Sunday, September 30, 2007

......this is a small concrete plaque hanging on the side of one of our "outbuildings" near the back yard, so I can see it often in passing. I love the sweet verse. If you think of how rushed and hurried (and harried!) most people move through their daily lives, they seldom stop long enough to look up at the trees, or to listen to their sighing. Or "soughing", as our pines here in the south do so often. Speaking of pine trees, ours are fast losing their needles this weekend.........there has been a little breeze most days and the drought has helped the autumnal process along more rapidly than usual. But think of all the great free mulch we get every year!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

........and this is the newest beaded art doll in the "fantasy freeform" round robin to come in the mail this week! There are no rules in freeform beading, so if I screw it up, nobody knows it! Not even me! What fun.....
her face is a textured bead instead of the usual clay face with features; it bothers me when dolls don't have features or faces, so I'm gonna bead on the back side so I won't see it.
The cheesecloth in this photo is some that I dyed with Kool=Aid, not knowing at the time that it would wash out when I rinsed the excess off!
So instead of getting dark colors, I got washed-out pastels. Not to worry:
I dug out some old Easter egg dye tablets and re-dyed I have pretty purple, turquoise, pink, and a horrid bright orange! (I don't care for orange.) The cheesecloth is for some mail-art postcards, and maybe some for my "stick girl" posted here several days ago..........stay tuned!
This is one of the large old sycamore trees near the house; this morning the sun was hitting the beautiful white limbs just right to look painted against the autumn-blue sky. Normally, these trees would not lose their leaves this soon, but the ongoing drought has forced them to shed early. The upper branches are always a perfect snow -white after shedding the bark as they grow and expand each year. I love to stand at the base of the sycamores and peel the brown bark off in the fall of the year.

Friday, September 28, 2007

.....this poor pine tree lives in our front yard. Many moons/years ago, my dad had a fence along this side of the yard to keep cattle in. A storm bent the young tree at a right angle over the top of the fence, but it did not break in two. It grew horizontally a few years, and then took off growing straight up again! Isn't nature wonderful?

We surprised a flock of 7 wild turkeys one morning this week on our walk around the farm............they were in a bottom pasture near the creek, and we didn't see them for the high grass (which will get cut soon by the hay man). Evidently they heard us before we saw them, and the noise they made flying off caught our attention........they are huge birds! Looked like fat geese taking off..... I hope they will stay here where they will be protected from hunters this winter.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

....ooops! I missed posting here yesterday; I'm trying to put something new up EVERY day here, but sometimes life just gets in the way! Above is a small wall quilt I have for sale in our local coffee shop.....the quiltie is about 20 inches across. The image is printed on the fabric, and I went around every part with hand-quilting; added vintage buttons and some beads-on-tape at the bottom. I hung it from a dogwood branch I got from my front yard, 'cause I didn't have a small curtain rod! Mother Nature gives us all sorts of neat stuff to work with.........for free!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

......digging in the closet of my workroom this weekend, I found remnants of an old handmade quilt that had been damaged beyond repair. This is one of the heart-shaped pillows I'm making out of the quilt pieces; just adding vintage buttons. Also found pieces of a vintage chenille bedspread; need to get with more pillows from that........stay tuned!

Sunday, September 23, 2007 is one of my embellished handbags/clutches......made from faux fur, old black lace, pearls, velvet, and a red satin rose. The fur and lace were both "recycled" from a thrift shop "mink" scarf, and a vintage but damaged lace purse from the 1940's. Dontcha just love to make new thingies out of what others would throw away?!! I've now "fulled" some old wool sweaters in the washer and dryer (man, did they ever shrink!!!) and will soon cut them up for purses and pillows. Another thrift shop find!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

This huge acrylic abstract painting on canvas was my first and (hopefully) last "modernistic" was actually fun, and done for my teenage great-niece. She just "had" to have a piece of my work for her bedroom, and using the colors she used. We can tell she's "creative" already!!! Heh, heh........don't know if that's a good thing or not. She used to paint her own Christmas ornaments for family members while I was painting mine..... many moons ago when she was small, and I was deep into "decorative painting". But then I got a computer! And found the Internet! And made all these wonderful artist friends "out there" that I never even knew existed! So now I'm into hand-beading. With tiny seed beads, mostly. On stuffed, fabric doll bodies. But I also make small art quilts for the wall and heavily embellish them with vintage buttons, laces, ribbons, embroidery, and lots of beading! I hope to have a new handmade brooch to show soon........ I'm playing with the Babylock Embellisher machine again, and it's so fun and quick to use those 7 needles (with NO thread!) to punch/felt sheer fabrics and yarns and ribbons together onto a base; then throw on a little glue-glitter, and some beads..........voila! A pretty, feminine brooch. (Most of the time.) My dear mentor, Her Majest Margo (Duke), has opened up new doors AND windows for me into the beautiful world of embellishments! Thanks, Margo!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

