Sunday, May 24, 2009

Flamingo Follies

http://www.flamingofollies.com/

My wandering Friday took me to Flamingo Follies. I went only to humor Ginny, my ceramics instructor and mentor on becoming a cool senior citizen. Flamingo Follies has apparently been around, on the other side of town for a year or so. They recently moved to 'my' side of town. Ginny had been to the grand opening of the new/old building in Commercial Circle. Commercial Circle was the first downtown area but had long been forgotten as the city grew. It was very run down and neglected. A few businesses had opened in recent years but mostly, the city was aiming to tear down the buildings.... the buildings that are part of the community's early history.

Gena, the founder of Flamingo Follies, seems to be heading up a one woman crusade to provide emergency CPR to Commercial Circle. She doesn't want to see it die. She has opened Flamingo Follies to give local artists a place to showcase their 'stuff'. That's why Ginny told me to visit... she thinks it's high time I start showing off my 'stuff'. She told me that Gena takes 'stuff' on consignment. I told Ginny I'd tried that once before many, many years ago and it had been a disaster. Ginny told me to go look around anyway.

I do as I'm told...

sometimes...

sort-of...

if it pleases me...

Marsha and I left Ginny's ceramics class early to visit the Follies. Figured we'd do it on class time if we had to go. Shhhh... don't tell Ginny that skipping part of class was the only way to get us there!

We walked in the door and were greeted by Gena. Gena Jayne to be precise. One woman crusade to save Commercial Circle and to produce smiles while she does it.
Gena doesn't like shoes.

She showed us around the shop, regaling us with stories the whole time. Stories about her adventures. Stories about her artists. Stories about standing in the street in front of the store - barefoot - while arguing with people who wanted to tear down buildings.

Marsha and I hung around for over an hour, Gena wanted to see some of our polymer clay 'stuff'. All we could come up with were clay covered pens from our purses. We left them for Gena to use at the register and promised to come back later as we hadn't had lunch yet.

Flamingo Follies - Fling Two, took place after lunch with Darrell along for the drive. Gena had mentioned wanting to find a minister who would marry people who had been divorced... and Darrell is willing to do so with premarital counseling. Here's Darrell's church: http://www.fcc-wr.org/. Ya really ought'a check out the pastor's corner link there. The story of the congregation 'peeping' him is there.
Gena has a sweet little area that could be used for small weddings. So Darrell and Gena chatted about wedding options while Marsha and I wandered around.
When we wandered back, Marsha and I pulled out the polymer clay stuff that we'd taken in as examples. Gena is ready to sell. I ended up leaving two of my elf babies there for her to show off, just to see if people would be interested. I am already making pens to take back to sell. I think I'm going to take in Dad's antique, child sized desk to use as a display area for my products. It's small, it's sweet and it's in the attic with no place to go.

There's also an area in the shop that would be perfect for small classes in claying.... Gena has already found my first student, one of her other artists. I think this is going to be a fine new, "to be continued" adventure...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Classy Elfkins

Here's pictures of the baked elfkins from the classroom. They will be finished next month with hair, wings and faces.



Friday, May 22, 2009

Elfkin Class at Last

It was a cool and rainy night...
A perfect night for making babies.
It really was.


13 of us gathered for a baby elfkin making class.

Ginny picked up a carload of us and drove us to Lizella in the pouring rain. We arrived at Linda's house, a beautiful 100 year old restored farm house.

She had workspace ready for us.... two big tables. One was her dining room table, which I was really hesitant to use but she said, "She uses it all the time for crafting, it's OK!" So we got our craft stuff unpacked while the rest of the class arrived.

Ginny and Marsha had both had a 'pre-class' so they acted as assistants. Besides them, there were 10 students.

