Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Red Is For....

Red is such a vibrant color and comes in many shade and hues, from a deep blood red, to scarlet, to rose.  Red is the color of passion and it's closely related emotion, anger, because remember the line from the song, "there's a thin line between love and hate."

Red is for Valentine's and the predominant color that symbolizes Christmas.  But however you look at it, red is a wonderful color for clothing, jewelry and home decor.  Here are some fabulous reds that I found from some of my favorite shops around the web.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Truly Handmade

It's getting harder and harder to find truly hand made items.  Okay, I know technically, anything you put together by hand qualifies as handmade but, maybe I'm a hand made snob, because I think that at least some of the material included in a hand made piece should be, well, hand made.   I know I'll probably get some hate mail for saying that , but, so be it!

I'm not saying that those jewelry designers who use their eye for design and color and string together purchased beads and/or stones are not artists.  But I always like to see something that was actually formed by their own hands included, as well.  I'm in awe of those who can wire wrap a bead or stone and not have it look like a three year old did it. (My wire wrapping skills are on par with said three year old).

I like hand drawn, hand painted, hand sculpted.  Most likely, that's why I like to work with polymer clay.   I've chosen a few truly hand made items from the Art Fire Bloggers Guild for this post.

Polymer Clay Bracelet byCraftsOfThePast Polly Creamica Designer

Dolphins by KanweieneaKreations

Terracotta Lampwork Earrings by ShadowdogDesigns

3-D Daffodill Wall Hanging by CouchBeeCreations

Blue/Pink Cotton Summer Shawl by AndreaDsigns

And I'm not above adding one of my own pieces to the mix!
Bohemian Beaded Batick Bracelet by WyvernDesigns

Come and Get It! Hand Made Doggy Place Mat For Your Messy Eater

My dog, Finn, is an extremely messy eater and drinker.  He eats mostly dry food and along with the crunch, crunch, slurp, slurp comes the sound of him spitting pieces of food out onto the floor.  I don't know why.  All the food pieces are the same.  It's not like some are steak flavored and, oh so, yummy and some are ginger flavored, which he hates and will bark and snarl at me when I grate fresh ginger for my tea.   But whatever the reason, I'm always stepping on pieces of spit-out food.  Sometimes, they are just pulverized under my foot, but sometimes they slide underfoot and I end up doing the splits across the kitchen floor.  That is not pleasant, as my body is no longer built to perform such acrobatic acts and I often limp for days after doing myself a mischief.

After my last unintended acrobatic feat, I decided to make him a place mat.  Not that it will stop him from spitting out food but hopefully, I'll take more notice and avoid any further mishaps.

So here's my tutorial for Finn's Favorite Place Mat.


 29" X 17" piece of canvas
Metal yardstick
Artists Acrylic  gesso
Base coat color(I used an ugly green that I had on hand. But once I added the copper glaze, it kind of looks like copper with a green patina.)
Metallic acrylic paint (Folk Art copper, plum, emerald green black, champagne, taupe)
Sea sponge
Assorted brushes
1 1/2" tall Alphabet stencils (You can purchase them or make your own, like I did, out of ordinary card stock)
pencil for tracing
MinWax Polycrylic sealer

Step 1:  Cut out a rectangle of canvas measuring 29" X 17" or the size of your choice, making sure to include a 2" border on all 4 sides.

Step 2:  Using gesso, cover the surface of the canvas.  Allow the gesso to dry according to the directions between coats.  I gave each side 2 coats of gesso.

Step 3: Paint the entire surface, with base coat.  Let dry.

Step 4:  Mix copper metallic paint with a glazing medium.   Paint a thin coat over half the canvas at a time and pounce over surface with the sea sponge, to create the textured look surface.  Be sure to blot the sponge on paper towels occasionally to remove excess paint and glaze.  Repeat with with the other half of the canvas.  Let dry and repeat on the other side of canvas.

Step 5:  Using metal ruler and pencil, draw a two inch border around all sides of the canvas.  With either purchased stencils or hand made stencils trace the saying"EAT, DRINK, AND BE FURRY", along the top and bottom of the place mat.  Also trace the paw print in each corner.
Step 6:  Using black metallic paint, fill in the letters and paw prints.
Step 7:  Using a bowl with a larger circumference that your dog's food and water bowl trace two circles in the center of the mat.  Trace a smaller circle inside those circles.  Although it's hard to see that's what I did in the picture below.

