Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Day of Autumn

Not such a fantastic announcement, but fall is here and with it comes the ends and beginnings of new things.                              Last Saturday was my last day at the Waterfront Market even though its official end is this Saturday. I really enjoyed the early wake-up calls (5:00 am) although as the weeks progressed, we streamlined a bit and didn't have to get up to set up quite as early.  I still had a lot of things to put out, so we were usually one of the first vendors to arrive and more often than not, the last ones to leave.  It was a great experience, even though the market wasn't as busy as it could have been.  It was the first venture at an outdoor market for that community so with it were the growing pains that any new venture has to experience.  Aside from the weather, that couldn't be controlled, there were some great positives.  One was the incredible location.  The street was closed to traffic and so pedestrians could meander without fear that their little ones (or pups) would be in the way of autos.  The park adjacent to the market was lovely.  It was picturesque and  always clean, with interesting architectural features and groups of steps intermittently placed all the way down to the dock and river's edge. Perhaps it could have done with a bit more flora, but I found the hedges and trees made an interesting contrast with the concrete of the walkway.  I am looking forward to being there next year.

The other vendors provided interesting opportunities for conversation when customers were not around. The market is quite varied, with people selling things that they either  grew, baked or made and  mostly I got a chance to chat up the people who 'made things'. Last Saturday I was situated next to the gal who did Tarot Card Readings. 

Now that fall is officially here, it's good-bye 'slumming' and back to serious work. I've already got a pretty full schedule for substitute teaching, and the next 6 weeks will not leave much spare time.   In addition to teaching, this week I'm helping  hubby get his fish derby organized.  It's a big job, with registrations, prize packaging, envelope-stuffing and phone and doorbell answering.

I'm also getting ready for the many arts/crafts events that are scheduled during the next three months. In preparation for those fairs, I'm doing a lot of buttons.  These were some of the ones I made yesterday.   Unfortunately, their colors don't show up on this scan very well, but they look nice in real time.  The one in the center is about an inch wide and nearly two inches in height and I think it would work well as a purse closure or single focal button on a hand knit sweater.  Wish I had time to knit or felt even one of those things. 

Friday, September 18, 2009

Latest Journal Effort

Well, this newest attempt at making a journal with a place for a pen might be something to go with.   The pen fits in quite nicely, although I did have to add a hole and some quickly made beads to it to keep it from sliding through the holder.  I guess that's how sword handles came to be so decorative. 

I've cut down on the quantity of clay I've been using (one layer instead of two) to make the rings easier to fit on and help the book close. 

All these trials.  Wish I was getting paid for 'research and development' lol, like some of the people in the corporate world.  Trial and error is good for me, but I find I am making too many errors which puts my patience on trial.

Anyway, as the saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day, so I'll just keep pluggin' away until the walls get finished.

Off to work today, so can't stay on this thing too long.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Posting a Post Card

A couple of weeks ago I found some great postcard templates and since I am going to be doing quite a few things this fall, I thought I'd print some up with the list of events in the 'message' part. 
Not knowing what kind of image to put on the showy part of the postcard, I went with something already in a format close to the right size of the template that I had in my photo files.

When I printed out the "obverse" side of the cards, (is that the right word?, there was this ugly white....ummm... border around two adjacent sides, so I colored it in with gel markers, felts and crayons, intending to paint over it later.  I decided to add a little more crayon to some of the interior fabric part of the printed picture (note the swirls) and then went and ironed the whole thing.  The ironing seemed to set the image and hopefully it will make the inkjet print a little more stable. I might even go over the whole thing with some wax paper and iron it again, and forego the idea of painting over the border. Who knows what will happen? While it's not encaustic or batik technique, it's a bit along those lines. It was kind of a fun thing to try, reminiscent of the tesselation-tee-shirt project I did with one of my classes several years ago. 
(and much easier!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Is it real or fake?

The title to this post is just a little hint as to what I've been up to.  I belong to the on-line group called "Clayamies" and one of my friends is hosting a contest about spotting the fake stones in a collection.  It's fun and there's no worries if you don't get it right. 

I entered the contest not so much to win, but just because.  You can get to it on her blog, Tina Holden Polymer Clay Bytes in my list of blogs underneath Fish Time, the little fish that are swimming around.  Go have a look at Tina's blog and try for yourself!

As for the picture here, the frame is one I received in a Winterfest Event (for Clayamie participants only) a few years ago.  The words on the periphery are what the group is all about.  Now, we have a new blog for the Clayamies group, where I'll be posting once in a while.  My question about real or fake refers to what's inside...is it real or fake snake? 

