Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Keep On Posting... Keep On Posting...

      I really am trying to keep posting despite the boring drivel and rambling.

     We are back to hot temps here in the PNW. Lots of fun things to see and do during these longer days of summer. Mosquitoes, cold lemonade and pretty sure I've eaten my weight in cherries!  I finally had a chance to ignite my green thumb!  I have a few dear friends who are downsizing and after being in a home for 28 years- there were a few sentimental plants to be had. My friend's mother has some hens and chicks that were originally from her childhood home.  Once I get them established I plan to put some markers in the pot or bed, kinda how they do the species, but with the address or maybe the GPS coordinates. Something to remember their roots... literally and figuratively...bah ha ha
    It just so happens I  LOVE hens and chicks and stare at them longingly every time I go to to the farmer's markets. My mom always had a massive bed of them. I've always wanted to grow them, just never felt the motivation.  Until now.  Me thinks I may have dug up a few clumps too many. But I will survive... jury is still out on my little plants.

       For now- I'm putting them in containers I need some raised beds- with the dog afoot.  I've also acquired some strawberry pots and regular pots from the same friends. I'm hoping to make the strawberry pots all about the hens and chicks.  Along with some Coral Bells and some garden benches that still have some life left in them. I also acquired some lovely vintage bedroom furniture. Several projects to keep me going into the fall/winter that's for sure! I've been busy learning (aka- getting overwhelmed) by all the soil choices.  Oy. So I am winging it. If they die- they die, if not I have for the time being, extended their lives.

     I've also gotten back into some swaps on my favorite art charm group. Yay!  So August is looking up... hopefully it won't be so dang hot I can't enjoy the yard or work on my garden bench projects. (hopefully I will remember to take before and after pics)

This was the view of the mountain last evening...  *sigh* I never get tired of this view.

*I have since cleaned my lens, no more fingerprints...  *DOH!*  ;)

Here's to a wonderful (and hot) week ahead of us!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lavender Dreams

      Wanna  lesson in Washington State phonetics?  Pronounce this... Sequim.  How is it supposed to sound? Skwim- yes- you heard me... er.. read me. Sequim.  Amazing right?  I love that about this state. All these amazing names, pronounced without the least bit of logical phonetics.  That's not the only one.  There are a LOT of names that are based on the history of the indigenous peoples. Washington has a fascinating history.  Becoming a resident as an adult has been fun learning all the history, still not keen on the geography, but always a work in progress, eh? 

    Anyhow, this weekend marks the 18th Annual Lavender Festival in Sequim, Washington.  I went a few years ago when my sister came for a visit. This year, I decided I wanted a road trip and with the weather being beautiful- I did. My husband even played hooky to go with me.  It's about a solid 2 hour drive from my house. It's also a beautiful drive too.   

     I went for the lavender fields, it's a beautiful and visually inspiring area. Sequim itself is a quaint little town. The mountains from that angle are the Olympics, nice change of scenery... literally. The weather was gorgeous is dry for Washington (see the link to Wikipedia for all the details). It's also the retirement capital of the state. I can definitely see why. It's beautiful!  During the Lavender Festival, they also have a wonderful street/art fair. TONS of inspiration and anything goes- lots of artists really play up the lavender stuff. I always feel like I'm at a museum. I saw lavender manifested in so many mediums I just never would have thought... not just the color- the actual little bundle sprig of lavender. Very beautiful!  My goal was just to go to the street fair and hit up one or two of the farms for photos and a token or two.   

      We had a lovely time at the street fair- but it was very sunny and hot and despite the lemon lavender ice cream  (my hubby had the vanilla bean lavender) it was quite toasty. Luckily just when the clouds went away we were ready to hit the farm and grab some lunch. We ended up just going to one farm, but it is probably one of my favorites. Meaning it has parking, a gift shop AND the typical picturesque fields of lavender. 
     Here's a few notes- the place was BUZZING with bees. But they were so busy I wasn't worried and felt comfortable moving from row to row. This place was full of sound and smell. Soooo lovely. Nothing is more amazing than smelling a field of lavender. Being able to sit on a bench on the edge of the field and take it all in. So grateful for this lovely experience. 

