To view my 2015 Grow Your Blog Party post, please go HERE

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bits of color here and there...

I have been noticing Spring approaching in it's various ways.

Our garden tulips are starting to bloom...



My increased need for colors in my life...



Colors coming out in some paintings I have been doing lately...


I have stacks of fabrics to sew, quilt blocks to work on, canvases to get ready for a little corner of an art show a friend is sharing with me in May, and a ton of new ideas that seem to blossom in the Spring. Oh and a garden to plan... what to grow this year that the snails and bugs won't get to before I do?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Painting...

It is definitely taking me more than a day or two to figure out the direction my life/my art is taking but I have that on the back burner now while I do ahead and play some more...

This week I dabbled at some painting. Making some backgrounds, doing the Flora Bowley online Bloom True class, and playing with some canvases I had other things on and wanted to reuse and start over with.  

And then there is You Tube. I have been spending a lot of time watching videos lately: mixed media, art quilting, sewing, painting, you name it! I found one via Facebook from Mystic Tulip Arts and after watching it thought I would make my own version. HERE is her video. It is Betty Franks Krause' Love Grows Painting and Doodling on Canvas.

This is what I came up with. It still needs a lot more doodling to go with her style, but it is getting there. I love how bright the colors are. It is painted over a paper collaged canvas which is what you can see through the colors.



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Stop and smell the flowers



I have been crazy busy the last few weeks and the other day it hit me: why am I doing this? I have a gazillion art projects and sewing projects and things to keep me occupied and there I was, sitting at my desk, not wanting to do ANYTHING. My body and brain were fighting back: I am retired -- I don't need to be doing something every moment of the day. I was so tired from running to this class and that class and doing part of one online course then rushing over to another one...

So I stopped for a day and let my thoughts rush in and boy was I in for a surprise! It turns out I really do not know what I want to be doing with this part of my life! I had so many options that I was overwhelmed.

Time to step back a bit, think about my word for the year:
OPEN. Yes I was open to everything -- was that a problem? Or could I learn to be open to ideas and let them flow through me? Did I have to DO everything I thought of, or could I just notice and let it go?  It was obvious to me I needed to work on this idea.

And my CDFs (core desired feelings from the Danielle LaPorte Desire Map book): had been taking a back seat to all my running around lately. Time to reflect on these:
Unencumbered: started on a major house cleaning then sort of stopped when I got so busy arting and sewing. Need to return to this one.
Aligned: well I have not done as much yoga as I thought I might be doing, what is stopping me?
Vibrant: well the art stuff is happening -- lots of color, but there is still something missing -- I am not as happy about creating my art as I thought I would be. I keep asking myself this question:  What is my art asking of me?
Connected: I am getting out and seeing friends, but there is more I need/want to work on for this one.
Mindful: at first I was thinking of this for eating and it has sort of been happening, but I want it happening in more areas of my life too.

I think I will be doing more sitting back and reflecting today...

Monday, February 2, 2015

What a fun week it has been!

And a busy one!

First I want to welcome new followers to the blog who found me though the Grow Your Blog Party from last week! It has been a pleasure reading your comments and finding more new blog friends with similar interests. I really can feel the "web-ness" of the WWW when we do things like the blog party, which connects people from all over through a desire to share all the fun things we do.

Then, last week was a week of a lot of sewing! The week before I finally bought myself a Baby Lock Eclipse serger (after thinking about one for at least 6 months)...



I had one serger lesson before I took LisAnn's Serger Club Tiered Skirt class at Country Sew and now I can very quickly and easily make skirts...


What I love about the serger (also called an overlock machine) is that it does several things at the same time in the sewing process. It is essentially a finishing machine (all those weird stitches you see at the edges of your clothing seams, those are overlocked -- keeps fabric from fraying), but it also can gather and of course it cuts the edges of your stitches so instead of 5 or 6 steps with a regular sewing machine to make gathers (pin, baste, gather, stitch, take out basting, trim seams), it does all that in one step. In the class we learned how to make the casing for elastic (like a blind hem for you sewers out there), how to figure out the fabric for the tiers, and for the hem, a nice rolled hem stitch. 

And then yesterday, I went to Oakland for an all day workshop at the lovely A Verb For Keeping Warm yarn and fabric shop. The workshop was to learn the basics of the Alabama Chanin  hand-sewn method of stenciling, stitching, and cutting a garment. We made a simple bandana sampler as a beginner project. 

Here is a section of three ways of stitching around the cut or stenciled areas...



