Sunday, March 30, 2008

A stamping good time!

Recently I ordered a letter-sized sheet of rubber stamps........unmounted
stamps, that is! The prices of stamps unmounted is HALF the price of the same images that come already stuck to a wooden block! Well, duh. It didn't take me long to realize I could get half-priced stamps and get DH to cut me some scraps of lumber to fit each image. Then the images are cut around with scissors (which will make your hand REALLY bruised and sore if you do many at the time!) Ask me how I know.
Here are some of the face images (I love faces!) and if you left-click on this photo above, you can see I've cut the images out of the sheet of red rubber and then using double-stick tape, I've cut same-size lavender foam shapes to match each one. The foam is the inexpensive kind from the discount stores that kids play with, and comes in all colors in letter-size sheets. You can only see the lavender edges here under some of the stamps.........after sticking the foam to the wooden block, I tape the image of red rubber onto the foam (still using the wonderful double-sided tape!) Now we're all ready to stamp anything that gets in the way!
Isn't the little girl's face in the round image above wonderful?!! This whole sheet of images was mostly new faces for my collection. They are different sizes; some can be used for doll faces.........just stamp onto the fabric with a permanent inkpad ink. I have this oversize black ink pad that I practice with before getting out the colored ink stamp pads........and I don't invest in many of those because I'd rather stamp in black or brown and fill in soft pastel colors with pens or paints or chalks. Stay tuned to see new "faces" on my projects coming soon!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Camellias and cats............

These gorgeous pink camellia blooms came off two huge old shrubs that are in my niece's yard across the pond. They're about 25 yrs. old and have been blooming for weeks! The cold nights ruined most of the early blooms, but these warm days and nights we're having this week lets them stay long enough for me to go snitch some. I wish camellias had fragrance; they are so beautiful, they look as though they SHOULD smell nice too!
Here's the indoor white Baby Sister cat talking to the two grey striped outdoor cats...........that's big, fat Itsy Bitsy at the left, and her mama (named "Mama Cat") on the right. I'm SO great w/names of pets! When Itsy Bitsy was born, she was the runt of the litter........Mama Cat showed up here in the winter as a starving, pregnant "teenager". Of course we fed her and the kittens 'til they tamed somewhat; she was a feral cat. And the best hunter!!! (I worry about our birds, but usually they bring them to me without hurting them!) So some kittens were given to good homes and we had Mama Cat and Bitsy spayed a few months later. And Bitsy just grew and her belly fat nearly drags the ground! (But we don't tell her because it would hurt her feelings.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bluebird days.................

Last week our birds of all kinds were out on the warm days, checking out the housing situation for this spring. DH (dear husband) got this great shot of the male bluebird of the pair that has staked out the bluebird box in our backyard. This male and his little drab-colored mate are in and out of the box every day now; not adding any nesting materials yet, but one morning I saw them run off a chicadee that was trying to look inside! I'll keep you posted of any upcoming blue eggs and babies.........

Monday, March 24, 2008

Forsythia time...........

This huge forsythia bush lives in my neighbor's yard up the road, and we pass it on our daily walks. Isn't it just wonderful and sunny!?? Of course these shrubs are supposed to have long, draping "arms" full of yellow flowers, but these folks let someone "trim" this poor bush to within an inch of its life, so it makes strong and straight-up limbs now! Maybe if they let it be a couple of years, it will get back to its naturally beautiful and graceful shape. In the meantime, it gets full sun most all day so it makes lots of people feel good just to see it everyday as they pass by on the road!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter lizard.............??!!!

Left-click on these photos and find the copper colored baby lizard! The top picture has him vertically ...........almost out of the camera's frame.
........and in this picture (which is a little out of focus).......the lizard is running from left to right in the center, across some pine straw. On my afternoon walk he darted right into the path and was so "slithery" I first thought it was a baby snake. Duh. Maybe they aren't out enjoying this beautiful Easter Day like the little lizard was doing!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Waiting for the Easter bunny............

Isn't this vintage baby doll in her old baby carriage sweet?!! She's one of a collection of vintage babies and accoutrements belonging to my best buddy Harriet M. here in Warren County. HM is also a very talented artist and I hope I've finally talked her into painting some/one of her dollies ....... wouldn't they make wonderful note cards also?! She has collected some beautiful dolls and little quilts and clothing and one day this winter, we found in a local antique shop a sweet print of an old dolly, already framed! Of course it had to go live in Harriet's "doll room"....... and she still has her own dollies she played with as a child in VERY good
dolls, on the other hand, are pitiful! I played with them too much and gave them haircuts and painted their nails, etc. but I still have them. Maybe the Easter bunny will bring me a new doll one of these years to work on!!!
This is Easter weekend........ very early this year and we have loved ones who live far away here for a few days. The house smells wonderful with fragrances coming from the oven; and today is perfectly beautiful outdoors: the sun is shining, the temp is 71 degrees, and trees and flowers are sprouting buds and blooms! I hope you all are having a blessed Easter holiday...........

