Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I just wanted to take a moment to wish all of my fellow Americans a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Even in these hard times, when it doesn't seem that there's a lot to be thankful for, we can always find something.  I can't express how grateful I am that I have the wonderful loving family I have in my Mom & Grandma.  I'm excited to see them & spend time with them & cook up something.  As usual, we're not having the typical "turkey" Thanksgiving but something yummy nonetheless.  I plan on taking lots of pics & sharing them with you.  I hope you all have a great time doing whatever it is that you choose to do.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Day in the Life

It's another beautiful day in the Ole North State & I'm here in front of my computer...well, why break traditions. We've had a little rain this week which has caused a blizzard of colors to drop from the trees.  My truck was covered so I decided to take him out & let the wind brush the adornments from his face.  My first stop was to see Tyrone for a quick holiday cut & for him to cover the natural "highlights" in my hair that keep popping up with more frequency as the years (maybe weeks) go by.  Ty gives me great cuts & color (for a fraction of what I'd been paying) & who doesn't like to be called Princess & kissed on the head when they leave??  I'll take it.  

Then I ventured over to Whole Foods for a few bulk items, then to the yarn shop to get the skein of yard that I bought last week rolled into a ball.  It's so much easier to have them do it than to try to make Dakota hold out her little paws while I do it.  

Then off I go to look at things I can't buy, but like to hold.  Why is it that when I don't have money I see sooo many things that I want, but when I do have a little extra, I can't find anything?

I stopped by a local establishment to see a few friends & to do a little art.  I love this place because I can go in with paper, pencils or yarn & knitting needles & do whatever I like to do.  Drink juice or water...or maybe something a little more recreational, & catch up with the news.  I chatted with friends & ended up with a couple more commissions for jewelry for Christmas.

I came home & noticed a big pile of limbs & branches in my yard.  Aaawww, Earl had been here while I was gallivanting & had cut down the 3 trees in the front & had filled up my yard bin.  I knew he was going to come by & do it, but wanted to be here to help him.  He did  great job & I think I'm going to have to throw in something a little extra in exchange for his help along with the necklace...I wonder if his wife wears earrings?

I worked on the last assignment for the online art course I'm taking here then realized that I had accomplished more than I had planned except for the most important.  I'd forgotten to get my little sweetie more food.  Poor, little, neglected puppy.  

(BTW, she's laying on a flannel sheet, a wool blanket & her down duvet, yes, it's her down duvet.)

Well, I did have enough food for a couple more days, but must run out to get more today.  I don't want her calling anyone & telling on me.

Here's my little angel painting.  

Still practicing, still have a long ways to go.

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Messenger Bag & Project Love

I don't know how many of you are aware of the wonderful community that exists on Youtube.  I thought Youtube was full of tutorials & the funny things that someone's dog did at the latest family reunion until I stumbled upon this certain group of vloggers.  They have an annual party (called South Tube) where they gather, chat, eat, dance & just basically enjoy looking at each other in person instead of through a computer monitor.  It seems like a family reunion.  Aaaanyway.  I "met" this great person named Beth.  I've mentioned her before but it was a while ago, but felt like it was time to do it again.  

A few weeks ago I received a package.  I opened the package only to see the coolest most awesome messenger bag ever!!!  I'd been wanting one to carry around my plethora of various notebooks, sketch books, cabochons..whatever, because I'd been walking to nearby places instead of driving.  I carried my cabochons, my sketchbook (in case I get a brilliant idea for a new piece)& all of the other goodies that I like in my purse, which wrecked havoc on some of my purses.  I had drawn out a quick pattern for a messenger bag using old jean, but then I got this from Beth:

It's really lovely!!  It's soft & huuuge!!!!  Here's what in my messenger bag right now.

That's my 11x14 drawing pad, watercolor crayons, watercolor pencils, pencil case & that's my art journal peeking from behind my crayons.  It's only a composition book so I haven't really changed the cover other than adding some kraft paper to the front.  I really like the size, so I'll use the cover of one for my next journal, but something more substantial for the pages.  Notebook paper really doesn't like a lot of paint & water.

I love, love, love, my messenger bag & am sorry I didn't show y'all how wonderfully she lined the inside with nice little pockets on the side.  It's so well made & Beth's finish work on her pieces are very professional & sturdy.  

I mentioned the Youtube community earlier & wanted to take a moment to tell you about Project Love.  It's something that was started in this little YT community to help others who were having a hard time.  Sometimes the funds go to help someone who couldn't pay their power bull one month sometine it's to havelp a family have a holiday dinner.  Earlier this year they arranged an online bingo game with the proceeds going towards getting someone a wheelchair lift for their van.  There was also a little "drive" to help some get schools clothes & supplies for their little ones.  The holidays are coming up & there are some who have had a hard year, through layoffs or illnesses that may not be able to sit down & have a nice holiday dinner or buy a few pressies for the kids.  

