“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.”
Robert Frost

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ducks on the Roof...Crows in the Birdbath...Bunnies in the Flowerbeds

This morning around 6:30 AM I grabbed a cup of coffee and went out to my screened porch and opened the windows for some delicious cool fresh air. I was still somewhat asleep and overhead heard some thumping noises. My cat was staring at the ceiling and then I saw two mallard ducks jump off the roof and fly down to the lake. Our roof has a low pitch and I guess they thought it was safer there than on the shore with Mr. Fox. These were two drake mallards the females take their chances on the lake with their ducklings. No such thing as chivalry in duckdom.

A short time later four crows showed up and decided to take turns in the birdbath. They were having a great old noisy time. By the time they were done the bird bath was empty. They then decided they should play on our patio table and started dissecting my poor Easter cactus I had put out for some sun. They finally stopped after my husband put out more bird food in the feeder. I guess they were trying to get our attention!

The cutest thing that happened today though was when our resident bunny decided he would let me take his picture. I was able to get pretty close and got a few really cute pictures. Sometime soon I will get back to crafting and hunting down more vintage finds, but who can resist when all of this is going on in your back yard!



A Little Lounging


A Little Posing


A Little Munching

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Etsy Fourth of July Stuff You Might Need!

Since my shop has  nothing going on for the 4th of July, I thought I would see what other Etsians are offering for the holiday. Here are a few random things I picked out that I thought would be great on a 4th of July picnic. Take a look and click on the title beneath the pictures to get all the information. Enjoy!


Picnic Basket Pinwheel Bouquet. Vase and SHIPPING INCLUDED.
Pinwheel Bouquet








Organic Jam Gift Basket with Two 8 oz Jars of Homemade Jam
Organic Jam Gift Basket
Checker Game Set
Checker Game Set
All American Decoupaged Holiday Party Caddy Upcycled Repurposed  - Treasury Item
All American Party Caddy

Heart of American Fabric Throw
 Heart of American Fabric Throw

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spring Slips into Summer...

Peonies & Petals

Spring is slipping away and here comes summer. My peonies are almost finished blooming and before it rains again today, I will cut the rest and bring them in. The bowl holds the petals that fell in clumps from previous cut flowers and I added a few small peony buds too. It was so pretty I had to capture it.

Swallow Tail Butterfly & Mock Orange Shrub

The Mock Orange shrub smells so heavenly I look forward to it's bloom every year. The flowers do smell like orange blossoms. There are two Swallow Tail butterflies that have been enjoying the blooms for several days. I was able to get a picture of one and it only took me about ten tries to get a few images that weren't blurry!

Marigold Carnival Glass Deer

This is a beautiful little covered dish from Jeannette Glass company from the 1950's. I've read that it was originally sold as a container for loose powder. It is so cute I am not sure that I can part with it even though I bought it intending to sell it in my shop. Maybe I will just keep it a little while...

Strawberries & Vintage Embroidery

My dear husband bought this vintage embroidery piece for me at a garage sale. It is so pretty with the little Blue Bird and lovely with those yummy strawberries!

Blush Pink Rose

I wish you could smell this rose it is divine and has a true rose scent. It starts out pink in the bud and slowly turns white as it ages. I lost the tag and I don't remember it's name so I just call it my Blush Rose.  With all of this beauty surrounding me in my own home and backyard, I would say summer is off to a good start. I hope you too will look around your own place and find the beauty there.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Father Is....




A Father Is

A Father is neither an anchor to hold us back
 nor a sail to take us there, but always a guiding light
whose love shows us the way.

The warm light of your love shines in my memories
and in my heart reminding me of your guidance
your care, and most of all,
your love.

Anonymous


Friday, June 17, 2011

Thank You Foster & Boo for This Award!




Foster and Boo awarded me the Stylish Blogger Award and I am happy to accept it. Thank you so much! Now I must share seven things and pass on the award to seven bloggers. Here are seven things...not necessarily about me.

The best food in the world was prepared by my Mom.

If you are six years old (or any age), do not let your older cousin talk you into shoving a small toad in front of your Aunt's face.

Never put anything onto a blog, facebook or twitter that you wouldn't want your parents to see.

