Thursday, December 31, 2009

Some New Year Freebies

For all my Zetti and Art friends a little Zetti for you!

Hoping you all are able to see the world with the joy and wonder that a child does.

Wishing you the warmth and love of family and friends this New Year!

Wishing you many things to toast and rejoice about in the New Year!

And may your New Year be filled with flowers and beauty. I wish that everyone of you find joy and happiness in even the most simplest of things. Thank you so much for sharing this past year with me. I wish you all joy, happiness and good health!

Blue Moon

Tonight while you are out and about take a few minutes to look up in the sky. It is a blue moon night. Actually, the moon is only blue after volcanic eruptions or large forest fires. The ash refracts with the light and gives the moon a blue hue.

The blue moon tonight is a "once in a blue moon" event. Every couple of years we will have a month with two full moons in it. Hence the expression "once in a blue moon." So, tonight we will have the second full moon in December.

This full blue moon I am taking as a sign. Because it is happening on New Year's eve maybe it is a sign that the next year will be full of good things, surprises, and new things for us all. That is what I think and I am going into this new year, this new decade with only positive thoughts.


The holidays are almost over. Four of my five boys were here with their various wives and girlfriends, and puppy dogs. Some for a few days, some longer. It was so nice to see them together. They are growing into such fine men. Each so different yet the core is so alike.

We ate and drank a lot, every year we pick a country and try their wines and beer, I try to make some of their foods, it is like a little trip yet with the comforts of home. We talked a lot, looked through old picture albums and laughed more than I think I have ever. I even got them all to pick up some oil pastels and do self portraits and portraits of each other. We spent a lot of time around various tables - kitchen, dining, and coffee - sharing moments. As the last one left yesterday I realized how much I have to be thankful for. We all missed the one who was not here. Although we did have an extended phone conversation with him, we felt his absence. He is where he wants to be and is happy, what more can you ask for?

All in all it was a great holiday. It was relaxed and full of the people I love. That was the greatest gift I could ever receive. I did slip in a little art early in the mornings before everyone was up. Lots and lots of journal pages for my online class. I will share them soon.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to All

I wish you all a Merry Christmas! For those who do not celebrate Christmas I wish you a season full of love and warmth. I will be with family the next few days as I hope all of you are also. To all I wish Peace on Earth.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Some Time to Myself

I had such a list in my head of "to do's" that I gave up on sleep. I decided it might be one of the last times for a few days that I have time to myself. A walk to clear my head, get me focused and none of the stores are open anyway so off to watch the sun rise.

One of my favorite places to walk is what in the neighborhood they call the Lake. It is home to my beloved swans/whom I woke up this morning/ and several other migratory birds. It is also a small barrier between the Intercoastal Waterway. I love to walk on the small strip of land that separates the two. It is a reminder of how fragile things are. The twisted trees from the many storms, yet all of the life that depends on this water.

As I started my walk around the Lake I kept feeling like I was being watched. Finally I decided to sit down on one of the benches and take a look at my surroundings closely. I looked up into the trees and I was being watched. By these two vultures! My goodness they were huge. This was the first time I had seen anything like that around here. The circle of life.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tea or Coffee Dying Fabric and Trims

I thought you might like a little recipe on dying fabrics and trims. Cotton fabrics and trims - lace - tend to take the dye better that fabric or trim that has polyester in it. I think the polyester keeps the fabric from being able to absorb the dye.

First I rinse the fabric and lace out in a bowl in my sink. I add a small drop of dish soap to about a half bowl of water. Swish the fabric and trim around. Pushing the fabric into the water to make sure it gets wet. Then I rinse it out with cold water. Try to remove as much water from the fabric as you can at this point. This removes the sizing from the fabric and allows it to absorb the dye in the tea or coffee.

Second get out your largest pot, I use my spaghetti noodle pot, and fill at least 1/2 to 2/3's full with water. Now get out your cheapest tea. One of my friends recommended Big Lots for tea so I bought a huge thing of Lipton's there. You are going to need between 12 and 15 bags of tea.
Add this to your water and start to heat it up.

Different tea will make up different colors. Tea with raspberries or fruit will be a little on the piker side. Chamomile is a deep rich reddish brown. There are yellow tea and black teas give off a walnut color. The stronger you brew your tea the stronger the color is going to be.

