Tuesday, March 31, 2009

At last, a tree picture...

These pictures will probably be boring to you, but here they are anyway. Our woods are so deceptive looking, it looks like you could just skip down to the creek with ease. Not so, these are woods, as in forest. The ivy that the previous owner planted in 1969 takes over and hides all kind of booby traps. It really is hard to maintain and this is just the latest stage in trying to keep it manageable and asp, rodent and bee free.

Remember you can click on any of these pictures for a better view...

So this is a before picture. Notice the broken tree, way down the hill. Things like that are the main reason that we are trying to tidy up. For some reason, I feel like I need to keep apologizing for having our trees cut down, but there were just so many of them. I hope my tree cutting doesn't offend anyone. I think it did, in the past, bother some of my neighbors. This is the third major tree cutting that this company has done for us over the past seven years. I guess we have probably taken down 40-50 trees, just to get it to this point.

While it is extremely uneven terrain, fortunately, it is not a complete incline, in that there are two flat strips that run the width of the property. That is what gives me hope for having a manageable area (and the horseshoe pit). It will remain a work in progress.

Here is a shot of some of the guys, operating the equipment. This is such a dangerous occupation. Today, my heart went into my mouth several times. The ground was still soft from last week's rain, and the tractor wheels spun and lifted up from the ground, and it looked really scary. They are professionals, though, and always figured out the safest way to move the logs after they were cut. They had to put chains on some of them and drag them up to where they could then be grabbed by the front part of the tractor and lifted into a huge trailer (parked in our driveway) to haul off.

They will be back on the next dry day, to bush-hog and clean up as much as possible. I could hardly wait to get my big red walking stick and walk down towards the creek.

So this is the after picture. If you look slightly to the left of this shot, you should see a red "x" that I photoshopped in. This is where we were headed. DH wanted to clear some debris from the creek which was causing a bit of a dam. I still can't make it down that far, too many stickers. He dropped out of sight several times, but he always answered when I called to him, so I didn't freak out too much. Come to find out, he somehow ended up ankle deep in the creek . We had a bit of a giggle over that. (I did, anyway)

No art to post, but I have been working on a new pillow, that I will post as soon as it is completed. Take care and beware of April Fool's Day. Watch out for viruses and sugar in the salt shaker.

Also, I wanted to apologize for not staying current on commenting on my favorite blogs. Everyone has been so prolific lately, that I have gotten behind. I'm still reading them all and loving them, as usual. Hopefully, I will do better.

So that's it for today. Have a great rest of the week and keep sunny thoughts, as I need one more sunny day for the last of this tree work.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Raining since Wednesday...

Yes, I thought I would have a marvelous pictorial of my newly cleared out woods by now. Nope, it started raining Wednesday and is still raining on Saturday. At this rate, the ivy will have covered all the logs that they had to leave and it will be like one of those horror movies where the vines come alive and start crawling up the sides of the house trying to pay me back for offending them. Sheesh. Plus, I have this in my front yard....

Maybe I could start it up and give rides to all the neighborhood kids. Can you imagine me on this monster? What a crazy thought. I would love to ride on it though. Hmmm, maybe I could bribe the operator with donuts and coffee, might work.

Anyway, since I had some time this week to be creative, I worked on a necklace. The word in the fashion industry is that accessories are really big this spring. No, I don't mean popular, I mean LARGE. I loved the neck ware in this article, but didn't think metal flowers would be that comfortable. The other day I saw some really expensive silk flowers in the scrapbooking section that would have made a beautiful focal piece, but I was too frugal to buy them. So, I took apart some silk flowers that I already had and reconstructed them into a neck piece.

I sewed them onto a cloth base and then beaded the centers for a more dimensional look. Click to see details.

This is just the first one and it needs some refining. Someone very near and dear to me, that won't be mentioned, (but his initials are D.H.) got a funny look on his face when he saw it and thought it was much too large. It's the concept, that I like, so perhaps smaller flowers will help the next one. (Yes, Darling, I'm going to do more) I am certainly open to ideas from all of you folks. So let me know if you have any ideas.

Lastly, I recently purchased a random blouse, simply because I loved the color and pattern and when I got home with it, I realized it unintentionally matched the earrings I made several weeks ago. I was going to try to take a picture (in the mirror) of me wearing them, but it turned out so funny that I am calling it "What big hands she has".

Just being silly on a rainy day, waiting for the hubby to come back from playing music. By the way, DH had his hair cut short yesterday, and maybe, just maybe, he will let me post a picture of him. He has worn his hair long for several years now and decided it was time. He went six weeks ago and had about six inches trimmed off and it was still long. Yesterday he went for it, with me standing by, telling Misty exactly how I wanted it. He trusts me with his hair and it turned out great.

