Saturday, January 30, 2010

A few Garnets & Amber And A Wee Confession

Garnets and Amber are two stones (well I guess in the official lapidary terms Amber isn't a "stone") that I have always been smitten with. Garnets are so "old fashion", pre -Victorian more Renaissance to me. My favorite ones are the very dark bordering on brown colored ones. I love the faceted glittery ones but my all time favorite ones are rough cut with lovely occlusions!! :) As for amber well there isn't anything I don't love about it! It feels so smooth, and is always warm to the tough, it's firm but it doesn't have the same denseness that stone has. And it's one of those rare gems that can tantalize your sense of smell! I enjoy all it's varying colors but really can't get to much of the darker shades. I don't even care if there are no prehistoric creatures trapped in the stone. There is always "stuff" on some kind trapped in the resin. And for me no matter how many times I look at a piece I always discover something new that I hadn't seen before.

Garnets are very plentiful and really can't be considered rare by any stretch of the imagination. Gads I remember when the kids were little we use to pan for gold (dust) in the mountain streams in Idaho. Many times we came home with out a speck of gold dust, but we'd have a nice little spoonful of garnets.

But amber on the other hand is quite rare and is far more susceptible to damage from our ever increasing polluted air. Because of it's increased rarity, and difficulty in mining it the cost have skyrocketed. However it doesn't make me covet it any less. :(

The other day I made a necklace, bracelet and earrings with some of my garnets and amber(ette) Oh not to worry I don't wear all 3 pieces at the same time. Wooooo that would be way to matchy matchy for me and LW would be asking the Aliens when they were going to put me back in my body! :) The necklace is garnets with 2 little oval shape amber(ette) pieces. I also attached a heart locket. And finished off the clasp with just a touch of the bling. I soooo love just throwing in a little rhinestone flash when least expected! :)

I used copper wire in all three pieces. The wire I didn't bother to add any patina to. It's really not worth the effort. Within a week the copper will already have started to darken as it oxidizes. No kidding!! The heart locket I did give a baptism of fire. Kinda roasted it over the the burners on our gas stove. It's so much more convenient to use it when I have only a small piece to do. We use propane here so basically the only difference is the burner flame isn't able to get as hot as the torch. Inside the locket on one side I placed a scrap of...yep you got it...all together now.."tea dyed lace" ;) and a small light aqua collored mermaid tear. On the other I placed a piece of dried statis and the word undeniable. I used my secret resin (clear nail polish) on both sides. I know it's not as hard as regular resin but it's sitting inside protected in the locket. My reasoning is. I have the last and only two bottle resin kit, in Mazatlan. I can't afford to make up the required amount of resin to then use a thimbleful and throw the rest out. Sooooooo clear nail polish which is less then $1.00 a bottle works just fine :) You know that saying don't you, Improvise thy name is Pattie??? 


The bracelet is garnets and 2 more of the amber(ette) and one of the copper mermaids my kindred sister Renate sent me from Germany. I so love these charms they are so delicate and detailed and yet so small.

The  earrings are rather simple but that's the way I like wearing them plus they are nice and light and easy to were. Like I said all the copper is untreated and has already gotten a nice soft coloring going on. I even make my wires with untreated copper so they grow a lovely patina also. :)

Okay now for that quick confession. Without getting too political or self righteous sounding, I have a bit of a problem using a number of "precious" substances for my pleasure. For me I find myself uncomfortable when beautiful animals are killed for a bit of ivory, or the earth is permanently damaged digging out lovely stones of diamonds, sapphires, amber, so I can wear or admire a "pretty" I also have trouble justifying the abuse that many of the miners of these substances suffer. Slave labor is alive and thriving in the 21st century.  So for me it's easier to feed my appetite for Mother Nature's pretties in more sustainable ways. I LOVE dark blue sapphires and the bigger the better. In fact LW had a 1ct placed in my engagement ring along with the smaller diamonds. The only thing is they are all lab created. They look the same and they are even more perfect and pretty then Mother Nature grown ones we could afford. But they didn't cause any damage to either the earth or her creatures. I do have a couple of pieces of beautiful natural amber as you guys know. But there is no way I could afford or justify purchasing all the amber I crave from my friend and his family. Nor do I want them to destroy their land and in danger their lives digging ever farther for that allusive resin. So what I do is use what I call Amber(ette) and officially goes by pressed or sometimes new amber. Like Ivory they basically take the amber scraps, chips. dust leftovers melt it and add it to resin, throw in a few bug or leaf bits let it cool and harden. It's not quite amber but for me there is a lot less quilt. This practice works for me, I'm not saying everyone should do this, heck I'm not even climbing up on a bar of soap to preach about it. I'm just sayin that by appeasing my cravings this way I eliminate a whole lotta guilt and for this little Italian girl, less guilt is an Excellent thing! :)