Friday, March 21, 2008

New spring buds!!

Our weeping willow trees are finally budding out at the pond! DH rooted and planted three at the pond and they made it through the drought except for maybe the smallest one.
He put this wire fencing around the little trees when we had a beaver living in the pond last year, just in case the beaver "needed" tender young tree trunks to build its dam. This spring the beaver is gone and the little trees are putting out new baby leaves that feel like velvet or satin. And they'll enjoy the sun and warmth today and's in the 60's! I'm off to do my walk and check the bluebird houses.........

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My creative muse is loose!

Be sure to left-click on this photo so you can read the sign..........this was another of my cute birthday cards last month, and I saved it to thumb-tack onto the door to my sewing room when I'm "in the mood" sewing or beading or collaging fabric pieces and DO NOT want to be disturbed.............heh, heh. DH nor the cat either one pay it any mind; one yells through the door and the other scratches on the door until I give up!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My old painting............

In cleaning out my back workroom recently, I found this old acrylic painting of apples I did on an old, bug-eaten piece of wood. It's a "stop chute" piece from an old grist mill here in Warren County. I've always dragged home "weathered" pieces of wood to paint on, and this fit the bill; plus it was from our locality.
I learned to do tole/decorative painting way back in the 1970s, and after a few local classes, I bought all of Priscilla Hauser's painting books one at the time. Her style of painting was what I wanted to do........with the flowing mixture of lights into darks; and her famous "curly-cues" she puts on her floral pieces. Her books are wonderful with step-by-step directions and illustrations! For dummies like me who were artist "wanna-be's".........and it worked!
I posted this photo so you could see the wonderful bore holes from various decades at the abandoned grist mill that are in the wood. I also love to bring back driftwood from the beach, and "sea glass" pieces.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dolly's done on time!!!

Well, prayer works! I jumped on this project that was worrying me getting close to the deadline and "just did it" and now I'm down to only one more little 2x2 beaded square by the end of the month. This pin turned out prettier than I thought it would; it's a good four inches, but not too heavy or bulky. She'd also be pretty pinned to a purse or scarf.
First I glued the pretty face (from online artist/friend Maggie Robinson) who makes these wonderful faces with soft colors and then crackles them to look aged. The backing is a piece of heavy felt.....with the wide pink ribbon just ruffled around the edge. When the glue was dry, I added the old piece of hand-dyed lace at her throat and her "crystal" and pearl necklace.
I intended for her hair to be an explosion of green glass leaves, but they were so heavy, I changed my mind and used a few leaves and almost 1/3 of a large tube of lime green seed beads for her hair. I wanted her to look like spring and happy colors.........hmmmmm; now what to name her?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Deadline doll.................!

This piece I'm beading on is a "mini challenge" going on in the Yahoo group "Beaded Art Dolls". We have to use a face of some kind, and beads, and can choose whether to make a pendant or a pin/brooch. I had this large beautiful face made of polymer clay I bought online and want to make a large brooch/pin using her face and beads and some kind of fiber.
I guess my "fiber" is turning out to be this hot pink ribbon; the background everything is being hand-sewn onto is a thick piece of felt. These photos were taken while I was trying to decide on which glass beads, etc. to put around her face instead of the usual peyote stitch band. And of course I want leaves and flowers and such because it's finally SPRING around these parts, and things are beginning to bloom!

I really love this look using the freshwater "blister" pearls, but they're expensive and need filling in at the little gaps. So I've dug out of my glass bead stashes other green and white and gold and pink and lavender and hopefully I can show you a finished photo of the brooch soon, because her deadline is the end of March. And I forgot Easter was in there somewhere and we'll have family coming to visit and eat and entertain for a week!!!!!!!! That's all good; I just didn't realize Easter was in March when I signed up for not one, but TWO small beading projects which have a deadline the last of March. I can hear Mama from the cemetery: "Oh, ye of little faith!" heh, heh............thank God she passed on her wonderful sense of humor to me. It has gotten me thru worse time crunches than these! So those of you who lead boring lives, stay tuned and see if I make my deadlines..........hmmmmm.............(excuse me while I go send up a little prayer to get me on my way!)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Easter bunnies..........

