Monday, December 18, 2017

On the Road Again

The Underground is closed for the winter. Handy Randy and I have embarked on another adventure in The Wanderer. Currently we are hanging out at Navarre Beach Campground near our daughter-in-law and granddaughters. Later this week we will head to Texas for Christmas with family and exploration in Big Bend National Park and Davis Mountain State Park. Then on to warmer weather in Arizona.

Just because I am not in The Underground doesn’t mean I am not crafting and doing art. This is my travel studio. 

You will see Miss Wilma on the left with supplies for Prayer Flags resting on top. Next to Miss Wilma are my drawing and colored pencil supplies. The box on the right isn't part of my art and crafting, (sometimes you have to compromise a bit.) I have an easel and charcoal supplies in an outside storage compartment (way too messy to have indoors.) 

I also have my stitching which I will mostly do while we are moving down the road.

Remember this from our Northwest trip last summer 

It adds much needed color to the bland interior. The yellow and green pillows conveniently stow fleece blankets.

Here is another great drop cloth project made easy by using the RV Glide Tape.

The best thing about traveling in a small RV, I am forced to limit my supplies which means I can concentrate (and hopefully improve) on a few things instead of hopping around playing with multiple mediums. This trip it will be drawing with graphite, charcoal and colored pencils, embroidery and playing around in Photoshop Elements.

I won’t have a lot of projects to share over the winter but I will try to check out some Art and Craft events and maybe some Art Galleries to share with you.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Porter Holiday Market

Stepped out of The Underground last weekend to visit friends in Nashville. Melissa and I ditched the guys for a few hours to check out Porter Holiday Market at the fairgrounds.

The top-notch artisan market drew in a large crowd; so many shoppers made it difficult to get good photos. Here are a few I was able to snap.

I bought some beautiful note cards from this lovely vendor from Thimblepress.

It was my first (but don't intend for it to be my last) time to attend this artisan craft market. I was very much impressed with the quality of the crafts and the friendliness of the vendors. Yes, I was inspired but will have to tuck the inspiration away for a bit as we will be living in The Wanderer for the next four months. (I will sneak a few projects on board.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

It's Cheap, Sturdy and Charming

Have we talked about using drop cloths for crafting? I like the Everbilt brand from Home Depot because it doesn't have a seam. It is study and cost $11-$12 for a 6 X 9 ft. cloth. I'd say that is a pretty good bargain. I have found it is best to wash before using, especially if you plan to stencil on it. This is my most recent drop cloth creation,

Stencil cut with Silhouette Portrait

Perfect for the popular farmhouse look. In addition to pillows I have used drop cloth to make banners, garden flags and tablecloths. My next dc project is curtains for The Wanderer which I need to do soon as she will be taking us to warmer places for the winter.

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.