Sunday, December 20, 2009

snow day #2...

So, I did get myself outside for just a bit. It's pretty cold out there! I guess I'm just not totally ready for this.

As Maire mentioned...it's not really winter yet, not officially anyway, not till tomorrow...
here's my evidence...


and the Christmas tree waiting on the covered porch...I bought it before the storm to keep it out of the snow...hmmm...


dried seed heads in the garden...


my arctic tundra shot...actually a close-up of the back driveway...



berries in the snow....
the earrings i made for myself from a set of berry beads by Mika Collins of Pinocean...
i love these beads!



and a late flock of geese...see, they didn't realize it was winter yet, either!


snow day...

late Saturday night...

The snow is still coming down. There's at least a foot of it on the ground right now. We spent a quiet day indoors. Nobody seemed to want to go out in it today. I did look pretty wet! I'm hoping to get out tomorrow and take some photos. I did step out onto the back porch, and was reminded of the sweet sense of silence and stillness that deep snow brings with it. I'll have to search out my boots and take some photos tomorrow. For now, here's a bit of what I can see through my front window...our icicle lights, with a bit of a natural icicle added in by the storm in the second photo...



Thursday, December 17, 2009

self-appreciation...

Deep inside of us all, there is a place of peace and stillness that is pure and restorative to our psyches and souls.

How often are we pulled away from this? In fact, how much have we forgotten about it's existence in the first place?

I am reading the book The Vortex, by Esther and Jerry Hicks. I have read a few of their books, and have listened to cd's and seen them on dvd as well. The Vortex that they refer to is this place inside that is always there for us, always available, and yet we forget that it is there, forget how to get back to it...all to our detriment.

Today's society, at least in the U.S. where I live, generally sees this as new age fluff, not to be trusted or believed. I think it has a lot to do with what you call it and how you talk about it. I think everyone can relate to the idea of being able to feel peaceful inside at certain times, to feel uplifted by music, by beautiful photographs, whatever works for each individual...but I think we tend to believe that it is the object outside of ourselves that does this to us.

In actuality, it is something that is within each and every one of us, always there, always waiting for us to tap into it again in some way.

I started writing this because of the chapter at the end of the book about self-appreciation, and hence the title of this post, but in looking for a way to describe and demonstrate this, I ended up going in a slightly different, but related, direction.

I found this on YouTube...it's not really a video...just a still photo with the sound of Esther Hicks' voice speaking for Abraham...I think it's a helpful one to listen to...just remember that 'vortex' is that place inside where you feel your best...and it is from this place that all good things come to us in our lives...



***

Friday, December 11, 2009

getting started on etsy...

Sometimes you have everything that you need to get something started, but for one reason or another you just don't. It takes a little push from someone who's been where you're going to get over that last hump that keeps stopping you.

That's what's happened to me with my etsy store. It's been set up for months. I've been playing with all kinds of techniques and materials, but no one thing seemed to be the one to get started with. And then, there are all kinds of distractions...other things that need doing that have nothing to do with creating. How to find the opening that says, hey, it's time, this is where you start? Well, that opening for me came from a friend that I've met through blogging and email. Maire , who creates wonderful, innovative and soulful jewelry, gave me the push that I needed...list 5 things in your shop by Wednesday! The timing was right, I was ready for the challenge, and I also felt that it was now or never...so I went for it!



Some things were already made, some just needed finishing up, and I also wanted to make a pair of earrings that I had an idea for. By Tuesday night I had what I needed, but no photos yet.
It rained all through Tues night...but the next day was gorgeous, just right for taking photos. I'd say there was a lot of help going on in this venture!



And so, I've got my five creations in my shop...it feels good. Now I know what the process involves and how it looks to have the beginnings of an etsy store (one that actually has items in it for sale!). Next step, to keep creating, keep taking photos and keep listing items...I'm looking forward to it.

And I know who'll be reminding me if I don't!

Thanks, Maire!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

library humor...

Oftentimes, when I put in a search term on my library's online catalog (which i love!) it responds with some really odd alternatives, just in case i didn't type in what i really wanted...


Searching for: Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan Did you mean pier Volta Uniat Khan?
Searching for: freeman zachary Did you mean freeman scary?
Searching for: Hazrat Inayat Khan Did you mean hazard Uniat Khan?


I don't quite understand the reasoning behind coding the program this way, but it is funny sometimes. And, if I click on the new spelling and link I get...

No titles found (0 hits) - Try these tips

...which is a bit of a letdown...why offer a new option if it's not viable? :-) but definitely adds a bit of humor to my day!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

hawk visitor...

There and gone within about five minutes of my spotting him/her...

hawk

Thursday, November 26, 2009

to be by your side

a bit of beautiful music and visuals from Nick Cave and the movie Winged Migration...
happy thanksgiving!...




