Thursday, July 31, 2008

More goodies

Shown above are the 3 beautiful atcs I received in the mail from Susan Kurz who is in the atc_group on Yahoo with me. She graciously agreed to a 3/3 swap with me. I've got my fronts done, but lack a finishing touch or 2 and mine will be in the mail to her. Aren't these so, so lovely! Mine have ended up being a black and white trio that are kind of different, so I hope she likes them.

The other goodies are some of the buys bought at the Goodwill in Decatur last Saturday while camping. As I've mournfully remarked before, ours in Cullman is long gone, so since we were up that way I managed to get dh to swing by there. The ribbon was in 2 baggies at $2 each and all the butterflies, which will be good assemblage pieces, were in a bag with a tiny cowbell and a watermelon slice for $1.25. Underneath is the nice frame with glass that was only $2. The black purse was also $2, I think, and the tan bag which I'm using now was $3. There were a few other goodies, as well, and I also found an Ace Hardware store which carries some of the annealed and copper wire needed to attempt the jewelry projects in Stephanie Lee's jewelry book I purchased previously. We don't have an Ace store in Cullman. And in Ross's I bought a pasta maker for $11 to use for polymer clay. As usual, I'm all over the place with my interests!

Made it through my first night back on 3rd shift, but it was a long night. Very busy and a lot to catch up on and remember to do. About to get ready to leave out for my 2nd night. My sleeping is messed up right now. I couldn't sleep very well today. Maybe it will be better tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I am being greatly blessed lately!

Normally, as I've stated previously, I don't win giveaways or contests, BUT I've won a blog giveaway at Kim's Treasures ! I know, isn't that unbelievable! I've told her that maybe I need to recheck my identity, lol! Click on the name of her blog to go to post with the picture of the giveaway and click here to see the cool way she picked the winner. Very generous prizes, too! Thanks so much, Kim! Check her blog out while you're there, she posts some beautiful photos of her flowers and some great thrifting finds. Also, check out the yo-yo's she made. Now thanks to Kim, I'm going to HAVE to go buy a yo-yo maker! These are so cute and they sound easy with the the little yo-yo maker thingie.

We just got back from a camping trip to Point Mallard, Decatur. It was so busy at work and otherwise that I didn't get a chance to post about us being gone and there is no internet at the campsite. Had a wonderful time. It was a chance for a get away before I start working third shift tomorrow night. The mosquitoes were out full force, let me tell you! I normally don't get bitten that much and in 30 minutes outside Saturday evening, they had a feast of me! We didn't have repellant at that point(I thought we did) and I don't really like to use it anyway, but we ran to a store and got some. I'm still fighting the urge to scratch the multiple bites on my legs, arms, and feet. They even bit my fingers and toes! Nasty little creatures! We did a little shopping here and there, including a trip to the Goodwill, the finds from which I'll post about later.

Pictured today are some of the hand carved stamps I've made from simple erasers. Some were made recently and others previously. Sorry the photos are a little dark. Being the tight wad that I am, I carve on the back of the rubber so I get 2 for 1. One picture shows the front and the other what is on the back. They are fun to do, but I have to be very careful with my Exacto knives. I tend to concentrate on what I'm cutting and not where my fingers are in relationship to the blade and have cut the fingers more than once! You can see I stink at stamping, though! Some of the stamp pads are drying out, I think, so I'll blame some of it on that. I just noticed that on one which had a diamond pattern on one side and a swirl pattern on the other, that I forgot to turn the stamp over to show the carving with the swirl. You can also see that I didn't remember I had a carving of an arrow and did another one. Oh well, they are a little different from each other.

I have a lot more to post about, including some beautiful atc's I received in the mail while I was gone. I still need to work on the 3 I'm sending back, so I'll save that for tomorrow.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Surprise in the mail today

I had to post again to show everyone the lovely prize I got in the mail today. In the atc_group I'm in on Yahoo, I participated in a contest to guess the lineage of one of the member's pets. She sent off one of the pet DNA tests on her new doggy. Well, some of us were partially right, but none of us guessed entirely correctly, so Jane assigned a number to each participant and,unbelievably, my number was chosen. I say "unbelievably" because in my family lineage there is a joke about "Parker luck" or the lack thereof.

The prize was this beautiful handcrafted piece of art which I received today! And to top it off Jane had it stuffed full of lots of lovely ephemera! I will be putting the ephemera to use right away to make some atc's. How wonderful that they are already cut out and ready to use! Thanks so much, Jane! I was truly a lucky winner!

Decide to fly

These are a pair of pages in one of my composition book journals. Of course, they don't have lovely unlined pages, but using something so inexpensive freed me to actually journal. The ones with the blank pages that cost a little more have so far intimidated me, but when the book only cost a dollar and so did the gift bag used to cover it, there seems to be less fear of "messing up". I just play with different techniques and usually don't do any writing on the pages until later. Sometimes I gesso the pages first, while at other times I gesso around the images to cover the lines. On this spread I glued down some magazine/catalog images first, but never got around to using any gesso. Then I colored around the images with oil crayons to blend and to add the swirls.

