29 August 2014

Storm clouds, Art and Sleeping Dog

Hello Readers!

We are going to look at clouds to start this blog post off. We had a pretty good storm in my neck of the woods on 21 August. That would have been last Thursday. 
I got some good video of the storm in progress. It's mostly black except when it lightnings. We lost electricity for a couple hours. 

This is looking to the NW out my back door.

These pictures are not in any particular order because the smart card refuses to save my pictures in chronological order if I shut the camera off between picture taking sessions. So you all will just have to deal with it cause my old brain doesn't exactly remember the sequence at this point in time. 
The pretty white clouds showed up first though. 

These big thunderheads were beautiful! 

And they grew like nobody's business!
The previous three pictures were taken standing on the front porch.

This is looking out the backdoor to the west.
The 'mothership' had arrived. 

This thing dropped a small tornado a few miles to the north. It touched down in the middle of a field and did no damage. My nephew got a video of that tornado. Sorry, I don't know how to embed a video.

I love how, when it's fixing to rain, everything looks so green.

These clouds looked very angry and it got cold really fast.

This is pretty much looking due north out the back door.

More pretty white clouds.

I was glad to see that cloud hanging low break up when it did, instead of growing bigger!

This big cloud on the edge of the thunderstorm was really pretty. And it did remind me of an alien spaceship! 

The wind blew a lot. It rained an inch or so. Nothing major except no electricity at the end of the day. This storm started around 8:30 or so and the electricity went out about 9 or so. It was our for a few hours.

I have done some art since I was here last. Not a lot of art, but I've not been totally idle.

I told you all about this little guy the last time I was here, I do believe. He's made out of steel wool. I needle felted the little bird. He is stuck to a magnet on a steel tray on the shelf beside my computer.
It isn't hard to needle felt steel wool. You can buy a package of steel wool at the hardware store for about $3 and end up with more steel wool than you will ever needle felt. 
I found that felting steel wool makes you itch! And one really should wear a pair of goggles while doing so. Not cause the steel wool flies everywhere, but so you don't go rubbing your eyes while felting. I made a starfish out of steel wool too. Wonder where I put that thing? 
There was a break of about a week between the two projects.

This is the postcard I sent to Trinidad and Tobago to August partner over at AFA in the Envie Addicts group. 
There are two more postcards waiting to be finished still. You all saw them in the last post. They don't look much different now than they did then. This is done in acrylics, pearl watercolor and marker on matboard.

Murray taking a bath in my lap the night the lights went out. I sat in my recliner, shining the flashlight around the room, taking pictures with that stupid camera. I've retired that stupid camera! I got a new phone that takes MUCH better pictures! The damn thing is smarter than I am but I'll figure it out eventually. My son decided I needed to come out of the dark ages of electronics into the now. 

I played in the Treasure Hunt a thon over at AFA last weekend. I made a few fishes.

Cardstock colored with markers.

I made an ATC that went to live in Michigan.

Another fish from the athon.

markers on cardstock

Fishes are 8.5 inches long.

pink saxophone
markers on cardstock

Someone in the Envie Addicts group posted a tutorial on how to make little dolls out of aluminum pull tabs. I made this little dottee doll magnet over the weekend using a large pull tab from a can of chili. She's about an inch and half long minus her legs. She's made from felt sewn over the pull tab and gold elastic for her legs. She also has seqins sewn on her. Her facial features are drawn on with a sharpie. Her eyes are two tiny seed beads.

Poor old Fred has had a hard week! And he doesn't have sense enough to come in out of the rain either! He fell twice the other day. Those back legs of his are giving him some trouble some days. He's had trouble with the stairs today but didn't fall. 
This afternoon he wanted to play ball so I threw the ball four or five times for him. Used to be he'd play ball for hours! Not so much these days. He was none too happy I wouldn't let him get in the van this afternoon when I opened the back hatch to get something out of there. He thought we were going for a ride. He's not been for a ride since the episode at the state lake a couple months ago when couldn't walk for two days. He's getting to be an old critter and I'm none too happy about it. I will miss this old dog one day. At the moment he's on the porch all laid out just like he is in that picture. 

Be good to one another!
It matters!

13 August 2014

A Bunch of Stuff that Needs Finished

Hello Readers!

