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Friday, May 19, 2017

Garden of Weedin

We have lived at this home for almost 20 years and I have fought a Battle Royale every year to try and get a decent garden. My mom and dad have a nice garden and I was raised weeding and watering. My gramma had huge garden complete with an apple orchard. I remember trailing behind her eating raw kohlrabi, seeing her giant cabbages and her pantry with jars of tomatoes, pickles, beets, homemade horseradish and sauerkraut and tons of applesauce, Her pantry smelled of dried sage and dill. My mother in law's garden was huge and spectacular. MY garden has tree roots from hell, crazy weeds, rogue morning glories and critters that munch things in the night. MY garden actually started on FIRE last year..that should give you an inkling of my skills! To be fair, my son was burning some brush and left the fire unattended after it had burned awhile. Something rolled out and caught my raised beds wood on fire and it spread from bed to bed! *sigh*

THIS Spring my husband said "Why even try will just be a disaster?" Which I saw as both hurtful and a challenge. (This is some fire proof garden "art" I made from metal sculpture "curls" and a copper crane I bought at a couple different estate sales. The crane now has a nest!)

Some volunteer lettuce from my horrible garden from last year. I just planted new seeds around it. My garden started as hard red Tennessee clay. Every year I have added bags and bags and pounds and bales of compost, manure, humus,top soil and even straight up Miracle Gro potting soil! I'd hate to think of the dollar amount for that dirt!

I also had a ton of volunteer marigolds. I always feel bad about weeding out viable plants so I just moved them to the edges out of the way of my spinach.

The only bed that escaped the inferno of '16! It only has a year or 2 left before it crumbles from age. I left the Queen Anne's Lace as it wasn't bothering anything. It is technically a weed here, but I like it,

I moved a bunch of strawberry plants that had grown out of their spot and into the lawn (Probably trying to make a break for it) You can see another volunteer passion flower vine at the edge. A wildflower here.

At the end in front of the slightly singed compost bins I planted hills of watermelon and butternut squash. This is my trial of the year. I dug up the space, spread thick "Painter's paper" and weighed it down with a few old glass insulators I had in the garden. I cut holes and deep dug where I wanted to plant. I am hoping I won't have to weed there this year.

There is mint at the edge of the garden..I do have to keep an eye on this or it would overtake the whole garden!

Some of the insulators. I use these for decoration and I put them on top of stakes to keep from poking an eye out.

This is oregano in front of the crane ..also a plant it once and it grows all over plant. So. When my husband said "Why even try?" It raised my hackles. Why even try at ANYTHING? Why try if you think it might or even will certainly fail? Why even try if it won't be as good as other's? Because  I have HOPE. I have vision. I have dreams. They may or may not come to fruition but I know what will happen if I do not even try..NOTHING. It is not about the results..the thing is the TRYING..The ATTEMPT, the blind stupid stubborn HOPE. So I dig..I plant ..I water and weed. If all else fails I will plant some zinnia seeds and if everything else goes to hell (and barring another fire) I will at least have cheerful flowers!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Lilah Grace

So much has changed since my last post. Febuary 12 our grand daughter Miss Lilah Grace came into the world.

Older brother Hunter was instantly in love.

Unfortunately she was born with a cleft palate..but fortunately it was contained to the top of her soft palate area and was not as bad as it could have been Lots of stress andLilah and her parents spent several days in the NICU of the local Children's Hospital. There were so many babies there in much worse shape we actually felt lucky.Once she learned to nurse from a special bottle and started gaining weight she was released to go home.

Her mom was able to take some time off from grad school to be with her in her first months.

She was soon smiling...

Even though for awhile her looks were more of the judgmental variety!

She is a happy girl and the apple of several sets of eyes.

She has come over at least once a week or I go see her for my "Lilah fix".

With her Momma today. She will have a mostly cosmetic surgery to close her palate in late summer. A bumpy start but we praise the Lord daily for Miss Lilah. And now you know where I have been! You can always find me on Instagram at hopeandjoyhome. I post there a lot more often as it is quicker and for me a lot more social interaction than pretty much talking to myself here! I will TRY to get back to more regular posting. Hope you have all been well and see you soon! Til next time. Julia

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Year end wrap up

 Hi guys! Still here.. for awhile I was hanging on by a thread but I am moving on strong into 2017. 2016 was crazy. We married off both of our daughters, Alexa in January and Hope in June. I found out this summer we were going to be grandparents again. Alexa and her husband are expecting a little girl , our first granddaughter the end of Feb. first of March. We have helped her and Shane paint a lot in their first home as paint and pregnancy don't mix well.

