Saturday, April 18, 2015

Yard Art

It's Spring!  With all the wild things blooming and joyful. I want to get outside and enjoy it too.  I have been incubating a yard project for months and months, and driving my Sweetie crazy collecting his wine bottles.  His creative vision is very different than my own, and doesn't take up nearly as much space as mine do or require collections of stuff. 

I saw these images on Pinterest a year ago and have been collecting ever since.



I think the path paved with bottles could be hazardously slippery, and after all, who would want to dig in that far to plant bottles or risk broken glass under foot?  I really love the look of the bottles used for edging.  There is just one issue, and that is pesky mosquitoes.  We have a pond a yard away, and in warm weather, I have to spray the yard and we run from house to car or barbeque grill.  My Delicious Sweetie is a gourmet treat for those critters, and he can't get more than a few feet before swarms of them attack. So, what to do about those concave bottoms inviting water to collect and offer breeding spots for more critters?  I then thought of this image that I also love and blogger cathgrace has kindly given us a DIY for.

http://cathgrace.com/2011/08/garden-balls/
I am going to try a few before I commit to dozens, so I bought some small hard toy balls at the Dollar Store.  With stones added, they should fit right into the bottoms of the bottles and prevent water build up.  I think I may leave a few without balls, as I have read that small puddles of water this size are attractive to butterflies.  I have no clue how they will do in changing weather, so I am going to keep my fingers crossed on this one.  I also bought a few bags of glass pebbles.  I have adhesive and grout and sealer on hand already.

There is another issue.  My yard has lots of old oak and gum trees.  Our yard is lower than the others and years of rain run-off has left little workable topsoil.  Anywhere I dig is an impenetrable mass of tree roots.  I don't intend to fight nature, so I plan to wabi-sabi and do imperfect edging here and there, wherever I can dig a bottles in.



...Those balls I bought at the Dollar Store!  I had the bag on the floor and the Sweetie happened to bump it with his foot and an amazing thing happened.  Please pardon the blurry photo.....




...So, I examined it more closely and realized it is filled with a liquid that will probably break the ball in freezing weather.  I will have to go back for other balls, but isn't that just the coolest?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

In a Pink Mood

I can't believe I didn't share this with y'all.  About a month ago when it was still cold here in the deep south, I had to find a new winter jacket.  My old one was literally "loved to death."  I found one I liked and the fit was right, but PINK.  I don;t usually do pastel pink, but this wasn't half-bad, marked down and stylish.  So it came home with me.  Without a collar, my sensitive neck was needing a cowl and I do love a cowl.  Just happening to have the perfect yarns and colors to combine, I followed Jane Thornley's Once Upon a Cowl pattern, shortening it up to suit our not-so-frigid temps. 


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Fever

Hyacinths, daffodils, forsythia, yellow jessamine, honeysuckle, and now the azaleas are all bursting into bloom.  It means our short Spring has arrived.  For the next two weeks, warmer temperatures and that longing to throw windows and doors open has to be ignored.  All the flowers and pine trees are filling the air with clouds of fine yellow pollen that piles up
everywhere, and makes my nose itch and sneeze and I have to bathe my burning eyes several times a day.

Going out is risky business, so now that I am stuck indoors, and sorta-kinda done with taxes, I took a break and got creative today.  Out came strings of turquoise beads and silvered chains and wire and anything that looked remotely good with turquoise.  I didn't get any serious tools or torches out today and just enjoyed the ease of beading.  This is a long necklace with dyed howlite or magnesite beads, carved turquoise beads, old "silver" trade beads, a sterling Hamsa hand, and a tiny Tibetan prayer box charm.  The tassel is hand-dyed silk.

This next necklace also has turquoise nuggets, tiny carved bone beads and dragon, and antique bronze metal with a hand-dyed silk cord and tassel.  I squeezed that in about three weeks ago.




Sunday, March 22, 2015

Shalimar the Muse


The past two weeks you would have found me very busy in the studio.  Diligently working away to get it just the way I want it, it is still only a partially defined idea in my head.  It evolves from day to day just as any creative project does, determined by the process and what I have on hand, and what my feelings are telling me. I try to think something out ahead, then revise and re-think as I go along.  It works for me, but at times it is frustrating because of snags along the way.

