Sunday, August 31, 2008

Yard Sale Saturday

It has been several weeks since I have had the luxury to go yard saling. My days have been filled with family and friends. The end of summer activities. Saturday, I had to drag myself out of bed. I knew I would regret it it if I didn't get up. All week I had been mulling around if I would drive to Virginia to the 25 mile long yard sale to meet a friend. By Thursday night I had decided to stay home and not waste the time and gas, but to go yard saling here. I figured in the ride to Virginia and back I would spend enough in gas to pay for a month of yard saling here.

So off to the sales. The first two were rather disappointing. I did meet a sweet young girl selling her books. Her mother had bought her all the best. She had obviously outgrown them, but was having a hard time parting with them. How cool is that? I bought a couple bucks worth of board books. I found the only gilted board book I have ever seen.

Just a round the corner some fellows selling off a women's stuff. I found three old glass bottle stoppers-they must be for all those bottles I bought a few weeks ago-and a darling bird toothpick holder. I also found two pieces of white pottery that weren't white when I bought them. I spent quarters here.

Next a young couple that were bursting with pride over their son. Too cute. I bought the sea glass and two turquoise glass Polish vases from them. A dollar a piece. Yeah, my two collections are covered in less than a mile. Time for breakfast.

The next two stops were a guy moving back to the beach and an estate. He had scary masks and the owls. I have a friend who collects owls and I love the little wooden box. Sold. The estate was hard. I always feel like an interloper. I bought the two pyrex bowls in my favorite colors, two needle kits, the ruler, the beaded purse, the marbles, some bingo pieces, tape measure, a bag of buttons, playing cards and a table cloth. Time to take my finds home. Today I spent $10.75. Not too shabby.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Guess who turns Four today?

I can't believe our sweet boy is four. In keeping with the pirate theme birthday we took the young one to the aquarium in Myrtle Beach last weekend. What an amazing place. Luckily for us it was the Sunday before "big" school started so it was practically deserted. We were able to linger and enjoy all the exhibits to our hearts content. Afterward a short walk across the canal to the boardwalk for games and rides. I think we could have spent days instead of hours there. They have some very rare sea horses that looked like they had leaves attached to them. The sting ray and shark exhibit was the most relaxing of all the exhibits. Definitely had "Wow" power. As promised I am including a picture of one of the sharks. Blow out all your candles and make a big wish sweetie. I am wishing for wonderful things for you.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Little Quilted and Beaded Purses

Several summers ago I took classes at Chautauqua Institute in New York. You could weave, quilt, bead, calligraphy, photography, etc. Most of the arts, or take political or money investing classes. Something for everyone. One of the classes I took was making a quilted and beaded purse from a woman named Marilyn Mendelson. The woman had patience.

So to make a long story short, I found my purse over the weekend and another kit I had bought and decided to work on that. My goal before summer is over is to finish any projects that I have not completed. I am sick and tired of the extra bags of half finished things sitting in my studio. I know I started them because I really was inspired by something. I ended up making several purses and enlarged the initial idea and made a purse I can walk with.

The purse to walk with was rather fun. I can put my ID in it, my automatic car opener thingy, and even my cell phone and have my hands free. I don't have pockets in my pants. Who wears a jacket in the summer? So where do you put everything? I was putting everything in my camera case but that meant I had to carry my camera even if I wasn't shooting. Now I am hands free.

The smaller quilted purses are perfect when you just need your ID and a credit card and maybe a bit of cash. I get really tired of lugging a purse around to the flea market or art fairs. This is the answer for sure. I have four more under construction and am thinking of giving these as Christmas gifts to some art friends and to my Daughter in Laws with gift cards in them. I am determined to do more handmade things this year.

Freebies #10 from Texas

Watching all the hurricane and tropical storm warnings on the television made me think of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. So this week I pulled out a bunch of photos from Texas. The first four are the Willson kids - also spelled Wilson - from Taylor Texas. The baby is Katherine and the other two are Lizzie and Lena. The last photo is from Houston an I wondered about the cabinet card photo of the little girl sitting on the chair with the young child. I hope you can use some of these.

Dr Pepper Marinade

I love recipes that include a soft drink. Don't ask me why but I do . Maybe it is the child in me. This was in the local newspaper and I just had to try it. It is great.

Combine this with chicken or beef - I used chicken. Put everything in a large zip loc bag and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

1 12 ounce can of Dr Pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lime or lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, minced
1 teaspoon hot sauce - Tabasco - or cracked peppercorns

Whisk ingredients together. This should be enough for 2 pounds of meat or chicken.
Your meat or chicken can be grilled or baked. I usually grill.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thank You !

