Masks with customized fabric: Getting creative

Masks with customized fabric August 2020

Did you know you can order customized fabrics from JOANN Fabric & Craft stores and other sources? Neither did I. This week I made face masks with customized fabric that I ordered online.

Customized fabric August 2020

I was getting tired of wearing the Scooby Doo masks I made months ago.

Scooby Doo masks August 2020

I was online looking for interesting prints when I stumbled upon the customized fabric options at JOANN. The site currently lists 9,029 choices.

Ordering customized fabric

When you click on a fabric, it gives you a couple size options. The 13″ x 7″ sample is enough to make a mask and it only cost $5.00 (plus shipping). Then you select which fabric you want. There are 27 different kinds of fabric available! I chose cotton sheeting.

If you click on the 13″ x 7″ sample size and you don’t like how the pattern fits, you can click the customize design button. This screen grab shows what comes up. You can change how the pattern repeats or make it larger or smaller. I made the pattern smaller on the crane fabric I chose.

Customizing fabrics on JOANN August 2020

Many of the fabrics also allow you to choose colors. See the options with this fabric?

Options for customization on JOANN August 2020

This isn’t exactly designing your own fabric from scratch, like on Project Runway, but you get some creative control.

Things to keep in mind when creating masks

It took about three weeks for my fabric samples to be shipped to me. When they arrived, I had a problem. The pattern I use has casing for the elastic to go through. You need two 1 1/2″ x 4″ pieces for each mask.

I didn’t want to buy a whole package of bias tape or seam binding so I made my own. I cut off the white fabric at the bottom of each sample and used fabric paint to color it to match. If you choose this option, follow the fabric paint directions carefully.

Masks with customized fabric  bias tape August 2020

The masks I make have a pocket so additional layers can be inserted. They also include a place to insert wire on the top edge so you can shape the mask to fit your face.

Mask with pocket for inserts August 2020

Be careful when you are laying out your fabric or you may accidentally sew the fabric pattern upside down like I did on some of my Scooby masks. Ruh-roh!

Upside down print August 2020

You should also think about how the pattern will look when it’s broken up by the pleats on the mask. For example, look at how this fabric turned out in the finished mask.

I finished all the edges with zigzag stitching so I used a lot of thread on these masks. When I finished the last mask, I looked up to see how much thread was left on the spool. I think this must be where the saying, “Hanging on by a thread” came from. 😀

Hanging on by a thread August 2020

If you’re looking for new ideas for creating masks, consider making face masks with customized fabric.

Ice plants up close: Macro Monday

Ice plants up close near Bend, Oregon July 2020

Here’s a photo of ice plants up close from my garden near Bend, Oregon. I always look forward to seeing their bright, long lasting blooms.

Macro Monday

Arches National Park in bloom: LAPC

In early May 2017, we visited the national parks in Utah. With temperatures in the 90s, we didn’t exactly avoid the desert’s heat, but we were happy to see Arches National Park in bloom.

These plants grow well under the hot, sunny conditions. Here are a few of the plants we saw in bloom. Some are big and bold; others are small and subtle.

Arches National Park in bloom May 2017
Blooming cactus in Utah May 2017
Evening primrose in Utah May 2017
Arches National Park in bloom, yucca plant Utah May 2017
Blooming wildflowers and grasses in Utah May 2017
Arches National Park wildflowers May 2017

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Under the sun

Outdoor pronghorn painting: First Friday Art

Outdoor pronghorn painting by Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

Here’s an outdoor pronghorn painting I did in our backyard. It’s the first Friday of the month so it’s time to share your First Friday Art. If you have artwork you would like to share, use the First Friday Art tag.

We have an 8 x 16 foot shed in the backyard and it had a boring blank west-facing wall. It needed something to make it more interesting. I thought of painting a pronghorn, one of my favorite critters.

Out building prior to painting near Bend, Oregon August 2020
The shed prior to painting

I developed an appreciation for pronghorns many years ago when I did fieldwork at Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in southeastern Oregon. Pronghorns, AKA antelope, are native in parts of western North America and they’re common at the refuge.

Steps taken to create the outdoor pronghorn painting

First I brightened up the side of the shed with some leftover light blue paint. Then I sketched out the pronghorn from pictures I had taken, supplemented with other source materials.