We had two tables of baby makers so Marsha stood at one table and Ginny stayed at the other. I scuttled between the two tables and did demos for each step and just helped as I was needed.
The ladies set to work at making babies. Only a couple of them had done much with polymer clay but they were sculpting like pros within a few minutes. They worked for over two hours and then we took a break. Linda had made scrumptious carrot cake and we all pigged out.
Marsha, Ginny and I packed everything up. The babies were nestled into fiberfill for the trip. Next month they'll be ready to get their wings and hair.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's COLD

OK, so here it is May 18 and I wore a coat to work this morning. I know I'm a wimp when it comes to cold, but it's cold. It was 54 this morning with winds of 30 mph and a heavy cloud cover. Tonight it's going to drop into the 40's.... in middle Georgia, in middle May. Of course I took the electric blanket off my bed yesterday and packed it up. Oh well! I'll probably be fussing that it's too hot in a few weeks.

I just finished drawing a diagram page for making (clay) babies. The class is Thursday evening. I'll be teaching a group of porcelain doll makers to sculpt with polymer clay. Marsha conditioned the clay last night and I pushed little cherub faces out of the Sweetbrier mold: Let's Face It. http://www.sweetbrierstudio.com/faces.htm I got them baked so everyone will have a head start on the project.

I expect it will be a hoot of a class as I've never taught a class before and they're pretty unfamiliar with polymer clay. I also expect that there will be 11 sweet elfkin babies well under way by the end of the evening. We'll be making the elfkins in two sessions, the next class will be in the middle of June. I'll take pictures of the fun and post them if the students agree to 'go public'.

I finished knitting my purple sweater from the cotton yarn I dyed a couple of weeks back. I should get up and take a picture of it, but that would mean I'd have to come out from under my blanket. Did I mention it's cold? I've decided that it simple must be adorned with polymer clay beads. I want 'unique' beads, but I'm not sure just what unique looks like yet, but they've got to dangle.

Speaking of unique, I just watched Christi Friesen's latest video... a screwed up heart demo. It's here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwiUbF3S09I&feature=channel_page

OK, I braved the 'cold' and got up and took a picture of the sweater. I like the mottled design that happened in the dyeing, but it needs some interest.... hence my idea of polymer beads. Neckline for sure and maybe more at the hem.



Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Little Fish Pond Video


video
Here's out little garden oasis in action. The goldfish are about a year old, they survived the winter easily and still seem to be happy little campers. I made the birdbath part, that pours water back into the upper pond, out of cement. It was a fun project last spring. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fishies and Fountains

I announced last night that today was going to be a yard work day, and so it was. I landed at Home Depot by 9:00 this morning. I needed a new pump for my little pond - or so I thought. While I was in that department I also weakened and bought a small 'water fall form.... yes it's that black plastic fake thing (just like our ponds) but I wanted a way to create a little 'upper pond' and figured I could blend it in.

For non locals reading this... Home Depot is in the same shopping center as Ross. I tried my best to not go in but somehow it happened... so there I was wandering through a clothing store in my grungy, "I'm fixin' to work in the yard clothes". I did my best to keep a low profile and since they had just opened at 9:30 there was hardly anyone there. I was very pleased to find a fully lined pants suit on clearance for $9.99. I'll have to take the pants side seams in just a smidgen in the upper legs but otherwise it's very nice. (Boring but nice and definitely practical as it's washable.) It may find it's way to Durham with me when I go to the GBS/CIDP Board meeting in a couple of weeks.
Anyway, after that little side trip I tripped on home. Darrell was already outside cutting back some over sized bushes in the front of the house. Marsha was at the kitchen table working diligently at waking up. She is NOT a morning person but by 10:00 she was outside getting dirty. I was very impressed.

I stared at the ponds for a few minutes waiting for the fish to tell me where to put their waterfall. They barely made a peep. It appeared the decision was going to be left up to me. I came up with a general location and then let it settle in on it's own. I built up the ground under it to create a tilt for flow and was pleased to find that I had a spot to stick in a few flowers.

The fishies were very happy when the water started to pour into their home. They came up to check it out. Then the pump that I'd bought started making a horrible sound and the fish took a dive to the bottom of the pond. Can't say that I blame them. I pulled the pump out and read the directions. I discovered that it could be disassembled and that it was the same brand as the one that had been declared dead last night. I disassembled and cleaned and it was still noisy.

