Friday, June 26, 2009

Stained Glass Pet Portrait

Rescue Village is a large pet shelter near me. A few times a year they have fundraising events and for their Chinese auction in February, I donated a gift certificate for a personalized stained glass pet portrait. The person who bid the highest on it contacted me and we chatted a bit about her pet, an English Springer Spaniel. I like to get to know about the pet's personality so I can make a panel that really reflects that. She told me that her dog was very dignified and so I chose a Tudor-style cross design for the background, using the regal colours of purple and gold.
When I am commissioned for a pet panel, they are normally sent through the mail, as the people who buy them usually live in other states. I actually got to personally present this panel and it was a most gratifying experience for me!
Fittingly, we met at Rescue Village and as I unwrapped the bubble wrap from the panel, the dog's owner gasped and said "It looks just like him!!" She was just thrilled with the piece and even gave me a hug as we parted ways! I can't tell you what a gift it was for me to experience this joy first hand! To see the delight a piece of my artwork gave to someone was just beyond words. It's really a moment I'll remember. If I were a rich person, I would do this for free, just to experience that feeling!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chandelier, reconstructed!

At the beginning of the month, I started this chandelier project. It's finished and hanging in my dining room and it looks MAH-VELOUS, darlings! The pictures really don't do it justice, so if you're ever in the neighbourhood, drop on by and I'll be happy to show it off!

Patty O'Furniture

Here's a couple of cheap plastic Adirondack chairs. We haven't used them much in the last couple of years because they really show the dirt and it's almost impossible to get them totally clean. I remembered reading in some home repair mag (we subscribe to several) about a new Krylon for plastics. It's called Fusion and I bought it at Walmart, paying under $4 a can. The colours are Blue Hyacinth and Gum Drop. They each took about 2.5 cans to completely cover and I used the rest of the purple can to spray these 2 flower pots, as well.
It was really easy to use...the can has a flexible spray nozzle that is easy to hold down and I just took them off in the yard, away from the cars and sprayed on a not-so-windy day. It dries to the touch in 15 minutes and is chip-resistant after 7 days.
A wicked easy and fast way to liven up your yard this summer!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Junk Drawer

I needed some address labels to mail some stuff and I knew we had some of those freebie ones you get in the mail from the Paralyzed Wildlife Christian Children's Heart Association Fund, so I had to open....
WTF with the Junk Drawer? You know you all have one in your kitchen or maybe in your desk. Look at all that crap in there! What's in all those Ziploc bags, anyway? It just stands as a sad reminder that someone (probably me) at some point, tried to organize the Junk Drawer and failed. Are those Arby's coupons even VALID anymore? I can see the teenager at the drive thru window laughing at me as he hands the coupons back: "Uh...Ma'am..these expired in January."
Do we need TWO bottles of White-Out or FOUR things of Scotch Tape? And the pet brush! I was wondering where that of the dogs probably HID it in there, knowing we rarely look in there. Scrap paper? A ruler? Something that looks like it may be epoxy? Enough batteries to power lower Manhattan? And, oh yeah...the address labels. See how they have Christmas designs?
Oy vey!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Peasant top

I've always been a hippie at heart and I'm happy that the hippie style is hanging around for another summer season. I saw this top in Lucky magazine (top by Splendid) and loved it, but not the $94 price tag. I had the perfect fabric for it...a Klee-inspired lightweight cotton blend I bought from awesome Etsy seller Frangolina and I found New Look pattern #6870 that was similar in design. The New Look pattern also has an empire waist and waist ties that I thought would give this loose top and bit more shape.
I changed the pattern thusly: Added a longer placket in front in order to use these cute little vintage buttons from my mom's button box.
I made button loops from 1/8 inch ribbon.
I machine-basted and gathered the neck edge and cuffs and made facings instead of using elastic. (elastic...ugh!)
I also made a placket on the sleeves and added a button and loop there, too. And, of course, I shortened the pattern, otherwise, it would have been a tunic on me.
I'm really happy with how it came out. I just need to find the right skirt to wear it with...nothing too full or else I'll look like I'm wearing a muumuu!
P.S. I have been messing around with the pictures for over an hour and I can't get them where I want them and still have them be clickable for a larger image! Grrrr! But now I have to go to work, so I'm leaving it like this, unorganized as it looks!)

Almost Caturday

This is Hal looking out the windows watching birds or chipmunks or snakes or something. I call this one "Hal With Stained Glass." We have a boatload of starling babies every year (they nest in the eaves of our shed) and Bob was checking them out today. I call this photo "Bob With Pineapple and Screaming Baby Starlings."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Busy Little House Wren

I was watching this little guy from my kitchen window yesterday. He was quite frenetic, flying and landing all over the place, but intent on this bird feeder for some reason. After watching him for awhile, it became clear that he wanted to build a nest in the bird feeder! It was still full of seeds, though and the rope that holds the lid in place seemed to bother him the most. He kept yanking on the frayed rope end, trying to pull it out, but after about 20 minutes, he gave up on that and started bringing twigs to the feeder and putting them inside. On his departure, he would bring a sunflower seed out of the feeder, fly to the deck railing and spit the seed out onto the ground! Cleaning house, I guess! Too funny! I hope his intended appreciates his efforts and, as for me, I am completely happy to let him have this feeder as a home this summer. I can hang another someplace else!

Deconstructing a chandelier

I am in the process of re-doing my dining room. I finally got it painted, made the curtains and hung them, and put down the new area rugs. The light fixture really needs to be replaced and what I really want is one of those cool chandeliers with the hanging strings of beads on them. However, being the cheap, erm, I mean frugal person that I am, I cannot convince myself to spend a couple hundred bucks for one.
A week or so ago, the hubs and I were at Home Depot and I saw a chandelier I just loved, but it was just too pricey for me. We found out it was the last one in the store, and we tried to get the guy to lower the price, but he wouldn't. Then, the hubs says "You parents used to have a chandelier in their dining room at our old house...I think it might still be in their basement." He phones mom and she says "Yes, I still have fact, I have two of them and I was going to give them to Purple Hearts!" *GASP!*
We go over to mom and dad's and the chandeliers are EXACTLY what I have been looking for (AND they still work!) and mom says "Take it! Take both of them! Take them apart, paint them, do whatever you want with them. I can't wait to see what you come up with!" Have I mentioned how awesome my mother -in-law is? Well, she is!
So, this month will be re-create the chandelier month. Today I took all the old crystals and glass arms off the basic structure and as soon as the sun comes out and it stops raining, (tomorrow? Please let it be tomorrow!) I'll take it outside and scrub it down with some steel wool and clean it up for painting. Now that I have it stripped down, the temptation to turn it into a squid is nearly overwhelming (ala Adam Wallacavage: However, my family does not share my enthusiasm for all things SQUID, so I am going to stick with my original design and rest easy in the knowledge that I do have another chandelier waiting in the wings. ; )