As the winter days slowly progress farther from the new year and closer to midwinter and Valentine's Day, I find my spirits lightening a little. The days are visibly longer and brighter, and so much warmer (a 40-degree temperature today feels almost balmy in comparison to last week!). For a pick-me-up, I recently redecorated this mantle shelf in the dining area. I usually keep everything silver and white for the month of January, but I really needed to see some color, so I moved the kalanchoe plant up there, added the silk Gerber daisies from Michael's Crafts, and tied on my Valentine's Day heart bunting. It feels like a breath of fresh air!
Here's a close up of two of the other gifts I bought myself last week - the little wire birdcage candle holder, and those sweet little clip-on birds (also from Michael's). I felt like I needed something cheerful and fun, and they were just the ticket. I bought a couple in yellow as well and placed them in strategic places around the house where I will see them and remember to think happy thoughts.
Maybe that's what sparked the idea to use up the rest of my silver artclay on these three bird charms. I used about half the clay on a Christmas gift for my DH, and the package suggests you don't store extra clay too long after the bag is opened. Even moistened, rewrapped, and double sealed in plastic, the clay was quite dry and took a lot of working to get it smooth again. It was a bit more difficult to work with than it was in the fall (I think next time I'll buy the slow-drying version). The birds still turned out pretty well - I had a little trouble getting the wings to look neat because the clay was so dry, but I managed to work them and rework them and file them after the clay was dry to come up with a bird I was satisfied with. I'll add them to my spring/bird themed charm bracelets.
Finally, I reworked my "architectural elements" project. In this post, I used a photo of Tuscany which I printed on fabric, but the colors seemed very faded, and I felt more sky needed to be showing if it's a view from a window. So I decided to use the photo of Tuscany as inspiration, rather than using the actual photo. I began by painting some sky on plain white fabric and and then fused on the reverse side of several fabrics to look like mountains in the distance. I'm playing with various prints and upholstery scraps to create a landscape that looks rustic and agricultural, hinting at vineyards, groves of olive trees, and cultivated fields. I still need to add details like cyprus trees, as well as more things in the foreground, but at least I'm making progress.