Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Castle Saga Continues...March 27

There may be two or three more posts on the progress of our castle.  However, I can guarantee that the saga ends on Saturday.  We officially have a deadline to be unveiled on Sunday, April joke!  (a little April Fool's humor :)

I was going to add a color washing effect over the base gray color on the walls, but the sponging technique gave a better texture.  I believe the color wash would have been too subtle for castle walls.

Here is where I started adding the block stencil.

A close up of the stencil that creates the grout.
Mike's Doors step one

This pic from a camera phone doesn't do the outer wall justice.  I plan to finish the grout stencil tomorrow so I'll shoot some better photos.  I am constantly amazed at what the men created from my sketches!  This is coming out better than I could have ever imagined!  See you for the finale on Saturday...if not before!

The following pics are updates of the finished grout stencil. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tracking Spring 2012

February 23 - Red Winged Blackbirds return
March 1- Peepers (pond frogs)
March 2 - Robin and Swans
March 6 - Killdeer
March 8- 13 deer (although they are a year round presence, this is the largest I've seen the herd)

Every spring I play a game of tracking and journaling the wildlife that return in the order and preferably with the exact date I witness them.  I adore wildlife and treasure the wet springs if only for the new and rare species I've seen.  Although 2009 was truly a flooded mess; with our barn and most of our land a lake around our house and the ducks and geese swam along our driveway and fish swam in the back yard, it was the year I saw a Belted Kingfisher female diving for fish in my backyard.  It was also the year that I saw Hooded Mergansers and a pair of Teall Ducks for the first time!  It was also the spring that granted me the gift of watching a bald eagle survey our land and ponds for dinner.

I keep an adorable little nature journal handy to track the dates and species spotted and pass a few moments sketching some of them. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Castle Progress Continues...March 23, 2012

Today it felt like we really made some progress.  I took a break from the clouds to really lay some paint around the walls, stone borders - complete with dry brushed texture, and battlement edging.  We still have to color wash the walls and stencil in the grout to create the stone blocks of the castle walls.  Sometimes it feels like we are barely moving forward...until I check out the amazing transformation through pictures!

It's really starting to come together!

My clouds in progress

Wait until you see what cool things we have planned for the doors!  Stay tuned!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Castle Progress

Well folks, we've been busy at the castle!  I'm sharing some updated photos of our progress.  We truly had some creative carpenters among us.  Their latest genius idea was the "stone borders" around the doors and windows.  After three days, the carpentry was finished and the faux painting began.


I'm sketching in the cloud locations

Leftover cedar planks made perfect stone borders for our doorways and windows.  The cedar was so beautiful that I had to keep reminding myself that it had to appear as stone, not wood before I could convince myself to start priming them!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Narragansett Newby

A new adventure in the world of poultry is unfolding on our little hobby farm. Yesterday I acquired a 10 month old pair of Narragansett Heritage Turkeys.  What is so special about a Narragansett Turkey you ask?  Not to get too personal in an otherwise private moment between birds but....they can still reproduce naturally!

Not many people realize that in the rush to get fattened up birds to our tables, most commercial breeds have lost the ability to reproduce on their own!  I kid you not!  On our farm, animals must be able to perform all natural bodily functions without my help.  So they must breed, lay, hatch, and care for their young without my assistance.  I'm not God after all and I have a few more pressing tasks than to artificially inseminate my turkeys!

Gutter humor aside, these birds are lovely.  I've named them Isabella and Tomas.  There are many need similarities to my chickens; A perch - although much larger, a nest box - ditto, and similar feed.  However, I've also discovered that my chickens can never hang out with the turkeys because of disease issues, and that I will have to get the fence up around my garden; for although they don't scratch around, they will annihilate my vegetation!

I have already been receiving jokes on naming them "Butter" and "Ball", but these are my breeders.  Being named alone protects them from the freezer!  I can't say the same for any offspring, however...



A lovely couple

Creating Castles

One of my last duties to be fulfilled as I step down from Heading up our Children's Church Department, is the promise I made over a year ago to turn the inside of our Annex into a Castle.  Well, thanks to my husband and a few other wonderful helpers, this dream is in the process of becoming a reality.

It started with a couple of sketches doodled on our weekly church bulletin (yes, during the sermon!  I listen so much better with a pencil in my hand :P)  These wonderful men brought them to life.

As I explained to them, while sharing my vision and my sketches, I can come up with some great ideas, but I have no idea if they are build-able or not!  One particularly creative man made some welcome suggestions and then they were off!  Here is what they came up with after only a few hours.  I will add photos as the whole operation progresses.  Stay tuned...

Day one

Day one continued

This is our puppet theatre!

Day two the Battlements or Crenellations are added.  Yes, I had to Google what the words were for the block like projections at the top of the wall!  Don't you love the Gothic style entry and puppet theatre?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Preserving our Memories

My maternal Great Grandpa Todd in the Calvary in Battle Creek, Michigan

As a resolution this year, I was determined to scan boxes of old photos of my Maternal Great Grandmother's and Great Aunt and Uncle's, Paternal Grandmother's, and my mom and dad's old pics that have been stored in cardboard boxes for countless years.  I am happy to report that said resolution has been accomplished!

My paternal Grandmother's family, the Case's

My maternal Great Uncle Leon's picture from the service in WW2

My mother, Conita as a baby

My Great Uncle Delos and his dog, Skippy

My Mother and Father's Wedding with my maternal Great Grandparents on the left (Todd) and my paternal grandparents on the right (Hutchinson)
I even went one step further.  I copied all the photos onto cds to share with my family, put my paternal grandmother's photos into acid and lignin free albums, and returned photos to other households.  I cannot express the relief I have of no longer being responsible for the safety of generations of old pictures in the case of a house fire!  Now, many cds will be spread throughout the family. Should a tragedy destroy the originals, nothing will be lost and countless backups will provide relief.  Sigh. :)