Across the oceans Across the seas, Over forests of blackened trees.
Through valleys so still we dare not breathe, To be by your side.

Over the shifting desert plains, Across mountains all in flames.
Through howling winds and driving rains, To be by your side.

Every mile and every year for every one a little tear.
I cannot explain this, Dear, I will not even try.

Into the night as the stars collide,
Across the borders that divide forests of stone standing petrified,
To be by your side.

Every mile and every year, For every one a single tear.
I cannot explain this, Dear, I will not even try.

For I know one thing, Love comes on a wing.
For tonight I will be by your side. But tomorrow I will fly.

From the deepest ocean To the highest peak,
Through the frontiers of your sleep.
Into the valley where we dare not speak, To be by your side.

Across the endless wilderness where all the beasts bow down their heads.
Darling I will never rest till I am by your side.

Every mile and every year, Time and Distance disappear I cannot explain this.
Dear No, I will not even try.

For I know one thing, Love comes on a wing and tonight I will be by your side.
But tomorrow I will fly away, Love rises with the day and tonight I may be by your side.
But tomorrow I will fly, Tomorrow I will fly, Tomorrow I will fly.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

more creations...

I've been knitting and crocheting shapes to felt...the top one is not felted yet, the other two are...
I think they could become pendants with some additions to them...
My son Mike's polymer clay with mica schist garnet stone, collected from Wissahickon Creek Park some time back...

Here's what i made with some of the mokume gane...

and a new idea (for me anyway)...I wanted to create the look of an old tablet...just a start I think...black clay with Pearl Ex powder...


I am discovering wet sanding for finishing the polymer clay beads...it's fun...i thought it would be tedious, but the clay gets this super smooth feel to it that's really gratifying. I've also been playing with different sealers and haven't been totally happy with them...spray sealer leaves an odor that I don't like, and acrylic varnish seemed to leave a residue. I'm going to try the varnish made specifically for polymer clay and see how that is.

More to come...(soon I hope)

Friday, November 20, 2009

working on...

I've been experimenting with polymer clay for a few weeks now. I've got a pile of pieces that I don't quite know how to categorize just yet. I think that's part of the experimental phase for me...I tend to move from one idea to another just to get a feel for how the process works, and then I can start to make some sense out of what exactly I want to make.

In the meantime, here are some photos of my experiments with the mokume gane technique..

I made these (above) a few days ago, so they look a little less sharp then when I first made them.

These I did last night, with the addition of a bit of silver leaf foil in the layers. I think I may need to slice the pieces a bit thinner, or maybe make more impressions in the clay, since they seem a bit too uncomplex...not sure, I'm still playing with this technique. After the slices are made they can be used to cover a round bead, a flat pendant, etc.

Here's a preview of my work-in-progress for this month's Art Bead Scene challenge...



I haven't worked it all out yet, but I think I should be able to get it done by the end of the month.

Here are two videos that show the mokume gane technique in two parts. She does a lot more colors and an extra step of plugging in white pieces that I didn't do.


Friday, November 6, 2009

inspiration...

I got the Anthropologie catalog in the mail today...what a fun issue!
Just look at this...


















You can see the whole catalog online here.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

happy halloween!

Borrowing Vonda the Witch from my son's wip for a halloween contest to say Happy Halloween...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

wallpaper...

A gift...
I took some photos yesterday in beautiful autumn sunlight, today it is overcast and rainy, how quickly it changes from day to day.
I made this one into wallpaper for my computer and thought I would share it with anyone who wants it. I've added my blog name, unobtrusively I think, just so you'll know where it came from.
Click on the photo to get a larger view, and then right click and click on 'set as desktop background' (for pc's...don't know how it works for a mac)...even better, though, is to save it to your computer and then do what I said, so it will be there if you need to redo your wallpaper later. Does that all make sense? Leave a question in the comments if there's any problem with it.

Happy Autumn!



p.s...you can even just right click on this photo without enlarging it, and you may need to set the properties to 'stretch' to fill your screen.

Monday, October 26, 2009

vitamin d to avoid the flu...

From Dr. Joseph Mercola, D.O.:





Read more here.

And more info and videos about the swine flu vaccine here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

a couple of finds...

First is a glue...
I use E6000 for glueing jewelry components together, but I hate the smell of it. I noticed in Laurie Mika's book, Mixed-Media Mosaics, that she recommends Weldbond for her projects. She said that it was hard to find, and it probably was when she wrote the book, but it just showed up in my local Michael's store. It's non toxic and odor free, yay!







