March 26, 2010

Honoring Mom on her Birthday

My mother died in May 2006 and is interred in a nice shady spot at a Cemetery not too far up the road.   On her Birthday, March 25th, I like to take the opportunity to bring her flowers and have a visit. 

Happy Birthday Mom

March 19, 2010

The Building at NorthLake Nature Center Burns

You might recall that back in January I posted a piece about how Beau, Larry, Ken and Al were rebuilding the old abandoned building at the NorthLake Nature Center and how proud of them I was.   Well, I'm now heartsick to report that early Sunday morning, the building burned.    And, just like that, the countless hours of  volunteer work, plans, and visions went up in smoke.

September 2004 -   There was a vision to rebuild the old abondoned building using as much of the remaining materials as possible.   Larry, was joined by two volunteers, Ken & Beau, and the work started. 


Inside of building, looking out
 Outside of building, looking in.  Initial steps were site clean-up and adding brick columns to support the structure, where needed.
March, 2005:  Doors and window shutters are built to secure the building.  Areas of brick walls are rebuilt with original bricks, salvaged from the grounds.   
 September 2005:  HURRICANE KATRINA landed several large trees on the building.   Work stopped for for several months as the three men worked hard to re-open the paths and other areas of the Northlake Nature Center to the community. 
April, 2006:  Roofing Structure going in to secure the building in sections (it's quite a large building)
May 2006:  Then they removed the doors and windows, for a short period of time for the shooting of a horror movie.  (The movie crew brought all the debris ... unfortunately, they didn't do too good a job removing it, so the men got to clean the building .... again)
April, 2007:   Section by section, layer by layer, the building continues.   Remember, this is three men, 5 - 7 hours at a time, two times a week ... rain or shine, hot or cold.
March, 2008:  1st section of exterior roof complete and interior framework and roofing well underway in the big room.
April, 2008:  I-Beams (weighing over 2000 lbs ea) carefully put in place (with just 3 men) to support the attic and roof.
October, 2008:  And, not to forget, slate cobblestone porch (from original slate roofing found in the woods) and a shade overhang.
July, 2009:  An attic is created, and dormers, along with a variety of interior works.   Al joins the volunteers, now making them a workforce of 4.
January, 2010:  The 2nd section (the big room) is almost secured
March 14, 2010:   The building burns.   An investigation is under way as to the cause.  At this point, arson is presumed.
Once again, the building is ruins.

To say the least, we are very sad.   These men were doing a great thing that, one future day, would have been a great addition to the Nature Center, as well as the community as whole.  

Their work on the building continues ... but at this point, only in the aspect of cleaning it up and securing it so it will not be a danger to those people who visit the Nature Center grounds.


March 12, 2010

Little Purple Dress

On Wednesday mornings, after leaving the gym, I like to stop by the Habitat Restore. (A thrift/home supplies store to benefit the local Habitat for Humanity chapter). I frequently find fabrics, notions, and books there; always worth the stop.

This Wednesday, I had picked up two pieces of fabric and some buttons and was headed up to checkout when I saw the little purple dress on the floor. I picked it up and started to lay across the rack, when, after a second look realized it was almost Lilly size (it might be abit big) and had potential, so, for $1.25, it was added to my purchases.

 After I got it home, I washed it (needed to do some laundry anyway), and hung it up to consider.  Now, mind you, I'm not much of a sewer, although, one would never guess that with the two cabinets I've filled (finds) with fabric, buttons, notions and such.   But, I've been meaning to start experimenting with some fabrics, so decorating a dress is as good a place to (re)start as any.

So, this morning, out came some of the stuff.   Someone, who was not really big on the finish techniques, had made this dress, so first I tacked down the inside facings  Next, I cut out two different size hearts and selected a small piece of pink polka dot fabric.   These became a little heart for the chest and two heart pockets.     Then I pulled out the container of ribbons and such and made a couple selections.   First I added a row in pale pink ribbon at the bottom, then considered some purple rick rack .....

Which brings me to my mother.  When she was a young woman (in the early 40's), she wanted to be a fashion designer.    Instead, she got married to a man who turned out to be a lousy husband and had three great kids.    Later she divorced him, married my father, who also turned out to be a lousy husband, but she had me, another great kid.    Well, the one constant in her life (besides kids and alot of work) was sewing.   She could sew the most wonderful dresses.   She could often sew without patterns, or alter them to meet the requests of her daughters.   Did I mention wonderful dresses?   Well, except for one thing; RICKRACK.   She'd had a thing for rickrack and she could take a garmet that was going so right, and then, before our very eyes, add on the dreaded RICKRACK.   Now, as a small child, I'm sure I didn't care, but by the time I reached early teens, enough was enough!  But still, she presisted with the rickrack.   In the end, I had to get little jobs so I could buy my own clothes ... devoid of rickrack.  

So, there I am in my room considering a row of purple RickRack, which probably had humored me when I picked it up at some yardsale.   But, on it went .... a row of RickRack.       Decided I'd better stop at this point. 
I think this may be a little big for her; will find out next week.   AND, Dear Lilly .... I'll really try not to put RickRack on your clothing past the age of 8.   I promise.

March 10, 2010

Soldered Pendants, Act Three

 I still have it in my mind that I'm going to learn to solder.    Instead of starting all over with designs, last week I pulled apart the previous sets I'd made, and put them back together with new glass and tape.   Spent a couple hours over yesterday and today practicing my soldering technique.