Sketch of pronghorn July 2020
First sketch

For some people doing the initial sketch is easy, but it’s not for me. Do you know what the picture below is?

Eraser dust on plywood July 2020

Eraser dust! I did a lot of erasing and redrawing.

The next step was back painting the silhouette of the pronghorn. I used an off white paint – more leftovers – to help the colors pop.

Back painted silhouette by Siobhan Sullivan July 2020
Back painted pronghorn

Next I sketched over the white paint.

Sketch over back painted painting by Siobhan Sullivan August 2020
Sketching over back painting

Then I painted in the big blocks of color and added shading. The last thing I paint is the eye. It can give a painting life.

Outdoor pronghorn painting by Siobhan Sullivan August 2020
The finished pronghorn painting

A dead juniper branch and igneous rock collected from my property helped the painting fit in with our High Desert setting.

Juniper branch, rabbitbrush, & rocks near Bend, Oregon August 2020

There will be more High Desert creatures added to this piece. I’ll start work on a badger, black-billed magpie, and golden-mantled ground squirrel.

I filled up some of my empty space (and empty time) creating this outdoor pronghorn painting. Hope you are finding time to be creative!

Brothers Stage Stop: Monochrome Monday

Brothers Stage Stop in Oregon July 2020

The Brothers Stage Stop, in Brothers, Oregon, is a little oasis in the high desert an hour east of Bend.

Monochrome Monday

My sanctuary through the seasons: LAPC

In my sanctuary
Spring arrives with a symphony
Birdsongs and blooms

Chives in bloom in the spring, near Bend, Oregon 2020

Summer arrives with a sizzle
Glowing and grand

Sunrise over my sanctuary Bend, Oregon 2019

Fall arrives with fireworks
Blazing and bright

Fall leaves near Bend, Oregon October 2018

In my sanctuary
Winter arrives with a whisper
Quiet and cool

My sanctuary in winter near Bend, Oregon 2020

Lens Artists Photo Challenge – Sanctuary

Plant ID – To weed or not to weed: Friday Flowers

To weed or not to weed. Sometimes weeding is a big job, so how can you tell which plant is a weed?

Are the tall plants in this photo weeds that I should pull?

Mullein plants near Bend, Oregon July 2020

What about this plant with pretty purple flowers?

Spotted knapweed near Bend, Oregon July2020

Are these two plants weeds?

Oregon sunshine & iceplant near Bend, Oregon July2020

You can’t always determine what kind of plant it is, but plant ID tools will help.

Websites & Apps

A good place to start, is the Wildflower Search website. You can narrow down the possibilities by clicking on a map with the general location you saw the plant. You can narrow it down more by inputting if it’s a tree, shrub, flower, grass, etc. Entering the color of the flower and the time of year you observed it narrows it down even more. This site goes into more detail with options including the growth pattern of leaves and the number of flower petals but most of the time, just selecting the options already mentioned helps determine what it is.

Wildflower Search Plant ID July 2020

Here in Oregon, you can get a paid app for Oregon Wildflower identification. It has similar features to the Wildflower Search site. This app is great to have on your phone when you’re out in the field. Is there a plant ID app where you live? They are a great resource!

Oregon Wildlfowers Plant ID July 2020

Books & Extension Units

Of course you can consult a wide selection of field guides. Use those that cover your geographic area. Here are a few I use. Yes, that copy of Sagebrush Country has spent a lot of time in the field. 😉 If you’re looking for a more recently published field guide, see Wildflowers of Oregon: A Field Guide to over 400 Wildflowers, Trees, and Shrubs of the Coast, Cascades, and High Desert.

Plant identification field guides July 2020

Don’t forget to consult your local Cooperative Extension Unit. If you take in a cutting, they can help you identify the plant. At the Oregon State University Extension Service office closest to me, I can “Ask an Expert” by sending in a photograph of an unidentified plant. They’ll help you with plant ID. Cooperative Extension Units have a wealth of information for gardeners. The one here in Central Oregon has a great publication on water-wise gardening that I have referred to numerous times.

