Monday, December 31, 2012

Vintage Parrot Pincushion

In my mom's treasures I found her parrot pincushion that I remember from when I was a little girl.  I just loved to play with it, pins and all.  My mom and all of her sisters sewed and all of them had these adorable birds.  I know this is over 60 years old but I have no idea how much older.  I know it didn't look new even when I was little, so if anyone has an idea when these common, please let me know.  Now it's missing some stitches and part of a tail feather!

Anyway, it's such a fun memory to me that I want to make some.  My first idea was to use some pretty felt that I made and use a Sizzix bird die to cut out the bird, but as I studied the original bird I think I can make a pattern and make some just like it.  I may even try duplicating it with the original color felts, too.   I don't want to take it apart, so I'll just draw around it - I think I can come close.

I will have to do some shopping to add all of the felt colors for the parrot, so tomorrow I will use my needle felted piece and cut out the other bird shape. I added some little goat curls to my piece of felt and once the bird is cut out I can add hand stitching and other embellishments.  It will be cute and fun to make tomorrow while the stores are closed.

I will be shopping Wednesday for the other felts and try to make several of the parrots.  These would be such fun gifts for my cousins as a little reminder of all of our moms.

So now that this is all decided,  I wish you a Happy New Year!

See you in 2013, with a bird in the works!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sammy Joins the Herd

Les Grande Dame "Sammy"
Glorious glorious day!  The sun is breaking through the clouds, church was filled with worship, scripture and music, the temp is almost up to 45 and we're going to be the proud owners of three, yes three alpacas. Sammy is joining Pancho and Lefty as part of our "herd"!

I looked up the definition of herd and I don't believe that three qualifies, but that's what I'm going to call it!  Just like it's a ranch.  What I've decided is a farm is for vegetables and a ranch is for animals, and I'm sticking to it!  I have nothing to verify that, it's my definition!  But now we can call our place Victory Alpaca Ranch!  (smiling and laughing)

The boys will be going through some halter training before they move here and we will be cleaning up the pasture and adding cross fencing so they have their space and we have ours.  I spent time googling pasture hazards for alpacas and found I have much work ahead of me.  Apparently there are more plants and grasses that are harmful than are healthy and I need to check our pasture closely!  So as spring heads our way and the pasture flowers begin to pop up, I will be digging up and watching for every sign of a bad guy!  Even bluebonnets are not a healthy snack.  Thankfully our bluebonnets are mostly in the front and out of their reach and our garden area will also be set apart from these inquisitive little guys.

They are apparently attracted to some trees and so I've got to double check on my Tea Trees (the ones that provide Tea Tree Oil) and be sure that it won't be harmful as they're bright green and will probably look very tasty.  The hope is that the smell will turn them off, but we may find we're transplanting some trees.  I've got to trim our oaks so that the new growth is out of the reach of their long necks and the back fence line has to be cleaned up too! And you're now asking yourself, "Why is she getting alpacas?"  Don't think I haven't ask that too, but I know it will be a very good thing once we've got the stall built, the fences up, the weeds gone and the trees trimmed!

I want them to be very friendly and be able to be used with children and compete in obstacle courses at shows, so I will also be spending a lot of time getting them trained to eat out of my hand, be happy on a leash and possible be willing to be dressed up for costume classes!  And still have time to paint and sew and oh, did I mention I want to learn how to spin!  Fiber that is - I will already be spinning out of control with all these fun things I'm doing.  (smiling and laughing again)

Anyway, as I said this is a glorious day that began with worship and will end with work and thanksgiving for our day, our energy and the upcoming members of our family - Pancho, Lefty and Sammy!  Don't tell Jack, he hasn't realized yet that he won't be an only child much longer!

Stay tuned for some creative posts and, of course, updates on our new boys!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Blessings When You Least Expect Them

Sometimes you are blessed in the most unexpected ways and I certainly was a couple of weeks ago when I visited WC Mercantile in Navasota, TX.

