Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Well, now that they have been received, I can post the pictures of the crocheted stuffies that I sent to my sisters for Christmas.

You gotta love an armadillo...

The armadillo was a project from the October issue of Crochet World.  It was my first time crocheting from a pattern and certainly my first time doing any sculptural crochet.  There was a bit of a learning curve and the tail of this creature was where I had the most difficulty.  I finally figured out what I wanted it to look like, but there was a lot of "non pattern" work that went into it. (That means I made it up as I went along)

 You simply cannot go wrong with a cardinal and a little mousie...

The little mouse was from a pattern in a special issue of Crochet Today called Crochet Gift List. I really learned a lot about crocheting figures and shapes.  Both were good magazines for learning.  After all, there are more things to crochet and knit than just afghans or scarves.  While I do love making both of those particular items, it was such fun to know that I could branch out, so to speak.

There is a bit of a story behind the cardinal.  I love cardinals and always have. They are such a beautiful color and they are the State Bird of Virginia, the state from whence I come.  That being said, let me share something with you. We recently lost a family friend in a car accident. She was a long time friend, an older gal that loved to be out and about. We were told by her son that she was slumped over in her seat at time of impact, so she probably had no knowledge of what happened.  Meanwhile out on the West Coast, very close to the actual time of the accident, my sister said she was visited by a cardinal, outside their house.  This seemed to be a female cardinal, one that she hadn't seen before.  We, of course, thought that this was a wonderful occurrence and like to think that, perhaps, this little female bird may have been somehow related to the passing of our friend.  The really cool thing is our friend's given name was...Virginia.  I'm sure that the little crocheted bird will be a loving reminder of our friend. I did it free hand, and while there were areas that could have been perfected, I think it will do just fine.

Well, I hope everyone had the holiday that they were hoping for.  Ours was a quiet one, which is our usual celebration.  We did go to a movie Christmas Day and saw Warhorse.  Pretty good movie, but Christmas Day at the movies is much busier that we had anticipated and there were some issues with that.  All in all, we have had a great weekend.

I'm looking forward to getting back to my usual schedule of going to the gym, NOT eating treats and generally getting back in my little groove.  We have been invited to a New Year's Eve party, but I'm really not crazy about going out on that holiday, so maybe we will decline that little soiree.

Well, stay safe and happy and get back in your own groove.  Remember there is a big difference in a rut and a groove.  Make that difference happen in your own life, you'll be glad you did.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hello to all...

Well, just a quick post to say hello to all.  Hope you are doing well.  I'm hanging in there, nursing a back muscle, that decided to make it's presence known in a big way.  I don't really know how I strained it (probably from lifting weights at the gym) but it is a nagging visitor that just wont leave.

Hubby just returned from his yearly delivery of Christmas envelopes.  Through out the year he routinely takes donuts to our friends at the dentist.  Since we have been going to the dentist for over a decade, we've really become friends with the folks that work there.  We know them and love them.  They are more than just someone that works somewhere. We share the changes in their lives...birthdays and graduations of children, as well as divorce and illnesses.

Anyway, when hubby went in today for a quick dental check up, he took the usual goodies and the Christmas envelopes.  Imagine his surprise when they brought out packages for us.  He was totally surprised and got verklepmt to be sure.
I got all teary eyed myself, when he told me on the telephone and then we both cried again when we opened the gift itself. It is gift basket from Fresh Market...

This was such a good choice for us.  They know that we try to eat healthy and that we go to the gym.  This is a bag filled with gluten free items and it is full, as you can see, with food stuffs that we will eat and not have to re-gift.

Well, that's it for now.  Hope everyone is preparing for a fun weekend.  Don't stress out over the holiday shopping.  Remember what your holiday is really about and take time to contemplate, meditate or pray.

That's it for now.  We'll talk soon.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I've finally made a decision...

I'm dropping out of the weight loss challenge at our gym at the half-way point. That doesn't mean that I've given up, it just means that I want to find a way to customize my workouts and not be at the mercy of a pre-determined generic workout.  I'm tired of dreading the sessions.  Everyone says working out is supposed to be fun.  Well, guess what...going out with your honey, that's what's fun.  Meeting up with friends where your hair looks good and you don't have to worry about passing gas in public because you are in a torturous position, that's what's fun. Meeting new people and not sweating on them when you shake their hand, that's what's fun.   Get my drift? 

I tried to make the most of it, but truth be told, I don't give a rat's patooty if I never do another burpee or another mountain climber.  I'm ready to plan my own workout, doing the things that I do like so the workout will be less aggravating (notice I didn't say fun). I think I can still be fit and feisty if I do it myself.  This is the second time I've tried the standard trainer driven workout plan of bosu balls and crab walks, and this old gal is tired of people thinking she's a miserable old coot, because she doesn't think military style calisthenics are fun.  Maybe I just don't like being on a team, I've always been a loner type when it comes to doing things. Whatever it is, there are gonna be some changes made.

