Thursday, February 25, 2010

I did my homework!

Remember the botanical illustration class I said I was taking? Remember the watercolor of the onion that was our homework? Remember how I didn't want to try to paint the "miles of veins" on the onion skin?

Well, I am here to tell you that I did complete that project. However, rather than try to actually, you know, paint on the minutely miniscule veins, I just used a really tiny (.005) brown Micron pen. Hey, I never claimed to be a purist after all.

Here's the end result. If you squint, it looks more like an actual onion...which is kind of ironic, because onions make you squint in real life...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I love my necklace...

I bought this fabulous necklace from local artist, Rebecca DeVere, a while back. I had it hanging in my art room, not wearing it because I felt it was too short. It only took me about a year to think to add more chain so that the length worked for me...and today I'm wearing it for the first time.

I adore the beaded flower...
...and the way she spaced out the green pearls by using silver crimp beads. Rebecca is one of the coolest artists ever!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Postcard to Carla

For those of you who follow the delightful Carla Sonheim's blog, you may recall that she asked people to send her postcards for her new studio in Seattle. In return, she would send that person a postcard. Well, a body would have to be MENTAL to pass up an offer like that! Who wouldn't want to get a postcard from Carla? So here is what I made this weekend to send her... -------------

Because it was going through the mail, I didn't want to rely on glue to hold the fringe-y trim on, so I found some colored staples in my stash and used those instead.

And I love to use those little paper drink umbrellas in my collages. Just open one up completely (it works better to do this BEFORE enjoying too many of the drinks that accompany said little umbrella), snip the little white spokes that hold the paper to the stick and work the stick through the hole at the top. I just affix with white glue like Elmer's and they end up wonderfully translucent.

And look at the laundering instructions on the wrapper from really old embroidery recommends using Ivory soap.

Friday, February 19, 2010

In fact I AM holier than thou!

Apparently I am easily mistaken for a nun these days.

This morning, as I pulled up to the ordering window of my sometime local coffee spot, the young male barista said, with barely a glance in my direction, "What would you like today, Sister Patricia?"

When I stared at him speechless, he turned his head all the way around to fully look at me and exclaimed, a little embarrassed, "Oh, you're not Sister Patricia!"

I had thought for a moment he was calling me 'sista' and had somehow gotten my name wrong...but no...he actually meant in nun.

Asking the logical question I said "So, um, does Sister Patricia drive the same kind of car I do?"

"No, hers is blue." (Mine, gentle readers is silver.)

Despite fearing his response, I couldn't help but query further, "So do I look a lot like this Sister Patricia?"

The young barista shook his head. "Not really, her hair is gray." (Mine, gentle readers is Feria Red #67.) "Maybe a little around the eyes."

At that point I burst out laughing while I thought, "Well, it SURE can't be my demeanor...or my language!"

Now just to tease the poor guy (I TOLD you I was no nun) I asked, "Does she wear regular clothes or a nun outfit?"

"Regular clothes. Which surprised me," he said. "I didn't think they were supposed to wear regular clothes. She must be one of those hippy of those 2010 nuns."

I was laughing uproariously by that point, having (to my knowledge) never before been mistaken for a nun. Or having ever considered the possible existence of "hippy nuns".

The young guy grinned back, handed me my iced venti Americano with cream and said, "It's on the house."

I thanked him and as I drove away he leaned out the window and hollered, "Have a holy day!"

And after THAT, how could I NOT?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I never noticed...

I'm taking a Botanical Illustration class right now. It meets once a week and goes for about 2 months. I always thought it would be so cool to hang out with just a little notebook, a pen and small tin of watercolors and capture the natural beauty of the world around me. And I was WOULD be really cool. It might even be in the realm of possibility for me if I actually practiced what we learned in class (ahem).

One thing (among thousands of others) that I never noticed was how illustrators depict the 3-dimensionality of objects by using curved lines and cross-hatching. I've been looking at my beautiful new Cavallini 2010 Flora & Fauna calendar for 6 weeks now and just this moment realized it is the perfect example of what our teacher was talking about. Notice how the curved lines on the outside of the flower and the cross-hatching on the hanging pods really bring those elements to life.

Surely even I can do that, right? So gentle readers, I pledge to you that I WILL practice before the next class and I WILL post what I draw as a means of keeping me honest.

And that reminds me...I think I still have an onion sitting in my bag of art supplies. We started painting it in class 2 weeks ago and were supposed to finish it. I took a close look at the millions of miles of minute veins and quickly found something else to do. I WILL tackle those veins, even if I have to snip off all the hairs but one from my smallest paintbrush to do them.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Signs of Spring

One of the things I love about living in the Pacific Northwest is how early the signs of spring appear. It's only mid-February and goodness knows half the country is still recovering from horrible snowstorms, and we've got tons of plants in bloom already. During a quick walk at lunchtime I found these on the ground.

I'm no plant expert but I believe these are camellia blossoms.

Paging Lisa H! Paging Lisa H!

I need these petals identified STAT!

