Archive | September 2009

Tea on Tuesday and our Natural Surroundings

Tea for Tuesday

Tea for Tuesday

Good day to you all, please join Kimmie, Patty and the rest of the tea group. If you do leave a link on Kimmie’s blog.

With the Autumnal Equinox occurring last week I felt it was time to bring out some rich, warm colors, and a bit of nature. This morning it is Earl Gray, English Breakfast tea, with a little squirt of milk and honey.

This week I have been thinking a bit about nature, especially around the house and while on my walks. We live in the North Park area of San Diego, north and east of Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo. We live in an urban area that has canyons, trees, and wildlife amongst our urban sprawl. All inhabitants seem to live in harmony, adapting to the surroundings and for the most part staying within our designated zones so to speak.

This month has brought us many monarchs, and their rich carnelian, black and rust colored wings are so elegant gliding through our Lantana. Earlier this month we knocked down the paper wasp’s nest (resting by the lotus pods above), as it was being built right over our back door. The occasional wasp would lazily wander in under the screen door, and usually meet it’s demise under our indoor cat Tommie’s claw.

Earlier this summer I found a baby skink in our living room, luckily I found it before the rest of my furry room-mates. Without too much fuss, I was able to coax it into a cylindrical vase with a piece of cardboard and we both made it out the door to the backyard to freedom and relief.

Normally we have a colony of Orb Weaver spiders building webs through the yard, but we haven’t had but a handful this year. Secretly I am glad of this, because I always detect the web after I have walked right through it and spend the next few minutes insanely searching my body and hair for the eight legged terror.

We also have a flock of parrots in the neighborhood which urban legend tells they originally escaped from the zoo and mated with domestic parrots. I am not sure how it happened but it is quite a sight to see them fly over in the flock. It is quite an all together annoying occurence when they land on the telephone wire outside your bedroom window at four in the morning and chat with one another.

Occasionally we will find larger canyon dwellers in our back yard, the lone swaggering skunk, and to our constant surprise Butch our outdoor/indoor cat has never been sprayed (whew!). A few times I have encountered an opossum and once a very large raccoon eating from the garbage bag I was too lazy to put into the trash bin.

But last week on one of my walks I had a very wonderful, and now that I think about it scary encounter. I was walking along a path that bordered a small grove of Eucalyptus trees on one side and a large apartment building and a few houses on the other. I heard rustling in the undergrowth and out flew a full grown cotton tail. Cool I thought, until I heard further crashing through the underbrush. I stopped so as not to have whatever was coming next run into me, which was smart because out came a full grown coyote.

Oh I thought, then OH, then OH OH. I just stood there, twenty paces away. I was not really afraid and neither was he, we just were sort of surprised to see ourselves in this unusual encounter. I had no way of protecting myself other than my house key and a handful of bottle caps that I had found on the walk. He of course was fully equipped to do whatever needed to be done. He fortunately decided that continuing the hunt for the bunny was far more interesting than the tall thing standing there. OH KAY.

If you would like to read more about nature, I found a wonderful site that is called Morning Earth that you may like to visit. I also read the daily Earth Poem by John Caddy which is always accompanied by a beautiful photograph. Well happy Autumn to you and I hope that all of your encounters are unusually wonderful. Christen

The Castle Door: ABAA Key Challenge

The Castle Door

The Castle Door

This month over at Rosie and Linda’s Awfully Big Art Adventure the challenge was to use a key, it could be an old key, a new key or a key that you made. Great challenge, everyone who enters always has an interesting view on the challenge, take a look when you get a chance.

I thought of an image of an old castle door that had been weathered, with a big door knocker, a brass knob and big hinges. I searched Ebay and found this large old key that is used for the hanger here; I also found a few old skeleton keys to add in here and there with my newer keys and heart shaped locks. The base is machine pieced and machine quilted. The  charms, keys and buttons are attached with embroidery floss

Enjoy- Chrisetn

California Dreamin’: MMM challenge

All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray

All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray...

The challenge this week at Mixed Media Monday was to chose a favorite song. Please stop by and check out the talented entries, you will always be happy that you did.

Chose a song, tough assignment, one song. I spent most of the week listening to the soundtrack of my life. I thought of favorite songs, “Night and Day”- Cole Porter, “After the Gold Rush”- Neil Young, “Scarborough Fair”- Paul Simon, “Suite Judy Blue Eyes”- Crosby, Stills and Nash, the list goes on……

Then I thought of songs that I could actually illustrate and bring meaning to with images that I had, and create what the meaning of the song meant to me. “California Dreamin’” came to mind from the Mama’s and the Papa’s. It was a song that was sung to me by someone special, someone I never told was special to me, someone that will never know how special he was.