Well that's it for now. Hope it's not raining in your neck of the woods, but if it is...get your housework done, and then play indoors. It's ok, it's the weekend!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tree People

Help, our woods are out of control !! Yes, we had to bring in the professionals. The tree people are working in our woods today and tomorrow trying to get things back in control before the woods take over. I spent the entire day, going from window to window, watching them. I have so much respect for these folks. Even with heavy equipment, it's still a dangerous and difficult job. Our back woods is quite deceptive. When looking out over the bank, you think it is just a gradual drop down to the creek, but it is actually a bumpy, stumpy, holey (as in critter holes) mess.

Since I looked out the windows all day and I didn't get any art done, I thought I would show what I worked on this weekend. I am trying to improve my off-loom bead weaving skills and one of the first things you learn to do is bead around a cabochon. The only cabs I have are actually off mandrel, flat backed lampworked cabs. They are a bit heavier than a gemstone cab, but I think it turned out ok.

I added black velvet cording and found this piece to be quite comfortable. If you aren't sure what a lampworked cabochon looks like up close, check this out...

This is a really pretty multi-layered piece. I know you can't really see the depth of the bead, but it is about 1/2" thick with millefiori and stringer and other lampwork techniques all encased in clear glass.

That's it for today, I'll keep you posted on all the goings on in the woods and take pictures when we get some more stuff done. The hubby has promised to make a horseshoe pit for me, and I am so excited.

Well, take care and have a great evening.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fancy Mountain Memories

The weather was chilly yesterday, but the sun was uber bright as we went up and down the isles at our local flea market. Several weeks ago, at this same flea market, I purchased a bar of handmade soap from a great little shop called Fancy Mountain Memories. They set up at various spots throughout a fairly large area. I spoke to the husband of the lovely lady that makes the soaps, lotions and such, and he gave me quite a bit of history about how her soap recipe was handed down from previous generations and how it has evolved into such a lovely range of natural products.

All of their products were displayed in a lovely presentation, laid out in a very pleasing fashion with lace on all the tables. They set up under a tent-like shelter that helps to block the sun, while allowing you to take your time looking at all the lovely things Mindy has created.

(This is a picture from the Fancy website)

Since I have such sensitive skin, I am hesitant to buy handmade soaps and creams, but the ingredients were plainly printed on the labels. Everything is natural and I decided to give it a try. I hate the thought of throwing out something if I can't use it, so I asked if there were any samples sizes, or any broken bars that I could purchase at a discount. (yea, that's me, always looking for a deal) He thought a minute , brought out a bar of "Sophie's Dream" which supposedly had some minor imperfection and wasn't being put on the table. He sold it to me for half price and told me about their website.

After I got home and tried my new soap I was so impressed. This is not the commercial, hard, sudsy soap that I am used to. When I picked up this bar and went to wash my hands, it was creamy and luxurious. The fragrance was beautiful. It took me a moment to get used to this natural soap because it is so different. I mean different in the best sense of the word. Talk about a deal, the bar was actually too large for my hand, so I used a steak knife and easily cut it in half. So I got two bars of Sophie soap for the already discounted price of one.

I went on their website and checked out the other products and noted when they would be back in town. I went back yesterday and had the pleasure of talking directly to Mindy, the artist that makes these lovely products. She had a pretty bad fall recently and is still recovering, but was so gracious in showing me the products and letting me sample the body butter. I did buy the body butter and she gave me a free bar of soap. It was a lovely experience.

So I just wanted to let all my friends know about her. Check out her website to see if you are in any of the areas that they visit, or place an online order with her. Perhaps you prefer to just visit her site and sign in on her guest book. Either way, I just wanted to make a quick post about her and let everyone know that I really love her products.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's a quiz...

What can you do on a cold day when your art muse is on vacation? You know that button box that you have with all those fabulous buttons? You think you still have some texture medium on the shelf and you know that you have a small canvas panel...

You want to do art but, all you can think about is cake. So you take the canvas cake and frost it with the texture icing, and decorate it with the tasty buttons...

No, seriously though, that's pretty much how you do this project. After deciding on which buttons to use (I used all flat buttons with holes) and making sure they are free from wire or any other googlies, set them to the side along with a pair of tweezers.