 Remember kids today is a perfect day to make art no matter where in the world you are.  p;) 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Case of Blogger's Block

So here it is Thursday evening and I'm sitting in front of this magical machine waiting for something intelligent, interesting, funny, happy, heck sad, and stupid would even work. But nope can't even dig that up. Quite honestly it's rather boring around here and I'm feeling that way too. Weather is shhh..warm, the sun has been shinning, and tomorrow promises to be some more of the same. So no interesting news on that front. The city is in spiff and shine mode getting ready for Carneval next month. I quess I can show ya a few pictures of a couple of projects I finished up, and hope for this bit of Blogger's block blows on through.

Remember the softer then a cherub's bottom, bamboo yarn that I brought back from the Northlands??? Yeah the dreamy creamy ivory yarn that I started an afghan/throw with. Well here it is finished. I added a bit of tea dyed crochet lace to the ends. I bet you guys are wondering if I make anything I don't stick dyed cotton lace on. Well of course there are a few things. I haven't convinced LW to let me sew it on his jeans ( yet ). But I just figure that with all the lace I buy from at little store down the street, I'm keeping food on the families table! :) 

You don't happen to think that I have taken leave of my senses huh??? 5 dogs and I knit a white throw!! Not to worry this it's going into my little girly girl, dressing, boudoir,siesta salon room. The little room across from the upstairs bathroom. The one that is storing all the hiking/camping gear. That is, as soon as LW gets it located into the work room :)

For act 2: remember that oh sooooo lovely candle stand I drug home from the junk store a couple of week ago??

Yes well it only cost about a dollar. And I figured a coat of crackle medium, white paint topped off with my new most favorite antiquing secret weapon couldn't hurt it.

I guess I have gotten a tiny bit obsessed with the whole rust thing but it is just so way cool I can't help myself. :)

So there you have it. That's about all I've been up to. I did break down and drag out some copper wire and garnets to play with. I'll show you on my next post. I'll say goodnight with a last little shot of sepia cuz I know I'm not the only one out there who has a soft spot for it. Besides I started with a sepia picture might as well end with one ;)

Today is a perfect day to create, no matter where in the world you are  p;)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mother Nature is The Bestest Artist

LW and I are volunteers at my friend Martha Armenta's NGO (Non Governmental organization), CONREHABIT. The organization's mission is the rescue,rehabilitation,release of the Mexican dry forest's endangered birds and mammal's, and educating the human mammals. Back in April of 2008 one afternoon Martha got a call from the federal government. They told her that a truckload of 496 parrot hatch lings had been confiscated at the border, when the poachers attempted to cross with counterfeit papers. The Department of Wildlife Protection wanted CONREHABIT to take 272 of the parrots to rehabilitate and release. These little guys weren't more then a few days to a week old. The one above sitting in LW's hand is one of the older ones with feathers. Some of these guy's didn't even have their chest feathers yet.


Our little band of volunteers shifted into high gear to find cages, food, equipment and people to care for these guys. Mind you we have never had this many birds at one time and all these guys had to be hand fed. We have a 1 hectare piece of dry forest at the edge of town where the aviary is, but these guys were way to young to be left out in the cool air. They also needed to be fed every 2-3 hours. Birds and animals that are taken to the "rancho" need to be fairly self sufficient because we don't have 24 care for them. By the time Martha returned (4hours) from picking up the babies we had organized a great group of "foster parents" This is Martha feeding babies, baby parrot gruel with a syringe. By the time we had everyone fed we were covered in gunk and it was time to start feeding the first bunch again.

