Archive for the ‘winter’ Category

My Nanowrimo……

Cactus Fountain, part of Digital Marbling series

Cactus Fountain, part of Digital Marbling series

So November has come and gone…..I lasted much longer for this National Novel Writing Month than previous times. But….I accomplished what I wanted to, as well as learned quite a bit about this new book. I needed a jump-start on book two – I’d gotten about 4000 words written before we left Arizona for the move. Then I did a chapter the end of May that I loved, but then….nothing. So I figured this would be the jump-start I needed, and I was right. 32,000 words later I now know where the book is going. I discovered that while I am a “pantser” to a point – someone who just let’s things happen – I really needed to plan this second book more carefully, especially in what I wanted it to specifically accomplish.

Consequently, when I wasn’t writing, I was thinking – a lot of time spent in the chair with a notepad, following plot points and the like. I realized that this will be a tough book to write – I now know most of the story, but I do have a lot of research to do on various aspects: Native American tribes in Arizona, indigenous peoples/First Peoples information, more banking information, water issues (even though I did a lot of research on that during this past winter).

Now I am ready to set time aside each week – working out marbling and art with the writing and finding a publisher. I’m looking for a new blog – bought a domain name just now, and as things are set up, I will start writing regularly there and sharing process. I miss my writing group in Tucson – every Tuesday for two hours – just writing, no talking. Haven’t been able to find a like-minded group in the area, so I will need to motivate myself.

Doing bartering with an editor/author in Las Vegas for her advice in exchange for a marbled gift basket she would like. I also have another contact who as self-published with Lulu.com, and I am looking at Northshire indie press, down in Manchester, VT. I finally feel like there is momentum, after 7 months of NOTHING – not even a no-thank-you from agents. This book will see the light of day!

Winter in the Desert

One of the great things about living in Arizona and the Sonoran Desert is the availability of national parks – almost in our backyards. All these pics are from Saguaro National Monument Eat, about 4 miles from where we live. Up above, you can see what passes for snow in Southern Arizona – almost like a ruler was drawn across the Santa Catalina Mountains, which most of us just call Mt. Lemon. The top of the mountain is about 9,000 feet – we headed up from the valley floor to about 5.500 to actually see some of the remaining snow.

You can also see in the picture how civilization is encroaching on the saguaros, those great sentinels of the Sonoran Desert. But this spot is pretty pristine.

The saguaro cactus is pretty amazing. It has to be 75 years old before it begins one of it’s arms, so these guys have been around quite a while. They have gorgeous white/yellow blossoms in the spring. Visiting the park in the spring is spectacular.

Winter rains are very early this year. Unfortunately you have to visit the park after the rain/snow, because the washes run with water and many times you can’t get across them safely. NOw turn around from the top picture and you have….

Such great texture!

Speaking of texture, some of our saguaros really took a hit because of last winter’s very unexpected – and very deep – freeze. Here’s what happens to those majestic cactus:

they will decay even further, till all you see are the interior spines. But, oh, the texture is amazing!

Lots of animals have made this cactus home, so it has quite a history.

This is part of the drive looking north but going around the eastern loop of the park. Ocotillo, prickly pear, and saguaros, all lining the drive like massive columns. When everything is in bloom, it’s pretty amazing.

Now go up Mt. Lemon to about 5,000 feet. You get to the Seven Cataracts lookout. You cna make out the snow in the upper right – we’re not high enough yet.

Turning to the right, if you’re lucky, the cataracts will have water in them. It’s happened twice for us in 17 years. If you follow that whole cavern, you can count the falls.

And if you turn to the left, you see the ridges of the mountain ranges beyond Tucson to the south. Tucson is nestled in between.

Nice way to spend an afternoon!

Work in Progress Wednesday

I wasn’t sure I would have some stuff for today, as I’m not planning on showing much else of the two major pieces I’m working on, beyond talking about the process. I did have some moments of panic yesterday, as I finally gave in to taking the sewing machine to Cathey’s Sew and Vac here in Tucson – just couldn’t figure out what was going on with the tension. And I was thinking – two weeks without the machine…..

Turns out it was bobbin tension – they very nicely¬† did “triage” and Mary Sara showed me exactly what was wrong and helped me fix the bobbin case. I am definitely planning some private lessons with her after the first of the year. I brought my machine home 30 minutes later, good as new, with specific instructions to OIL MY MACHINE. Will do.

Then it was back to work on the “winter” piece, as I wanted to take a break from the major sewing. I wasn’t sure the marbled FQ and the gray I bought would work, but they do. The only thing I would do differently, should I make another one, is to get a much lighter gray. Once the log cabin blocks were done, we made the mistake of trying to choose border fabrics in a yellowed light at night. We literally went through every blue in the stash; the blue organza seemed like neon when up against the piece – even though the shade was exactly what we needed. We settled on a piece of black we’ve been saving – won’t need much to finish borders and binding.

In the light of day, everything seemed to work pretty well together. Here’s a peek. It definitely looks icy. And I was pleased with what I was able to do with directionality.

Now, here comes the weird part…..I have been saving the “vine” from the strong of autumn leaves we bought, thinking I could maybe use it. I read the blogs of a lot of mixed media collage artists, and I am amazed at what they put in their work. My friend Anne was delighted to get left-over slide casings – just because she thought of something she could maybe do with them….so I’m guessing this habit is catching….

I thought about trying for a wintery twig effect. It looks like I will have to take the wire off from around the pieces and then carefully attach them where I want them…..should be interesting to see what happens.

Hopefully it will be done for a “reveal” next Wednesday….yup….too much HGTV…..

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