Monthly Archives: May 2014

This that and the other thing; is actually what I have been up to lately. Lots of little projects are kind of nice sometimes. You get to make great progress and feel good about things. I’m going to run through the little things that I’ve been up to.

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So I have this sisal rug that was on the back porch last summer. This spring when I got it out it was stained and not looking so good. I tried washing it with and cleaner that had bleach in it and when it dried it did look slightly better but still not great. I decided at that point that I was going to try and dye it. It’s a natural fiber I have dye and vinegar in the pantry, why not. A lot of my projects start out like this. First you need to have the frame of mind that it doesn’t matter what happens in the end you can either fix it or it’s better than it looks right now so it’s worth a shot. I dragged the rug out into the yard, threw hot water on it with vinegar, got out some powder dye from Dharma that I had used a couple of summers ago to dye leggings and sprinkled the dye over the rug. I liked how the dye spread like water color when you use wet on wet technique. I used dark colors because, that’s what I had and it needed to be dark to cover the stains. Then I walked off and let it sit in the sun. Later on I came back threw it over the fence and rinsed it out and waited for it to dry. Of course it proceeded to rain for two days so I just got it back on the porch floor today. I actually like how it looks so win, win.

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Next I hung up our camping flags on the ceiling of the porch and got the furniture set up in our summer arrangement. I want to get an umbrella for the table but that will have to wait. The flags make the porch so festive and I love it. I’m thinking of putting up some twinkle lights too and then we will be ready for a party.

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001I finished a book a friend recommended, “The Goldfinch”. I’m still thinking about it so I can’t give a recommendation yet. I have a reading problem, once I get into a book I have a hard time putting it down. I become so wrapped up in the story that I become obsessed with finishing the book. It took me the first 145 pages to really get into the book and there were a couple of points when I got so frustrated with the main character that I wanted to smack him but I was happy with the ending. I don’t think I would put it in my top ten but it gave me something to think about.

4-6 felt for etsy 037I finished felting some purses, which have already been posted but I do want to show what I did with this bag. When I finished I felt it was too plain so I added some needle felting to the front. I'm much happier with it now. etsy photos purses 002I did pick up some fabric that I’m going to do some experimenting with. I’ve never used anything with this type of embellishment but I’m curious to see what happens. I’ve seen some very cool work by Dawn Edwards using sequined fabric and it adds a great texture and bling to the work.

I got a package in the mail from a friend in California that got on board with my goal of saving avocado pits and skins. small projects 003She sent me a little care package with little baby avocados in it and some pepper berries. Thanks Kara!! The babies are so cute but I don’t think they are an option since I would need a ton to get enough to 002use for dye. The bigger ones are going to have to be my option. Next step is feeling crazy enough one of these days to go and talk to one of the Mexican restaurants in town to see if I can get some from them or just be patient and wait as I collect what I need.

 

Started working on the garage. My goal is to make this my studio. We’ve been in our house for many years and I’ve used just about every room for my projects except maybe our bedroom. For a variety of reasons these spaces just haven’t worked for me. Well they work but aren’t great in the long run. I get tired of the dining room being full of roving and all the felting accoutrements. I’ve also used the living room but same thing. I don’t like the basement it doesn’t have enough light and the space is hard to work in. Morgan’s room is hasn’t been an option since she was born. 003

So the next step is the garage. We tend not to park in the garage because it’s usually full of crap, which means I just need to get rid of the crap. John is on board with this option because it means that all my supplies will have a home out of the basement and he can finally claim that area as his man cave. I will love having a place that I don’t have to put things away when I’m working but the mess won’t interfere with the rest of life.

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On top of this I’ve also been spending time in the yard with the dogs, which probably goes without saying. Finally got the part I hate cleaning cleaned, yeah, but still have some other areas to finish up along with cleaning out the pond. That’s the update for now; need to see what’s next on the list so I can get busy.

Peace

 

 

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My list of to-dos is being ignored while I enjoy just sitting outside with the cool breeze and the bird song. Libby has found a place to lie in the dirt that is to her liking for now and Luna can’t quite figure out what she wants to do, half heartedly sniffing at this or that but mostly just standing around daydreaming. Well that’s what it looks like she’s doing. Lol Morgan was up all night working on art so she is finally sleeping.

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I also hear the trains in the distance blowing their horns. I have specific memories tied to the sound. Reading late at night in a big bed with crisp sheets at my grandparents house; up in the middle of the night nursing my new baby girl and now sitting on my patio enjoying the comfort of home. My refuge from the outside world, at home I’m strong and whole. I’ve always enjoyed working in the yard and being outside, but now it brings even more comfort. The last few days have been nice and warm so everything is finally popping. The trees have leaves and the hostas are coming up too so I needed to really get out front and get those perennial beds cleaned up.

