Sunday, June 16, 2019

Quail Chicks in the Courtyard

Quail Chicks Hatched

      A pair of Gambel's Quail made a nest in the blue flower pot this year.

   I couldn't get a good count, but it looked like 10 or 12 hatched.  I never could get all of them in the same photo.  They're very fast!

I hope they come back next year!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Fairy House Card

    I'm working on a new bracelet project that has a fairy door for the clasp.  It's a WIP that's almost done. I hope to show it here soon.  In the meantime, while trying to find what I wanted for the clasp, I found a variety of fairy doors and fairy houses.  Some were big garden ones and some, like this one, were DIY ones. Perfect for card making.

     I bought some fairy and tree paper at the local Scraps of Love paper store.

   I made a tree pattern and cut it out.  I bought plywood fairy door parts on Amazon and painted them. They came in 4 parts so it was easy to paint.

The only down side is that it costs a lot to mail the card.  The Post Office treats it (and prices it) like a small package. So far they haven't accepted fairy dust as payment either.

Are you a card maker or a DIY'er?  If you'd like free instructions and a list of where to buy the components I used, sign up to follow me.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Orchid Update

Last year my son gave me a beautiful Phalaenopsis orchid for Mother's Day.  It looked great for a few weeks, but then my "care" was killing it.  I was doing all the wrong things.  Watering it with an ice cube and failing to re-pot it were my two biggest mistakes.

Fortunately I found "Miss Orchid Girl" on YouTube and started following her instructions on how to care for orchids.  Her name is Dani, and she is amazing.

I bought an orchid pot and orchid medium from Amazon.  It's two bloom spikes were nearing the end of their life cycle. One had lost all of its blooms and the remaining ones were faded and limp.  I cut them off and removed the orchid from its original heavy soil.

After re-potting the orchid I stopped putting an ice cube a day on it and began to water it properly.  The leaves, which had shriveled up, began to fill out and look beautiful once again.  It took weeks and weeks for this to happen so I had to learn to be patient.

The orchid in September 2018.  New roots were appearing and the leaves were looking a lot better.  

In December a bloom spike starting growing!  

Most of the time my orchid sits on the edge of my art table. It gets light from windows on both sides of the room, but no direct sunlight.  I water it by soaking it for 20 minutes, then draining it thoroughly, about once a week.  Over the winder when it wasn't blooming it often went longer than a week between watering.  I watch the roots and don't water unless they have turned silver grey.   It's thriving now on this better care.

When it was new it arrived with 2 bloom stalks, but it only has one this year.  But I'm thrilled that it's alive and blooming at all.   It's all due to Dani's great videos and lessons on how to grow orchids.  If you want to know more about orchids, check out "Miss Orchid Girl" on YouTube. You'll soon be growing orchids like a pro.


Sunday, February 17, 2019

An Owl Cell Phone Purse

An Owl Purse in Neutrals

      Owls are messengers in many Native American cultures and in fantasy worlds like Harry Potter.  Remember the great scene where the owls fly into Hogwarts bringing letters and packages from home? I love that scene!  Recently I had a chance to use an owl and a feather in a project. 
     I'm taking a color class based on "Color & Design" by Heather Thomas.  It's a beautiful book - full of great color illustrations and valuable info.  The class is being taught by Ann Petersen, a world class quilter and member of Grand Stitchers. 
      I'm not a quilter, but I use color all the time in making my jewelry.  Taking a class about color has been a great learning experience and a chance to try out new ideas. Every month we are expected to make a new project based on a different aspect of color.  The first project was to create an item using neutrals.
     Normally I use much brighter colors so this was a challenge.  I had a beige  acrylic owl face and a feather from a Great Horned Owl as inspiration.  Since owls are messengers, I decided to make a cell phone purse.  I've been making Tree of Life jewelry so placing the owl in a tree seemed like a perfect fit.

     I placed the owl on a feminine Tree of Life to counter the negativity that some tribes associate with owls. Plus I love trees.

     I used Simplicity pattern #8356 for the purse. I altered the basic pattern to use lots of neutrals for the class requirement.  Although I bought 6 or 7 neutrals in a variety of patterns, I ended up using only 5 of them plus leather for the tree.  

I beaded a peyote tube and glued the owl feather inside it to protect the fragile feather.  I added some beads, crystals, and a chain handle to complete the project.

    If you'd like complete directions on how I made the purse, sign up on the e-mail list or send me a comment with your e-mail address.  The directions are free.  The pattern and book are available at many places.  I bought mine on Amazon Smile so I could support Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary with my purchase.    

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Blue Ribbon for a Rose Quartz Tree of Life

1st Place is a Happy Place

     I was really please to be awarded First Place in the Wire Wrapping Class, Adult Division, at the Arizona State Fair this year. I've been making Trees of Life for a few years now, and this was one of my favorites.  The tree is on a round piece of Rose Quartz that I bought at the Tucson Gem Show two years ago.  It's been in my stash, waiting for just the right project.

      I entered my beaded cuff bracelet, "A Walk in the Woods", in the Fine Arts Division in the 3D Sculpture class.  It was accepted into the competition, which was very exciting.  This was the first time I had entered a juried contest.  It didn't win a ribbon, but I still happy that it got to go to the Fair and be on display for a month. 
       If you have a Fair near you, think about entering one of your creations.  You might win a ribbon, too!  Even if you don't, you're a winner by entering and displaying your work.  It will delight the people who see it and inspire other artists. 
       My cuff is back in my drawer, waiting to be worn on a special night out.  The Tree of Life on Rose Quartz is on its way to California. A very nice woman bought it from my Etsy shop. 
       I hope it brings her as much happiness as it did me.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

My Heidi Necklace

     Last July I had the opportunity to travel to Colorado and take a private workshop with my favorite bead artist, Heidi Kummli.  She's the author of "The Spirit of Bead Embroidery", my favorite beading book.  I practically sleep with it under my pillow. 
      I brought the white bone carving that I had bought at the Tucson bead show earlier in the year.  I told Heidi I wanted to make a beaded collar. I had never attempted such a big project, although I have been wanting to make one for a long time. 
      Heidi showed me how to make the collar pattern and helped with the initial design.  On a large piece of grey ultra suede Heidi drew the outline of what would morph into the pattern you see in the picture.  She attached the middle row using my bone carving and the green and violet beads that came from her stash.  While she worked on her own jewelry project, I began stitched her iris gold seed beads around the first three beads. 
       Surrounded by Heidi's art pieces and supplies, I had a relaxing and inspiring afternoon of beading.  Heidi was generous with her advice and encouragement and is an excellent teacher. 
       The basic design stayed the same, although I decided to add more natural stones to the project.  From an online store I bought more "Heidi beads", the iris gold 10/0 seed beads that she uses in many of her projects.   Whenever I worked on the collar I remembered the great time I had that day.
        If you want to see more of her work, here is the link to her website.  She also sells on Etsy in her shop.  Her designs are one of a kind, wearable art. Beautiful and inspiring.
        If you have a favorite bead artist who offers workshops or classes, I highly recommend you try to go.  I hope you'll have as much fun and get as inspired as I did.
        I've worn my "Heidi necklace" once and can't wait to wear it again.