Friday, January 28, 2011

Stumps Begone

Last Fall I had to cut down several little trees.  The trees had sprung up from my little gardener squirrels cache & had grown too close to the house.They weren't large trees, but large enough to leave annoying stumps in my future flower beds.  I wanted to find a way to get rid of the stumps without chemicals & a lot of work ('cause I don't like it so much) & stumbled across this method.  I don't know if it's going to work, but thought I'd try it & see what happens.

Soooo, I drilled holes into the stumps.  I probably drilled the holes about an inch to two inches deep & pretty close together without running the holes together.

My neighbors didn't even look twice at me when they saw me drilling holes in a tree stump, then taking pictures.  I guess they're used to seeing me hammering away on the curb.

I filled the holes with salt.  I happened to have rock salt (the kind for ice cream), but I'm sure other salt would work.  I tried not to get a lot of the salt on the ground around the stump because I do want to be able to plant flowers in the area.  I also read that sugar works, but I'm going to try salt for right now.

I heated some water in my kettle & poured the hot water into the holes, trying not to flood out all of the salt.  A lot of the salt quickly melted so I may go back, add more salt, then just pour in cold water.  The last step is adding a little hat to the top to keep in the moisture & to let the bacteria get started.

This was the most tedious art of the whole operation.  I used a piece of plastic bag & cotton twine.  It was a bit fussy, but I didn't have any rubber bands around so I had to make due.  I think I'll invest in some rubber bands the next time because I ended up chasing little plastics bits around my yard.  I wish I would have thought to get those little shower hats that people put on top of bowls for storage because they would be perfect & easy to take on & off.  You know what I'm talking about...right?

I haven't peeked under the plastic to see what's happening under there, but the plastic is still foggy.  I think that means that there's some kind of heat going on so I've just left it alone.  Also, I don't feel like chasing plastic right now....maybe tomorrow.  I'll keep checking & let y'all know how it works.

Speaking of working.........

Come on....really!!!!!??????  That's not for you, that's for the little birdies.  You're the reason I'm drilling & salting & wrapping & saying ugly words.

Sorry for the gratuitous trash can shot.  It was trash, yard waste & recycle day so all of the soldiers were lined up on the curb.

Happy weekend!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Score, Score & Some Art

I went to The Scrap Exchange a few days ago & totally scored!!  I got everything in the above picture for about $22.00.  There are 7 skeins of nice wool yarn, a new bottle of Folk Art Artist Pigment paint, 4 (3 not pictured) bins that were originally used for something, but will be perfect to hold magazines, 15 new chicken boxes that would be perfect for me to alter & use for an ornament exchange I'm going to participate in next Christmas.  On the bottom is a sweet little art journal for me to use when I finish my current one (composition book).  The Scrap Exchange is a non-profit reuse center that has great "stuff", especially is you like mixed media.

I also scored with my first ATC swap.  Our theme this month was Frida Kahlo.  I received my wonderful ATCs yesterday & now can't wait for next month's swap.  Here are the ones I sent to my partner:

 I like using playing cards for ATCs because they are the perfect size & the corners are already rounded.  I actually picked up this mismatched deck of cards on a trip to Scrap Exchange for about .50 cents.  The lighting is really bad in these pictures so the color is washed out.  I added some tiny little flowers to her hair & little seed bead along the bottom, on top of the paper I sewed down.

This one was inspired by Frida's painting Broken Column & her quote "Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?".  I used an old cross-stitch pattern & sketched out a dress form for her body.  I tore it down the center, then stapled it back together.

This is what I received:

Are they not just gorgeous???  There is so much texture & color in these little pieces of artwork that I could stare at them for hours.  I didn't have a lot of embellishments to use on art, but after seeing these, I'm definitely going to Scrap Exchange to pick up more bits & pieces.  Where else could I buy one puzzle piece or one computer keyboard letter?

I just met up with a good friend of mine to exchange Christmas gifts.  She have me this great box of bits & bobs (buttons, beads, wood figures, etc) & I love it.  She knows me so well.  I came home & dove into the box pulling out every piece & thinking of all of the lovely things I can garnish with these lovelies.  For her, I made a pair of fingerless gloves & made a journal for her.  She's writing a book so I thought I'd make a little something to carry in her purse that she could jot down her ideas, or reflections, or grocery list....whatever she wants.

