Sunday, May 31, 2009
First and foremost an announcement: My husband and I are “paper pregnant.” That means that our Dossier has been mailed to Colombia and we are in the process of adopting three children between the ages of zero and six from Colombia. Yay! We’ve been in this process for some time and if you want a sneak peak into the process check out our adoption blog.
Secondly, I’ve completely dumped my old website and have started designing the new one. This one is perhaps the biggest change in appearance I've ever made. And it reflects the changes in my life that will dawn with parenthood. Instead of being a retail site, at this time it will be more of a portfolio of some of the art media I’ve worked in, showcasing some of my skills. I may offer some products over time but nothing immediately. I continue to live the life of a free-lance artist and will consider commissions in a variety of media. As you might imagine, the costs of adopting three children plus getting the house ready plus dealing with some medical issues are considerable. So I’m pretty flexible and interested in using my skills to help support these endeavors. Contact me if have a project you'd like some help with. The new website is rather empty but a few sections have content. Check out some photos in the Cake Design section as well as the Hand Painted Art Glass section. More content coming.
Blessings to all! I think I ate enough home made icecream for three plus me tonight! We doubled the recipe and I used Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean paste in place of the vanilla. Yummm... Now that is how ice cream should be!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Top left is vanilla, and not just any vanilla either. Vanilla fragrance oils tend to have an overly sweet quality and sometimes they are downright horrible. However, real vanilla is an amazing and rich fragrance that is lovely and so I put in natural Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean paste. Yeah, the kind you’d put in some rich decadent desert recipe and it is yummy! It’s a very mild fragrance but it is so lush and exotic that the first inhale will have you! The longer this bar sets, the darker brown it will become.
Top right is peppermint rose, real honest to goodness essential oil of rose, peppermint and a bit of spearmint as well. And those little dried pink rosebuds are just perfect on there. Those little rosebuds will eventually start to discolor the soap to a dark brown or black so this is a bar to USE.
Bottom left is lavender! It’s a full tilt lavender addict bar with lots of rich fragrance and lavender blossoms in the top. Your skin will love the healing properties of lavender essential oil, the scent is wonderful and you can even use the side of the bar with the blossoms to exfoliate your skin. This is another bar to USE as the lavender blossoms will discolor the soap to brown.
The last bar is Lemongrass Sage and it’s a wonderful herby combination of Lemongrass, Sage and citrus with just a touch of patchouli. It’s topped off with calendula petals that will gradually color the soap a wonderful rich gold. Use the petal side for gentle exfoliation.
I intend for all the soap I make to be used rather than set out only for pretty. Using a lovely bar of artisan soap is an inexpensive way to pamper your skin and your senses each time you bathe or wash your hands. I like these little reminders to take good care of myself, to feed the spirit. This soap is all natural and free of SLS and SLES (additives that tweak lather and hardness which are irritants to some folk’s skin.) Each one is a fat two ounces. I sell these locally at the farmer’s market but if someone wants to place an order for a quantity of them (minimum order required) then contact me. I think they may go fast.
All soap that I make right now is considered “limited edition” which just means that I’m doin what I love by designing a new bar every time I enter my soap studio. And to me that’s what keeps it interesting. I saw an old friend a while back. He told me that if someone asks you what you do for a living you should be able to answer “exactly what I want” and if not, then you’re missing something. I loved that, there is certainly something about doing what you love that is food for the soul. I think he put his finger on one of the best kept secrets to happiness. Too many people out there working jobs they hate for the health insurance. Gah! Worse yet, too many people are working really hard to support a lifestyle and goals that come from obligations, “should's” and the expectations of others. Their days determined by external forces rather than purposeful (Purpose-Full) choices made. That breaks my heart every time I see it. (the ol heart breaks often.) Come on, this life is short! You are not guaranteed tomorrow, is this what you want to do if you knew this was your last week here? Oh wait, am I up on my soap box again?! O! Sorry. =)
I saw a video a while back that facinated me. The speaker was possibly one of the most hyperactive ADD adults I’ve ever seen and everything about him was distracting. But he made the most interesting point. The first time you do something, you’re an artist. The second time you are an engineer. And the third and fourth time you are a technician. If you know me, you’ll know I am no technician. I'm barely an engineer, I am fully and completely an artist. And it is for that reason that every bar of soap I make right now is a new experience, a fresh new discovery/creation. Everything is “limited edition” until further notice. It's what works for me.
