This summer has been non-stop for the Holloway’s. From the garden project to home renovations, the Hideaway has been buzzing.
Our hummingbird feeder has finally attracted a visitor! But all other outdoor projects have been halted for this year until next spring.
Our house has also had a burden lifted, literally. Just a note to folks out there: a lot of weight in one small area can have disastrous consequences if not supported properly. Although we did not weigh all of the tile and concrete removed, we have guessed this one shower weighed several hundred pounds.
Another burden that is currently being lifted is some clutter from our overgrown stash of crap that has accumulated over the years. What people don’t warn you about marriage is the clashing of each other’s stuff. You don’t realize how much you have until you need to find a place to put it all. My husband has listened to the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Hopefully this will help guide us through the monstrous task of organizing our home.
Another thing I have personally been working on is my pastel skills. When I started painting with chalk pastel, I only had YouTube and several online articles as a guide. I could see some improvements in my work, but I felt as if I had hit a wall. I didn’t see me going any further with my skills without some type of guidance. I needed a teacher. Thankfully Marla Baggetta, a pastel artist, offers free mini lessons on her website, along with full length lessons. I have only completed a handful of lessons, but the amount of knowledge I have acquired is astounding. That wall of ignorance is crumbling away and I am getting a glimpse of the artistic future I was beginning to think was an intangible dream.
Last week I shared the beginnings of the landscaping project we had started around our house. Last weekend we bought three Baby Gem boxwoods, two sets of Tiny Rocket lilies, a pack of twelve Celosia flowers, and one baby Japanese maple! The garden is a first for us, but the maple is our first tree we have planted together as a couple. I know that sounds a little cheesy, but planting a tree, even a small tree can be a symbol. A symbol of a growing and lasting relationship, creating a permanent home, and setting down firm roots. This is our home, and our little tree. From the day we stepped foot in this house we knew it would become our home.
But all sentiments aside, I really hope it doesn’t die.
Our garden is not complete but this is an update of our progress so far!
And no garden would be complete without a personal touch. The frog mosaic is a gift from my best friend Sara and her grandmother Mimi. Mimi is one talented lady I have always looked up to. If I become a fraction as awesome as she is in my future, I will be happy.
And my other dash of whimsy from my in-laws as a Mother’s Day present. I’m in the process of adding a bit more paint to the design before I seal it and place it in the garden. This was significantly nicer than the presents I received from my own children: cat vomit, dog slobber, bodily waste, and lots and lots of hair. But it’s the thought that counts.
It is spring at the Hideaway and this crazy woman has gotten the bright idea to enter into the world of gardening. Do I know how to garden? Absolutely not. Not in the slightest. I literally have no clue what I’m doing. BUT I have drawn this cute little garden map to make it look like I know what I’m doing. That’s the key to life: look like you know what you’re doing. “What’s the worst that could happen” you ask? Everything dies. The chances of that happening are probably higher than I’m willing to admit to myself, so let’s not dwell on the negative!
Now, the picture above is a sketch including all future projects we would like to tackle, but right now let’s focus on the current project in the picture below. This is the front corner of our house that is really in need of some curb appeal (we don’t have a curb, but it sounds better than “ditch appeal”). My dad, who used to run his own landscaping and stump grinding company, helped us design the bed’s outer edge. The gentle curves, rather than sharp corners, makes for easier mowing.
We would like to add a small wooden deck, some flowers, a few bushes, and THIS BAD BOY! Check that out. That is a Japanese Maple. It’s a beautiful plant that is somehow a tiny tree and a giant bonsai at the same time. It’s also expensive so this will be our yard’s crown jewel.
Here is a sneak peek of our house before the plant murder and total gutting process. Although most of these plants were healthy, they were not what I wanted for our house. Keep in check next week for our Hideaway’s transformation part 1!
I forgot Tipsy Scribbles last week. I then forgot to apologize for forgetting Tipsy Scribbles so I then said “whatever, I’ll do one next week.” It’s next week so here it is! This is my latest chalk painting I did for me, this isn’t a commission. It was originally practice for drawing people, which is not my strong suit. But I know my weaknesses and I am willing to work on improving them. That’s a step in the right direction.