The front & back cover are made from a canvas for ink jet printers that I painted, then gessoed, then sanded, then gessoed, then painted again.  There is a coating on this canvas that gets sticky when water is added, so when I added water to start working the background it got mucky & gooey.  It was an experiment & now I know.  Well, once the canvas was properly defiled, I collaged a bit, painted a likeness of my friend & sewed on the fabric for the spine cover (don't know what it's called) onto the front.  The fabric on the back is just glued, but could have been sewed, had I planned ahead.

I used a cracker box for the inside of the cover to make it a little more sturdy (sorry, no pictures) & covered that with scrapbooking paper.  For the inside pages, I used reclaimed papers from notebooks, old ledgers, resume paper & an envelope made a couple of pockets.

I made this for a dear friend of mine who has a thing for owls.  He's the kind of man with professorly tastes (maybe because he is a professor) so I wanted to stay away from the cutesy, whimsical owls.  I hope I did OK......he seemed to like it.

I used a piece of a cardboard box & collaged vintage pages for the background.  I painted the owl with watercolor crayons & acrylic, then cut out his tummy & added scrapbooking paper before I collaged him onto the branch.  I used tissue paper on top of the moon to give it a little texture & before it was all said & done, used just about everything I had in my art arsenal (artsenal? lol) before I completed this.  I used paper, matte medium, watercolors, acrylics, oil pastels, graphite & pen.  Whew!!

Here's one of my girls.  She's created with watercolor crayons, acrylics, graphite & pen & ink.  I've cut her out of the watercolor paper because I think I'm going to collage her onto wood & maybe add some leaves & flowers to her hair.  She reminds me of one of hippy chick friends, so maybe this will be a gift to her.

Just a couple more fun little goodies that I did while I was at Mom's over Christmas.  She gave me a little set of acrylics & call I had was a sketch book & watercolor pad.  I cut up the box that the pots of paints came in & tried my hand of "pulled" art.  Mystelle calls it pulled art because you start applying paint to the surface with a brush, credit card, or whatever.

  I used a piece of cardboard to smear the paint onto the cardboard.  I stood back to see what was popping out of the paint.  I saw this lady standing in her village.  At first the poodle only looked like a giant fire hydrant, but finally I saw him.  I also saw a giant flower in a barrel to go along with her big doggie.  It's a very rough painting, but I like it.  I'm finding that I really dig messy art with not realistic faces & smeared graphite & paint.

I tried pulled art again & got a little stumped.  I think I work better in portrait than landscape because there's a big empty spot in this one that needs....something.  I know it's not finished so I'll keep working on it.  

I really enjoy painting on cardboard.  For me, there's no pressure of  "ruining" more costly paper or canvas, it's almost always available (& free) & it's also reusing something in a different manner than was initially intended.  I've done that with a lot of things.  I've turned a garden plaque into a clock, windows into candle holders, shutters into CD racks.  I have a lot of old things that I'm going to convert into new things.  I've got spindles, finials, etc.  I hope to get started on those when it gets a little warmer then I can show you before & after & steps in between.  

I haven't forgotten about the copper etching tutorial I promised.  It's coming up soon, I just had to get back into the swing of things after the holidays.

I hope y'all have a warm & cuddly day.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Out & about & duck butts

We're already halfway into the first month of a new year...can you believe it?  We've had a couple of "weather events" since Christmas, but still plucking along.  I went back home to visit Mom & Grandma & ended up staying a couple of weeks.  I'm the luckiest girl in the world to have such a wonderful & loving family, small as it is.  I was able to chauffeur Mom & Grandma to Pizza Inn for the buffet on Wednesday night & have to say that I haven't eaten dinner that early since we went there over Thanksgiving.  I loved how everyone "spoke" (that means a head nod or brief wave in Southern terminology) when they walked into the restaurant whether they knew us or not.  I loved the amount of "ribbing" the men would give each other with the familiarity that only comes when you've known each other for decades.  

I grew up in a small Southern village.  Even though I spent most of my growing up years in Ohio, I'm still a Southern girl.  We moved to Ohio with my Mom's second husband, who soon adopted me, but my summers were spent with my Grandparents in the same house that they moved into a few years after they married.  We moved back to NC the summer before my senior year in high school & lived in a house that was about 100 yards from the house I lived in as a baby.  The house is also just around the corner from Grandma & Granddaddy's (in the South, it's pronounced Grenddiddy).  :)

I wanted to show you a little of my home.  It encompasses areas miles from my little village, but is still so familiar to me.  I took a little drive while I was home for Thanksgiving & I'm going to share what I saw & why I love it so.