Water-wise gardening handbook July 2020

My Favorite Plant ID Tool!

I saved my favorite plant identification tool for last. Install the Google Lens app and take a picture with your phone. Open the picture and click on the icon and your screen will sparkle like it’s been sprinkled with pixie dust. Then it will magically show you pictures with names of possible plants. I have also used this app for identifying random antiques, but identifying plants is what I use it for the most. Does Google Lens work perfectly in identifying everything? No! Yesterday I took a picture of a lizard on a juniper tree. It told me it was a pangolin, a type of scaly anteater, on bamboo. 😀 However, Google Lens usually narrows things down and then you can refer to field guides, etc.

So back to my original questions about if I should pull the plants pictured.

Google Lens mullein plant near Bend, Oregon July 2020

Google Lens tells me the first plant is a type of mullein. They are considered a weed where I live. However, birds love the seeds on those tall stalks so I leave a few in the landscaping for them. It’s okay to keep plants that aren’t native if you keep them from getting out of control.

Google Lens spotted knapweed near Bend, Oregon July 2020

The second plant, with the pretty purple flowers, is spotted knapweed. It is so invasive around Central Oregon that you can be fined up to $750 a day per lot. I pull every one of those I see. The local Noxious Weed Program helps landowners identify aggressive, non-native plants.

The last picture is a twofer. Are these plants weeds? I can click on each plant and Google Lens will tell me what they are. The yellow flowered plant is Oregon sunshine. This native plant grows like a weed, but I love its cheerful color and long-lasting blooms so I don’t pull it. The pink flowered plant is iceplant. It’s an escapee from a landscaped part of our yard. It gets no water where it is but it’s doing great! Both these plants will stay where they are.

Good luck with your attempts at plant ID. Hope these tools help.

Friday Flowers

Resplendent with crystals of snow: LAPC

Winds shift and winter blows
In from the farthest reaches of
North, carried on cold fronts
Turning landscapes into
Enchanted scenes
Resplendent with crystals of snow

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Winter

Horsetail Falls View: Pull up a Seat & PFTW Challenge

Last fall we were treated to a beautiful Horsetail Falls view on an October day. We took a trip to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area to see some of the sights. The Historic Columbia River Highway runs parallel to the river and takes you past several spectacular waterfalls, including iconic Multnomah Falls.

You can take in the views from this comfortable bench or…

Horsetail Falls view , Oregon October 2019

Get great photos of this 224-foot tall waterfall from the roadside.

Horsetail Falls in Oregon October 201

I liked the interesting rock formation to the left of the falls and the layers of green moss and ferns.

Base of a waterfall near the Columbia River in Oregon October 2019

You can also get a good Horsetail Falls view from Horsetail Falls Trail #438. This 2.3-mile loop trail takes you past Horsetail Falls, Ponytail Falls, and Middle Oneata Falls.

Check ahead of time before visiting. The site may be closed because of COVID-19 restrictions, wildfires, or for other reasons.

Pull Up a Seat Photo Challenge – Week 29

Photo for the Week (PFTW) 72- Vacation

Autumn kaleidoscope colors: LAPC

Rotate the autumn kaleidoscope lens to see summer’s verdant green fade

Green meadow at Sunriver Oregon June 2017

And mix with blades of rich gold.

Gold and green grasses in Oregon September 2016

Rotate the autumn kaleidoscope lens to see warm reds mute cool greens

Autumn's kaleidoscope red leaves among fallen trees in Oregon September 2016

And mix with shards of bright yellow.

Red and gold leaves in Bend, Oregon October 2019

And if you rotate the autumn kaleidoscope lens at the right moment,

Autumn's kaleidoscope Oregon September 2016

You’ll see all the brilliant colors fill your view

Autumn's kaleidoscope Oregon September 2016

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Fall/Autumn

Blue flax flowers up close: Macro Monday

Blue flax flowers up close in my garden. These delicate flowers are difficult to photograph because they have a habit of turning away from the camera. I guess they are a little camera shy!