Here's a way that you can help someone while picking up a few handmade presents for yourself or for someone else.  Beth sews the cutest makeup bags, camera bags, stockings, bucket totes, aprons...just about anything you can imagine & sells them on her weebly site for very affordable prices. have to go take a look.  She has several sections, so you must check them all out & you can even pick out the fabric that you like from the looong list of fabrics that she has.  There must be well over 50 fabric choices.  I'm not saying that that she has a "fabric" problem...I'm just saying.  

coffee cozy

fleece hat & Beth's purdy face

I could go on & on about how some of her fabrics are made from Hawaiian fabric (sorry Beth, I don't remember what you call them), or that you may get a bag that's been lined with Japanese kimono fabric (if she still has it), but you should just go check her out.  

travel set

camera bag

She has a separate section for her Project Love items, but be sure to look at all of the purdies she's made.  I know you know someone who would loooooove some of her handmade things & if you're nice, maybe Beth will run through her yard with your items, gathering all of the the nice warm Hawaiian air she can before she seals them in the box.

makeup brush roll (fabric is no longer available :(

Thanks again, Beth!!!

Beth's Weebly site for the goodies
Beth's Youtube channel where she sometimes takes up for a ride along while she meanders around Hawaii.

I'm headed over there now to start my Christmas list.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Another Friday

Friday has rolled back around, very quickly, it seems.  I don't have any special plans, just working around the house & continuing my battle to gain control of my yard.  It's been a pretty uneventful week, but that can be a good thing.  Excitement isn't always positive, sometimes bland & boring is a good thing.  I'm still struggling with the time change, but I think most everyone is.  How can one hour be so disruptive??  I guess we're more of a creature of habit than we realize.  

Last weekend I went to visit with a friend of mine.  He lives in the same town & we do see each other quite often, but it's been a long time since we've something as "everyday" as grocery shopping.  I stopped by his house on Sunday & went to the grocery store with him.  He's a total man in the grocery store so it was go in, get what's on the list & get out.  I think I actually went over to visit with his cute little doggies & hang out at his house for a bit.  Do you blame me?

This is his garden shed.  I think it's almost as big as my house, or maybe I should say that my house is just a little larger than his garden shed.

Here's his front yard.  As you can see, he doesn't spend a lot of time behind a lawn mower.  That great sculpture was made by his step son.  I'll have to get a better photo of that one & some of the other artwork he's created.

That's his house at the very back.  It's kinda hard to see from this pic, but it's embedded into Duke Forrest & just about a mile from Duke University.

I told you I would post a pic of the Christmas cards that I had made so far, so here they are. 

I had fun making them with bits & pieces of things I had around the house.  I'm no card maker, but I enjoyed making these.  It's good to have something that you can knock out when you're feeling creative, but don't have the patience for a 2-3 hour project.

This is one of my favorites......I don't know why.  It's not the typical Christmas colors, but I think it's the pine cone border at the bottom.

Well, that's all for now.  I hope you all have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hump Day

I haven't really created anything new in the jewelry department in a while & I thought that it was because my muse had run away (again). Well, he/she has been wrecking havoc on the silver market. I really haven't kept up with the spot price of silver, but decided that I needed to send in some of my scraps & order a little more silver wire & silver sheet. I go strolling (not literally, I just like to use an active action verb to describe me sitting on my booty & looking at the computer) over to one of my favorite silver suppliers. Holy what????? Wow!! $28.00 an ounce for silver?? That's just the spot price, I still have to pay for the fabrication which takes it to about $32.00 an ounce. I was going to order a small sheet of silver & it would cost about $115 for that one little sheet. I remember ordering the same size sheet maybe a year ago & it cost me about $40 for the sheet. I don't see the price of silver going down any time soon, so I'm going to hold onto my scraps for a little longer before sending them in. It wasn't that terribly long ago that silver was down to $8.50 an ounce...maybe 2 years ago. Did I stock up?? Noooooooo, because that's not what I do. That would require forethought & planning, something I've never been accused of abusing. I hope it doesn't get to $50 an ounce like some are predicting, but it keeps on marching upwards.

Not much happening around here. I've been doing a little more yard work & have managed to fill up my yard waste bin every week for the past 3 weeks. As the weeks go by, I'm slowly exposing my house & I think now people can actually tell that there's a house behind the nandina, azaleas, squirrel landscaped trees. Hopefully I'll get 2-3 more trees taken down this week because a friend of mine is going to bring over his bow saw to help. He told me not to try it with my little miter saw....I think he's afraid I'm going to hurt myself, then he'd feel all bad & everything. I don't mind, I managed to get him to accept a gift of jewelry for his wife in exchange. I think he wants me to do a teddy bear necklace for her, so I've been working on a little design. I don't want the standard teddy bear silhouette, but want to keep it somewhere between traditional & style. What good is making a teddy bear if I can't take a torch to it?

