Although we had some nice spring weather earlier in the week, today has been wet, windy, and just plain unpleasant - a perfect day for satisfying indoor tasks like baking, finishing up old projects, tidying up all around, and maybe starting some new projects!
After doing a bit of cleaning upstairs, I headed downstairs to make the final stitches and adjustments to my kimono. Both sleeves are done as you can see, and I added the final embellishments, like the carved tree frog and shiny fish tail, below. It's bright, colorful, and interesting to look at, so I hope we can find a suitable spot to hang it after the display the first weekend in May (see previous post).
Before I did all that, I got it in my head to do a little baking. Before Easter, I bought some hot cross buns in the grocery store that looked delicious but were sadly dry and stale (I actually brought them back, they were so bad!). Every once in a while, I love a fresh baked sweet roll, so I decided to try a recipe I found in the back of the 7th Yada Yada Prayer Group book. This recipe calls for raisins and cinnamon and they smelled delicious every step of the way. Here they are fresh out of the oven:
They went nicely with my light lunch! The recipe calls for a light glaze, which I didn't put on, but the buns could actually use a bit more sweetness, so maybe I'll mix up the glaze and put it on the remaining buns in the traditional cross shape.
While I was eating, I took a few moments to admire the little "fairy garden" I started yesterday. I had that shallow wooden container lying around and have been meaning to fill it with some moss, tiny plants, interesting rocks, and whatever else I could come up with. While I was out in the backyard with Cassie yesterday, I came across a patch of those cute little wild violets already in bloom. I dug up a couple and nestled them in with some moss and another low-growing plant. I'll have to see if I have time to make some cute mushrooms or a little gnome out of polymer clay, or maybe some little garden structures out of bark or craft sticks. If you want to see some other great fairy garden ideas, just type those words into google images - there are many wonderful, creative, inspiring, fun samples posted on the web!
After lunch, I went back downstairs and completely cleaned up my worktable! I was able to put away all the fabrics I used for the kimono, cleaned and oiled my sewing machine, wiped my sewing table clean of loose threads, dust, and cat dander, and vacuumed everything completely! It felt great to get it all tidied up and ready for the next project.
Speaking of the next project, I received my next bracelet in the round-robin swap. This is the final bracelet with a bird theme (it is getting a little boring), and the colors for this one are blue and pearl with silver findings. It will go back to Peggy Krzyzewski, one of the co-authors of Making Mixed-Media Art Charms and Jewelry and leaders of the yahoo artcharms group. Through the group, I've come to know Peggy is extremely talented, experienced, knowledgeable, and generous with her time and talents, so I want this charm to be special for her.
I've worked within a bird theme before, so I already had a few things in my stash that I could play around with, and one of them was the silver-tone wing on the right below. For some reason, the phrase "a wing and a prayer" kept going through my head, so I decided to try making a small charm with a prayer on it. I took a page from an old church missalette I swiped years ago and mod-podged it onto a piece of heavy weight watercolor paper, then layered tissue paper over that. I stamped with a music stamp and silver ink on that, then cut it out, added the eyelet, and coated the whole thing with Mod Podge Dimensional Magic, which protects it and gives it that nice shine. Together with the wing and the little egg-shaped pearl, it will make a nice addition to her bracelet. But I also had some shrink-film birds I had printed with our inkject printer, so I decided to coat that with the Dimensional Magic as well, and see which charm I like better. The reverse side says "bluebird of happiness," as you can see below. Maybe I'll add a little beaded dangle to it and send them both...
I haven't been swapping charms as much since last summer - too many other things going on I guess, but when the latest swap theme came up, I thought I'd join in again - it's "the mermaid and her treasures" - right up my alley! I have lots of stuff in my stash already that would work for this theme, but I remembered early this morning that I saved these old stamps from a kit the girls had. I thought I remembered a mermaid in there, and I was right! This swap requires 26 charms, so I always look for ways to make them inexpensively and repetitively. A stamp would be a good way to go. She looks a little bit childlike (or childish), definitely styled for kids, so I'm not sure if I'll use them, but here are the charms I made, below. These do not have to be finished until the first week in May, so I have time to play around with some other ideas before I decide. I can even make several different designs if I want, all 26 don't have to be the same.