I hope to get in the art room today and make some atcs. I've not made any in a long while and hope my muse shows up to help me. On one of my art groups I asked and have a 3/3 swap lined up.

It's totally hot and humid in Alabama right now, so even though I really should go out and hoe the garden, I'm going to cop out and try to do that maybe tomorrow evening. (We have a women's Bible study meeting at church tonight.) My ancestors would be ashamed of me. The ones who planted acres of cotton AND had huge gardens which fed the family throughout the winter. They toiled endless hours in the hot sun, planting, cultivating, hoeing, picking. I have an image in my mind of my grandmother, who worked in the garden wearing a dress, one of my grandfathers LONG SLEEVED white shirts, and always a bonnet to protect herself from the sun. We used to have to help them when I was young so that we would have a share in the garden harvest, I guess.

My Mom tells stories of picking cotton and how, even when she was little, she had her own child-sized bag so that she could work along side the family in the fields. My grandfather paid each child, some of whom were teenagers, some money based on how much they picked.

Interesting how times have changed. Where once this was a family working together to make their livelihood, now someone would probably call the Labor Board and have the parents arrested for violating Child Labor laws. My personal feeling is that hard work made them better, stonger people who learned to persevere. Today's generations are much weaker, less able to endure hardships, expecting life to not be hard. I include myself in that generalization(see above comment about not wanting to go hoe the garden in the heat, lol). I could wax on about this topic, but will stop for now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Something on Sunday

Thought I'd better post, otherwise Holly will be fussing at me. Things have continued to be busy until yesterday when I got to stay home an entire day. Of course, I threatened my dh not to plan on my doing anything that required me to leave home. Our life is full of irony, as he loves to go and see and do, while I am a fairly solitary person by nature, craving time alone when I've not had any or just to be in my own space. I work with the public and he is self-employed as a chicken farmer. So when I get home, he wants us to do SOMETHING, while after a 10+ hour work day, I just want to stay at HOME. We have enough give and take, well, for the most part(one of us more than the other, perhaps, hmmm) that we do ok with each other.

Today's photos are of the previously mentioned Moody Blues album cover turned into a journal front. It is a sketchbook and too big to fit on the scanner so my apologies for the poor photo color. It going to be my homage to my favorite color blue. I've only done a few pages and one of the spreads is also shown. This is the very first one and the left hand page is the one where I took titles from the album to make the sentence, Meanwhile Days In My World Veteran Cosmic Rocker. Not sure what that means, except that I'm feeling old, perhaps,lol! The right hand page is the one with the blue girls face. I used pieces of magazine pages so there is a little glare in the photo, sorry. Also used gesso, paint, markers to make the waves of hair which go from her head over to the other page. Pretty weird, huh? Sometimes my true inner self comes out!

Also shown is a bird nest with some eggs that I painted. When Holly finished her birdhouse there was leftover blue and bronze paint. Being the thrifty tightwad that I am, I grabbed up some unpainted wooden eggs from my stash of such. To make the spots on the eggs I took a wooden skewer and broke it into, using the pointed broken end to make the dots. Varying the pressure made the spots bigger or smaller. I was pretty proud of how real they looked, so I wanted to share my happy accidental painting tool.

I always forget to load my photos in the opposite order, so just pretend that the cover of the album is the top picture.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday words

This is the work week where I can be glad it is Wednesday, because I have one more day to work before I'm off for 4. I have one more known scheduled week. We are in the process of trying to come up with a new work schedule using the workers we have left to cover the lab 24/7. As it stands now I am going to start working 3rd shift again. I did this for 7 years, but have been back on day shift for a while. It would be good in some ways, more pay and greater flexibility about helping Mother, but I am several years older than when I did it before, so I'm kind of worried about how I'll hold up working 10+hours/night. Before I only worked 8. But, I'm going to try it and see how it goes, that is, if it gets approved. My supervisor is leaving, so we will be under new leadership at some point. Also, some other coworkers might be leaving, so it is really a mess right now. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers if you think about it.

Here is a pic of the altered candlesticks. They started out as just plain-looking varnished wood. I think they look much more interesting like this. I ought to make up more like this to see if they would sell in our flea market booth. The moss-covered balls were formerly a softball and a baseball and the moss was that which you buy in a pack at Hobby Lobby. I bought a bag of used balls once at the Goodwill for cheap with the intent of doing different things like this with them. At Emily's first apartment, we covered several with shells and animal print wallpaper to display in a wooden pedastal container on top of more shells for filler. I want to try mosaic on some of them, too.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Wonderful surprise

I checked my comments and there was one from Deb Lewis at Vintage Moon Studio letting me know that she had passed on this award to me for my blog. She is, I think, being kind in nominating me as my blog is pretty new and I so appreciate her thinking of me in this way. Deb is an amazing and generous artist whose work and blog I've enjoyed very much.

