Saturday, November 11, 2017

Fall Centerpiece

Remember this project from 2014?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to share the technique with the Perennial Garden Club. Since I am still in a sharing mood, I'll share it again with you.

Here is what you need:

  • A pumpkin or gourd
  • Glue gun
  • Sheet moss or Spanish moss
  • A variety of succulents
  • Dried flowers, dried leaves, lavender, berries, etc. 

Wash the pumpkin or gourd if needed (I just wiped mine off a little)
Use the glue gun and adhere moss.

Use the glue gun to adhere the succulents to the moss.

Add berries, lavender, leaves, or other natural decorations.
That's it! Easy, peasy! 

This one is mine.

Question, how to care for it?  Spray occasionally with water (I forget to do this and it doesn't seem to mind.) Take it inside if the temperature drops to freezing. That's all you need to do. 

Next question, how long will it last? Depending on the state of the pumpkin, 2-3 months. When the pumpkin starts to deteriorate, slice off the top (okay, you will need a knife at this point), plant in a pot with soil and let those little succulents grow. 

Have fun (if you can still find a pumpkin.) 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Back in The Underground

after a 5 week stay in Handy Randy’s hometown (it’s football season.)

As much as I like to travel, I am always sooo….happy to return to our little bungalow and especially to my studio.

While in Texas, I did a couple of graphite drawings and experimented with colored pencils. I also started another Zenbroidery project. (Those long drives don't seem so long when I am stitching.)

We will be home only a few weeks before we get The Wanderer out of storage and head for warmer weather. In the meantime, I will attempt to decrease my number of UFO projects (especially those that will add color to interior of The Wanderer. 

Stay tuned for my progress.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

So, what does one do when they wait too long to register for the for the Barn Quilt Paint workshop at Ephemera Paducah during the Fall Quilt Show? (Yep, the workshop filled up :(

What could we do but coerce Handy Randy into constructing a square,  head to The Underground, download a template from the Silhouette store, get out the craft paint and go to work.

Good job, Carol! Great fun having you hang out with me in the studio. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The sabbatical is over

and I am back in the studio. Well, I was back in the studio, but currently I am in Texas. Since retirement a couple of years ago, I have been on the road as much as I have been at home.

Over the summer we did an epic western USA tour in The Wanderer. I won’t bore you with a bunch of photos or details, but will share a few art and craft finds.

In Eugene, Oregon we stumbled across Mindy’s Needlepoint Shop.

In addition to fabulous needlepoint canvases, she had an overwhelming amount of embroidery and needlepoint thread, a huge selection of the cutest buttons and a collection of “Outside the Box” unique, boutique style clothing and jewelry. (I came away with some embroidery thread and a really cute tunic.)

While in Eugene, we visited Aragon Alpaca Farm. Ann Dockendorf showed us around the farm and

her shop, A Spinners Barn.
A haven for knitters and spinners!

While in Seattle, I had to explore the artsy community, Pioneer Square.
In Santa Fe we explored Georgia O’keefe Museum
In Taos we spent a whole afternoon exploring galleries and shops.

I have to share a couple of ideas for crafting with wine corks we found while wine tasting in Washington and Oregon.
Will do this one,
this one, probably not.

I would like to say I am in Texas for an art retreat, arts and craft show or maybe a workshop, but actually we are here for football. I did pack some embroidery and drawing material. Perhaps I will create a fabulous piece of art to share……. (more likely I will share some sincere attempts.)

Gig'em Aggies!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Soul Searching

 As we enter the season of Lent, I am doing a bit of soul searching. Why am I writing this blog? I tell myself it is to "connect with other crafters;" but in reality it is to see if I can gather a following. It's about affirmation of my abilities. It's about acceptance. Inspired by the teachings of Brother Lawrence, during lent I will not post here on The Underground blog. I will still craft but with reflection on the purpose. If I feel the joy and peace, as did Brother Lawrence, I will either take the blog down or take it in a different direction.

To help me stay focused, each week of Lent I will make an inspirational flag to hang in my kitchen to remind me of what I am seeking.

As winter gives way to spring and the earth comes to life with new growth, may you experience new growth in your creativity.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


When I was invited to participate in a Facebook prayer flag project, of course I said yes! The objective was to promote positive thoughts in today’s stressful environment; thus The Positive Prayer Flag Swap. The basic instructions were to make the traditional 8X5-inch prayer flags from the Prayer Flag Project. We were asked to be non-political and avoid religious statements. The rest was left to our imagination and creativity. So I got out fabric, buttons, burlap, paint and such. I fired up the Silhouette Portrait and printer. And did I ever have fun! I mailed these 12 flags which will be swapped with flags from other crafters/artists throughout the country.