So all that being said, I'll keep you posted on how it goes.  I'm not saying I'm smarter than the certified trainer, I'm saying she's not certified in motivating and training a Silver Fox like me.  I'll show them, you just wait and see!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday with an update, scroll down yall.

Hope everyone here in the States had a great Thanksgiving. Since we either make our gifts or order online, I don't have to get involved in the Black Friday shopping frenzies. Speaking of making gifts, a friend in North Carolina, who has her own blog, commissioned a crocheted hat for one of her girls. It was my first attempt at crocheting a child's hat, let alone a novelty hat, but I'm happy with it.

The colors aren't true in this shot, as the pink is much prettier than it shows up here, but hey, it's for a kid. She wont really care that much about the colors.

So that's my quick little post for today.  Even though our Thanksgiving dinner is small compared to some of the shindigs that others have, there is still a kitchen to clean.  So with that in mind, I'm back to doing my chores.

Enjoy the long holiday weekend and stay safe and DO NOT get pepper sprayed at Walmart!

Here is a picture of Layla in her new hat, sent to me by her mom yesterday.

The perfect picture!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My, Oh time flies.

Can't believe it's been three weeks since my last post.  Good thing I don't have to do penance for that. As we know, just because I'm not posting doesn't mean I haven't been busy. Some of you may remember that I'm currently on a needlework kick.  That's the way I am, I might spend several years doing nothing but polymer beads and then six months on pastel paintings and so on. So I'm doing needlework. Crochet, knitting, and bit of needlepoint here and there and pretty soon you have nice little frillies for you, your home and your friends and family.

You may remember me discussing my latest stab at knitting.  I cannot remember if I posted the shawl that I knitted.  Said shawl started out as a scarf and morphed into a shawl/lap blanket.  It's got several apparent boo boos, but that's what makes it unique...

In addition to the shawl, I have crocheted several potholders.  I have been crocheting since I was a teen, but I never really tried to learn any more than a standard single or double crochet.  Armed with that knowledge, and alternating those two stitches, you get a textured piece that looks like these bad boys...

If you are a crocheter, you will notice that I changed it up a bit and did a double row of double crochet in the center of the top potholder.  I am always wanting to know what will happen "if".  I have lots of unfinished projects because of this quirky quest for learning new stitches, but once again...that's OK.

I used to love those lacy, yet sturdy doilies that everyone had back in the olden days of my youth.  It never occurred to me that they were being created by some little old gray haired lady in her living room.  They look so complicated that I just knew it took a crew of medieval tapestry weavers and artisans to create these little works of art. Well, I just decided I can do something like this, myself. Soooo, with all that in mind I purchased a ball of red cotton thread/yarn and started to crochet a hairband/head warmer type of thing.  Three weeks I'm working on this thing and this is what I have so far...

It takes so long to do, this decision to make something solid out of duh...thread.  I realize now why items made using this yarn are light and open and done in chain stitch.  Only a novice like yours truly would choose single crochet to embark on her first journey into cotton thread.  We will see how this progresses.  I really love the color and the feel of the fabric that is being so laboriously created.  It may end up as the fabric for a small purse or such.

Last, but certainly not least, is the craft project that I was working on at the time of my last post.  You know the "snob about crafts" post?  Well, I finished it and went a bit out of the box with some added embellishing with several paint pens, and am happy with the results.  It is a craft kit that hubby got off of eBay several years ago.  I have about five or six more and I'm spacing them out to make them last.  So I present to you...

He's a sleepy little owl sitting on a crushed glass branch, with crushed glass leaves.  His feathers are comprised of orange and white crushed stone that I glued on after lining the design out in black waxed cording.  Easy once you get the hang of how to handle the cording and how much glue to use.  Since the original glue was not usable, hello...1970, I used Aleen's white, extra tacky, glue.  Good substitute.

So there you have it.  In between a weekend trip to DC to meet with some like minded folks and going to the gym week days, I still find time to create.  Now, my house looks like a cyclone when through it, but that's another post for another day.  Point being, I still contend that there is an artist lurking within each of us.  We just have to encourage that shy little artist to come by more often.  Mine has taken up permanent residence, so I try to keep her fed and warm and happy.

That's it for today.  Have a great week and have some fun!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Are you a snob?

One thing I was often conscious of growing up, was the people that I thought were snobs.  The definition of snob changes as you grow. One of the definitions from the dictionary goes something like this:

...a person who strives to associate with those of higher social status and who behaves condescendingly to others...

I have always been a down to earth type person, I hung out with the people I liked, regardless of their social standings.  I have known (and still do) people that would snicker at something someone else was saying,  not because they enjoyed their company, but because they were looking down on that person.