Just a small thank you to all the wonderful people I have met through my groups and my blog. What a wonderful art community there is out there. You have enriched my life. Thank You!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back to School - altered board book

Getting together with other artists to create on a regular basis one to one is very inspiring. I am fortunate to belong to two local groups of mixed media an altered art groups. Some months we challenge each other with certain projects. Other times we are involved in round robins. In the next few week I would like to share a couple of those projects with you.

The first is an altered child's board book. The challenge was to use four pocket type templates at least five times in an altered book. We were given the templates and given two months to complete out book and bring it back to share. Many of the girls - myself included - have a technique altered book that we just constantly add to or try new things in. For this challenge I decided just to do a separate book with pockets as the structure theme.

I chose a board book, I have a whole basket of them I am trying to wheedle down to a manageable size. I also, had cleaned out and sorted most of my 12 by 12 inch papers and decided to use some of the older paper I had been hoarding. After looking at my paper the school theme was where it was going.

The next thing was to pick out some images and start. I had been going through the cabinet card collection and sorting them, too. I found a lot of teachers and young women who could have been teachers. Those would be my starting point. This book would be a little reminder for a retiring teacher - her colleagues and a postcard or letter from a student or parent. So this is what I came up with.


I received this award this week from Debbi Baker. Thank you so much! Make sure you check out Debbie's blog it is very cool. I love the way this award looks. Perfect for this back to school week. This award is for blogs you really like to visit. As most of the awards go, you are to nominate seven blogs with their blog links, email them, post this award on your blog with the link going back to the person who awards you the award, and then they nominate or award seven blogs. It has perpetual motion and good feelings.
I also received this award a week later from Andrea. Getting this award twice is truly an honor. Thank you, this is truly humbling. Please check out Andrea's blog. She is hip and full of life.

So, I am awarding these people and their blogs. Their blogs make me feel inspired, bring something new to the worktable, are just fascinating to me. So with a jazz band playing in the background......
1. Altered Route ...Connie is a real cowgirl. Her blog speaks of the new modern west.
2. Ko-ok ...Kelsy is another down under girl who really shines. Check out her inchies and what she has done with them.
3. My studio 13....Carrie is fresh and real.
4. The colour guru ...Keron will wow you...also a down under artist.
5. sannas art mind ... Susan is new to the blog world but I am expecting great things from her. When you first start you need lots of encouragement. I know this for a fact.
6. Sandees-sanity ... Sandee is another east coast girl who is like a breath of fresh air.
7. Justlilla ...Lilla is vintage, lace, and exquiste embroidery. It is Aloha from Hawaii.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Collages in Five Different Sizes

It has been a collage sort of day. I am in a swap in the Gluebots Yahoo group where we have to make a set of collages. They are to be a 4 by 6 inch collage, a 3 by 5 inch collage, a 4 by 4 inch collage, a 2 by 2 inch collage and an ATC. There is no theme. I worked on my set yesterday.

I have many of these sizes already made, but decided that I would start from scratch. Once you sort of get started you just sort of let it sweep you away. I enjoy this type of collage a lot. It is always interesting to see the results. I routinely cut up my "already read and won't look at again magazines". Yes I cut up my art magazines, too.I have a box that I store the images in and another I keep text and words in. This makes things move very fast. I see this as a great way to recycle my magazines. The pages that are not all cut up I use to glue on. You can never have to much scrap paper to glue and paint on.

Quote - Art

"Art is the desire of a man to express himself, to record the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in."
Amy Lowell

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bandana Tags

These tags I made for a tag swap on one of the Yahoo groups run by "Trish Bee". It is called the Creating Chaos Swap group. A very talented group. Our mission was to take two tags joined together and use the Bandanna technique on them. I used two sizes of tags.

The smaller tags are easier to cover with a large collage style stamp. The larger size tags make you do a little more of your own design work. I used juiced up chalk pads for most of them. The last two I used spray inks on. I just happen to like the green and purple of the chalks. The dye inks are very rich in color. The chalks leave your paper and tags a little heavier. I also like the range of colors in the chalk ink for this project. I think there is more control with the pad than with the spray bottle.

I took the tags and just randomly placed the pads on the tags. I waited in between colors for them to dry as to not contaminate the pads with other colors. With the spray - I set the tags on copy paper inside a shallow box and spray. If your bottles become plugged. Use a pin to press into the nozzle hole gently to unplug the sprayer. Be sure to do this with nozzle hole away from your face - voice of experience talking. The copy paper with the extra sprayed ink can make interesting backgrounds for other projects. I hope my swap person likes her tags.