Murray cat came to say hello to me the other day when I was sitting in front of the computer...It appears I was watching something on YouTube. Probably a British Crime Documentary. I was into those hot and  heavy for a week or two. I've moved on now to watching BBC History series. I've learned a great deal about the evolution of the house from Medieval times to now. As you can see, Murray was not interested in watching anything but me. She usually finds a spot and makes herself comfy. This day she wanted me to pet her and give her lovin's. I grabbed the camera instead. That look of consternation on her face is because she doesn't really like to have her picture taken. I didn't have the flash on this time so she was truly none the wiser to what I was up to!

I don't have but a few things to show today and I think only one of them is something that is totally finished. Now that I think about it, there are two finished things. Maybe more. I'm not sure. I should know these things! I JUST took all the pictures you're about to look at. Like, ten minutes ago!

Anyway, there's some art to see.....

At the moment I'm working on some new handmade books. Only one of them is near enough done to call a book at this point.
I've cut the page block, punched all the holes needed (in the book cover and the page block) and have sewn in three signatures thus far. I cut one of the signatures wrong so I'll need to cut pages for another signature before this one is done completely. It needs another five signatures sewn in and a clasp of some sort added to the front.

The pages have a row of holes along one edge of half of each signature. I could have done away with all those holes when cutting these pages but that would have meant I have two more cuts to make on each signature and I wasn't up to standing in front of the paper cutter any longer than I absolutely had to when I cut this page block. The paper used for the pages in this are the old style computer paper with the holes to feed it through the printer.
All depends on the old back and legs as to whether the other five books in the works will have holes in the pages or not.
You can see the inside of the covers look pretty much like the outside of them.

When I paint at the kitchen table I always have a single sheet of newspaper down to catch any drips and to clean my brushes (and fingers) on. Over time this sheet of newspaper becomes covered with paint and you can no longer tell it's newspaper unless you look really close. There are spots where the newsprint shows through.
The book I'm sewing is bout 5x7 inches or so. It is being sewn in the figure 8 stitch. I don't know if that's really what that stitch is known as, but that's what I call it. Each signature is sewn in separately with crochet cotton string. 

When I decided it was time to make some books, I hadn't planned on making six new books. I was already cutting at the paper cutter so I went ahead and cut down enough covers for six books.

Here are the outside covers 

and this is what they look like inside. The two small ones in the front are about 3.5 inches square and about an inch and half thick. The two in the middle are 4 inches square and about 2.5 inches thick. Those middle ones are going to take a lot of paper! The big one at the back is about 7inches tall, 5 inches wide and an inch or so thick.
All of those little book covers were made with recycled chipboard food packaging. Some of it is better than others for making book covers. This is how I keep it organized...in a cardboard box that sits on the floor in front of the window in the cutting room. The paper cutter is just to the left of this hodge podge. The whole boxes on top of those two baskets need broke down and put in with the other chipboard. The stuff in the baskets is paper ephemera from magazines and junk mail. There's also a brand new package of construction paper sitting in that mess. 

I had quite a few sheets of painted newspaper before I made the book covers. Now I have this one above and bunch of little pieces leftover from the book cover making session.

And there's another one in the works on the kitchen table as we speak.
I also have three postcards in the works on the kitchen table as well.
In the kitchen is where 90% of painting takes place. Occasionally I will paint in front of my computer or in the cutting room, but normally...painting takes place in the kitchen.
This is the cutting room. I love how the sun comes through that window late in the afternoon. Yesterday I needed a box to mail off something someone had bought from my etsy shop so I went out to the burnt house and brought in a case of presentation folders (the blue things laying on the table). There are 65 folders in each box and I don't have room for those folders unless I cut them down into manageable thickness. The folders are three part and one part is made so it is about a quarter inch thick. It's that section of the folder that needs to made into manageable thickness. 

Here's about half of the folders cut down and stacked on the top shelf where they will stay until I need more.

These all still need to be cut down to be one sheet instead of a sheet with a thick pocket. I'll be selling some cardstock in my etsy store in the near future!

This is the back of the envelope I painted for my sister. She doesn't know I am sending her package in a fancy envelope. 

This is the front. I spelled HUTCHINSON wrong but nothing to be done about that now! We'll see if sis even notices! I'm really hoping that 404 is right! I got her address wrong the last time I sent her something. I know where she lives, am I expected to know the address as well? :)
This envelope was done in waste paint just like the newspapers except I had a concept in mind when I did this one and I didn't really use waste paint at all. I went through my little bottles of paint, seeing which ones were worth keeping and which would be done away with on the next fish picture. 
Sis loves cats so she'll enjoy getting this envie in the mail filled with goodies. This envelope is huge! About `13x17 inches or so. It's done in acrylics and black marker.

