Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Are you getting ready for the Goblins, or are you going to be a Goblin? Either way, have a safe and Happy Halloween.

You might remember Patti Pumpkin from last year, but she's here again saying "Trick or Treat"! Try not to eat up all the candy and have fun with it.

Have a great night and get ready for a fabulous weekend!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Backyard

When I'm not beading, drawing, knitting, watching telly, or smooching on my cute husband, I sometimes find time to do the dishes. While doing said dishes this morning, I found myself looking out the window and wondering how we had let the backyard (insert woods here) get so overgrown. I was mindlessly drying a pot when I saw something very large move down in the yard. These good old bifocals let me see quickly that we needed to take a picture. I ran on tip toes to find my hubby ( he thought I was losing it...whispering "honey, honey grab the camera").

We live in a well populated neighborhood, with us and both of our next door neighbors being the only ones with any yards much to speak of. This in not a rural setting, and certainly not extremely quiet, so I was surprised to see this guy having breakfast...

Our neighbor tells us all the time, that he had seen four deer in our yard , or that he saw a deer jumping the split rail fence between our properties. We have been here for six years now and we haven't seen anything but one groundhog and a bunny. This was quite exciting to see.

I grew up in a rural community, although we lived in town. I am familiar with hunting and all the folks that I know, that do hunt, either eat the game themselves or dress it and donate it to the local homeless shelters. I really have no problem with that. Let it be known though, that I absolutely don't agree with poaching or killing for sport or leaving the game where it falls, to possibly suffer.

Anyway, this deer isn't huge, but he's pretty darn big. He could really do some damage to a car, or to you if you accidentally "snuck" up on him. I'm not going to be doing much hiking down there until the brush dies down some. It was fun seeing him, but I really hope that he was just traveling though, cause I am a little freaked out having something that large in my backyard.

Do any of you have wild animal tales (the four legged kind, y'all)? I remember last year someone posted pictures of a bear coming up on their deck. That is the very reason, that I don't have steps from the yard to the deck. I'm a chicken, when it comes to critters. Let us know if you do, I would love to hear them.

Take care and don't forget to go out and get candy, tomorrow is goblin night.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mirror Image Bead Tutorial

I love what are known as Natasha beads. I have heard that it is called this because of a technique used by a bead artist named Natasha. I cannot find a website for her, so since I'm not sure, I will call them mirror image beads. I recently made this mirror bead and was so pleased with it that I made a macramé necklace and added some beads and am wearing it now.

Making Mirror Image beads is a great way to use up scrap clay. I tried to find a book that gave clear instructions, but until you actually do this technique, it seems confusing. In trying to photograph each step in the process, I left out the photo of one of the cuts. I went in and photoshopped an arrow where the 2nd and 3rd cuts should be. Hope it is clear. Anyway, here goes.

The first step is to gather up a small amount of scrap clay. The size of the bead will depend on the amount of scrap clay you use. I used a pretty good amount to show the technique. In fact all of mine turn out fairly large. This ball of scrap clay, if round, would fit nicely in the cupped part of your palm.

The next step is to gently twist the clay together. I just take one end of the clay in each hand, and twist my hands and wrists slowly in opposite directions. I usually do about 4-5 twists, repositioning my hands each time, but you will develop your own technique, as you make more of these.

The next step is to shape the clay into a loaf (you know, like meat loaf)

It's time for the first cut. I turn the loaf around vertically, so I can see the pattern emerge. Then I take the tissue blade, or clay cutter and cut straight down (not pulling the blade, but pressing it down though the clay) as close to the middle as possible.

At this point, it's a good idea to put something flat on top of these two pieces and press lightly, this technique works best if the segments are the same "depth" as well as cut evenly in half.
I usually take the back of a rubber stamp and press down with it.

The next step is to take these two pieces and open them like a book. It might sound confusing, but when you are doing it, it makes more sense.

I just took my thumbs and sort of opened the loaf, gently flipping the pieces on their sides.

