Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

I love Halloween -- it's just plain fun! I don't go much for blood and gore, but I kind of like the creepy, ghost-story-ness dress-up drama of it all. So, from our house to yours, I share my oldest daughter's jack o' lantern. Cool, huh? She draws the neatest dragons -- I wouldn't have believed it could be done on a pumpkin too!

In the spirit of the evening, the girls and I watched "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and waited for Trick-or-Treaters. (We actually got some this year!) I took the opportunity to finish up my charms for the FDA swap. I can't wait to get mine -- they are destined to be featured on my "Charmed One" doll I posted a month or so ago.

They are made of 4" squares of Tyvek which was zapped with a heat gun then pressed between 2 rubber stamps. They were then threaded on eye pins and accented with crystal drop dangles. I had to stabilize a few of the pins with glue. When I disguised the glue with glitter, I liked the effect so much I added glue to all of them. I wish the glitter showed up a little bit better -- I mixed up a bit of gold and a bit of green Art Glitter which made a beautiful rich blend.

Can you tell I like sparklies?

Finally, I want to share this sequence of photos I shot over a span of about 10 minutes from my front yard earlier this week. This month's full moon rise over Mt. Hood was simply breath taking.

I hope your Fright Night was delightful!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bits and Pieces

I meant to post these over the weekend, but my body told me I needed rest, so I have done nothing much more than nap and read since I came home from work on Friday. It did me good -- I am feeling like myself again today.

This is the doll I received in my "goth swap" from Kate Erbach. Isn't she wonderfully weird and adorable? I notice cool things about her almost every time I look at her, like the sheer skull fabric of her skirt, the neat lacing of her faux leather overskirt, and her little pet on her shoulder. I tried to get a good photograph of the skeleton dangling from her left hand, but I guess he is shy. He kept turning away from the camera... Thank you Kate -- you have restored my faith in swapping!

It is finally cool enough in my upstairs clay room to play with my clays without having them melt in my hands, so I have been diddling around with some techniques I learned from Christi Friesen's books. These ornaments (which are much more green than they appear -- very Christmas-y!) were inspired by a discussion on FabricDollArt on the Victorian style of Christmas ornaments. I don't much like Victorian -- too fussy -- but I like these. Thanks ladies!

Beadwork Magazine has put out a special issue called Step-by-Step Jewelry, which includes another tutorial by Christi for these Turtledoves. They look small in the photo -- the one on the right is actually nearly 5" long. They were SO much fun to make!

And speaking of fun to make, this little guy is made out of glow-in-the-dark clay. He was inspired by the work of Pat Graham, "dancingbuffalo" on eBay. I have never yet been able to win an auction for one of her pieces, so gave it a shot myself. He turned out pretty cute, but he did freak me out the first time I saw him dangling from the necklace rack in my room in the middle of the night. He really DOES glow, and brightly too.

I have been doing a lot more spinning since I began working. It is such an easy thing to just sit down and begin to spin. No set-up and no clean-up involved. I am going to have to think of something to do with all the yarn -- I am running out of places to put it!

This beautiful stuff is special though. It is a silk/merino blend in exactly the colors of the inside of a pink seashell. By the time I finish spinning the bump I have, I ought to have enough yardage to knit something fine and lacy. In the meantime, I just like to touch it!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Eye Candy!

She is home at last! About a year and a half ago, I joined a round robin project with a group of my internet friends. We each made a torso with a head, chose a color scheme, began a travel journal, and sent the whole thing off on a "Colorful Adventure".

I purposely picked colors about as different from what I am used to playing with as I could get: black and silver, with accent colors of orange and verdigris. Verrrry cool, but a challenge to work with. (Each of the artists who worked on her mentioned in the journal how outside-the-box the color scheme was for them. Hee hee!)

"Flabbergasted" about covers how I felt as I opened the box. I see more every time I look at her.

But wait! There's more! She came home with a journal of her travels. Each page is a beautiful piece of art in itself.

I made the cover and the introductory pages using my chosen color scheme. I may have mentioned it before, but Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold is now one of my favorite colors of paint. Transparent, yet rich, almost good enough to eat!

Here is a little sample of the pages inside.


I feel so incredibly blessed by the wonderful, generous women who poured so much skill and effort into making such INCREDIBLE art for me. Thank you all!!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

It's That Time of Year Again...

...when things go bump in the night. Usually it's just the wind, or maybe a barn door that isn't quite closed. This time the noise was on the front porch, directly under my bedroom window. I *told* Jake I wasn't imagining things, and I wasn't.

When we got up the next morning, the most pitiful mewing sound was coming from ... somewhere. I thought one of our cats had been shut in a closet (it has happened before) and spent quite a few minutes looking for the source of the sound. Eventually it occured to me to look out the window, and then my heart did a flip-flop. There were 3 little kittens sitting on the rocking chair on the porch.

OH! I get so mad when people dump cats off on our farm. Usually it's an older cat that has outgrown its cuteness. At least they have a chance of surviving. These babies are only about 8 weeks old. They are quite clean and rather chubby so I know they have been well cared for so far, but how on earth does ANYONE think that teeny-tinies like these have a hope of a prayer of surviving on their own?

I want to grab these people and shake them and scream "Do NOT count on the Nice Farmer to take them in. He already has 5 housepets and has threatened to leave home if wife or daughters bring home any more!" Sigh...

We caught these 2 right away -- the black one is a charmer who likes people, and the gray one was just too hungry to care -- and relocated them to the calf house along with a bowl of cat food. It's warm and dry in there, and the guys can usually be counted on to leave the leftover calf milk behind for the barn cats.

It was a challenge to catch the third one, but eventually she got hungry enough to come to the food we left out and so we took her to join her littermates. She was unwilling to have her portrait taken, but my camera caught her anyway. See her under the stall floor way back against the wall? Poor baby... I don't blame her for being frightened.

I saw these beautiful spiderwebs under one of my birdfeeders, and just for the heck of it, because I had the camera out already, I played with some more of the settings on my camera. I snapped over a dozen photos, but these 2 were the only ones that turned out. (Note to self: put a dark background behind misty spiderwebs.)

I wish I could make art like this!!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Long week, short post

After a week spent sniffling, sneezing, and basically denying the obvious, I finally went home sick from work on Friday. Gotta love the start of cold/flu season. Sigh... at least I got it over with early, and hopefully for the WHOLE season.

If nothing else, the forced inactivity gave me the opportunity to do some handwork on a swap doll I want to finish this week. Meet "Tanith Ravyn", adapted from Patti Culea's pattern in her book "Creative Cloth Doll Beading."

It took me several tries to get a face I was happy with. I still think this girl's eyes are a bit too big and too far apart, but Jake is crazy about her. I didn't think he would like her at all, but he surprised me. He is a bit upset with me actually for sending her away. I guess I will just have to make another one in the same style for him.

She still needs shoes, but she'll be ready for the mail this week.

That's about all I have the energy for now. I HATE colds!