Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sewing, Rusting and Brick Laying...

It's been a creative week so far with more in store.  I've been sewing, dying, rusting...and laying bricks.

For years I've daydreamed about putting a rock or brick pathway from our back door to the driveway. When it rains, it's a mud hole.  It's been on my ever growing "priority list of things to do later".  And later finally came!  It was not premeditated, I just started digging...

I spent a few hours digging the trench and setting the bricks, and of course they had to be set perfectly tight and level, as perfect as old bricks could perform!  My two construction assistants brought gravel and drove the dumpers and loaders back and forth across the piles to simulate serious work going on.  Then we "broke for lunch".

In contrast to bricklaying, this Alabama Chanin wrap project has jumped to the top of the project list as well.  (It's folded, only 1/4 of the thing shows here!)

It's 100% hand stitched, a technique she calls "random ruffle".  She being Natalie Chanin, an artistic hero of mine.  Her 100% organic, American handmade "Wal-mart antithesis" really speaks to me.  I've bought all her books, and dream of sewing my own wardrobe based on her patterns and then taking my old clothes to Savers!  (Back, to Savers...ha!)

This wrap was started a year ago.  I've a tendency to start many projects at once, leave them for dead, and return to them one at a time...slowly!  It seems that other projects always cut in line, like candle painting, birthday gifts, and toddler craft!

These are papers I rusted a while back that I was saving for "that perfect project".  I realized that it's silly to roost on some rusted paper because I can make more easily, they're not gold or rare antique pieces!  So I cut them in half.  Now they're sitting on my work table as I stare at them, turn them this way and that, and try to learn what they want to become.

There's a time to just jump into things, and there's a time to wait.  I'll move onto the next project until inspiration strikes!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Garden update...

If you've ever read "Home for a Bunny" you know that the story starts..."Spring, spring, spring!!"  Birds and flowers are bursting out, the frost is gone and here comes the rain.  Soon we'll be mowing grass and swatting at mosquitoes but before that time comes....there's gardening to be done.

I've started broccoli, which I've never grown before.  I've got enough cucumber plants to produce sour dills for the whole block!  I'm turning our yard into a yarden in hopes of producing more food than we can handle.  I like to share.  Also, the flavorless "import organics" have become seriously tiresome! 

Here are pots of mesclun lettuce that I'm trying to save from the squirrels.  They think they might have hidden their walnuts in them so they dig and dig!  Or it could be the pesky robins looking for worms.  You should see them gather on the fence when I turn the I'm filling up the buffet and they're waiting for me to leave so they can feast!

A little sprout that I'm most proud if this Cherokee purple tomato.  I saved the seeds by fermentation method, tried planting a few and they sprouted!  I'm still gaining faith in my gardening skills...for the longest time, I killed every plant I touched.

This cardinal nest came from our 5' tall pine tree...the bird placed it in full toddler reach.  First, an egg fell to curiosity...and in turn that scared the mama away from the other egg for good.  She did make creative use of all the trash that blows into our yard.  Our neighborhood produces high volumes of wandering trash from cigarettes and fast food. 

"Line ups" Bashi calls them.  They're waiting for a good mud puddle so excavation can begin again!  As I was taking this picture, one of the bulldozers started making noise.  When it rains on them they short circuit and make really creepy noises!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Peeps...nailed it...

Well?  I never really liked the actual Peeps to compare these to them would just be insulting to the bunnies.

I used a healthy marshmallow recipe here at Urban Poser...Homemade Marshmallows.

These melt like a dream over hot chocolate and I plan to roast them on top of sweet potatoes too.

The pink color comes from beet powder and tapioca starch.  Yes, they taste like beet-mallow, but I'm fond of that flavor.  The eyes are Enjoy Life mini-chips adhered with drops of honey.  It's the new normal, folks!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

One more day...

Yesterday my husband said something bewildering to's what he said. 
"The days are just waiting periods between coffees".  This is a man truly converted...for he used to sniff my lattes, give them a small sip and then make "the yukky face"!

An equally amazing thing is that tomorrow is Easter.  And now I must go, for the day before Easter I do what I call "penitential baking"...I bake and cook and don't let myself eat any of it!  

This year my quest is...PEEPS.  I will make those foamy Easter candies healthy so my kids can experience the wonder that is the Peep!

One more day...(we played with the panoramic feature on the camera for this one...)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Fleur de lis...

I'm finished.  I think!  I've finished the candle as I'd hoped but now it sits there beckoning me to look and make certain I'm happy with it all.  Maybe it needs a little something...

Friday, March 27, 2015

Art, art, everywhere...

