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Knitted Nesting

    I'm not planning a nursery, nor have I bought a single baby item. But I have been nesting in my own way-- the knitting way!
   I was pretty proud of myself when I finished my first baby sweater attempt, and it even looks like a normal sweater! How about that? I didn't use a pattern, just vague things I already knew how to do and a slight idea of how to go about making it. So I'm pretty excited it didn't turn out too wonky, and I love the gender neutral scandinavian style of it.

    I've been painting this week on some fun projects, both of which are commissions so they're underwraps for now, but Im getting ideas for autumn paintings as well. Today it was in the low 80s and it was absolutely lovely. That's like...Vermont summer weather, which is unheard of for here in almost July. I'm so so so thankful for it, especially after last summer. If you've read this blog long enough, you'll remember all I did was whine and moan for about three months that summer ;) (sorry about that!)

  My plan for the coming week is to enjoy this great weather (all in the 80s!?!) and paint more autumn pieces. Hope you have a great week too--

A Folksy Frame

      I'm so excited to share with you a new finished project! This was a special gift for some friends. This Sunday was our curate's last day with our church (a curate is a recent seminary grad and ordained priest who spends two years within a church learning the ropes before they go off to their own parish or project) and I wanted to make something special for him and his family.
     It doesn't seem like two years have already passed (didn't I just photograph his ordination?) but it has, and I wanted to give them something to remember their time at our particular church but not something that would be bittersweet. I decided on this painted frame that would showcase a family photo and also celebrate their faith-- so I painted this little country church among some folk art flowers. 
   I painted the church doors red because that's a traditional color for Episcopal church doors, although I've heard different meanings for this. But it's beautiful, all the same.

  Making this frame was something new for me and I enjoyed it! I think it might be fun to do some autumn or Christmas themed frames too, what do you think? These frames are nice too because they can either hang or sit upright on a table. 

   Well, it's going to be another hot day here, but I'm thinking perhaps a walk is in order before it gets too oppressive. Last night the dogs and I went for a twilight stroll and it was really nice--- there were still some people out and about, playing catch in the street or riding bikes, and downtown was quiet in the glow of the street lamps. 
   I am really enjoying living in town, although I'd call myself more of a country girl than a city girl. But small time life suits me well, i think. It's still relatively quiet, aside from the whistle of a train ever so often. Neighborhood cats roam the street (one, who we call 'Fancy Cat' because he seems so regal, has taken to sitting underneath our bird feeder, paws folded neatly under his chest, waiting for a meal. But the birds are too smart to come scampering when he's visiting) people walk by on their way to down town, kids ride their bikes in the church parking lots, and summer seems slow and almost enjoyable, if it wasn't so darn hot.

   Ah well, sweltering days make for good painting. I'll be inside enjoying the air conditioning, listening to snoring dogs, and dreaming of autumn as I paint pumpkins and witches.

   Wishing you well today!~

Bird watching

    The other day we innocently hung a bird feeder on a shepherd's hook underneath the old Cedar tree just outside our dining room windows. We had no idea that this would become the hottest spot in town for a variety of finches, chickadees, sparrows, and a few majestic cardinals. The feeder is usually packed and gets drained in a day. it's impressive! The birds have even starting taking their dust baths under the tree when they get their fill of seeds. Obviously, I'm going to have to buy a new bag of bird seed soon. I've seen too much Hitchcock and am nervous of them deciding to revolt ;)

   I got some photos of them yesterday, and I think I managed to catch the little finch with the red head and breast. I'll have to look him up, not sure what sort of finch he is, but he sure is pretty. And I love the cardinals. Funny, living in town has brought more nature into our yard then when we lived in the other place. So many old trees brings the squirrels and birds, and at night we've seen bats flitting in the twilight.

  It's been hot but not as terrible as last summer. This time last year I was probably already moaning about hating summer, wasn't I? It was a tough season.