This next cut (the most crucial of all) is the one I forgot to photograph. I took the above pieces, that are already "opened" and cut each piece in half . See the black lines, that I drew? Those represent the second and third cuts.

The next step is where it can get confusing, but if done correctly, you will have a mirror image on all four sides of the bead. You take the outside pieces and sort of turn them around to the back of the bead. You will see the image on all sides. It looks so good, you will go crazy.

I took this picture of the bead sitting on end to give you a better grasp of what I did. You may find it easier to do flat, or even on a piece of acetate for a better visual, but remember to at all times to handle this baby gently.

This shows the second cuts (or second and third, which ever you prefer) as they are being moved or turned around to the back of the bead.

At this point you can reposition the slices some, but I find that the images tend to get a little wonky if messed with too much. I sometimes smooth down the seams of the bead, sometimes I don't. For teaching purposes, this one is smoothed out some. The one at the top of the page is not.

You have several options for making this into a bead. You can very, very carefully put a toothpick up in the center of the bead to make a vertical hole for stringing. You can put a horizontal hole in the bead, as I did here. You could also use a finding and glue it to the bead with E6000. Lots of options. Personal preference comes in here.

I made little end caps out of black clay, because the ends are always funky. The bead was baked in my polymer clay dedicated toaster oven for 20 minutes on 260 degrees. You can seal them with future floor wax, or sculpey glaze or just leave them as is.

All that being said, here is the finished bead.

The mirror image is on all sides of the bead, but you can also just use the front and place it on another piece of clay, or you can slice the images off with a tissue blade. Very versatile way to use scrap clay.

Hope these instructions were clear enough to set you on fire for Natasha/Mirror beads. Have fun and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Polymer Pods

Here is a quick peek at the necklace I did this weekend. Still doing projects from Linda Peterson's book Making Polymer Clay Beads. DH really likes this one a bunch.

These are wedge shaped pieces formed out of scrap clay and covered with a Skinner blend of gold and copper Sculpey III, with tricolor bullseye cane slices pressed in. The accent beads are the same polymer clay mix and I have added glass spacers in a bronze color. I also added some gold leaf accents from my favorite paint pen. I am pleased with the look and may do other colors in this style. It looks really good on.

Take care and we'll talk soon.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Last Night's Concert

Here we are at the concert.

I am not a musician, I am a listener. For me, music is like that I know what I like and what I don't. As some of you know, I am a fan of 80's music, Disco and Techno, and Heavy Metal. I don't particularly care for doo-wap, but I am pretty much open to other music, alternative, country, bluegrass,...why I've even been to an opera. That being said, I did enjoy the show last night. Sierra Hull is a beautiful young lady, who is extremely talented. She was with musicians who were equally as skilled, and they all seemed down to earth and happy to be there. This certainly showed in their music.

The setting was very intimate, probably less than two hundred people. Sierra was even able to hear what the folks in the front rows were saying, and she talked a bit to the audience while they tuned their instruments between songs. She is young, probably no more than eighteen , but her stage presence and rapport with the audience, are that of someone much older. Granted she has been performing since she was eight years old, and I'm sure that accounts for her ease on stage.

The main thing that I got from last night's performance ( and this is just a personal opinion) was that the audience seems to appreciate the speed and complexity of their chord changes, more than vocal ability, and what I might call normal playing, or even the meaning of the lyrics. This group certainly gave the crowd what they wanted, judging by the whistling and applause during and after each song.

This was probably a fantastic performance for the musicians in the crowd. For folks like me, that are not musically talented, and maybe don't fully understand what it takes to play like this, it felt like overkill. Almost a little like they were showing off, instead of trying to move me . This may have been because it was such a small room, versus a concert hall ...or it may just be the type of music...or it may just have been that they are all fairly young, I just don't know.

Any way that is my review of Sierra Hull and Highway 111. These are very talented musicians, but maybe not the best ones to see, if you want to introduce someone to instruments that are not electric. They may become quickly discouraged and think they will never be able to play like this. Then on the other hand, it would certainly be something to aspire to. You see, I really don't know what I'm talking about, so take that into consideration.

