Friday, June 20, 2014

SURPRISE!!! I'm Back! Mixed Media Hearts.

Let me tell you, moving is hard work and not for the faint of heart..... or old folks.  We decided to move ourselves along with help from our kids, mostly daughter Heather who made 7 trips in her truck and rode in the UHaul with Roger when we moved the furniture. Heather and I did all the packing and unpacking...... again mostly Heather. Once we got everything down here I was having a jolly old time unpacking and putting thing away.... it was fun.... until I injured my back lifting a heavy box of glassware... resulting in a compression fracture in my lower back that I am still recovering from.... so of course Heather did almost all the unpacking too.  There is still  unpacking to do, I have many, many boxes stashed in every nook and cranny that will take me months, maybe years, to unpack.  The cottage is about half the size of our house in Highland, plus no basement or attic.  I may have to open an antique shop one of these days..... to many treasures and no place to put them.

We do love Eureka Springs. The cottage is built on the side of a hill overlooking the downtown historic district.  However now that the trees have leafed out you can't see much of downtown, it's like living in a tree house.

Here is the view from the corner of the wrap around porch on the main floor.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

This is our gorgeous big old tree in the side yard between our cottage and the historic  Jacob's Ladder staircase that leads to downtown.  The tree is home to an active squirrel family and a multitude of singing birds.  We have deer and other critters that wander through our yard and a ground hog that lives under our back porch that I have named Phil. I had planned to plant an array of gorgeous flowers by now but again can't do much with my injured back.... next year, I guess.

This is my partially set up studio. As you can see I still have work to do but a least all the "studio" boxes are unpacked (again thanks to Heather).  I need more storage, which I have ordered, and will reorganize once I decided where I want to put things but this will work for now.

Last week I dug out the wire and tools and made a few hearts. It's been a while since I made anything so I thought I better start with something easy...hearts are easy and everyone likes hearts.... right?

Here are the "before" and "after" photos of  the wire hearts.... before and after I added polymer clay.

I used silver colored wire for the base and wrapped with amber, brown and lime green wire. I embellished with faceted glass beads and rings of tinted shell that match the green wire.

I mixed green and gold Kato clay for the polymer clay background and textured with a variety of tools. I used PearlEx metallic powder for the highlights.

I used 18 gauge gold color wire for the background of this heart. Wrapped with Seafoam Green 28 gauge wire and Yellow 28 gauge wire, accented the edges with matching seed beads.  The drop is a shimming faceted glass bead with iridescent carnival glass center.

I mixed Kato Pearl and Kato Green and with a touch of Kato Turquoise to match the Seafoam Green wire. I then stamped the clay with one of my favorite rubber stamps and highlighted the raised branches with Gold PearlEx.

I have the wire part of the next heart finished ......

hope to make the clay backing tomorrow..... maybe Pardo translucent tinted with alcohol ink, which I have to find, I know its here somewhere!  Locating my supplies is like an Easter egg hunt, just not as much fun, although  I do feel pretty darn pleased with myself when I find what I'm looking for.

I have a Doctor's appointment in the morning. Plan to clay again in the afternoon. Still walking around with a cane, can't go down Jacob's Ladder just yet.  Once I am more mobile I plan to take lots of photos of the shops and neat places around town so I can share this marvelous place with you.

That's it for now. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Our Retirement Cottage in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

I haven't posted for some time.... sorry about that.  The last few weeks have been a little hectic. We have been going back and forth from our home here in Highland to look for a place in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  After looking at many places we found one we love.  It is this delightful little cottage sitting on the side of a hill overlooking the downtown area of Eureka Springs.

It was built in 1900 and has been completely updated while retaining it's old world charm.

Here is a photo of the front of the cottage

This is the back of the cottage taken from the street below and looking up

The first floor has a wrap around porch on 3 sides and there is a 2nd porch on the lower level. There are swings on both levels, here is the swing on the lower level.

Here are a couple photos of the view overlooking the town.  I will take more when we get moved in.

This one is from the lower level porch.

Jacobs Ladder is a set of historic steps that run along the side of our property.  They lead to the historic district of Eureka Springs.  All we have to do is walk down the steps to an abundance of delightful shops and  wide array of wonderful restaurants.