I love using prayer flags as a way to try different techniques and products. (Culling my collection of fabric, buttons, ribbon and lace is a bonus.) Here are my favorites from the batch I mailed.
Applique using Silhouette Portrait

Painted fabric, stamping
Coloring book page scanned and printed, quote printed on fabric
Painted fabric, stamping

I have been making prayer flags for about five years. Sometimes they are for family or friends that are ill or bereaved, sometimes they are for celebrations of new homes, jobs, or babies, and sometimes they are for life changing events like graduations, marriage or retirement. I most often make a card with a photo of the flag which I send to the person for whom I am saying a prayer.
I love watching them sway in the breeze. 

As you can see, some have been hanging in the outdoors for quite a while and some are new additions.

Can’t wait to see the creativity in the flags I receive from the swap! 

Monday, February 20, 2017


Step into my studio and what will you see; chaos, clutter, a mess? To the untrained eye noncrafter, I am sure that would be the case. Actually what I have here is a series of UFOs (unfinished objects.)

I have my current drawing class assignment, which is due to be turned in on Wednesday,

prayer flags for a Positive Prayer Flag swap that will be mailed on Friday

and a jewelry box redo that will probably be finished tomorrow.

So what your eyes see isn’t always true. (But I have to admit, there is quite a bit of clutter, like all those empty boxes I will never use.)

After these projects are completed, a normal person would clean and tidy before starting something new.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sending a bit of hope

If you folks are like me, you are making the most of the gloomy winter by staying inside a warm house and crafting away. It all seems pretty serene until you turn on the news or check social media and the awareness of the Syrian Refugee Crisis creeps into your serenity.

This was me last week when I received an email from my friend over at Woolythyme with a link to a knitting web site, Hats and More for War-torn Syrian Refugees. Ahh… a way to craft without the guilt; Yes!

There is one little problem, knitting and crocheting are not skills sets of mine. However I checked the site out and was pleased to see one can send purchased items as well. Off I go to buy some fleece blankets, then back to The Underground to stitch some pocket dolls (The grandmother in me says those little children could use something to hug and cuddle.)

I snitched a photo from my friend’s blog, so you can see her beautiful hand knitted socks which she will be sharing with the refugees.

More information on what items are needed as well as the shipping address, hop on over to the Hats and Morefor War-torn Syrian Refugees web site or check out their Facebook page.

This is just one of many ways to use crafting and needle art to show compassion to those that are struggling to stay warm and make it through just one more day. I know many of you sew, knit, crochet and create for good causes; I would be delighted if you would share information about your charity crafting in the comments below.

Please note, political comments will not be published.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Today I hung a prayer flag in my garden with hopes a gentle breeze will carry my wishes for peace throughout our country.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Yeah! You got a Silhouette for Christmas!

Looking at my Facebook feed it seems as though a lot of Silhouettes showed up under the Christmas tree this year. If you are one of the lucky recipients, I know just how excited you are (because that is how excited I was 3 years ago when I received my Portrait.) Two of my great nieces are a couple of the lucky ones, (they both got the Cameo 3, I am so jealous!) so I want to share with them a few tips and photos to help them get off to a great start. The rest of you can read along if you want and certainly share some of your tips in the comments below. So here we go.

The best advice I can give, if you have not already done so check out Silhouette School blog; my go to place for finding information quickly (Melissa and her crew know everything about Silhouette.) This is where I learned about using freezer paper for stencils on fabric

I was looking into the sun when photographing (I know, that is a no, no.) The colors are a lot more saturated than it looks. 

and contact paper for stencils on wood. (A tip from me, buy that ugly contact paper you often see at yard sales for about 50-cents a roll.)

After a frustrating experience with craft store vinyl tearing, curling and not sticking well, I discovered, via Silhouette School, Oracal Vinyl. Last summer I used the 651 on an outside door as well as a coffee mug that is washed every day; it looks as good as the day I did it.
(I have successfully used blue painters tape instead of transfer paper on small projects.)

Speaking of painter’s tape, when your mat needs to be replaced but you just haven’t gotten around to it, you can use the painter’s tape to hold vinyl, fabric, contact paper or whatever in place. (Painter tape is a must have in my studio.)

