Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Sunday

It's been a good Sunday. I went to a welcome home/birthday party for a good friend and got to catch up a bit with my sister-from-another-mother who has been busy with her daughter's end of eighth grade craziness. On my way to the party, I noticed a sign for Coon Hollow Farm, alpaca and sheep wool, honey and herbs, so I stopped on my way home and met Dawn, the very nice owner. She's just opened the farmstand for the season. We chatted for a while and then she uttered a phrase that was pure music to my ears,"free alpaca poop." This stuff is garden gold!
Today's pictures are pea blossoms in my little garden and wild bedstraw that has grown up under the back porch. If you want to try a bit of natural dyeing, bedstraw roots have the same dye element as madder roots, just not as concentrated. This would usually be harvested in the fall when the color is strongest but if it's getting weeded out now I thought I'd save the roots anyway.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A present for Me

Meet Cheshire, made by Furritales. ( He's the coolest needle felted guy I've ever seen and now he's mine. You can find some amazing needle felted work on Etsy. I've seen some wonderfully lifelike animals and ,of course, there are a lot of Waldorf inspired gnomes and fairies. After eight years of being a Waldorf Mom I was looking for something different. I'm also an anime fan so you can see why I love Furritales' style. She's only 17 and she's just gotten into RISD. Proceeds from her shop are going toward her education. How cool is that?
I'm trying to decide what to work on today. I'm having a hard time settling on something. I could go to the art supply store, paint or draft a pattern. I want to make myself some square necked mexican style peasant tops to wear this summer. Guess I'll just get moving and see where I end up.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quote of the Day

This from my son: "And yet you get me no pudding."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mystery Saturday

Can anybody out there tell me what this prickly looking tool is used for? And ,please, don't say kligon sex toy. I found it with a bunch of sewing supplies and all I can guess is that maybe it's used in pressing velvet without crushing the nap. It's not for needle felting, there aren't any barbs on the wires. I can't resist old craft and sewing tools. Palm loom, weaveit, daisy loom, you name it, I've got it.
On to the second mystery. Can you guess what I used to make this pendant? Except for a little polymer clay, it's all repurposed stuff. Stop reading for a sec if you want to guess because I'm going to give the answer. OK? The metal ring and tab is from an old zipper pull. I put a pad of aqua colored polymer clay in the center, coated it with translucent liquid clay and pressed bits of broken windshield glass into it. The zipper pull was from last week's tag sale bag of zippers. I guess you could say that I got the glass "delivered" to my doorstep. We live on a busy street and before they added a stop light, we had three different cars crash through our yard. The glass came from the one that left tire marks on the front door,went on to barely miss a huge pine tree, ending up on it's roof in the vacant lot next door. DUI? You bet. The driver and passenger took off in a friend's car before the cops arrived. Every time there has been an accident out here some mind altering substance was involved. Thankfully, the stoplight has worked. Jeeze, I really didn't intend for this post to be taken over by a DUI rant. Deep cleansing breath. Back to repurposing. I've been reusing found materials since I was a kid. We didn't just run to Michaels for stuff and the craft kits made for kids tended to be garbage anyway. Except for sharp blades, I always let my son use my art and craft supplies. It isn't fair to hand a kid a cheezy craft kit. They only get frustrated when they can't make it work. Give them your empty boxes and some real supplies and they'll astound you with their original projects.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Taking a Different View And Good Luck

Yesterday my almost 16 year old son spent the whole afternoon with two friends screen printing band t shirts in the basement. This is the first time he's done it without Dan's help and it took him a while to get it right. Not only did they stick at it till it worked, I could hear them joking and laughing the whole time. I want to be more like that. I'd probably have been swearing a blue streak and having a rotten time of it. Sometimes I take this being an adult gig too seriously.
At about 5:30 I got a happy surprise. I had bid on a box of bottles at a local church tag sale last Sat. and since I didn't hear anything, I figured somebody else won them. Then I got a call, there was a mix up and they forgot to call the winners. It was actually more fun this way. I was doubly happy to get them. I really wanted the coffee jar for a painting and the little Wheaton bottles are collectables. I wasn't so crazy about the rest but Dan liked them.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Zen Art Of African Flowers

When I was big into polymer clay, Marie Segal stayed with us before and after the SCPCG retreats. She gave me one of the first ripple blades when she was introducing them and I got totally obsessed with making patterned sheets of clay. It was a wonderful way to learn about color. Each new slice was a discovery and at the same time, a soothing meditation. The African Flower crochet motif is my current version of that zen experience. I'm using my thrifted stash of persian tapestry/crewel yarn, a single strand with a #8 steel hook. I don't have an end project in mind. This my handwork meditation, plus, the more I use, the less I'll have to sort through and untangle when I'm done. I might use them as the yoke on a sweater, or even as the top of some socks. I'll knit the foot. It just depends on how many I eventually make. Check out Flicker if you want to see more pictures, there's a group dedicated to African flower projects. The pattern is posted there too.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tag Sale and Thrifted Swag

I hit the textile and tag sale at the Monroe Historical Society, my usual thrift stores and a church tag sale this week. The milk glass and ceramic containers are for mushroom gardens, the fabric is for hats and the yarn has already gone into a hat. I also got an old book about drawing the human figure for Dan. It was a great day to go out for a drive and now I'm home painting. (taking a break for this post.) I finally feel like painting - probably because I need to deliver paintings on Monday. Nothing like a deadline to get my butt in gear.
Sifu Dan is having a good time teaching his Sat. morning Kung Fu class in the back yard. It's kinda cool how that came together. In the space of a week, four guys stopped to ask about his wooden practice dummies in the back yard. Guess this was the pay off for clearing out the old treehouse, the dummies are more visible from the road. Tomorrow our son's band friends are coming over to record some songs. I asked him when and his reply was "first thing in the morning." What about church? No problem, they're coming over at 12:00. Never a dull moment.

Friday, May 7, 2010

On The Garden Front

This year "Quackgrass Acres" has moved from the community garden to our back yard. Community gardens are wonderful things but it just didn't work out for me. Now I can walk out the back door and do a bit of gardening whenever I feel like it without getting in the car for a ride across town. So it's starting small, as a container garden on a small cement and flagstone patio area that we didn't use. The process of removing our son's dilapidated treehouse and the dead hemlocks has begun. Ultimately, that will give us a bigger space for the garden but I'm happy with this for the time being. Good soil for the containers is the big need now.
I still have my DIY Japanese wind bells (furin) from last year, much to my amazement. I foolishly left them out all winter but they came through it just fine. All I had to do was replace the tails. They were a fun project and I'm thinking of making a tutorial on how to do it. The one in the picture is made from a thrifted votive glass. I have others made from porcelain teacups. The wind has been blowing like mad here so I hooked the tails on the fence posts to stop them from ringing themselves to bits.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Silly Putti

Years ago I had the idea to open a museum called House of a Thousand Tchockies. Like my other idea, The Museum of Avian Architecture, it never actually came to fruition. This cherub and egg planter would have been a perfect exhibit. I got it years ago from a thrift store. Somebody did a rather crude job of scratching off the backstamp, which makes me think that it is a Japanese copy of a European piece. To my mind, that's irrelevant. It is what it is, a divinely silly little planter.