The first blessing came as we entered the door and saw all of the fiber and yarn.  This is an amazing old building. Bill and I both love old buildings and we always love when someone has retained the original look while adapting it to their business.  It was filled with the most amazing fibers from all natural to a rainbow of dyed colors.  It was like walking into a rainbow.

However, the blessing didn't stop there.  The owner's little girl was playing in the back, as her day school was closed for the day, and she came out to say hello.  She talked to me for a few minutes and then disappeared into the back.  Bill and I wandered around for quite a bit soaking in the many colors and textures  of the fibers and then as we walked to the back to check out.  I saw this precious little girl working a big table in the back.  I popped over to admire her work and tell her good by.

As we started to leave she came running over with her work of art in her hand, looked up at me with a precious face, smiled and said this is for you!  She handed me her creation and I was overwhelmed!  I could hardly say thank you I was so surprised and shocked - what a blessing.  She'll probably never know how much it meant or how sweet it really was to hand something she had made to a total stranger.

I wish she could know that it's a treasure to me, and that I have it hung on a cabinet in my studio.  A  daily reminder of the blessing from the heart of a child.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Where Do They Come From? And Why?

I started painting in January 2006!  I started with flowers on round stepping stones and then in the summer of 2006 "interesting" ladies started appearing in my sketch books.  I've posted various sketches of them through the years and even painted some of them on canvas, but they are rare these days and so tonight I ponder - where do they come from and maybe even why?

My mom questioned them and why I drew them.  She actually didn't seem to like them, but I continued to draw them.  My dear friend Emily encouraged me to draw them, to see where they would lead me.  She was experiencing a return of breast cancer and so many of them were bald and some had pink caps on, but most of them were simply strange.  All of them had long necks and huge eyes and some were a little scary!  But still they came and then it suddenly stopped! On a rare occasion one would appear when I sat down with my sketch book but not often and I actually began to miss them.  A friend ask if they were self portraits and I said I certainly hoped not!

Wild Eyed
I always sketch on a plane, it's that relaxation thing and this year while flying cross country suddenly one appeared, quite serious but still with those big eyes but a little less weird than in the past. Then on another flight a month or so later another one just flew out of my pencil and she looked exactly like I felt!  Crazed from all of the things going on in my life at the moment!  I used her as my blog profile picture until tonight. I think she's still my Etsy and Pinterest pix - might want to rethink those!  But as  I look at her I think I may put her back on here if life doesn't slow down a little as I think looking at her makes me take all of the "busy-ness" a little less seriously. She makes me smile and relax when I look at her.  In fact, how can you not laugh when look at those over the top eyes!

Tonight, right after I changed her, I had a desire to pick up my sketch book and look what happened, a new lady! They happen so fast, it's like they just have to come out of the tip of my pencil.  When I look at this one I feel like she wants to say something, but, of course, you can  relax she isn't saying anything!  That will be a relief to Bill who I'm sure thinks they're crazy and perhaps me too, at least a little bit!  For me they're simply relaxing to draw and fun to look at, often making me laugh out loud and wonder what I was thinking when I drew them.   I am pleased that their necks aren't quite so long and maybe they're even a little less weird!  Some of you might disagree with that assessment, but then you may not have ever seen the earlier ones!

So, now after a good laugh and relaxation, I'll go on to bed and wonder where they come from and when the next one will surface as I drift off to sleep.


PS Just occurred to me that she probably wants to ask me why I removed the crazy eyed, over stressed lady as my profile pix when I'm getting ready to add alpacas to my already busy schedule!  She may even want to say that I might be crazy!  But if that is it, I'll have to tell her that just like my sketching of ladies relaxes me, that's just what my alpacas will do - and they will make my life just a little sweeter!