This tall concrete rabbit sits beside the koi fish pond all year 'round, and at Christmas I tie a red velvet ribbon around her neck. But for now she's holding her basket of flowers, and my periwinkle is blooming its tiny little lavender flowers all around.
This little rabbit whose "flower pot" looks like a cabbage had some lovely small-leafed ivy growing in it, but the drought (and my forgetting to water it) last summer did away with THAT problem! Now she's sitting cold and empty waiting for a spring annual of some kind. Or Easter eggs?
And this sweet little green clay rabbit lamp is in the bedroom because I saw her in the store uptown one day and she told me she wanted to come home and live with me. So. That's our story and we're sticking to it!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sure signs of spring.............

Yesterday our weather was around 65 degrees and sunny! When I went uptown and walked by the bank, these bright and cheerful yellow and purple pansies got my attention immediately. Some summers they plant this area with red geraniums also; I'll keep watch! I have to admire everyone else's pansies each spring now because we have lots of deer who absolutely love the taste, evidently, and mow ours down the first night I plant any! I guess they're hungry for a taste of spring "greens", like people are following a long winter! (And yes, we've tried all the "remedies" to keep them away; they don't work.)

Okay, here comes a daily march of the bunnies living around my house and yard. My sweet online friend Susan C. in Alabama posted her bunnies around her place and challenged other bloggers to do the same.........she says it's almost Easter, and high time to get'em out!!! So here's my first's a little concrete rabbit many years old, but he's so far resisting my attempts to get him properly "aged" with rust and green moss, etc.
I might try the buttermilk/vinegar or some such yucky mixture I read about to put on concrete pieces outdoors to "age" them quickly.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Post Office mural............

Our pretty old post office building on Main Street has wonderful woodwork as shown above this door, and a hand-painted mural all across that wall above the paneled wall. I got a quick photo of the mural the other day while waiting in line to mail a's up so high that most people don't even notice it, but I've always loved it and wondered how it came to be there. It shows a meandering creek and cows and horses and Warren County's three most-loved trees: magnolia, pine and cedar. I stood on tip-toe and couldn't make out the artist's name, but the date it was painted looked to be 1936. The scene is very pastoral like much of our rural county, and lovely. I'll have to ask some of our local history buffs and get the details of the mural........I wonder if the artist was a native, or a traveler just passing through..................

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I'm a historic cemetery buff..............

This week's weather has been so beautiful that I drove through our local historic Fairview Cemetery to get some new photos. This big lot has a wonderful ironwork fence around it, and this pretty little gate at the entrance.
And this lot has a gorgeous and tremendous OLD tree that has long ago grown and spread its roots tenderly around several of the older head stones. I love the thought of loved ones buried in this lot being looked over (literally!) by huge green boughs in the summertime; and in the winter the same branches are bare and beautiful against the blue sky.

Lots of people don't care for cemeteries, but I'm thankful my mama always took me with her to tend our family's lot when I was little, and she knew where lots of older families were buried and lots of interesting tidbits about some of the families there. We little ones ran and played and climbed on the monuments and headstones while Mama did the work of raking or planting spring bulbs or clearing out weeds. I'm glad she passed her love for pretty old cemeteries down to me; she and I have spent many a pleasant hour roaming around old ones in our short travels from home. I also have taken some nice rubbings from some unusual headstones through the years, and wish I could afford a gorgeous big angel for MY headstone when I croak! Heh, heh......our family also has a sick sense of humor..........and I have a page torn out of a magazine of a beautiful angel that sits at the gravesite of some famous book author (that I cannot remember the name right now!) He's a North Carolina writer; it will come to me eventually and I'll let you know, and post some more photos the next pretty day I'm rambling around the cemeteries in this neck of the woods!

Monday, March 10, 2008

A quilted fairy tale book.............

Please right-click on the photo of the book shown above and see the precious little children and's a photo of an actual hand-made quilt that took a master quilter one year and one day to complete! Her name is Sieglinde Schoen Smith and she resides in Pennsylvania. The story and illustrations are based on Smith's favorite German fairy tale she heard as a child.

Sibylle von Olfers wrote the original German folk tale, which was first published in 1906. Exactly a century after the original book was published, Smith started making the quilt to honor her favorite childhood story.