    We ended up just hitting the one farm but spent some time there just chillin' and taking in the lovely view.  When that was done- we grabbed a late lunch/ early dinner and headed back home.  Promptly getting stuck in rush hour traffic on a Friday.  **DOH!**   At least I still had the memories of a few hours earlier to get me through. ha..

Here's to a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fun Stuff

     So I finally spent some time in the creative den, inspiration followed. Who'd have thunk it? I was excited recently as Sculpey by Polyform came out with a new clay named Sculpey SoufflĂ© that finally hit the brick and mortar stores near me. I'm still stalking Hobby Lobby, but I was reassured they already have the merchandise map to reset the clay product, they just don't have the merchandise, but anyday now.  Regardless- I found some at JoAnn AND it was on sale... SCORE!  
    I tinkered around- it's definitely a neat clay. I'm not too biased. I have begun to appreciate Premo! so I'm not loyal to any one brand.  I was just itching to get something made. Ironically the things I made was made with Premo! and not the Souffle' ... oh well.
     I had purchased a few tutorials from The Blue Bottle Tree, which I have yet to really dive into, because something tells me I won't resurface for days once I do. But I did make a few items with her Mica Leaf Tutorial, which is worth checking out here. From there it kinda spring boarded into a few other things.   It's a simple technique with full wow factor. Here's one of my finished pieces from that tutorial. This was the technique that had me in my front yard picking leaves off my trees as 11:30 at night. lol
But the wheels got to turning from there

 I basically just had fun with my powders. Dug out some molds I had never used. As for the little medallions- I made them into beads. I also made a few roses. I miss making stuff. *sigh* Hopefully this is a turning point for my creative muse. But do you SEE The turtle? He's a bit rough around the edges and I need to spiff up the quality a bit more. But I was so excited to make something I just had to finish it.  My photo is crappy, but it's awesome.

 I'm very excited about this.
  You see, in my previous craft life I was a die cut fanatic. Okay- truth be told, I'm STILL a die cut fan and always will be.  My first love was the original QuickKutz, which is Lifestyle Crafts now. Then I got the electric Cricut and SCAL software (my Cricut is THAT old and hopefully soon I will upgrade to a Silhouette). I also have the Sizzix Big Shot- which I also love very much.  I love punching out all the pieces and thinking in layers and assembling them- whether it was simple or complex, it's just satisfying. I took that concept and transferred it to polymer clay...  obviously the most simple version. ;)
 So everyone  has a little box of abandoned die cuts right? You punched too many, changed colors, sizes, or your mind completely. Yeah... I had purged a lot of them when I moved. But I had one little pencil box left with flowers and a little stylized turtle.  BINGO! Yes- I have an affinity for turtles. Ahem... if that isn't already obvious.
   So I slapped that turtle die cut on the clay, cut it out with my trusty Exacto,  layered it onto another piece of clay... cut the outline out and added the Pearl-Ex powders. Baked it right up.  I decided to add a bail to it.  Future versions will have an eye pin embedded, but for this-I had a bail so I didn't worry about fiddling with anything else. It looks amazing and I'm quite inspired. It has me looking at all my die cuts in a whole new fashion.  So that's where I am right now.  I not only made something finally- I actually followed through with baking it. Now to decide on glaze and finishing it up and wearing it!
                 Here's a photo of my sidekick, just for cuteness' sake.  He had a rough week last week- he had to have a tooth removed and not having kids yet myself- he is my baby. Seeing him in pain that first night was a heartwrencher.  But he's all better now and I am pretty sure he feels even better. Goodness knows he couldn't possibly be any cuter.

So that's that! We are in for a full on scorcher this week in weather. Almost makes me wish we had air conditioning. But I will survive.
Have a great week!