I do have to admit that I went through a period of my life where I was an "art snob".  I wanted to do art, but I didn't think that I wanted to do crafts. At one point,  my sister was able to hook us up with an artist type that was giving us personal instruction in pottery.  Apparently he was a bigger art snob than we were. We took care of that. Much to his dismay, he was haughtily dismissed after referring to our artsy adventures as "our little craft thing". 

To me, growing up, crafts meant gluing cotton balls on a construction paper star to make a Santa, or making ducks out of clothespins.  I realize now how much work goes into crafts. So to Crafts, I say "I am sorry I was such a snob". I realized how snobby I had been when a person was asking about a necklace I had made, and she said in a very condescending tone, "oh, you just strung that?", as if to say "how boring is she, she might as well be stringing Cheerios".  You know, I really don't want to be that person.

At least we know that's it never too late to change.  I can appreciate the great works of art that hang in the most famous museums, and still appreciate the thought, planning and work that goes into crafts like scrap-booking and mixed media art, things that I'm not into. I realize now, that I don't have to like the finished product, but I understand and can recognize when someone has really tried on something.

On the other hand, if I don't like you, and that sometimes happens, it will be extremely difficult for me to acknowledge your talent. Especially if you "dis" my sister and me.

I actually don't know what prompted me to go off on this rant.  Maybe because I haven't made a post for a while.  In any event, I have been doing  bit of crafting down in the art/craft studio and will soon have pictures to prove it.

Take care, y'all and try not to be a snob. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hello Friday...

Hello Friday, Susan here.  Even though I'm not in the traditional work force any more, I still have that "it's Friday!" attitude every week.  I like to think about what has happened during the week, what we have done, and what needs to be done to start a new week. 

The hubby and I have been a bit under the weather this week.  He has been slightly sicker than I. We both had sinus problems, body aches and general malaise.  That's an interesting word and works quite well for how we were feeling, but it you read further down in the Wikipedia description, you will find all kinds of related conditions. but that's another post for another day.

Any hoo, I just wanted to come by and say hi and let you know what artsy creations I have been working on.  As you my know by now, I am once again trying to perfect my knitting and crocheting skills and I have come up with these...

This little table runner/scarf is a practice piece using bulky, self striping yarn.  This is such a cool way to work. Here is a little blurb on explaining a bit about this type of yarn. I didn't realize there was such a thing until I dug a skein out of a care package that Sissy sent.  I started working with it and soon realized what was happening.

The little cosy on the glass jar holding my silk forsythia, started as a practice piece using the knit, purl technique that makes ribbing.  I knitted it flat and then joined the edges together for a matching piece to the table scarf.  I'm planning on using this same technique for a wrist cuff or two.

I learned to crochet back in the 70's, but I never progressed past the basic crochet stitches.  If fact, I didn't even know there were other stitches, but in one of my new magazines, Crochet World, one of the patterns has a stitch called the afghan stitch. This stitch, also called Tunisian crochet is traditionally done with a long crochet hook that has a stop on the end.  After reading and reading the instructions for this technique, I finally had to go to the Youtubes to see it being done.  After seeing it in action, I realized that I could do a smaller version on a regular hook.  After several false tries, I did come up with this.

You may be able to tell that I inadvertently began to decrease the stitches after several rows.  I finally realized that this was happening and made the necessary adjustment.  This is such a cool technique.  It is part crochet and part knitting and makes an almost woven piece of fabric.  I've seen online this method used for yarn items that are then cross stitched on.  Very cool.

Well, that's what I've been up to this week.  That and continued work on the blue knitted shawl.  I hope it is still going to be a shawl.  It started out as a scarf, but I made it too wide.  So I'm calling it a shawl, but I think it will do double duty as a lap rug.  Well, I'm having fun with it and it keeps me off the streets.

Hope everyone is having a great fall.  Remember that I have another blog (check my right hand sidebar) for other projects that my friends, followers and I will be posting online.

So take care and enjoy your weekend.  Happy Friday!

Friday, September 23, 2011

I'm such a slacker...

I know, I'm such a slacker.  I have been doing all kinds of things this month, but I haven't been taking pictures.  Just now I did manage to pick my lazy self up and take a picture of the bracelets I made this month.

The other thing I have been doing is re-learning to knit.  I knitted a scarf about three years ago, shucks, you might remember seeing it here, but my skill level is beginner to be sure.  I am persevering, and my home is now being overrun by squares and rectangles.  Hubby is being very patient, especially when I grumble when I drop a stitch, or even worse, when the entire row of stitches came off.  Anyway, the main reason I want to learn to knit is to make, what else?  Bracelets.  Ones like these...

I figure it won't take me too long.  I saw some similar in a Vogue knitting magazine in 2008, and I will be using that as a pattern.  Wish me luck on that.  In the meantime, I'm practicing on another scarf.  In cool colors this time, aqua and a heathery lavender variegated.  Should be pretty.