Jack Zipes translated the original fairy tale from German into English; the title is "Mother Earth and Her Children, a Quilted Fairy Tale". It is published by Breckling Press in Illinois. I wish every quilter and every artist and every needlewoman could see this beautiful work of art up close; the details of thousands of tiny pieces of fabric all sewn together by hand just takes my breath away!


Here's the latest knitted scarf done on the huge no. 19 needles. Awhile back I found lots and lots of different yarns and ribbon-yarn on sale, so I did the only reasonable thing to do and got about three large tote bags full!
I keep a scarf going for in-between projects or if I'm watching a t.v. program with DH. Pretty soon when the weather turns hot for the summer I'll have to put away the yarns and pick up something cooler to work on!
Note to TRACEY: send me your email address so I can get in touch with you about the other knitted scarves!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hearts of gold...............

I've been playing with some polymer clay and a jar of Lumiere acrylic paint this weekend........these are some of my little face molds to be used on beaded dolls. And the hearts are just some freeform molding because I cannot find my paper bag of old heart-shaped cookie cutters! Grrrrrrrr!
I can see the bag right now. It's a brown sandwich bag, and folded down at the top. Full of old rusty cookie cutters. Probably still out in the barn, but it's too cold to go look today. On to something else!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Easter things..............

These gorgeous purple crocuses are up and blooming like crazy! It amazes me every single spring how something so beautiful can come up out of the cold ground and a brown little bulb........and every spring when I see the first blooms of the season, I am renewed again. And I know that Easter can't be far away!
While digging in the barn for something this week, I unearthed a couple of my old painted ceramic Easter eggs.........this one is actually lavender with purple violets, but the camera can't distinguish purples very well. For nearly 25 years DH and I made ceramic eggs and I painted them with flowers and fruits and bunnies to sell. Sometimes as many as 4 dozen eggs in about two months' time! I took a "tole and decorative painting" class back in the 60's and since then have used many a bottle of acrylic paints!
The eggs were so time-intensive to pour liquid clay into the molds and wait to dry; then clean up the greenware; then fire the kiln full; all before I could sit down and paint one! So I started buying solid wood eggs all ready for painting! Much faster and cheaper, I suppose. Mama always got the first painted egg of the season every year; then I'd do some for close friends and relatives; then started selling them locally. I had some great and faithful customers around town for years.......maybe I'll paint Easter eggs again, but for now I'm addicted to beading! Hey, maybe I can cover an egg with beads somehow..........hmmmm................

Friday, March 7, 2008

Spring has sprung!!!

Aren't these cheerful, happy jonquils and daffodils and whatever else some people call them just so gorgeous and beautiful??? They've been slowly poking their pointy little heads through our cold soil for a couple of weeks.
On my walk yesterday........lo and behold! They are not only UP, but OPEN and smelling nice as well. I haven't seen my old paperwhite narcissus ones yet; I wonder if the moles or some other critter ate them. And I have three spindly pink hyacinths blooming, so I snatched all of them up and have them in the house today to cheer us up.......we're having wonderful and much-needed rains all day today, but it's very dark and dreary looking.
And my arthritic hand is REALLY bugging me today; of all times to act up: I have two beading projects in the works and some pillows to stuff and sew made from an old damaged chenille bedspread! Well, I'll just get back to my chaise loungue with the cat and snacks and magazines until I can function again!

Last night at bedtime there were two possums eating the spilled sunflower seed under the bird feeder at the bedroom window. Then at 4 a.m. when I made a nightly trek to the bathroom........there was movement in the night light/moonlight at the same window! I got my trusty 10-lb. black flashlight and put it to the window and shaded around it with my other hand to see what it was..........the beautiful red fox was back! And "somebody" who rambles around out there every night had turned over my tall copper bird bath on legs, but I used it now for seed. It happened again the other night also. DH says possums can't jump so it must be the raccoon who comes fairly often. Or the fox. Or the little herd of 7 deer who come for the corn we put out at night beside their salt block. There's just no telling how many little critters are out in our big yards at night..........we talked of setting up a motion-sensitive camera to see what would trip the camera lens during the night.......stay tuned!
SPECIAL NOTICE: for a girl named Tracey who commented on my blue knitted scarf yesterday here on the blog and wants to buy one........your replies I send keep coming back; and there's nowhere I can find on your blog that offers me an email addy for you! You live in Texas and sew up beautiful aprons on one of your blogs! If anyone knows her, please tell her to email me, please! Thanks everyone who visits here, and have a nice upcoming weekend!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Roses and pearls.............

