Monday, December 31, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR! WOOHOO! 2008!




Christmas Spider
Gee, it's hard to believe 2008 is here already! Amazing how quickly time seems to pass as one ages! I've become my mom, my children have become me and time marches on. Marriages, birth, deaths....menopause...ye gads! well, i won't bore you ( although one of these days i will get into a discussion on being a woman and growing old)...but today is a day to celebrate...i mean...it's 2008 and we are still here to talk about it....and that IS a celebration! It is just midnight here in Kilauea, and in most places New Years is over.....here, all the neighborhood kids (yeah, right...) are lighting fire crackers (rolls of up to 10,000....which are legal) all at the same time! It is VERY noisy..... but hey, it's NEW YEARS!
Gawd, I hope and pray...NO.....I INSIST! next year I WILL BE MOVED TO THE MAINLAND!....that is my resolution!... (ok, OUR resolution, my DH wanted to be included)
i've got to move closer to my boys and family....
Here are some Christmas week photos of my DH, my son Skylar and Me - Sky took a lot of photos, despite the constant rain.....he really liked my camera, so "Santa" brought him one of his own....i've put them in a slide show so they won't be too boring .....the goose is a Hawaiian nene, pics of the Kilauea lighthouse.....the beach, Haena cave, etc. sorry for the repeats...i don't know why "Rock You" widget is doing that....anyway, enjoy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER!....and I've been tagged-twice!

My husband has been going on and on about a present he had gotten for me for Christmas - something he said was "fit for royalty". He told me it had shipped and would be ready for pick up today.
Yesterday I finally got both of my boys' Christmas stockings packed and ready to be mailed. Lance insisted that he mail them since he was going to the hardware store anyway and there was no sense in wasting gas twice. Meanwhile, my youngest son Skylar finished his reality show job in Big Bear on Sunday. I talked to him yesterday. He was out Christmas shopping, but he had plans to spend Christmas with his brother at my sister Lori's house in San Jose. Unfortunately, when I talked to his brother Vincent, he was sick with the flu. He said he had to work Christmas Eve and was hoping Skylar would be content to just visit him for Christmas and that they would not have make the trek all the way to San Jose (about 4 hrs from Vince's home). He has to work the day after Christmas too, poor baby!
Well today Lance went into town to pick up my present. He called, very unhappy, to say that not all of it had arrived.....When he got home he went to shut the main gate and asked me to get the pizza he'd gotten for dinner out of the car. Imagine my surprise when I opened the back door ....
and there was Skylar! My DH said he tried to have Vincent come too, but Vince just couldn't get the time off from his new job - they'd been trying to make it happen for a month!
But I was thrilled to have Sky here for Christmas.
I couldn't believe they had all kept it a secret from me! I told my DH that this was the best present ever and he can give me the same present over and over again and I will always be thrilled....next time I hope I get to see both of my boys!

I got tagged by my friend Joanne Thieme Huffman and then again by another friend from England, Wendy Coyne. So here are 7 things you may not know about me:

1. I had an idyllic, blissfull storybook childhood. When I was a teenager I had friends who were planning to run away, I wanted to go too- it sounded exciting - but I had no reason to leave home!
2. I only use one eye and have minimal depth perception. I had vision problems as a toddler and when I was 4 yrs old I had eye surgery that was unsuccessful. I was legally blind in one eye and wore thick glasses. About 3 years ago I had laser surgery. Now I can see far perfectly with the one good eye - but I need glasses for my close vision. When my mother died she left a tape with messages for each of us kids. In my message she said I was her most beautiful baby, and because she bragged about me so much, God cursed me and made me blind. Some message, huh?...I never knew!
3. I have 4 sisters and 1 brother. We are all about 14 months apart or so. I also grew up with 2 foster brothers and many many other teenagers -friends of mine and my brother and sisters- who needed a place to stay. We had an "open" house. Anyone was welcome, any time, to stay as long as they needed to. Dinner was rarely for less than 20.
4. I am very bad at all sports. My coordination in general sucks too.
5. I did not drive until I was 25 and had moved to LA and had to learn. My first car was a stick shift. Pity the poor folks who got stuck behind me going 40mph on the freeway.
6. I seriously wanted to be a nun. I walked a mile to church EVERY morning when I was 11 yrs old to go to 6:30 am Mass. yeah right. ..me a nun.
7. I raised rats and guinea pigs as a kid. I had elaborate breeding cages/nests for them that my dad built for me. I named them all and adored them. I got 25 cents per rat, and $2.50 per guinea pig. When I was about 14 I found out my mother was selling them to Stanford University....for RESEARCH! (Coincidentally that's the same year my religion class told me me the old testament was mainly not pure facts. I was doubly devastated. Thus ended my potential careers as an animal breeder as well as a mother superior.)

