Monday, 31 August 2015

Phases of the Moon Art Project

Well, I finally finished it, twelve art pieces that depict the Native Phases of the Moon.

My place has been a mess for the last two weeks, bits of paper, make that lots of paper, paint and glue.

I had ideas for all twelve and had some started, some in progress and some sitting, drying before the next layer.

I'm my worst critic, so some I like, some I feel so-so about and may redo, but considering this is a project I started like ten years ago and set aside, I'm happy. Nothing like a completed project to make one feel a sense of accomplishment.

I was able to use some bits from the original project, and went through a lot of the paper from my stash, which is always a plus. If I'm going to sort out and clean up all this hoarded art stuff, it might as well be with art work.

I'm sharing the completed series, and apologize in advance for the bounce back of the flash. My camera is not the fanciest.

Wolf Moon..January

Snow Moon..February
Magpie Moon..March

Pink Moon..April
Flower Moon...May

Strawberry Moon..June

Thunder Moon..July

Red Moon...August

Harvest Moon..September

Hunter's Moon..October

Beaver Moon..November
Cold Moon...December

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Golf Club Covers

Last year I found a crochet pattern for a gopher golf club cover, and gave it a try for two friends, which netted a request for another.

At Christmas I made my son-in-law a Minion golf club cover, and then made another version for my grandson.

Another friend asked me to make a cover for her new clubs, and as she’s black cat crazy, that’s what I made, one for her and one for her daughter.

The patterns available are quite varied. When I saw a cute alligator stuffed animal pattern, I knew I had to adapt it to a golf club cover for another friend who winters in Florida, and therefore risks having alligators visit him on the course.

Now I’m thinking the possibilities are endless. But first I have to make one for my granddaughter, something girly, of course, an alligator would never do.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

City VS Country Living

I grew up in the city, but in the suburbs, which at the time was more like small town living. After I was married, I lived in small and smaller rural communities. It started with a small town, then a village, then some isolated acreage.

We worked our way back to village living, which I think I enjoy the most. Life being what it is, I moved around a lot after that, even spent a time back in the city, worked my way back to small city, then small town. And here I will stay.

There’s something about the city at night, all those bright lights, the mystery, the romance. 

But down on street level it can be crowded, to busy, and not so pretty. I admit the city scares me, I’ve become a country person, like those wide open spaces, the familiar faces.

Bad things can happen anywhere, and living in a small town or rural area doesn’t mean one will be safe, secure, but it is more likely. For me, I like the slower pace, the smaller crowds, and the quieter times.

We each need to find that place that suits us best.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Feeling Dyslexic Are We?

The other day I wrote a post about Fiesta, the bright colored ceramic dishes originally made in 1938. It reminded me of the set my grandmother had when I was little.

I saw dishes like the Fiesta ware in the Walmart flyer, but these came in a pretty tourquoise color.

Sunday, there was a bridal shower for my daughter and guests were to give gift cards rather than other presents. I knew my daughter needed a new set of dishes, and as the set I saw came in her new favorite color, my daughter-in-law and I got together and gave her a Walmart gift card, and wrapped it in one of the bowls from open stock.

She loved the color, loved the bowl, and wants to get them. And good timing, as they're on sale.

I sent her a chat message tonight to tell her about the sale, as it only lasts until Thursday.

She wrote me back that she wanted to get two sets (8 place settings) and then get some DESPERATE plates from the open stock.

I read her message and laughed. I wrote back..."What are desperate plates? Empty ones?"

I was really laughing, as it is so easy to make a mistake, especially when she is doing it all from her phone.

She sent me back a message, laughing at herself, "SEPARATE plates", so glad she was keeping me entertained.

Funny story, I'm still smiling, so had to share.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

A Plethora of Paper

I am big on organizing, and but lousy at maintaining. I like to think the things, let’s be honest; the things I hoard will come in useful one day. I’m talking art and craft supplies.

When I moved I had to reduce four file cabinet drawers to a couple of small file containers. Much of what was stored were copies of things I’d written and ‘How To’ articles I’d accumulated. I admit I have not taken to an electronic world without a fight; I still covet the paper copy.

Now it seems I collect USB drives.

I also collect paper for my art work, paper being a necessary element of mixed media collage. So I have patterned napkins, gift wrap, maps, old scraps of art work and images of everything, all filed neatly in file folders.

I’m in an art frame of mind right now. Giving the writing a bit of a rest, I have been using up many of those saved bits and pieces. The file bin is much thinner and I might be able to reduce the number of file containers I have, always a plus. The problem is, I add to it continuously, so maybe it’s enough to maintain a status quo.

I used to collect the tissue paper at the kids birthday parties, always plentiful with the common use of gift bags. My daughter was a bit embarrassed by this, but then she isn’t an artist. I use the paper to add texture to my artwork, and like to have plenty on hand. I still have a drawer full of used tissue paper, despite the fact I’ve done no art work in the last two years.