Step 8:  Paint the outer(larger) circle with emerald green and the inner (smaller) circle with plum.  Also trace and paint the bone motif on either sides of the circles.

Step 8:  After everything is completely dry, coat the front and back of the place mat with the polycrylic sealer.  Give each side 2 coats and let dry the recommended time between coats.

Once you're through, you'll have a wonderful washable doggy place mat for your furry companion!

This mat should not be immersed in water.  Just wipe it clean with a damp cloth.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Everyone has a most favorite creature and , no doubt, a least favorite.  Some people have a deep aversion to snakes, spiders, or bats.  Most people love dogs, cats or anything furry and cuddly.  The only creatures that I dislike are blood suckers.  No I don't mean vampires, although, if I met one, I might be adverse to letting it come too close.  I mean ticks, mosquitoes, horse flies and the like.  I happen to love snakes, lizards, toads, frogs, and bats.  But then, I've been told that I'm not normal in that respect.  But, whatever your favorite animal is, you're sure to love these handmade beauties from the Blogging Again Ring on Face Book.

Halloween Rate Yarn Wreath by SolHeritage  started out as a joke between the creator and her Dad.  It features two "faux" rats, one of which is clutching an eyeball!
Perfectly macabre for Halloween!
Mrs. Hoot and Owlivia by TLYarnCrafts  are hand crocheted pushies, made to order by their creator.  20% of all revinue from these little cuties goes to support non-profit programs that support women and girls inn leadership, sports, and the arts.

Angelina Ballerina Ornament by FantasyClayStore  
This little  mouse ornament is polymer clay over glass and is lightweight.  It would be a wonderful addition to any Christmas tree or little girl's room.

Scraps of glass were added to these Ceramic Butterfly Wine Glass Charms by Pottery Heaven  to create the different colors on each butterfly.
And since I'm not totally selfless, I thought I'd add my Quote The Raven Nevermore Earrings by WyverndDesigns 

I hope you enjoy these creature finds as much as I enjoyed finding them.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Chicken Sausage and Quinoa and Brown Rice Quick Skillet Dinner

Last night, I was in a quandry about what to make for supper.  We eat a lot, and I mean, a lot of chicken breast dishes, like 5 times a week, so I really was not in the mood for chicken.  I was standing in front of my open refrigerator door, staring blankly at its contents (as I am wont to do on occasion. Okay, more than on occasion, more like every night, trying to decide what to make), when I realized that I had a package of chicken sausage (I know, technically it's still chicken but at least it's in a different form),  hidden in the back of the cold cut drawer.  I didn't hide it there on purpose but things in my frig have a tendency to crawl to the back and molder,  for some strange reason.

Anyway, I pulled out the sausage, it had not yet grown legs or teeth, so it didn't put up much of a fight,  and set it on my counter.  "What do you want to go along with you?"  I asked it.  I do talk to my food, sometimes.  It hasn't yet answered, but I haven't given up hope.  True to form, the sausage stayed silent on the subject so I was left on my own. 

I didn't want to spend a lot of prep time on supper.  After all, I have better things to do, like take a nap, or maybe watch paint dry.  So back into the frig for some mushrooms, celery, and green peppers. They had not crawled to the back of the frig but only because they were trapped in the veggie drawer.  I also grabbed garlic and a package of that 90 second microwave rice, some red hot pepper flakes, and creole seasoning I bought because my local store was out of Adobo.

So, chop, chop, slice slice, I cut up all the ingredients, including the chicken sausage, popped it into my skillet with some olive oil and voila!, instant (almost) supper.  I added the quinoa and rice last, just to warm it up.

It was pretty good, if I do say so myself and took less than thirty minutes from blank stare to table.  I'm including the recipe, minus pictures because we ate it too fast for pictures, just in case you'd like to try it yourself.

 Chicken Sausage and Quinoa(pronounced kin-wa) and Brown Rice Quick Skillet Dinner  Serves 3, unless your really hungry, then only 2

1 package Alfresco Smoked Andouille Chicken Sausage
1 package Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice (microwave kind)
1/2 green pepper, slice
1 medium onion, sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Creole seasoning and red hot pepper flakes to taste
fresh ground black pepper
olive oil

Saute the onions, peppers, and celery in the olive oil until just tender.  Add garlic and chicken sausage, adding a bit more olive oil, if necessary.  Saute until chicken sausage is warmed, the sausage is already fully cooked, so warming is all that's necessary.  Add the package of rice with water, as instructed in the package directions, and cook for a few minutes.
Serve with your favorite veggie, we had corn on the cob,   and maybe some garlic bread.

