May 30, 2010

Ancient History in my Bellsouth Personal Web Page

Way before I had a blog, I maintained an Arts Diary on the Bellsouth Personal Web Pages.  These were my early years of experimenting with mosaic, glass and concrete.  I maintained this online diary between August 2002(when I discovered the ease of documenting online, versus writing in journals),and July 2006, when I discovered more user friendly platforms.     The diary entries were maintained in a calender, where I posted about each individual project daily.     You are welcome to look, if you wish. 

Bellsouth was our Internet Provider and they gave us the web space for free.  They were later bought out by AT&T and the space has remained.  

I want to check on it yesterday and I couldn't gain access to the site, it wouldn't allow me to sign in, which meant I couldn't access the entries.   I called AT&T, who told me the servers were shut down  in February and everything in the web pages was gone.   When I protested (as I'd been there a month or so ago), I was directed to another department, who directed me to another department, who directed me back to the first department I had talked with.   Yep, the Corporate Run-Around.   Lots of chickens with bit-parts and no one with the overall picture. 

So, I searched for info in online forums and generally wasted my entire morning, and then ..... drum roll please .... it let me in and everything was there, just like I'd left it.   I sure wish I knew what I did in case this happens again.

But, the point here is, a number of forum posts made it pretty clear that AT&T are going to take this platform down sometime in the (perhaps near) future.   Which means, I've got to go to the work of transferring it, or loosing it, which I hate to do.      So, I've decided that I'm going to transfer it here, as ancient history.

I don't know how this will impact Readers, if it will show up, or not because the entries will be backdated.   I hope it won't be a nuisance. 

May 29, 2010

Fabric Fireplace Cover (Screen)

This is my current fireplace screen. 
It's creation is etched in my mind.   I decided it was time for a new one in late August 2005.  
I had cut the MDF, painted the edges, and decided on the design and picked the papers for the paper collage design.    (It's suppose to be Japanese style Ginko fans).   At this specific time, Hurricane Katrina was in the Gulf and the media was calling for everyone to get out.   So, along with all the other important stuff (husband, son, cat) I grabbed the collage papers to give me something to do while we waited.  

The next day, in Memphis,  I transferred the design and cut out all of the pieces, while watching the devastation and aftermath of Katrina on TV.   It has was incredible short term distraction and I was thankful I'd brought them. 

Three weeks later, when we finally were allowed to return home, I finished the screen ... and there it's been ever since; except at Christmas, I cover it with wrapping paper.

But, I've grown quite tired of it; it was never that great to begin with.   So, I'm going to move it off to the attic (I'll keep the frame; it might be useful for something else in the future), and start a new one. 

Beau cut down a piece of MDF for me the actual size of the opening (43" by 32").   I selected three different pieces of upholstery fabric as they blend nicely with my room decor, and printed a fleur-di-leis pattern, which will become part of the central motif.  Other than the fleur-di-leis, there is no master plan.   We are just going to see what happens.

So far, I've cut three panels of the brown textured fabric and transferred the fleur-di-leis pattern to the center of each.   I've machine stitched the pattern into the center of each.   I also cut panels to go on each side of the fleur-di-leis panels and added quilting stitching to each of the X's.
I'll continue tomorrow.

Yard Sale Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Almost every Saturday morning, Beau places a cup of coffee on my night table and tells me it's Yard Sale Saturday.  He then turns on the light and proceeds to read his newspaper.  Usually, by 6:40am, I manage to climb out of bed and start getting ready.  Getting ready is easy, clothes, teeth, hair, drink rest of coffee, collect money and back up tote bag (cell phone, measuring tape, billfold), put on the MP3 player and out the door right about 7am.   And, so it went today, except I forgot the MP3 player.

Visited 8 sales in all; The Lakes, a local subdivision was having its annual. 

  • a container for crayons.   I certainly don't need anymore crayons.   I haven't finished making the heart crayons I started last weekend for Lilly, but I really like these small lidded containers and for a dime, what the heck. 
  • a pack of artist paintbrushes
  • A bottle of fraycheck.    
  • A couple yards of Brown and Blue braid
  • A box of foam stick on letters.   Thought these would be fun to add to my packages mailed from the supply shop ... words, or at least letters, on mail kinda thing. 
  • A really long chain that was probably some kind of belt. 
  • 14 pieces of antique lace and/or crochet thingies.  
The antique lace/crochet was interesting.   At one of the sales there was a rather large stack on a table with no price.   I asked the woman for cost and she came rushing over telling me how they were antiques and really special.   I reminded her that one persons antique was another persons used, unwanted stuff, to which she quickly decided the small pieces were a quarter and the larger 50 cents.   I must have spent a good 45 minutes going through them all, and in the end selected 14 pieces.   I envision them as texture under paint on canvas.   I thought about offering her $10 for all, but truthfully, I'd selected the ones that I thought had the best potential and the rest would just be inventory.    I'm sure I'll regret this decision.   Oh well.