Monday, February 15, 2010

I love to get Valentines in the mail

I was lucky enough to exchange Valentine prizes with Salvage Sister Lisa and some other cool are some of the ones I got in the mail. It's goofball, but I just love having something like that to look forward in my mailbox when I get home.

Typically, it's "junk mail, junk mail, bill, junk mail, bill..." Sometimes it's "junk mail, junk mail, bill, junk mail, COOL MAGAZINE..." And in mid-February it's "junk mail, junk mail, bill, junk mail, VALENTINES!!!!!!!!!"

Tracie and Diane were stichin' fools:

Judy combined rusty embellishments and vintage lace with her stitching:

And according to Debbie, I am downright ENCHANTING. I'm going to use this as a bookmark.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Add ImageOooh, I got this fabulous postcard from Ginger & Addie today wishing me a Happy Valentine's Day. I think someone knows I've got a serious jones for bluebirds...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Big Earl and I had a date...

I do love combining wonky little elements to create funky jewelry. The other day, after giving this little watch face the once-over, I saw that I could make a necklace pendant by combining it with a delicate golden tassel I reclaimed from goodness-only-knows-where. I used my nifty heavy-duty hole punch, lovingly nicknamed "Big Earl" to make a hole around 5:00-ish, popped in a jump ring, added the tassel and called it a victory.

Then I thought, "That went so well; why not make another hole around 11:00-ish?" Ahhh, gentle readers, I confess I got cocky. I rushed through the placement and ended up too close to the edge, thereby removing an unsightly little chunk, rather than making a neat hole.

Not to be deterred, I decided to cover up my mistake with multiple passes of wire, which actually turned out OK.

For the chains, I added a fun wing charm, also holified (is that a word?) by Big Earl. And I created this little embellishment by wiring a ready-made square and circle charm together. And should you be curious, I must confess I do not remember how Big Earl earned his moniker. I believe my friend Judy had one first, saw how much I coveted him and then graciously offered to pick up one for me from the hardware store. It was pretty much love at first sight.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Art in the most unexpected places...

A friend of mine (are your ears ringing, Hadijah?) gave me this adorable little handmade ceramic bowl the other day for no particular reason except she knew I would love it. The inside is as cute as can be...but the bottom had this totally unexpected little treat. The artist's name is Elaine Moore and her work has been shown at the Kirkland Arts Center.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A 60-Second Necklace

This morning I just didn't feel like wearing any of my necklaces so I popped into my art room, saw this little charm, slid it onto a black hardware-chain strand...and bingo! I had a new necklace in about a minute. I love the sweet little distressed painting in the flattened, painted bottle cap.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Lost Valuables of E.L. Parrish

Here's a necklace I recently made that I love to wear. Of course it's assembled from a hodge-podge of treasures I compiled from a zillion different places.

The central round disk, embossed with the bird images was part of an old necklace. Kind of cool, but the images didn't really stand out until I rubbed a bit of black paint over the surface and into the crevasses to emphasize it. Then I punched the 3 holes in the bottom so I could attach delicious danglies.

I've participated in a bunch of charm swaps and have a huge stash of lovely little embellishments that had been wasting away in a storage container. What on earth was I thinking? It was criminal, I tell you, criminal! So I laid them all out on a metal tray and now I keep them with my jewelry supplies so I can incorporate them into my jewelry. The stacked buttons and the rhinestone pendant both came from that stash.

The very best part, though, is the little lost and found tag with its natural patina of age. I wonder if the owner attached it to his or her suitcases when traveling? It must have been something valuable because they offer a reward if returned.

Then of course because I am obsessed with all things aviary, I added a few little bird charms as a final touch.
Insatiably curious (some might call it 'nosey'), I typed this address into google maps. I felt a bit like a secret spy pouring over satellite photos as I tried to determine what house, if any, was associated with that address. I could see a grainy image of a small, white building in what appears to be a field; it was impossible to tell if it was boarded up or not, but I'm inclined to think it was since that address did not yield any other results from my online search.
Hmmm, the plot thickens...

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Milagros Worked!

I have been an earring-making lunatic lately.

After many, many, many years of not wearing them because I was allergic to the various earring wires I tried, I finally realized it was nickel that was causing me grief. Sterling silver and nickel-free base metal findings are perfectly comfortable for me, so I'm having a blast making up for lost time.

This particular pair I made from the last 2 milagros I bought during our Artgirls Infamous Sacred Dirt road trip a few years ago. I simply strung 9 tiny pearls (obtained when Jamie Johnson destashed her jewelry supplies) in the center of a length of wire about 4 inches long, formed a "pearl halo" and then twisted the wires together (like one twists bread ties).

Then I threaded one strand through the hole at the top of each milagro, leaving a gap about 1/4" between the milagro and the pearl halo. I randomly wrapped that wire up and down to fill in the gap...and then made the wire wrapping thicker by doing the same thing with the remaining wire.

I learned that milagros (which means "miracle" in Spanish) are tiny metal religious charms which often depict body parts or various saints or sacred objects. They are used throughout Latin America for healing purposes and votive offerings. I love them because when I wear them I'm reminded of that wonderful and zany road trip.