This is for you Mark.

All the leaves are brown
And the sky is gray
I’ve been for a walk
On a winter’s day

I’d be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
California dreamin’
On such a winter’s day

Stopped into a church
I passed along the way
Oh, I got down on my knees
And I pretend to pray

You know the preacher likes the cold
He knows I’m gonna stay
California dreamin’
On such a winter’s day

All the leaves are brown
And the sky is gray
I’ve been for a walk
On a winter’s day

If I didnt tell her
I could leave today
California dreamin’
On such a winter’s day

(California dreamin’)
On such a winter’s day
(California dreamin’)
On such a winter’s day

Don’t wait to tell those who have touched your lives that they are special. You may have lost the opportunity.  Christen

The Music Room: Art Creations Friday

The Music Room

The Music Room

This is my entry for Art Creations Friday, Challenge #42.

Hilda pondered as she was gliding through the music room whether or not to tell Grammy that the moths had gotten rather large in here. La, la, la, la, la, la…..perhaps another time….

All of the butterflies and moths are Dover images except for the largest butterfly which was from the Vintage Moth.

Enjoy- Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Butterflies

Group of Butterflies

Group of Butterflies

Friday’s Favorites today as you can see is all about butterflies, a few moths may have crept in here and there, but their shape is just as lovely. I love the shapes, colors, and variety that you can find both in real life and in the wonderful things that I can use in my art such as charms, buttons, beads and lace.

embroidered butterfly

embroidered butterfly

Here is a variety of just those things, whether they be sequined or beaded; carved from bone, jade, or mother of pearl; whether they be copper, brass, gold, or silver; enameled or painted I love them all.

The necklace in the middle as you may imagine is called Enchanted Butterflies and is worn with the ensemble Madame Butterfly this embroidery here is from the sleeve of the jacket.

Speaking of Madame Butterfly we were lucky enough to watch a simulcast performance at the movie theater of the taped version from a Met performance. WOW is about  all I  can say except for truly amazing!

I'm NO Wallflower

I'm NO Wallflower

This is a close-up of the work on the jacket called “I’m NO Wallflower.”

Here we have a copper and brass butterfly pin, a brass charm and a paper mache butterfly charm. These are all sitting amongst ribbon flowers and silk ribbon embroidery. Even the background fabric which is a Hoffman print is strewn with happy butterflies flying free.

Butterfly Jewelry

Butterfly Jewelry

These pieces of jewelry are made from vintage sterling reposse charms that I believe are from China. I think that these are probably moths, but they are lovely and detailed. I glued a pin back onto the larger charm and wire wrapped the beads for earrings.

A Mid Summer Night's Dream

A Mid Summer Night's Dream

This close-up is from the jacket of the ensemble called “A Mid Summer Night’s Dream“.

The jacket is crazy pieced in sections which are later stitched together on a foundation piece with ribbon.

Each section is embellished with silk ribbon and traditional embroidery stitches using cotton, silk and metallic threads; ribbon worked flowers and leaves rest here and there and are adorned with vintage sequin appliques, vintage and new buttons, glass charms and beads. Here the butterflies take form in dyed lace appliques, metal charms and glass beads.

We have also planted many Lantana and bougainvillea plants to entice these wonderful colorful ephemeral flying beauties to our yard. Fly free, love what you do and see you next Friday. Enjoy- Christen

Arnold and Camille: Art on the Darkside

Arnold and Camille

Arnold and Camille

Art on the Darkside this week challenged us to think about wishes, desires and to be careful what you wish for.

Arnold and Camille were the mannequins placed in front of the Travel Department at the Fancy Fare Department Store in Downtown Poughkeepsi, New York. They had stood there for months, as two charming charismatic dancers in love, enticing young and old housewives to convince their husbands that a trip to Europe, Asia, anywhere would spice up their lives.

To everyone’s surprise this display worked so well, that travel sales had reached an all time high, not to mention the unmentionables in the lingerie department. However, unbeknownst to everyone in his employ Donald Gordon the store owner, had obtained a magic potion which he had sprinkled on the carpet around the display where Arnold and Camille stood locked in their poses.

So powerful was the potion that Arnold now believed that this magic could somehow spice up his relationship with Camille. He unfortunately forgot a few minor details when he formulated his wish, such as money to live on, and to not be molded to Camille so that she would not be stepping on his foot.

It is hard to think when you look so pretty but have no brains. Be careful of what you wish for, and try and remember those pesky details. Christen

All images are from Dover, except the world map.

Through the Fairie’s Window: TTM Challenge

Through the Fairies Window

Through the Fairie's Window

The challenge this week over at The Three Muses was to use a window in your work. Please stop by and see the rest of the entries, they are always creative and wonderfully varied!