I took the drive across the bridge to Edenton, a small town located on the Albemarle Sound.

This is the main drag in Edenton.  The brick sidewalks lead into the little shops that line the tiny two block strip.  This is one of the few existing downtown areas that is still bustling with everything from a movie theater, to a coffee shop, office supply & even a hardware store where one can purchase anything from crab pots to a new TV to plumbing supplies.  Byrum Hardware is connected to the gift shop which is connected to the little craft shop.  While I was in there (right after Thanksgiving) one of the ladies on the craft side was steadily making bows while taking calls for people wanting even more bows.  This is the kind of town where one can just call & order  bows, or floral arrangements & pay when you get there, no deposit necessary.

The main drag leads to the waterfront area, which is right behind where I was standing to take the downtown photo.  There's a nice concrete pier to stroll on while you can take a look around at the homes adorning the bay.

The little brick building on the right side of the picture is the police station.  While I was there, several working men pulled up in their trucks to enjoy lunch on the waterfront.

I walked to the other side of the park to the lighthouse that has been relocated & now being renovated.  This originally stood in Plymouth, NC, but was moved here via barge as it's reminiscent of the old lighthouses that used to reside on the banks of the rivers & sound.

 Once they complete the interior renovations the lighthouse will be situated over the water, but will have to wait until funds are available.

I looked around & saw this charming restaurant.  I'm gonna have to check this place out because I'm so curious at to what is at the end of that little shady path, but it'll have to wait until another time......I have other lunch plans & must not keep my fellow lunchers waiting.

One last look at some of the cannons on the waterfront before I move on.

I head out of town to get a hot dog at The Tastee Freeze.  No signs of my lunch guests as I headed inside to place my order, but I knew they'd show up & meet me at the concrete table beside the canal.

I settle down to enjoy my hot dog & onion rings when I see my guests arriving.

These little ducks have raw honesty.  They ain't playas trying to make you believe that they're there for anything other than the food.  They remain by the shoreline until they hear the paper crumple, signifying the end of my meal.  They waddle up with full expectation of getting paid for their appearance.  Once they finish their lunch, it's nothing but duck butts for you!!

This is across the street from The Freeze where you can travel via boat for your Sunday ice cream.  The larger body of water beyond the little canal is a small bay leading to the Albemarle Sound.

Not a bad place for noshing on a hot dog, huh?

Still headed out of town I stop by one of the marinas to look at the purdy boats.

Last stop before crossing the bridge to get on "my" side of the river. I stop to take a look at the old bridge turned fishing pier.  Most of the draw bridge was taken down when the new high rise bridge was built, but they left a section on the Edenton side, next to the boat ramp, for fishing & just looking around.

The wooden bridge branches out from a little cabin housing bathrooms & a little resting area to the actual bridge.  Little ramps were built along the length of the bridge to elevate wheel chairs for easier fishing or just....looking. This is a shot of the boat ramps area & the cypress trees stretching towards the sun.

I had to check out the new boat ramps, after "speaking" to another workers taking lunch by the water side (can't be rude to a stranger).  There used to just be one little ramp here with a pier than was a bit worn, now it's nice & fresh at only a few years old.

Driving under the new bridge takes me to a somewhat newly developed area.  What used to be...well, I'm not sure exactly what used to be there, I think it was a boat company.  Anyway, it's now home to a beautiful restaurant, Mac's Back Door Oyster Bar & Grill & Wharf Landing, a condo & private marina.  Mac's had the restaurant festooned for Christmas.

Mac's also offers dockside service so you can call ahead & they'll bring your meal to you dockside so you don't have to worry about getting your land legs back.

In the background is Wharf Landing.  A very nice community of condos, but I had to show you the fueling up station, properly garnished & ready for the holidays.  My gas station doesn't have the pretty picket fence.  I decided to spare you the pump out station, but I can assure you that it's a very pretty place for doing what you do in such a place.

That's my little field trip for now.  I know this is an absurdly loooong post & bless you if you've made it this far.  I just wanted you to see a little bit of home for me.  I know I live in Durham & I do love Durham, but there's no place like home.

The end.

Hope y'all have a glorious weekend.