Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How was everyone's weekend?

So what did you do for the holiday weekend?

I spent the weekend at a nearby lake, hanging out with friends. We have a boat that's over 30 years old, so that keeps us busy! Every season, there's something new that's gone wrong with it. This year one of the freeze plugs popped out of the engine block. We thought that was finally the end of the boat, but were able to repair it and get the boat running once again.

The family cabin is also aging so there is always maintenance to be done to it as well. Some vacation, eh? We spend the entire time fixing things!

At least we had beautiful weather! I was reading a book on the pier (which needs repairs also!) but had to put it down to enjoy the puffy clouds in the big blue sky.

My toddler enjoyed announcing the boats, jet skis, and sailboats that went by. "There goes annoder one! Ahh! There's a lellow sailboat!"

My dog also enjoys the lake very much. He loves the water and jumps in after anything you throw. Once we were trying to play a game of water badminton, but the dog kept jumping in and stealing first the birdie, then our paddles, so we gave up!

Here's a picture of the tree canopy over the park at the lake. I used to play at this park when I was little. I'm reminiscing on the swing, looking up at the trees.

And that was my weekend! And yours?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Newest creation - seaglass journal

Here is my latest creation--a different take on my seaglass journals. This one has a recessed window on the cover into which I have set a piece of wire wrapped beach glass. I will be listing more throughout the week in different colors.

I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend! Be safe!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Finch Nest

One lonely egg! I keep hoping there will be more, but there's been no activity today in the nest. I'm afraid the birds may have abandoned it after my dog scared them by running out the front door last night to greet someone.

I am fascinated by bird nests and eggs. I have a small collection of abandoned nests I've collected over the years. I like to set them in a decorative bowls and display them about the house.

I don't know what it is about me and my homes that seem to attract finches in particular. A finch has built a nest on the top of one of the columns on my porch this year. Maybe they can tell I'm bird friendly. Unfortunately, my dog is not.

Last year, in a completely different house in a completely different state, a finch built two nests in each of my hanging ferns. I read where the males do that, build several nests for the female to choose from. When she picks one she likes, she pads it with fluff to her liking and settles in. She chose the fern furthest from the front door and laid some eggs in it.

Here's where the story gets interesting. A cowbird came along and laid two of her eggs in with the others. The mama finch seemed to accept the donations and continued her attentions.

The problem was the cowbird eggs hatch earlier than the finch eggs. If the baby finches hatch at all, they're so tiny the baby cowbirds, who are much larger, attack and kill them. (I read all this while researching why the eggs in the nest looked different. It puzzled me and I wanted to identify whose eggs they were.)

Turns out, in "my" nest, the finch eggs never hatched because the baby cowbirds pecked them to death. Then one cowbird chick turned on the other and killed him. Cowbirds are apparently nasty fellows with a strong survival instinct. Poor mama finch ended up unknowingly raising someone else's offspring. Oh well, I suppose what she didn't know caused no harm. Maybe she gained experience being a mama and will do an even better job next year with another brood (of her own, hopefully).

So what will become of my new finch nest this year?? Will the mama come back?? Stay tuned!

Monday, May 19, 2008

New inventory--and my history on Etsy

I've expanded my shop and added some polymer clay pendants for sale. I originally thought I was going to have a jewelry shop on Etsy. However, after listing three items--a pendant, a journal, and a polymer clay pot--and having only the journal sell, I took a different direction. There is a lot of competition in the jewelry market! So many beautiful designs!

Instead, I incorporated my "jewels" as I call them, onto the covers of some of my journals. The pendants have been sitting around for two years. Every once in a while I'll wear one and I always get compliments. So I thought I'd give it another whirl and see what happens.

Here's a sneak peek at one not yet listed!