OK. so now I need to tag some other friends. I will do it off the blog, I think... then if they reject my request there won't be any pressure. I know, that's not following the rules........

New projects...inc. UHU glass glue...

I have been working on Christmas presents - wrapping and shipping all week. It is a mystery to me how I can plan for so long and yet get caught short once again. I always run out of time. Suddenly Christmas is a week away and my projects aren't wrapped, or sent - let alone finished! What happened? How did I lose track of time and my commitments? But it happens every year....maybe it is just part of getting old - everything speeds by.......
I did a bit on my painting. added more threads and roots. darkened it a bit. I still haven't added the bubble pictures..... This is it upside down. I am undecided if I like it better upside down or right side up.


And here are 2 of the glass pendants. I made PMC bails for them (UsingUHU glass glue - a 2 part epoxy - my big test!) and fiber for the chain. I made fine silver wire clasps for them too...kind of primitive....


I also finished the tulip/flying horse hanging. I quilted it and added hanging corners to the back - I didn't take pictures of that.....I wasn't thrilled with it - but it is a good beginning for another project I'm going to work on.
....and lastly i finally mounted a stone cabochon my sister asked me to turn into a piece of jewelry. She had chosen the stone. It sort of looks like either a face of the "wind" or a wild boar.....I used PMC for the mount and made the chain with amethyst and amber. It turned out very heavy....(as in ...it weighs a lot....) My second completed PMC project...live and learn.... I tumbled it in my Lortone tumbler and I have to say, it sure works better than trying to hand burnish the whole thing. I made the clasp too.

Lorri comes to visit....

Dec 5th, my fabric artist friend Lorri Scott came to visit. We spent the day in my shop working with PMC, a medium she had not tried yet. As I discovered, I, certainly, am not the best teacher.... Nevertheless, we had a great time! Here are the items she made:



She later found a piece of drift wood to mount her pmc paper "tree of life" onto.

The following week we got together again to go shopping and had a divine lunch (ahi tortilla wraps) at "mermaids".


Lorri at mermaids...
I will miss her!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Promised pics...

Here are the slobette studio pics. i took them at night, that's why all the windows are closed, and the big door. it's a big space for a big mess.

...actually this is pretty clean. when I'm sewing, it's a real disaster.
i worked on the painting some more. another layer of paint....got a bit bolder.
i did not clean my studio today. manana.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Next Step of my painting....more art slobbery


Here's the next step of my painting. I have begun to paint in the background and emphasize the bubbles. I am approaching it DJ painting style - sort of a derivitative of the painting style she taught me last year. After this has dried for a few days (it has a lot of caulk on it right now) I will start to really layer on the paint and glazes.
I am hoping to do one painting a month....and ...hopefully.....finish them....
This is my 3rd painting. My dear dear friend Joanna Lovetti works in an art gallery in Santa Fe New Mexico and the gallery owner/artist said that no one can call themselves a "painter" until they've painted at least 50 paintings. This has stuck in my brain, so I want to see, after I've done 50 paintings, if I am now a "painter". 47 1/2 paintings to go!
This is my art table:

I am an art slob. I have 3 art table areas in my studio space. I usually mess up each area very badly. I cut things out, trim, etc and just let it fall on the floor. Paper towels covered in paint, Q-tips, and teriyaki sticks stash in any space they drop to. As I look for the "perfect" paint or texture or embellishment, I pull things out and spill the contents. But I can't stop to make it all orderly....when my brain is working I have to take advantage of those precious creative moments. By the end of a creative session, I can't get around the shop without hopping over this or avoiding tripping over that. Somehow everything has come out - the ironing board, the boxes of fabric scraps, the jewelry findings I need for another project I may want to take into the house to work on while i watch TV....Soon all 3 workspaces - oh my gosh- the ENTIRE SHOP -is unnavigatable....and somewhere, buried under all the heaps ...is that one item I need now. I have moved the junk on the computer table to the printer table and the stuff from the printer table to my work chair....and then my back is aching from standing and I need to sit down. yeah right.
I have many many shelves for my supplies. Yet somehow, it is the most unused and obscure stuff I have that is most visible. The good stuff I need and use all the time I keep in boxes and bags and envelopes stored near my work tables. This makes them conveniently close - but EGADS! I can never find what I need quickly! here is how I store my paints. It is not a pretty sight.
...and I ALWAYS lose my cell phone. My DH has to call me so I can find it.


Of course, by the time I am full blown into a project ALL of the paints are somewhere, somehow on my worktable.
The good news is I am obsessed with having a clean studio to start a new project. My brain cannot focus and it is way too confusing to START a project amidst a mess. It makes me CRAZY! So when all 3 areas have been used for 3 projects (In this case, one is the painting, and 2 are covered in glass....oh, and my cutting table has a bead project on it.) ..and I have hit the creative point of letting it dry for a few days, or I'm waiting for the bails for the glass to arrive in the mail ...or in other words, I'm moving on to something else for now...... I MUST CLEAN IT UP....and I do. I put everything away, back where it belongs, I sweep the floor, I reorganize. It is never spotless, but the tables are all clear...and then I start over again.
My DH says I should show you the WHOLE shop. So you can see what true slobbery is. I will take a pic tomorrow, and add it to this post.
And tomorrow .....I clean up.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Playing with glass and other New Art...UHU glue reviews

I have been playing with glass and experimenting with how it melts. For me, since I know basically nothing other than what i have read in books, it is all a big experiment. I waste a lot of materials this way, and often, when I finally get the hang of it, I switch to a new project....mainly I think out of frustration that I am not an expert at it and it is not perfect. Lately I am trying really hard to complete projects....and I am attempting spontaneous art - you know - just DO IT...don't judge. Be patient. Give it time to speak to you and to develop.....and don't hurry. I like to take shortcuts and usually that means big time mistakes and interesting wastebasket liners....
OK. Back to glass. I was using wasser red flame glass. It had cool orange and yellow flame streaks amongst the red. I put a piece of thin dichroic glass on that and also a copper inclusion that I half-a**ed coated with boric acid powder in alcohol, to keep it copper colored. I didn't think to burnish it flat, and by the time I put the copper on the glass it had dried and was flaking off. No matter. I stuck everything together with glastac, including a bullseye clear glass that I topped each heart with (same COE as the wasser). Then I put it in the kiln. This is how they turned out.

Fronts ...the one on the bottom left is the one i grooved and wire wrapped. More about that later....

Backs
As you can see, all of the Wasser glass blended together and became a solid red. The back of this glass was white streaked on the red. The one piece I fired with the white side up, turned mainly white! The backs, turned yellow and brown. Very weird. Turns out, wasser glass full fuses about 50 degrees lower than the clear bullseye topper, and since I fired the kiln at 1490, which is for the bullseye, I super melted it all together. The dichroic glass I used was cut in triangles, which I also don't like. I wish I had shaped it with rounded edges. But I loved what the copper did - It turned a dark red with even darker edges and had a nice shimmer to it.
Next step, I decided to grind off all the extra clear glass on the heart's edges and fire polish them. The white heart I decided to groove the edge so I could wire wrap it. Now I've never grooved glass before, but I have a new groove bit for my grinder so I tried it. I went around twice to be sure i had a deep groove. i had a deep groove, alright - a canyon!
Big air bubbles, cracked edges - pretty sloppy! But the copper heart looks great!
I wrapped it anyway and thought I'd be really clever and use UHU glass and metal epoxy to help hold the fine silver wire. The glue worked great and allowed me to wrap the wire tightly. I will also use it to attach bails later to the other pieces ( I will do a full review of this glue then - I need to test the strength over time) ....the pieces are all way to thick to drill holes into.....
Then I got the bright idea to refire it with the other pieces to polish the rough groove edges. This was a bad idea. There was no firescale, because I had used fine silver, but the silver turned the glass edges yellow (which happens) and of course it weakened the silver. Ultimately i took the wire off, ground off the groove and ugly glass, and refired it.
These are new piece for the kiln, and the big hearts from above are being fired are on the bottom shelf. I am also firing tiny glass scraps to make glass balls for other projects.

