Sunday, April 27, 2014

April in the Mountains


Today dawned thick with foggy rain and chill but by noon the sun was out and the steam was rising. There is nothing like a spring rain to make a garden grow...


There are no adequate words...just enjoy the splendor









The garden is coming into its own, a little fuller each year and returning all on its own volition. All I do is pull some weeds and splash some water... oh what a wonder it is!



Even the foxtails are bejeweled after a spring rain. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 


The summer digs are shaping up nicely. When you live in an 8x32 foot space with a man and a dog you spend as much time outside as weather will allow. It makes for a nice enough  life.


 I have been amusing myself in the garden with a variety of thrift store finds, and I have only just begun. My husband said he wanted an art garden. When I asked for a clearer definition he said, "You know, what you do with stuff, its artsy." He only need ask once!


Here is my latest find...this little guy weighs about 30 pds and is about a foot tall. He had to live with us...no question about it!


This is not an up to date picture, but this is my life for now. I am here five days a week which is why I have not posted new art of any kind. Tis only for a season or two. Even though I spend a good deal of my off time dog tired, I am blessed to have a job I really do enjoy. I spend my days hunting for antiques and collectibles, and find all sorts of junk and treasures along the way. So for now, it is all about the paycheck, and the garden. 

Spring always seems to hold such promise. 

Maybe someday it will be all about the studio and the garden...if time allows. 

Well thanks for poking your head in...

that's all for now.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Oh my Gosh, Nine Months have passed!

Greetings friends and followers,

How fast the days evaporate. We are on the edge of another spring here, again already. The chickens are big now, and supplying us with about 9 eggs a day. That makes it worth the hard work to get to that point.
I have been busy in my workshop, but mostly making Christmas gifts it seems. Thankfully, the holidays are again behind us. I seem to like all the flurry less each year. Our buddy dog has been with us a little over a year now. He is such a good dog and has made such a positive impact on our lives I recommend one for everyone.


This past summer brought lots of changes in our living environment. My husband made this wonderful deck outside our bus and we expanded our yard by half again. It is still a work in progress, but is looking pretty good these days. Trying to work at the thrift store, maintain all this and have time for my studio is the reason this blog gets updated about once a year! It happens to be raining today, a perfect blog day...






In August my daughter and family, our 5 beautiful grandchildren, moved from next door to a community about an hour and a half away. I fear I am still adjusting to the big hole that has left and mourning the day to day victories in their lives that are missed at a distance. I have been able to stay with them about once a month and usually come home so exhausted it takes me a few days to start missing them again! I am due to go again next week. We will make valentines while my daughter and son in law have their first night away together in seven years~!

This last month my pen pal, Penelope Cake, who I met online two years ago when she inquired about purchasing some of my art, came to visit all the way from Cape May, N.J. I call her my serendipity sister. Her birthday is one day after mine. We are the same age,  have been married the same amount of years, both have one child and both put milk in our coffee only when we are out. Those are just a few of the similarity's. We both love art and creating so we have formed a strong bond. She came last year also. This last visit we went to stay with the kids for a few days before hitting my studio for some joint crafting...


Penelope was a dance instructor in a private girls school in NY for 18 years. She quickly won the girls over once again by choreographing a dance for them and doing yoga with them. My daughter and I enjoyed ourselves watching. We are made of the same stuff when it comes to exercise!


Penelope and I both had birthdays in early January so the girlies were all a twitter about the special birthday breakfast they had planned and prepared. Oh my it was wonderful... the stuff diabetic comas are made of! We had home made scones with fresh made lemon curd, and croissants with ham and cheese, hot cocoa and home made donuts and birthday cake. I am not being the least bit biased when I say my daughter is one of the sweetest most thoughtful women, and one of the best mothers I know. She is a gift, and always has been.


These are the two youngest of my gems. Nico just turned a year old and Naomi, the apple of her grandma's eye is a feisty and very talkative two. Nico outweighs Naomi. The boy is built like a tank. These two little sweeties are a big part of the reason I come home exhausted (happy, but exhausted none the less).





Penelope and I spent a lot of time in my studio this visit. We created a sweet necklace out of little tiny cookie cutters that she had brought. I worked on a ham can shrine that I am currently assembling and she did some embroidery on black and white photographs that is very cool. It was good to have creative company.



I made some fun things for Christmas this year. Pinterest is my main source of inspiration. I made this for my daughter....



This next gift I made for a very dear friend of mine. She has buried two of her grown children and her sister in the last few years. She has a hard time sleeping.  I wanted her to have someone who truly understands a mother's broken heart to talk to in the wee hours. I covered the shrine with many of the names for Mary, the Theotokos. It will bring her some solace I hope.


I
Every year I make a different ornament or two to give to the majority of the people I give gifts to. I only make bigger gifts for a few. Below are the two styles I made this year and both were a lot of fun. Pinterest again was my inspiration...




These are made out of bottle caps and come together quick and easy. I cut the birds out of Christmas cards from previous years and lined the back with vintage Christmas music, and viola, a very cute ornament! I had a shiny brite box that was falling apart so I recycled it for ornament cards. It worked out well I think...

These tart tins make great little frames for all sorts of ornaments, Christmas or otherwise. I am keeping my eyes open for more of them.



I made this little lady for Penelope. She wobbles back and forth on the slightest breeze and holds a banner that says "This too shall pass"... the words I live by, and a good reminder for all. 


I also made P. Cake this little Christmas tree. The idea was too cute to pass up!






I did finally finish the tin necklace I had started last spring when I last blogged. Below is a picture of it and a few other things I managed to accomplish...


These are just plain fun. I don't know if I will make anymore but sure had a good time putting these together!



These were cut from a vintage tea tin and beaded up. Penelope chose them for her birthday present.

