"If you hear a voice within you say, 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." --Vincent van Gogh

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More Fabric Dyeing & December Challenge

I've been dyeing fabric again. A fun challenge since I now have to work indoors. In order for the dyes to set, it needs to be at least 65F degrees - hit or miss this time of year. I decided to try my first "color runs" - which means that for each piece you dilute the dye 50%, and you get a run of the same color, from dark to light. I used 3 colors (Jacquard, if anyone's interested) - Deep Purple, Turquoise, and Teal. Here are my results:

I also tossed a piece of cheesecloth into the 1st, 3rd, and 6th containers:

With the dye leftover, I mixed two different combinations of turquoise and teal - they aren't really all that different, but the one on the left has a little more blue:
I mixed the last little bit of turquoise and teal, and threw in some of the deep purple for good measure, and the piece on the right was my result. It is absolutely my favorite and I'm going to make some more of it. Luckily I wrote down the proportions! The colors combined nicely, but you can still see bits of each here and there. The photo doesn't do it justice. The piece on the left is straight up Deep Purple - it's not really as pink as it looks here. I've been having trouble getting my colors accurate on the computer. I guess everyone's computers are different so it really doesn't matter.

Finally, here is what I do with my leftover dye. When I rinse my fabric, I squeeze the excess dye back into the containers. Since it has already been mixed with chemicals, it is no longer reactive and cannot be used to dye anything again, so instead, I paint paper towels! I slop and slosh the dye onto the towels, then place another piece of towel on top to catch the excess. Once dry, I can peel them apart and use them in art projects, like those frames I made. These are still drying, but I'll be sure to post a photo once they're done.

And now for that December challenge. I've been wishing I would blog more, so I've sort of devised this personal challenge to post once a day in December. Now, this may not be the smartest thing I've ever done - December being what it is with the holidays and all, but I'll give it a shot. I have promised myself that if I miss a day here or there, the world won't stop spinning. I will not resort to the tactics of my pre-teen years when I felt I needed to write in my diary every day, but my life was so uneventful that I couldn't think of what to write, so most of the time my diary read "DD, NNN, ME" - Translation - Dear Diary, No New News, Love, Me. I never have been a patient person!!! So anyway, to go along with my December Blog-A-Thon, I am going to have some give aways. Why? Because I think it's cool when people give stuff away on their blogs! ;o) So, the first giveaway I will announce officially tomorrow - but if you are still reading this - here's a sneak peek... I will draw a name on January 1st from everyone who posts a comment on my blog in December and send the winner something I've made. One entry per person and make sure I can contact you (or be sure to check back). I will have other giveaways as well, as the mood strikes me.
One promise - not all posts will be this wordy!!!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Pumpkin for Thanksgiving

I've been preparing for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Yesterday I made a pumpkin pie, and today I made pumpkin cheesecake. I thought I'd share a photo of the Pumpkin that hangs around, even when it's not the holidays ...

Isn't she sweet?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Something to Look Forward To ...

Through a post on one of my lists, I found this site:


She is hosting a holiday countdown with "a new paper crafting surprise each day" Dec 1-Dec 25. Mighty generous of her, and sounds like a lot of fun! Check it out!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bottlecap Jewelry & Other Stuff

Yesterday was a gorgeous, sunny, nearly 80 degree day and today it is raining (which we desperately need) and the high will only be in the 50s. I was going to post photos of the trees today, but thought maybe most of you would rather see some art stuff.

I was sporting my new bottlecap charm bracelet and necklace the other day. Of course I have a cap on my keyring, and on my cell phone (got to advertise, ya know!) and my daughter said something to the effect of "Mom, you are just ALL bottlecapped!" So, ok, maybe I got a little carried away. But I do love my charm bracelet, it is very clinky and loud, but it is fun...

When my 6th grade son saw it, he said he thought just about any girl in his class would wear it! Guess I know what my target audience should be ... although I love wearing it, too.

And my necklace ... pretty sophisticated for a bottlecap, eh?

I have also been working hard to get some things into Fusions for the holiday season. In addition to more angel ornaments, I made some magnet sets from bottlecaps (what else?) and old playing cards:

And I finally settled on some frames (remember those from a few months back?) to sell:

I covered some of the frames with old maps - I think they are fun! I want to do more local ones, as I think those will probably sell the best.