May 28, 2010

Summer = Heat, Humidity and Yard Work

The calendar may still say Spring, but it's definitely Summer here in Southeast Louisiana.  We are in the low 90s, with, what feels like, humidity near the same.  Definitely early summer. 

Part of our summer ritual, of course, includes yard work.   Although Beau works in the yard almost daily, I only join him in one large weekly session, usually on Thursday or Friday.   He does the mowing and weed-eating; I do the edging, blowing and maintenance in the front flower beds.     This time of year the yard typically looks great.

 I planted Purple Cone flower seeds about 8 years ago.   Each year the clumps grow and this year they are especially abundant. 

 The Coreoposis is going gangbusters (dead heading them is becoming a solid part time job).  The red daylillies, right behind them, are just about ready to burst out.
I moved Super Dog (ready to fly over the garden in a single bound) to the front bed and planted some annual around him.   Normally the fern here is huge, but it froze to the ground during winter and is just now starting its rebound.
Beau has 32 tomatoe plants, 1 horn and 1 bell pepper in his garden this summer.   Any minute now, we will be having tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  (Normally we are on vacation when the tomatoes first come in and the neighbors keep an eye on them .. woe is them this year. 

 On Tuesday, Lilly went out and did a water hose dance (with the Garden Gods looking on) to bring on some rain.   Alas, it didn't work and we'll be spending the afternoon today watering.

May 22, 2010

Melting and Making Big Heart Crayons for Lilly

When I was walking off from the last yard sale this morning I saw a box with a bunch of crayons, pens, colored pencils, for a whole 50 cents.  I immediately thought of Lilly and handed over my quarters.

Last time she visited I got out a could of the large sizes non-toxic water based markers and set her up to the workbench to show her how to scribble.   She got in a couple great scribbles, but when I looked away, she bit off the end and turned her mouth a beautiful shade of cobalt blue, making magic markers out for awhile.

She's coming to visit us tomorrow and thought I might try crayons with her; something big and chunky that she could easily hold.  

This is really a basic 101 craft class ... melting crayons in molds.    In case you are interested,

Select your colors.   They can be anything; combinations of the same color, all different colors mixed together; whatever you want.   Remove the papers.

Put the crayon pieces into a plastic mold.   This is a heart shaped candy mold.   Just make your best guess as to how many you need.     Microwave on low (I used power setting 4) for about 7 minutes, or until the crayons are all melted.  (I don't recommend the high power setting; you might melt your mold).    Leave them in the microwave to cool (about 30 minutes); the wax is very hot and, almost as bad as burns, can make a tremendous mess. 
When completely cooled, turn your mold upside down and pop them out (Just like using the old ice cube trays).

I learned a couple relatively non important things during this process.
  • Peeling the paper off can be a real pain.  There were three different brands of crayons in the box and each brand uses a different amount of glue in attaching the crayons.   The crayola brand were the easiest to remove; the paper is not glue directly to the crayon and the RoseArt were the most difficult; the end of the paper is actually glue to the crayon.   
  • There were a number of washable crayons.   I dropped all the crayons into a tub of water figuring that would loosen the papers quickly.  The washable crayons started to dissolve in the water, creating a real mess.
I now find myself wondering about the possible art, texture uses for these washable crayons.  Perhaps let them soak until the start to dissolve, then smear them across fabrics or papers .... hummm.  I see some experiments in my future.

I'll make up a few more batches tomorrow, in a variety of colors, and see if Lilly is ready to play with holding crayons and scribbling on paper.   If not, and she just eats them, at least they are not toxic.

Yard Sale Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Slow yard sale day in our immediate area today; the paper showed most were up in Covington, and although it's only 6 miles up the road, it's always good to establish limits on such foolishness, or it really could get out of town and I could be headed off to the 100 mile yardsale they have up there, somewhere (NC and TN, I think).

All told, visited 6.

  • A big box of crayons
  • A ratty box with assorted sewing supplies.  The box I've already thrown out, it was in very poor condition and I really don't want a sewing box.   But the sewing supplies was worth $1.
  • A tween embroidery set.   I picked it up (25 cents) for the bag of embroidery threads.   The woman then pointed out the booklet that goes with it, which is full of beginner stitches, which should come in as a handy refresher since I'm still busy stitching away on my Padillies.  