Now this is the look of a happy baby with a full tummy!! :)

When the babies got big enough to maintain their own body temperatures and feed themselves, not to mention that the older ones were busy trying out their new fangled wings every chance they could, we transferred them out to the aviary. And we began maintenance care until the youths were big enough to release. Because these birds were confiscated by the federal gov. we had to care for them until someone from the department of wildlife protection to come out band the birds and officially sign off on their release. Sooooooo after a couple of elections, and changing of the guards and well you know (red tape) 21 months went by. Yep we still had these parrots well okay there were some that made their own escapes when doors were opened, and we did loose a number of babies from malnutrition/dehydration and birdy colds.

Finally someone stopped long enough to listen to Martha and decided maybe they better come out and check and release the now adult parrots :) Soooo yesterday was the BIG day Yaaaaaaay We made sure everyone had their flight wings on tightly and sporting their identification bands.

Ahhhhh LW our babies are all "growd" up :) The DFWP representatives were there and they brought along the newspaper and TV press. There was a number of Foster Parrot Parents, CONREHABIT members and a group of school kids studying conservation there to watch the kids receive their flight orders. :)

So at the designated time we said goodbye to our little charges and open the cages.


But like all kids who first leave the nest they were more comfortable to hang around in the near by trees. Well who can blame them, they knew were the dining table was always set. :)
Here's were my title fits in. Look at these guys are they not perfect? And their colors I don't know of any crayola colors that can even come close. That ol Ma Nature she has more gifts and talents for creating then any human can ever hope to come close to. See how she colored these guys so they match their neighborhoods????

It's going to be a bit quiet around the old aviary these days, but I have a feeling that some of the kids will hang around to continue to call this little protected piece of dry forest home! But my oh my who would have imagined that those little guys would grow up to be such beautiful birds, I ask ya??

And on that note the only thing left to say is:
 Today is a good day to create where ever in the world you are  p;) 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

She Was Laid Low :(

Yeppers it's true, a virus has snuck up from behind to invade my body! :( At this point my head and my stomach are in direct competition with each other and I am not a happy girl. So I think I'm going to let LW pamper me with tea, toast and love today, and leave you guys to do the creating part. :)

Oh but I will leave you with a few of my favorite pictures of my little paradise :)

These next two are especially for you Miss LeAnn!! :)

Today is a great day to Create no matter where in the world you are!  p;)

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Couple of Just For Me Projects

I think January is my favorite time to make art. Maybe because the holidays are over for another 11 months and the ones in the up coming year are still a ways off. But mostly I love January as an Art month because I can pull out all those want tos, need tos, and lets play projects/ideas. You know the ones you've been shoving on the back burner, or bribing yourself with. Now that's a true me characteristic. Okay when I get this and this and that done then I can play with... :) Know anyone like that???

So just for a bit (not long enough to suffer withdrawals mind you) I've put my beads, wire and tools away. We have two of these lamps. And as lamps go they are fine, however even with a cute row of fringe on the shade it still looks like a rice worker's hat. :(  Add to that the little matter that the shades are filthy and won't come clean.

Lampshades sold without a lamp base are next to impossible to find here in town. And when you do they are the type where the bottom and top frame wires are separated and the shape is created by stiff fabric covered plastic. I had it in my mind to put the shade on a bit of a diet by making the circumference of the bottom wire much smaller. Sooooo with a lot of cursing and more cursing I figured out a way to do that and then attach the top to the bottom wire so that my shade didn't have to be stiff plastic. :) Why yes if Mrs. Ross had heard her daughter, I'm sure there would have been a bar of soap with my name on it. ;)

For the shade I used 2 of my grandmother's embroidered and cut work linen napkins. I have a tablecloth and 9 napkins. I refuse to use them any more on the table because it never fails that someone spills or wipes red lipstick on them. :( These are irreplaceable so I have been working the pieces into other things. That way I still have the pieces and I'm using them instead of letting them mildew in the drawer. So I used 2 napkins sewn together with a self casing. I ran a vintage piece of ivory grosgrain ribbon through the casing so that it would fit over the frame. By doing it this way I didn't have to cut into the napkins and by removing the stitching I'm back to 2 napkins.  


