Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Thursday!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you are all spending the day with family and loved ones, indulging in turkey with all the trimmings.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, most especially because all Americans celebrate it together, and because it is so important to stop and appreciate our many blessings (not to mention all the great food, especially the pies!).

Today I'm feeling grateful for the basics, things like plentiful food in the fridge, a warm, comfortable home, and good health for myself and my family.  My husband is also at the top of the list again, as well as his job, which enables us to live the life we do.  

I hope you are healthy, loved, and blessed too!  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Look-ee what I made!

A couple of years ago, my DH asked me to look around for a piece of jewelry he could wear with the symbol of St. Joseph, which looks like this:

I went to several local silver jewelry shops, searched online, and even contacted some silver jewelers on Etsy, but was unable to find anything remotely similar, or someone who'd be willing to custom make one for me at a price that wasn't outrageous.  

When I decided to test out my silver art clay kit, I thought I might attempt to make one myself.  After watching the video, I realized this was probably a challenging first project, but decided to go ahead and give it a shot anyway.  And look how it turned out!

I'm quite pleased with the results!  The clay is easy to use, but it dries out very quickly, especially this time of year when the humidity in the house is low.  I managed to make it in stages, first the background shield shape, then the carpenter's square, then the lilies, and just moistened the clay to get the pieces to stick, like you would with pottery clay.  The flowers were the most challenging, and came out a little rougher than I would've liked.  I smoothed them as best I could with the files that were in the kit, and I have to say, it's not perfect, but it's not half bad!   Using the butane torch was actually pretty easy as well - I followed the directions and it all worked!  When the substrate burns off, it leaves a piece that's 99.9% pure silver - pretty nice for a kit that only cost about $100.  And I only used about half the clay.  I think I may try to make a silicone mold of this so if I ever want to make another one, it will be just a matter of pressing the clay into the mold.  I may also antique this piece with liver of sulpher so it looks a little more aged.  I think it will make a nice Christmas gift for him, no?  What will I make next, something for myself or for the girls?  Hmmm...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday

On this very chilly Thursday morning, I find myself being thankful for the little things...

Toasty flannel sheets in warm autumn colors,

... the sun sparkling off the lake...

...a day off from work, with no appointments scheduled (not one!).  I have five whole hours alone in the house to do whatever I choose (and it won't be cooking, cleaning, or grocery shopping!).

I made myself a nice hot breakfast and now I'm going to head down to my creative space to while away the time.  Since my last post, I've found enough inspiration to create these little gift tags/ornaments, like the ones in the Quilting Arts Gifts challenge (see this post for more info).  They're quick and fun!  I get to play with a lot of stuff in my stash and they do double duty as a gift tag and a tree ornament.

As soon as I finish this post, I plan on getting to one of my goals for the year which was to try out my silver art clay kit, which was my big Christmas gift last year!  Yesterday I finally picked up the butane you need to fire the torch, I watched the included DVD last night, and now I'm ready to go! 
What are you feeling thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Slumpity Slump

It's been over a week since my last blog post, but I can't say it's because I've been excessively busy.  I'm not sure what's going on - I guess I'm in a bit of a slump, missing the warm weather and the garden, and giving in to the need to be lazy.  Maybe I'm just feeling my age (say it isn't so!) or I'm frozen like a deer in headlights with the approaching holidays speeding towards me.  Whatever it is, I'm hoping it will soon pass and I'll be back to my creative, energetic self.

When I get like this, I'm not drawn to TV or other electronic entertainment - I read.  And just like an alcoholic cannot stop until he's drunk, I can't stop until the book is finished or I can't keep my eyes open - whichever comes first!  During the months of August, September, and October, I read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon (there are 7 books so far, the first of which is being made into a series on Starz which will air this winter!  The 8th book comes out next March).  When I finished those, I picked up a few odds & ends, including Dan Brown's latest, Inferno, which takes place in Florence.  It's another fast-paced scavenger-hunt type of book, with the main character, Robert Langdon, going from one famous locale to another.   Reliving our visit to Florence made the book that much more enjoyable for me, as I was familiar with many of the places he goes for clues.  We even have a photo of Dante's death mask, which contains one of the big clues in the book.  Of course, I finished that very quickly and now I'm waiting for Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, which was recommended to me by several people.

I do sometimes manage to get down to my studio and putter around, but I'm hesitant to dive into anything big just yet, although I've collected materials for some projects and they are just waiting for me...  I did manage to make myself a cute new pair of earrings yesterday, which didn't take long, but maybe will be the inspiration I need to get moving of some larger projects.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Mindful Monday

Mondays always seem to come crashing in a bit too soon, don't they?  Even with an extra hour yesterday, my head is full of busy things today.  Some of them are immediate (like I pulled something out of whack on Saturday and need to make another PT appointment) but others can be kept on the back burner (like going through catalogs for Christmas gift ideas).  Over the weekend, I cut the last few flowers left on the deck from the summer and made the cheerful arrangement above to remind myself not to be too busy or preoccupied to enjoy today!

What are you feeling mindful of today?