At the last stop I came across a woman's mannequin head, from the upper neck up, complete with a head full of hair.   I figure it must have been used in beauty school or something like that.  I kept looking at it and thinking about the couple times recently that I'd walked off from something because I couldn't think of any use and then later greatly regretted it.    After several minutes of contemplation, I decided that I could use her to model hats, should I create some.   But then, I started thinking about how I already made a couple hats and they didn't turn out so well and they really were not much fun ... so I walked off and left her.    I'm sure I'll be regretting it before the weekend is over.  

May 18, 2010

Road Trip, Day 4 & 5 - Homeward Bound

We hit the road back towards home after breakfast at Denny's. (We were both good and ordered meals without the pancakes).  The lightly tossed goal for the day was to visit 6 Flea Markets, and hopefully make it as far as Interstate 10W.

The first flea market came upon us quickly, in Daytona.   We spent about an hour wandering through looking at mostly vendor junk (with appearance of dollar store close-outs), and a really nice looking produce area.  We made it back to the car with only a bag of Kettle Corn and some of those dryer balls (that are supposed to make your clothes dry faster).     We produced about another 50 miles up the road and came across another (don't remember the town).  It was much junkier.   This one had a few real fleas (stuff folks brought from home that they didn't want anymore).   It still wasn't meeting my expectations and, the temperature was moving into the upper 80s with the humidity about the same.    Enough for me.   Time to hit the freeway and make some tracks towards home. 

We stopped for the night in Tallahassee and then got up early the next morning and came the rest of the way home (about 5 hours).

We should be home for awhile, although I'm sure Beau would be quite happy to be planning another trip for next week (he loves to go). 

May 15, 2010

Road Trip, Day 3 - Titusville, FL

It’s Yard Sale Saturday, so with only a bit of procrastination we packed up the car and headed out.     Our actual destination is Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, and Caneveral National Seashore,  however,  stopped at the 7 yardsale signs we happened across.   Finds … not much.    Most the yard sales had kids stuff and dishes, neither of which I need.   I did, however, pick up a handful of CD’s, as the Spectrum radio station XM  plays a Celtic Crush thing on Saturday mornings, which really isn’t my thing.   
Kennedy Space Center is on Merritt Island.   The rest of the Island is a Wildlife Reserve and  a National Park.     Most of the area is wetlands with a wonderful healthy eco-system in place.     We took a little nature hike on the boardwalk at the visitor center and saw nesting Osprey; two adults and two rather large babies.  (No pictures as our camera isn’t of that quality).   From there, we moved down the road and viewed the Manatees …. Can you tell this is a Manatee?
The National Park area includes 7 miles of pristine beaches with great visitor access areas.   We made up a picnic and enjoyed lunch on the beach, along with a bit of sunbathing and a stroll.   Again no pictures; left the camera in the car.   But, Beau did get a great picture of the backside of the Space Launch area.
This is a beautiful area.    The beach is incredible; there are many boat and canoe access areas and is a birdwatchers bonanza.   I highly recommend anyone passing through the area put this on their list.  Or, if you just want to dream about it, I've included links above. 
From there, we stopped by an incredible junkie Flea Market and then checked into yet another hotel,  hung out at the pool, dinner at a local Steak house, and movies on TV.
Big plans for tomorrow … start towards home, stopping at 6 flea markets, as we come across them.   The goal being finding locations that are actual flea markets and not vendor markets.     I’m heading back to mixed media sculptural art and I’m in search of inspiration.

May 13, 2010

Road Trip, Day 2; Titusville, FL - Space Shuttle Launch

We were out of the hotel by 8:30 and within two hours were in Titusville.   We had scoped out possible viewing sites and had a scoped out plan.

Favorite sighting on the way in .... this really big sign on the front entry of a building.

We figured it had to do with something locally political, however, got a great chuckle.   In these times of cutbacks, could there be anything more cruel, albeit efficient, than just posting a sign for the 'fired' person.   Like, don't even bother getting out of your car ... it's over.    Looked it up online, and yep, politics .. a senator I believe. 

We'd decided to view the shuttle launch around Space View Park.   We arrived in perfect time to land into a great, and close, parking spot.   We had our chairs set up by 11am and were settled in to wait for 2:20.  