Lovely fragrances to you all! And next time you are at your local farmer's market, buy a beautiful bar of artisan soap and USE it every chance you get! If you have special skin concerns talk with the person who made the soap, if they can't answer your questions then keep moving. Throw away every bottle of anti-bacterial soap you own and get back to the real thing. Life can be brutal. Use it to remember to be kind to yourself. It's the small things. Living is in the details.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
So on the way home from work I was thinking how nice it would be to spend another morning walking in the woods looking at orchids (the putty root orchids should be out in force this week sometime and I would wear the right shoes to visit them without being eaten by copperheads this time!) Deadlines in the studio kept me from that idea but I decided on the spur of the moment to drop by the park. I rewarded my body with a leisurely walk around the pond at the park. It wasn’t an exercise walk, more of a “mosey.” I fed the fish and considered friends who have come and gone through my life. A sparrow caught my attention, he seemed to be hoping for a morsel. He was a rather bold little fella. “Pardon me Ma’am, could you spare a crumb?” Oh yes I could, so I fed him till he flew away. The ducks ignored me once they realized I had nothing for them so I made a mental note to bring something for the ducks next time. I passed a raven on the lamp post above the garbage cans. He did not fly away though I was very close so I stopped and spoke to him a while. He was unfazed and eyed me quite cooly.
Back in my kitchen I started a bag of scraps for the ducks. Right now it has the last cheesy biscuit and the heel from a loaf of cranberry orange bread I picked up on impulse at the farmer’s market. Lucky ducks. They are NOT getting the last cinnamon roll, that sucker has my name on it unless hubby gets there first.
We had guests over last evening so the house looks the best it has for a while. Hubby and I hung some artwork and mirrors over the weekend, and moved some furniture. It is nice to see progress in the house, there is so much renovation work that I'd like to do. The dog hair has been momentarily banished (until Hope or Misde shake or scratch again) and everything in the kitchen is in its “away place.” I should spend the week making soap or working at art glass but both of those studios are in my kitchen and I am not ready to part with the pristine neatness quite yet. So maybe I’ll spend some quality time with a series of quilts I’m working on. My quilt studio is in the basement I don’t ever really bother with trying to achieve neatness there, organization yes, neatness no. Or maybe I’ll spend a little time at the piano or settle in with the laptop and write a story. I've been thinking of a self portrait drawing, maybe I should give that some consideration. I also have a series of paintings in mind for the children's rooms. Or maybe I’ll stay right here and ease myself even deeper into the quietness. Sometimes I wrestle with the loneliness in the quiet of my life. Today I see the solitude and the silence as something to savor. This is a good day and I am grateful.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
There are some yellow lady slippers in this shot, not easy to see unless you have someone beside you pointing them out. There are about six orchids in this shot that I can pick out.
This is another wild orchid, I should look these up the book so I can give you the names because I don't remember them.
Beautiful orchid country, don't know what that haze was about but I don't mind it so much.
The Orchid Man, an excellent tour guide and friend. See his website here.
Oh yes, it's really THAT beautiful!
A little lavender wildflower, but mostly the foilage is what I find striking about this one.
We came up on a HUGE display of these, even made the orchid man say "WOW!"
Again with the haze, what's up with that?! There are three pink lady slipper orchids in this photograph, see if you can find all of them.
Another lady slipper, we even saw a white one which is rare.
The graceful ones, love how this turned out. Most of the photos I took turned out horribly. But it was a lovely walk, a welcome change of pace.