 I don't know if anyone really reads my blog so I shall blather on. I usually do not talk about politics a lot..actually very rarely, and this fall I was reminded WHY. I had a lot of friends in a chat team for years that totally turned after the election on anyone that didn't vote for HC. It was shocking and ugly and really hurtful. I can't even type the things that I and others were called. I didn't leave the team, I keep thinking I might go back but I really doubt it. Even if they didn't say anything personally, there were so many that said nothing in defense. Oh well. Jo Packham from Somerset magazines had an editorial in the last issue of Where Women Create about just

 removing yourself from the ugliness of the election and moving on with yourself so that is my plan.

 I actually signed up for my first online workshop ever by Heather Tracy via The Graphics Fairy website. It seems good and I have learned some cool new techniques.Still some more of it to view. I decided to stop putting ME off for later! Something many women are guilty of I am sure. Just DO it..dive in! I have even chatted with Heather via Facebook on the Graphics Fairy page and she was so encouraging and sweet to me..I about cried!

 I have been posting most days on Instagram and have found a welcoming community there. (find me at hopeandjoyhome)

                     Lots of mixed media artists and crazy shabby doll people! :)

 December was extremely stressful with many family issues and a "super fun" screening colonoscopy in the middle of it.( PS the prep was awful but the procedure was like a day at the spa..slept through the whole thing..if your Dr. says you should get one, just do it and get it over with!). The joys of being 50! I did what I could Christmas wise and it all turned out cards sent or candy made but we survived. I did get the tree up and went with simple ornaments and it was pretty. Sometimes trying to do all the stuff you "used to do" is just too much!

 Moving on with the new year. I got  BigKick embosser/die cut machine for Christmas to play with and abuse so that should be fun! I rarely use things in the way they are intended! These pix are of some mixed media dolls I made recently. Almost all vintage parts. More to come!

So my New Years resolutions are to count my blessings, hold my family close, embrace my true friends and make new ones, to leave behind what held me back and to try new things in 2017. Wishing all of you peace and blessings in 2017! Til next time, Julia

Monday, October 10, 2016

Faux grainsack feedsack fabric DIY Part 2

Part 2 (finally) of my faux fabric grainsack pumpkins ..stems and leaves, For the stems I wanted black tape. I thought washi wouldn't be sticky enough so I hit Walmart and bought a roll of 3M Ducktape in black..this isn't the super shiny duct is more like black masking tape. Then I went home did a few chores and couldn't find my tape. Insert an hour of searching the house, the car,the lawn in between them and stewing over whether my sleeping husband had somehow hidden my roll of tape from me just to drive me crazy..add some cussing and another trip to Walmart. On trip 2 I also got black glitter scrapbook paper and some wire. (Found the tape behind the laundry hamper the next day..apparently it was in the bag with my husband's new work socks and when I football passed it over the upstairs railing into our bedroom's bathroom door it fell out and bounced off) This game of hide and seek is optional and not advised!

 I drew a pumpkin leaf pattern and traced it on back of the glitter paper.

 The reverse of this paper is white and I wanted it double sided. You could back it with another piece of the glitter paper, but I wanted something "texty" and I had an old German dictionary that had a gothic-y font. The easiest way to back a shape is to glue the shape right onto the backing paper, THEN cut it out..perfect match!

 Snip, snip, snip...

 I then picked a spot above the stem and folded a line from the leaf points to that spot.

Then I folded the dips between the points gives the leave's not just flat.

 They had black wire but it wasn't thick enough for my taste so instead of a few feet for $3, I got a pack of floral wire, 30 stems for 97 cents!

 I wrapped the tape around the wire on a diagonal.

 Then wrapped the wire around a paintbrush (pen, pencil, screwdriver..whatever you have)

 Uncurl, tape the leaf to one end (roll the stem bit around the wire end and add more tape)

I wrapped the curly wire around the taped stem a couple times leaving a curly tail..and done! I originally wanted black felt leaves on these with white machine stitched veins but some Greedy Gus (I may have had another name for them) had bought up every piece of black felt in my local Walmart so since I have zero patience for waiting until later..paper it was! Either could work. I also think black and white toile or wool tweed would be great. I like to use what I have and if possible find a cheap option for supplies. Good luck with your pumpkins! Stop again! Julia

Sunday, October 2, 2016

DIY grain sack feedsack fabric pumpkins Part1

 Hi guys! We are doing an antique/vintage show this weekend in Clinton, TN..the Clinch River Fall Antique show They also have a spring show. I wanted something "seasonal" to mix in with our vintage and antiques. Orange pumpkins are not really my cup of tea and I wanted something more permanent to sell. I wanted white with black script and I had made faux grain sack before so I thought WTH..let's try that! (You could use any fabric )

 I haven't finished the stems and leaves yet, but I wanted to share what I had finished so far.