I'll be back later with photos of a polymer clay necklace that I am working on, which is turning into something of a departure for me. Don't change that dial, I'll be back soon.

Take care. TTFN

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Close Up But Not Personal

I wasn't sure if a retired wrestling legend would still draw a crowd, but boy, did I find out.

The grand opening of a furniture store would seem a bit low key compared to something like The Great American Bash, but not in our fine town. The fans turned out by the thousands to stand in line for hours to meet Ric Flair and get his autograph. Sweet hubs and I decided at the last minute to go and see what was going on, and there was no way we could stand in this line. It wrapped around the store on both sides, but the shoppers were able to go right in. There were lots of decent prices and a $1000.00 give away each hour. They really didn't have what we are looking forward, but DH was able to wind his way around and take a picture of The Nature Boy.

He still looks very much the same. The store was starting to get noisy, but everyone seemed to be having fun. You could hear many, many versions of Ric's trademark "Wooooo" coming from the long line of fans. Good sense prevailed, and after chatting with a few folks, we left and went to have lunch at our favorite barbecue place.

We weren't too disappointed about not getting an autograph because we have an great concert to attend tonight.

Sierra Hull and Highway 111. She is the child prodigy of bluegrass and at only seventeen has already made a serious mark in the music world. Grab your jacket and come with us to tonight's event, I know it will be spectacular.

One last thing, here are a couple of faux glass slides that I did Friday night. They are actually plastic dividers for one of my storage containers and they looked so much like slides, that I couldn't resist a little "glass painting". Hope you like them.

That's all for today, I'll be back soon. Take care, enjoy your Sunday and try to do something fun and creative.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Nature Boy

Getting ready to go to Schewels to try to meet The Nature Boy, Ric Flair. Wooo Hoooo!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Poms and Purls

First off, I want everyone to know that I have been reading your blogs, but Blogger won't let me post my comments. Grrr..... Now onward.

Ok now, am I the only little old Southern Girl that's never eaten a pomegranate? They were on sale at the store, so I said, "why not". It took a while to get the hang of seeding that dang crazy looking thing, but finally I got it done. You seed the fruit in a bowl of water and scoop off the pieces that float to the top. Reminded me of changing the goldfish bowl, chasing those little white pieces of stuff. Anyway, I take a bite of one of the seed thingies, and it tasted marvy, but it's got a little hard thing in it. Hmmm....I'm new to this fruit, so then I have to go look up on the "Internets" as to whether I am supposed to eat that little hard thing. Yes, it is edible and crunchy and good fiber. I feel quite adventurous for trying something new. My kitchen suffered the most, it looked like the set of a Freddy Krueger movie, but that's another story.

I know I said that I would not bore you with my knitting, but the yarn that I am using for my first project is so pretty, I just had to show you. Pay no attention to the dropped stitches. I'm still learning.

Hopefully, later this month this will be a full fledged scarf. I know that a scarf is what everyone starts on, but it's good practice. Hope you like it. Take care and let's go do something creative!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Did you say "wiber"?

Yes, I said Wiber. That's a new word that combines wire and fiber, which is exactly what this technique is all about. I'm always looking for something a little less traditional, and this fills the bill on that.

I made this choker style necklace, for the sweetest girl that works in the yarn shop in Encinitas. I got this yarn there on a past trip and it was perfect for making beads. If this type of bead interests you, be sure to check out the book "Fiber and Wire Beads and Jewelry" by Lisa Vann.

That's all for now. We'll talk soon.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My goodies are in...

Just a quick post to show you the goodies I picked up while out on the Left Coast.

Since I am one of those "I've done that, what's next?" type of gals, I felt like I needed to learn to knit. I got a varied supply of yarns in San Diego in a shop called The Black Sheep. I had tried my hand at knitting about 20 years ago, but wasn't really into it. But fibers are so wonderful these days, that I am ready to get down to it. I got out my book and after several false starts, I decided my hubby was right, I needed "regular" yarn to learn on. I took my coupon and off to Joann's I went. I got some basic yarns and a less complicated book and am having pretty good luck. I know no one wants to see the knotty, loopy sample of my first knitting attempt, so I won't bore you with that, but here are the supplies I got in Cali, for when I get better and ready to attempt more complex projects.