I like to run on the 5 point scale (poor, fair, good, very good, excellent) and with the redo on this set, I'm rating them a solid 2 1/2; somewhere between fair and good.   I still don't consider them sell quality, but will keep, at least, a couple of them, for comparison quality.   You know .... after I've made alot of them, look back and see how far I've come.   I've also saved the first one.

For future sets, I plan on creating collage type images using my Photoshop software.    Over the last couple years I've collected several old books with Vogue and Harper Posters dated between 1880 and 1920.   (I collect anything that falls outside of copyright).  I've been scanning these into my computer and have started altering them into, what I hope will be, unique pieces.       Such as ....

March 09, 2010

Apparently, I'm in the pattern business

It started innocently enough.    I decided I'd collected too much of some items and opened up my TodaysTreasure shop on Artfire.  The plan was, here, and sell those items that I'd collected too much of, or no longer wanted because my interests had moved in other directions. 

 I suppose the pattern business started with the initial find, back in October, 2008.   Then, last summer, a similar experience where I purchased 5 huge boxes for $40. as there appeared to be a good variety of vintage purse patterns.   One by one, the majority of these patterns ended up in my shop.

Selling patterns online is quite time consuming.   First, you have to check to make sure the pattern is complete, photograph it, process the photos and then list it in the shop.   Then, figure out how to store them in a safe and numeric order.   After that, you wait for an order.   Then, you package it, print the postage and haul it down the driveway for Bob, the mailman, to take away.   

At first, I was planning on using the profits to finance my own art/craft supply interests ... funding the next yard sales, those items I might need at Hobby Lobby, etc.   Then, started thinking that I wanted to do something bigger with the dollars.    After alot of thought, I decided on a Smart 529 Education plan for Lilly.    Now, as each pattern gets handed over to Bob, I think, "Okay, perhaps that will buy a couple pages of a college book for Lilly", or, "perhaps that will buy Lilly some lunch as she rushes between classes", or "Another 100 patterns and we'll have tuition for a class (which will hopefully grow into multiple classes if the Fund grows well). 

The whole idea pleases me.    I'm in the pattern business for Lilly.

Last Saturday, at the Hosanna yard sale I picked up about another 300 patterns ... I'll start processing them later this week.

March 06, 2010

Yard Sale Saturday, March 6th

Today was the annual yard sale for the Hosanna Church, right up the road.    The majority of the churches around here discontinued their annual yard sales after Katrina (not sure why), but this one continues.   They obviously have a generous membership, who donate a large assortment of household items, books, crafts, toys, accessories, etc.   I always find items of interest here and came prepared with three of my shopping bags to load up.  

-- Small assortment of jewelry for the found items box ... (except for the elephants; they are for my sister who collects them).
--  A large assortment of sewing related items.    Ribbon, lace, two boxes of threads, needles, buttons, transfers, fabric paints, Amish Quilt kit, magnets, closures and a flower press for the microwave.
--   (Not shown), Two full boxes of sewing patterns.

I'm happy to have the return of yard sale season.   Although I'm well past the point of needing any more supplies, I find it great fun going out. 

March 02, 2010

Yard Sale Saturday & Other Stuff

Yard Sale Saturday, February 27th
Usually, by this time of year, yard sale season is started up and in pretty good swing.   Not this year.   I suppose it's the weather.  Almost every weekend is chilly and wet, or chilly and windy, or perhaps, just chilly.   Frequented just one sale on Saturday, at the local middle school for Haiti relief.   

  • 1 pair of old turquoise earrings (for the found objects collection)
  • 1 old link belt (these will eventually be taken apart and applied to something else ... think I have 5-6 of them, now, in different patterns.
  • 2 pieces of fabric
  • 1 roll of heavy wrapping paper (which I use to wrap up the patterns sold out of TodaysTreasure .. instead of using envelopes.

The Other Stuff
I've not been posting to Blogger for the last couple weeks.  Shortly after my return from vacation, I realized that my post history between August 2006 and July 2008 (Two Years !) is gone.   Not just missing,but GONE.   I searched all my settings thinking it was just hidden, misfiled by a choice of some kind, but No, it's gone.    After spending literally hours search Google for answers, finally ended up posting in their help forum.   I'm hoping they will have an answer for me, eventually.   But I'm not real hopeful.   I've seen a variety of messages indicating if you know the name of the individual posts they might be able to recover.   Of course, I've not kept track of that, in any manner.   Woe is me.   Oh, and I think, in the process, I've messed up my RSS (or whatever all that is) feed while trying to fix the ther problem.   Again, woe is me.

I recently upgraded from Photoshop Elements 2 (which I've been using for about 10 years) to Photoshop Elements 8 and I'm on a learning curve.   I'm thinking about using photoshop to create small pieces of collage art for use in the soldered pendants (assuming I ever gain an real skill soldering).     I upgraded because many of the current Photoshop downloads/enhancements were not compatible with the old version.   Although the two versions have alot of similiarites, I'm taking it tool by tool, step by step, learning it well.  A very time consuming, but rather fun, process.   Which means, I've been doing a whole lot of sitting on the couch with the cat.

Pulled the masks out of the bag, where they've been curing in water since mid January.    I sanded them down with a block to remove the roughness on the faces and washed them up.    I've set them out on the back porch, where I'm closely watching them for signs of personality ... i.e., decide how to paint/stain them.