Pancho & Lefty

Happy Day after Christmas!  I hope everyone had a wonderful day.  We started our day with videos of our little great grand-baby on his motorcycle that we sent him for Christmas!  He will need to grow a little, but that's good as they have lots of snow, so outside isn't available right now!  Next we watched Jack (our dog) open his gifts.  He always loves to tear open his packages, but never touches ours!  Smart little guy!  He got two toys and a Santa hat later in the day from a friend.  Next year he can wear his suit and his hat at the same time!

Our Christmas presents were a little big to put under the tree, a new building extension, two alpacas, a new sewing machine, and lots of tools for manland added over the last few months.  We thought about putting bows on everything that we had received recently, but decided we really couldn't afford the ribbon,  (laughing) so we just enjoyed our day and thought about names for the alpacas.

And, we've made a decision!  Yes we are definitely getting two alpacas and we finally decided on names!  This was not an easy decision and we enlisted votes through Face Book, but it's done! I've sent an email to Laurence and Donna to say yes and give them the names, Pancho and Lefty for registration so now as I sit in my studio and look out the window, I can picture them out there.

I've wanted llamas or alpacas for close to 20 years!  Of course, living in Bellaire, didn't lend itself to animals of this size and so I waited!  We've been talking about them now since we bought this house and property and the time is finally right.

Last year we added three sheep, well, they're not actually real, they just look real and so I've had some people ask me if the alpacas will be real!  Yes! I promise these will move around on the property without my having to pick them up and move them.  Ha ha

We now have to get our gates done at the front and do some cross fencing, so they know where they belong!  Now if I can just remember that they belong in the back field and not in my front yard or immediate picket fenced yard for Jack!  Bill says it will be more difficult for me than them!  He's so right. We just added an area to the back of Bill's barn for them and have to finish it too.  The rails need to be added and the straw put down on the ground and then they can move on in!  For now they will stay with  Laurence and Donna at Bluebonnet Hills Alpaca Ranch and I will go and visit!

At least now I won't need to drive down the road to look at the neighboring animals and I'm excited about all of the company I'm going to be having in the near future.  I look forward to everyone coming out and meeting them in person.  Didn't know how much alpacas would increase visitation!  That's a very good thing.

So now I will close and get busy on some other projects - working on next years Christmas card and have a bunch of birthdays this month and next - so I will post again after I see them on Friday and hopefully with some very good pictures.

Until then, happy creating!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Alpacas in our future? Hope so!

White one on right!
Yesterday was a fun and exciting day!  Bill and I visited an alpaca ranch to look for a possible addition to our family!  Actually it will be two, they don't ever come in singles as they are herding animals.  We looked at about 65, not all for sale, but have decided on males.  We (I) really don't want to get in the baby business, I just want pets and fiber, so males would be best for us.

 We have pretty much settled on a young white one, great fiber and very good conformation and deciding between a solid brown one and one with some white on his face.  I want at least one white one because the wool can be dyed and I want that versatility.  They all were adorable.  It's been very hot here in Texas so the cold air today had them very frisky and it was fun to watch them run around and play.

When we said our good byes, we headed to a wool shop in Navasota - WC Mercantile - and what a surprise!  It was full of beautiful wools and in nearly every color of the rainbow, no way more than the rainbow!  Of course, I had to buy a few things to bring home.  Not for sure what they will turn into, but right now they're just beautiful to look at and their time will come.

Fibers in back and felted fabric in front.
I was so excited about wool that I came home and pulled out some product I bought at Festival in November and sat down at the felting machine.  A friend had given me some really nice black wool scraps she had used for a dress and I had wet felted it (washed and dried it in the dryer) and so I used it as a base and this is the result. Now do I use it for a small purse or a pin.  The colors make me think of watermelon even in this cold weather, but they're also really nice winter colors.  Once I decide and get it cut I can then begin embellishing with some hand stitching, some beads and more.  So much fun.  I'm so thankful for all of the artists, Liz, Ruth, Judy, Sally, the list goes on forever, that have come into my life the last few years teaching me to do so many different things.  Felting, stitching, beading - oh, what fun on a cold winter's eve.

Be back with more soon!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...