When I die, I want to come back as a cat that has an owner like me.

When someone behind you at the check out counter has under 5 items and you have a full cart, let them go first.

Always tell or write someone a "Thank You" ... for gifts, awards or small favors.

Before you go to sleep at night, count your blessings instead of sheep.

Here are the Seven Bloggers I am passing on the award to. Please make sure you visit each site and leave a comment. Congratulations!





Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Embroidered Oriole Featured!

Baltimore Oriole
Flour Sack Dish Towel
Hand Embroidered

I was excited to get a message that my embroidered Oriole dish towel was featured on the Lark Crafts website. It was very nice to be included with all of those wonderful artists. They are showing examples of state birds depicted in different types of crafts and art. My towel is the first example featuring the Baltimore Oriole. Very interesting and fun article. Thank you Lark Crafts! Click here to see the entire article.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More Paper Mache Tips...

Today I want to add a few more tips about making paper mache pulp. The recipes I posted yesterday are for the frugal crafter and use a minimal amount of purchased products. However, if you would like a smoother sculpture try the following.
                                           
Add about 2 cups of Instant Paper Mache Mix (available at art or craft stores) and a bit more water. Mix with your pulp base.

Soak one roll of white toilet paper, remove the cardboard core, pull the paper apart with your fingers. Squeeze out excess water and mix into your pulp base.


Feel free to add your tips in the comment section.


And there's more...
This has nothing to do with paper mache, it's just cute!


Have a fantastic Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Paper Mache Pulp Tutorial

Last week I had a request to add on to my blog more about making Paper Mache and to include a recipe. Here are a couple of basic recipes that I use. I will add a few pictures as well to help explain the process. All of the ingredients for the recipes can be found at the grocery, hardware or craft store. Making the pulp can be quite messy but once it's mixed up it can be fun to work with. Some people wear gloves when mixing but I prefer not to. The glycerin helps to keep the pulp from sticking to your hands and makes the pulp more clay like. You don't have to use the boiled paste recipe but I use it in my paper pulp and I find it very useful when using traditional paper strips over plastic bottles or styrofoam. It makes a good base for adding on the paper pulp.  For other examples on my blog click here. Hope you enjoy this tutorial and please leave a comment or question for me.

    BOILED  PASTE
    This paper mache paste recipe requires boiling which makes it a little stronger than the no-cook version.
    Materials Needed:
    5 cups water
    1 cup flour
    Instructions:
     Start out by putting 4 cups of water into a pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. While you are waiting for it to boil, mix 1 cup of flour into 1 cup cool  water. Beat this mixture briskly to remove lumps.
    Once your pot of water is boiling, slowly stir in the water and flour mixture. Mix well and let it boil for 2 - 3 minutes. It should be smooth and have the consistency of thick glue. If necessary, you can add more water or flour in small amounts until you get the desired consistency.
If you live in an area with high humidity, add a few tablespoons of salt to help prevent mold. Two tablespoons of antiseptic mouthwash also keeps the glue from spoiling. If you don't like the smell of the glue mixture you can add a few drops of wintergreen or lemon oil.

Store unused glue in a covered bowl or jar, in the refrigerator, and use within a couple of weeks.
                                  

BASIC PULP RECIPE

MATERIALS:

4 double-page sheets of newspaper (torn or shredded)
1 tablespoon salt
2 heaping tablespoons of joint compound
2 tablespoons white glue or Mod Podge
1 tablespoon glycerin or linseed oil
2 drops oil of wintergreen - OR - oil of cloves
1 tablespoon of antiseptic mouthwash
2 tablespoons wheat wallpaper paste - OR - flour and water paste

A pulp mixture is great for making smooth, fine details in your paper Mache creations, or for creating small objects. It would, however, take a lot of it to complete a larger project. I use it over an armature such as scrunched up paper or old Styrofoam or cardboard.  A combination of traditional paper mache using the strips and then doing the details with the paper pulp is a great way to get your project moving faster.




You can use just the paper pulp also. After you completely cover your figure it should dry in a warm location for several days before painting.

Pulp Method

Tear the newspaper into tiny pieces or use shredded paper and put it in a large bowl  or bucket.. Add just enough  hot water to completely cover the newspaper. Let soak overnight or at least four hours.