When I first started on Etsy, I did absolutely no marketing whatsoever. I listed my items and had one sell within 24 hours, so I erroneously concluded that is all one has to do, kind of like Ebay. List and sit back...the buyers just come to you! My pot and pendant sat there for 4 months and I kind of gave up all hope of them ever selling. When my listings approached their expiration, I decided to try something different and started making more journals.
Some of my first listings on Etsy!

I want to continue making journals, since that is my passion for the time being, but I like to keep things fresh. Popping something new and unexpected into my shop is a good way to stay relevant, and surprise people at the same time! Tee hee! I'm having fun, can you tell?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In the garden

I love these little wood sorrel flowers. I used to pick bouquets of them as a child. I need to get some for my garden. These were growing wild in the cemetery. It's funny what one person considers a weed, another treasures!

I spent the day in the garden, planting my berries I ordered. We've been making smoothies almost every day for lunch, so I decided to try my hand at growing my own strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. My toddler "helped" me by stepping in the holes I dug for them. He is learning about plants and what they produce, so the garden will be a learning experience for him this summer. He asked me if we were going to plant a milk and yogurt plant next! I had to explain about cows, again.

I've been trying to get around to making some journals all day, but just haven't had the energy. I must have worn myself out in the fresh air. I have one almost finished; it's a recycled Scooby Doo Fruit snack box. My son saw it tonight and got all excited thinking it was full of snacks. He got a surprise when he opened it and found nothing but blank pages! What's the good of that, he'd like to know!!

Monday, May 12, 2008


I'm so tired! We went out of town for the weekend to help clean up my grandmother's house. She is in a nursing home and we need to sell her house to finance her stay. She was quite a packrat--40 years of stuff jammed into her little house! We had to rent a dumpster which is already full and we're not done yet! Ugh!

I'm a packrat myself, but I save good stuff (at least, what I think is good stuff). She saved everything including junk mail! The only thing I was able to salvage for use in art were some sequins and thread. And I did get some great cigar boxes from the garage--I'm excited about those!

Still battling bronchitis, which is further tiring me out. I thought I was feeling better, but a cold front has moved through and that, in combination with the dust from my grandmother's house, has not helped my recovery.

I finally got my Japanese screw punch I ordered. After all the anticipation of receiving it and now I'm too tired to do anything with it! Maybe I'll have some energy tomorrow after a night's sleep. Off to bed now...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Cemetery Pictures

Here are some of my pictures I took this morning at the cemetery. I thought this scrollwork was cool.

It was so sad to see how many babies and children died. One family lost two little girls within a day of each other. I'm guessing there was an illness. Ever since I lost my little niece at 12 days old, my heart goes out to the families of these little angels. Now that I have my own little angel (who lately has been a devil!!) I can't imagine life without him.

This cedar tree had tiny branches growing out of its trunk. Very cool textures!

This angel statue looked like she was picking her nose from certain angles. I tried to avoid those!
It seems a bit sacrilegious; a nose-picking angel!

New bindings

So here they are, in order from top to bottom: Spine braid, crossed snowshoes, chain stitch. As you can see from the top one, my holes are rather rough. This is where the Japanese Screw Punch would have come in handy. STILL waiting on that to arrive **sigh**. The other two I used a spring-punch, which is very loud, to make the holes. They turned out a lot neater than the first.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Relief, at last!

I went to the doctor today and had my suspicions of bronchitis confirmed. He prescribed some medications and I feel better already.

Since I finally feel back to my usual self, I got to work on exploring new binding techniques. I learned the chain stitch, crossed snowshoe stitch, and spine braid today (I've been busy!). I'll have to photograph them tomorrow to post. My next challenge is to determine how to incorporate these new techniques into my work.

I'm going out tomorrow morning with an artsy friend to photograph cemeteries and whatever else we find. I love the mossy, aged headstones and statuary.

I broke down and ordered the Japanese Screw Punch I was talking about in an earlier posting. I can hardly wait for it to arrive. I practically run to the mailbox every day to see if it's here yet. I could have used it today with my new bindings.