Aren't these red beauties just so gorgeous?! And the petals feel like velvet.It's a pity they don't have any scent, but they make my heart sing!
Yet another favorite birthday gift was these gorgeous pearl-covered wire initials to hang on my sewing room wall !! They came from an old and dear friend Sue K. who used to live here and had a beautiful shop, but now she lives in Ohio, but still sends me beautiful things (like she carried in her shop!) Thanks, dear one! I keep moving these around the house just to see what they look like with different backgrounds.........they are fascinating for some reason; and I'd have never thought to wire pearls (one at a time!) like these are done. I also notice that pearls are making a comeback in fashion and also the art world.........and now you can buy all sorts of real and fake pearls at some online bead shapes and colors!
Watch out for my next "pearl project"!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Meet "Miss Maggie"............

I want my blog readers to meet "Miss Maggie", a beaded art doll that was made by a dear online friend, Maggie R. in Canada! She is a wonderfully creative fibre artist and makes beautiful art projects (as well as being a master beader!) Thank you, Maggie, for this sweet doll you sent for my birthday, and for the thought and little card attached which let me know she was meant to bring me "a healing spirit", "friendship", "hope", "energy", and "restful sleep"! I've been in a slump both physically and mentally since Christmas and Maggie evidently thought I was in bad enough shape to need one of her special "Healing Spirit" dolls! And I did!
And I'm better! She makes these sweet dolls in different colors to represent different needs, and sells them on her etsy shop, or through her blog. Be sure to visit her at
Her blog is listed in my right=hand column here on my blog; be sure to visit her soon! And remember to right-click on these photos and they will enlarge so you can see the details and beading work!

This doll is wearing a little tiny angel on a necklace, and the fabric is one of my "old-age" favorite colors: hot pinks! She has a heart friendship pin and a breast cancer ribbon, and a heart-shaped bead......all sorts of beautiful glass beads in her dangles from hand and feet! Her back, shown above, is covered with pink iridescent sequins and what a wonderful full head of loopy hair she has! It just makes me happy and feel good to hold her in my hand and feel her the way, Maggie's motto is "Life is short.....
wear sequins!" And I agree with her entirely. It's a shame most of us muddle through our youth and middle-age trying to please everyone else, and only at the end of life while enjoying our "golden years" do we have nerve enough to break out and wear our bright colors and sparkly jewelry and sequins!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Above is a tall angel that was a birthday gift; she's sweet and has a good bible verse carved into her skirt....
........and in this photo you can probably read it! If not, right-click on the picture and it will enlarge for you (well, it's supposed to enlarge!) Don't tell me if it doesn't, because I don't know how to fix it! My blog is locking me out every few days again, and I am very much "computer illiterate", so have to depend on DH and blogger friends to help me out!

Today is very unsettled; there are severe storms headed for us tonight (why do they always come in the night when it's dark and you can't see what the heck's coming?!!) My joints and head are doing their "barometer" thing already; and the wind is blowing............but get this: the temperature outdoors is 68 degrees, and heading for 70 this afternoon! I'm going for my walk and pick some more jonquils; photos of them to come here later!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Out of Africa!

This piece of cotton cloth is a batik, processed by hand in West Africa; and my nephew brought it to me from his mission trip right after Christmas!
The black is sort of shiny, and I can see little images, like the original fabric has been over-dyed with black first. I would love to see the women over there making it! The blue design is the same back and front.

When I was looking through nephew Clint's 200-odd photographs that he took on his trip to Africa last year, I kept seeing the native women wearing some gorgeous head wraps and sarong-style dresses. I told nephew next time he went, to buy me a piece of their brightly-colored fabric, and this trip he did! These are the Sankaran people, who live way inland from the coast in little mud huts with thatched roofs. The women carry washtubs of water (balanced on their heads!) from the river for bathing and washing clothing. The men and women and children also make handmade bricks of their local clay for building some of their huts, and for sale at market. This group of people do not even have a written language! Some have never seen a white person their entire lives! I'm sure my great-niece caused a stir on this last trip........she accompanied her dad, and she's blonde with ice-blue eyes! The children were fascinated.........I am astounded that human beings live like this today. We have no idea here in the USA how very lucky and blessed we are.........please remember these Sankaran tribes in your prayers as these missionaries try to introduce Christianity to them.

And Easter is fast approaching! These little rascals are hard to find every year in the stores! You can find oodles of solid chocolate bunnies, but the chocolate-covered marshmallow bunnies are very hard to find! And they're the cheapest; you'd think they sell first and fast. But way up high on the shelf at Walmart is where they're hiding this year!