Thursday, March 31, 2011

Look out my window...

I just love where I live, here in the Boston Hills! These were taken this afternoon from my window.

She was all by herself up in the pasture in the back. Just munching along without a care in the world. She had no idea I was there watching her for 20 minutes. I left her to her lunch and went back to work. I just had to share this with you. I hope you enjoyed seeing her as much as I did.
Now I leave you to go back to work...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Charlie's Final Exam and A Jar Of Hearts

 A Jar Of Hearts

 At this point, I've rusted the box and collected all (most) of my goodies to embellish this very boring wall box and make it look like an eerie dark, damp, dank autopsy room of your run of the mill mad scientist.

I've added springs, chains, a light bulb, anf finally a flash bulb!

I added the spikes through the sides to give the feeling of DANGER.
Without getting too literal, I wanted to give the feeling of a laboatory. Then I found, without really looking for it, the Central Undertaking Company letterhead in a collection of papers I bought that I've yet to thoroughly go through. Instead of using the actual document, I made a color copy of it and distressed it a bit more.

The cool thing about this rust technique, is that the box will be everchanging. Today, the extent of the oxidation is more than that of day one, as evident in the first couple of pics. Then it was more greenish, which I really liked, but I like this too. And I'll like what it looks like in a couple of days from now and even a couple of years from now!

For those of you looking for a finch hatchling update,
Two babies are out of the nest and flying. This little guy came out a bit earliy and can't fly yet. At the time that I took this photo, there was still one left in the nest.

Now that baby has left the nest, too, and neither one can fly yet. They are trying, but they are still too young. We're not sure why they left so early. They now spend their days and nights huddled together on the floor of the cage. We've put a water dish on the floor for them and there are enough seeds down there in case momma and daddy stop feeding them...
Of the 6 eggs hatched, only 4 birds survived.
Superman's hernia surgery yesterday was a success. Today he stayed home, as promised, but hasn't stopped doing things around the house. That's why we call him Superman. He's planning on returning to work on Monday...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Are you kidding me? Really? Ok. NOW I'm getting tired of the snow. Come on! Its springtime! An additional 3 to 6 inches by tomorrow!! We're under a Winter Storm Warning!!! AND the kids still had school today!!!! They breed 'em hardy out here.
This was yesterday. This is our Driveway Robin. She searches the driveway for the worms that flock here in droves. Really. The driveway was chock full of them yesterday! Today, not so much, as you can see from the photos. She was there, thought, this morning when I walked the kids down to get their bus. I felt so bad! So did my daughter and she came up with a brilliant idea. The next time the driveway is full of worms, take some and hang them on a tree for the robins to find when it snows!

Superman, my husband, has hernia surgery tomorrow. He originally thought he'd go back to work on Friday (he's a construction manager), but yesterday told me he was looking forward to his (get this) four day weekend. Well, we'll see...

As for me, I plan on working in my studio today, on "Charlie's Final Exam". I'd like to get a bunch done, as the next couple of days (that four day weekend) won't be condusive to working in my studio. I'll post pics later this week of my progress.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Box Top Collage

I've started working on some mixed media collage. Its something I've been wanting to try for a while. I just didn't know what kind of substrate to use. Wood seemed too heavy. It seemed wasteful to use watercolor paper if I wasn't going to always paint the background. Cardstock didn't seem sturdy enough and plus, I didn't like the glossiness of what I had for this project.

Since I'm always of the mind to use what I already have, I looked around my studio until I found these glove or tie boxes a friend gave me after closing her shop. They were perfect! They were already covered with brown paper, so I didn't have to do anything to prepare the background if I didn't want to. I had a lot of fun doing these and plan to do more.

Here is my conundrum: Do I only collage the tops of the boxes and sell them as collaged gift boxes or do I collage the tops AND bottoms as individual pieces of art? I appreciate your comments and ideas on this.

Next, some of you may be following the progress of our little baby finches. Boy, do they grow FAST! The oldest ones are getting to be just about the size of the parents. I would give the largest another couple of days before it leaves the nest. I only count 4 babies, now though. I'm not sure if they're sitting on the two smaller ones, or if something has happened to them.
These pictures were taken last week. This week the oldest 2 are now the same color as the parents and just about as big. The one on the left, here, is Puff (daddy). They seem to be more skittish, now, so its harder to get good pics. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring Inspiration

This is momma finch,
These are two of the six (yes, six) baby finches crammed into this tiny nest house. You can see the eye of one and the beak of another. (The beak is that white line.) And yes, that's poop all over the outside of their house. I foolishly thought I'd keep the nest they made (inside) after the baby's all grew up. I gave them a bunch of gorgeous fibers from my weaving days to build their nest with. Now I think they can keep it.
Actually, I think we'll get them a new one. (or 4. They'll all need somewhere to sleep)
They have been an inspiration to me, however...