 Only one side of the pumpkin has graphics, but you could put them all over..or even use rubber stamps and a permanent inkpad. You could use any fonts. graphics, sayings or even black and white line illustrations (check The Graphics Fairy online).

 I used names from my family tree. Here I picked a favorite number 3, my great great grandpa's name (Jacob Hardi) the village in Switzerland he was from (in Glarus) and a random old number.

  I used vintage 5 pound sugar sacks but any cotton muslin would work. I used the bags that had some rust marks and aged them further by spritzing lightly with mini travel hairspray squirt/spray bottles (the kind from the travel section of Walmart/Kmart etc that you use to fill and take on an airplane) that I filled with brown and gray Rit Dye. A few light spritzes and I put them in a 9x13 cake pan and covered them with strong hot coffee for a couple minutes. I rang them out and rinsed them in the sink under the faucet and ran them through the dryer with a dark towel (in case there was dye transfer) I wanted the grungy but not super dark (my personal choice).

 I picked a antique-y calligraph-y looking font and printed it out on my laser printer in reverse (has to be a laser printer to work  and has to be printed in reverse). I use Print Shop a cheap  ($20 then at Staples) 2008 version and use the headline maker to get bigger letters.

 I used Citrasolv concentrated cleaner to make the transfer. I am lucky that they sell it in my local grocery store, but I think you can also get it online (Amazon).

 I wetted a cottonball ..not super wet with the Citrasolv... I taped the print face down with packing tape over my fabric at the top edge catching the edge of the paper, fabric and the board I had underneath. Don't tape over the graphics.

Then a wipe or 2 of the Citrasolv..NOTE too much will give you a blurry transfer. I only worked on one "line" at a time and worked the first name, then the second. It just works better that way..the letters blur less and the Citrasolv doesn't dry before you get to transfer everything.

 I rubbed firmly with the edge of a spoon..I went over it all well 3-4 times and up and down seems to wiggle the paper less than side to side. Make sure you go over every bit firmly.

 It also helps to hold the paper above and below the area you are rubbing. Again, I only taped it at the top with packing tape catching paper, fabric and some of the board I had underneath (NOTE do not do this on a NICE tabletop!! Use something underneath like a piece of scrapwood or a plastic your table top!

 Here I peeked to make sure I had hit everything.(don't untape the top edge) You can carefully relay the paper and rub more if you need to.

 Here is the whole transfer..this one says New Glarus for where they ended up..New Glarus, Wisconsin. (This was my other great grandpa's name) I probably have distant relatives still there.. I need to visit one of these days!

 I decided to make it look sectioned with jute twine. Buy this from the hardware is cheaper than the same stuff in the craft section!

 I held the end between my thumb and index finger and wrapped it around my elbow 3 times. (Approx 16-18"?)

 You should have 6 strings. I tied a knot in one end and clipped the loops on the other end.

 My bags varied from 7-8 inches wide and 12-14 inches long. If you are using new fabric, cut a rectangle approx. 7 x 14 and fold it in half and sew the 2 sides shut to make an open topped bag (before doing the transfer)Turn right side out, transfer the graphics then I let it dry overnight to let the excess Citrasolv dry but a couple hours should work. I just didn't want anything smearing. Turn inside out and center  the knot in the middle of the bottom edge and loosely gather/bunch the sides to the middle.

 Tie it off with a rubber band under the knot.

 Turn right side out..

 and stuff about 2/3's full with fiberfill. NOTE I find it much cheaper to buy a new $2-$3 fiberfill pillow than a $6-$8 bag of fiberfill! Snip it open at the top seam and use the fluff.

 Space the twines around the pumpkin where you want and add another rubberband around the extra fabric and twines like a pumpkin ponytail.

Fiddle the twines into place where you want them and give each one a pull to tighten and indent. Part 2 will be finishing the stem and adding leaves..stop back!