I planted installment one of my vegetable garden this afternoon. I hope it does well. I'm looking forward to beans, cukes, etc. I have an extensive flower garden, and used to have a well stocked herb garden where I used to live, but never had a lot of success growing vegetables. Maybe my luck will change.

Remembering my buddy

It has been a year since I lost my little friend of 15 years. He was such a beautiful dog, very peppy personality, and a lot of fun to be around. This photo was taken on his last day. He was so tired and just worn out from a long life. I miss him.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I'm not going to write much here because I feel like collapsing. I'm coughing a lot worse, I think I may have bronchitis. I called four doctors today and the earliest I could be seen is tomorrow morning. I miss the walk-in clinic where we used to live. This is ridiculous. So I have to spend yet another sleepless night, coughing my brains out.

I actually felt well enough to work on a new prototype journal this morning. It turned out nicely, but not nice enough to sell. I need to fine tune it a bit. I don't think I'm going to be as productive this evening, though. I may just go to bed early, I'm so wiped out!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The hazards of being an artist

I'm so honored that Moondog Treasures has chosen me as her featured artist of the week! Look for the link on the topic to the right titled "Other Places To Find Me" to check out her blog.

I've been taking a break from planning my next project to focus on using up scraps of paper to make mini journals. My paper organizer is so full I can't get it closed. I tend to hoard my supplies, which leads to a ridiculous accumulation of stuff that never gets used. I've been working on changing that about myself. What good does it do to have all these beautiful papers and supplies only to shut them away in a drawer and forget I have them? Use it!

With all the supplies I have, believe it or not, I do not own a Japanese screw punch. For you non-book binders out there, this is an essential tool! I have gotten away without one for this long, but have concluded it is time to invest in one, particularly after I stabbed myself with my awl a couple weeks ago.

My little "incidents", as I call them, are always so stupid in that they happen at the most unexpected moments. I'm always punching thru book board with the awl in a precarious manner and you would expect that I'd stab myself then. But no, I stab myself throwing away trash.

"What does an awl have to do with trash," you may ask. Absolutely nothing. I happened to have the awl in my hand, somehow fumbled it over the trashcan, jammed it into my palm and then flung it across the room when I drew my hand back in pain. Thankfully no one was behind me.

I washed the wound out but it was rather deep and I expect I didn't get it thoroughly cleansed. The next day my palm was tender and swollen with a red streak running toward my wrist. "Great, now it's infected," I told myself, as I tried to think of ways to avoid going to the doctor.

I really don't like taking antibiotics, and that's likely what a doctor would prescribe for this, so I tried alternative means of taking care of it myself. First I soaked it in warm salt water, then in Epsom salts before I went to bed that night. I kissed my boo-boo on behalf of my mother and said a little prayer. The next morning it was all better! Yeah! I've avoided the doctor once again (as I sit here coughing my head off...I may end up there yet).

Being an artist can be a hazardous occupation!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Fun Things and Not-So-Fun Things

Something fun to announce:
I have the honor of being featured in RedOtter's Friday Top Four Favorites list! Check out her blog, redotter580.blogspot.com, to see my Goddess Journal featured and read about Julia.

Something not so fun to announce:
I spent most of the evening cleaning up the mess I've made over the last month in my studio. Not a fun task, but I'm one of those folks that can't work in the midst of chaos. It's too distracting. I have two work tables, so most of the mess accumulated on one table and I worked on the other.

And, another not-so-fun thing, I'm coughing my head off. I attended a cookout earlier this week when the weather was cool and drizzly, and it seems to have settled in my chest. I had a great winter, no sickness at all, but I suppose it's catching up with me now. I haven't gotten much sleep the last few days for coughing all night. I'm medicating myself out the wazoo, but nothing ever seems to really work.

I feel too miserable to create anything, so I guess I'll spend the rest of my evening planning my next projects. Tomorrow is the big day when I list my new journals...I can hardly wait to see what happens!
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