Freezer Paper Stencils!

Freezer paper stenciled shirts have been one of my favorite projects to do over the last 8 or so years since I found out that this existed!  It’s an easy way to get a really nice custom t-shirt without all of the supplies and extra steps of screen printing.  I use the same ink that is used in screen printing: Speedball fabric ink: this kind The big difference really is that the designs for freezer paper stencils can only be used once and usually you can just do one color.  So it is a little bit simpler, but I’ve had shirts that I’ve washed for years and still look great.

The process goes like this: you find a design or text on your computer, print it out onto a special paper that is waxy on one side, use an Xacto knife to cut out the design, iron the paper waxy side down onto your shirt, apply the screen printing ink, wait 2 hours, peel off the paper, then heat-set the design with an iron for a few minutes with a piece of fabric in-between.

This is the paper I use: freezer paper Also, I use a stippling brush to apply the ink and apply it in a stippling fashion, not brushing like you would on a painting.  The brush is like this: stipple brush  These supplies combined with the Speedball ink really make it into a quality product.  Also, for dark shirts be sure to use the opaque ink only or the ink won’t be vibrant.

A link to my etsy shop where I like to sell some of my t-shirt designs: Sharon’s Designs on etsy

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The more skilled you are with a blade, the more detailed designs you can end up making, like the Buffalo ’66 one above.

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Enjoy!  The possibilities are endless!

Sharon 🙂

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest- WOW!

Last weekend on the drive back from a ski trip in Mammoth with friends, we stopped by the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.  It is located in the White Mountains in Inyo County, California, about 24 miles (maybe a 45 minute drive) from Big Pine.  The road is windy, steep and reaches an elevation of about 10,000 ft.  If you are afraid of driving on high, twisty roads with no railings, this may not be for you.  The views of the mountains are pretty spectacular though.  Normally the Forest is open from mid-May to November, but it was open, maybe because of the warm weather.

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Bristlecone pines grow in high altitude regions of the Western US. Their wood has extreme durability, and even after the tree has died, can still stand there on its roots for centuries.  The wood erodes rather than rotting, which causes very interesting patterns from the wind and rain.  You’ll notice a lot of swirls and unusual wave shapes.

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We had started driving the car down the dirt road toward the Patriarch Grove, but it is about an 11 mile drive filled with rocks in the dirt road.  We decided it was too much with a regular car.  The Patriarch Grove does have the largest Bristlecone Pine tree, called the Patriarch Tree.  The Grove there is also a very barren landscape, giving a much different feel.  Maybe next time with a truck.

So we proceeded back on the paved road to Schulman Grove. There is a nice visitor’s center, but it was closed for the season.   There are two trails there.  One is the Discovery Trail, which is about 1 mile.  The other is the Methuselah Walk, which is about 4 miles.  It has what used to be considered the world’s oldest known living non-clonal organism called the Methusaleh Tree (4,846 years old), but another tree nearby took its title in 2013.  We started on the Methuselah Walk from another entrance and weren’t sure which hike we were on.  The path became narrow, a bit steep and covered in slush at points.  I was pretty unsteady because of the altitude and my lightheadedness, so I decided to turn back.  We ended up doing the Discovery Trail, which had plenty of cool trees to see.  It was a nice trail, partly uphill, with stairs built in to the hillside.  There were plenty of plaquards to read along the way and benches to sit on.

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The trees are amazing to look at!  The twisty branches make you feel like you could be in a fictional forest in a fairytale land and that maybe they may start talking to you!

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The tress grow from altitudes between 5,600 and 11,200 ft

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/specialplaces/?cid=stelprdb5129900

Til next time!

Sharon 🙂

All the Bougainvillea!!

I found this wonderful purple Bougainvillea tree in an empty lot, just off of the road.  The Bougainvillea are in full bloom all around the area right now in Los Angeles.  They are just so beautiful!

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Here are some older pictures of a brighter red one that was covering the wall all along the freeway:

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Some multicolor found at the Huntington Botanical Gardens:

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Learn more about these beautiful plants: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bougainvillea

Sharon 🙂

Recent Visit to the Antelope Valley Poppies

Despite the news about the shriveling poppies due to the recent heat, I wanted to go anyway.  The most recent report was that although it was the densest poppy germination anyone’s seen in a decade, the large showing never came because the poppies started to shrivel quickly in the record-breaking March heat.  So I drove out to the Antelope Valley poppy fields in Lancaster, CA to see for myself.

These are taken near a hill that I got to by driving down a dirt road marked 160th, by turning from the Lancaster Rd./ 160th intersection.

