Friday, July 19, 2019

The Heat is Here

Hi there! It is almost the weekend and the heat is here! It is supposed to be an unhealthy hot for so many people this weekend. If that is you, please stay smart and try to be cool!
Today I will begin with a tag for Tag Tuesday and their Circle challenge.

I used images from a set of Paper Artsy stamps and I also pulled out my label maker the other day.  It's been gathering dust in its cubby for a few years now. I also played with a bit of acetate and stamping also.
And since the heat is on, let me show you this funny self portrait I did in my summer journal. I made this back in late June when the water was still pretty cold. All is drawn and hand painted except for the little word clouds which I hand cut out and stamped with the brrr phrase.
I am linking up to Chris' challenge at Art Journal Journey because today we are all go swimming. Hope you know how, but if not, you can always just wade in a bit.
Have a great start to your weekend.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Travel Journal Views

Happy Thursday or whatever day it is you stop by to visit.  We're in between one warm and humid day and the real heat arriving tomorrow. Sounds like this weekend is going to be very hot, not just for me but for a big part of both the US and parts of Canada. (Stay cool if you are in the heat please.)
I'll warn you, today's post is rather long.
So this week I have been splitting some of my time between working on cleaning out some "stuff" in the basement and making art. One thing I am working on is my travel journal from my summer adventure. Here's a few views.
 This page flips open. I made the background with some cut out from a North Dakota agriculture brochure I picked up (and actually read as I was curious about what was growing in all the fields). I used matte medium to attached the cut outs and then once dry, I gave them a rub with some brown ink. After that I laid out my page and decided where I needed to add a bit of white paint. Then I added some assorted paraphernalia from the stash, as well as some green velvet trim and a long scrapbooking sticker.
And when you flip open this page, you get this map inside.
 I found this map in another freebie travel brochure and after attaching it,  I used Sharpies to outline our routes. I used a few stickers as well as some other travel brochure cut outs. I stamped the pickup truck on the bottom right as added it as it seems white pickups are the thing in North Dakota. (A lot of them of oil company vehicles but I don't think they all are.) I also stamped our little blue rental vehicle and ran off some facts from the internet which I also added.
One place we visited was Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park outside of Bismarck. A woman on the plane had recommended it to us. My page and half spread right below focuses on the US military end of the park, but I am also in process of working on a page that shows the Mandan Native Americans, which this park also has a great learning area about. 
Here's a bit of a background and about why we visited, other than it is there and we were passing by: Many years ago  we had visited the Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana, which was General George Armstrong Custer's last stand in a battle with the Northern Plains Indians for land and freedom back in the 1870's. I have to say The Little Bighorn battlefield was a very moving place for me.  Not because of Custer, but because of the Native American speaker we listened to that day who was an extremely gifted storyteller and also really made the battle come alive. And I'm not even into battles. (Maybe I like this one because the Native Americans actually won this one-although not the war.)
Anyhow, Fort Abraham Lincoln is where Custer and his troops were stationed and set out from before that battle, never to return.  You can tour the house where he and his wife were living, as well as barracks, etc. 
For those of you unfamiliar with this story, the postcard partially covered on the right is a vintage photo of Custer. 
 My spread is a collection of brochure cut outs, the wristband we wore in the park, as well as a few other bits and pieces.
 We also visited a National Historic site called Fort Union which was a trading post right on the Montana/North Dakota line. This page above is about the side trip. The postcard does lift up and I added some written info underneath.
 And here is a couple of tags I made for the book. I showed you photos last week of the Enchanted Highway and below is the back of this tag. I wanted to remember where we stayed just in case I ever need to know that.

And here's a few related photos to my pages and things I mentioned above in the post.
Here is part of the Mandan Indian Village at Fort Abraham Lincoln that I mentioned.
We also drove by the North Dakota State Capitol, which is  shown on this same page. It was lunch time and we were passing through the area so we drove in to find a place to eat and figured we might as well check it out while we were there.
It is the tallest building in the state.
 A view of the inside of Fort Union Trading Post that I mentioned. And below is the outside view. The reason there at Teepees here is that this was a trading fort in the early 1800's with both the Native Americans and the Canadian trading posts in the area.
And this next photo is one of the silly things that I love. Fort Union sits right on the border between North Dakota (this part of the state is in Central Time) and Montana (which is in Mountain Time), making them  one hour apart. Look at the time on my husband's and my phones.
I was in mountain time and he was in central time.
Too bad I had that pop up to cover Maddie's face on mine.
And since I took you on a journey today, I can say we're all going to North Dakota, which means I shall be linking up to Chris' challenge at Art Journal Journey.