Coffee is also something that you can use. It is easy to brew and makes lovely dyed fabric.

If I use coffee I prefer one of the French Vanilla kinds. I love this Folgers brand. The coffee comes in these pods and make throwing in the pot very easy. I usually use two or three of these to a pan. The fabric smells so yummy. I think it is the vanilla.

So your pot of tea or coffee is heating up. I let mine actually boil. Then add your fabric and turn the heat off and move pot off the burner. I use a wood spoon to mash the fabric and lace around till everything is wet and or submerged in the liquid. I let it sit for three to five hours, sometimes overnight. Where the tea bags or coffee pods are the fabric will be darker. It gives a nice effect.

The last thing to do is remove the fabric and trims from the pot. Squeeze out all the excess liquid. I then throw the fabric in the dryer. Once dry, iron and use. Now if you are worried about your dryer, take a dishtowel you don't care about, wet, ring out and throw in dryer. This will clean dryer if it is dirty. Then wash towel.

You can use the liquid for several batches - two to three days. Anything after that is a little iffy. Just reheat and use. Sometimes I will throw in a fresh tea bag. I use tea bags and the coffee pods because it is so much cleaner. Loose tea or coffee is a pain to clean up and get off your fabric. I am into the no muss.

Journal Covers and such....

All six covers together.

Upholstery scraps, 5 by 5.

Heavily tea dyed fabric, 6 by 6.

A little bit of everything, 6 by 6.

Tea dyed ribbon and fabric, love the red with the black and white, 6 by 9.

Tea dyed fabric and lace. Tried to used up a lot of scraps, 6 by 6.

Lots of dark scraps, upholstery fabric, etc. Ribbon ties, 5 by 5.

I spent most of last weekend dying fabric, sorting fabric, going through ribbons, lace and buttons. I am taking my first online class from Mary Ann Moss. Hop over to her blog and check it out. We are making this great journal. I - being the over achiever that I am - decided to make several journal cover and then of course journals. I figure I go through them at an alarming rate anyway, I might as well make my own.

These six are my first covers. They are so fun to make. Just about anything goes. I like the small intimate ones, yet I can see that the 6 by 9 size will be the one I work on first. Just a lot more space to make intricate pages with. I will share these as they evolve. Hope you are all working on something fun.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter has Arrived!

Thought I would share a couple of my favorite images of Winter while we were on the subject. Alphonse Mucha had such a wonderful way of portraying the season. His Ice Princesses are my favorites. He really understood the beauty of a water crystal. I hope everyone is staying warm in my part of the world. If you are in one of those Nations where it is summer - this is in your future.

My very favorite Ice Princess.

Her name is Winter.

Take some time to enjoy a little Hot Chocolate. This is the best part of trudging around in bad weather. Don't forget the marshmellows.

Winter Solstice - Shortest Day /Longest Night

I looked up today and realized it is getting dark and the clock said 4:00p.m. Then I realized it is the Winter Solstice today - the day when the earth's axial tilts the farthest away from the sun. A day where we have the shortest day of sunlight and the longest night. The day we officially welcome winter. To me it means the days will finally start to get longer and warmer.

Today is also a day of celebration for many cultures all over the world. In China they will be eating a lot of eggs to show their unity towards mother earth. In other places they will be celebrating the earth mother or winter goddess Helda or Holga. The Aztecs did a little sacrifice to the sun Gods and set their yearly calendar today. Today I will light a candle, create something and enjoy the cold.

In some circles of the world there was Raimi the Festival of the Sun. Now that sounds fun till you get to the sacrifice part. Why was it always young girls? I believe this was an Aztec thing.

Odin out slaying the Frost King. He is pretty gruesome isn't he?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Freebies - Holiday Postcards

She makes a perfect angel!

I love the deep purple this angel is wearing.

She has quite the load of gifts!

I bet we know what she is dreaming about...

She is so pretty, everything about her says holiday!

Here are a few postcards for you to use. I have always found these to be so enchanting. Hope you enjoy them.