Protect your work surface with an old towel, and spread the texture medium directly onto the canvas panel with a pallet knife, spoon or something of that nature. Spread it on fairly thick, this gives you more working time and the creamy texture medium will come up through the holes in the buttons and up around the sides. I say creamy, but this product is actually pretty stiff, very much like stiff icing. You then carefully place the buttons, face up, on to the canvas. I hold the button flat using my thumb and index finger. I hovered the button about 1/2 inch above the canvas and lightly dropped it into place, thus not getting the texture medium on my fingers. I, then, lightly pressed the button down, holding the tweezers vertically over the button so the medium would ooze up between the holes, as you apply light pressure downward with the tweezers. You can place the buttons in what ever pattern you desire. This medium, that I like so well and used on another previous project, starts to set up after about one hour, so you have to be ready to roll when you start this project. Then when you're done, you get something like this...

Click on pictures for larger view

After letting it dry overnight, it looks really good just leaned up against the wall on a shelf or mantle, or you could frame it or hang it. It would even be a fun project for kids, nothing hard about this. But it does look like icing, so don't taste it. There you have it. The next time your inspiration is failing you and your muse is on vacation, grab the button box and make art.

Take care and get ready for the weekend, it's almost here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Not your Grandmother's pearls...

I love pearls, but they always seem a bit stuffy. I still think that a pearl choker has it's place, even if you're at work...

So in an effort to make my pearls a bit funkier and to get more wear out of them, I'm hopping outside the box. Here is my first attempt.

I took a strand of creamy colored costume pearls and added a cream and brown metal pendant. This was a funky find at a bead show years ago and it's just now finding it's way into a design.

Here is a close up version...

This pendant had two jump rings on the back, so I added two more and placed them between the pearls. This way I can remove them at any time and did not damage the necklace. Just showing that something simple can really make a difference when re-purposing that vintage or broken jewelry we all love.

That's it for now, I'll be back soon. Take care.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wearing of the Green

I don't actually celebrate St. Patrick's Day, as my family tree consists of French, English and Native American. If you know me though, you know I never miss a chance to wear some sort of celebratory jewelry. I have a pair of Shamrock earrings that I will combine with these vintage pieces for my trip to the grocery store today.

The circle pin on the left is mine from when we wore Peter Pan collars. I think I was about ten years old when I got this.

The double strand beauty on the right is my Grandma's. She was such a diva. I have a lot of her jewelry, along with the jewelry of two of her sisters.

I have a fairly large collection of vintage jewelry, mostly 60's and 70's, but several family pieces from the 30's-50's.

I could probably post one piece of jewelry each day and not repeat for easily five years. Hmm... that's an idea for blogging, when I don't have any art, I could post a piece of jewelry.

Well, anyway, this is my take on wearing green on Saint Patrick's. I hope you all have a great day and celebrate in a safe and happy way.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ok, So I'm a Goonie

I just finished watching Goonies, and I had forgotten how much I really love that crazy, silly movie. I love all the characters. Everybody has a favorite scene, mine being at the last of the movie when Chunk "adopts" Sloth.

I think sometimes we all have had periods of time when we felt like Goonies, maybe sometimes we still do. For me, as a child, being a Goonie was being the "not so trim" little girl, that wanted adventure and was only able to experience it in the children's books I read constantly. I read several books about pirates and insisted that my uncle buy me a black eye-patch. Somewhere he found one and yes, I wore it.

In a way, being a Goonie is a great thing. It means that you know that you are different from the other kids. That you march to a different drummer. You don't have to be plump or goofy looking to be a Goonie. Look at Cyndi Lauper. She did the theme song "Goonies R Good Enough", along with an elaborate music video. I remember reading that she had always felt like a Goonie and strongly related to the movie for that reason.

I am a longtime Cyndi fan. I went to see her in concert in 1984 and she was wonderful. She still is. Grew up to be a very beautiful, very classy Goonie.

I don't know about you, but the hubby and I are still not like the other kids, and we are quite happy about it.

Well, that's it for today, I think I'll go down to my Goonie cave and go through some of my treasures. Take care and embrace being yourself! You rock, y'all.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th?

Friday the 13th? No bad luck for me today. Check out that fabulous polymer clay artist, Cindy Lietz, I have the honor of being the subject of her blog post today. Thank you so much, Cindy. You are the best!

I want to say thanks to all the fabulous blogger artists that were so kind to post pictures of the little hearts that I sent out. You are all so special to me. Thank you all so much.

That's all for now, I'm too humbled to think of anything else to say. I'll be back, you can count on it!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What's that sound?

Pat, pat, pat...what's that sound? It's me patting myself on the back.

