Thursday, February 28, 2013

Shakin' It Up!

For some unknown reason, I let my husband and two co-workers talk me into joining them on Dr. Oz's 3-day Detox diet.  I guess I thought it might get me feeling more healthy and kickstart my attempts to trim down and firm up this spring.  It mainly consists of smoothies made from fruits and veggies, along with some vitamin supplements and green tea.  Above is the breakfast drink, which was my favorite of all three.  It's got raspberries, a banana, some flax seed, spinach, and almond butter.  Bottoms up!

The lunch one is not bad either, with cucumber, celery, almond milk, pineapple, kale, some lime and a little coconut oil, which give it a little tropical twist.  It makes a huge amount, so much that it took me all afternoon to finish it yesterday!

I didn't feel hungry really, but I got a splitting headache, probably from skipping my "All-Day-Energy" multivitamin (which unfortunately contains a good bit of caffeine!).  This morning I decided to take the vitamin (and in order to avoid nausea, also had some cereal with milk and fruit!) and did the smoothies for lunch and dinner.  Can I survive another day on this?  I don't know...

In the meantime, I've been making some slow progress on the piece due next week.  The hand stitching is getting tedious!  I guess that's why I prefer mixed-media art - you get to switch materials and techniques instead of doing the same thing all the time.  To give myself a break, I painted a background sunrise for the trees using acrylic inks on a scrap piece of silk.  My first attempt came out kind of blotchy.  

Luckily, I had another piece of silk about the right size and was able to make a second attempt.  Things always go better for me the second time around!  I learn so much from my mistakes!
I may add some machine stitching or sparkle tulle or both to this before I put the trees on as an overlay. Then I need to add two side pieces, which will also be trees, to make a triptych.   Will it all be finished by next Thursday?  We'll see...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Late-Winter Blahs

At least, that's my excuse for neglecting this blog and more active pursuits!  Instead, I've been watching past seasons of Dexter on-demand on Showtime with my husband and reading the next book in the "Yada Yada Prayer Group" series by Neta Jackson.   The weather has continued to be either very cold (temps in the teens in the mornings) or very damp and dreary, as you can see from the above photo, and it's gotten me feeling very lazy and non-productive, beyond the necessary cooking, cleaning,  laundry, and hours at the library.  My lower back has been giving me some grief as well, despite my Monday yoga class and my other feeble attempts to alleviate it with exercise and diet.  I hate to say it, but the back pain and dreary weather combined make me feel old, a feeling I'm trying to fight!

One giant (and more uplifting) task we've been able to cross off our list is booking a 20th anniversary trip to Florence and Tuscany with the help of this Rick Steves guidebook:
 We carefully chose dates that would coincide with my parents' schedule, as they will be coming here to hold down the fort while the DH and I are away, then booked the plane tickets.  After hours of poring through this book and researching online, we have reservations at a lovely little Bed & Breakfast that is centrally located in Florence, so we can see most of the sights on foot, and also reserved one night in Siena at the Pensione Palazzo Ravizza.  We even booked a tour of some vineyards in the Chianti region one of the days, so most all of the trip is planned ahead.  It is exciting, but a little daunting, to imagine a week away, and all the things I still need to get done before we go!

One of those things is a piece of art for our next FANE show at the Mahopac Library.  We decided as a group that this year our pieces would be comprised of more than one part (but these parts would fit together into a 14" square) and that they would be inspired by the lines of a poem or song.  After much thought and deliberation, I came up with the opening lines of one of my favorite poems, "Nothing Gold Can Stay," by Robert Frost.  I drew a sketch of how I hoped this piece of fiber art would turn out and now I'm trying to make it happen.  For some reason, each step has been a bit of a struggle so far.  I'm working with tulle, yarn, and a water-soluble stabilizer to create a foundation of tree branches to which I'm hand stitching some tiny leaves.  I'm not sure I'm satisfied with the results, and of course, it's very slow going, but here's a sneak peek:
It's supposed to be completed by March 7th, but I could possibly stretch it later into March if necessary. The problem with doing that is it only delays my progress on the next piece, due in early April!  Better finish this post and get in a little more stitching (and laundry and dinner prep) before I have to get off to my monthly scheduled Sunday afternoon at the library!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sunrise, Valentine's Day 2013

We had a few inches of snow fall again last night, the kind that sticks to every little twig and branch on every tree and bush.  I was outside early to clear the walkway and driveway, just as the sun was beginning to peek over the trees on the far side of frozen Lake Casse.  As I shoveled away and the earth turned, I was able to stop periodically and try to capture the hushed beauty and peace as the air became suffused with warm shades of creamy peach and yellow.  Here my photos: sunrise on February 14, 2013, Mahopac NY.

After the driveway was all cleared, I walked down the hill with Cassie (actually, I must confess, one of the girls left a sled at the top of the hill and it's much easier, faster and more fun to sled down, so that's what I did!).  By then, the sun was further up and was beginning to warm the air a little and an almost imperceptible breeze was ever so gently moving the trees.  The snow started drifting off the branches, in gentle wafts, almost like it was snowing again, but this time in the bright morning sunlight.  It made the air shimmer and glitter.  As birds began to twitter and call to each other through the trees, it was impossible not to feel truly blessed to experience the simple magic of an ordinary sunrise.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Taking a Charm Break

While I'm mulling over various ideas for the next FANE challenge, I decided to work on the next charm for our round robin swap.  This bracelet's theme is "Birds of a Feather," which is already obvious with only 3 charms.  The bracelet originator made the enameled bird on the left (I wonder how you do that...), the next person altered a scrabble tile to make her cute nest charm, and I opted for another version of the polyclay bird and birdhouse I made last spring for a swap.  I chose those muted colors to match the distressed bronze of her bracelet.  Seems to work.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Digging Out, Snuggling In

We made it through winter storm Nemo with a bit over a foot of snow.  The girls had another day off from school (and lost another day from their spring vacation), I got a day off from the library on Saturday, and we all got a chance to catch up on our reading, napping, and TV watching, since we never lost power (yay!).  I finished reading The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson, which I picked up at our used Book Barn, and quite enjoyed.  I think I'll look for the second in the series.  

Since I finished the tunnel book and haven't yet started my next project, I decided to be completely decadent and put in a movie, Shakespeare in Love, one of my favorites.  It's beautifully written and acted, and has an excellent cast.  Along with Judi Dench, Gwenyth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, Ben Affleck, and Colin Firth, I spied another familiar face...

Do you recognize the actor on the left?  If you're a fan of Downton Abbey, you know that's Jim Carter who plays Mr. Carson the butler!  In Shakespeare in Love, he played the actor who plays Juliet's nurse!  Pretty funny!

Meanwhile, the latest episode is on right now, so I'm going to get back to it!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tunnel Book Tah-Dah!

 It's finished!  What do you think?  It's like a little walk in a springtime park, I hope.  I had so much fun making use of a wide array of fabrics, ribbons, threads, paper, paint, wire, beads and clay!  Below are some detail shots:

 I wasn't sure how to cut out such a small child on a swing, but I was able to pull it off!  At the last minute, I was inspired to paint a little castle in the background.
 This cheery little polymer clay robin greets you at the gate, as do the daisies on the other side, below.  (Their centers were originally pink, so I just dabbed on a little yellow paint!).
All in all, a fun and successful venture.  I'll take it along to my FANE meeting tonight (very carefully!) and send a couple of photos off to CPS magazine.  Then I can get started on the next thing, due in about a month!