Well that's it for awhile.  Hope everyone is enjoying the beginnings of fall.  Take care and have a great weekend.  We'll talk soon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Guess who we met?

I'm still a procrastinator when it comes to taking photos of all the art jewelry I've made recently, but that doesn't mean I don't have a new picture. Recently we got to meet a sweet gal.  You may know her from Saturday Night Live fame, but she has done so many other things and continues to be a real go getter.  We met her at a meeting of like minded folks in our area and she was so gracious and happy to pose with us for this picture.

 It was extremely hot, with the sun beating down on us, but not too hot for coffee

Yep, it's Victoria Jackson.  She was a sweetheart, just a down home Southern Gal who made it big.  She had a big smile for everyone and when she admired the necklace I was wearing, one I had made a while back, I gave it to her.  Hopefully it will hold up to her active lifestyle (she still stands on her head) and now I can say a celebrity wears my designs.

You might even remember the necklace shown in the photo, if not or if you're a new reader, you can read about it in more detail here.  It was a blog post from 2009.  Sure hope that Vicki doesn't mind wearing a prototype. After seeing it on her I just might have to assemble something similar based on that design.

Well, now that the earthquakes and eye exams are over and there are no longer bats in the basement, I can mosey on down to the studio and create something fun and fab.  I'm currently trying to perfect my bangle bracelet design and I think I've come up with an unusual armature that just might do the trick.  So with that in mind,  I'll go throw some clothes in the dryer, put on my thinking cap and skedaddle.

Have a great week and remember that there is an artist in all of us.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm a busy girl...

I've been a busy girl and don't have a new post ready yet.  In the mean time, please hop over to my other blog and check out the latest artist to be showcased.  Hopefully that will hold you over for a few days. 

In between a weekend trip for a family wedding, and getting ready to go to the eye doctor, I just am unsure what my next art will be, so humor me and leave a comment or two at Where We Really Create.

I'll be back soon, so take care and have a great week!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Just as promised...

I guess I should touch base with folks about what's going on in my part of the world. Two weeks ago an incident with a bat in our basement was going to be part of my next post and as creepy and disrupting as it was then, it just doesn't seem blog worthy today.

Yesterday we felt the vibrations from an earthquake here in our state of Virginia and I thought for sure that would be blog worthy.  Alas, after hearing all the comments made by folks on the television that have been in real earthquakes about how silly we acted about it all...not blog worthy. Just not feeling it.

I spent the last several weeks working on making bracelets, some of which turned out pretty cool...but once again they probably aren't blog worthy.

This first one was a second hand bracelet, that I wire wrapped with pink wire and added clear plastic beads from a second hand necklace.

This is a polymer clay bracelet embellished with wire and leather cording tied in knots for some texture.

While this one is polymer clay painted with the ever present gold leafing pen, wrapped in wire and embellished with Tim Holtz gears, held on with black polymer clay fashioned to look like screw-heads.
These last two are polymer clay bases covered with randomly shaped chunks and pieces of polymer clay. Good way to use up scraps. Then carved and baked, after which I highlighted them with ivory acrylic paint.

My hubby is working very hard at revamping my clothes closet. The before pictures I took just don't do justice to how old fashioned and non-functional it really was, so that turned out to be not so blog worthy.

Hubby tore down all the old shelving and rods and is putting up new white shelving. It's very nice and bright. Having a carpenter for a spouse is a good thing. After shots will be forthcoming.

Now you probably know by now, I'm normally a very happy, upbeat gal.  I like and appreciate most things. When it comes to art and crafting, if I find something interesting, I usually Google it and check it out online and then proceed with my take on it.  It's just this...I don't get physically excited over things.   Shoot, sometimes when something is really funny, I don't even laugh, I just say "now that's really funny".  I'm laid back. Always. So when I say something is lovely or that I really like it, I mean just that. So don't think that I don't. If you want me to jump up and down to prove how much I love something, you will probably be disappointed.

I'm not sure how any of that that applies to this post, except to say that with the bat, and the earthquake and my clothes closet being remodeled, plus the silly bracelets, this is seemingly a non blog worthy post.  I guess sometimes that's just the way it is. Glug.

Don't forget to send photos of your work area and/or your current projects to be the topic of future posts on Where We Really Create.  We are showcasing Jenny B. this week and be on the lookout for my friend Kristen next week.  My favorite sibling will be the next week.  So keep those cards and letters coming and we'll talk again soon.

Please forgive the typos, this stupid blogger is making me coo-coo, and I may not have corrected them all.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hang in there...

Hang in there with me, I'm going to have a new post very soon. Think bracelets and bats...