Next, I had an idea to use ribbon for necklaces that I could embroider or otherwise embellish. I wanted something natural, that would feel good on the neck (and in the hand!) and be soft and flexible. One possibility is japanese silk ribbon, and I'm still looking into that. In the process of researching I came across hand-dyed organic cotton ribbon and purchased a few pieces to try. They are available here from Near Sea Naturals. I bought one yard of 3/8 inch wide ribbon in chocolate, and one of 7/8 inch in blackberry, plus a yard of cotton twill tape that I'm thinking of tea-dying. I photographed it on top of a 1/2 yard piece of the thickest, softest organic flannel also from Near Sea Naturals.

And I'll throw in a bit of music to round things out. I first heard the sounds of Tegan and Sara emanating from my son's room, and was intrigued and a bit unsure of how I felt about their sound (this song). This new-to-me song came up last night on my Pandora station, and I find that I'm hooked :-)...



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

sometimes my kids amaze me...


Jio's Art Process: Setup by ~Jioruji-Derako on deviantART




stitching and more...

I've been experimenting with a lot of different crafts lately. I have books piled by my bed on needlework, jewelry, art journaling and more. I've been in a very expansive mode, but when I think that some particular form of handwork is going to grow into a major focus for me, I find that I move on to something else and then start to combine the different results and ideas. So, that makes it hard to know what to share here, since nothing is really finished. The following photos show two projects that I ended up putting together.


I found it somewhat challenging to photograph in any way that really brought out the colors and textures, so I feel the need for two ;-).



One inspiration for this was the book Patchwork Folkart by Janet Bolton. My result is not much like her technique, but it gave me the inspiration to use scraps and some very textured objects to make a design. The idea for the wirework came from many sources. One of my favorite books on this is Wirework by Ellen Wieske. An online inspiration is the work of claire Rougerie of De Beaux Souvenirs. She has a blog here and another one here, and a facebook page as well. Oh, and can't forget the etsy site! Debeauxsouvenirs.etsy.com

This all reminds of another project from a little while back...oh so hard to photograph as well!



At some point I fell in love with Calder's works. The way that he and his family lived was very inspiring to me. This book is one I'd love to own someday...Calder at Home: The Joyous Environment of Alexander Calder. When I first saw his mobiles, a looong time ago, I didn't understand them at all! How much I've changed over my lifetime so far!


Monday, October 19, 2009

my walk today...

A little photo essay from a short walk that I took today. The temperature is starting to warm up a little after our nor'easter this weekend. The backyards are full of acorns, so the deer are coming in pretty regularly to eat their fill. I startled this one and she left to head for the woods, over the tracks, where I went as well.






Sunday, October 18, 2009

must.get.this.book....

I am practically buried in books, ones I've collected over the years, ones that I have out from the library. When I consider buying a book, it has to be something that is a 'must have' for me at this point. I has to have something special about it. Well, this one I knew would be special before it was even conceived, and I don't think I was wrong in that.

Here's a link to the book:
http://www.interweavestore.com/Beading-Jewelry/Books/Enchanted-Adornments.html

and a video that was just posted today of Cynthia Thornton showing how her inspiration evolves into her fantastic works of art. She's so adorable! (can I say that about a grown woman?). I think it's the kind of adorableness that comes from living out your creative dreams.





p.s....this is nice...I can even embed the book preview here...cool!


Enchanted Adornments

Saturday, October 17, 2009

new moon in libra...

We are in the 'dark of the moon' this weekend. This can be somewhat of a relief, if our emotional nature needs a bit of a respite, while the Sun and Moon join their energies temporarily and give us new insights into our emotional nature. It's a good time for meditating, or just taking time for quiet and centering.

I dip into a lot of different resources at different times to understand the effects of the planets on me. I think my favorite is the podcasts by Kim Marie. They are very practical and easy to follow.
Here's the link to the site: http://www.evolutionaryastrology.net/astrology-readings-podcast/

Look for this title...2009-10-15 *SLSR - New Moon in Libra and click the symbol to either listen or download to listen later. It's the first listing right now, as it is the latest podcast.

Here's the description:

Late October will help us to evolve our relationship issues that appeared or re-surfaced with Sun in Libra. We all make the necessary adjustments that allow us to listen beyond hearing and look at relationships from the other's perspective. Hard aspects involving Pluto and Uranus will want to help us breathe deep and respond to the situation instead of reacting once again.





I'm a Sag with Libra rising, so relationships are so very important for me...I'm always learning!
Here is Kim Marie's 'mantra' for Libra energy:

I balance a diversity of relationships with my own initiative.



Also, some interesting information specifically on the 'dark moon' here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

waxing crescent moon...

...so pretty and delicate looking....just a few days of 'growth' after the new moon..

Saturday, August 22, 2009

images of august...

I struggle to find days that really feel like summer this year. Maybe it's only in looking back that I will really see it. I'm glad that we planted a garden this year, there's been lots of cucumbers and tomatoes, even though it's been a bit overcrowded with other plants and weeds. I do love the way it looks, though, so wild and fertile.