Macro Monday

Yellowstone in spring is a time to… : LAPC

Yellowstone in spring is a time to

Shrug off that old winter coat and

  • Yellowstone in spring, Elk near West Thumb, Yellowstone June 2018
  • Bison near Norris Geyser Basin June 2015

Feel the warmth of the sun

  • Red fox near Calcite Spring June 2018
  • Mountain Bluebird near Morning Glory hot spring June 2015

Yellowstone in spring is a time to

View rainbows captured in pools and

  • Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, Yellowstone June 2018
  • Rainbow Pool in Biscuit Basin June 2018

Ephemeral wildflowers

  • Balsamroot near Mammoth Hot Springs May 2018
  • Fringed gentian surrounding Ear Spring June 2015

Yellowstone in spring is a time to

Welcome new lives into the world and

  • Yellowstone in Spring, Bison & calves in Lamar Valley June 2015
  • Yellow-bellied marmot & pup near Calcite Spring June 2018

Marvel at their adventures

  • Two bighorn sheep ewes & lambs, Calcite Spring, Yellowstone June 2015
  • Black bear and two cubs June 2011

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Spring

A tree in the making: Monochrome Monday & Macro Monday

A tree in the making in Bend, Oregon June 2020

A tree in the making up close and in black and white.

Monochrome Monday

Macro Monday

Outdoor Horse Sculptures: LAPC & Sculpture Saturday

Summer is a great time to go see outdoor horse sculptures in Bend, Oregon. Here are some of my favorites.

This mare and foal sculpture by Bernie Jestrabek-Hart is at the High Desert Museum. Constructed of barbed wire, this piece portrays a tender moment in a work that is strong yet delicate. Bernie wrote the book, Creating Realistic Works of Art with Barbed Wire , to help others interested in working in this medium.

Outdoor horse sculptures Bend, Oregon
Mare & Foal by Bernie Jestrabek-Hart

This draft horse standing within three large circles of steel is by Devin Laurence Field. Horses played an integral role in Bend’s logging industry. Devin painstakingly constructs each steel piece in a process that includes cutting, forging, pressing, welding, grounding and polishing. This sculpture is in a roundabout in the northeast part of Bend.

Sculpture Bend, Oregon July 2020
Might of the Work Force by Devin Laurence Field

Artist Danae Bennett-Miller drew her inspiration for this piece from her husband, who was a buckaroo. “Buckaroo” is an Anglicized version of the Spanish word vaquero, which means cowboy. Danae created this piece using a lost wax method of casting with bronze and glass. This piece is in a roundabout on the west side of Bend.

Outdoor art in Bend, Oregon July 2020
Bueno Homage to the Buckaroo by Danae Bennett-Miller

This sculpture of two draft horses pulling logs pays homage to the importance of the logging industry in Bend’s past. It’s by Greg Congleton and it’s in Farewell Bend Park. It’s constructed of many surprising metal pieces including gears & sprockets, spoons, a garden hoe, and a 1923 Oregon license plate.

Two Bits 4Dec2016
Two Bits by Greg Congleton

This sculpture is also by Greg Congleton. It’s located right outside the Tumalo Art Co. gallery. Greg grew up on a cattle farm in Paulina, Oregon and draws on that background for his creations. According to Greg, he’s been told that he’s “a strange mixture of artist, architect, engineer, and humorist.” Yes, I agree!

Outdoor horse sculptures Bend, Oregon July 2020
Charlie by Greg Congleton

If you like outdoor art, be sure to check out the outdoor horse sculptures in Bend. They are fantastic! 😀

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Summer

Sculpture Saturday

Tiger painting in acrylics: First Friday Art

Here’s a tiger painting in acrylics I did on a small wooden box. I liked how the eyes turned out on this piece.

It’s time to share artwork since it’s the first Friday of the month. If you have something you would like to share, use the First Friday Art tag.

Tiger painting in acrylics by Siobhan Sullivan July 2020

Flicker feather up close: SMM

Flicker feather Bend, Oregon 3June2020

We have Northern flickers in our yard and everything about them is loud, even their feathers. Here’s a flicker feather up close.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday (SMM)

Lighting up winter nights: LAPC

Last February I was happy to see the Central Oregon Light Art exhibition lighting up winter nights in Bend. Oregon WinterFest has food, beer, and music like other events, but it’s also a showcase for artists. I have photographed the Fire Pit Competition (one of my favorite events!) and the Ice Sculpture Competition in the past. Central Oregon Light Art was added in 2019. I was surprised and impressed with what I saw this year.