Actually, I am now on three blogs... I created another one for things not associated with my actual clay work.  I am going to list it in my links once I  figure out this new posting set-up. (Mostly because I can't remember the url.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Memorable Ephemera

I had so many things to do today, and most of them were not fun, but this part of it was actually a great thing.

It all began last Sunday when my sister asked me to do a shadow box mounting of some of her late husband's memorabilia before she passes the things on to his children. (That's a long story...) Located in his 'ditty box', a sturdy, but time-worn wooden coffre that held so many precious things, were some incredibly interesting snippets that you just don't see these days. Les documents authentiques no less! One item was a French lettre avec la calligraphie d'une plume à bille, and another was this pamphlet about this Old Port Wine & Spirit House from somewhere in England. I wish that the scan had come out clearer so the list of spirits and prices in shillings and pence were all visible. There was also a cool poem at the back of the booklet along with some other advertisements. I am a real softie when it comes to looking at this kind of stuff. I could spend the whole day imagining who wrote it, what the people looked like, where they were, what the furnishings were like and so on. Unfortunately, the fellow who wrote the lettre was in an infirmary, 'en traitement' and it was during The Great War, (WW I) so the circumstances may not have been all that romantic, but still...

After I'd read the beautifully scribed letter, I wondered if I could play Shirlee Holmes (Sherlock's sister) and do some checking about the person to whom it was addressed. I did some searching and found the family name in the area (the letter had been sent from Calais, France in 1915 to Folkestone, Kent, England) but could find no real mention of either the writer or the lady to whom it was written.

En tout cas, it was a marvel to me, and made an otherwise mundane Sunday, get ready to hum à la Mamas and Papas ..Mundane Sunday (la la , la, la la la) far less ennuyeux.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sneak Peak of prototype

So it looks like some blue ribbon from a county fair, but that's cuz I only wanted to provide a keyhole view of the thing...it's not entirely finished. And the flower...well, it really didn't start out being a flower, but that's how it ended up and I can live with that, for now.

The project I am working on today, is a journal with a place for a pen. I have done these before; I even gave one to a friend for her birthday last January. But this time I wanted to work out a mechanism (?..is that what it is?) that didn't take up so much space on the cover and that served the purpose of keeping the journal closed. I had a couple of suggestions from people that I kept in the back of my mind. I didn't follow them exactly. Isn't that what it's all about? We get ideas and then we adapt them to suit the way we work. I tried to troubleshoot potential problem areas ahead of time, thinking about minimizing bulk (ugggggghhhh) and yet keeping the thing operational. Add to that the sometimes temperamental and unpredictable nature of the polymer clay, I had my work (well it is labor day) cut out for me.

The way I did it works, in that it is staying in place and it does hold the pen nicely, but I am not sure that I like it. The clay on the sides of the holder-thing is a little precarious...and I don't know if it will hold up to the wear and tear that it will get. I may have to add a few strategically placed pieces of clay to strengthen potential weak spots. And then I am going to field test it by actually using it for two weeks. I'll probably fill up the pages in that time, but what else is one expected to do with a refillable journal?

And the pen for this journal? I reluctantly have to admit that it is the realm of 'cutesy'. Maybe even too cute. I generally don't do cute and don't care to hear my work being called that. I think cute should be reserved for stuff that is basically brainless and can be done in half an hour or less...at some place where they give you all the doodads and you just stick them together somehow. Okay maybe I did spend less than half an hour making the pen. And I did stick certain parts of it together. But I made the doodads from scratch, without a pattern, and didn't buy them in a prepackaged kit for $7.95.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Little Face on Book

Last week I made a couple of 'stone journals' (not to be confused with The Stone Diaries) and they're gone now. Okay, they were a little masculine, but they did go to a woman and a girl. Since 95% of my clientele is female, I thought I'd make this one particularly feminine. The inner pages are bordered in a pinky-coral and the cover...well I think it speaks for itself. The back cover is also multicoloré, but has no body parts on it. (Heck did you think I'd put a backside on there?)

This week, I also did a series of other journals that were less gender-based, but their colors again were more of the pinky, purply, blue and green palette. I even went crazy and made some pens to go with them, although I haven't made lids for the pens. Because the pens are so textured and have little protruding elements near the nib/pont, the covers I normally make from clay won't fit. And there is no way on earth that the pen will fit into the spiral rings at the spine of the journal, although that was my original intent. Maybe I'll just have to go the stand-up route and make bases for the pens. I was kinda hoping that the pens and journal could be portable (like in a journey bag) but, we'll see.