In the mean time, be sure and check out the new blog. This week I'm showcasing the work space of Jenny B.  Hope you have the time to check it out, then hop over to Jenny's blog and say hi.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy August and a New Blog!!!

Can you believe it is August already? Gosh, time really does fly by.  I guess that is why it is taking me so long to make a new post here.  I have been in my studio almost every day, smooshing and flattening and rolling polymer clay.  I had lots of fun making the faux metal from last post and spent quite some time on Flickr and Etsy looking at art beads and found a gal named Rebecca that has the best photo tutorials that I have seen in some time.  I haven't asked her yet, but hopefully she wont mind if I link to her page on carving polymer beads.  I saw how she did this and the wheels started turning.  Just what I needed in order to do the high jump out of that box that I was crouched in.  So with artybecca's photo tutorial in mind, I came up with a few of my own.

I used a needle with a polymer clay handle as my sketching/etching tool.  For a design, believe it or not, I used my hand print that was embossed into the bead when I formed it.  I elaborated on this idea on this bead, and on several others made with ivory clay.

After curing them in my trusty toaster oven and letting them cool, I used brown acrylic paint and made sure to get it in all the grooves that I made with the needle tool.  You then remove the excess paint with a paper towel. I usually set the bead aside to allow the paint to dry into the groves.  I then put rubbing alcohol onto a paper towel (acrylic paint is removed by alcohol...a good tip to know if you ever let your brushes dry before cleaning them) and I gently remove the paint from the bead with the alcohol'd paper towel.  I have tried using terry cloth, but it takes away too much of the paint. If you remove too much of the highlight paint, you can repeat the process.  After making sure the bead is completely dry, I use automotive wet/dry sanding paper and just knock down some of the little nibblets that remain from the carving process.

Keep in mind that if you are over zealous with the sanding, you will lose your design.

So there you have the basic process.  You can use any color clay and any color accent paint, but some of the most fun came from using the technique in Rebecca's tutorial. Her beads are made using scrap clay, and I have a ToN of scrap clay, I came up with these...

After some trial and error using the darker paint, I figured out that I would use lighter paint for the highlight color, so for these I used ivory paint to bring the design out and I was really pleased with the results.  Here we have a closer view of the scrap beads...

As I mentioned before, I etched or carved with a needle tool, and poked and tapped to get the texture.  It's sometimes surprising what images start to appear from just outlining the different colors.  I have bad vision, in addition to my trifocals, I used my lighted magnifying glass to carve mine.  This made the colors really pop, making it much easier to see. I carved both sides of the beads, and here are the backs of a few...

All of these designs were the product of outlining random colors with no theme in mind. This is really a lot of fun and reminds me of doodling or zentangles.  You can lose track of time and sometimes that's a good thing.

After getting the hang of the etching into really soft clay, I decided to do something other than a bead.  It could easily be drilled for a bead, but I was thinking of just putting it on my desk...

For the basic image of the bird, I actually cut a picture of a bird out and pressed it into the raw clay to get the outline. For the rest of the design, I was just winging it.

Since it's been about two weeks since I posted, I still have a lot of other creations to show you.  I started off doing some bangle/cuff bracelets out of polymer.  There was a bit of a learning curve with the bracelet making and some of them worked...

 and some of them didn't...

 This could be fixed, but that's another project for another day.

I've decided that one of my favorite creations in the past few weeks was this faux bone pendant...

It's a bit large and sort of clunky, and those of you that like a more traditional piece of jewelry probably wont go for it, but the women at the post office really dug it.  Here is a close up shot of the focal bead...

It was made using the faux bone technique, into which I gouged some holes after baking.  Then I rubbed some colored clay into those gouges and cured it again.  Then I antiqued it with some dark paint and went to my bead stash for the accent pieces. I actually spent a lot of time on the design and construction of this piece. It's probably going to be one of my favorite necklaces.

While I was taking pictures for this post, I took one of my messy table in my studio and said to myself.  This is really where we create.  There are now magazines out that showcase studio spaces and art spaces.  These magazines are really nice and serve as motivation and inspiration for us all.  But in order to have your workspace shown in one of these types of magazines there area usually lots of rules and regulations and bells and whistles necessary just for submission and who has time for that.  Soooooo, I was thinking, how about starting a blog for real people to show real work spaces and not just the cleaned up version of their studio.  With all that in mind, I'm going to try to start a new blog called...Where We Really Create.  I thought my friends could send me pictures of what their tables look like when they make something and then show me what they made.  No hoops to jump through, minimal rules.  Just me posting your pictures. Sound like fun? I could link to your blog and you can get more followers.  If this sounds cool to you, hop on over to the new blog and check it out.  No followers yet and it will be my art until I get some feed back.  If it works, it will be fun...if not, I've lost nothing but a few hours of my time.

Well, that's it for today.  Have a great rest of the week and don't tell anyone that I stayed in my pj's all day.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Something different

Since I had been making polymer clay jewelry for several weeks, I needed a break so I thought I would try something new.