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There is some pretty purple found in here.  The purple flowers were so soft!  I learned these are called owl clover.  And the poppies, if you’ve never touched them, are silky to the touch.

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The normal areas where I would see orange painted everywhere were barren.  All areas around the actual reserve were void of poppies as well.  If you look off into the hills, you can see a little painted here and there though.

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Evidence of the shriveling petals 😦

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An area just off of Lancaster Rd.  The yellow flowers formed a pretty blanket, but last year there were also many poppies sprinkled in here too.

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I still had a nice time and enjoyed the open land and nature around me.  It’s just too bad that’s how this year’s bloom worked out.  Well, until next year then.  I’ll scout out some other flowers in the meantime.

Sharon 🙂

Antelope Valley Poppies!!!!

So let me say one thing.  I love poppies!  I love flowers in general and love seeking them out.  I love to lie down in the fields and feel the warmth of the wind and sun and the solitude of the world around me. The poppy fields are like nowhere else on earth.  You literally feel as though you have stepped into a dreamland.  If I could stay in one place forever, that is where I’d stay.

Antelope Valley Poppies California

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The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is located in Lancaster, CA. You have to pay to enter the reserve and have to stay on the trails as well, not touching the flowers.  The reserve does offer an awesome view of the fields down below, but I prefer to stop in the many fields along the side of the open road and just be one with nature.  The pictures above are from April 2010, which was the first year Amelia and I went and one of the best days we’ve ever had.  It happened to be a spectacular year for poppies.

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The photos above are also from 2010.  It is predicted that this spring’s flowers will be the most amazing in years, so I am hoping for a bloom similar to 2010.  The past few years have not held up to it.

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Me in 2011 above.  I went anyway, although the bloom was very sparse.  Quite a difference from the year before.

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Following the website and poppy hotline, I skipped 2012 and 2013, as they weren’t worth going for me.  To check out the bloom forecast, check here: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=627  Last year was the best bloom in years, although nothing like 2010.  The two photos above are from last year.  I cannot wait for peak bloom season, which should be any week now!  This season will peak early- they are saying end of March maybe or before.  Usually it is mid-April.  Many flowers have already started to bloom, but it is not yet at its peak.  I will wait…

The best days to go during peak bloom are sunny and warmer days because the flowers are open.  If it is too cold or windy, the petals close up.  It is also always windy out there, especially higher up at the actual reserve.  There are poppies to be found for miles around the area though.  I plan to explore more this year!

If you are looking for me, you can find me there 🙂

Sharon 🙂

Upper Antelope Slot Canyons

So after visiting the Lower Antelope Slot Canyons in the morning, we had a quick lunch and proceeded to the next tour of the Lower Slot Canyons!  Both are located in Page, AZ very nearby one another.  This one we booked through Chief Tsosie’s tours: http://www.antelopeslotcanyon.com/about_us/chief.html

This was a really cool tour.  It cost about $37, and we met up at the tour group building.  Then after a really cool authentic ring dance, we got in the back of a truck and headed out to the site!  It was a bumpy bumpy fun ride on the road and then on the dirt roads.  This canyon is a lot colder than the Lower Canyons.  It also felt darker inside, even though it was Upper.

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If you look into the lighter part of this picture above, you can see a bear.  Our tour guide was a lot of fun and pointed out all the cool shots and even helped with taking them!  Also, this canyon is a lot more open inside and was a lot less packed with people.

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Both the Upper and Lower Canyons are unique and each worth visiting!

Sharon 🙂

Lower Antelope Slot Canyons

We went to both the Lower and Upper Slot Canyons in one day over Presidents’ Day weekend in February.  Both have to be booked through a Navajo tour company because they are part of the Navajo reserve land in Page, AZ.  We decided to book the Lower Canyons for the morning.  We chose the photo tour with Ken’s Tours, and it requires that each person getting a ticket must have an SLR camera as well as a tripod.  It cost about $50 per person: http://lowerantelope.com/

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After driving out to the tour site, the tour group just walks right over to the site and descends into the tight slot canyon entrance. The Canyons throughout are pretty narrow, with other parts opening up.  There were so many people in there that day because of the holiday that we unfortunately spent a lot of time waiting for people to pass since the spaces are so tight.  We did get some beautiful shots but I highly recommend coming on a weekend in winter that is not a holiday.  They don’t regulate how many different tour companies go through at once, and it was way over capacity in my opinion.  In the winter, the sun rays don’t come in but it was still very fascinating to see this natural wonder.

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At the end, you climb up a very tall ladder and come out in this beautiful place!

Check out my next post about Upper Antelope Slot Canyons!

Sharon 🙂