Once your newspaper has soaked for several hours it's time to pulverize. This can be done using your hands for small batches.  At this stage I use my drill paint mixer. I add a good amount of water so that my paint mixer attachment  for my drill easily mixes through the paper.


Shredded Paper Soaking

 If you have a small batch do the following.  With your hands or large wooden spoon stir the mix and try to break up any big clumps. Squeeze it through your fingers until it has an oatmeal type texture. Try to get as many lumps out as possible. If necessary, add a bit more water and let it soak a little more.


Once you have it as smooth as possible, add a few tablespoons of salt to help retard mold. Mix it again with your hands.


Once mixed thoroughly, transfer to a double thickness cheesecloth lined colander. Gather up the sides of the cheesecloth and squeeze out most of the liquid.  Transfer your pulp to a large bowl or plastic dish pan.


Break up the wet pulp into smaller clumps.  Add the joint compound, white glue, glycerin, mouthwash and paste. With your hands mix the pulp and other ingredients until you get a clay like consistency.

 Now you are ready to use your Paper Mache pulp! For some ideas check out some of my previous posts on making chicks and bears.


Store your leftover pulp in an air tight bag or bowl in the refrigerator and it should last for several weeks.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Something Pretty & Something Cute

For Sunday I wanted to put up a couple of pictures I took last week. One is from my garden and the other is of some cute little critters I collected a few years back. They are on my Flickr photo stream. Some day I hope to have time to figure out how to connect them with my blog.

Purple Allium & Tulip


Cute Squirrel Salt & Pepper Shakers





Friday, June 10, 2011

Aaaah!!! Cooler Weather Returns...

Now that the heat wave is over here (sorry East Coast folks), I'm getting back to normal. The Weatherman said that the heat changes your body chemistry and I assume that affects the brain too. Guess that's why I have been feeling a little slow to get back into the groove.

While it was 103 degrees outside, I was in my basement mixing up new paper mache. Here are a few pictures of the messy process.


Shredded Paper Soaking
Pulverizing Equipment
Wicked Tool - Keep Fingers Away!



I soak the paper overnight or at least 5 hours, I then use my drill with the handy drywall mixer attachment to pulverize the paper. I then drain it through cheesecloth and squeeze out most of the liquid. I then dump it into a large utility tub and add salt, mouthwash, glycerin, paste and other secret ingredients.

 Mixing it with my hands is a good workout. I can only describe it as something between kneading bread and making meatloaf.
 I then put it in the fridge in a covered container where it can hang out for several weeks without going bad.

 I was going to get pictures of some of that last part too, but I forgot. I did part of the mixing outside and I think my brain was turned off, because of the heat,OK!  Did I mention that the heat makes a person a little cranky?

 Anyway here you go, I know there is nothing at all cute about any of this now. Just wait, something cute will come...


Draining in Cheesecloth Lined Colander


Paper Pulp Base

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Almost Blazing Hot!!! Not on Fire Yet!!

It is hot here in Minnesota. No, not like Texas or Arizona hot. Still hot, 98 degrees and humid and heading towards 100 by the end of the day. We are not used to that here. Winter cold and snow piled to the roof, that we are used to. This not so much, except lately. Mother Nature is really ticked off at us. She must be, she tried to blow us away (tornados), then wash us away (floods,rain) then roast us (fire and heat). I am so sorry Mother we will try and do better we will try to behave...

Meanwhile, I am staying inside as much as possible until this heat wave ends. I found a super blog with tutorials that you might want to check out. Here is one on how to make a cute little beverage or ice cream container wrap.  

This will keep your little fingers from freezing whilst you sip your ice cold drink on the blazing hot patio.

Thank you to Ashley at Make It and Love It.



Make It and Love It

Click here to visit Ashley's Shop on Etsy.




Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Few More Needlework Pieces...

This is what you do in the winter up north! I love songbirds and think these Aunt Martha's patterns are good depictions of the actual birds.



Gold Finch























Oriole




These flour sack dish towels will be for sale in my Etsy shop soon. It's hard to work inside now that the weather is finally getting nice. Enjoy the sunny days!