I always try to check out the art supply stores when I'm there, so we went to a different shop this time. It's not Dick Blick, by any means, but I did find some things I really wanted. I have been wanting to try Cernit brand polymer clay and I always need new markers and pens, so I stocked up on Jelly Roll pens as well as lots of markers and some pads that work well with my Copic markers. I only shop like this about once a year, so when my items arrive home, it's so much fun sorting through things and planning projects and such. Anyway, here is what I got...

The absolute next project has got to be cleaning up my studio, so I can get down to business. My hubby is so good about my stuff being everywhere, somehow it migrates upstairs to my side of the sofa, because I love to do something while I am watching tv. If I kept everything in my studio, I would have to stay down there to work on stuff and I want to be upstairs with my cutie pie, when all our shows are on.

So, be on the look out for lots of new stuff coming from me this fall. Most of you know what I like to do, so if you have any ideas on a good project for me, let me know. My altered vest turned out so well, and it was all because of the ideas of my creative friends.

Well, that's all for now. Take care and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday at last...

It is raining here at home today, so I thought I would post a few more pictures from last week's trip. California dreaming is all I want to do for a while. It's a great place to vacation, but I love it here in the mountains, even with the humidity and rain. I look forward to cooler weather and guilt-free days of staying inside and playing with projects.

It was very peaceful and very secluded. The birds were chirping and I was headed for the private spa pool. Picture this if you I mentioned it is secluded, so after sitting in the heat, I was ready to sit in the pool. Too relaxed to go inside for my very demure black swimsuit, I peeled off the tee shirt and shed the shorts... and got in the pool in my undies. How's that for wild?

You didn't really think I'd show a picture of that, did you? There is a limit to my wildness, after all.

I wasn't going to do without my sun tea, so I made a glass while I soaked. Yummy, peppermint iced tea, very refreshing.

This tree was so pretty, but it's not what I'm used to...

I mentioned yesterday, that hubs didn't even get a card. I forgot that the resort/hotel, had a lovely presentation of fruit waiting for him when we returned from the desert.

Well, that's all for now. I am working on the pictures from the airport in San Diego. There were displays of puppets and marionettes from various countries. They will be up soon.

Take care and have fun.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

He didn't even get a card...

No pictures today, I forgot to mention that while we were on vacation, DH had a birthday. The trip was a present to him from our family, but he didn't get much in the way of traditional birthday greetings. I didn't even get to make him a card or gift. Please join me in wishing my wonderful hubby a belated happy 51st birthday.

Thanks and have a great day!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Be careful what you ask for...

You just might get more than you bargained for. Here is the first batch of pictures of the trip to the desert and our visit with Leonard.

Three miles down this road, in Niland, California...

We meet Leonard Knight and start the tour...

Leonard remembers everything he has done here over the past 20 years and explains it lovingly,

Since this is a man-made structure, you can walk in and out of all kinds of rooms he has built.

Here DH tapes Leonard's "10 second message of hope". He always has a thumbs up, he is one positive guy.

Leonard always needs paint, as he paints everything, not just his mountain. ( We took several gallons in bright colors and a gallon of white). The one thing I didn't realize until I got there, is that he has sculpted the letters on everything in adobe. They are not just painted. He fashions each letter individually and then decorates them.

He has even painted all his vehicles in this fashion, in fact he lives in this truck. He has no electricity and no running water. His, really is a simple life and a sincere message.

The message shows up here, also.

He has even been working on a miniature version of the mountain.

So we climbed the big man-made mountain ....

To get there we had to "follow the yellow brick road"

The things I do...last post it was caves, now it's an adobe mountain. Yes, I made it all the way up, (me, who can't even get on a ladder) right behind DH, and being urged on by our friend Mark, who was behind me.

Here are some views from atop the mountain.

Man, I didn't realize it was this high. Yikes.