 Here you have a bird and a reminder to laugh and wish...

 Here we have a close up of the above sculpted and hammered bird...

 Here we have a cat with his back turned... he's about the size of an ATC, suitable for framing...

Here is my version of a horse...I'm thinking of framing him as a gift for a equine loving friend...

Are you amazed by my metal working skills?  You had NO IDEA I could do this?  Settle down kids, it all an illusion. It's Fake, It's Faux.  It's my attempt at making copper/bronze art out of polymer clay.  Yep, it's all polymer clay.

I used scrap clay and mixed up a very nice dark green.  Then I either sculpted, rubber stamped, or cut with an exacto knife the main image.  I then used metallic powders in gold, copper and silver.  It was all experimental but turned out to be lots of fun.

After having all this fun with polymer clay, I thought I needed to paint something. So I got out my paints and canvas boards and tried all week to think outside of my usual box, to do something artsy, but it just wasn't much fun.  I felt frustrated and not talented and that is NOT why I do art.  So I put away the paints and cleaned up the art table and got out my clay again.   My sister reminds me that polymer clay is what I always run back to if I've got a creative block.

What do you do when your creative juices are evaporating from the heat?  Do you sit back and wait?  Do you find inspiration in some of the thousands of books and magazines that we all have? Do you sort through buttons or fabrics? What is your favorite way to get back in your own personal groove?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Well, that's it for today. Hope you like my faux metal work. Try to stay cool and happy. Kiss your loved ones and dance a jig.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New art...

Not much to post today. It is hot and humid here in the Star City and other than the fitness center and running errands we are staying close to home. 

We finally got most of our digital pictures sorted and had prints made...2100 to be exact.  It's going to be fun going thru them and making tabs and organizing.  Some of them are so funny that the guys who developed them must have thought we were some wild and crazy kids. 

I did get some painting in.  I found an old snapshot that my brother-in-law took in a Florida many years ago.  I still need to touch up the water to get the illusion of depth around several of the trees,  and a horticulture friend wants me to add more knees to them just for fun.  I went on and signed it anyway, but one of the fun things about acrylic is the ability to fru-fru around with the painting even though it is dry.

I got several books on painting from the library today and I am hoping that I will be able to use them to loosen up my style some.  I always tend to go toward a more realistic style of painting, but sometimes I just want to dab and splash and scrape and blob.  We'll see if I can let go long enough to do something outside my little comfort zone.

Well, that's it for today. I hope all of you have happiness in your lives. Enjoy life and give everyone a hug from me.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's up with us??

Why have I gone from posting every week, several years ago to posting every two weeks?  Life.  Even my life, as blessed and some might say relaxed as it is, get hectic.  I am home full time and that can translate into cooking three meals a day, doing dishes and cleaning house (sometimes), and most of the other things that go with keeping a family healthy and happy.  We eat well, exercise regularly, run errands, clean messes, make household repairs, deal with sudden events like running around like a nut covering up power tools when a storm is brewing and hubs is at Lowes, things like that.

Add into this normal routine watching the coverage of the Anthony trial on my computer and television and you have a pretty full day.  Some days I clean house while the trial is on, some days I just sit at the table and do art.  I am currently at a standstill with polymer clay bead making.  Everything I make is starting to look the same. That may mean I'm developing a new style, but actually I think I'm ready to move on to something else.  I got out my unsharpened set of Prismacolor pencils and started to sharpen them and to my frustration, each one broke as I sharpened it.  Now I'm not the sharpest pencil in the desk, but I know that these are good pencils and would not just be breaking, so that means I need to get a new pencil sharpener.  Office Max had an actual Prismacolor brand sharpener, so I tried that and man, it is great.  The best hand held sharpener I have tried in years.  Be sure and try it out if you are having a problem sharpening colored pencils.

So while I'm doing chores and sharpening pencils, I try to keep checking on DH (dear hubby) while he is working on a under-deck drainage system, very similar to this one.  He is doing a great job, but it has required several trips for lumber and other supplies.  When he was doing major yard work earlier this summer he got into chiggers, and poison oak and had quite a time.  Now that he is under the deck, a little bit of sunscreen and bug spray, along with some ice water is all he needs.  I don't have to worry about him taking a tumble down into the woods, which on our little acre is a distinct possibility, so I'm staying inside watching the trial.

I haven't posted any pictures because I had to replace my computer and have just now reloaded my photo program.  Hopefully soon I will have some new pictures to show you.  Before and afters of the deck, along with a picture of a dime-sized frog that was helping out.

All that being said, seems like we were too busy to make a gift for a very special gal, so once again we are sending something pretty cool that we bought.  But not to worry, Lucky, as soon as Carl Coyote gets off that ladder he WILL be at the art table. Homer can attest to that, as well as Laurie.