The atmosphere was enjoyable, lots of people of all ages gathering, chatting, having picnics, and waiting, together.  Then, it was time, alot of ohhh and ahhhs as it went up and then the noise caught up and within three minutes, it was over, with only the contrails remaining.   The ohhs and ahhhs then changed to Wows and Spectaculars and, in waves, we all trekked back to our cars to join one really huge traffic jam (As people were watching this over a 25+ Mile stretch).   SPECTACULAR.

If you are interested in seeing the real thing, you can download the actual launch from this Nasa site ... again, Incredible. 

Then, check-in to another hotel, dinner at Carrabas, relax a bit and get ready to start on Day 3 first thing tomorrow.

Road Trip, Day 1 - Mandeville to Jacksonville, FL

When we missed the Space Shuttle Launch by a couple hours last February, we decided to go back over to see one of the last three and the May launch seemed to be the best fit for us.    We made it out of the house early and made the ride to Jacksonville in an easy 8 hours.   We generally take turns driving and have a picnic lunch at a rest stop.  I brought my Padillies to sew on in the car, which, along with Beau's great company and XM radio, it was a pleasant ride.   

We checked into our hotel, went out for dinner, fueled the car, picked up a couple things at the grocery ... all routine travels events ... ho hum ...

May 10, 2010

12 Silly Pidillies for Lilly

The last couple days I started putting together a set of 12 faces, which are resulting from the Dippity Doo Workshop (awaiting arrival of lesson 4).     I thought I'd like to do some kind of finished project to commemorate taking the Workshop and continuation of a more fabric creative line of thinking.    So, what better than a set of 12 faces, which I've taken to calling Padillies, which will eventually become a wall hanging for my beloved granddaughter, Lillian.  (Gosh, that word eventually sounds daunting ... let's change it to 'next month' .... much better ... )

So here they are ... 12 sandwiches created and adorned with faces.    Beau and I are taking a short road trip to see the Space Shuttle lift-off later in the week and the stitching on these will be a good car project.     I'll show you my progress next week. 

May 09, 2010

Large Window Light Box ... continued

This piece of art came to a screeching halt at 95 % complete.   To recap ...

Using clear silicone caulk, attached each cut stained glass square (6 x 6 & 6 x 6 1/2) to the inside pane.
Using wood screws, attached metal brackets on the four outside corners for additional support.
Using the Dremel, ground out and opening on the bottom for the electrical cord.
Attached hardware on side edges and 50 pound weight hanging wire.
Attached florescent light fixture.

The finished piece weighs 20 pounds.  I decided this I rather hang the piece in the front entry versus the guest room so we could enjoy it, which changed the hanging from horizontal to vertical. 

Beau helped me hang it up, and I plugged it in and stepped back to for the first appreciative glance and .... UH OH ... either the florescent light is to bright or I should not have choose glass quite this translucent ... or both.   

I thought about changing the florescent light out to small clear Christmas lights stapled into the insides, but decided that  would also not work well as the wires would be clearly visible.   I think the only possible fix will be clear tube lights.     So, the next day we headed off to Home Depot for tube lights.   But, alas, they consider them a seasonal item ... available for Christmas decorating.   I looked online and found I could buy a 6 foot set for about $27.    Excuse me, but that is robbery.   At Christmas they sell for less than $5.    So ... on hold.

But, at least, it still looks decent without the light.   I'm going to keep it hanging in the entry as I have a tendency for 'out of sight, out of mind'.    I know there is an answer.

May 08, 2010

Yard Sale Saturday, 5/8/10

There wasn't a large number of yard sale ads in Thursdays' paper, most likely due to Mothers Day, which worked out fine, as I again, had only an hour and a half set aside for the weekly event.    The paper had been recycled, so just set out on my historical yard sale circuit ... Hwy 59 to 1088 to Sault to 190 and then home.   It's really more of a squarish rectangle, but that is totally beyond the point. 

I visited 9 yard sales, 5 of which, turned out to be right in our Subdivision (with only one sign at the entrance).     The only find that made it home was this sad looking (child size) guitar.   It has no strings and the paint is a bit scratched, hopefully signs that is was a well loved toy.  The price was perfectly right at $1.

I'm taking the fact that I found this guitar today, the those other two last weekend, as a sign that I'm supposed to be creating a new set of wall art guitars.   So, I've lined them up in my studio space and I'm waiting for a lightening bolt full of inspiration to come back and strike me at any moment.   (Might be best, though, if it waits until next week as we are going to be out for a couple days).

Which brings me to the point of opportunities lost.   I've had two of these in the last week and it is bothering me greatly.    It's like this .... I've collected so much stuff for potentially art that it's begun to take over my life.   So, as a result of this acknowledgment, I'm becoming a whole lot more selective about what I drag in.    This has resulted in two lost opportunities of late.