Leonard is really on fire for the Lord. He lives in the desert wilderness and wants nothing more than to see the message spread. He has been in several books and movies, but that's only to make sure more people know about what he feels, is the simplicity of God's love. He told me that about seven years ago, he felt he had been putting too much of Leonard out to the people and not enough God and Jesus. He said after he prayed about it, he realized he just needed to keep it simple. Here is a man without electricity and water, worrying that he has complicated things too much. I like his philosophy. Keeping it simple. Maybe I needed to hear that life really is simple. Sometimes we are the ones that complicate things. I am going to try to grow from this trip. I thinks I already have. It was a long drive to get there and then a long walk to get even further. I'm ready to keep walking, because it was worth it.

We really did seem closer to God.

Here is a shot of Leonard handing out a picture puzzle of the mountain. In fact, when he found out that I am from Virginia, he got so excited. He gave me several puzzles and lots of postcards, so I could spread this message on my side of the country.

He was a lovely, kind, intelligent man. Some might call it folk art, or outsider art. I just call it art. His passion is his love of God and his art, this art that spreads the message of love, hope and forgiveness.

I will be posting a few other shots later this week, but for the most part the trip to the desert was the main thing. I hope you liked this.

I'll be back with shots of all the yarns, polymer clay and new beads that I got out West. I am going to teach myself to knit. So any tips will be appreciated.

That's all for now. Take care and check back soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

She's Back!

Greetings, all. We got back Sunday night. We had a wonderful time, visiting family and doing all the vacation things that one usually does. We, as you know, are not "usual", so we also headed off to the desert, to a town called Niland, California. We visited with Leonard Knight, where he shared his simple message of Love. Leonard is about 77 and his home has no electricity or running water. He gave us a tour and I will be posting lots of pictures later, but for now, here is a shot of DH and me in front of Salvation Mountain.

If you ever get the chance, you must check it out. He has spent over 20 years, building and sculpting out of adobe, then lovingly painting (usually with donated paint) an entire mountain of Love and Faith. He was a wonderful man and he and I really hit it off. We all walked around and talked for quite some time. They even convinced me to climb up to the top of the mountain. I almost stopped, but I figured if he can do it, so can I. Later I saw him drive up the back way in his rickety old car, so I had a little laugh about that.

That's all for now. I will be posting more pics later, after I get them sized, etc. (I have several hundred to work on, so it make take awhile).

Hope everyone had a good week, weekend and holiday. Take care and, as my late uncle used to always say, "let me hear".

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

While I'm away...

I had no idea there were so many fans of the 80's out there. I loved the eighty's, there were, of course, some not so fun times, but all in all, they were great. That being said, more pictures from the eighty's are in order. Let's start with "The Cave... 1987"

I may have posted this before, but as a reminder, I met my Darling Hubby in 1987 at one of the local watering holes. He was so cute. The following morning I told the girls I worked with that I had just met my future husband. It was more than love at first sight, it was also like, "babe, where have you been, I've been waiting on you, so glad you're here" kind of moment. I knew, (I mean I really knew in my mind and heart) right then, and there that he was the one for me. Knowing that bit of background, here are some pictures of one of our first dates together. Spelunking. Yes, me, the Queen of Claustrophobia, a very youthful 34 years old, was so crazy about this guy that I immediately agreed to go caving, sight unseen, to an area I was totally unfamiliar with.

There is a cave right outside his old stomping grounds. He said they had done this many, many times and even showed me pictures of previous trips. Looked ok to me. These are not tourist attraction type caves, these are the enter at your own risk type caves.

There is a hole that you drop/slide down about six feet to enter into the first area, what I will call the Great Room. It has a hole above it and the sun shines down into it like a heavenly beam. There is evidence of plenty of people having been there before us, note the names and dates on the walls.