About seven years ago, my sister gave me four pair of the most beautiful beaded earrings. I have taken such care with them, wrapping them in tissue paper when I travel and wearing them everywhere. They are in my opinion, very unusual. I have been studying them and looking on the internet for instructions so I could make a similar pair. No luck. They seemed so intricate and difficult to recreate. Since I'm taking a break from art pillows right now (sorry, Sweet Marie) I took time to really look at them. I tend to be a bit analytical anyway, so I sat down at my work table and using my lighted magnifying glass, I began to really look at these earrings. Hmmm, I say to myself, this is just beading. I should be able to do this. I do jewelry design, I do bead embroidery, I really think I can do this.

Ok, so now I'm really excited and ready to begin. After spending way too much time perfecting the frame that the earrings are made on, and making one practice piece to get the feel of things, I just went with it.

I am very happy with the results. If I were to get really picky, I would be a bit concerned because the one on the left got a bit wonky, but all in all, I like them. There are probably hardcore beaders out there, who might look at this and pat me on the head and tell me this is one of the easiest techniques to use. Now that I've figured it out and actually done it, I just might agree. I think if I knew what this style of beading was called, I could have saved myself some time. It may be a form of netting, I'm just not sure. I just know it really was fun and since I love hand sewing and I have really good eyeglasses these days, it was actually fairly easy to do.

So, that's what I have been up to. Oh, I also made a really fun, funny, funky bracelet out of the yellow net bag that some lemons came in. My hubby just looked at it and shook his head. It is a bit different from the jewelry that I usually make. I might post it later, I'm not sure.

Well, that's it for now. Take care and if you know of any way to get a pattern for these earrings, please let me know.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What a beautiful day

The sun is shining, I've opened all the windows and it's just too pretty to be on the computer. Don't believe me? Here's the proof.

I had my camera right here when the breeze was tossing my curtains about. I love days like this and since the Hubby is out in the garage "organizing", I feel like I want to be doing something productive. It will probably end up being jewelry related, so maybe I'll have something cool to post later.

By the way, check out the coffee cup that I'm sending to my sister for her birthday next month. It says "I'd worry about getting older if I wasn't still so darn cute" .

Well, that's it for now, but you know I will be back soon, doing the Happiness Dance like Snoopy does, because...well, just because.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pink Beads

Just a quick post, so we can finally stop looking at pillows. They are fun to make, but I am ready to get on to something else. Something like this pink necklace and earring combo that I put together.

This picture doesn't show off how pretty the metallic pink pearls are. The faceted beads are light pink acrylic, which helped to keep the piece somewhat light weight. The large pink shell beads are fairly heavy, but it is very comfortable to wear. My Darling Hubby has a dental appointment tomorrow, so I think I'll go with him and have an excuse to wear this new creation.

Speaking of my DH, he is such a sweetie. The kitchen table we ordered arrived today, so being the thrifty thing that he is, he picked it up and put it together.

He worked really hard getting it just right

...and saved us $80.00 in the process. You can't really tell from the picture, but the table is almost waist high. Perfect for food prep, I'm so tired of hunching over the old table and chopping and cutting. Plus, my kitchen is somewhat small and now I can even open the oven door all the way. By the way, notice in the grocery bag...there are plenty of chips and Gourmet Ginger Ale for a "job well done" reward. He is a very special guy and he deserves a special treat. I'll bet that you all knew that, anyway.

That's all for now, take care and enjoy the rest of the week.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One More Pillow

My dear friends, be sure, there is one more pillow. I had been wanting to do a hippie chick wearing a headband. As I was drawing the four petaled flowers around her, I was reminded of one of the cutest things I have heard lately. I was watching "Little Miss Perfect" and the cutest little girl (age 5) had just finished her interview and was so happy and excited. When her mom asked her how it went, she said it was a miracle. She said, " I feel so happy, just like a Princess on a Butterfly Wheel". I have no idea what she meant, but she really got to me with her sheer delight.

So I now present the Hippie Chick who became The Princess on a Butterfly Wheel. . .

I wanted to say thank you to all who have commented on my little pillows. I am sure there will be more in the works, but this week as I was walking past my work table, I heard this little, tiny pink voice calling to me. It was a strand of shell beads that was just begging for a little vacation time. So I'm off to help those little pink beads realize their dream. Out of the drawer they will come and soon, when the weather is warmer, they will be accompanying me on day trips to the flea market and other fun places.

All that being said, I'm off to my studio to finish up this really crazy necklace. Have a great evening and stay tuned for more art, as it just springs up everywhere around here.