Lost Opportunity 1)  a week and a half ago I was wandering through the Restore and happened across a rack and a set of pool balls.  The price was right @ $5.00, but I kept thinking ... ya right; and what am I going to do with these besides drop them into inventory.  Three days later I had a really great idea, jumped into the car and headed back to the Restore.   Of course, they were gone.

Lost Opportunity 2)  At one of the last yard sales yesterday I came across a set of 4 low (maybe 6" tall x 8" wide and round) chunky furniture feet for a whole $2.   Same thing.   I looked; I thought; I looked some more and, in the end, I walked off without them.    This morning I awoke thinking how great they would be with a hole drilled down the center ... painted, stacked, wrapped, etc. etc. etc.

So, I vow, for at least the next few weeks when some really catches my interest I'll just pick it up and bring it home.    Period. 

May 07, 2010

Louisiana Strawberry Season drawing to a close

For us, one of the glorious parts of the Spring season are the Pontchatula Strawberries.   They hit our market in the small neighborhood produce stands early April.     We purchase a 1/2 flat every 5 or 6 days and enjoy with (with plenty of whipped cream) at breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every day.   It is an important part of our Spring ritual.    We typically go on vacation right after Jazz Fest and are no here to see the end of the season; it's just over when we return.

I stopped for a half flat on Wednesday and the woman at the stand told me the season was almost over; she didn't expect them to run through the week; it's just getting to warm.   So, I jumped into immediate action and instead of buying a half flat, purchased two flats.    Brought them home, and Beau & I spent quality bonding time, elbow to elbow, at the kitchen sink cleaning and cutting these end of the season beauties.   Then, out came the food dehydrator.  We can load almost a 1/2 flat to the dehydrator (4 shelves) at a time and it takes somewhere around 15 hours to dehydrate them.  Amazingly enough, 1/2 flat of strawberries dehydrate down to about 4 cups.
We'll be going by the produce stand again tomorrow and are hoping to get lucky one more time and come home with about 2 or 3 flats.   These are amazing dehydrated.  The flavor magnifies to a glorious explosion and I'm looking forward to have these beauties on my cereal all summer long.

I love Spring

May 06, 2010

Dippity Doo Workshop; Lesson Three

Lesson Three for the Dippity Doo workshop I'm taking is  to create texture using a variety of stitches .... which I did!.  Quite a fun step and the options could be limitless.   I think that I could have added a whole lot more, but want to see what the rest of the adornment steps are so I have appropriate space.   It's the Salt line of thought.   You can always add more, but you can't take it away.   Suppose that doesn't really apply, I just dislike removing stuff ... from my Corporate America days ... rework.

I've started calling my little faces Padillies and I'm thinking about making a quilted wall hanging with a set.    Next week we are planning a short road trip over to Cape Kennedy to see the Space Shuttle Launch and this would be a great time to work on hand stitching.   It's probably a 12 hour drive over, then back ... plus time sitting around waiting for the launch.   So, in preparation, I started putting together 12 sandwich sets.   I'm just going to secure the edges (machine stitch) instead of the binding overlap and will decide how to put them together for the wall piece after they are finished.

May 03, 2010

Dippity Doo Workshop ; Lesson Two

The second Lesson for the Dippity Doo Workshop I joined came in last Tuesday.     Basically, the Lesson Plan was to create facial elements and handstitch them to the fabric sandwich.

Here's mine .... they are starting to take on a little personality.   I'm thinking about calling mine Padillies  ... as in a Padilly Family and having thoughts as to what I would do with them.   

Lesson Three came in last night; I haven't looked at it yet; on my Calendar for Thursday.

May 01, 2010

Yard Sale Saturday, May 1st, 2010

We started (and ended) with a very dreary, overcast, misting kind of day.   Which, was good in that it blocks out the smell of crude oil that is slowly starting to premeate our air from the Oil Spill.  

Quail Creek was having its Annual Community Sale, so, as I had only an hour and a half, headed right out at 7am.  Altogether, visited 17 sales.   The common theme of the day was childrens toys, clothing and furniture, with a sideline of glassware.   Seems these were prominent at almost every stop.

My finds:
  • 2 child size guitars  ... these were just crying out to be designed, painted and loved without the involvement of little sticky fingers. 
  • A grab bag of sewing things; some ribbons, bindings, a pincushion and a variety of little metal thingies.
  • A necklace and bracelet with interesting beads and trinkets.