After you leave that main room, there is no light. I mean complete mind numbing, breath taking, blackness. We all had flashlights and I was dragging all my 35 mm camera equipment with me. There was one area where we actually had to crawl on our hands and knees and then drag ourselves along the ground to get to the next opening. Try to picture this... DH is leading the way, I am in the middle and his brother, whom I had only known several days, is bringing up the rear. In the midst of trying to stay focused and not panicking, pushing the camera bag, dragging myself, I realize my jeans are coming off. I had no choice but to stop everyone's forward motion-several times- to readjust those jeans. That may be why I am so dirty in these pictures.

This flat tunnel lead to several rooms, where we stopped and smoked cigarettes and talked and took lots of pictures, including this one of me posing with a formation. It was so dark we had to use the flashlight to focus. After starting up again, we got to an area that had an old dirty, frayed, skinny rope, somehow anchored over the top of a mud covered incline. Things seemed really wet, and for good reason I finally start to get really scared. I say, "Let's get out of here. This muddy incline and a rope to go to the next chamber??? No way, I am not going, push me up on that rock, I am out of here, meet you out front". Rightly so, his brother joins me in this "mutiny" and we head back out. After a while, we make it to an area that we, do not remember, at all. DH and Brother, with poorly disguised uncertainty in their voices, point the last working flash light to the ground and put their hands on me and say "Stand right here, do not move at all", while we figure out where we are. They were gone for a while and I am in total blackness. I forgot and turned my head, touching a hanging formation. My natural reaction is to do what? You guessed it! I moved. I stepped to the side about six inches and whoosh, I went straight down into a cylindrical hole. God looks after the innocent and blessedly, I am still alive to post this. The hole was only about six feet deep. The guys said they heard me go "humph" and were close enough that they turned the light on me and were there immediately. One got on each side of the hole and put their hands under my armpits and lifted me straight up to solid ground. They then, quickly figured out which way to exit and we made it back. Good thing I didn't weigh that much, because it certainly took a lot of lifting and pushing to get this quivering mass of jelly back out into the light and the hope of seeing another day.

Needless to say, I never went back into a non-tourist attraction cave again.

That's my 80's story for now. I will be gone for the next five days, and will not be taking my laptop. So while I am coping with blogger withdrawal, I hope you enjoy this account and the pictures and that they hold me in your thoughts, until we get back with lots of great photos of our trip to the desert.

Have a good week and we'll talk soon.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Glam Rock and Big Hair

The hubby and I were in the computer room listening to music, as we surfed the net. He, as some of you know, is a musician. He was listening to something that sounded like Doo-Wop, which is so not my style, and inwardly, I'm thinking "grrrrr, grrrr, change it, please", so I proceed to ask him something like, how can you listen to music that sounds so, so...( insert your own word here)... and that innocent comment led to a lengthy "musician speaking to a listener" conversation about the roots of rock and roll, and he mentioned that T. Rex was considered Glam Rock.

Here's the scoop, I loved Glam Rock. I loved theatrical rock. I loved sexy, macho, boys prancing around in glittery spandex and make up. In fact, I loved glam rockers so much, that I MARRIED one. Yes, you heard me right. DH used to be in an eighty's glam/hair band. I kept his hair bleached out light like C.C. DeVille, and we bought him a pair of silver spandex at the mall. He mastered Aqua Net and black eyeliner.

The band called themselves "Victim", and he ended up leaving them after only a few gigs. He was way too cute for that band. They replaced him with someone, not nearly as cute. Someone that wouldn't automatically steal the spotlight from the "slightly pudgy and already balding" front man, who as you see in this picture, made an attempt to be cool by getting the world's worst horse-hair extensions, but that's another story.

I was a typical rocker wife. Big hair, short skirt, zebra belt and a glitter teardrop comprised the perfect outfit. The outfit that would indicate to the unknowing that you were "with the band".

The other girl in this picture made her outfit out of a man's undershirt. She cut it in half and paired it a black tank and black tights and a silk scarf belt. Rock on with your bad self.

Now stop laughing and get control of yourself. It was the 80's. We all did it.

When you have time, check out the shining stars on this website called Glam Greats, or go to YouTube and look for bands like T.Rex, Sweet, New York Dolls and the like. Enjoy the great music of the past. You know you want to.

Have a great weekend. Take care and have fun.