On another note, I would like to say I have a new found respect for artist who are able to recreate realistic skin tones. Skin is not just peach or white or tan. It’s every color.
This week, my artistic focus was on a cat named Bagheera. No, not the black panther from Rudyard Kipling’s book the Jungle Book. And no, not our own black, long-haired cat also named Bagheera. This work was for a white cat, loved by her fur moms, Chassidy and Amy. Sadly, Bagheera and all her nine lives couldn’t win the battle against cancer. Her purr has faded, but her spirit remains in the hearts and memories of those who loved her.
Pets are family, and their passing leaves a hole in our hearts forever. Let us remember all those who have suffered through the loss of a loved one, animal or human, to cancer.
This past week we also lost my grandmother, Edna, my father’s mother. She was a beautiful woman. She babysat my sister and me when we were young, but we lost touch as the years passed. She loved Barbie dolls and made sure we loved them as well. We would drink Diet Rite and eat angel food cake, then play with her hair until she couldn’t keep her eyes open. She will remain in that memory within my heart forever.
The ocean baby blanket and knit octopus from last week was a success. I also included mesh laundry bags to wash the blanket and toy in, but those are good for almost everything. I printed my out my own care instructions using the symbols on the yarn label and tied it around the project using twine. Feel free to use this label for your own projects and handmade gifts or use it as a guide for making your own label.
This week I’m working on two more blankets using the ten stitch blanket pattern on Ravelry. The pattern is available for free, but the creator, Frankie Brown, insists that anyone who likes the pattern donate to the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation. I have already made my donation and will probably make more donations in the future for her other patterns. There is also a very helpful YouTube video on this pattern by VeryPink Knits.
The first blanket is being made with a beige acrylic yarn on size 5mm DPN (double pointed needles). I have no idea what brand or exact color this yarn is, or if it is a pure acrylic or an acrylic blend. This was yarn I had bought and stashed away, but it is softer than most acrylics, which is why I chose it for the baby blanket. Cotton or soft acrylic or acrylic blend yarns are best for baby blankets. They are durable, soft, and washable (the true winning feature).
The next blanket is being made with a mint green shimmer texture acrylic yarn with size 4mm DPN. I do believe this yarn was on sale when it was bought, so the chances of finding more are slim to none. It’s possible it is a baby yarn, the yarns that have “baby” printed somewhere on the label, but what brand I’m not sure. This yarn type is not the easiest for this pattern. It is difficult to find the place to attach the rows because the yarn is so textured, but it is also very difficult to see any mistakes in the pattern (I must have missed a stitch because there is a big hole in my corner).
I felt bad for not having any artwork in the past two weeks so I whipped up a little watercolor jellyfish called So Jelly. My friends Sara says “so jelly” all the time and “so jealous” is never my first thought. I’m not as cool and hip as her! I love you Sara!
Last week I had mentioned the baby blankets I had begun to knit for my expectant cousins. As one baby shower nears, my anxiety grows. The first blanket was inspired by a crochet sea turtle blanket my friend Elizabeth had shown me. I cannot crochet. I have tried and tried and tried and maybe someday I will try again, but today is not that day. I found a ripple lace knit pattern alternative for the crochet blanket and tweaked it a tad. I added two extra rows between each “wave” and the “beach” is the stockinette without the wave patterns. I also mathed and found that each wave is composed of 18 stitches. If you account for the bordering stitch (6 stitches on each side, 12 stitches total) you can reduce or enlarge the pattern without cutting off a wave mid-pattern. I reduced my pattern to 102 stitches, using I Love This Cotton brand yarn and US size 9 bamboo circular needles. I did not measure my guage, but the blanket ended up being about 27 inches by 27 inches square. When you start this pattern, and if you want the ocean and beach effect, start with the dark ocean color. The colors I used are 95 Antique Cream for the sand, 6 White for the foam, 68 Aqua for the shallow water, and 98 Bright Teal for the deep water. If I ever redo this style, I think I want to add another color between the dark and light ocean color to help with the gradient effect.