Here they are out of the oven. The new pieces (the little hearts) I super coated the copper and the copper stayed true copper colored. I prefer the copper to turn red, like it did in the original hearts. I also used dichroic "paper" which was a real waste. You can see the shadows of the tiny dichroic hearts, etc, but the dichroic shimmer is gone. I think the "paper" has to be fired at a lower temperature. It is really expensive and is really a dichroic decal, but you can punch out any design you like. Too bad it works lousy! The eyeballs (click on the photo to see the detail) have huge bubbles in them because I layered dichroic glass that was too thick, and fired it too fast. I am going to experiment by drilling out the air bubbles and refiring.
Here's a pic of a stone and a skull I am covering in latex to make molds to cast as plaster investments. I will use the stone's investment to fire with pmc clay around it. After it is fired I will remove the plaster investment and add the stone. The skull I want to use with an"freeze and fuse" glass. Stay tuned!

and here's a large painting I am working on. It is a shibori crinkled paper tree trunk and lots of foam circles. I used some of the UHU epoxy for texture, as well a pumice, thread, and liquid nails, molding paste, fabric and tar gel. It is white because it has gesso on it. When it dries I will start painting it and will put transfers of people? embryos? ...well, something. It is called "life from a bubble".

UHU Foam Glue - another FREE FULL SIZED SAMPLE from Maria Filosa blog site.
UHU glue for foam is the best product I've ever used for foam. I used to build foam costume heads and bodies (covered with fabric) and the glue we used was stinky and messy. The fumes were terrible in the head of a costume! This stuff is low odor and works remarkably well. It works best foam to foam. I have some heart charms that are all layered foam that are stuck together with this stuff. You put it on both pieces and let it dry, then squish the pieces together.

Pay it Forward - free art!

Here is a fun thing I stumbled upon, so here's the game:

Pay it Forward
Belinda, Jo and a number of other talented ladies have posted this on their site recently. Now i't is my turn!I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF (Pay it forward) exchange.I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise!The only thing you have to do in return is to pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.So basically, if you’re one of the first 3 comments, I’ll send you something crafty that I’ll make!Once you sign up, copy and paste the above paragraph on your blog, and three other lucky people will be recipients of your handmade work.

Please leave your email addy so I can contact you to get your address!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

My cousin Diane came to Kauai this week with her family. I met them in Hanalei and they treated me to lunch at Bubba Burgers. Here's a pic of us.


L to R: Me, Diane, her husband Chip, daughters Carly and Michele.

Her in laws were there too, as well as Chip's sister and husband.

...and this is the missing photo of Fran and I from her visit a few weeks ago. I stole it from her blog. You have to go to her blog and see her journal sketching in Kauai - way cool!



...and this is a cute little rat that my DH trapped. We have a huge rat invasion around here. None in the house or in the shop, but outside they like to get into the car's engine and the tractor's engine and nest there.....and they also chew on the wires.... so we have to keep tarps on the engines and then remember to remove them before you drive. I wish I could say we were trapping them humanely because I cared about their sweet little souls. But alas, I just hate emptying their squished little heads from the spring type traps. This was the 4th one this week.....I just take the trap about 3 miles away and open it at an empty field....and now he's someone else's problem.

