Sunday, October 19, 2014

 The beautiful fall explosion of color in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

We took a drive roughly 30 miles along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park today. The difference from just two weeks ago is unreal in terms of the color. This is my favorite time of year here, but truthfully, the mountains make it pretty all year long.

Shenandoah River serpentines through the valley.

Texture on the ground...liked the mix of green grass, pine needles, and multiple leaf colors. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New Sketch Challenge

The internet is a beautiful thing. I'm amazed how much is out there to inspire. The hardest part about card making, scrapbooking, or really, any paper craft is the layout, especially when you've not been in the habit of creating things. Eventually your own vision takes over and you come up with layouts on your own, but for now, wow it's making things just happen. Sketches have long been a springboard for creativity. It's like a puzzle you assemble, but you make up your own pieces. I came across Freshly Made Sketches Blog yesterday so decided to play along with this week's sketch.
The stamps are from The Stamps of Life, Branches4Flowers and the patterned paper is from Basic Gray, Green at Heart paper stack.

Rainy days

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there really is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather." -John Ruskin     

I often stand in this spot with my morning coffee. Some mornings, when I'm up early enough or season is right, I catch the sunrise over what we call in the neighborhood, "Mt. Wakeland". It's a man made berm with trees between two phases of our planned suburban community. Not at all a mountain by local standards, but it's all we've got in our back yards. The back of our house faces several other homes, and toward the east and the sunrises are usually beautiful. Today, I just look at the mud that remains from a patio installation (ahem, reinstallation) this summer, the withering remains of a cherry tomato plant among other hodge podge plant items, the patio furniture that needs to just go, and the soon to be minor stream that will present itself in the corner of the yard. I also remember that the cleaning people came on Monday and by days end their work on my kitchen tile will be for nothing what with the dogs' paws tracking the gunk inside. 
     Fall has descended on the Shenandoah Valley and daily the palette of color changes around us.   It is by far my favorite season here and one of the reasons I immediately fell in love with this area when we moved four years ago.
     Today, it's a dreary gray color with steady falling rain. Too much rain. This is the type of day that I always think of my grandmother, Adele. I often call her on days like this, thankful I still can, but a week from today I'll be visiting with her, so I forego the call. When I was little these were the days that the electric bill be damned, every light in her house was on. I sometimes do this myself to brighten things up a bit, to attempt to ignore the blah.
     Today though I'm just listening to the steady drip drop on the siding and windows and enjoy the peace it brings. I notice how green the grass still is and has remained most of the mild summer. I like green. I hear the occasional starting of the sump pump in the basement, which is music to the ears. I process through some emails, look at some creative stuff online, pay a few bills, pour another cup of coffee, and get ready to tackle the mess I created for myself in my guest room when I moved furniture to the den for my craft stuff. Kent's parents are coming Friday, and the current state of the guest room is well, not conducive to guests.
     I could complain about the rain, but why? It's just another kind of good weather.
Edited: Guest room put back together. I'm glad to have comfort in the fact that my normal rotation of house  guests don't really care too much if there's a few things lying around or things are put in the closet out of sight. It's tidy and functional. ��

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Christmas motivation

For the nearly 4 years since we moved to Virginia from Indiana I had my craft area set up in the basement. It's unfinished so I really had as much space as I wanted or needed. The problem is my previous space in Indiana was full of light and in a more public area of the house. This led to many harmonious hours of creative time without having to hide away from the family in the dark.
I would go downstairs here and there and try to focus and get some things done, but it just never felt right. I've also spent a lot of time the last few years getting healthy, eating right, exercising, reading, etc. I've also gotten away from the cards and paper stuff and into more art journaling and painting...sort of spread my wings a bit. I definitely need the creative outlet though, and always have felt more in balance when I'm doing something with the fun supplies I've hoarded  accumulated over the last 12ish years. 

Last week I made a plan to move my supplies to our office/den right off the family room.  This meant resolving myself to the idea that the dogs' kennels would need to be in an unused area of our formal dining room...they can move the one time a year we actually use that room. It's been a good move thus far. I'm finding I feel like creating again. And that's a good thing for me. 

I've reconnected with Splitcoaststampers and found lots of inspiration and some challenges that are helping me get back my creative vibe. It's overwhelming to look at the vast selection of images I have on hand to work with so I'm focusing on one or two companies which seem to speak to me right now. 

I remember from before that I am more motivated when I have a goal or a purpose in my work. So, with the Christmas season coming up, I may 'practice' a bit with images that I can send out the door when the time comes. Used to be I'd make duplicate cards, one to keep, one to send, but thanks to digital more. The majority of what I'll be making will be given to someone. Lucky friends and family! 

About this card: Stamps are from The Stamps of Life, set is Holly4Christmas. Papers are from The Paper Studio Old World Winter pack.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Lovely as a tree.... always a classic.

A male friend had an accident a couple weeks ago. I wanted to do something nice for him and his wife as they welcome us to their home always, and I value their friendship a great deal. It is always a challenge to come up with a masculine card for a guy. Well Lovely as a Tree, Stampin Up! is a classic choice. It always works. I used some patterned paper I had in my stash, and coordinating solid papers and inks. The image is stamped on glossy paper. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Daughter is 14....and likes owls.

This week I brought all my fun creative things upstairs from the basement to the den right off the family room. In the process I found a lot of unused things from The Stamps of Life. My daughter loves owls right now, and her birthday is tomorrow, so it was logical to come up with something in her favorite colors of pink and green. The set is called Owls2Love, it's from a couple years ago. She loved it! I know it's typical to be specific as to what was used in these things, but I have so much stuff that I am trying to use through, I have no idea where most of my things came from. I'll do my best to describe. 


     Some of you may be returning because I let you know I was restarting this blog thingy. While the name is the same, none of the old content is here because, well, it's old content. If you are really that interested, I can figure out how to grant you private access to the old blog. I read through it last night and this morning and it was some good stuff, but I just couldn't click the button to reactivate it and editing things that were very out of date was too daunting.
     I shut it down several years ago because I just felt too 'out there'. Social media has evolved to such a degree that it seems like you always have a window into your life and something had to go. I'm a different person now, in a different place in my life, with different things to share and the purpose of restarting the blog is to, well, restart.
     For those of you who are new, welcome. Originally I blogged to share my paper crafting (cards, scrapbooking, etc) with the folks I interacted with in that circle, and EVERYONE had a blog. I still interact with a few of them and I hope they visit again. I plan to do a little of that again, plus photography, writing, etc.
     Over time, the 'Old' Watercolor Garden evolved into a place where I could discuss the random stuff that went through my mind and satisfy that writers urge. Facebook became the preferred method of sharing randomness, but it and other social media are just not fulfilling something inside me that I'm needing right now...I guess I need to flesh things out more. I don't know...We'll see where this ends up...