Another grosgrain ribbon basket. I still have one spool of grosgrain ribbon and will make another basket just like this one. This one is cream colored. The last of its kind will be snow white in color.

I've been harvesting copper wire. Sorry for the blurry picture. I took a picture of this basket of spools at least six times and this was the best worse I could come up with, I guess.

What you see in the picture above this one is the result of unwinding the copper wire on this thing. Each spool holds about 50 feet of wire. I didn't actually measure it.... I guesstimated by counting how many times I unwrapped the wire on the wheel to get it onto the sewing thread spool. 
I stole this hard plastic wheel covered in copper wire from my brother. He hasn't missed it yet so I'm not in trouble yet. There's a boatload of copper on this thing and he was probably all pie eyed about it when he took it out of whatever the devil he took it out of. I found it in his electric motor bucket out in MY garage. It was too good to pass up. It will take me some time to unwind all that wire and get it on spools. Hurts the old arms to do more than one a day.

I see a copper wire basket in my future.

An  update on where the copper wire came from:
Brother said he got it out off a front loading washing machine. It was connected to the drum of the washer. He said he knew I would steal it! :) The boy knows me well! He wants it back after I'm done taking all the wire off it. It isn't just a plastic wheel. Under that plastic is steel and he wants to put it in the junk pile after he removes that plastic covering. That happens with fire. 

I found these sitting on the shelf in the hallway. I think I made these little books a couple years ago! I'm going to send them to Lucas and sell them in the gift shop.
the books are sitting in a box that holds about an 8 inch stack of that computer paper I'm using to make book pages. It is 17x11 inches. I will get gobs of page blocks for handmade books out of it! I couldn't leave it at the thrift store. It was only $1.50

And another felt embroidered ball in the works. I have several of these in the naked stage, waiting for their felt covers and embroidery. I'm thinking this one will get some felt applique as well as the embroidery already on it. You will see this one again when it's done.

Fred's not feeling his chipper self these days. He's been sitting on the front porch barking most of the day. I can see no apparent reason for his barking. I've given him an aspirin and a benadryl so he should be doing alright. It's rather warm and humid out so he might just be hot. Poor old dog doesn't take the heat like he used to.

The soybean field to the north of the house. Thought you all might like to see its progress. There's a bit of a breeze today but the humidity cancels it out more or less.

Gotta go! Something's up down the hallway!

Thanks for reading to the end. 
Be good to one another!
It matters!

05 August 2014

Promised Art and More Art

Hello Readers!

I'm not usually sitting in front of the computer typing out a blog post this early in the morning. It's about a quarter to eight and I've been away since about five. Course when you fall asleep before seven the evening before, you're bound to be getting up pretty early.
I always turn the computer on first thing when I get up unless I have something that I need to get done first thing in the morning. Like yesterday. I didn't turn the computer on till almost three yesterday afternoon. I was up and at it by six thirty yesterday morning. One really should go to sleep before three a.m. when they KNOW they have to be up and ready by seven cause their mother will be there to pick them up for a kidnapping shopping spree. I was kidnapped. I know it shouldn't be classified as a kidnapping when you know it is going to happen, but shopping sprees always feel like a kidnapping because that is how much I hate going shopping!

I've played a few games on the computer this morning and read through my facebook feed a couple times. The phone rang at 6 when I was contemplating making a pot of tea. It was my youngest son, RW. I worry about that boy. He works in the oilfield where the work is dangerous and his boss is screwing him around with his pay. RW is also having problems with his right arm and his hands. Says they're numb and painful. He has no health insurance. He knows he will be fined for that but when you have no money, how can you get insurance? He has four children and a wife to take care of as well. I do worry about that boy.
We talked for better than an hour. He had to get ready for work. He doesn't have to be on the rig till noon but he has an almost three hour drive ahead of him to get there! He has to pick up two other fellas who work the same rig as he does and he has an appt this morning in Grainfield about getting a house there. Will put him much closer to work than where he lives now. The boy has a lot on his plate and I do worry about him. I say, 'boy', but RW is a grown man. It's just that he will always be boy to me. Same as his brother. I know 30something men are NOT boys. 