Something I decided months ago, was that I needed NEEDED to have a bust to display
jewelry on.   I bought a plastic form at the local flea market for $5!  Can't beat that, but they can be found online for $7 new +shipping.  Originally, the plan was to decoupage old sheet music, floral papers ...??? and use it as a necklace display for photos.  That idea changed drastically when I saw a Pin (sorry, it came and went) that stuck in my head, of an artist's rendition of a goddess.  She had a few strands of curly hair that looked as if they were snatched from a Saint Bernard, and a vintage vamp face with a lace tiara.  I loved that crazy lady and had to try to re-create her for myself.  For a very long time, I have had a Boho/gypsy muse who whispered to me that her name is "Shalimar," a mysterious name that might mean "abode of love" or ...something else.  It is a contrived and decimated Hindi word that apparently would be described as slang in English.   Shalimar dances around a fire of creativity.  In the Chinese Five Elements, Fire represents passion ...having your heart in all you do.  That is exactly what I want for my studio, and I am listening to my muse.



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Let There Be Beautiful Light

This week in the studio, I was working away at one project and in typical ADD/ADHD fashion, another idea sideswiped me to set what I was doing aside and do this...



I did this with 3 feet by 12 inches of organza, about 5 feet of brassy beads, and a sheet of floral paper.  The chandelier chain was about 2 feet long.
  1. Tuck the fabric in at the top of the chandelier, perhaps anchoring it with thread or a tiny wire.
  2. Spiral it around evenly and tuck the bottom edge in.
  3. Wrap the beads from the center, going around snugly twice a the top and then crisscrossing them to the bottom where I used a thin piece of wire to clasp together.
  4. I cut the paper into strips and made tubes that fit around the plastic tubes under the lights
Time:  maybe 30 minutes





Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

It has been since the end of last year that I have been working on creating a studio.  Even though it has been painfully slow, I have been sharing the experience with you.  Now, it suddenly seems to be pulling together.  I have a theme and a direction that was missing before this week.  So far, it has been driven by a desire and thinking process, and once I got more focus, I had direction.  Hooray!  What I wanted was:
  • a fun, playful place to create that made me feel happy and creative just to enter the space.
  • an organized and dedicated space
  • a place that symbolized my most positive feelings and nurtured my spirit
  • a place that I would be happy to spend time every day
  • a work area that took care of my creative and physical needs
  • a small, attractive and exciting space for display, to house jewelry that I make for sale so that customers can look easily and soak up atmosphere and feel the goodness
In order to accomplish all this, what I needed to do was some soul searching and a lot of research.  It is not something that can easily be thrown together, and unless an artisan has been at their craft for years, it is not easy to know all that is required.  I have been moving slowly because I wanted to make sure I purchased wisely and set up the space right the first time.  This is especially important for the walls, which newly faux-painted, will have to hold shelves, display pieces, and other invasive equipment.  If I wasn't careful, they would look like Swiss cheese.

One thing I knew I wanted was a mirror. I had an old one that I don't even know from whence it came.  It was a dark and plain wood frame, so I added decoupage.  I wish I had thought to share that process with you, but I get so ahead of myself at times and there is no slowing me down.  The first thing I did was to paint the beveled edge of the frame nearest the mirror with copper metallic paint (cheap from the craft store) and allowed that to dry thoroughly.  Then, I applied leafing adhesive and added gold leaf.  The next step was the decoupage.  I used a wheel cutter to cut straightedge strips from wrapping paper, wide enough to wrap to the back of the frame.  The top of the frame was painted in manageable sections with wood glue. I got that at  Lowes at $4 for a rather large bottle.  The glue was thinned just a little with water with just enough to flow easily but still be tacky and not runny.  I placed the strips at the beveled edge and smoothed them down on the top.  The next day, the process was repeated for the sides and around the edge of the frame to the back.  This two step process allowed the top to dry and have a strong hold to keep the paper from sliding out of position.
Giving the decoupaged surface yet another day to dry, I then covered the entire surface with a coat of Mod Podge.  Just one coat, because I am not a fan of high gloss surfaces.  I want the room to have a cozy up-cycled artsy vintage feel.  Please pardon the reflected junk on the other side of the room, it will be gone soon, as everything shapes up.



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Just a Little Bit Crazy

...I must be.  Somehow, I got it into my head to use some Brown Sheep Cotton Fine that I had purchased a few (?) years back to make a pair of FairIsle socks.  I was doing just great until I hit the heel and then the knitting and life just fell apart on me.  Project was sent to hibernation, and when I tried to get back to it I just couldn't orient myself.  So, Froggie the Ripper pulled it all out.  Then I saw this scrumptious cropped sweater and knew what to do with the skeins of tiny yarn.  No amount of arguing could sway me, and now, here I am deep into tiny stitches and tiny needles, straining my eyes and wrist while setting in thousands of stitches.  I guess it is a little like scratching off those cards to see if you won a prize because I love the way the pattern unfolds.  (Ask me when I am done if I still feel the same way?)