We closed on the 28th spend one night camping out in the cottage and then had to return to Highland because of the weather.  I wanted very much to stay the weekend to experience the Mardi Gras parade but couldn't take the chance of driving back in an ice storm.  We have relatives that also live in Eureka Springs. Carol took these photos of the parade.  How cool is that? We will be living within walking distance of all the fun events that take place in this historic town.

Carol also took a photo of the little birdhouse in our back yard.  There are all kinds of critters and birds that inhabit the town as well as an abundance of creative folks that sell there wares in the shops. I definitely won't lack for inspiration!

It will be a few weeks before we get completely moved but once we do I plan to blog at least once a week about the shops, restaurants and events in Eureka Springs.  After all the packing and unpacking is done I will also get back to blogging about polymer clay so please don't give up on me. I have several new ideas that I want to share with you.... even have plans for a tutorial or two.

That's it for now. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Trying a New Technique & Bird in the House.... again!!

Yip, we had another bird in the house! Still haven't discovered how they get in, not that I blame them, it is sooooo cold outside.  5 degrees today, brrrrrrrr!!

I was snuggled up under my blanket kinda snoozing on the couch, one eye on the tv when I swear a bird flew over my head.  What the...... Senior moment?  Nope, real bird!! The cats racing down the stairs sounded like a herd of buffalo..... they really wanted that bird.  Oh no, not again!!  I scrambled to my feet and began the chase. After following him through 4 rooms, cats in hot pursuit, he ended up perched on the transom above  the door in my office area. (See him sitting up there?)  I threw open the door grabbed the broom and striking a Babe Ruth pose I was ready to bat him out the door if he tried flying back into the room.

No doubt folks driving by thought I was nuts for having my front door open..... and holding a broom like a bat.  I am a source of entertainment to our neighbors, makes me wonder what they are going to talk about after we move.

I finally managed to use the broom to shoo the bird out the door and at the same time keep the cats at bay.  Pretty easy this time.

I have many breakable, hard to replace items sitting around so these bird invasions are traumatic for me.  The bird usually doesn't knock anything down but my darn cats will.  As usually I was yelling for help from the guys upstairs and once again they slept through the whole thing.

To give you an idea of what I have sitting around here is one corner of my front bedroom.... filled with stuff I do not want broken.

See why cats racing through the house gives me the willies?  Most of the time they are pretty good about staying off the furniture... but there is no stopping them if they are after a bird..... or a mouse. Yes on occasion we do have a mouse in the house.... at least they stay on the floor.... and our little female cat catches them in no time flat.

Fortunately I got the bird out before it flew upstairs.  What a relief.... after that adrenaline pumping experience my nap time was over......  No more birds please!!

Okay on to more important news!!

Our move to Eureka Springs is moving right along. We found a delightful little cottage, made an offer and it's been accepted.   So Exciting!!!  It's a much smaller house than this one but it is very nice.  It is a completely remodeled cottage built in 1900 and the location is PERFECT!!  The view overlooking the town  is TERRIFIC!!  I will show you photos after we move in... it will be a couple months. Hubby still has to retire and I have to pack, pack pack.  The streets are so narrow and squiggly I am not sure how we are going to get our furniture in there but my family assure me it can be done.   We'll see.

Okay, now on to clay.

 I haven't had a lot of time to play with clay.  A while back I did try out a new design technique with PearlEx that I like very much.....

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Two of the beads are made from scraps, the rest are air filled. I do like using the "air filled" technique, they are light as a feather and don't add much weight to a necklace or earrings.

Same techniques, different shapes and colors.

A couple tiles from scraps..... I do love those scraps!!

 I am now working on beads.  My studio is to cold to stay in there for very long so I got a tray, some scrap clay for bead guts and a few canes. Settled down in front of the television, put the tray on my lap and made these.   They haven't been cured yet.  I need to drill holes, put them on rods, then pop them in the oven.  Did I mention my studio in my new house has heated floors..... how cool (or hot) is that?

 Oh, and I made a pendant from the end piece of a cane.

I purchased a new extruder from Kimberly Idaiski called the Czextruder made by Lucy Clay Tools. It looks good and its gotten good reviews. I am anxious to give it a try, I am hoping it will extrude Pardo Art Clay.... stay tuned for the results.

That's it for now.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Inchie Time!!

Brrrrrr.... it is soooo cold here...... like minus 7 degrees!  and there is a foot of snow outside.  I will be staying in today.