A book I would like to share

A while back someone emailed me an asked me what kind of mysteries I like to read. I was sort of stumped, because I will read just about any mystery that moves at a fast clip. I have read at least once, sometimes if really good twice, most mystery books. I started a long time ago on author's that start with "A" in the library and read my way through the shelves. I am a really fast reader and have been known to finish a book in a few hours. A murder a day is not unusual for me.

There is lots of time to read, waiting in line, waiting to pick up a child, waiting at the drugstore, doctor's etc.. I picked this book up at Sam's club because I have never read anything from this author and I had read this was first in a series. It has been sitting for a month or so waiting for me to pick it up. On Thursday evening we had a five hour blackout and painting in the dark or with a flashlight is not easy. So, I picked it up.

The story is good, but what made this book different than most mysteries is the fact that the heroine BLOGS. This is the first mystery where I have seen blogging - and the blogging is good. Also, the community of readers is real. I was amazed. The other thing I really liked was the fact that she had been in a stressful situation and had started her blog and the responses she got affirmed her and the feelings she was going through. Anyway, if you are looking for a quick read, interesting story, with blogging you might be interested in this book.


Saturday - A Day of Liberation

On Saturday my art friends in Raleigh invited me up for a small meal and yummies and some art making to celebrate my birthday and liberation. Everyone needs to celebrate being liberated on a regular basis I think. It was a beautiful day. Sunny, Carolina blue sky, the smell of the seasons changing and a little cooler than normal. Perfect.

I don't make it to Raleigh - the big city - as often as I would like and I have to try and fit in as much as possible. I try to make a list of supplies to pick up and stick to it. Wool roving and gesso from Jerry's were the two biggies on my list. I stopped and picked up some felt roving in more earthy colors. With fall coming I know I will be inspired by the colors. I see some landscapes, trees and leaf ATC's in my future. Gesso from Jerry's and I am good to go. Now off to the antique store my girlfriends are always raving about. It is called Susanna's and is suppose to be quite eclectic. That turned out to be an understatement. When I pulled up the front yard is covered with little vignettes of outside rooms with all sorts of stuff. I do mean"stuff", mantles, doors, windows, pottery, garden furniture, you name it it is there. The really nice thing it is sort of arranged by color or theme. Inside is full to the brim with wonderful delights. I have never seen so many things crammed into a small little set of buildings. I was in heaven. I wished I had had a couple of hours to just wind my way through everything, but I was on a schedule and people were waiting for me....I am not one who likes to be late or keep people waiting. So off to my girlfriends for an evening of art, food and friendship.

Saturday - An Evening of Liberation

An evening dinner in the garden. How perfect. Watching the butterflies, the hummingbirds and their acrobats. A perfect setting. Good food, good friends, not much more you can ask for than that.The garden at friends home is wonderful. Pathways leading here and there to some treasure. Wonderful flowers, planted to attract the butterflies and birds. Feeders and birdbaths strategically placed. Makes for a wonderland in an urban setting.I really love these glass balls that they have arranged in their garden. These were picked up off the beach after storms in Japan when their family was stationed there. They were the balls from the fishing nets. I think they are so beautiful and what a perfect place to show them off.

After the sun went down it was into the studio to make art! It is always so much fun to go into someone else's art space. I love to see how they set things up and where they create.

Buttons Buttons - Who Made all of these?

For a few hours on Saturday night I became a button factory. One of my art friends has a Button Biz machine. Orleta very generously shares her machine with us, only charging us her costs for the button supplies. I made up most of the collages before hand and brought other suitable images to use for buttons. Sometimes just a wonderful piece of paper makes a stunning button.
This is a little closer view of some of the buttons. I think these are so fun. I love to pin them on a purse or trade for something with them. If you add a magnet to the back, they make really cute magnets for the art room. I made a couple this time to add to my dolls. Such simple things can make us so happy. Thank You Orleta!

Quote - Friendship

"Friendship is like a prism through which many variations of beauty are revealed in our lives."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Southern Strawberry Pie

The morning of my birthday my high school and still best girlfriend called and said, " I would make you strawberry pie for breakfast if I was there." I have a real thing for fresh strawberry pie and a good cup of tea. So here is my recipe, share it with a friend it tastes so much better that way.

1 cooled 9 inch baked pie shell
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
1 quart fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Sweetened whipped cream

Soften cream cheese with a little cream. Spread over the bottom of pie shell. Dip half of the strawberries [one pint] in sugar and set close together on the cream cheese. Mash the remaining berries or put in blender and puree. Mix 1 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons cornstarch and add to mashed berries, add a pinch of salt. Cook slowly over low to medium heat till thick, about ten minutes.[don't burn] Cool and pour over berries. Chill. Serve with whipped cream and a nice pot of tea.