......well, guess what the heck THIS thingie above is??!!! It's a twig "doll", of course. We lost one of our dogwood trees to the drought and went to cut it down, and I "saw" this little girl doll who seemed to be running away! So I saved the branch and cut her out with pruning shears; then hubby finished his job of sawing the tree down. See below photo for her natural neck decoration............
........she has a beautiful area of light green lichen already growing and attached to her "neck", so I will make her a head of some kind, and wrap her with fabric or yarns or wool rovings and beads. Eventually. Right now she's running along my workbench wall where I can see her. Don't want her to get lost!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

......isn't this a peaceful path? It's actually the back way into our local historical Fairview Cemetery, and very popular with locals for daily people walks, dog walks, and even horseback rides! It reminds me of an outdoor cathedral, with the beautiful vaulted ceiling of trees, reaching to meet overhead, and a little further on up the path is a pretty little creek with huge boulders that children have played on for many generations, and a little bridge that goes into "uptown" and a back street. At certain times of day, depending on the seasons, there are wonderful rays of sun that come thru the tree branches and local artists are fond of painting here, as well as we photographers, who visit often!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007's what we found on this morning's walk!!! A wild turkey feather! Right in the path where I saw five of the turkeys recently, near the pond. Isn't the closeup pattern wonderful?!! I hope they find good cover when the hunting season opens for them. We don't allow hunting of any kind on our properties, and thankfully it's all pretty much "natural" with woods and lots of cover and food for wildlife.

Our walk today was just wonderful.......after suffering so many months with the awful record-breaking heat and humidity this summer, now we have 65-degree mornings, and very comfortable days with the skies not quite, but on the way to being the special shade of blue they turn when autumn really settles in. Our drought is still upon the land, and no rains in sight again for this week; the older trees are even showing signs of suffering......the sycamores have dropped a good half of their leaves two months earlier than normal; and we are seeing leaf edges of other deciduous trees on the farm turning brown, curling upwards and dying. We here in N.C. are daily praying for rains!

Sunday, September 16, 2007's what to do with some plain wine glasses for a quick gift! Add beads and wire twisted and curled around the stems. There's no "wrong" way to do them; make them match someone's kitchen/dinnerware color scheme using colored wire, or "gold" and "silver" colors of wire. Mixing large and small sizes of glass beads also is pretty; to keep them from sliding off, just curl the wire ends at the beginning (bottom) and at the top when you finish, into curliques! If your gift recipient doesn't "do wine", then make some other size stemmed goblets for them the same way! By the way, one of my "friends"?!!! just reminded me it's only 119 days until Christmas, so I'd better get my butt in gear and finish some goblets for friends on MY Christmas list!!!!!! Humbug! I'm gonna smack her next time I see her this week...............

Friday, September 14, 2007's my first beaded brooch/pin, before I knew how to do peyote stitch to enclose the piece of china! It's a 17th century Chinese Canton china vase that its owner dropped and broke! Luckily, she saved the pieces, and I had this large chunk sanded off at the sharp edges, and filled in the concave back with felt; glued it onto felt backing and stitched away with beads until it held together nicely! The pin back was sewn on the other side, of course, and my cuz tells me she's enjoying wearing it now!

Now I'm off to bead awhile on the round robin doll again.......and maybe to sign up for a Christmas "challenge" doll, which we work on, but get to keep! Stay tuned................

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

.........this is the very first fully beaded art doll I made, back last fall. I actually cheated a little and only filled the back side with scattered beads, but the front turned out pretty, I thought. Not a happy face, and the "hair" is wilder than mine! I used thick and thin yarns.......
The heart is a small ceramic glazed "tile" that I glued on first, and then began to circle from there and worked outwards. I've learned quickly that size 6 and 8 seed beads are lots more fun to work with because they're larger, and cover more fabric quicker than their smaller counterparts - the little size 11 and 15 beads! Of course the tiny ones give the most intricate designs; just more time and sweat involved!
I'll have another photo soon of the current RR doll; one member had to drop out of the game because of illness, so we who are left get to bead a larger area on the other dollies! Yaaay!!! I got carried away today looking at my "Embeadery" book by Margaret Ball which gives wonderful wild stitches, and clear and simple illustrations of how to do each design. Before I knew it, I'd almost covered half the back of this dolly! Now I have to post and decorate her little traveling journal, and she will be ready to mail off to Oregon by the end of the month. And I will receive the next doll to work on for October. Stay tuned............

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Here's the front and back view of one of my beaded art dolls. She's about 6" tall and was made for a dear friend who lives far away. She's made with mostly seed beads of different sizes; a clay face from a mold; and hand-dyed silk ribbon for her hair. ..........I'm getting addicted to making these babies! And a year ago I would have bet $$$$ that I couldn't make one, but thanks to the kind and generous ladies on the Beaded Art Doll yahoo group who let me join them, I can now actually do basic stitches (a few!).
NOW they're making me learn to do "freeform beading".............! It's coming along slowly and makes me cuss a lot, but it's beautiful and I hate to admit I'm loving it!!! Heh, heh..........