...tomato after the rain,

...my favorite coffee mug,

...black-eyed susan, basil, mint in the garden,

...zucchini blossom,

...butterfly.*all photos were altered using the new version of Poladroid*

Monday, July 27, 2009

lascaux unicorn...


My entry for the Art Bead Scene July challenge. The theme is anything having to do with the Lascaux Cave paintings. The challenge guidelines are here and all the entries can be seen here at the Flickr group.


My pendant is a photo that was actually taken from the Wikipedia article that I linked to above. Fortunately the photo is considered to be in the public domain, since I really love the colors and the design itself. In the book, The Cave of Lascaux, The Final Photographs, by Mario Ruspoli, there is a small mention of it by Brigitte and Gilles Delluc. Here's some of what they say:
"The 'Unicorn' remains an enigma."
"It is the first important figure the visitor encounters on entering the cave...
...It is the symbol of all that we still do not know about the Cave of Lascaux..."
They give several hypotheses as to what it actually represents, as it is not clearly any one recognizable animal.

I printed the photo onto inkjet shrink plastic, and shrunk it until it was not quite flat. I wanted it to retain some of the look of the cave wall (flatness didn't seem to fit the image, in my mind.) Below it is a wonderful piece by Lisa and Tony Blackwell of ZoaArt (Shibuichi Spiral in Hand)...I came across this in my stash while I was looking for ideas, and thought that I couldn't possibly not have this in this design! Hand paintings and stencils are a prominent feature in the caves, and the hand is so important in anything human created.

The rest of the necklace is some hand forged (by me) copper wire that's been patinaed and polished to bring out highlights, along with dark steel wire, leather lacing, and two green opal jasper nuggets.

I very much enjoyed the process of making this. I didn't have a clear plan, it formed itself as I went. Ideas would come to me and it just seemed to grow itself through me, which is a lot of fun!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

birthday preparations and stuff...

It's been so difficult to feel focused enough to write lately, so I decided to just post some random bits of what I've been doing as I can.

I just finished baking two cakes for my son's 21st birthday tomorrow (or later today I should say). For quite awhile, baking anything was too much for me to do, so here I am happily doing two at a time! One is from an old stand-by NY cheesecake recipe from the 'Frugal Gourmet', lots of blending and then pouring, I like the ease of that.






The other was brand new for me, Molly Wizenberg's Winning-Hearts-and-Minds Cake. Also an easy one, the only way I'd be baking two cakes in one night, I think.








I had to photograph them...they look so good...not bragging, just looking forward to the birthday celebration, and satisfied at the accomplishment.

And for a 21st birthday...a 12 pack of beer...I admit to using this opportunity to try something new for me ;-). I'm not much of a beer drinker, and had to search to even find where I could buy this beer, but we have it now...
This is the Summer Scene Variety pack from Magic Hat Brewery. In PA, beer distributors can only sell by the case, and I didn't want $33 worth of beer! So we found this in Wegman's supermarket (I don't know why they sell beer, but apparently they have a large selection from all over the world), along with a 6-pack of Corona, just in case no one else wants weird microbrews.

And the birthday boy actually requested scones...so I do plan a little more baking for tomorrow.

What else...some daylilly photos from yesterday...



These were actually quick shots, I was curious about the effect of the low sun behind the flowers. Now I'd like to spend a little more time and play with this effect some more. That will definitely depend on timing and whether or not the deer that I saw bounding away comes back to eat them all! A photo of the deer would be nice too, I'll try. Oh, and I almost forgot about the nest of wren eggs on my back porch! Mama wren moved into the old clothespin bag hanging next to the back the door...I really didn't think she'd stay with all the activity of the door opening and closing, but she's sitting on them quite a lot now, so I'm hoping for the best.

I've been reading a lot, too. I am really enjoying the books of Haruki Murakami. I read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle first, then Sputnik Sweetheart, Norwegian Wood, and now South of the Border, West of the Sun...I think I may just keep going, too. I guess they are just what I am needing at this time, kind of like comfort food for the soul.

Along with those, I've been working my way through jewelry and fiber arts books from the local library. I feel like I am absorbing a whole new way of creating, and everything seems to want to work together with everything else (beadwork, crochet, bookbinding, photography, etc. etc.)...no wonder I'm finding it hard to focus! I hope to have some photos of works in progress on here soon. I've had to squeeze my creating time in with so many other necessary things...home-ed paperwork, shopping, cooking, trips to Guitar Center for George and Mike, I'm looking forward to life settling down into a rhythm where creating takes more of a priority....I'm working on it.

One more thing...for anyone wanting to follow the continuing exploits of the Franklin Institute Hawks, there is a blog here with photos of them now, as they have left the nest but are still in the area learning what they need to learn to survive...Hawkwatch.