For the base I thought I would let my new rust addiction have full rein. You know an antique cast iron finial of some sort nicely rusted, paint peeling sort of thing. Haaaa Haaaa HA. After layers of white paint, the iron paint then the rust medium, crackle medium... well,... all I can say is even squinting your left eye and covering your right,.. rusted cast iron would not be your first or last guess!! ;)  All LW could think to say was "well it's not really that bad,  and where did you say you were going to use it?" Time to get serious. I stuck another thick layer of crackle medium on and when it dried I slapped yep slapped a nice uneven coat of white paint on. Okay it looks better. Might even pass as rusted cast iron kinda. 

So when you put the top and the bottom together it looks like this. Yep I'm happy with it. :)

I can't tell you exactly why but I have always wanted a pair of well loved pointe shoes, I just have. A while back when I saw 3 very well loved pairs on eBay I threw in a bid for $1.99. I guess no one else wanted them so I'm now the proud owner or 2 pairs of really well loved and one pair of sorta loved pointe shoes! :) I took the two really well love pairs and played a bit with them. They didn't come with their ribbon ties so I made some. This pair I collage sheet music for Swan Lake in the inner soles and added a bit of my tea dyed lace and manta cloth for ribbons.

The other pair I cut out a few flowers from a piece of cotton fabric and glued (shhh don't tell, I was lazy and didn't sew them on) them to the tops and the inner soles. I tore ribbons of the same fabric for the ties.

The table cloth in both pictures was the one my grandmother embroidered to match the napkins. I can not even begin to imagine the hours it took to create these. They are more then precious to me. And although I do use our keepsakes rather then sticking them away it breaks my heart when they are not respected for what they are. I want to be able to pass these to my grandmother's great grand children. This is the way I can enjoy the love placed in these pieces and still have them to pass on.


Today is a great day to create no matter where in the world you find yourself.   p;)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Any day Is A Good Day To Go Junkin!!!

Boy "Ain't that the truth" !! Even if you only score a small haul. And that's especially true here. Thrift stores are a concept that is only now beginning to catch on in Mexico. There are second hand stores of a sort called "Bazars" they carry used clothes and stuff but it's a long stretch to vintage. Our "flea market" is the same way. As far as Antique stores, Mazatlan doesn't have any. I would have to go to Guadalajara or Mexico City for those. SO when Martha said let's go do a bit of Junkin this afternoon, I'm already out the door. :) We have a couple of little Bazars we check every so often, takes us about an hour then we spend the rest of the afternoon sitting and sipping cappuccinos. :)

I finally held out long enough that the shop own finally sold me this trophy cup for a price we were both happy with. Of course I was pretty safe in holding off cuz I doubt there was anyone else in the city who wanted an old beat up sliver plated trophy for hunting with most of the silver rubbed off the base of the cup. Makes you wonder if the cup was part of the celebration ceremonies after the contest, hmmmm??

Okay I know it's a real stretch of the imagination but I'm thinking that will a bit of crackle medium and white paint, and it already has a good rust thing going on at the base of the flowers....??? Well it could be kinda really perfect for that whole Danish-French Country look??? Well maybe you should check back here in a bit before you make your final decision!  You just never know :)  

Found a few little silver plated spoons with some of the plating rubbed off and some nice patina going on. The three on the right are small demitasse size. Just the perfect size to stamp words on and use as focal in necklaces.

The little spoon on the left was a little boy baby's spoon See his name engraved on the handle. Antonio Guillermo must have been a much loved little boy. The other spoon besides having some really cool character marks has a R engraved on it. Cool character marks and a R for Ross, why that fits me perfectly ;) Ross is a good maiden name don't you think????

Martha and I found this lovely piece of Super Bling in the cabinet of an old watch repair guy's shop. It's in dire need of a bit of love with the pin gone and missing a few rhinestones but heck how can any self respecting blingaholic pass this baby up??? And besides all those sparkly rhinestones that's a crown on the top. So you just know there is a divine vision just waiting to be created in that Baby!! :)

So all in all it was a perfect day of junkin and 2 friends sipping cappuccinos!

I have this bit of phrase hanging in my little art corner and it pretty much expresses my goal for the next 30-40years. "Today is a Good Day to Create"... (no matter where in the world you are)...  p;)
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