Well, that's it for now.  Take care all and be sure to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How's it goin' y'all?

Just stopping by for a few minutes to say hello and to see if everyone is doing OK.  I'm doing my usual thing, working out and trying to eat healthy.  I'm still playing around in the studio and in between play times I even found time to finish a commissioned order of miniature food earrings.  They have been received now so I can show them to you.

This time I added cheese to the burgers...

and since some of them were to be PR for a diner in Georgia, I made some bacon and eggs...

and ham and eggs...

I also made some hot cakes and some waffles, but the photos are not the best. And just for fun, I'm posting a picture of me.  I had my hair cut six weeks ago and never got around to posting the before and after pics, but here I am now. Almost time for a trim.

We are having a lovely day today.  Actually quite cool and comfy.  We have had so many days already in the upper 90's that a day in the 70's is wonderful.  Even with the heat I have enjoyed sitting on out on the deck and reading.

Speaking of sitting on the deck, we lost power one evening last week. We had plenty of battery time on the laptop, so we lit a couple of candles, got some chips and ginger ales and sat out on the deck in the dark and watched Andy and Barney on DVD while the power guys tromped around in the woods in the pitch black working on the cable.  That was fun.  They didn't figure out what was wrong for quite some time, but we finally got power late the next morning.  Looks like a generator might be in our future.

Well, that's it for me today.  I'll try not to take so long between posts, but I know you know how it is.  Take care and keep me posted on what's happening in your part of the bloggersphere.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Life goes on...

Ahh, does go on.  Blogging seems to get put on the back burner if I don't have anything that I think is extremely interesting.  Why should that be?  Everyday life is interesting. The fact that we wake up every morning to greet another day is interesting.  Who is to say that me mentioning all my crazy ailments isn't interesting?

In the past few weeks, I have turned my ankle and had to baby it for an entire...evening.  My habit of sitting in a folding chair outside while supervising DH's many chores, afforded me a lovely spider bite that didn't abate until I finally found the Benadryl several days later.  It even blistered at the bite sight (rhyme time) and I had to repeatedly "doctor" it to get it to heal.  Shucks, I still have a scab from that.  And I closed the refrigerator door on said injury the other night and that hurt like crazy and now I have a huge bruise on my inside left forearm from....wait for it....pinching my own arm, while sleeping in a tight ball with my arm trapped between my still somewhat plump knees. Ahh, the joys of growing older.  I always have bruised easily and I don't think that will be changing.

And so it goes here in my corner of the world.  I am still working out 5-6 days a week and am keeping my calories between 1200-1400.  I'm weighing in at 175 and all my size 18 jeans are finally too big.  Needless to say my current swimsuit is too large, so I went to the mall (even though there was a stabbing there the previous day) and got a mix and match type suit.  Full coverage bottom with a kicky little skirt combined with a nice Delta Burke top.  I will still be in big girl sizes for a while yet, so I just better deal with that.  The pool at our fitness center does not have a deep end, so we will be checking out the city pool on the other side of town.  Hopefully the kiddies will stay in the shallow end and now that I can swim and have fun in the deep end, I will be doing just that. I will be keeping plenty of SPF 30 or higher in reach. Look up lily white in the dictionary, and you will see my picture.

I'm still having fun with polymer clay and am currently trying to decide if the July Birthday Girl will be getting her usual object d'art, or something fun from one of the many online stores that I am so fond of checking out.  Oh, well..I do still have several weeks.

Hubby and I have a commencement to attend in the morning at eleven.  The daughter of one of our friends is valedictorian of her class.  I'm interested to see what she will be saying.  Graduation speeches are probably a bit different than they were in 1971.  I doubt if she will advise her friends to "keep on truckin" and hopefully she won't fall off her massive platforms that match her white mini dress.  But who knows?

Well, that's it for me for now.  Hope everyone is having a great week.  Take care and keep those cards and letters comin'.

Monday, May 23, 2011

New pictures...

As promised, here are some shots of the polymer clay beads that I have been working on for the past several weeks. The tile in the pictures is a cheap ceramic tile from Home Depot that you can make on and bake on. Stock up on them.

As usual, you can click on the picture to enlarge it.  This first one is made using colors straight from the package, conditioned and then shaped and baked. I often make earrings and a matching or coordinating pendant.

 This black and gold necklace is the one I spent the most time on.  I used black clay and pressed the beads onto texture sheets.  The beads were pressed into the sheet that looks like leopard spots and the pendant was pressed into a sheet that had a branch type design.  After baking them I used gold leaf accent paint on the raised areas. Nice huh?
These faux ivory pieces were made using ecru or ivory colored clay and then accented with paint and transfer foil.
 This bracelet was made using a custom mixed ivory color clay that was textured and layered with black and gold clay.  The design on the gold beads was created using the mica shift technique. It is strung on black rubber elastic. I no longer like to deal with clasps on bracelets.