I've been blog hopping today. Sometimes I just like to go to a blog, click on one of their links, read it, click on one of their links, read it, click on one of THEIR links...you get the picture. I see pictures, artwork and gain interesting insight to all kinds of folk I would never have "met" or learned about.

Which leads me to Thanksgiving. Blog hopping has shown me such diversity in souls and spirit. People post very intimate details of their lives, their health, their feelings. Brave, scared, scarred and joyful. Blogs to journal an autistic child, a brush with death, a shared life. Amazing honest writing of incredible depth.

I am thankful for the insights these people have given me. The grass is truly not always greener on the other side. I have been motivated, inspired, moved. Sometimes, I have laughed out loud! It is very powerful stuff.

...and so.....I have such gratitude for all the blessings I have been given.

My Family. .... My Friends....My Life .......and..... Internet Bloggers.

Thank You Thank You Thank You

Saturday, November 17, 2007

grotesque ROOT DOLLS

I liked Fran's doll so much, i decided to try my hand at doll making, but I wanted to make something original. I came up with the concept of root dolls - using vintage photos of children's faces and bodies that look like tree roots....as in family history roots, etc. Deep aren't I? hah!

Anyway, I made 2 dolls of patchwork applique with lots of stitching and thread embellishments (root hairs...). I thought they would make a nice gift for my sister who says i never make her anything. When my husband saw them he said the were the most grotesque things he had ever seen.....sigh.....(that's me sighing, he was laughing....) ...so I guess I will have to send her something else.

...a Bare Root

...an Exposed Root
Today I must clean up my huge mess and stop sewing projects and paint projects and do glass work.
Oh, I got a great book called Paper, Metal and Stitch by Maggie Grey and Jane Wild. It has incredible techniques - even stitching metal shim. I highly recommend it and am dieing to try some of the ideas....especially using wonder under to distress velvet......but I really need to concentrate on Christmas presents, so it will have to wait.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A present from Fran!

Today I went to Poipu to see my friend Fran Saperstein. We had a lovely breakfast at the Grand Hyatt (ocean view!) and then we sat and talked and talked and talked! This is the 2nd time this year Fran and her husband have come to Kauai for a convention - and I love it because I get to visit with her. Look at what she made me for my birthday.
Isn't she amazing? Look - she even has a hula skirt!
Here's a close-up. Aren't those the coolest embroidered hands?
I took a photo of Fran and I together, but it turned out (....ok, I turned out....) so ugly I erased it. Oh vanity! ...maybe Fran will post the one she took on her blog......

I have been playing with the heatpress a bit. Here's a paper/fabric collage i did. I grabbed whatever was in reach on my work table - I didn't want to get hung up thinking about it. Sometimes I think and plan and draw and think and plan and then I get tired of it and overwhelmed and nothing gets made. Anyway, it started with a sheet of cardstock with black webbing that was leftover from some other project. I squashed up tissue paper and made it into the tree. I had lots of leftover eyeballs, so I put them on the tree. It could have used more, but that's all I had. Then I found the preggers woman drawing and the bird and the hands, so I just tar gelled them all on. I used gesso and dyno flow for the color, and a bit of sienna acrylic and a black sharpie for the tree. Finally I threw on some fibers, coated everything with tar gel and threw it in the heatpress ala DJ Pettitt.....Preheat to 320 degrees, load in your image, close the press and unplug. Cook for 10 minutes. The result is a smooth vinyl like top. Afterward, I mounted it on fabric, added some ribbon trim and heat pressed it again. Voila!

It says "go forth and multiply"
A few months ago I posted a fabric painting I started. I hated the background, so I cut it out and I made more flowers, some reeds and a much better horse. It has also been heatpressed, but only the castle has tar gel on top. I didn't want it to be shiny. It's not done yet - it still needs some more topstiching and to be mounted. I'm hoping the copper frame I am making will look OK with it. Click on it to enlarge so you can see the detail. The edging is shibori dyed silk I made, but I don't like it, so I will take it off and the figure out a new way to edge it.

I found a bunch of photo's on the camera from when i was in LA and when I was with my dad in Sacramento.
....so, for all the "Jericho" fans out there, here's a photo from the set after we blew something up...I can't go into too much detail - mum's the word!