All of Alabama Chanin clothing is made on jersey knit (think t-shirt material). I had never actually worked with jersey before so I discovered how difficult it is to cut when I was making the squares to bring to the workshop. I guess it takes a little getting used to. And lest you think oh, t-shirt material, how plain can that be, check out her collection. Keep in mind these are all hand-sewn and take weeks to make... and cost thousands of dollars if you want the full embroidered beaded clothing! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Grow Your Blog Party 2015

Welcome to Full Circle, a ragtag mix of mostly paper and textile arts and crafts, painting, yoga, photos, travels, thoughts and quotes, an occasional recipe and other assorted nonsense! Today is GROW YOUR BLOG Sunday!


If you are here for the first time and came via the Blog Party, I welcome you and would like to thank you for dropping by! My name is Rhonda and I am blogging from Sacramento, California.

I am a recently retired middle school science teacher and now that I have more time, have gotten back into the arty side of my life. I have been doing some form of art most of my life and now I am finding I want to do everything! So I divide my time with some painting, art journaling, crocheting, natural dyeing, bookbinding, sewing and quilting. When did I ever have time to work before? I think the best way to see what my blog is all about is to scroll down through the posts. As you can see it is a bit eclectic!

It is time for Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party and this year I am participating! This is my second year to participate. Her "GROW YOUR BLOG" event is designed "to bring more readers and FOLLOWERS to our blogs. The premise is simple-- just visit as many blogs as you wish and sign up to follow those that interest you. In turn, all the other folks will be doing the same thing~ we will all be growing our blogs!" Last year she had over 500 people sign up! I visited a bunch of cool sounding blogs and found many I still follow today -- not all arts and crafts or cooking, but some just an interesting life somewhere else. So I am hoping some of you will visit my blog and find things you like that will keep you interested in more. Either way, I am so thrilled you have stopped in and would love to hear from you!

One of the keys to discovering new blogging friends is to leave a comment, which I always do when I visit a new blog for this kind of event. So please feel free to leave me a comment below if you are visiting for the first time or a repeat visitor! And of course, always feel free to follow or subscribe to my blog. If you use a blog reader, please add my blog to your reader. I usually post a couple of times a week. Welcome to my blog today! I hope I will see you again in the future!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Getting ready for Grow Your Blog on Sunday...

Last year I took part in Vickie's Grow Your Blog party to help arty type folks expand their blog audience. It was a great way to not only find a few new readers for my own blog but also I found several new blogs that I am still following today. So when it came around again this year I decided to do it again. It will start on Sunday, when over 500 people with creative arts blogs will all post a Grow Your Blog post. I look forward to visiting more blogs and finding new online arty friends.

In the meantime, I have been thinking a lot about all the art I have been doing and wanted to find where I had put the photos for it online. This has made me think about -- sometime when I have spare time -- that I need to reorganize the photos on my computer and get rid of old things (like school lesson plans) that I no longer need.

I made a little mosaic of a few of the things I have done in the last year or two, favorite journal pages, mail art postcards, paintings, textiles...



Linked to:
Paint Party Friday
Off the Wall Friday

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Coming back to quilting...

Maybe it is the colder months but I find myself drawn to working with fabric more in the winter. And now that I have more time, I happened to look at the class schedule at Country Sew and found a couple of quilting classes I wanted to take. I am not a very proficient quilter, having only made a few quilted things before.

This is the first quilt I made for one of my teacher friend's new baby about 2 years ago:

Ajays Quilt

Now I am working on some separate blocks mostly to learn various techniques, such as this one from this month's Modern Quilting Block Party:


Each month we learn a different block (with a slightly more modern quilting edge, not your grandmother's quilt blocks) and I guess eventually put them all together in one quilt. Except this one is going to become a table mat once I quilt it and put a binding on it. It is about 12 inches square. Turns out I happened to have some dinner candles in these colors and I thought it would make a nice addition to the table for those rare occasions I put my sewing stuff away and we eat at the table!

And the one I am having fun with now that will make up a whole quilt is called Circle of Nine and is from a 3 week class at Country Sew.  This is the original pattern of the quilt (from the book):


Last week we learned how to make the wonky squares for the middle.  This week I think we are learning how to do the background and next week, who knows? Probably how to put it all together and finish it. But... it is the "homework" that is killing me! It is taking a lot more time than I thought to cut the strips and sew 8 more of these funky blocks! I like the modern "wonkiness" of the blocks -- you don't have to worry about measuring or making perfect seams!  The nice thing is that the blocks are huge -- nearly 13" square, so it only takes the 9 to make up most of the quilt.


