" The well of nature is full today..
Time to go outside and take a drink."

Diane Ackerman

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

WHERE THERE IS SMOKE...









THERE IS FIRE!


A "full air attack" is in progress
 and almost 1400 firefighters
 on the ground.

This is our latest battle
 with men and machines
 pitted against
 the elements of nature.

Planes and helicopters 
can be heard overhead constantly 
during most of the day 
and into the night.





This was the view
 from our front porch 
early Monday morning
 while the newspaper reported 
four firefighters
 had been injured
 and air lifted to a hospital in Davis,
 one in critical condition.





This shows ash
 on our car windshield
 this morning.

As of Sunday night,
 it was reported 
that 1500 acres were burning 
at 15% containment.

 As of Tuesday morning,
 the numbers were at 1700 acres
 and 25% containment. 
 Officials say
 they are hoping it will be fully contained by the end of the month.





As we were driving
 to the animal shelter this morning,
 every street corner
 and roadway
 seemed to be filled with firetrucks,
 shrouded in smoke,
 from all over the state.

 It was an overwhelming sight,
 one which I wasn't even fast enough
 to capture with my camera.

 Some were returning
 from fighting the fire all night
 and some were just leaving 
for another hard
 and tedious day.




The fairgrounds 
have been set up 
as a basecamp for firefighters 
and as an evacuation site
 for displaced animals.





It is amazing
 how dedicated these men and women are,
 many of them
 just returning from other fires.

  Our community is truly indebted
 to all of them.












~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





I added a couple of new pillows
 to the sofa in the sitting room. 
Here one is shown 
with one of the two
 I made last week. 
All fabric and pillow forms
 comes from JoAnn's...






...and I also chose
 some of my milk glass plates
 to round out the summer feeling
 in the room.





I've learned to make
 an envelope closure 
for the pillow backings
so now it will be much easier
 to change out the pillows seasonally
 and to store the numerous covers 
that I plan to make...
I am obsessed!


It's easy enough to do:


Cut two pieces of your fabric backing.

  One piece will be one-half the size
 of the finished pillow size
 and one piece will be three-quarters
 the size
 of the finished pillow.


Example:  Based on the finished size 
of a pillow measuring 
20 inches square.

Cut piece #1:(1/2 size) = 

20 X .5 = 10.0 

( cut piece #1 will measure: 10" X 20")


Cut piece #2: (3/4 size) =

20 X .75 = 15.o

(cut piece #2 will measure: 15" X 20")

On the 20" sides of each piece,
 fold fabric under 1/2"
 and fold under the same again. 
 Press and sew to a finished hem.

With right sides together,
 lay longest piece down
 at top of pillow front
 and the shortest piece down
 at bottom of pillow front.

 Make sure your finished hems 
run side to side
 and NOT top to bottom. 
 Line up all edges.

Stitch all the way round,
 about 1" from edge.

 Cut corners on diagonal, 
 and turn pillow inside out,
 making sure  all corners
 are fully turned out,
 and press.





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





I also found 
a brass lamp
 in a thrift shop
 for $5 and...





 ...turned it into
 a smart little number
 with metallic rubbed
 bronze spray paint
 and a burlap shade.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





Here is the progress
 I am making 
on the Cottage paint-by-number so far. 
 Not constant,
 but three days worth of work. 
 I can't sit
 too long at one time 
as it is hard on the eyes!

Any bets
 how long it will take 
at this rate?


Stay tuned!


...Judy...






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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

EASY AS 1 . 2 . 3 . ..









When I see a beautiful flower,
 I can look at it
 and see the contours and the shading 
and, in my head,
 it seems as though I could paint
 what I see. 
 But, put a brush in my hand
 and the doing of it 
is non-existent.






The sky is fascinating to me. 
 I see a cloud 
and it shows me the exact formations
 and how the coloring could be achieved
 but, again,
 if I were to take brush to canvas,
 the concept would
 elude me.





I did, however,
 back in the late 80's and early 90's,
 hand paint sweatshirts
 that I sold at craft fairs 
and I did sell a lot of them
 but,
 they would never
 have become a reality
 if I couldn't trace the picture first
 onto the shirt
 and then follow the exact placement
 of colors and shading 
that were shown in the example.





When I was a young girl 
the paint-by-number concept was born.
  What excitement there was
 when I could pick up a brush
 and create such a beautiful scene.

  I did a few 
and I seem to remember
 a lot of oranges, browns, and teal
 colors used 
but have no recollection 
of the actual finished subjects.

  The pictures have all gone 
the way of a lot of things 
that are a part of the past
 and remembered fondly.




A few pages from Country Living magazine
November, 1992, when the magazine was much thicker and cost only $2.50


Another fond memory I have
 is of the magazine, Country Living.

 I know the magazine
 is still being published,
 but I suppose that I just have
 an "old school" mentality 
and much prefer
 the magazines of old
 when they weren't 
so slick and shiny looking.