I used rusty metal from old clothes pins for the framework of the earrings below. I love the look but they are too heavy for my saggy old ears. Someone young needs to wear them!





More tea tin earrings. I am working on different ideas for tin now. I have en-massed quite a collection and want to do some bigger pieces. I have started with a ham can shrine that is coming right along...who knows what the future will bring?



My sister in law purchased these earrings (because she wouldn't let me give them to her) when she came for our first family reunion in almost twenty years, this past summer. My oldest and youngest brother and their families managed to come from the east coast, but my two middle brothers that live right here in N. CA couldn't make it. Sheesh... Oh well...some peoples families....those of us who were there had a nice time. Not that you probably care, but here is a picture of a portion of our motley crew.



I have been having some fun with the multiple charm and found object necklaces. I have several more done but no pictures yet.


Below is a box I just finished this week for a co-worker who was married today, actually. I used the picture off her invitation for the center piece on it. It came out satisfactory. I envisioned it a bit different, but she liked it. 


Well, I think that brings me about up to date. Below is a picture Penelope took of my husband and I. Check out the fingerless gloves I am wearing. I wish I had a close up shot to show you. My daughter made them by needle felting on wool socks and they are amazing, just wonderfully amazing. 
Life is good enough...


until next time, God bless and keep you...
annie




Saturday, May 11, 2013

Spring is in the Air

As predicted, I have been spending more time outside than in. This year I am doing better at balancing time though, and have managed to complete a few projects a long the way. Soon I will be ready to list a batch of jewelry on my etsy store, and that will be a milestone...

My garden is slowly filling in, getting better each year. This has been a spectacular year for flowers. Here are some scenes from yesterday morning in the garden...


Come through the garden gate with me...


I call these peppermint roses. It is an ancient vine that climbs up the trellis over the gate. In the fall it is full of the most wonderful rose hips. Last winter I brewed tea out of them and instantly felt healthier!


Vegetable gardening has never been my strong suit, and here, between the moles, gophers, deer and crummy soil, it is really frustrating. This year I am container gardening veggies. My cherry tomato already has baby fruit. I have some peas and beans in containers out front of the bus where they get full sun and am converting my garden area to herbs and flowers just for the joy of it. As you will see, it is coming along nicely.


The iris's are spectacular this year. Some wonderful yellow ones opened today, but I have not taken pictures of them. I received a bag of rhizomes last year and stuck them here and here. It turns out they are all different colors, and oh so beautiful.


Need I say more?


I keep as many things in the garden as I do plants. Decorating life is one of my favorite things. 


Last year I made a short bed border out of half buried bottles. This year they became little terrariums!


This is the view into my garden from my 'bedroom' window. Since we live in a bus it is all one room, but up front, where we sleep overlooks the garden. If you look close you can see part of the bed border I put in with different plates. Its kind of fun. 


Last fall I transplanted a bunch of strawberries and they are kicking. I ate the first ripe one today. There are about 25 plants and they are all full. Hopefully the birds and rodents will save a few for the girlies and me.


Our bus is behind this breathtaking rose vine. The blooms start out a sweet pink and turn a lovely lavender as they fade away. It only blooms for a couple of weeks a year, but is certainly worth the wait!


The structure in back with the slide is the home of our future chicken coop. Our landlady has purchased nine chickens and my husband is in the process of converting an old play structure into a chicken coop with a large wired-in yard all around. The slide is going away...



I am on chick duty this weekend. They have gone from little balls of fluff to this in a matter of weeks. In a couple of more they will be ready to move to the coop and in six months should be blessing us with eggs. Life doesn't get much better!

In between gardening and creating I managed to give a minor face lift to our bathroom. We are in the process of remodeling everything so anything I do is temporary. It works for me. I used the staple gun to put up the map 'wallpaper' and elmers to cover the old dresser. I looks much better than it did!



In April my little granddaughter Melanie had her ninth birthday. She is on a horse kick and wanted all horse stuff, and her own tools. She likes working with my husband in his shop. So we put together a tool kit for her and I covered a carrier to keep them in, and made her a horse poster collage to hang above her bed...





Being of the Orthodox persuasion, we just celebrated our Easter, or Pascha, the first weekend in May. Here are some eggs I managed to get together for my five grandchildren. They have a little tree they hang their egg collection on. These filled it out nicely.



During Lent this year I decided to spend much less time on Pinterest. I do love it so, and have gotten so many incredible ideas out there, but was spending way too much time looking and far too little time doing. I have piles and piles of mending and vowed to spend the time I would on Pinterest sewing on buttons and patching holes, some of which I did do...but I also did some altering of clothes just for the fun of it. 



This sweater looks better on and was so much fun to put together. Our Pascha celebration begins at 11 at night and it is always chilly, so it was perfect to wear on that special night.


This vest was made for a cardigan. I really liked the color and stitching but it was too big so I cut off the sleeves (and made leg warmers out of them) and added  trim and the two big pockets because in my opinion clothes without pockets are worthless. 


I made myself these earrings our of copper sheet, rusty dresser lock plates and old clock hands. They go good with my new vest and one of the green feather necklaces I made.


The next few pictures are of a couple of mobiles I made this spring and have listed on my etsy site. I have a third one completed but have not photographed it yet...




And here is my newest passion...tin


Just this week I finished these three 'medals' that I am going to list for sale. They are made from vintage tins and embellished with a variety of treasures. The inspiration came from none other than Pinterest, but as with all my creations, are given my own spin.

Today I started my next project, a tin circus necklace with bottle cap bezels. It should be cheery and fun when done...


I guess I have been accomplishing more than I thought!  I feel like I never have enough time at my studio...but now that I see my blog I realize I have been more productive, and that is a good thing.




Until next time I wish you  happy creating...