This one looked nice in the daylight but look at how it changes at night.

Lighting up winter nights at Oregon WinterFest February 2020
  • Round light sculpture at Oregon WinterFest February 2020
  • Round light sculpture at Oregon WinterFest February 2020
  • Round light sculpture at Oregon WinterFest February 2020

This one reminded me of blue barber’s pole.

Vertical pole light sculpture at Oregon WinterFest February 2020

A multi-colored suspended piece with a ghostly sculpture in the background.

Lighting up winter nights at Oregon WinterFest February 2020

A simple and bold piece.

A bold light sculpture at Oregon WinterFest February 2020

An outline of a person. I think I liked this one the best. The guy walking behind it warned me he was going to photo bomb me and I told him he’d be on my blog. 😀

Lighting up winter nights at Oregon WinterFest February 2020

This piece is like a graceful lighted wind chime.

Windchime-like sculpture at Oregon WinterFest February 202

A tree lighted up in cool colors. The flag bridge is in the background.

Lighted tree sculpture at Oregon WinterFest February 202

The temperature that night was cold, but I was glad to have the opportunity to see these works of art lighting up winter nights.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Surprise

Barn Owl Up Close: A Photo a Week Challenge

Barn owl up close, Dingle, Ireland March 2020

Here’s a look at a barn owl up close. They are such an interesting looking owl. Their white facial discs and undersides contrast with cinnamon colored head, back, and upperwings. An elegant bird with a worldwide distribution.

A Photo a Week Challenge – Anything

Art at the Amphitheater in Bend

Art at the Amphitheater , Bend, Oregon November 2018

When I walk my dog in the Old Mill district, I always smile when I see the art at the amphitheater. The Les Schwab Amphitheater is the main venue for large events in Bend, Oregon. Minneapolis artist, Erin Sayer, painted the crow on one side of the stage and the owl on the other.

Fellow Minneapolis artist, Yuya Negishi, assisted her. Yuya painted a dragon mural on the side of a building across the river and another mural on a staircase.

Owl mural in Bend, Oregon December 2018
Artwork on utility box in Bend, Oregon November 2018

Even the utility boxes are painted.

There’s a big, open field in front of the stage.

Art at the Amphitheater , Bend, Oregon November 2018

The Deschutes River runs behind the stage. Here’s a view from across the river. Those silos on the right side belong to Deschutes Brewery.

View of amphitheater in Bend, Oregon November 2018

Events are temporarily postponed or cancelled because of coronavirus. Huge crowds, such as these seen at Bend Brewfest, often fill the fields at events.

Brewfest in Bend, Oregon August 2018

The flower border along one side of the field is spectacular at certain times of the year.

Flower border in Old Mill district of Bend, Oregon September 2017

Accommodations for entertainers at this venue are unique. They are old boxcars resting on a section of train track. You can see the old train station, built in 1911, across the street.

Accommodations for entertainers in Bend, Oregon April 2019

Here’s a closer view of the train station on a winter day. Now it’s the Art Station, managed by Bend Park and Recreation District. It offers art classes for adults and children.

 Art Station in Bend, Oregon 9March2019

Art at the Amphitheater shows up in many forms including murals, concerts, colorful flower borders, art classes, and locally brewed beers. 😀

Yellow flowers with petals radiating -Tanka: LAPC

A single flower
With petals radiating
Captures warm sunlight
To share on overcast days
Illuminating us all

Prickly pear cactus with petals radiating Bend, Oregon 4June2020
Prickly pear cactus
Salsify blooming in Bend, Oregon 29May2020
Salsify
Cinquefoil in bloom, Bend, Oregon 14June2020
Cinquefoil
Oregon sunshine with petals radiating, Bend, Oregon 14June2020
Oregon sunshine

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – One single flower

All about Purple sage: Friday Flowers

Purple sage and Indian paintbrush  at Gray Butte, Oregon May 2016

     You may have heard of this plant referred to in the classic western, Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey. But did you know purple sage is not actually in the sagebrush family? It’s a type of sage in the mint family, Lamiaceae, and one of its common names is “mint sage.” If you crush the leaves in your hand you’ll be able to tell why.