   But we're keeping busy here, still endless organizing and stuff to find places for, but I'm admiring the flowers that are blooming and working on a couple of fun projects right now, and still thinking of fall art. Can't wait for my favorite season to arrive!~

   Well, hope you're having a nice weekend and all is well~

   I've been trying to get settled into a routine here, which is hard with all there is still to do, and it just in general being summer, a time of no routines. We've been waking up for early morning swimming lessons and there always seems to be something to clean up or organize (which can be categorized under 'things I'm sick to death of")
   I have started back to painting though, and I bought material for Halloween witchy dolls-- Audrey requested, "don't make them cute, make them wicked!" Do you agree? :)
   I've been trying to find some time to take it easy though, and enjoy some quiet time in the house with all its lovely details, like all the original door knobs! This one to our room is one of my favorites (I have never lived anywhere where I had an opinion on the door knobs!)
   I've also been working on some knitting in my down time-- some baby knitting of course. So far, this pregnancy has been laid back and relaxed and I'm thankful for it. Basically, all I want to do is eat and nap ;)

   Something else I've been enjoying is the book Stillmeadow Sampler by Gladys Taber which I happened across in the library looking up books about New England. This book talks about her life in her 1690s New England home through the seasons, and I'm only on spring and I love it. Its all just rambling and quiet stories, about the old house, history, children and raising spaniels-- all of which you know are right up my alley!
   Evidently she wrote a lot of books inspired by her home Stillmeadow and I'm definitely going to check them out! She really reminds me of Tasha Tudor in many ways--- although I think she was more embracing of modern things ;) She was a bit older than Tasha, so I wonder if Tasha read her books or articles? That would be so interesting, wouldnt it?

   Well, off to get some chores done and then reward myself with some painting....

Summer arrives

  We may have been lulled into thinking this would be a mild year by a wet and cool spring, but summer is here now in all it's oppressive and sticky glory. Tis the season of sweaty rabbits! And hiding in the house from noon til nine! Ah well...I am so thankful this old house has central heat and air. And I am enjoying summer flowers and getting the house, for the most part, under control (although my art room is still a disaster!)

   One thing that will help me get through summer is the thought of autumn approaching and all the fun paintings I can create--- and also the planning of an amazing trip with my friends Alyson and Emily. Emily and I are flying in from middle America to stay with our gracious hostess Alyson in New England, where we will get up to all sorts of shenanigans involving historical and/or haunted sites from Maine to Massachusetts. This will be in early October, the height of autumnal merry-making, and I am so excited!

   So, while June and July blazes unmercifully on, I will dream of pumpkins and witches and little salt box houses. Speaking of pumpkins, we planted some seeds and they are sprouting up. Hope I can save this crop from the squash beetles. Any advise on pumpkin growing?

   Well, to the sketch pad I go!~ Have a great weekend!~

Giveaway winners!

       There's gonna be some new rules here in the art room thanks to one small and fuzzy critter who insists on hopping up on my painting table and examining (drinking/messing/fighting with) everything he finds. I'm used to dogs that stay happily at ground level! Not the case with this little one (who, at present, is named Snowy. And is a boy. Lot's going on with this one!)

    I'm slowly starting to get back to work with painting, but first we needed to find out the winners of the journal giveaway of The Dark Between painting! And the winners are....

   Theresa and Danzel!~!

Congrats, ladies! I'll need to get your info to Sonia Gensler and they'll be on their way!

   Well, off to get a few more things done and get some sketching in for upcoming Autumn painting. I can't wait!~

The Dark Between by Sonia Gensler

   A few weeks ago I completed a very fun commission from my friend and Oklahoma author Sonia Gensler to celebrate the publication of her second novel,  The Dark BetweenSonia writes just the type of stories that I adore-- old timey spooky tales set in beautiful old buildings with plenty of ghostly encounters and mystery.
   Her first novel, The Revenant, was set close to home at a Cherokee girl's seminary in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Her latest novel, however, crosses the Atlantic to the beautiful and historic city of Cambridge in England at the fictional Summerfield College for young women, where a group of unlikely friends come together to explore the academic side of spiritualism as well as investigate a series of strange murders.

   Here's a little taste of what the story is about:

    At the turn of the twentieth century, Spiritualism and séances are all the rage—even in the scholarly town of Cambridge, England. While mediums dupe the grief-stricken, a group of local fringe scientists seeks to bridge the gap to the spirit world by investigating the dark corners of the human mind.