Until late.

I have completed three paintings, and have one almost finished. These are works on canvas. I also framed photos of each of the kids’ families, in an arty, scrapbooking style.

I’m on a roll. In that file I found projects I started years ago and never finished. And, as I hate to give up on things, I pulled one file out and decided to give it another try.

So, I’m working away and find my attitude has changed. One lesson I seemed to have learned is to take a chance, to risk ruining what I started in an attempt to make it better. I realized that last night as I was working on a small bit to add to a collage, and hesitated to take the next step.

What the hell, I decided; if it doesn’t work I’ll go back and try it again. Another lesson learned, I keep copies of designs I’m using, and...add them to the file. At least this way, if I have to start over and the initial design worked, it’s easier to try again.

I learned another lesson. In the original project I was using watercolour, an art medium I never could master. When I attempted to repeat this style, I realized it was wrong, and rethought the whole project from a mixed media collage frame of mind. The work involves twelve pieces, based on native phases of the moon. I now have three completed, and bits and pieces of the others spread out across the table.

If nothing else, I’ll have used up some of the stuff from the file, am in a creative mind set and will have the satisfaction of finally seeing a project completed. I’ll share when it’s all done. By posting this I’m daring myself to finish, a bit of method to my madness. Now back to work, I think the glue and paint has dried enough I can continue.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Little Fingers

I never gave much thought to my little fingers, they were just there, sometimes adorned in a pinky ring, and used most frequently to make the sign for “I love you”...a gesture we use often in my family.

Last fall I hurt my left little finger, tore the extensor tendon, a mishap that occurred when I was in a rush and trying to multitask, (enough said on that, LOL). The damage is called a Mallet Finger, and it means I can bend it, but it won’t straighten any more, not completely. It’s still a bit swollen, and funny, there are none of the usual wrinkles, or creases on the end of that finger.

More recently I have had a very painful right little finger. It is swollen, and slightly twisted, looking very arthritic. I don’t know what I did to irritate this particular joint, but it continues to ache and be problematic.

Who knew a little finger was so important?

When gripping a jar, a bottle, whatever, I can’t get a good grip because of these stupid, crooked little fingers. I guess the little finger, being last, is the anchor to a good grip, and I’ve lost that anchor.

I’ve had to make adjustments when crocheting, hold my hook and the yarn just a little bit different.

Good thing I’m a two finger typist, so no changes made there.

Just another one of those little things you take for granted until they don’t work the same and you have to make some adjustments, but such is life.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Fiesta Ware

I was looking at the most recent Walmart flyer and had a deja moment. There was an ad for dinnerware, a simple set in bright colors that took me back, reminded me of my youth and visits to my grandmother's home in Ohio.

My grandmother's casual dishes were original Fiesta ware. I remember the bright colors and all the added pieces she had like salt and pepper shakers, platters and bowls. The colors were so earthy, like fall tones, like fallen leaves.

Fiesta ware was ceramic dinnerware glazed in different solid colors and marketed by Homer Laughlin China Company of Newell, West Virginia. It was introduced for retail sale with great success in 1936, and withdrawn from production in 1973 due to declining sales, and reintroduced in 1986.

The original 5 colors were red (orange red), blue (cobalt), green (light green), yellow ( deep golden) and old ivory (yellowish cream). In 1936 a 6th color was added...tourquoise (robins' egg blue).

As of 2008, there are a total of 39 color glazes.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Hot and Humid

This weather is punishing, and I pity anyone who has to be outside doing physical work. This is one time an air conditioned office would be a bonus, I guess.

I hate air conditioning. It seems a crime to close off all that fresh summer air after all the months we’re closed in by the cold, but not when it’s this hot. I had all my windows open the other day, liked to think there was a cool breeze coming in when I saw the curtains flutter.

The temperature stayed high, and there was little relief during the night, none of that welcome cool when the sun went down. By the next day it was so hot and humid I had trouble breathing, and the least little activity had me in a ‘feminine glow’.

I closed everything up, including all the drapes to ward off the heat of the sun, and made myself a prisoner in my own home. I’m regretting that I didn’t purchase a dehumidifier, as the very air feels thick and damp.

I know this too will pass, and looked out at the court and remembered what it looked like with its piles of gritty snow and ice covered roads. But before we face winter again there will be a beautiful autumn, and I plan to make the most of it.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Coffee Light, No Sugar

If I’d followed the dots, I could have saved myself a mess, but at the time, I looked at each incidence without thinking of cause and effect.

I had been grocery shopping, and failed to bring enough bags so the one bag I had was overloaded, and heavy. My daughter carried it in and set it on the stool in the kitchen. After she left I put everything away, and at the end noticed some wet marks on the fabric covering of the seat.