Crazy Week - Catch up

It has been a really crazy week trying to get everything ready for the holidays. Lunch with girlfriends, finishing up the yard and house. Shopping for those last minute things that make the holidays so much fun. Planning the menus and trying to coordinate when everyone is arriving and where they will sleep. Unfortunately, I have not been blogging all that much. Then I realized that all of you were probably doing the same thing I am doing and have no time for blogging either. It will feel so good to sit down and breathe again. Hopefully I won't forget anything or anybody....

Four Letter Words - Noel

Oatmeal Refrigerator Cookies

These are the perfect oatmeal Cookie. You can make them up and store the dough in the refrigerator. When company or family arrive just slice and put in the oven. They are very quick and very yummy!

Oatmeal Refrigerator Cookies

1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar firmly packed
2 eggs well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick cooking rolled oats

Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda.
Cream the butter/shortening, add the sugars gradually, beat until light, add the eggs and vanilla.
Combine the sifted dry ingredients and the creamed mixture. Blend thoroughly. Add oats.
Shape dough into rolls 2 inches thick. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or wax paper and chill thoroughly.
Cut into 1/8 inch slices, bakes 1 1/2 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet in 400 degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove, cool on racks. Makes 6 dozen cookies.

The dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Stored in refrigerator for three days. You can freeze dough up to nine months in the freezer.

The Three Muses - Mail Art

The Three Muses Challenge this week is Mail Art. They always pick such fitting themes. I found in my files this darling letter from Cora to her cousin Mabel about her hopes that Santa will come and visit her. I teamed that with the postage background and a vintage photo of a mailman and I was all set.

Postage Background for You

Here is a little postage stamp background for you. Everybody is thinking mail with the holidays. I actually got out most of my Holiday cards mailed before the holidays this year. I only had to stand in line for 20 minutes to buy stamps. Everyone was so full of cheer this year.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Freebies - Christmas Cheer

Today I thought I would share one of my favorite postcard artist - Ellen Hattie Clapsaddle. Her images are so sweet and tender. They always make me happy. She could always capture the moment with her paintings. I hope you will enjoy them. Please click on them to truly get there full effect.

I love her fur collar and hat trimmed with evergreens.

This makes me start to sing "Silver Bells".

There is something about a tree that brings such delight.

Is she not just the cutest thing?

Look at her all fancied up with the sprigs of holly.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Art Creations Friday - Looking Toward the New Year

This week for the Art Creations Friday challenge we were given this beautiful Mediterranean woman image from Art Freebies. She reminds me of a fortune teller. I just sort of went from there. Wouldn't it be nice to know your fortune for the New Year? I guess that is part of the promise of the New Year. It can be anything you want to make it.

Some Art Journal Pages

I thought I would share a few more journal pages that I have been working on this week. I am two pages short of being finished in this journal. I am using the small Moleskin Sketchbook with the lilac wrapper. I had to go ahead and do surgery on the thing so that I could close it and the pages would lie somewhat flat. This is the second one in as many months that I have had to do this with. I am trying to get it all finished up so that I can start a new journal.

The next journal will be done in my first online class that I am taking with Mary Ann Moss. A sort of early present to myself. I am so excited. It is called The Remains of the Day. Is that not the most thought provoking name for a journal class?

This is my version of Teesha Moore's journal style. After watching her intriguing videos on U Tube I decided to give it a go. The only thing I could think of journaling about was my incredible new coat I bought. I used some of Nancy's borders from Crowabout. Her digital sheets are so cool.

As the year is winding down I have been doing alot of thinking about what I want to accomplish next year. Setting the goals. The turtle is my reminder that things do not happen overnight. That it is a slow and steady process. The bird is my totem. The thing that reminds me of the track I need to be on, the validates me. Most importantly believe in my muse and she will not fail me.

There are days when you pick up the paper, see something on TV or hear from a friend that make me feel like the world has gone mad. This is my page on that.

This page was created from a lovely piece of mail art that I received from Dianne Adams in Tennessee. Of course she used my favorite shade of blue so I saved it for just the right thing.

Everyonce in a while we have to remember to be silly, laugh, explore. I plan on doing a lot more of that in the new year.

The Soul Journal group has all sorts of daily prompts from Sarah Whitmire. One of them was to write the lyrics of a song you are listening to. I was listening to the Carpenters and You Have Only Just Begun came on. How appropriate as Sarah is getting married this month. These are my brides. Have a Happy Life Sarah!