You know how they say that women have a lot more words to say everyday than men do? That boy of mine, he's got more words to say than most men. He takes after his Aunt (one of my sisters) when it comes to talking on the phone. He can use up the airtime~! Love him dearly and will always talk to him as long as he wants to talk. 

As I said, I did go shopping yesterday. Got up at the butt crack of dawn and went to Hays with Ma. We went to Home Depot for some ceiling tiles for my brother. I got some paint samples...three of them. Oops paint. They come in a pint jar for 50 cents. I got two shades of white and some gray. It's just wall paint. I use it on fish pictures, bowls, and just for general painting uses. 

Speaking of bowls.....I finally finished painting the baking soda clay bowl that has been sitting on the kitchen table for eons.

I'm quite pleased with it!

I've already varnished the inside of the bowl. As you can see, it is quite shiny. The outside of the bowl will be shiny like that too, too once I get it varnished. I'm thinking I might enter this bowl in the county fair along with the newest fish picture. 

NOTE TO SELF: finish the newest fish picture!
It just needs a few more strings added to it.

While out shopping yesterday, I picked up some more glue sticks and a couple more rolls of tape. I need more tape like I need a few more holes in my head. I really need to curb that fetish for tape that consumes me whenever I'm in a store, standing in front of any tape display. Yesterday it was duct tape. I added only one more roll to my stash. And then I added another roll of invisible tape to the stash. If it's invisible tape, does it count? ;) I go through cellophane tape like it's going out of style! At least a roll a month. Every single day I use at least one piece of tape for something or another. 
While in Home Depot I was tempted by the dark gray duct tape they had standing proudly on display in the paint section. I resisted though! It was hard though! I don't have that color of duct tape. The one I bought at Walmart has paw prints all over it.

I really haven't added much to the list of art completed since I was here last. I know I promised art later the same day when I made the last post. Sorry. That didn't happen. I think it's been three or four days since that post and I'm finally getting around to showing what I got.
Not much!

I lay awake in bed one night a few nights ago trying in vain to go to sleep and ignore all the thoughts rustling around in my mind. It was like being on a roller coaster! I'd go from one thought to the next without any seams. I was thinking about the dishes on the kitchen counter, men I used to know and that box of key rings out in the burnt house. It was the key rings that produced fruit over the next few days.

Ta Da! A basket made from key rings and silver foil tape. 

The basket measures about 10 inches across and four inches deep.

It took me three days and many hours of sitting in front of this computer watching British crime shows on hulu to complete this basket. It's not a very stiff basket. Has some give to it, but it's a sturdy basket. I'll be listing it in my etsy shop.

There will be more baskets like this one. I have a box (somewhere) out in the burnt house that holds about 1500 of these key rings. I have to take them apart to get the rings off them but the rest of the key ring is useful as well and you'll get to see what happens with them as soon as I figure that out myself. There will be another night of the mind racing through all subject matters and those parts will come up and something will come to me. And the next morning when I get up, I'll go all gungho about getting it made. At the moment, I have no idea just what it will be!

Met Frida. She's made from one of my old painting rags...an old white terrycloth towel. It doesn't show well, but she has a braided bun on her head with a couple of plastic flowers sewn on. 

I crocheted her shawl from crewel embroidery yarn. Her dress is made from an old cotton sweater. It took me hours to hand sew all those glass beads on the front of her dress.
She stands about seven inches or so tall. The gold thing dangling from the front of her shawl is a lone earring with the earring wire removed.

This doll is also made from an old paint rag. The same paint rag as Frida. Her arms and legs are cashmere sweater material. Her dress is made from the same cotton sweater as Frida's. I gave up on sewing the whole dress with beads. Her little bunny is needle felted. She stands about seven inches tall. Maybe a bit taller. I didn't measure the dolls.

Bunny has wooden bead eyes. He stands about 1.5 inches tall.

I painted this ATC on the last day of May according to the inscription there. It's done in markers and fingernail polish. 

Oval Hem Lace Basket

Round Hem Lace Basket
I don't have much hem lace to work with now. I used most of it on these two crocheted baskets. The oval one is about six inches long or so. The round one about 5 inches across. I'm guessing on the sizes. I didn't really measure them.

I had a visit with this little girl last weekend. 

Thanks for reading!
be good to one another!
It matters!