Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'm Done With Valentine's Day.

That's not any kind of statement about love or romance. It's just that I'm done making Valentine's Day stuff. This was the last idea I had, as I have a thing for valances I decided there needed to be one for Valentine's Day. This is just how I originally conceived it; although while I was making it I debated adding some sort of trim to the top or to the bottom of the scallops, maybe piping or some narrow red edging of some sort. It's unlike me not to add a little more somethin' somethin' to...well, everything...but I thought maybe there are some people who like to keep it simple. It also occurred to me that that sort of person probably would not be much inclined to hang a Valentine's Day curtain in the first place. In the end, I decided to leave it relatively unadorned and I really like it that way.

The snow we had Saturday is all but gone now, and I couldn't be happier. Although the money we paid Tom to plow the driveway now seems like rather a waste, who knew the stuff wouldn't be hanging around for weeks? It was so warm today I had the heat off in the store and I still almost had to open up the windows. Passive solar heat is a beautiful thing. And cheap!

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's Nice to Have a Snowblower...

...It's even nicer to have a neighbor with a Bobcat. Our driveway is not as big as your average parking lot, but it's big enough that I'd rather pay someone else to do it. I guess we COULD buy a plow for our tractor but years ago when we bought our snowblower it didn't snow for five years after. So maybe that would be a good thing. But in the meantime we have Tom, who is a pretty useful person to have in your neighborhood. We buy our firewood from him, too, which gets delivered in a trailer pulled by a tractor. Strikes me funny to call for firewood and within 1/2 hour I can hear the tractor leave his driveway.

So we made it through The Storm without incident. I did manage to injure my finger in a way that I shall decline to describe here, as it seems to make people squirm, including myself. I'll just say that it doesn't seem to be life-threatening and isn't keeping me from typing or sewing (although playing my guitar last night was uncomfortable).

So today it's back to work. Ah, Monday.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Woke up this morning, had them Koi fish blues....

So remember I said that ideas come to me when I'm half asleep? This morning, as I lay there not really wanting to get out of my cozy bed and get going, I started thinking, for whatever reason, about two of the pieces of furniture in the basement that I bought a couple of years ago and stripped but that's as far as I got. One is a small bureau, for which I still don't have a plan, and the other is a maple table which I intended to stain and then paint a design on. The only thing I had definitely planned was a vine going up one leg and onto the top extending into...what? That's as far as the mental picture would go, and I was never really able to clarify what I wanted on the top. This morning, though, visions of lily pads and koi fish swam into my brain. I love goldfish, in all their gaudy beauty. This design (not the one in the pic, I have something slightly different in mind) appeals to me because you would be looking DOWN on the leaves and the fish, like you would see them if you were looking into a pond. How cool would THAT be?

I am not an artist. Things like perspective and proportion do not come naturally to my brain, so I will have to find some pictures and finagle them into something I can paint. Toward that end, I googled images of koi fish and was a little disappointed to find that 99% of the pics were of tattoos. While they were truly spectacular, they did not help me. So I'll have to do some more research, in the meantime I have some staining to do.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hearts Completed....

...in a matter of a couple of days. That's a record for me. They came out just the way I pictured them, so I'm pretty happy although I'm a little disappointed that the beads I had in my stash that I remembered as glass are actually plastic. I hate to use plastic beads, but sometimes the look is the important thing so I sucked it up and used them. At least the tiny little red beads are glass, so that's something. All in all, a success! I toyed with the idea of making a matching bracelet, but opted not to. I'm thinking I may still

Had the day "off" today, being a holiday, so I did just what I wanted to do which turned out to be not much of anything. I did begin my last Valentine's project, which I should be able to post tomorrow depending on how busy it is at the shop and whether or not I can get it sewed!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

War is Hell....

...especially if R. Lee Ermey is the one barking at you every day. I watched "Full Metal Jacket" again the other night. It's one of my favorite movies and I've seen it so many times I can recite much of the dialog, like a lot of people do with the Wizard of Oz. I'm not sure what it is about this move that grabs me. I've seen a lot of war movies, but it's not really my favorite genre and in general if I'm going to watch something war-related, I'd just as soon see a documentary (BTW, the miniseries Vietnam in HD that was on the History Channel not too long ago was excellent. I learned SO much it was astounding).