This is a bird's nest pin that I made for a "Mini Show" I have Thursday night. I found out, in doing this project, that I can make jewelry! I am quite proud of myself. You jewelry makers out there may think differently, but I'm quite happy with the outcome.
I had made the little nests as charms before, but I didn't have any appropriate "neckace" material and no extra money to go spend on some. Then I thought of making the brooch or pin.
I wanted to attach the nest to a branch, though, to give it more of a presence. So I searched online for some inexpensive brass branches. Turned out they were all too commercial looking for me. What to do...
A few weeks earlier, I had experimented with hammering spirals wire flat. I was getting close! I still needed a branch, though. I put that thought away for the time being and went to my wire bin to fetch the brass wire for the spirals. I would work on those first and worry about the branch later, when what to my wondering eyes should appear? Really thick guage copper wire! Could it be hammered flat?
Yes, it could! Boy did my arm hurt for the next few days. (I made 7 of these beauties) But it was all worth it. I'm tempted to keep one for myself...
If you like what you see, and if there are any left after Thursday night, I'll put them in my Etsy store,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Altered Bits' Print Zine, baby birds and chair caning

Let me just say, that Charlotte is Soooo proud to be accepted for Altered Bits' Printed Art Zine!!
AND SO AM I!!!!!!!!!
Wow! Can you feel my excitement? I can't WAIT to see it! 
You can't see me, but I'm jumping up and down right now. Thank you, Alicia!

A couple of years ago, I began taking a chair caning class offered for free at my church. I had always wanted to learn chair caning, so I was really excited. Well, I love it. The weaver in me really enjoys the process and setting the "warp" is much less of a hassel for me!

This chair is my latest project. I chose the Daisy Button caning pattern for this chair. This pattern is an advanced pattern, meaning only experienced chair caners should try this. (This was only my second chair caning project.) I thought, since the first one went so easily, and with my weaving background, how hard could this be?

EEK! I'm lucky to still have a hair on my head! After laying the basic pattern, it took me three tries and 12 weeks of classes to get just the Daisy pattern completed! (the classes only run in 6 week segments, once a week. I had to wait a year to pick it back up) The Button part of the pattern, tying, binding and more tying (don't ask) took the rest of the 4 classes.

I was determined to conquer this pattern and in the end, I did. It may not be the finest example of this pattern, but it is complete and I am very happy with the results. I'm on a search for my next Victorian Era piece of furniture that needs recaning.

I'm not the only weaver in the house. We have a Momma and Daddy finch who are both quite skilled at weaving a nest. AND populating that nest as well!

The two finches came to our home as a family Christmas gift. They've been named Coco (Mom) and Puff (daddy- no pun intended by my little kids, but funny none the less). Coco and Puff immediately set to work building their nest in the retro fitted hamster house turned finch house. Coco first laid 2 eggs almost immediately, but did not sit on them enough to hatch them. Just as I was about to remove those eggs, about 2 weeks later, she laid another. At that point, I couldn't remove the previous 2 because I didn't know which was which. After that, she laid 6 more eggs in about 10 days. This time, Mom and Dad are sitting on these eggs diligently! I wonder if, since these two finches were randomly chosen from a cage full of finches, that Puff wasn't the baby daddy of the first two eggs, so Coco didn't try to hatch them, fearing that Puff might not want to take care of someone else's kids? He certainly doesn't appear to be that kind of guy to me, but she may know him better.

At any rate, all but one of the second set of 7 eggs have hatched.

When they grow and get bigger, I'm not sure how they'll all fit in there. They are awfully cute, though, and amazing! They are SO tiny! The head of the baby is smaller that the beak of the parent. That little guy you see here with its mouth open has a head the size of a large pea!

Here you can see about three or four of the babies and a couple of unhatched eggs. The eggs are about one inch long. I am so amazed by this! They're all so tiny!

(I'm trying hard not to sound too much like a doting grandma, since I'm a person and they are birds....)