   Each running from a shadowed past, Kate, Asher, and Elsie take refuge within the walls of Summerfield College. But their peace is soon shattered by the discovery of a dead body nearby. Is this the work of a flesh-and-blood villain, or is something otherworldly at play? This unlikely trio must illuminate what the scientists have not, and open a window to secrets taken to the grave—or risk joining the spirit world themselves.

   In order to create the painting, I was excited to get an advanced copy of the book to curl up with and read late at night (the perfect time to read spooky stories, of course!) The above piece is the painting I came up with--- showing the main characters Kate, Elsie and Asher scheming beneath a tree on the campus of Summerfield, with the ghostly faces of those who have haunted them in one way or another peeking through vines and bramble.

    Sonia had a few beautiful journals made up with the image on it as promotional materials, and she has so sweetly agreed to give a free copy to two of my readers here on the blog! She also has an amazing giveaway  going on right now on her own blog where you can win an advanced copy of the book (official publication isn't until August!), the journal and some great bookmarks and a postcard featuring the painting. Be sure to visit her there as well for a chance to win!

   And if you'd like to win one of these beautiful journals, all you have to do is leave a comment here, and the winners will be chosen Tuesday, June 11.

   Thanks so much to Sonia for trusting me with such a special project and letting me get a sneak peek at your wonderfully spooky story! I look forward to all your other work to come!~

   Happy Friday everyone!~

A Morning Garden Walk

    Firstly-- thank you all for your congrats! You're so sweet! And we're so excited to embark on so many new things, now and in the coming months. Also very glad to be living somewhere where we have enough room to expand our family-- in both the critter and human varieties!

    Another great new thing in our house is the new camera I just got-- I have been asked to photograph the weddings of two friends later this year, and felt like I should step up my camera game. There will also be lots of baby photographing in my future, and now I'm ready!

   I took the camera outside this morning and took some pictures around the yard. This is it, this is the new place! I put the bunting up for Memorial Day and I love how festive it looks, might as well leave it up til July 4th, right? 

   I'm also loving all the new gardening! I have found myself to be the proud owner of many gorgeous plants like a huge Oakleaf Hydrangea and lots of roses-- and I've been buying other hydrangeas until I finally had to reign myself in (seriously, though-- this time of year many nurseries have half killed their hydrangeas by putting them out on racks in the baking sun...it's the perfect time to swoop in and get them on sale!)

   One thing I love about our backyard too is the old rock flower bed and this cute little rock garden shed with a huge climbing rose growing up the side. It was such a pleasant surprise to come to the house after we closed and find that gorgeous thing in the yard!

   We also cleared out the rock flower beds and planted some herbs and vegetables, and there's also this large mysterious contraption that I think is probably an old rock smoker built into it. My dream come true would be to turn it into a woodfire pizza oven....wouldn't that be amazing?!? But that's a project for another time, I'm sure.

   Well, I've still been up to my eyeballs in cleaning and unpacking, so not much going on on the painting front-- although that will soon change! In a bit Audrey and I are going to walk the couple of blocks down town and go cruise the antique mall, it may be dangerous for us to live so close! So far, we're really enjoying living in town in the midst of everything. It's our hope that living down here will make us feel more a part of the community and more involved in the things that go on in our little town. My family has lived here since before statehood! Some on this very same street! It's a wonderful connection, and one I'd like to see grow.

   Thanks for your visit today! And come back soon, I'm going to have a special treat in my next post!~


   So....we have some rather big news here at our house! We are expecting a new addition to our family this winter! Audrey's gonna be a big sister!~!

   We're all excited and of course when I knew I'd have a winter baby I was eager to knit. I've tried to keep things neutral and Scandinavian inspired. I'm doing fine, really just tired--- which isn't the best thing when you're trying to move and set up a new house, but its been manageable and I think I'm waking up a little more!

  One thing is for sure, I'm eager to nest and slow down a bit and just paint things and knit things and prepare for this coming baby. Audrey will be nearly seven when he or she arrives. I feel like it's been forever since I had a teeny tiny little one, but I'm hoping the useful bits will come back to mind. 

  Audrey is excited to have someone to boss and show how to do things. I'm just curious "who" this little one is-- a boy? a girl? An introvert? An extrovert? Blue eyed or brown eyed? Only time will tell!

   Til then, I'll just keep on knitting!~