Maybe my fascination stems from the fact that I never learned anything about the Vietnam war in school. I was just a little kid when the war was going on, and it was never mentioned at home that I can recall....which is not surprising, what would you tell a preschooler about something so horrible? I was ignorant of all the protests, the Kent State massacre, everything. I remember very clearly my first exposure as a child to anything relating to the war. I was watching the 4th of July parade, sitting on the lawn of the Peace Dale public library. As the bands, floats, and various military and police units went by, the crowds cheered and waved. Then, here came a group of Vietnam vets, looking ragged like they had just trudged off the battlefield and carrying POW/MIA flags and what I assumed even at that age were the boots of their fallen comrades. The crowd grew silent and every one of them stood and just clapped as the vets went by. To this day the memory chokes me up. I remember thinking that must have been a war that had been fought a long time ago. I had no idea that they HAD just trudged off the battlefield.

And that was it, nothing was ever taught in school, nothing in the history classes I ever took. Looking back now, I wonder why. Was it too controversial? Wonder what they're telling the school kids now about the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Anything?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hearts in Progress....

...sounds like a cheesy Lifetime Channel movie, doesn't it? Sometimes my best ideas come to me while I'm in that grey area between sleeping and waking. Well, I don't know if they're my BEST ideas, but they come to me in great detail and I can remember them, unlike a dream that I won't recall when I wake or something that comes to me in the daytime and I either overthink it until I don't like it anymore OR I'm in the middle of something else and forget it before I have a chance to write it down or sketch it.

That is why, and I promise this is the last time I'm going to grind on this particular subject, I have decided to make a real New Year's resolution of sorts after all; I resolve to not feel guilty about starting new projects before I finish the old ones. It just goes against my bohemian nature to try and organize that part of my life, and it causes me stress. Who needs more stress? I think I expend way too much mental energy thinking about what I should be doing as opposed to what I want to do, and that energy can surely be put to better use.

Anyway, back to the hearts. A couple of nights ago several ideas hit me at once, and this was the first. I don't usually get inspired by Valentine's Day, but this year I am for whatever reason. These hearts are made from Sculpey, and they're not ready to bake yet obviously...still have to get all the little fingernail marks and dents out of them, and make holes through them. The idea was to make a necklace and earring set. I made extra, I think I will make a few pairs of earrings to sell separately. They are going to be finished with a glittery clear coat and strung with some crystal and white glass beads.

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Year's Resolution FAIL...

Are you surprised? Really? I'm not. In fact I'm a little ashamed to admit that I don't think I even made it as far as I did last year. That's why I didn't really CALL it a "New Year's Resolution". Finishing my old projects before starting new ones is a fool's quest as far as I can see. Because a lot of the time I make stuff up as I go along, and sometimes I get a little stuck...should I put a ruffle here? pintucks on the bottom? Contrasting binding or not? Sometimes it's a no-brainer, and sometimes I just can't decide. So I put it aside figuring I'll come back to it and look at it with a fresh perspective. But in the meantime, other ideas just keep coming and I have to start them; can't just wait, I'll forget them. Can't just write them down for future reference, I have a whole folder of those that I never look at because I'm too busy to have to go fish for old ideas.

Besides, Easter is coming in just a few months, and this little dress is not going to make itself. At least not in time for Easter. I figure if I start it now maybe I'll get it done in time for Easter 2013.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, Old Projects

Every once in a while, as I've mentioned before, I promise myself that before I start any new projects, I will finish all the ones I already started. This usually doesn't last long, and results in much laughter from my family, especially Sparky. Who knows you better than your mother? Anyway, so far this time I am doing a little better than usual so maybe I'll at least get a few done before I relapse and start something new. Or, as it usually goes, several somethings at once. Saturday I finished a barbecue apron that I started a little over a year ago, and the pic above is the applique'd and painted border to a little dress I started...maybe as long as a year and a half ago. My problem is that I get these ideas and I start things, then work obligations force me to put them aside but then I get new ideas and start more things while the ideas are fresh in my mind. I think the current count for projects in the works is about 7; that does not count things I've been hired to make or projects for which I've assembled the materials and not started yet. But those are calling my name also.

If I had a new year's resolution, (AND I DON'T, because it seems those are doomed from the outset) it would be to pay more attention to my website and my Etsy store. Such good resources, but I don't take full advantage because it seems like I never have enough time! However, last fall a commitment that takes up a lot of my time and mental energy was removed from my life - yay! - so in the coming year I intend to make good use of that time and energy.