The sea shell was fairly easy. The instructions were very straight forward. There were some things in the pattern I checked YouTube for a quick tutorial. I would say this would be for a skilled beginner, already knowing the basic stitches. I used a size 2mm bamboo needle (and it didn’t snap, but I was holding my breath!) and the I Love This Cotton brand yarn in 6 White.
I could not find I small baby sea turtle knit pattern that really impressed me. I will say this, there are so many adorable crochet patterns for them! Unfortunately I had to opt out for the cute sea turtles, and instead decided to make an octopus. One of my other favorite sea creatures! This was the only knit octopus pattern I could find that did not require double pointed needles. I did not like the tentacle design and went for the curly look instead. The original pattern for the curly I-cord called for 3 stitches but I bulked mine up to 5 stitches, keeping the slip stitch in the middle on stitch 3. I used 306 Dark Denim I Love This Cotton brand yarn and size 3mm bamboo needles. I used the same for the head pattern as well. When this is finished, I am going to give it stitched eyes, rather than plastic to be on the safe side.
This is all for now. I will add a photo of the finished product to one of my upcoming Tipsy Scribbles. Until then, keep knitting and cheers to creativity!
Sorry about last week’s lack of Tipsy. I have once again swamped myself with projects. Women know there is a certain point in our monthly cycle where we feel like we can do anything and everything. It may be called “nesting” but we’re not building nests. We’re building a tower of projects that will eventually crush us with the unbearable pressure of our own anxiety. Right this instant, I am juggling six projects: three baby blankets, two art commissions, and one art project for myself.
Early this month – or the end of last month, it’s all starting to run together – I found out three of my cousins were expecting! Two of which are expecting their second child. The third is actually my cousin’s wife, and this is her first child. Her blanket will be a knit version of the baby sea turtle blanket. I’ll elaborate on that project later, providing links to patterns and sharing any tweaking of my own. The other two blankets will be the ten stitch blanket. Again, I will share all the links to the blanket patterns later, possibly next week.
Before I had started all of this, I had decided to attempt my first person pastel. So far my subjects have been scenery or animals. It is not complete, I have had to put this on hold until I can manage to get everything else finished. This is my own project and it has no deadline. I will admit this: the most difficult challenge is replicating skin tones. It is a challenge that is frustrating and addictive, which means this will more than likely not be my last human pastel. I have censured this picture for all our viewers.
This week is Spring break for some schools, or at least it is for a local school here. Since the education system and the work force can’t seem to get on the same page, babysitters are required during times like these. Although my crafting plate is overflowing, which is mostly my fault, I had to bring my artwork with me to babysit. Obviously, I’m not going to bring paint and pastels, because they’re not kid friendly (sometimes they’re not friendly with me either, but oh well). I also wanted to include my niece in the process, so I asked her opinion on some coloring pages.
I used Draw So Cute’s video tutorials on YouTube and created these four coloring pages. Note: these images belong to Draw So Cute, all credit belongs to Wennie. For the less artistically inclined parents or guardians, Draw So Cute’s original, and printable, coloring pages can be found here:
As some of you may know, if you read Sunday’s writing prompt post, Tuesday was our two year wedding anniversary. We did not do much as far as writing and arting goes. We mostly spent our time together reading, eating, and playing DiceMasters (a new game Justin decided we needed to throw money at). Our weekend was going great until Sunday warmed up and pollen attacked my defenseless husband. While he lay motionless in a Benadryl coma, I sharpened my sketching pencils.
Lately, I have been striving to improve on my animal and human images. I found a useful tutorial on a basic cat shape on YouTube by Art ala Carte. After several attempts of the basic shapes, I tested my skills with a photo of an Egyptian Mau on Wetcanvas. Yes, I used a red colored pencil, but it is a sketch. Plus, colored pencils do not smear as much as lead.
I became bored of drawing cats and wanted to draw something more cartoon-ish and cute. And what is cuter than a pudgy hedgehog? Not much! I followed Draw So Cute’s tutorial. This was really fun, although I would not consider it good sketching practice. It would be better to help get the creative juices flowing, or just to mess around in your down time. Keep in mind, this hedgehog design belongs to Draw So Cute, to my knowledge. If you copy anyone’s tutorial or step-by-step drawings, please remember to give them credit.