2 weeks! The first week my hand was really swollen and extremely painful to move in any way including my fingers. After the pain subsided, I continued to rest it and wear a splint. Just last week I decided that I can go without the splint during the day as long as I wore it at night and did no heavy lifting or jarred it too much (still no weeding for my right hand!).

By the end of May (after a month of resting it) I was really craving a creative outlet since I couldn’t do my usual things like calligraphy or quilting and it dawned on me that the way to hold the brush for Chinese brush painting wasn’t a painful grip!

It is fun to get back into the brush painting by joining this challenge. I hadn’t really done it since E joined us. It’s fun for me and not stressful for my injury. I post everyday on the OAS Facebook page the results of my painting time. It’s quite fun to see the progress I’ve made in the last almost two weeks!

So far these are my favorites. I haven’t signed any yet, still practicing my Chinese signature.

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Agarita Jelly Time!

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It’s already agarita season here again! Despite my injured wrist, I did some berry picking with my Dad last week and made one small batch of jelly already and have more berries waiting in a bucket to be washed. Since Friday it has been raining off and on so I haven’t gotten out this weekend yet to pick more.

There are so many this year. It is a little surprising since we only have had 3.4 inches of rain this year (totaling from before this weekend’s rain). The rain must have come at just the right times.

I plan to pick more this week and make more jelly before the berries are too ripe. It’s hard to have too much agarita jelly!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival

I found out about this fun online quilt show over at Amy’s Creative Side. She has a online quilt festival twice a year and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it before. Already there are quite a few entries in the handquilted section! As I’ve only finished two quilts there aren’t many of mine to choose from to enter so I thought I’d stick with my first finished one. I suppose technically I’ve finished one before this wall hanging as a child and started a baby quilt but the baby quilt didn’t get finished until after I finished this wallhanging and the child made quilt is in an unknown location, probably my parents house.

Anyway, I’ve posted it before, the poodle/cat/goldfish wallhanging.

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All handquilted and appliqued. Not bad for a first time applique and design job I think. It still needs a label but it was finished in May of 2010.

I’m looking forward to getting back quilting E’s quilt maybe next week. The last two weeks I’ve been resting my right wrist and hand after straining it while grinding pork. I took off the splint today as it feels much better but I’m going easy with it, no lifting heavy things or jarring it.

New Chapter for E

E has been enrolled in a local school as of last week and is no longer homeschooling. There are only 3 more weeks left but generally he is happy about it. I’m happy about it too. It’s a good fit for him where he can be challenged, get the attention he craves, and socialize with other kids (he’s definitely an extrovert). Plus, I get the time I need to recharge to be a better mom and  also do the necessary mom tasks of gardening, cleaning, and laundry.

Looking back on the last almost 2 years, he really learned a lot during his homeschooling and not just academic things. He learned to sit and focus on the task even if it’s not fun. He learned to have more persistence in figuring out difficult problems. He learned that he has an imagination and is using it. He learned to teach himself.

If I knew about this school before about a month ago, I would have looked into it sooner. This last spring has been difficult for us. Lots of him trying to fight with me, screaming at me, and just plain anger the shows itself with verbal abuse from him at me. I’m sure some of it has to do with his past, but it’s unreasonable to think that’s the only thing that’s going on.

With the papers we now received from Taiwan, adoption #2 of F will start progressing. It was stalled for quite a while but only one more place to send papers for authentication before sending them back to Taiwan. Our agency said to expect to travel before the end of the year. We’ll see. It would be convenient to travel during E’s Christmas break I must admit. I’ll need to prepare to homeschool F, when he first comes. Reflecting, it was good to just focus on phonics/learning to write and learning the American math terms. Not pushing too hard, just feeling him out for his abilities and interests. Taking little day trips and exploring the outdoors. If he wants to go to school, E’s school would be a good place for him the following fall. All kids are different, so we’ll see what his preferences are when it comes to schooling and other things.

Gilded Nameplates

A few months ago I was asked to gild with 23k gold some wooden nameplates for a local artist. He attaches them to the frames of his oil paintings or to the base of the bronze. They list the title of the piece with the artist’s name underneath. The previous person who did it was no longer interested in doing the gilding. So I did some experimentation and told the calligrapher I’d do it. During that time she decided that she didn’t want to do the calligraphy anymore either so passed it to me as well.

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It’s ending up to be quite a nice side job that I do while E is working on schoolwork or on weekends.

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In fact, E has been requesting to go to school in the fall and no longer homeschool. I don’t want him to go to public school after looking at their textbooks (Common Core is a little disturbing as well to me, not that Texas implemented it but they are adopting some of the textbooks for neighboring states) so I had to look around for a private school for him. Fortunately this side job will work for covering the tuition and will help me to get ready for F’s arrival. No date yet but the papers are on the way here today for signatures! E attending school will also give me time to devote to F’s schooling and learning English.

Glorified Nine Patch Pattern

glorified nine patchBack in February, the Blanco Quilters on the Square (my local quilt guild) offered a class on piecing the glorified nine patch (also known as improved nine patch, circle upon circle, four leaf clover, nine patch variation, and Bailey nine patch) by machine. I’m not much of one to use my sewing machine since it seems to like sewing clothes better than quilt tops. I knew ahead of time that she was going to teach from these templates which seemed fine but I wanted a larger block, more in the neighborhood of 12″.

So I redrafted the pattern myself starting with this free one I found. I realized after printing Hanna’s quilt pattern that the circles weren’t very round and I really liked the secondary pattern it created with the circles. My compass wasn’t exact with its measurement so it was more difficult than it should have been. All the pieces will match up, not to worry.

So far I’ve hand stitched the nine patches and have yet to choose the melon seed shape fabric. I’ve had lots of suggestions over on the Celebrate Handquilting Facebook group page and will have to do some thinking. I’m not inclined to use white or cream only because it’s not very practical to keep clean with all our pets that share our bed with us.

** Note: This pattern has no seam allowances so you’ll need to add the 1/4″-1/8″. **

Glorified Nine Patch piecing pattern (PDF)

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