...and here's my dad. We went to Travis Airforce base to get groceries and stopped at the museum.. He's next to his favorite airplane, a B29.

...and her'e my grandbaby hana who came to visit me!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

Today is my birthday and I am officially a senior citizen. Whoever thought I could have lunch with my Dad and we BOTH could have the senior citizen special.?!? Sheesh! I don't feel 55! But i am! Birthdays are just sailing by and I think of all the things I've yet to accomplish - all the things I WANT to accomplish....
it was a terrific day. My Dh made me a lovely breakfast - but then we had to finish the mowing!
The day was glorious - no rain, a lovely breeze - and the yardwork went quickly. When we were done, Lance made me a large drink - an "absolute sin"- my favorite! Then he made me a great dinner, coffee and brownies with ice cream! I also got lots of wonderful art presents and lots of cards and calls and emails.
i am so very blessed.

Friday, November 02, 2007

NEW WEBSITE and other info....

Check out my dear friend and art buddy Joanne's new website: http://www.jthcreations.com/home.php
She does amazing work with photoshop and has created some fabulous collage sheets.
She also makes awesome art dolls - her buttons- OMG! ...but you'll have to wait to see those, they aren't on her website yet....but check them out on her blog: http://joannethiemehuffman.typepad.com/

On another note, my friend Fran Saperstein is coming to Kauai tomorrow! We are going to get together next week for an art play date - i'm going to show her heat press techniques and fabric fusing ala DJ Pettitt. Fran is a wonderful artist too!

Look what i won!

I belong to a terrific yahoo group called "http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheLatestTrendsinMixedMediaArts/ " and the moderators hosted a treasure hunt contest. The group is supported by wonderful vendors and prizes are given for contests as well as art challenges. Anyway, clues were given each day and you had to follow them to various vendors websites and find the described object. I was the
2nd Place Winner!
This very creative paper mache' purse is just stuffed full of goodies for our 2nd Place Winner: Connie Williams! Congratulations!!

Look at all the cool stuff I won! It's valued at over $100! I am so thrilled!
There will be a new contest for New Years - to join, see the link above.
This is the blog associated with the group:
http://latesttrendsinmixedmedia.blogspot.com/

Saturday, October 20, 2007

goth chains

I have been playing with rebar wire and made 2 chains that I actually completed (well, sort of). The first one I put my "tooth and nails" on, the 2nd one will eventually get a brass etched heart lock, with a key hanging off of it. Neither one has the patinas evened out - both have dremel polishing marks still on them that need to be darkened.
Goth Tooth and Nails necklace
Goth Victorian Heart necklace (the lock will go in the center of the heart and the key will dangle beneath)
I am working on a different necklace now. It has fire opal swarovski crystals, copper bees and brass spoons with amber colored glass tear drops (they're supposed to be honey drops). It is turning out very odd. I am going to string it on a brass chain, or else I'm thinking of cutting out brass sheet in honeycomb like hexagons to be chain links. That sounds a bit too complicated, but we'll see if I can pull it off!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mow day


Lance on his super mower and egrets
Yesterday was mow day. It only takes about 2 hrs now that lance has his new super mower, but the clean up of the yard - which is my job! - takes me about 3 hrs. Since I have been gone, it was especially in bad shape. Lance did what he could, but combined with the mowing, it is an impossible task for just one person. The palm trees shed their fronds continually and they are heavy and dirty. So I picked up as best I could. During the week I will have to set aside a few days to pick up pine needles, trim hedges, thin the heliconias, etc.
...and pick up all of the fronds he let stack up between the groves.......
i mow too. I have the old craftman rider mower. it gwets into all the tight spaces. it's my job to mow all theedges of the property. the mower works as a blower to clean the edges too. I love mowing. it is very meditative and i can sing out loud badly because it is so loud i think no one can hear me. (my husband says i am wrong). i also plan art projects because mowing requires very little concentration.
Here are some pics from yesterday.

A cleaned grove

Bananas


More Egrets

Snail they get to be 6" long and have voracious appetites!

what a sky!