We stood near an underground spring and in the stillness the sound of running water could be heard. I had to stand and listen to that mysterious sound in the stillness for a while, it was a beautiful moment. I’m well aware that I don’t do this often enough, that is, take the time away to charge my batteries with something completely unrelated to the life I lead. It was good.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
More Art Glass
Seems like there should be a way to embed those slideshows in the body of this post but I haven't figured that out yet. (Thanks to Melody Johnson who showed that it could be done! So I came back and edited this - thanks Melody!!)
Check out some of my other flickr photos if you'd like here. At this point there are photo sets of cakes, decorated sugar cookies, art glass and wedding cakes that I've done.
Friday, May 15, 2009
These are Oreo cookies dipped in dark chocolate. They aren't overly sweet and the cookie retains a bit of crunch. They are the simplest thing to make but they're really wonderful.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Here's some good inspiration if you're considering one of your own:
Here's one Melody saw at the store: http://fibermania.blogspot.com/2009/04/pink-sky-at-morning.html And Melody has a cute one with a lil bitty garden gnome in it - how perfect is that?!
Here's one by the amazing Starla King: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=65153&id=56235438623&l=d4c8034f6c
Oh, and check this out, these are incredible: http://fibermania.blogspot.com/2009/04/more-birdbath-gardens.html
And somewhere I saw a link to Plow and Hearth where they've got some cool planter style thingis all ready for your plants: http://www.plowhearth.com/product.asp?pcode=10981&crs=6572&ref=product
Thank you Melody! This was fun to make and a fun diversion.
Two: Is that a quilt?
Three: It does look like a quilt, doesn’t it.
One: *admiring her bracelet along with the new one* I think these look good together.
Me: Oh, I do to.
Two: Can we see what you’re working on?
Three: Maybe she doesn’t want to show it.
Me: I don’t mind showing you. *I take it over to the sofa and spread it out so they can see the whole thing.*
Two: *gesturing* What’s it gonna be?
Three: Well, I think it’s a quilt.
Me: It’s a wall hanging.
Two: You’re going to hang it on the wall?
Three: Well sure, you suppose you could figure out a way to hang it on the wall.
One: *fingering the bracelet* I wore it all the time, never took it off.
Three: Oh I remember that bracelet, what happened to it?
Two: it’s funny shaped.
Three: Why yes, it does have an odd shape.
One: *Holding out her arm* I don’t know what happened to it, and I never got another one to replace it.
Two: are you going to hem it shaped like that?
Me: I’ll add a binding to the edges.
Two: She’s going to hem it and hang in on the wall.
Three: Well yes, it does need to be hemmed, now doesn’t it.
Two: It has a funny shape.
Three: Why yes, I believe it does.
One: *gangling her bracelets together* I like this one, it goes nicely with the one I’m wearing. (She’s saying this about one gold bracelet and one silver bracelet that are widely divergent styles.)
Two: Oh yes it does
Three: Oh yes, they are pretty together.
Two: Now what kind of fabric is that?
Me: *Pointing again to different sections of the work* These are hand dyed, this is hand marbled fabric, these are commercial fabrics and this is linen and this is silk.
Two: That IS linen, and that IS silk, I didn’t even notice them until you pointed them out.
Three: Oh I didn’t notice them either, but you’re right, there they are, right there.
One: *moving her arm around in the air* I paid a lot for that one and wore it for years, I wonder what happened to it.
Three: Did you lose it?
Two: Did you use Rit Dye?
Three: Why yes, I suppose you have to dye it to get it to look like that.
Me: No, I used a professional dye called Procion Dye.
Two: Oh, see? She used special dyes to make the fabric those colors
Three: Why yes, those colors are very pretty.
One: *toying nervously with the price tag* It really is pretty isn’t it and it’s only $50.
Me: That’s a good price for a silver bracelet made by hand.
Three: That's a good deal.
Two: And are you going to leave it that odd shape?