I haven't been able to clay much the last couple weeks what with the holiday festivities, my sons visit plus two baby showers for my soon to arrive great granddaughters. Both babies are due in February.  I rested up for a couple days and now I am ready to clay. I made a big pot of chili yesterday, that should keep the guys fed and  I can clay all day.  My studio has big windows so it is a little chilly but I think I can manage.

First I want to show you my inchies.  I love swaps, I love making pieces to share and I  get a big kick out of opening the packages filled with all the little treasures.

I signed up for 4 groups, here are the ones I made.  Click on the photos for a closer look

                              The first set is little birds. I used PearlEx to add a little shimmer.

                    Second set is little fans.  I used wire for the handles and PearlEx for the shimmer.

Fly a kite is my theme for the third set. 

I decided to try mini scenes for the last set.... half are country scenes and the other 6 are sailing scenes. 

And here are the sets I received 

Interesting assortment in the first set, I especially like the dainty flowers. 

Check out the textures in this set..... isn't that little owl cute?

This is an interesting group with lots of variety.... another little owl and a cute little duck, what fun!!

And the last group is fun too..... check out that snowman.... perfect for the season!! 

Close-up of the snowman.... he's pretty cool!

I am going to use most of the inchies on containers for my tools so I can see them everyday.  One of my favorites was made by the swap host, Jael, I am going to put it in a bezel  so I can wear it as a pendant. 

It was a fun swap. Now I need to get the hearts for Kim's heart swap mailed.... I will show you those next month. 

I am going to go clay now.... my goal is to make several pairs of earrings but that may change when I get started...... my muse doesn't always follow my plans.  I have been admiring Alice's large wall pieces and am tempted to try one myself,  a theme with textures has been rattling around in my head...... 

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year.  

Stay warm and thanks for stopping by. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Something New..... and More Hearts.

This was an experiment using scrap clay and a clear stamp design.  First I rolled out a sheet of scrap clay and stamped it with a clear stamp design.  I then rolled out a sheet of black clay, #5 on my pasta machine and cut pieces of the black clay that matched the design.  Once I completed the image I brushed on PearlEx to add a little shimmer.  I popped the piece in the oven and while it was curing I  made scrolls of dark blue wire, woven with gold tone wire and gold seed beads that continued the design.  I textured a sheet of clay, cut a matching piece to put on the back, embedded the wire and put it back in the oven. 

Here is how it looks from the back.   It is fairly large, approx. 3" x 4"  it may work best as a brooch. I used sandpaper to texture the back..... cuts down on the sanding.  I did sand the edges to give it a more polished look.  I have other designs that I want to try this with.  It was fun to make.  I may even make a tutorial...... but it will have to be after the holidays.

For this one I rolled out a thin sheet of tinted Kato Pearl clay, # 5 on the pasta machine. Folded and manipulated into a shape that I liked. I added  the texture with my stylus and other tools.

These little pendants are Heart cutouts with stamped owls in the cut out centers.  Originally I had in mind making heart beads for earrings by laying folded strips side by side and cutting out the hearts..... which I did but then I like the heart "frames" so the pendants are a by product.  That is how  many of my pieces evolve.

Here is how I finished the backs.... textures again saved on the sanding.  I will make earrings with the heart beads.

This is just a fun heart I made with a mirror image embellished with strips of textured gold clay.  This has an underwater look to me.
 and here is the back.

My next project was  making beads with one of my canes.....

once the beads were made I decided to squish the cane a bit and use the "new" cane to make these hearts.  

I used Page's technique to make this air filled heart.  After I cut it out I used one of the scraps to make the top part........ I really like this one.

 not wanting to toss the left overs in the scrap bin I used them to make the frame for this heart. I stamped a design with silver for the center and backed it with aqua clay for a layered effect.   I put textured tendrils and silver leaves around the frame.  I like this one too.

I made a matching tube bead that I will most likely use with the air filled heart ....  once I figure out what kind of chain I want to make.

and here is how I finished the backs..... more texture.  This time with a piece of mesh.... and I sanded the sides.

I was going to make a chain while I watched the finale of Survivor......yip, I am a Survivor fan.....  but I got caught up with all the excitement and didn't get my chain made.   If there are other Survivor fans out there I just want you to know I was not happy that Tyson won...... dang, anyone but Tyson..... well maybe not Monica..... I do not understand why women on these shows do not stick together.... oh well..... maybe next time.

That's it for tonight.

Thanks for stopping by.