Friday, May 28, 2010

A Garden Series?

Just taking a few minutes out of a busy day to show you a WIP. Last week on a morning walk with Cassie, I noticed the Bleeding Hearts everywhere. It's always been one of my favorite spring flowers, and as I walked, I thought about how I could put it in a piece of fiber art. I started with plain white PFD fabric which I tea stained and then stamped with Tim Holtz' distress inks. Then I used some acrylic paint and leaves from our very own bleeding heart plant to print onto the fabric. I crafted the hearts out of oven-bake clay and painted them (with nailpolish!). I haven't taken one stitch on it yet - I'm mulling over how to add other old-fashioned touches, like lace, buttons or other odds & ends.
As I was working on it, I started to realize that many of the pieces I make seem to incorporate plants or flowers or some other aspect of a garden. Maybe I have a series going...
And now I have several UFOs stacking up on my worktable! (Not to mention the ongoing housework and yardwork... ) Have a happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

Monday, May 24, 2010

More jewelry distractions

Yes, I've been playing around with jewelry again! I picked up these little silver hoops that are so easy to use, it's hard not to get carried away! The girls and I started making a bunch to give away as birthday presents for friends and relatives. We enjoyed trying different color combinations and also combining a variety of beads as well as buttons. What's also great about these jewelry projects is that they're pretty quick! It's nice to be able to start and finish something in under an hour!

While digging through my bead stash to make the earrings, I came across this necklace I had started in the fall. I found this beautiful thin silk yarn at a specialty shop and bought a hank, even though I had no idea what I would do with it (I don't seem to have a knack for knitting or crocheting). I decided to try working it into jewelry somehow. This necklace is just strung with a variety of beads with square knots in between. Once again, I'm compelled to use that turquoise color in combination with the copper. For some reason, it reminds me of the ocean.
I created the earrings out of oven-bake clay using a stamp and copper pigment powder. I thought I might give them away as a gift, but I found it quite challenging to make two that match really well! Since they're not a perfect pair, I decided maybe I'd better keep these for myself. Below is a better photo that shows the texture of the earrings. I was trying to simulate embossed copper with that lovely green patina.

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Creation for Today

Yes, it's my hubby's birthday. He loves mocha cake and I usually just order one from the grocery store bakery, but my friend and neighbor, whose delicious baked goods I have had the pleasure of enjoying, gave me some tips on getting a good strong mocha flavor in the butter cream frosting. I tried it and it worked! The ingredients are
  • one stick butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 C confectioner's sugar
  • 3 T unsweetened baker's cocoa (powdered)
  • 1 T milk
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T strong coffee with 1 t instant coffee dissolved in it
Beat all the ingredients until smooth.

I actually made two batches of the frosting. There was a little extra of the 2nd batch so I added 2 T of cocoa to that and used it for the edging and the words. Can't wait to taste it!

Happy birthday, darling!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Lovely Mother's Day Weekend

My mother's day weekend actually began on Friday. I had the day off from work, the cleaners came and made the house all spick-and-span, and my dear hubby got home after being away for 10 days. We celebrated by going to one of our favorite casual family restaurants in one of our favorite towns, The Depot in Cold Spring.
Saturday was a bit rainy so I did a little shopping and a little work on the piece on the right, which is still in progress. I also enjoyed reading Dan Brown's latest best seller, The Lost Symbol. More about that page turner on another post! In the evening, we settled down to watch the feel-good movie of 2009, The Blind Side which we all loved for its very memorable characters and message. Read a good review of it here.
Today, I was treated to a delicious breakfast prepared by my husband and three girls: bacon and eggs, cinnamon buns, and fresh fruit salad! Then we got to work in our backyard. As I've said before, if you're lucky enough to have a house on the water, you're lucky enough, and we count our blessings that we have this gorgeous view to greet us every morning. However, it gets overgrown with weeds and vines almost as quick as we can clear it, so today we spent a few hours pulling weeds, cutting back vines, and spraying poison ivy. As you can see from the photo, now we will have an easier time getting in and out of our kayaks and canoes. We hope to install a dock soon, which will really simplify the process.
After all that fresh air and exercise, we enjoyed a simply delicious dinner of roast turkey breast with many fixin's. I received a few gifts (some of which I must confess I purchased for myself and wrapped up, my hubby being strapped for time since he was away all week!). I received three sets of lovely new spring and summer pajamas (don't you always need new pajamas?) as well as the assortment of dark chocolates below. The boxed candy I will savor over the next few weeks, but the chocolate truffle bomb was cut into and enjoyed immediately.

And yes, it is as delcious as it looks! Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pendant Swap

Here is the pendant I received in the swap with Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine! It's base is an old key with various decorative elements added on. As you can see, there is a little box front and center with an illustration from Alice in Wonderland. I believe it's the part of the story when she's looking for a key to go in that doorway, so I guess this is why the key is significant. This little box opens to reveal a tiny bejeweled and beribboned red heart. Cute! My daughter Sarah is into Alice in Wonderland these days, ever since she saw the latest Tim Burton version, so maybe she'd like to have it. You can see some of the other pendants people posted to Cloth Paper Scissors by clicking here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Vassar Founder's Day 2010

Saturday I took my girls to visit my alma mater, Vassar College, for it's annual celebration of Founder's Day, Matthew Vassar's birthday. Matthew made his fortune as a brewer, so beer has traditionally been a big part of the Founder's Day celebrations. Of course, we did not imbibe, but we joined in some of the festivities near the Field House, where there were carnival rides, local food vendors, and live music. (Don't ask me why that tiny future Vassar student is flashing the students on the ride!)

After the noise and heat of Walker Fields, we took a peaceful walk down to Sunset Lake and over to the Shakespeare Gardens.
From there, we headed to the College Center for a bathroom break and then to Vassar's awesome library. The quiet coolness and diffuse lighting inside provided a welcome contrast to the blaring sun and music on the field. We tiptoed around, admiring the windows, marble staircases, and banks of apple workstations available for student use. It would be great if any of the girls chose to attend (the time will be here before we know it!), but from what I hear, Vassar has become so competitive that if I had to apply today with the credentials I had in high school, I wouldn't be able to get in!

Is it any wonder the library is still one of my favorite buildings on campus?