My theme is for a Day of the Dead quilt. I have had this fabric for a long while and thought it would be fun to use it in a quilt. The centers are fussy cut from the fabric, then the large border (grey print in the book pattern) will all be the Day of the Dead fabric. The colorful squares in the pattern are going to all be black for my quilt, so it will be a lot of black and white. I am hoping the reality looks as good as the one in my imagination!


Linked to: Can I Get a Whoop Whoop!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sandhill Cranes and Egrets...

Had a nice day out at Cosumnes River Preserve yesterday looking for egrets and sandhill cranes... cold and grey day though, need to go another time later in the evening and on a nicer day. Sandhill cranes stay around until late February or early March before they fly north again so I will have a chance to see them again on a nicer evening...


During the day they forage for food. I learned that to see their beautiful feathery mating dances I need to come back at dawn or dusk. I am going for dusk. These above look like they are already in their mating pair. 


A large group of them in a field. They were not so happy about humans getting close. I only had my phone camera this time and although it takes pretty good photos, obviously I need a camera with a telephoto lens for these guys!


This egret on the other hand let me walk up pretty close to it before it flew away.


Another egret a little too far for a clear shot.


Then off it goes! They are so beautiful when they take flight!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WOYWW

It has been a while since I have participated in WOYWW (What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday) but now that I am in the thick of doing art again I thought I would contribute. It's a mess but I got really inspired last night and left everything to dry overnight without cleaning up!


The large journal is for the 2015 Documented Life Project and the smaller journal is my regular art journal. Now that I have started using that larger Dylusions journal for the DLP I am liking the bigger size. 

Both of these are backgrounds for the Jodi Ohl's Pod-tastic class I have signed up for. Eventually they will be covered up with strange looking doodled pods and smoothed out backgrounds. I will post those when I get them done. 

Linked to: WOYWW #293

Monday, January 12, 2015

D.R.I.P. Painting Weekend fun...

This last weekend I took a class from a local artist, Margaret Sarantis. We did her version of intuitive painting in a fun class called D.R.I.P. (Dreamy Realistic Imaginary Painting) and it was a great creative experience!

Margaret demonstrated her various techniques while also working on a painting of her own.



We started along the lines of Tracy Verdugo's class in making a grid on our canvas and filling it with personal symbols.



But then we branched out into Margaret's unique version of it and added color and more symbols and more color until our canvases had morphed into wonderful creations.





A few close ups of the interesting textures we came up with, scratching into paint, stencils, etc.





Here is our class art show at the end -- such great colors!



It was a wonderful weekend of laughter and painting and Starbuck's lemon cake and meeting new friends. My art friend Lisa Culjis also went (her painting is the dreamy flower one on the right hand side).  I love classes like this and plan to find more now that I have time!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Updating Linky Parties

I haven't been doing much art to link to the linky parties (see CURRENT LINKY PARTIES above) and when I decided to get back to that this weekend, I realized I needed to overhaul that page. Some of the links were no longer working and some had changed their URLs. And then there were a few new ones I have found recently and never added.

If any of my dear readers happen to know of any other sites that do arty linky parties (ok I know it is a lame name but that is what they are called!), please let me know, either below in the comments or email me.

In the meantime, time to do more fun stuff and get my inner artist (or some would say, child) on and go to town! Since one of my CDFs is VIBRANT, seems like it is time to use some COLOR! Now where is that gelli plate...?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone who happens by 
a very Healthy, Happy and Artful New Year!


Just putting these out to the ether for this New Year:
Word for the year: OPEN
Core Desired Feelings (CDFs): unencumbered, aligned, vibrant, connected, mindful.
*  *  *  *  *
I want to repost a poem that Michelle read in our New Year's yoga workshop last year that still speaks to me:

For a New Beginning
by John O’Donohue

In out of the way places of the heart
Where your thoughts never think to wander
This beginning has been quietly forming
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire
Feeling the emptiness grow inside you
Noticing how you willed yourself on
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Word for 2015...

Like so many people I chose a word for the year. This word is my focus for things I want to do or change in the year. This is my third year doing this and it is still a work in progress for me.
My first word was RELEASE, written about HERE.
Last year I chose BREATHE, noted HERE.
It has been interesting to me how one word has led to the next. And it is no different for my new word.

As many of you know, this has been a very difficult year for me in regards to loss... it started a year ago Thanksgiving with my 20 year old cat Pandora dying, then followed soon by my other very old cat Perseus passing away. Both my step-mother and my real mother also died this year, as did my dog Maggie. And I also retired from my teaching career, which although of course it is not a death, it is still a bit of a loss (identity) and has left me floundering a little for where my life is going. As a result I found myself closing down: both emotionally and physically. 
And I wanted to change this.
And suddenly I kept hearing the word OPEN...open in yoga, open in art, open in feelings...open yourself back to your life Rhonda!

