quilts, treadle sewing machines, crochet, watercolor, dogs, & other fun stuff

Holding Pattern

We’ve entered that late spring/early summer period when the bulk of our daylilies are in bloom, along with some other things.  I took a few photos on one of the nicer mornings we’ve had recently:

And a couple of dog photos for good measure!

Luna, the biscuit queen
Mr. Frodo in weird wide-angle

Selvage Quilt in a Holding Pattern

I just haven’t felt like picking back up with this project, so it’s currently on hold.  I did a little crumb piecing, at some point since the last entry, but that’s all.  

Mixed Media Collage, Continued...

I also kept putting off adding those finishing touches to the potted plant collage.  When I finally made myself do it, the additions didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted them (I drew them too small, for one thing), but it’s okay.  I might try this again at some point. 

Random Watercolor Stuff

The main craft-related thing I’ve done since last time is just random watercolor doodles (with some other art supplies thrown in, nearly always, so I guess they’re mixed media or at least watercolor and ink)…

Crowd of Foxes

I also made a card using this tutorial from Sandra Hermans: “Paint Easy and Cute Foxes with Watercolor”.  

I’d like to try this again and see if I can make it better.  I started out with smaller foxes (to better fit on the front of my card), and I think that didn’t help, but there are other things I could also improve, such as more variety in the shapes of the foxes, better distribution of color/contrast, sizes of the eyes and other detail, etc.  

All that said, it was still fun, and it turned out better than I feared it might, at some points.  

I took several progress photos along the way:

fox shapes in pencil, before partial erasure
starting to color in the foxes
continuing coloring in foxes
adding darker details (ears, eyes, noses)
adding pink ears & blue shadows
adding white gouache highlights
after adding watercolor, color pencil details, & pen smiles
scanned image (which flattens some details)

Hammered Dulcimer

One hobby I don’t write about much is playing the dulcimer, because (unless you’re an instructor or performer getting technical about it) there’s not much to say.  “I’ve been playing around on the dulcimer” would get boring pretty quickly with nothing more to share on the subject, and even a list of songs I’ve been playing (or attempting to play) wouldn’t add much flavor, especially since there’s a lot of repetition in that list, from week to week and month to month.  I still regularly play the first song I learned, for instance, though I’m a little better at it now than I was back then!  

But I have been playing around on the hammered dulcimer since Donald made it for me.  I’m not following any formal lessons, really, though I have watched a few YouTube videos to learn a song or to get a better understanding of how the notes are arranged on the instrument.  My technique could probably benefit from watching more instruction—and I even have a book I’m meaning to get through “someday”—but I get bored and impatient with that type of thing.  I’d usually rather just play around.  

Hammered dulcimer is a great instrument for that—just playing around.  There are of course people out there who play it professionally and make beautiful music, demonstrating amazing technique, but nearly anyone can pick up the hammers, spend not too much time learning where the notes are, and play a pleasing melody.  It’s very accessible in that way, unlike something where you need a fair bit of practice (and preferably instruction) just to make a nice-sounding note.  

…So anyway, I’ve been playing around on the hammered dulcimer, and for a while now I’ve used the recorder on my phone to help me remember what I’ve been playing.  That can be surprisingly easy to forget, if you’re playing entirely by ear, as I do.  Sometimes I try to pick out the gist of songs I know—Christmas songs, hymns, traditional melodies, classical pieces, soundtracks or theme songs, the occasional pop hit—and sometimes I just play around until I find something I like that may or may not be my own original composition.  (It can be hard to know, sometimes!  You pick up melodies without even noticing.)

I thought it would be fun to upload some of my dulcimer playing, if it wasn’t too tricky, so this is a test to see if I can get it to work.  It was a bit of a challenge just uploading the files! (I’m really not the most tech savvy person!)  If it works well enough, I may try to share snippets of music from time to time. 

Please excuse any mistakes or stumbles, poor sound quality, and the fact that the dulcimer probably needs tuning! 


(composed & played by me!)


I’m Michael (a female Michael, to remove any doubt).  I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast with my husband, Donald, and our crazy American Eskimo Dogs. 

I love to fill my spare time with various crafts and other hobbies, and this blog is where I share photos, record my progress, and ramble endlessly.

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