OK, enough written. Thanks for reading through all this and hope you stay cool.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Art In The Garden

Hi everyone. Hope everyone is having a nice week so far.
Last week I met up with an arty friend. My friend has recently rented studio space in an art cooperative. The cooperative was having a paint in the garden morning where us guests could set up shop and have some art time in the garden. A few members of the coop were there as well as their guests. We all set up in the garden and did whatever it was we were inclined to create. Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos until right at the end when I was cleaning up. But it was inspiring to be around some very talented women, mostly painters and to be inspired and even challenged to take my art up a notch.
But you can see in the top photo what I was working on. This abstract fireworks  page was actually completed before my garden morning.
And this night view page was my main focus that morning.
If you look you can see that is does look different here from in the top photo.
I was trying to paint a night tree scene and then add some fireflies. I have been watching them lately as this seems to be a good summer for them.
But painting fireflies at night was a double learning lesson for me. (I love that about art, figuring how to present something that is in your head, even if it doesn't come out anything like you see it in your head. )
First of all, painting trees at night was a challenge because of course the sky is black as are the trees. I I used shiny metallic black paint for the trees and a really dark blue for the sky. But then one of the talented ladies at the garden art time was painting with some purple, so I decided to try that to create the leaves. I really love how that worked.
And my second painting issue was to create the lighted effect of fireflies. I wanted the effect of the glow and the bright light those insects create when they flash. (Maybe you already know  the males flash to attract a mate.) So I played with yellow and some iridescent paint along with a baby wipe.
I think the colors here are a bit truer than the top.
But anyhow, it was a productive and fun morning, and even though I don't think I have fully mastered painting at night (not by a long shot), I learned a lot and am fairly happy with my journal page.
So I am going to link up my page to 2 challenges. First of all to Moo Mania and their latest Summer Holidays challenge.
And second of all to Chris' fun challenge at Art Journal Journey as We're All Going into the yard at night to watch the fireflies.
That's all for me today.
Thanks for visiting.

Monday, July 15, 2019

T Stands for a Celebrattion

Hi everyone. This Tuesday we celebrate.
Happy 6th year to T Stands for Tuesday And a big thanks to lovely Elizabeth for hosting that long too. We wouldn't have this great place to meet and share our drink related posts if it wasn't for you!
So let's raise our glasses in a toast to celebrate.
Last Saturday we went out to lunch with my sister-in-law and her husband. We all got on the boat and motored over to BG's Boathouse,  a restaurant right on the water.  You can see Sagamore Creek, the little river, in the far background.
 My sister-in-law, herr husband and myself shared a pitcher of red wine sangria. It was refreshing and fruity on a hot Saturday afternoon.

And you can see we had some water too.
I forgot to take a photo of my glass of sangria.
And we also had lunch. I definitely needed food if I was going to have alcohol. The guys had fried fish sandwiches but my sister-in-law and myself each had lobster rolls. (Lobster is low in calories,as long as you don't add lots of mayonnaise,  and is caught right out in Sagamore Creek as well all around the local area.)
And here's a view of BG's Boathouse from the water.
Hope to see you over at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's for the party.
And thanks for visiting my blog today.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sunday Chatter

Happy end of the weekend everyone. Here we are having hot weather, and I am in lazy mode this morning since last week was fun but quite busy. (If you are curious from my last post, my single kidney function was at a healthy level and now I am done going into Boston and my regular doctor can just monitor it-hurrah for no more medical trip to Boston. I hope we don't need any more forever-or at least for a very long time.)
 I slept in until 9 today, which is really late for me. I guess I needed it.
So today I want to begin with a tag for Tag Tuesday, which I think I am just squeezing in at the end of the Here Comes the Sun challenge.
 I've had a little bit of time to start working on my Dakota trip journal, and I made this tag for one of the pages. When we were driving across North Dakota I noticed so many birds from the passenger seat of the car; everything from swans, white pelicans, yellow headed blackbirds, red winged blackbirds and a whole lot more. As it was impossible to take photos (or get my husband to pull over either), I am using images from an old bird book I have.  Those images are probably better than my photos would be anyhow.
The tag is a part of the page and I included it in the photo there and not by itself because it makes more sense on the page.
  I went to clean the filter on my washer the other day and it was stuck, plus the machine wasn't draining 100%, so the handy hubby took it apart on Friday evening. Today it is going back together so keep your fingers crossed that it works 100% when I go to try it out.
 And when I couldn't clean the washer I started cleaning this basement overflow closet. I haven't finished but already took 2 bags to a local charity place. I hope this upcoming week I can finish that project. Right now my basement is a disaster.
And my garden is a busy place.
 I went out this morning and was taking photos of this Canadian Swallowtail butterfly on the milkweed flowers in my garden.
 And while I photographing the swallowtail look what came flying over.
This monarch butterfly. exactly why I kept the milkweeds in my garden.