     I’ve seen purple sage, Salvia dorrii, in various high desert locations in eastern Oregon. Gray Butte, just northeast of Smith Rock, is a great place to see this native shrub in full bloom.

Wildflowers at Gray Butte May 2016

    Purple sage grows in the western United States and northwestern Arizona, south to the Mojave Desert. It grows on open slopes, flats, or foothill areas receiving 7-15 inches of annual precipitation. This shrub grows in low to high elevations in sandy, rocky, and limestone soils. It often grows in stands of sagebrush and in pinyon-juniper habitats.

Wildflowers at Gray Butte May 2016

     This plant is a semi-evergreen shrub that grows to a height of 1-3 feet and a width of 2-4 feet. Its narrow, grey-green leaves are rounded at the tips. The flowers are purple and dark blue and they appear in spike-like clusters. Purple sage blooms from May through June. Their gray to red-brown fruit is 1/8 inch or smaller.

Honeybee on purple sage Bend, Oregon June 2020

Purple sage in the garden

     Purple sage can be grown in gardens. This plant grows in full sun and has very low water requirements. Purple sage is propagated by seeds, dividing the plants in early spring, or taking cuttings of new growth. It attracts bees, butterflies, and birds, including hummingbirds. This shrub is deer and rabbit resistant. Purple sage grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 4b through 10a. That includes areas with an average annual extreme minimum temperature of -30 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

High desert landscape Bend, Oregon June 2020

Ethnobotany

     Native Americans made use of this plant throughout its range. Stems and leaves of purple sage were used as a cure for colds by the Kawasiiu, Paiute, Shoshoni, Okanagan-Colville, and Washoe tribes. They also applied poultices to the chest, smoked the dried leaves, and made steam baths from parts of the plant. It was used in various forms to treat headaches, stomachaches, fever, influenza, pneumonia, gonorrhea, swollen leg veins, eye problems, and general illness. Hopi, Kumai, and Paipai used this sage to treat epilepsy, headaches, stomachaches, and other conditions. The Kawasiiu people threw it into the fire to ward off ghosts.

Fun Fact: The genus name of this plant, Salvia, comes from the Latin word salveo. It means “Be well/ in good health.”

Wandering the roads of Utah: LAPC

The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week is the long and winding road. Wandering the roads of Utah a few years ago, we saw many picturesque roads.

The Mt. Carmel Tunnel in Zion National Park.

Wandering the roads of Utah, Zion National Park May 2017

Winding dirt roads bordering the canyons in Canyonlands National Park.

View of Canyonlands National Park, Utah May 2017

Utah State Route 95 curves down towards the Hite Bridge in Lake Powell.

Wandering the roads of Utah, Hite Bridge Lake Powell, Utah May 2017

Arches Scenic Drive Road near Park Avenue in Arches National Park.

Near Park Avenue in Arches National Park, Utah May 2017

Winding dirt roads seen in Bryce Canyon National Park from Bryce Point.

Bryce Canyon National Park from Bryce Point, Utah May 2017

Highway 28 runs along the Colorado River near Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab.

View of Red Cliff Lodge Moab, Utah May 2017

Scenic Drive Road in Capitol Reef National Park.

Wandering the roads of Utah Capitol Reef National Park, Utah May 2017

Be sure to have your camera ready when you are out wandering the roads of Utah. Lots of opportunities for pictures! 😀

Prairie falcon pen-and-ink: First Friday Art

It’s already First Friday again! Today I’m sharing a prairie falcon pen-and-ink drawing I created. This drawing shows their dark “armpit” marking. That’s one of the ways to distinguish them from peregrine falcons.

Prairie falcon pen-and-ink by Siobhan Sullivan

Here are a couple glimpses of a prairie falcon flying high above the 9,734 foot peak of Steens Mountain in Oregon.

Prairie falcon from the peak of Steens Mountain, Oregon 28 August 2019
Prairie falcon from the peak of Steens Mountain, Oregon 28 August 2019

Share artwork you or someone else created with the First Friday Art tag.

Happy Friday!