In accepting this award, I agree to:
1. Display logo and link to who gave it.
2. Nominate at least 7 blogs.
3. Add links to those 7 blogs.
4. Leave the nominees a message that they received the award.

I would like to nominate Beth at Lasting Impressions from the Heart, Jeanie at The Marmelade Gypsy, Jo Anne at Paper Cat's Page, Aileen at Aileen's Musings(also owner of Outside the Margins), Annie at In My Dreams, Rosie at Living as Rosa, and Karla at Karla's Cottage. All except Karla and Jo Anne are in the Yahoo art group which was the first one I ever joined.

Thanks, Deb!

Today's photo has nothing to do with the award, but I finally got around to taking a better picture of an assemblage piece I did previously. It's called, I Could Have Been A Cowboy, and started out life as a vintage(?) print in a barnwood-looking frame. I whitewashed the frame and then glued a map showing some of the western states, which was antiqued with some metallic glaze. Then I glued on an old photo of a dapper gentleman who just looked to me like he wished he had been a cowboy. The horse bottom was a magazine picture and then I added various elements, including a spent gunshell, rusted metal pieces, wooden scrap finds across the bottom. I pencil sketched in a doorway in the background to symbolize what could have been and also an outline of a cowboy hat on his head.

I've not had time to do any art lately. Actually I've been home very little in the last week. I did get some crafty stuff done by antiqueing some wooden candlesticks for my dd, Emily. These were some thrift store assorted sized wooden candlesticks, a pair of which have now been altered by using Claudine Hellmuth's petroleum jelly peeling paint technique with a top coat of white paint. I also made some moss-covered balls to rest on top of the candlesticks. Not taken a picture of them yet, but will before I send them on to her. We also repainted some big chunky wooden candlesticks with black paint that looked really classy, but she took them with her last time she was here and we didn't take a picture. Maybe I can get her to take one of how she is using them, with big red candles and displayed with a black matte pottery planter full of white rocks with some red votive candles sitting in the rocks.

It has taken me 2 days to get this all posted. At first I was having trouble figuring out how to do the little button for the award, so I finally just saved it as a picture, worked a long while to get it resized to look decent, and just posted it like that. It would help if I was more computer literate, lol! Also I am having a heck of a time with blogger and the internet tonight getting pictures to post! I'm sure it has something to do with dial up internet. So, Holly, who has chastised me twice about not posting, I just want you to know I've been trying. Also, my little kitty helper keeps jumping up here for some attention.

For supper tonight, I cooked the first "mess" of squash from our garden. I can't eat it, as it causes food poisoning symptoms, but I sauteed some in a small bit of butter in a skillet and dh grilled some also while he was cooking our steaks. Dh loves squash so he'll have some to eat tomorrow as well. I wonder if I could eat the squash since I've had my gallbladder removed, but am too afraid of the potential suffering to try it again.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A few bargains

While off today, went shopping for my Mom's birthday presents, and since I don't like real shopping where you have to pay full price for your purchases, I rewarded myself with a trip to the S.A. store afterwards. Had a little time to kill before getting a haircut. Not many things, but what I got was cheap. I did my part for the handicapped thrift store items today. The wooden tray was the most expensive thing at $2. It's missing one of the feet and so is the small jewelry box, which was only $1. I'm seeing the tray repainted with the remaining feet removed, possibly looking classy in a coat of black, shabby chic with some chippy white or pastel paint, decoupaged or with mosaics. In the future of the jewelry box there will also be paint and/or decoupage to remake it into a miniature chest of drawers, most likely in the shabby-style or altered-art-looking. There is also a Tupperware egg separator for one of my dd's. It was only a quarter. Also pictured are the first squash from our garden. So far we've gotten radishes and my dfil has picked a few hot peppers he planted.

The needlepoint Christmas stocking kit was only $1 and was complete with the thread unopened. Now if a fairy would come along and stitch it for me! I say that because my vision has changed, not I don't think to middle-aged farsightedness, because I can see things up close, just not as well with my present glasses prescription. Stitching the stocking would be a challenge right now. Also because of this I didn't realize the little decoupaged china egg has a crack on one side until I got home in better light. I really do need to remember to get an appointment lined up.