Keeping the pen in a bag without a cover is an accident waiting to happen. The other option is to make the fabric covers out of something like ultra suede, which I'm not all that happy with. Those look a bit like sewn condoms and unless I spend more time making them decorative, I don't know if that will work either. But it could be a make-work project for a rainy day when I don't feel like claying.

That will give me something to ponder over today at the market if/when it's not too busy. With it being the start of a gorgeous long weekend, the market could be really crowded or horribly boring. I'll take my sketchbook and do some prototypes just in case it's the latter.

Last night we had a laugh. A few of us were having bubblies as I was finishing off sewing new buttons onto cards. When I showed them my newest journals, I told them that I had been busy this week, and had created a new version of ... "facebook".

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Workshop in Brandon (October)

Okay, two posts within one day, but as I said in a previous post, some times things are busy here and other times, well....

I recently got the copy of the finished poster from MCML and so I thought I'd post it here.
I think that if anyone is interested in finding out about the workshops, you can get the details by clicking on the poster and getting the information there.
I personally know two of the other people who will be presenting their workshops too, so it promises to be an enlightening, enjoyable event for anyone interested.

Moonlight Rambler

Yah, so I fell asleep on the sofa last night watching t.v. (a habit I've had since I was in junior high school) and woke up around midnight to hear hubby (a habit I've had for 40 years or so) rumaging around in the kitchen, saying "I've gotta get that thing out of there!"
Vaguely interpreting what he was talking about, I stumbled up off the couch and went to see what he was doing. I said, "No don't shoo it away, it's sleeping in there! You don't have to wake everybody in the neighborhood up!"

For once, he listened to me and the next thing we knew, the little thing was curled up in the birdfeeder/ranch house in the same manner that Molly sleeps in her sunbeam during her early morning nap.
He did take Ringo's (ABCD's name for it) picture and I guess that was enough to wake it up to look us in the eye. It's not the first time it's been spotted there...usually it's foraging for the last of the peanuts and seeds we provide at the Animal Gourmet Shelter here on Bunn's Grove. Not to mention that it costs us about $75 + a week to feed those critters...but they do provide entertainment while doing the mundane chores like dishes.

Speaking of dishes, I made an incredible lentil salad yesterday, using a couple of the tomatoes and lots of the herbs from the garden. The harvest has been very poor this year, but the salad was great just the same. Store boughts just don't make the food as tasty methinks.

On the down side of all this, I know that raccoons can wreak havoc in the yard, and they have no fear at all of humans. It makes me wonder about how attached this little critter is becoming. I wonder if it's wise to make things so comfortable for it. The way I see it, we may need to take the bird feeder down during the nights so we can just enjoy the wildlife by day, and let the animals forage for themselves at night. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Normal day, abnormally madhouse

WHOA! Am I ever going to get everything done! Today it's taking the old 'jalopy' in to be safetied and then out to look at the minivan ABCDEE found about 15 miles from here. Test drive it and check for little things that I know will irk his everlovin' soul for the rest of his born days.

Then if 'the decision' is made, we'll get the thing.

And that's just his list.

My list...finish three journals that I have ideas for, two light switch covers that I promised to someone, do some sketches for the coffrets that I need to do for Joy, and do some work on a journal that I am going to actually PUT things in. Yah, I make a lot of journals, but I rarely write or do art in them. I have some ideas and actually colored the faces last night. They're drawings I did a while back and I decided that they needed to have different expressions to suit my mood. Sort of like a mood ring without the cheesiness. Speaking of cheesiness, I love what my niece Darlene used as one of her tags...(and I'm not quoting verbatim)...When I am lacking character I'll just slather myself in CheezWhiz because... Cheez whiz adds personality (can you hum the tune?)!

so I'll leave this until later cause ABCD is on my case!

>>> much later.... After five trips to the 'old car fixer uppers'(so it can be resold somewhere) and two trips to the dealership, the deed is done. ABCD (all bankers can do) went smoothly and the cash is in the bank for to pay for the vehicle. It's not MY vehicle, but it'll be the one we'll take on trips this year. I never knew they named vehicles after kid stars, but Anne-a Montana is now ours.

And of course I got ONE thing done on my list, and all his list got done. Ain't life grand.

Now, to get ready to go and meet with the ladies of the book club. Heck, where are the notes that I made when I was reading that nearly 500 page tome!