 Back in the day,
 Country Living had a page entitled 
"Simple Country Pleasures". 
It simply told little tales
 of by-gone days
 that were folksy
 and had a very specific meaning
 to the author,
 Jo Northrup.

They all were
 charming and delightful
 stories.





Over the years,
 I suppose it might not have been
 sophisticated enough 
for the new look 
and it was dropped,
 but...

Hallelujah!!
 For the last while
 the page has returned 
with a single photograph 
in the vintage vein
 and each wonderful photograph
 is available 
as a paint-by-number kit.

 The kits are $35
 and supply the art on a stretched canvas
 with all the paint and brushes needed
 to turn the picture 
into a masterpiece.

 The kits are provided by:  www.easy123art.com/countryliving

 I am not now,
 or ever have been,
 compensated by this company.
 All of the thoughts
 are entirely my own.





I have just completed this 
Christmas cow. 
 It was fun and easy to do
 and will be a great little addition
 to the festivities
 this year.




I also have this kit,
 featured in the current magazine,
 which I plan to start soon.






This kit just arrived yesterday
 and I am anxious to see how it goes.

 I sent one of my photos of the Cottage,
 into the company
 and a kit was made up for me.

 The cost for this was $60,
 which I thought was not a bad price
 for what I considered
 a sweet little keepsake
 of the Cottage.




This is the original photo
 that I sent in.

There were, I think,
 three different choices 
for how the kit could be printed. 
 The one I picked
 was 'detailed'
 because who wouldn't want
 an exact replica of the photo?? 
 Well,
 I think I might have made
 a horrible mistake,
 because look how many colors
 and how tiny they all are!!

 I may have a different opinion
 before I finish,
 but FINISH I will!

 It will be fun to see the outcome.

I will keep you informed.

...Judy...





"I adore simple pleasures.
They are the last
 refuge of the complex".

Oscar Wilde


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Thursday, July 16, 2015

AN ABUNDANCE OF COURAGE....










The other day 
I received a request for help
 from a very courageous lady.

 Her name is Heather Von St. James
  and she is pictured above
 with her husband, Cam and her daughter, Lily.

 She has been fighting
malignant pleural mesothelioma
for almost ten years.

She has been in touch 
with our blogging community
 as I have seen some posts
 concerning her plight 
from some of you.

I couldn't even imagine
 living my life 
with this diagnosis hanging 
over my head, 
but she is handling it with
 grace and strength
 and a need to educate others 
about this disease.

Here is a  website
 that can be helpful to anyone
 who wants to learn more:





Having just completed 
my 12th year as a participant
 involved with the Avon Breast Cancer Walk,
 I have seen so many 
strong women
 who have experienced,
 first hand,
 a connection with cancer.

  It really doesn't matter
 the type of cancer
 or where it started in your body.

 Just hearing the word
 can put a person
 in such a deep hole
 that it is sometimes very hard
 to crawl out of.

In my life so far,
 cancer has touched me numerous times.

  Friends, grandparents, parents,
 aunts, uncles, nephew,
 son, daughter and myself.






While I was reading 
Heather's blog post,
 I was struck by how
 my daughter's hearing of the news
 that she had cancer
 was so similar
 to the way Heather experienced it.

 We were sitting on her bed,
 Tami holding Jake at 9 years of age
 on her lap, 
not knowing at that time 
what the outcome would be.

I experienced mine 
quite differently. 
 Our son was very sick
 and in the hospital
 when I was diagnosed with 
endometrium cancer.

 I couldn't take the time
 to think about myself
 as his illness 
was all I could manage.

During this year's walk, 
Tami's 12th year as a breast cancer survivor,
 she came in first place
 out of 2000 entrants.

 The walk is not a race
 and she didn't approach it in that way.
  Her foremost thoughts are 
that "this disease will never beat me"
 and this is her
 mantra and reason 
for walking each year.

As in Heather's case,
 my daughter's and myself,
 early detection and treatment 
were prime issues.

 Without those in place
it is doubtful 
that any of us 
would still be around 
to see our children grow 
and to live
 a fulfilled life.

We must all have hope.
  If hope is taken away
 we really have nothing left.
  To understand 
and to take care
 of our lives and our bodies, 
please
 make annual appointments
 with your doctors 
and continue
 to raise awareness 
when you can.





I wish the very best
 to Heather and her family 
and for her continuing health
 and to anyone
 who might be confronted 
with this terrible disease.

I am so proud of anyone
 who has to stare this thing in the face 
and then come out 
on the other side!

 Be sure to read Heather's blog (www.mesothelioma.com/heather/survivor).

It is a story 
you will not
 soon forget.

A lot of money is raised 
throughout the world 
and we can only hope 
that it is going
 to the right places 
so that a cure for cancer 
in general
 will be found soon.


...Judy...