Comment of Freebies #9

This week I decided to do the photographs a little differently. I wrote a little bio under each one. When I see these wonderful old photographs I wonder who they were, what their lives were like, what they did, etc.... Sometimes I make up little stories about them. Sometimes on the back of the photo will be a name or relationship to the recipient of the photo on it. This can lead you to all sort of places.

I decided to post these pictures of teachers and a student because next week the kids will begin to trickle back to school. Whether college or elementary school - teachers - will have a great influence over their lives. It is a job that is very fulfilling, yet not always compensated for the value it brings to our lives. So in honor of those who are not always honored, I post these photos.

The second and third photos were sisters and they were teachers. The two women in Freebie #8 with the big puffy sleeves were teachers also - though not sisters. I know this because I bought one of their associates or pupils photo albums. These photos are from 1826 to 1858, except for the last photo in Freebie # 9. This is from 1910 to ? I hope you enjoy them.

Freebies#9 Back to School

Ready for the big day - the first day of school. All clean and neat, yet a little scared. Notice her shoes. I think the shoes were hand me downs. I can't imagine her feet are this big. I also love the lace in the window behind her. Hanging so white and neat. Also, the street is clean, so I am thinking she is a servant's child who lives in the employers' home and probably does small chores before and after school.
A young woman of distinction. Books are her life. She is well read and loves poetry. Somewhat of a romantic yet is practical all in the same breathe. Well dressed, but would rather be teaching the written word more than anything else. She secretly writes poetry and keeps a journal of her dreams of far away places.
The younger sister of the young women above her. I love the glasses. Not quite as well dressed as her sister. Clothes do not matter as much to her as other things. She is passionate about Science and Math. She believes in things that she can prove - facts. She has a great insect collection.
This young woman wears two hats as the music teacher and art teacher. Young, beautiful out to save the world with beauty. Comes from a prominent family but, wants her life to be more than what her parents want for her - marriage.
At the end of a day, one of the most important gifts you can give your child - a story. Read to your babies it is something they will take with them for life.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Little Bird Shrine

Here is my little bird shrine. I bought this little piece of doll house furniture at a yard sale for 10 cents. It was a cupboard with a shelf in it. I removed the shelf with an exacto knife and needle nose pliers. The cupboard then became a shrine.

The cupboard was already painted this green. After removing the shelf I had to decide how I wanted to paint it because I didn't have any of the green paint. I decided to sand the whole thing and painted the back piece copper and highlight the rest of the cupboard with copper paint. That made things simple. Then it sat on my work table for months.

As the months went by I would add little things, the text in the back, an image or word. Then the eggs on the inside of the door. Then this week I decided to finish it. I was putting off something else and decided it was time to finish all the" put off things." So... here she is.
A close up of my nest. I have wanted to make one of these for ages. I have read all the articles in various magazines, gone on line for how to instructions and thought "why not?" Let me tell you it is harder than it looks. I had all the right supplies - 26 gauge wire - pliers, etc. It took several experiments to get this little nest.

I knew the nest had to be small. That presented a problem. Wrapping the wire around a bead didn't work for me. I ended up using my pinkie finger. I wanted the nest to be some what dis-sheveled with some twigs sticking out. I am not sure if I got that effect but, that was what I was trying for. Next came the eggs.

The eggs I made out of polymer clay. All the pearls I had were to big and did not look right. I needed something plainer than pearls. I made the eggs in all sizes rolling them in the palm of my hand. Do not Pearl ex them before you heat them. The colors are way too intense after heating.
I also turned the temperature down about twenty to twenty five degrees from what the manufacturer calls for. I also, cooked them at five minute intervals. The eggs were so small it does not take long to cook them up. Trust me on this - my first batch was a disaster.

One of the other sort of "accidents" that happened in the cooking process was some of the eggs turned creamy, some brownish, and some mottled. I used Luminere paints to paint some of them, others I left natural. The ones in my nest are one painted - the blue one - and the other two are the way they came out of the oven. I glued them into my nest with a blob of gel gloss medium.
The little shrine with the doors closed. You can see how narrow the shrine actually is with the doors closed. It gives you just a hint of what is inside. Like a present waiting to be opened.
These are the two sides to the little shrine. It was so small I did not want to add a whole lot to the sides. Less is more in this situation. A mantra I have to remember more often than not.

Although it sat on my desk calling to me, this was a fun project. Making the wire nest and clay eggs was fun and really not something I do regularly. I like to have little things that you can work on while other projects dry or you have hit an impasse with something else. Now I need another 'little something" on my work table.