This is a quick and easy supper and it's pretty healthy as well.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pin Ups

I love to sew, among other things and one day I came across instructions on making bottle cap pincushions.  These are miniature pincushions using a bottle cap as a base. 

They can be made from many different materials, from quilt fabric,  wool roving, and  craft felt.   They are adorable, decorative, collectible and functional.   I've seen them plain or embellished to the hilt.   They are especially useful when your working on specific projects that require only a few pins or needles.  My specialty needles tend to get lost in my regular pincushion and these little guys are just the ticket to prevent that from happening.

Whenever I see an item I've never seen before, my first thought is "I can do that!"  And I did.  Here are a few of my newest line of pincushions.

Purple and White Bottle Cap Pincushion  This one has embroidered flowers and is made from wool felt and wool roving
This one has fuchsia wool roving and tan wool felt and is embroidered with a spiral design with French knot accents.  Fuchsia and Tan Bottle Cap Pincushion

Gray and Hot Pink Bottle Cap Pincushion with Embroidered Flowers  this one has gray wool felt and hot pink wool roving with embroidered flowers.
This little Apple Basket Bottle Cap Pincushion  was a total accident.  When I was finished making it I realized that it looked like the old wooden bushel baskets used to store fruits and veggies.
I have plans to make lots and lots of these little treasures,  They're fun to make as long as you keep your eyes open and don't felt you fingers while you're at it!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Closed My Etsy Shop

I've been on Etsy for a long time.  I never sold much there and finally decided to close it today.  I mean permanently.  As in I no longer exist in the Etsy universe.

My views were abysmal and I don't have time to schmooze in the forums.  So over the last few days, I've been slowly moving my pincushions and such from Etsy to Art Fire,
I like the atmosphere there so much more than Etsy.  As I've moved things, I've deactivated them on Etsy and changed the listings a bit.  So now my pincushions can be found on Art Fire, along with my jewelry.  I hope I made the right decision but I haven't liked what's been going on there over the past year.  Commercial is God now to the owners of Etsy and I would rather list on a site that still celebrates hand made.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Here Comes Fall

I know it's still summer and a lot of people don't like to be reminded that Autumn, and hence Winter is right around the corner, but Fall is my favorite season.

You can't beat the sights and smells of Autumn, from the invigorating scent of a crisp Fall morning to the glorious sight of the riotous Fall foliage, Autumn is the best.

Since the topic for the Blogging Again Ring on Face Book was a "chose your own topic", I decided to feature some items with Fall colors.

This whimsical Baby or Toddller Hat from SolHeritage is an adorable addition to your child's wardrobe.
 With the deep red color of Autumn leaves, this Rose Shimmer Clutch by HevVinDesigns  is evocative of that almost maroon color some maple trees put out in the Fall.

The Red Head Witch Doll by FantasyClayStore  Is the perfect decoration for Halloween, my favorite holiday.
From Pottery Heaven, I chose this Orange Unity Set  Perfect for a Fall wedding.
This Butterscotch Polymer Clay pendant by ValeriesStuff  Has the golds, salmons and browns of Autumn leaves.
This Slouch Beanie by TLYarnCrafts  would be the perfect accessory for a crisp Fall day!
Black and Orange Fingerless Gloves by Wyverndesigns  
would keep you warm out trick or treating on a cool Halloween night.
However you slice it, Autumn is one of the coolest(pun intended) time of the year.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pottery Dreams

There is one art that I would love to try, making pottery.  I already work with polymer clay but there is something about working with a material from the earth that is infinitely appealing to me. 

While taking Art in high school, one of our projects was to make something out of clay.  I made a a large bowl out of clay coils, smoothed it out and away it went to be fired.  When it came back I chose purple and yellow glaze and when it was done firing, I gave the bowl to my sister, who had just married and started decorating her home.  I loved that bowl and I don't even know if she still has it or if it was a casualty of one of her many moves.  I haven't even thought of it in years.  I'll have to remember to ask her what happened to it.

I would love to learn to throw a pot but I have so many projects going that I just don't have the time.  Martina, of Pottery Heaven  is obviously an expert in making pottery items.  She admits that when she first tried throwing, she was not very good.  But through perseverance and practice, she has steadily improved until she got the technique down.

Multicolored Pitcher

Sophisticated Coffee Mug
Small Bowl In Purple and Pink
Visit her ETSY Shop to see more of her work.