Use it as a verb and an adjective...

Step out of it whatever you have been in this last year, move through it and continue on... open yourself to the possibilities!

So I introduce my word for 2015:

        OPEN

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Garden after the storm...

This is my Merry Christmas... green after all the grey days!

Tons of oxalis growing in our yard after that last storm... too bad it isn't really good for anything but it looks nice and green. I poked nasturtium seeds everywhere around the yard too and they are starting to grow... little bursts of color later.



I like nasturtiums... when they flower it is a little shock of color amidst the rest of the green in the yard. It is nice to see my foxgloves reseeded and are also coming back for the new year.  I look forward to my garden in the new year -- plan on lots more flowers!!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

New Farmer's Market

Short visit to the new Land Park Farmer's Market this morning... a new one put on by the people who do the Midtown one on Saturdays. 


Nice mix of arts/crafts, music, body care products,  as well as veggies, cheeses, health foods. The air also smelled great with an Indian food truck. 







Cold outside though so I didn't stay long this time but I am glad to know it is there so I can visit more.

AND, on a nicer day, if I wanted to not be lazy, it is only a mile from my house... so it is walkable (although there is a very steep uphill over the railroad tracks both ways).

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Happy 12-13-14 Day!

It started in 2003 with 1-2-3 day and this ends the cycle as 12-13-14 day. Next one won't come again until 2103...

So Happy 12-13-14!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

An arty weekend...

Well weekend of sorts -- it was really Sunday and Monday. I went down to visit my friend Leslie who has those 2 days as her weekend and we did lots of artsy craftsy projects.

We played with sari ribbons, covered bangles, and made bracelets...




We did some gelli printing...



We worked on art projects, she made a small book and I worked on postcards... nothing special to show on those yet.

And... she taught me to crochet... again! She had already attempted teaching me before but apparently it did not stick. I needed a repeat lesson and more practice. So we started again and this time I think I have it... at least I can continue on my own now...


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Making a sweatshirt jacket...

And finally using some of the gorgeous Marcia Derse fabrics I bought a couple of years ago on an Oregon trip. Marcia Derse fabrics have such wonderful colors and designs. I thought maybe I would make a quilt with these fabrics so I was holding on to them in my stash, but then I decided I wanted to wear them. When a class came along at my local quilt store I decided to use them for that. The premise is you start with a larger than normal sized sweatshirt then piece fabrics to it to make up a jacket.

This will be the front. I am a little behind the others in the class (which just ended today after 3 sessions) so I have yet to actually finish it. I thought I would post the fabrics now then show the finished jacket when it finally happens.


I am not sure why sewing is so difficult for me. I take too much time when others are just zooming away. I guess the more I do it the faster and better I will get, but I have always been a little hesitant about what I do when sewing. Something else to work on in the coming time I have now that I am retired!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Enjoying the rain...

It rained a bit last week and this past weekend.




We really need the rain around here so I do not have a single complaint.



In fact it was rather refreshing to go out and do errands in the rain. It is only water after all!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My dad's birthday...

Today would have been my father's 89th birthday. He died when he was 54. I was 27 and there was so much more of my life I would have loved sharing with him as I got older. For some reason I especially miss you today daddy...


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fall is here...

My neighborhood is finally looking like it is Fall. Trees are changing colors, dropping leaves, and while we still wait for the days and nights to cool off more (I mean, come on Sacramento -- 70 degree days and 50 degree nights in November is not right!), at least we have some nice leaves. I look forward to going to the East coast one of these autumns and really seeing trees show their splendor!




And I went to the Garden Center today (Green Acres Nursery) to get some iris bulbs and bulb fertilizer. I had ordered tulips and ranunculus but forgot totally about irises. Our iris plants have stopped coming back up over the years and I miss those stately flowers.


Even though I am showing you all the pansy plants, I didn't get any. They just do not last long enough for me. I guess I am just amazed that we can garden all year around here (not that I have ever lived where one couldn't)... I just see gorgeous photos of people's snowbound homes online and realize I may not have the snow or even enough water in the state, but at least we can put out some pretty flowers  any time.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sending out some Mail Art...

I realized the other day that I was lagging behind on returning some Mail Art post cards from several folks, so I made up a bunch of collage cards to send out. They are collaged from magazines, newspapers, old junk art papers, and a lot of doodles and stamping and miscellaneous coloring. A little different for me but I like them. I made two sets, similar to the couple I am showing here. Hope the thicker ones make it through the mail ok. I scanned these before I added some final stamping but I didn't want to scan them again.