Something must have leaked, I thought as I scrubbed a wet sponge over the seat to clean it. I did check the bag and found the dampness that had leaked through. I washed it and set it outside to dry. Groceries were put away, the mess cleaned up, everything taken care of, or so I thought.

This morning I was making my first cup of coffee, and opened a new bottle of the vanilla, low fat, soy creamer that I use. It did occur to me, when I had to literally pull it from the fridge where it seemed stuck to the shelf, that I needed to add the fridge to my cleaning list.

It was early, and I’m not my best early in the morning. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking with it.

Grasping the bottle, to add creamer to my freshly brewed mug of coffee, I squeezed, holding it tight as I pulled the seal from the opening and found I had a mess over the counter.

Obviously it was leaking, but from where? And then I saw it, the narrow slit in the side of the bottle, made when a knife slid across the tape that sealed the carton. I’ve seen that tell-tale slit before, but it had always been on a box of cereal or crackers. This was the first time I’d experienced it on something liquid.

Of course, the empty bottle I’d finished the day before had gone out in the garbage, so I used an empty water bottle to save as much of the creamer as I could. I should take the empty bottle back to the store and ask for a replacement.

From now on, I plan to squeeze plastic bottles before putting them in my cart, in hopes of saving myself a mess, a waste of money and a return trip to the store. Sounds good, but I’ll never remember, and what are the chances I’d get a damaged container again? I’ll go with the odds.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Superglue Mishap

I was working on a little craft project yesterday and finished it off by gluing the the stray ends to stop them from fraying. I used one of those mini tubes of superglue and almost ended up with my fingers glued together.

I was lucky enough to finish the project with all fingers free, and with no odd objects stuck on for perpetuity, but I qualified for the Master Criminal Club, as I had masked my fingerprints.

It was a funny feeling, to have the ends of my fingers coated in this glue, and I hoped, like with Rubber Cement, that it might peel off...but no such luck.

I tried soap, with no effect.

I tried Lysol, soaked my fingers, hoping it would dissolve. It did soften the edges a bit and I rubbed and tried to peel it off, not sure how much of my skin came off with it. I must have softened it enough, and after rubbing some hand lotion into my skin, it all seemed to be gone.

I looked it up on the internet and found an easier solution. Salt. The directions were to wet your fingers, dip them in salt and scrub it over the area, kind of like a pumice soap I imagine. 

I'll file that bit of information away, as I'm sure, as long as I do crafts, there'll be another glue incident in my life.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

A Trip to IKEA

When I lived in the city, I bought the majority of my furniture at IKEA. I loved the Billy bookcases and have four of them in my living room that I’ve kept filled with books for the last twenty five years. They still look great, in spite of the number of times they’ve been moved.

I’ve been away from the city for a number of years, and haven’t seen an IKEA store outside of the catalogue for years, until yesterday. And boy, how things have changed. Once there was a large parking lot, and now there’s tiered parking.

My daughter had an item to return so she went to the Exchanges area and as she was number 36 in line, my granddaughter and I went upstairs to walk around. It was her first time, and at eleven years old, she was quickly planning how she would decorate her first bedroom (one she didn’t have to share).

There was too much to see and touch, the place is so full of color and all sorts of unusual and functional stuff. I bought an apple cutter, you know, that cuts out the core and sections the apple. What a time saver, I love it. I also bought a picture frame.

There was so much I could have purchased, like the rug I would have loved for my living room, the mirrors, the little things to keep one organized. I did buy this thing that fits in your drawer, and creates little sections, for socks and underwear i suppose, or scarves, or whatever. I figure when I put it in the drawer it will induce me to clean out what I don’t wear at the same time.

I had done some online research about a new table, and a small kitchen cart, but decided not to buy anything just yet. A method to my madness, it just might mean another trip up there, something to look forward to.

My daughter picked up a few of the items she was looking for, so it was a good day. On the way home we had lunch, and stopped off at Michael's Craft Store. All in all, a near perfect day.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Blessed Rain

Yesterday, the rain came down in heavy but sporadic bursts, thunder sounding softly in the distance. I hoped it would bring some relief to the heat and humidity of this last week. One loud clap of thunder, sounding too close for comfort, and the television cable went out, but the power remained. I waited, expecting more, but that was it, and in minutes the cable was back. The storm was moving on, I suppose.

This is a long weekend for us, and though the sun is shining now, and the temperatures are comfortable, rain is predicted through the next few days.

I need to check on Velma (my car, as I’ve named her to try and encourage a more friendly relationship, or should I say more reliable relationship). I left the back van windows open, figured it was better to let the air circulate a small amount, rather than let the heat build up with days of sitting in the hot sun.

Now I imagine there’ll be a bit of a soaking in the back. Maybe the wind and rain blew in from the east and slid right down the vented window, and the interior remains dry. Right, and pigs fly.