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I’m a tree person and love the maples in my yard, but I hate the helicopters that fall from the trees. I don’t know if it’s the large amount that fall or what but every spring we have lots and lots of little saplings. If I don’t get them pulled well or miss one they get harder to pull. Sometimes they hide in my bushes and I end up having quite a little tree to pull. One bed in particular is the worst one to clean because of what is planted in that bed. It takes me forever. Yuck!

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The dogs love to follow me around and keep me company. Libby stays right around and follows me from bed to bed. Luna, however, is a stinker and wants to visit other yards. I let her come out for awhile, but when she starts to wander she gets banished to the backyard. She runs back and forth between the two gates and the windows objecting to her confinement so I prefer to work in the backyard.

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I also like the privacy of the backyard. I recently picked up a new magazine from Stampington & Company called Willow and Sage. The first article captured my imagination. The women in the article, has a bed and breakfast that has tent units and the units have their own cast iron tub. They are filled up with a hose and heated with some unit that she has placed under the tub. O…M…G I want one. I have the perfect place behind my garage this is very private; add some canvas curtains and perfect place to bath after working in the garden. I know it sounds crazy but I think it would be so cool. Yeah I’m a nut. So now I need to find a claw foot tub. lol

Peace

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As I've said before, at least I think I have, I like trying new things. I have dabbled in jewelry making in the past and mostly made things for myself. What I would like to do is make some jewelry that includes felt to add to my etsy shop. I love felt in all of its forms except maybe the synthetic stuff but even that has its uses. My friend Jan, a fellow art teacher, offered me the opportunity to take a class with her at a jewelry makers house over Christmas break. I jumped at the chance and we had a wonderful time trying our hand at soldering and I made three charms. jewelry 001The class was great fun and the jewelry artist Tracy volunteered to come to our classes and help our students do the same thing. Unfortunately before she had the opportunity to do that with my kids I had my breakdown and she was unable to come, especially since I’m still out and subs in the art room don’t typically do art at any great level.

I’m a great believer that creating helps healing so I have been doing just that, making things. I wanted to go back and tap Tracy’s knowledge some more. I told her I wanted to create jewelry that incorporated metal and felt together. I have had lots of ideas bouncing around in my head and wanted to bring some into creation, or at the least start myself on the path to figuring this out. Since she was busy doing some fun things with Jan’s students I had to wait for an opening but the wait proved not too difficult since it included the time I spent in Texas. We set up an 11-4 class last Thursday in her home studio. I took some felted balls, a matchbox I had covered the inside of and some little stones, shells and small blue seed beads.

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Tracy is very creative and I love her work. She sells her things at art shows and on line at etsy under her name and has a blog. Check out her things, you won’t be disappointed. She also will give classes in her home if you are in the Battle Creek area. Tracy was very open to helping and is great about sharing her knowledge. We talked over what I wanted to learn and what my objectives were and made a plan for how we would spend the class. The photo at the left is some of Tracy's work.

First she taught me a hot metal technique that I used to create these beautiful flat shapes. I think that I’m going to use these in a necklace but no guarantees you’ll have to wait and see. jewelry making 018Tracy had me start with this technique first because I was going to need this knowledge to help me with my matchbox idea. I also needed to get warmed up using the tools again since it had been a few months since I had learned to solder.

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Next I learned how to make a chain and a closure. We went step by step through the process. Tracy would show me and then turn me loose to make the rest. I learn best by doing so this worked great for me. Besides I like to get my hands dirty.  
 We also discussed many ways of attaching some of the felt items I had brought to the necklace. It’s very fun to brainstorm with other creative people. I have one felt piece attached here but plan on adding more.

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jewelry making 019Finally we moved on to the matchbox project. We cut class for the top and proceeded to cover the box with copper tape. Then with solder. Similar to the first technique I learned. I used different materials to add texture to the metal while it was molten. This took some practice and I struggled a little when I first started but I kept at it and was thrilled with the results. I attached jump rings to the top of the box and it is ready to hang from a chain. I already have many more ideas about how I can incorporated felt in the inside of the box and am looking forward to starting. Of course I need to jewelry making 021round up some of the tools before I can start. The great thing is that many tools can be found at the hardware store, Sears, Lowes and local art stores like Michaels. I’ve already begun to get things together. Look for some felt/metal jewelry to come in the future.

Since I can’t do that just now I’m going to dive into felting another purse. I’ve also tried some new techniques with this and am anxious to see how they turn out.

Peace