Sunday, September 9, 2007

......this is my favorite of the few concrete pieces strewn about the yard here. She's been reading that book for years, and is finally getting that beautiful patina that only Mother Nature can give! And, like her, I'm spending today reading new library books, so this will be short today! For you readers out there, do be sure to check out: "Still Summer" by Jaquelyn Mitchard; "HIDE" by Lisa Gardner; and "What the Dead Know" by Laura Lipman. All very good murder/mysteries........ (I must be on a morbid streak this week!) These novels will keep you turning pages fast!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

..........and this fake fat frog (say that fast three times!) is one of a set of three, in different sizes; they also live at the ponds, but don't talk much.'s "Miss Froggy" who lives in one of our three goldfish/koi ponds in the yard. She has a gentleman bullfrog living in the same pond.........he is huge and talks to her and us every night! I haven't been able to sneak up on him to get his picture yet! Stay tuned..............

Friday, September 7, 2007

We noticed on our morning walk today the tiny blue morning glory shown above; and also the dogwood berries on the trees are already turning red too early! (below photo) We've also lost two large dogwood trees in the front yard to this drought's hard to watch trees that I planted 25 years ago as little 6" babies slowly die, with their leaves turning brown and curling up. We have a good, deep well out here in the country, but we're afraid to push our luck and use it for watering this big acre lot.
There's a chance of the storm rolling around off the NC coastal beaches this week to gain strength and bring us some rain, but being so far inland, we probably won't get any rains from this one. It's pretty bad when you have to hope for a hurricane to bring us rains!!! And we've had them come this far inland's NOT a pretty sight! So we'll wait upon the Lord, and ask Him to hurry!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

.......and here are the 28 tubes of Japanese seed beads I just got to play with! Hex beads! Silver-lined beads! Luster beads! So you know what I'll be doing the next few days.......hope to have some small brooches to show you soon!
.......and here is Baby Sister cat admiring part of the gorgeous stash of half=price beads I just got from fusionbeads! Yummy! Thanks goodness she's too old and fat to jump onto the tables any more to play with my projects. And I know better than to leave them on the bed or chair or floor!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

.........okay! Here's the back side of Melani doll........I added turquoise nuggets and a shell and other doo-dads to the back of her head. Then went down her back with my very first attempt at "peyote" stitch in pink beads; I'm so excited.... I can do it!!! Then added small pink bobbles of smaller beeads and a little "bridge" which I threaded through a green ceramic "donut" bead. Now she's ready to move on to Arizona for the next beader to "do her thing" in freeform beading to her. And hopefully soon, I will receive the second doll to work on! The ladies on Beaded Art Dolls yahoo group are just THE BEST!!! I'm learning so much (and have an excuse for buying more beads!!!) heh, heh............. "Melani", the first of six in a new RR group I'm beading with! Melani came to me with her face and beautiful pink peyote stitching already around it. I've added beaded loops of hair and turquoise square sequins! I just found Cartwright's sequins website, and ordered a gazillion in so many colors and shapes and sizes! This doll also has a little travel journal that I have to embellish, and then will show you what it looks like. The next photo will (hopefully!) be a shot of her back...........

Sunday, September 2, 2007

This is a little neckpiece I made recently........using scraps of fabric and a piece of vintage crocheted lace, and seed beads. It's lightly padded, like a "quiltie" and very lightweight. Now I'm off to bead more on my visiting round robin doll.........she's almost done (for my part)! Then I will anxiously await the next dolly in the per month to work on; and when we ladies in the beading group get our own dollies home, they will all be totally covered and dripping in beads, and finished! What a fun and helpful group of women on Beaded Art Dolls yahoo group!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

........and here's our beloved old "Baby Sister" cat.......sneaking outdoors this morning for some tasty grass. She's around 17 yrs. old, and is our last "house cat".........we did have three, and I've never been without a cat my entire life! Hubby and I are what are known as "animal people"...........heh, heh........ dogs are next, but our first love is for cats. Especially rescue/ "alley" cats. "Sister" has, for some unknown feline reason, started to wake me up between 5 and 6 a.m. the last few weeks. This is NOT a good thing, 'cause I am NOT a "morning person". And I am retired. And old and cranky. ESPECIALLY in the mornings! First she pulls at the covers and then my pajama collar with a fat little paw; if that doesn't work, she will pat me gently on the nose. If that doesn't do it, she starts gently patting items on the bedside desk towards the edge.........and one by one, over they go! When the hand lotion bottle hits the hardwood floor, that's usually enough for me to take notice and get on up, 'cause once awakened, I can't go back to sleep. But she does usually let me take a good "cat nap" with her in the afternoons!
Here are the cicada shells we're finding on our trees, and we can hear the grown bugs "singing" in the trees like crazy! Usually I find a dead one, and will upload it if/when I do, so those of you who don't know what a "dry fly"/cicada bug looks like! As children, we'd look for the shells at the end of summer and pick them off.........whoever got the most shells won. WHAT we won, I don't remember.........but I still love to look for them. And passed the fun on to another generation or two........