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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Summer wrap up

Hi guys! Still alive. I have been neglecting my blog. I post almost daily on Instagram as it is quicker, so please do search me out there at hopeandjoyhome. I have been busy as a bee this summer.   Thanks to Google images I found out the above wildflower that I see often in the ditches around here is chicory..what did we do before Google? Lol. This fat bee seemed to enjoy it.

We attended an estate auction of a McCoy collector and boy did we buy McCoy! This is the back of our Explorer on the way home. Over 400 pieces...we couldn't even wrap it! I am slowly working my way through the boxes and learning a lot about McCoy and Brush McCoy pieces on the way. Some are going to Ebay but most are going to my Etsy shop,

 We went "home" to SD to visit family and attend our all school reunion. They are tearing down the old school to build a new one. These are some of the bee hives in my dad's back pasture.They don't tend them, someone else does and gives them honey in exchange.

 We also checked out the "crop circles" they discovered since they started putting the pasture up for hay after he sold his cows (retired). Can you see the darker ring here? The tracks in the middle are from our vehicle and should show how big these are. There are 3-4 that they found. The grass in the ring area is darker green, thicker and taller than the surrounding grass even though it is the same weird!

 A shot up the ladder of the town's grain elevator.

Dad's barn and mom's hollyhocks.

Some pieces I worked on this summer.

 Unfortunately my husband was right, my garden was herb wagon survived though!

My daughter's garden was majestic. She kept me supplied with garden produce all summer!

 Our grandson turned 9 and we celebrated with him at his house.

Our grand daughter had her cleft palate surgery and it was stressful but successful. The closed the holes in her palate.

I found some rusty goodies in SD. This is one of several cast iron stove finials I bought. They look like farmhouse trophies!

The last few weeks have been rainy.

I have been hauling our son Jack to golf games. It has been interesting as he just started golfing the first part of July! Some "character building" moments. I told him, you improve each time, you don't cry, cuss, quit or throw things..I am proud of you!

We did get caught in this monsoon of a rainstorm. we were driving back to the clubhouse pedal to the metal..lost his hat once and golf bag twice! We were soaked but laughing. "You are driving like a maniac!" "We are on a golfcourse next to a lake under trees in the pouring rain..we are going to be hit by lightning..yes I am driving like a maniac!" Lol..memories for sure.

 I have been fiddling with patina-izing brass. This pic has been bumped up a bit in editing.

Mostly just greeting each day and seeing where it takes me. Hope you are having a great summer! Til next time! Julia

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