Three: Yes, it is a funny shape now isn’t it.
Me: Yes, I’ll leave it.
One: *dropping her arm to her side in resignation.* Well, I’m not going to buy it, guess I should put it back.
Me: Oh, and it looks so good on you.
Two: You’re not going to buy it?
Three: Oh, I think you should buy it
Me: Oh yes, it’s lovely on you.
One: Well, alright, maybe I will.
I go to write up the ticket to sell the bracelet to the woman who is already wearing it.
So here is my oddly shaped quilted wallhanging (that I shall hang on the wall) with the hand dyed fabrics (but I don't use rit.) Please pass the bracelets.I've started the binding, and all I have left is the sewing by hand part and then it will be finished unless I decide to add something else.
Friday, May 8, 2009
And I was just minding my own business making something for my kitchen to replace the winter scene that just has to go.
And something really unexpected
started to happen
and I found the flow
and I got lost in the work
why I do what I do.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
So here are some results. They aren’t marbled so much as just an exploration of what the dye did when it hit the surface of the seaweed, I found that far more interesting than the ones who are swirled in the traditional marbling way. It’s the Jackson Pollock in me I guess. Honestly though, there are a lot of experiments left in this process. I think I’ll keep exploring. Which ones do you like best? I can't decide.
I hand quilted it during practices and hemmed it during dress rehearsals between my scenes. I did about half of it by hand and other parts are machine quilted, which may seem a little strange but it actually works quite nicely in person. I will keep it as a reminder of the amazing people I enjoyed getting to know. I would come in to the green room, sit down and quilt, and my new friends would come and keep me company. It was good. The show is over and I miss them.
These two small pieces are the first ones to come out of my first experimentation with procion dyes. They are a combination of cotton, silk and linen plus some dyed white on whites and I’m delighted with what the added texture does to the composition though it’s difficult to tell any of that from the photos.
The silks... oh they are soooo pretty! They are not finished, I need to bind them and that should do it unless I decide to add something more but I don't think it's needed at this point. I would like to name them but their mood perplexes me, not sure what all is there emotionally in these two. I was surprised at how somber they looked finished.
I believe this patch of tall things are going to burst into lovely peonies soon enough, but I’m little concerned about the vine that surrounds the patch. Hmm… Anyone know how to get rid of poison ivy without succumbing to its horrors? And some lovely honeysuckle below.
And again, lovely batch of lily of the valley, with the sentinel poison ivy… argh! And slippery rocks. Note to self, do not stand on slippery rocks after the rain. (Well, duh!)
This pretty pink thing comes in a bush form, never seen one of these before. But it's pink, so I love it.
How long will it bloom? What else does it do? I'll be watching.
Big thorny thing with just a few sprouting rose leaves. Hmmm... I am told it is yellow and something really special by the neighbor. Looks like it has been badly neglected and I'm not sure I'm a rose bush kind of gardener but I'll be watching this one with interest to see what happens. Maybe I could become a rose bush kind of gardener. I remember when I was a child helping with the care of the rose gardens each Spring and Fall, it was a big job but so fun to see a pretty bloom on one of the plants. (Provided you can get it before the bugs do.)
Another rose, I wonder what this one will do.
I should be walking around my house more, this one caught me by surprise, I hadn't even known these lovely lavender ladies were even there.
I need to spend some time making a plan for my yard. We aren't going to do a veggie garden this year but hopefully some plants in containders on the deck will yield a bit of this and that. That should work.
Monday, May 4, 2009
I’ve sold artwork or won awards in the following art media: In art school I concentrated mainly on painting and Interior Design in addition to a wide variety of media that I explored there. Jewelry design - beading in particular. My biggest award to date was in jewelry design and I’ve had work on the back cover of beading magazines and in catalogs. "Autumn" Mixed media college, cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, paper towel, buttons, photos, glazes, etc.
I won a “Best in Show” award for a piece that was mixed media collage with glazes and found objects.