 These rather large beads were custom blended colors, then (L) rolled and shaped into a spiral, textured and accented and (R) cut into a lattice shape with a rotary cutter and placed over the base bead.

 Since I was having so much fun with the texture sheets and since I hand carve rubber erasers for fun, I decided to try carving into uncured moldmaker clay.  It is very soft, almost too soft to carve into, but there is the advantage of being able to reuse the product that you remove when you carve before curing. After curing it is completely flexible and works well for custom made texture sheets.  It is designed for and works beautifully as a mold maker. You can impress buttons, shells, or anything that you want to be able to duplicate .

Ok, back to beads . Who doesn't love some fiery orange beads for spring?  This is also a custom blend of warm colored clays and stamped into and accented with gold paint.

More funky beads and pendants. Custom mixed and textured. The one on the lower right will probably serve as a ring component. The purple faceted stone is polymer clay that I made.

 The pink focal bead was made using one of the face molds in the goody package that Sister sent me for my birthday.  This clay was custom blended and antiqued with burgundy acrylic paint.

 Various pendants and techniques here...

Last but not least, was a pendant that I made using a rub on transfer. Obviously the picture doesn't do it justice, but I'm just too sorry to retake it. Regarding the rub on transfers, I would prefer using a water slide transfer on polymer clay, but you can rub hard enough on baked clay to make this type work, but be patient and continue to check that you have a good transfer before removing the art. Accent with some silver paint and you're on your way.

Well, that's just a sampling of what I have made recently.  I made several pieces as gifts and failed to photograph them. Of course, they were the best pieces.

Hope everyone is having a good spring and has avoided the storms and tragedies that have befallen parts of the country. Take care and remember to be creative.

Until then...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Just popping in to say hi.

Just stopping by to say hello and to let everyone know I haven't fallen off the edge.  I have been working/playing in the studio and I have made soooooo many beads.  I'm off to our weight loss challenge picnic today, but hopefully I'll have time to take pictures and post them when we return.  I'll be back soon, I promise!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Oh my, why did I do that?

Have you ever had a "why did I do that" moment?  I have them often enough to think that perhaps I have forgotten everything I ever learned.  As you may know the hubby and I have been on a healthy living kick.  We are watching our food intake and exercising at the gym.  As a treat for my sandwich and chips loving guy, we have been purchasing lean roast beef from the deli.  Well, I got it in my head that it would be healthier if I cooked a nice roast here at home and sliced it for sandwiches.  Sounds reasonable, right? When I went to Kroger yesterday, my choices were either a nice cut of London Broil at $20.00 (which I could have easily afforded) or a sirloin tip roast at $10.00.  Well, old Miss Frugal went with the sirloin tip roast.  I got carrots and potatoes and was going to do my usual deal of cooking all the items together in a nice pot on top the stove.

Normally I'm a pretty good cook, but I sometimes get cocky. Perhaps that's what prompted my first mistake.  I started to think.  Hmmmm.  I wonder why do I always cook the roast like this.  Is it because Mama did it like that?  Did she do it like that because she was from the South?  Not me,  I'll be a gour-met cook and use a fancy beef rub, and cook this thing in the oven with dry heat.  I do my research and found a nice recipe online and went for it.  I did exactly what the recipe said, BUT what I didn't do prior to cooking it, was research the different cuts of beef and why you braise or pot roast, versus why you dry roast.  I certainly paid for that slight omission. Because after struggling with this piece of meat for entirely too long, I have ended up with a awful mess.  I may be able to rescue enough beef to make a pot of soup, but even that is questionable.  What did I learn today?  If it's not broken, don't try to fix it.

We had turkey bacon and scrambled eggs on rye toast with lettuce, tomato and mayo.  My favorite standby sandwich when there is nothing else in the house. All's well that ends well.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Had a great birthday...

I've been spending most of my time in my bat cave (studio), having a blast with a ton of polymer clay supplies that Peri sent me for my birthday.  I was so excited to tear into the box, that I didn't take any pictures.  There will be pictures coming of projects already completed, but in the mean time here is a picture of what my hubby got me.

I collect Barbies. Lots of them are headless and naked, but most of them are actually collectible like these. They look vintage, but are not. It's a current series made with the original Barbie face.

So that's it for now.  If you have any ideas for jewelry or items that you want to see made from polymer clay, let me know and I'll give it a go.  I have already made a crazy steampunk bird using the instructions from one of Christi Friesen books that Peri sent me, and it is a sight to behold. Who know what else might arise from the depths of my studio?... we'll see.

Ok, I'm really leaving now.  It's getting ready to rain here, so we are going to try to beat the store to run a few errands.  Have fun and stay safe and creative.