A dear friend of mine took me to dinner last night. It was a local seafood place & they have $5 appetizers on Tuesday nights. I had the mussels & the beef carpaccio. The mussels were really nice in a chile & lime broth....perfect for bread dipping. The mussels were cooked nicely as well. I was very disappointed in the beef carpaccio, especially after the accolades I'd read in various reviews. It was very, very bland & seemed to be missing the acidic element that was necessary for seasoning & balance. It looked to just be a little pile of lettuces, parm cheese and a couple of onion ringlets placed onto the beef with an herb olive oil drizzled around the plate. It desperately needed the balsamic glaze as was mentioned on the menu. Maybe it did have the glaze & my palate is not delicate enough to pick it out, but it tasted like lettuce, onion & raw beef with herbed olive oil. I had eaten there before & was pleased, but this one just fell short for me. Although not on the $5 menu, the next time I'll order the mac & cheese with crabmeat. I think that would make my tummy happy.

I'm still enjoying my art therapy class. This week wasn't as hard as the previous ones & I get to make a fun stuffed monster. I have't even started on my monstah, but I've been working with paint, gesso & glue; you know, the fun stuff. I'll post a pic of my monstah after I create him & name him. I did say I was going to post a pic of the Christmas cards that I'd made, but I forgot, so I'll have to do it later.

I think that's all for now. Sorry I don't have any pictures, but I'm going to charge up the battery & start clicking. I'm headed down to meet a few friends of mine, one of which is an artist. I'll try to get photos of a couple of his pieces & post them.

I'll try to have pictures the next time around.
Play purdy!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Friday!!

Fall has descended upon The City of Medicine, aka The Bull City, aka Durham. We've had a couple of dreary, rainy days this past week, but it did warm the air a bit & seemed to refresh everything. We're having a sunny Friday with temps in the upper 50's but it's supposed to be cooooold tonight. Cold for us anyway. It's cold here when it gets down to 32 at night.

I've been getting out into the yard to clear up a couple of years of overgrown bushes, shrubs & trees. Yep, I cut down a couple of small trees that were lovingly planted by my resident squirrels. I have the hardest time getting my plants to grow even thought I nurture them & love them, but a squirrel can "plant" something & the son of a gun grows up to 10 feet in a few years. If I could only train them to plant what I wanted.

I actually sawed down the trees...with a miter saw. It's the only saw I have other than my jeweler's saw & I don't even want to think how many blades I would have broken trying that. BTW, I don't recommend using a miter saw for small trees...nope. Just go out & get yourself a bow saw. On a positive note, my neighbors just got themselves a fire pit. Whatever will they do for wood since they only have one pretty little tree in their yard?? Jungle woman to the rescue!!!! I can saw down the trees & give the little trunks to Lee for their fire pit. Now that's teamwork!! I also won't have to worry about cutting the trunks down to size so I can dispose of them. I have enough dried limbs in my backyard to keep them in wood until the new logs dry.

I really haven't done much as far as jewelry & metalsmithing. I've kinda lost my muse, but have started drawing again. I'm taking a free art course from Tam at Willowings & it's been great. It's a healing art class, so it's kind of hard to get through, but it's been good. Go check it out!! Maybe I'll post some of my work. OK..I will, but be gentle. It's my first whimsy girl.

I already see several things that I should have done differently, but it's my first one. Hopefully, I'll improve.

I'd love to practice more & maybe next year create a few whimsies that I can have made into Christmas cards. I have been making Christmas cards this year, so I'll post the ones that I've made. Not today, but next week.

I'm going to include a few pictures that I've taken over the last few months...because I like to look at pictures. Some of my favorite books have pictures.

Not a great photo, but a great car. 1961 Chrysler New Yorker. How awesome is this car??

I went to the Duke/Alabama football game a couple of months ago. Yep, Duke has a football team, not a great one, but a team nonetheless. Alabama also has a football team, but most everyone knows that, & for good reason. Alabama has a great team unsurpassed by their fans. The fans were great when it could have been a really miserable day for Duke fans. I don't think there was a Duke fan out there that didn't know that Alabama was going to take the game, but the Bama fans made the losing less painful. The Alabama fans made me an Alabama fan. Still a little confused about the whole "Roll Tide" thing, but that's ok. Here are a few of the wonderful people that we met.

Just a shot of some of my friends. Aren't they purdy??? I have attractive friends.

Here's Joe

And just because I like fire:

Just a friendly bonfire, not to be confused with arson.

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend. I'm going to try to be a little more present from now on. I just took a little time out...besides, I gotta get a new blog header because my hydrangeas don't look like that anymore. I at least need to get back to the season.

((hugs & warm blankies))