And flowers are blooming.
 Coreopsis and daisies. I think the cool wet spring really made the gardens go into overtime bloom this summer.
 My grade plant is growing out of control. I have no idea if I will get grapes or if I can get them to fruit as I have no idea about growing fruit plants.

 And this week one of my hydrangeas started to blossom. One is not looking good because of the deer who keep eating it, and one died last winter and I just replaced it with a small new plant.
 And there are still a fair amount of roses.

 This dragonfly was the most luscious shade of green, although this is not a good photo.
 Hummingbirds are sucking down lots of food.
 And besides my shadow, can you notice all those brown specks? For some reason we have all these ants on the sidewalk.
As you can see, my little piece of nature is just bustling with activity. 
Hope all is well with you, and thanks so much for stopping by to visit.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Enchanted Highway Part 2

Hi everyone. This is a pre-post since I am off to Boston and my very last kidney donor check up appointment. For me at least, I can put that chapter of life behind me after today's appointment.
I guess it will never be quite fully behind me unless I get rid of my husband, (smile), which I am not planning on doing. At least most of the time. (Smile).
So today more photos from the Enchanted Highway. If you missed yesterday's post, you can see the first photos of these amazing statues.
I don't know why I didn't get a front view photo of these grasshoppers. But I was totally taken by the big metal grass stalks.
And this one below is my favorite. Its called Fisherman's Dream.

This first view may not be much but look at this little guy in the boat below.

This statue was so large I couldn't get it all into the frame on my photo, even with a wide angle lens. And I wish I had something to show you how tall this was, but sorry. I don't.
Isn't the whimsy in these statues fun?
And then there was another fun one called pheasants.

And yes, compared to where I live it is so flat here. (Elizabeth this is to answer your comment.) On my daily walk, I have hills. In fact my fitbit tells me I have done 37 flights of steps at the end of my walk. And I have a 3000+ foot mountain about 20  minutes away from me. I know that is not a really tall mountain, but compared to North and South Dakota, where I live is really hilly. Plus New England is loaded with trees, so the open land in the Dakotas really gives you a long distance view that we don't have in my world either.
Yet even though it is different than New England, this "flat" land  is still really beautiful. That's the good thing about traveling  and seeing how amazing the world is in different places.
OK, that's enough chatting for me today.  Have  a great start to your weekend.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Enchanted Highway, Part 1

 Hi everyone. I am stopping by today with some photos from the North Dakota portion of my trip. Today I will take you down a road called the Enchanted Highway. 
This highway is the brainchild of a teacher/artist who lives at one end of the highway and who was trying to find  way to get people to come to his town. Along with farmers, he constructed these giant sculptures  at different points along the road.
You can read his story here: Enchanted Highway Story.
This first photo is a sculpture called Geese in Flight. It is huge. You can see my husband standing below it. And again maybe you can see him here walking in front of it.
 This sculpture was the first one we saw as it right alongside the main highway  94 where we were traveling (outside of Dickinson, North Dakota). I had read about these sculptures and so we got off the highway and did the trip down  the Enchanted Highway.
A whole flock of geese greet you as you drive up to the base of the main sculpture.
And then we were off to see the other pieces.
 Leaping Deer
 This fun farm family.
You can see these sculptures are basically in farmers fields, but they all had little parking lot pull offs. It was evening when we arrived, but we still met other cars taking the same journey.

And a Teddy Roosevelt and Rough Riders sculpture. Teddy Roosevelt was a US president back in the early 1900's who spent some time in his younger years ranching in western North Dakota. One of the National Parks we visited was Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which is found in the area of western North Dakota's badlands where he ranched.

Here's some non-sculpture views from along the Enchanted Highway.

As you can see, these sculptures are not in a high population area. But what a great way to get attention.
I'll be back with some more photos from the drive another day as I think this post is pretty long.
Hope your day is going well!