I've been off 2 days, so no idea what's going on a work. Guess I'll find out tomorrow when I go back. This is my 4 day work weekend coming up. Yesterday was busy helping Mom with several errands in town. Today I'm running my errands. Need to go pull the remaining radishes when the little thunder boomer blows over.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

There have been better days

Today's picture of Max shows how I've been feeling this week. Holly took this of him last weekend when I guess he was mad about Emily's dog, Coal, being here and the fact that the house was full of people, but who still weren't home very much. Max would prefer his Mom to sit all day right by him on the couch or at least spend sizable stretches of time in such laziness and that happens very rarely. He also gets mad whenever we aren't home very much, as he wants his people to be with him. This is how he looks at me when I leave for work in the mornings or on Sundays when he sees we are all getting ready for church.

The reason I've been feeling this way has been due to work situations. We found out Monday morning that a number of hospital employees were being laid off/let go. I work at a small community hospital, with about 200 or so workers. Six losing their jobs were from the lab department where I work. While most were on the books as part time, 4 of them worked a sizable number of hours to help cover us being open 24/7. So while I am thankful I still have a job, it was very sad to see people losing their's, very emotionally draining, feeling guilty for having a job when someone else doesn't. Last night I kept crying every time I let myself think about it very long. Also, our supervisor told us he was turning in his notice and that at least one other worker is leaving as well. This means those of us left will have to figure out a way to keep covering hours and keep "keeping on" without the benefit of leadership. So very unsettling times. Not knowing for sure when I'll be working or how things will be.

I feel a little better this evening. I know God will take care of us and if He closes one door, He'll open another. Just being human, sometimes life will just get to you for a while.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Some organizational tips from Jill?!?

Gasp, some of you are saying! I know, I heard it all the way here! But here are a couple that I have right by my desktop computer. I use the vintage(has to be seventies, don't ya think?) basket purse to hold some computer software and manuals. I love to collect pottery planters and try to use them in different ways for display or storage. Here this little green piece makes a great holder for note cards.

In case you're wondering about the books. These are some books that I borrowed that need to be returned to the owner and are here only so I won't get them mixed up in my books. I want to go back and read some of the Boxcar Children original books, but the coworker I borrowed these 3 from, didn't have the 1st one and I was wanting to read them in order. Thought for sure the library would have them all, but they didn't have the first one either. I should just break down and buy them myself, but was trying to be frugal first.

To include a little art stuff, here are a pair of journal pages from my glue book journal, an altered composition notebook. This spread started with a note card a friend from work gave me because she thought I would do something with it. There were 3 different ones, I believe. To begin I tore the card at the fold and used the front half on the left hand page and then part of the back to make a pocket on the right hand page. Also used paint sample cards, oil crayons, ink pen, marker, & stickers. (BTW, this is hard to type because my kitty helper is working overtime tonight.) I started to take out the journal tag before scanning because it is personal, but you know, we all deal with baggage, so I left it in case it might help someone else.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Starry, starry night

Not a beautiful picture, but just to show some of what I did yesterday and to make myself be accountable for doing something with this later on, here is part of the fabric paper(too big for all of it to scan) from my playtime. This was from an article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors. Forgot to see which issue, though I will try to remember to look it up and add it later to give credit where due. In this technique, you lay down fabric and then soak with watered down glue and use layers of paper pieces and then tissue paper with touches of thin paint washes. I want to challenge myself to pull some new techniques from my numerous magazines more frequently and have fun.

I'm calling this fabric/paper "Starry, starry night" for several reasons. One is that this song is stuck in my head from listening to one of the soundtracks to Ally McBeal. I've had that CD for years literally and not listened to it. I know it's been years because it was a Goodwill find for $1 and our beloved GW store has been gone for several years now. Ran across it recently as I sorted and have discovered I totally love this CD. I never watched this show, had(still don't) no idea what the show was about and didn't even know who starred in it until I researched this album a little more, but this music by Vonda Shepherd is wonderful. Includes several remakes of old songs and I like them as much as the originals and that is usually hard to say. The song Vincent(Starry, Starry Night) keeps going through my head, but I like every song on here. I also noticed that while listening to these versions of the old songs, I can understand the lyrics much better than originally. Not sure if it's because the singer is enunciating her words better or if it's because the quality of musical recordings has improved so much.

With that song playing in my head, I pulled a piece of scrap fabric I had which happened to be a blue cotton with silver stars printed on it. Then I started pulling some papers to use from my scrap folder. These I chose totally for their colors or patterns with no thought for the lyrics in my head. When I began to glue the paper down, I noticed that in the midst of them, were some sheet music titles including Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Pretty cool how your subconscious will do things!The tissue paper I did choose for the developing theme and used some silver star patterned and some with a light purple and blue stripe(ugly on its own, but not too bad toned down here). Paint accents were silver and a blue metallic ink. Not sure what it will turn into, but it was a fun thing to do that didn't require much thinking.

Also wanted to show you my helper who joins me when I am posting on the blog, often sitting right in front of the screen. In this shot, I had managed to elbow her slightly to the side. What is really fun, is when she grabs hold of my leg to begin her jump up. Very attention-getting! I usually help her up very quickly to a less painful spot.

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