I started with a cardboard box from my face lotion which I had taken out the clear cellophane window. I gathered three greeting cards and cut, painted and cropped until I got the right length for each image. I glued these onto the box along with bits of vintage lace. I then added a clear glaze which crazed wonderfully (but I don’t think that it was supposed to!). The box is 6-1/2″ tall x 3-1/2″ wide x 1-3/8″ deep.

I added a vine of fabric leaves along the edges; a vintage celluloid pin of pink roses; vintage paper roses which are peaking out of the inside of the box and the top of the box; vintage painted glass leaves; mother of pearl butterfly charms; gold dragonfly charms; plastic fairy charms; a glass lady bug; and handmade flowers made from vintage ruffled ribbon.

Through the Fairie’s Window

Peering through the garden’s window
Amongst the roses and the garden vine,

I see you are already waiting there for me
Fairy fare dear friend of mine.

Who is looking through your window and asking you to play? Enjoy your day! Christen

Tea on Tuesday and Memories

Tea for Tuesday

Tea for Tuesday

Toady I am drinking a Sumatran blend, nice, aromatic, rich and warm. Feeling happy as I am sipping from my favorite blue and white daisy cup. As I am sitting here listening to an instrumental tape of African music, I am cherishing one of our weekend memories.

It was my husband’s B-Day on Friday, and he was lucky enough to have it last for a few weeks prior to this day, and the weekend following it . Our daughter took him to an ACDC concert at the beginning of the month. This band had been a favorite of their’s while driving to school in the morning. His mother and sister had both sent him a card (which had not happened for many years) during the week; his brother and dad both called that day and sang him Happy Birthday (always in an interesting key with words unlikely to be heard by anyone other than my husband); and his tennis team made cupcakes. All in all a great day.

On Saturday my daughter and I took him to the zoo, as we renewed our membership for his present. The four hours we spent trekking up and down the hills, hot and sweaty, and loving every minute will last in all of our memories as one of the nicest days that we have spent together for many years. Memories can be created in such a short amount of time, yet last for the rest of your life, what a special thing, what a gift to treasure.

I look at my relationships as a joint savings account. I consider actions, thoughts, deeds, words and memories as positive or negative withdrawals. I try everyday to insure the health of these relationships, adding what I can and trying not to spend more than the reserve of any of these accounts. I am happy to say that we have taught our daughter the value of relationships, and at 27 she is a person that we are both so very proud of.

I look at Tea for Tuesday in the same way, each of us adding a special blend of pictures, quotes, thoughts and hugs out across the waves on the net. Please join us won’t you? Visit Kimmie, Patty, Pat, and the ladies for tea.

Hugs and good memories I wish for you all. Christen

PS: I bought this hat at the zoo, cause it reminded me of the fishing hats my dad used to wear.

Painter’s Lady: MMM challenge

The Painter's Lady

The Painter's Lady

This week’s challenge for Mixed Media Monday was to alter something metallic, use metallic paint or threads or??? I chose to use a combination of metallic paints, metal gee-gahs (wordpress and I are not sure how to spell that word) and metallic trims.

I had rescued this old paintbrush from the trash a few years ago when we had painted the inside of the house. I thought that I would be able to use it someday, somehow. Well here it is as a body for a doll, the brush and her arms (made from wooden spoons) are painted with acrylic and metallic paints. Her body is wrapped in metallic trims and adorned with metal parts and flowers.

This challenge was a great deal of fun, stop by and check out all of the talented people who participate.

Enjoy, Christen

Blue Jean Baby: TTM challenge

Blue Jean Baby

Blue Jean Baby

This week the challenge for The Three Muses was Pockets. I immediately thought of the song by Elton John, “Blue Jean Baby”. I grew up wanting to be that “ballerina, can’t you see her, tiny dancer in the sand, the seamstress for the band”.

In high school I embroidered jeans and work-shirts for friends and family. In fact the reason that I now wear a thimble while stitching is from being poked so much from working on the heavy jean fabric.

pocket1So here is my pocket, where is the pocket you say, well…ahem… I used the reverse of the pocket.

I really had meant to stitch right on the pocket, but when I took it off the jeans (so I wouldn’t have so many heavy layers to stitch through) I was left with this stunning reverse image of the pocket. So I just decided to work with this instead.

I appliqued a lace heart, and many hand made flowers into the heart vase. I added vintage and new beads into the centers of the flowers. I embroidered ribbon down the side edges using traditional embroidery stitches.

The little cat (made from an old quilt from 1880) was a gift that came along with an ebay purchase and the creators name is Marcia Marcantonio. Thank you Marcia, I think that your gift is quite at home here.

Happy stitching, love what you do, and enjoy! Christen