My nieces each have a daughter (yep, I have great-great nieces) so I know they will be putting cute little appliques on little girls clothing. I have had great success using Heat’n Bond (available at craft stores and Amazon) for appliques. Fuse cutouts with Lite for stitching, Ultrahold if not stitching.
I used Hean'n Bond Ultra Hold and did not stitch on this flag.

Oh there is so much more you will do with your new Silhouettes! Print and Cut, Heat Transfer Vinyl, Etch, Set Rhinestones, and the list goes on. I am looking forward to seeing the projects of my nieces. (Confession time; I am hoping my Portrait will soon die so I can justify upgrading to a Cameo 3!)

Don’t forget, freezer paper, contact paper, painter’s tape, Hean’n Bond, and Oracal Vinyl. 

Bonus tip, Silhouette School blog is celebrating their 3-year anniversary with chances to win some awesome Silhouette related gifts. Information on their blog, Facebook page and Instagram.

No, I have no affiliation with Melissa or Silhouette School blog; I just stumbled onto her site and became a groupie.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

What were we thinking???

We could be soaking up sunshine in a warm place like Arizona. But here we are in Paducah enjoying tolerating single digit temperatures. But there is an upside; the cold gives us incentive to get that upstairs bedroom renovation (started about 10-years ago) completed 

so we can head to the northwest when the heat and humidity hits this summer. And I am quite cozy here in The Underground.

Our Christmas and Epiphany is organized, (with the help of my Silhouette Portrait) and stowed away.

I have registered fo a drawing class at the PaducahSchool of Art and Design. Having taken classes from instructor, Randy Simmons, I know the first part of the class will be about understanding perspective. (I hate perspective drawing!) Hoping to avoid a lot of classroom frustration I am practicing drawing boxes. 

(Yes, it is pretty boring.)

It hasn’t been all work and no play in the studio. I made a prayer flag for the garden,
Yep, that is My One Word for 2017

and finished HR’s stocking stuffer (Don’t judge me.)

Want to know how to print on fabric? I happened upon an excellent post on TheSewing Loft blog.

For those of you in the deep freeze, stay warm; the rest of you, enjoy your sunshine.

Monday, January 2, 2017

And my word is................

It is time to choose My One Word to inspire and help me make positive changes throughout the year. I discovered the One Word in 2013; a concept that replaces New Year’s resolutions. As My One Word website explains it My One Word is an experiment designed to move you beyond this cycle (of failed resolutions.) The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD.

Once I choose my word, I make a sign to hang on the stairs that lead to The Underground as a constant reminder.

This year I had two words in mind, one was suggested by my daughter-in-law as she is privy to a new project I plan to initiate this year. That word was hope which I didn’t choose because I think the project will bring me closer to achieving the change that is my goal.

Before I reveal my 2017 Word, I’ll share how well I am doing by focusing on one word a year.

My first word, strength, came the year following the death of my son. I knew it would be important to be strong for my daughter-in-law and granddaughters. I won’t go into a lot of details here; I did work on my grief journey and I do feel strong.

The second word was focus which continues to be a struggle but I have kind of accepted that AADD is part of who I am.

The third year it was purpose; nope still haven’t found it. Recently I came to the conclusion my idea of purpose is just that, my idea. Over the years I have learned when it is God’s plans things fall into place. My ideas are just not falling into place. As I mentioned earlier, I (or is it God’s Spirit) have another craft related project in mind and it seems as though things will fall in place. (I’ll share this with you in a few weeks.)

My 2016 word was soul. Last year I focused on the things that fed my soul like having HR around all the time (retirement has worked out better than we anticipated), daily Bible study and prayer, travel, connecting with old friends, making new friends and of course, finding ways to connect with my two teenage granddaughters. (I am now on SnapChat!) My soul was very well fed!

My 2017 is

Not world peace (although that would be nice,) but peace in my soul. I want to focus on what gives me peace. (And it isn’t all those “what if’s” that float around in my head!) I want to have long conversations with friends, draw more, play (as in not trying for perfection) in the studio, plant stuff, read more and watch hummingbirds and butterflies.

If the idea of having one word instead of a list of resolutions sounds enticing; hop on over to the My One Word website for more details. I’d love it if you would post your word in the comments below.

Wishing a peaceful year to all of you in 2017!