Before I get to the visuals of what I've been up to the past few days, let me just mention that now is not a good time for little Boog to learn to crawl!  He's into everything...eating any bit he finds on the floor, tearing things apart, pulling boxes of supplies over.  And when you say his name, he looks at you so innocently then smiles...what a scamp!!  Time for the baby jail to come down from the attic!

The candle is also crawling along.  I'm feeling more relaxed and confident that it will be done on time, maybe early?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the studio, rusted fabric, tea bags, and thread waxed with beeswax await my attention.  

A book of rusted prints also waits for me to stitch it together...I've punched it for 5 signatures...I'm mapping my stitching plan for an uneven numbered spine.  Something unconventional most likely...

And in between these two projects is...toddlers!  Little creative souls who want to paint candles too...

And try out blow pens!  They didn't get the memo about blowing only air...not spittle, through the pen, yuk.  Good times...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Candle update...

Here's how far I got in 24 hours...I was up early painting before everyone else got out of bed.  
I've changed the shade of blue 3 times now, and the final color, cerulean blue deep, is a thinner paint and takes 3 coats to cover.  And naturally, my printer is out of ink so I can't print off the lamb image I need to look at for color reference, so I'll be pulling it up on the iPad.  Usually, I dab paint on the image to check my color matching...I'm not sure that will be appreciated on the screen of the iPad?!

Time to get busy...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What have I done...?

It's that time of year again...Paschal candle painting time.  With exactly two weeks left until Easter, the "tension" I require to crank out serious art work has full force!  

This year, I decided the candle needed lots and lots of ornate detail.  What have I done?!!  I just finished cutting in 1 of 4 very intricate designs (thankfully it's the SAME design repeated) and I'm sitting here resting my eyes and stretching my neck...watching out the window as the college boys next door rake their yard and fire up the grill...

I haven't even started painting...sshhh, don't tell Father!!  

Best get back to it...this candle isn't going to paint itself!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Funny kids...and latest art...

Kids are funny.  And maybe every mom feels the same way, but mine are very funny.

Lately, I've been feeling like my main purpose in life is to load and unload the dishwasher.  It wasn't so long ago that I didn't HAVE a dishwasher, so I'm grateful to have one...and I'd get my kids to do it but I'm quite particular about where things go!

The comic relief for the dishwasher-loading drudgery is out there just waiting for me to listen.  In between loads I listen closely to strange and amazing conversations, and what a loss to not write them all down!  But I thought I'd share a few good ones I've enjoyed lately.  (It also reminds me to not take every word they say to heart, because often they're just playing with their words!)

During prayers a few nights back, Miso says..."Thank you Jesus for all the blooming opossums".
(I'm not even sure where that came from, sounds like a cut and paste idea from a few books we'd read...and it's hard to stifle laughter during prayers!)

And this was an honest one, Bashi was under the table and I see him crouched down pointing into a bright beam of sunlight, and he just says..."Mommy look! Dust...."  (Yes, thanks for reminding me.)

Earlier he'd really packed away some dinner and as he sat holding his belly he said, "Mom...I ate too many rice..." (I know what it's like...)

But the funniest one lately was just yesterday while driving to Trader Joe's, darling daughter began a verbal salad bar of strangeness, she started with...."Texas is a stinky place, I haven't smelled it but I smelled the juice that was there." (Juice?  What?!!)  When I started laughing, she told me that I should NOT laugh at her because it might hurt her feelings.  Then I asked more about Texas, and she said that Texas and also Oklahoma, both stink, and something about alcohol ...and then she said, "But I'm not telling you about Texas!"  (I apologize to everyone from Texas and Oklahoma and I assure you that her sentiments did not come from me.  I can think of many other states that DO stink, but I will not point them out here!)

Ah, never a dull moment.  Actually...some dull moments would be kinda nice now and then, but I'm sure I'd find some way to spice them up.  I like to fill blank spots with creativity...

Recently in the studio, I've been working with rusted fabric, jump rings and stitches to make some new jewelry.

This necklace combines rust with the ruster...tough with delicate.

I've also been toying with leather...a new medium for me.  I made leather "coozies" for ball jars as a St. Valentine's day gift to protect the hands from hot bulletproof coffee.  Unbeknownst to me, my darling bought a 5 lb bag of Bulletproof coffee at the same time...a perfect match.

I've been "juicing up" some old National Geographics with Citrasolv cleaner.   That's all I've ever used it for in the past, and I've learned that it's actually a great...cleaner!  It removes labels from glass jars, wipes out grease on the stove, and smells like a fresh peeled orange.  Anyway, dousing NG's with Citrasolv is such a pleasing activity because you never know what kind of lovely ink pattern you'll get.  I've started sewing the pages together and making them into books...why?  I don't know! 

And lastly, I've got a little "family art" going on.  This is just a slice...when I get it finished, I'll post more pics.

Au revoir!