I would love to get feedback on any of these projects, so please leave a comment if you'd like. In the meantime, I've got 13 people coming for Thanksgiving dinner in exactly one week and I really need to take some time to get my stuff picked up! Catch you later ...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sunprinted Leaf

Check out this leaf ~

It's sunprinted! Seriously. This tree is so interesting. Wherever the sun hits the leaf, it is red, but where it is covered up, it is yellow. I pulled this leaf forward from behind the branch. You can see the branch and the edges of the leaves that were above it.
I did a little research, and as I understand it, the yellows and oranges we see are the natural colors of the leaves, hidden, of course, by chlorophyll until autumn. However, the reds, purples, and browns we see are actually a chemical reaction (the brown is tanin, that's the only one I remember) caused by exposure to sun, and also affected by temperature (that's why cool nights will give more brilliant color). OK, so I'm no scientist, and this is just the best that I can recall from what I read, but apparently this tree has yellow leaves, but where the sun hits them, they turn red. I just thought it was cool.

Here's a look at the tree:

So, while I'm showing you garden photos, here are a couple more that I took the other day...

Here's a toadstool that popped up under one of my banana palms. I thought it was cute...

And here's a look into a new banana palm leaf that's opening up ... too bad I couldn't get a sharp focus on this pic!

Thanks for visiting ... more to come soon, so stop by again. Have a great day!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

It's Autumn ... More or Less

I read in the newspaper yesterday that our City is going to begin their annual curbside leaf collection next week. We are the City of Oaks and this is the time of year that the leaves fall, fast and furious. Of course, the problem with Oaks is that they hold onto some of their leaves until the new buds come out in spring - so you end up raking again, which isn't much fun.

Well, this year, we are under a severe drought, and it has also been very hot. I don't know if that is the reason or not - but barely any leaves have changed color yet!!! I look into my wooded back yard and the trees are all very green. I imagine when they stop cholorphyl production, they will just turn brown and drop - no beautiful colors hiding underneath - but I don't know for sure because they are still green!

So last weekend, we went to the farmer's market, and I took some pictures, just to prove that it is fall...The bees were very intent on their pollination
The orange pumpkins were lined up, waiting to be chosen for the perfect jack-o-latern
These little gourds were very pretty. I bought 3 to set on my table.

The white "lumina" pumpkins were so intersting - I might get one to carve next year.

I loved the colors in this decorative corn and thought the would work well in an art piece.

And just to show you how beautiful autumn CAN be here in North Carolina ... here are some photos I took in October 2006. Enjoy them - it may be all we get this year. I still can't understand how it can be November and my backyard can be green!!!!!

I hope you enjoyed my little autumn adventure. Maybe there will be more artwork next week.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Guess what? I'm an Angel!

Well, ok, not really, but I had you going there for a minute, didn't I??? Sometimes in swaps that take place amongst folks all over the world, some people do not fulfill their obligations, for one reason or another. In one group that I am in, when someone has filled their obligation, but not received the expected items in return, a call is put out for "angels" - folks willing to step in and make something for the person, without expecting anything in return.

I decided to do this and try my hand at something called a "Tip-In". A "Tip-In" is a pre-made page for an altered book which can be slipped into the book and glued right down onto an exsisting page in the book - thus hiding the original page, covering it up with the new.

Since I don't do altered books (yet...), but I'm starting to become interested in collage and altered art techniques, I thought this was an excellent opportunity to try some things out. I was assigned the theme "garden/nature" and asked to make two 5x7 pages - either related or not - in this theme. Here's what I came up with:

I have to say it was a lot of fun, although I struggled with not wanting to mess with something I liked, and knowing what to do next ... I don't really see the final product until it emerges before me. The tag on the left hand page fits in a little sleeve on the back and has a quote from Aristotle written on it, "In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous". Not too bad for starting with a white piece of cardstock!!!

And while I'm on the subject of angels - here is a pic of some angel ornaments I designed, using bottle caps and aluminum cans:

May I have a J please?

How about 27 1.5" tiles with the letter "J" on them? I joined a swap - I should get all the letters back (the extra is for the hostess). They are supposed to look vintage, but I realize I'm not all that good at vintage. I'm thinking once they're amongst all the other letters, they will blend in.
The skinny black ric rac was from my Sweet and Sinister partner, Andrea. The trims she's sent sure have come in handy!!