Hummpphhhh, I thought, I'll have to interrupt my dirty day and traipse back to Home Depot. I got to wondering if the trashed pump was accessible in the garbage can. I went and looked and bless Marsha's heart, she'd arranged it so that the plug was ready to grab in case I changed my mind. I grabbed and the pump came back out. I took it all apart and lo and behold, all it needed was a good cleaning. I put it back in the pond and hooked it up to the waterfall and it was good.

When we 'broke' for lunch, I filled the kitchen sink with water and put the new fountain in it to see if I could figure out how to make it run quietly. I couldn't. About that time Marsha came inside and I told her the problem. She stood and glared at the fountain and told it she did not like that sound at all... and it suddenly got quiet. When she walked away it got noisy again so she went back and glared at it again. We let it run for over an hour and it never grumbled again.

I got the retaining wall in the right spot and finished back filling with dirt... making sure that each grain was perfectly located. :-) Marsha came over and suggested that we fill the waterfall section with rocks for a more natural look and she went and retrieved some pretty rocks from another part of the garden and washed them. It was looking good.

In the meantime Darrell had gone to Home Depot to buy more 'important stuff'. While he was gone the dark clouds started rolling in. Marsha and I commented on the fact that if Darrell were around he'd try to make us go inside.
Sure enough, as soon as he got back home he pointed out that it was thundering and the clouds looked really threatening and didn't we think that maybe we shouldn't be outside.... We merely acknowledged that he was indeed right about the color of the clouds but, "Oh well we thought they looked very nice" and keep playing with our rocks.

Marsha arranged a medicine circle of rocks last year near the ponds. The area where she put it had become overgrown and it just didn't seem like the right place anymore. She wandered around, stamped her feet and muttered occasionally.

Then she announced that it goes 'right here'. And pointed to a spot in front of the ponds. She was considering succumbing to the oncoming storm and going inside. I challenged her to get the medicine circle moved before it started to rain because the rain would help settle the rocks. She took me up on the challenge... within a few minutes she had the basic design laid out and it it lovely. She reserves the right to move things around a bit but I bet it got done right the first time!

If you want to see it better, click on the picture and it will 'blow up' big.




Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Not Much

Quarantine is over. Whatever it was that Darrell caught had pretty much run it's course by Sunday evening. I went back to work Monday and am back into the busy-ness of the world. During the quarantine, I discovered how often I go shopping because I need something to do instead of because I need something.

Since I wasn't supposed to go out, I found other things to do... projects that have been sitting around waiting for me to get a round tu-it got started. I pulled out the yarn I dyed and started knitting. I got diagrams drawn for the elfkins to use when I teach the ladies how to make them next week. Sometimes I puttered and putzed and didn't get a whole lot done.

I learned that rummaging in the freezer and the pantry can turn up all kinds of interesting food combinations. I rediscovered the fun of sitting in the window with a cat and watching the weather go by. I now know there's a very young chipmunk that's taken up residence in the front yard. It likes to sit in a patch of sunshine.

The craft room is no longer full of beds. I got the trundle pushed back under the daybed this morning. The spiny dog bones are put away. The cookies are stashed out of doggie reach. The floor's been vacuumed, all in all, it's kind of boring looking.

I took the fairy princess pin to the grandma. She was thrilled. She sat and looked at it for quite a long time. She says it looks just like her grand daughter. Now I must figure out my next project direction for after I have the (clay) baby making class. I've had a request for an inro to donate to a fundraising auction at the Museum of Aviation www.museumofaviation.org so that will probably be next on the agenda.

I'm going to make it bigger than the previous one so I'm not sure it will be by definition an inro but I'll use the technique that I learned at the Orlando Fandango. I'm going to make a very small purse with a shoulder chain on it. I've already found the perfect chain at Hobby Lobby. I think I'm going to decorate it in the Christi Friesen style. Since it's going to be 'large' I'm going to experiment with layers of clay with a wire mesh encased inside to make sure it's durable. I'm thinking on it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ain't Life Grand?!

Alrighty folks, this house has gone to H*ll in a hand basket. As previously mentioned we're quarantined - grounded - stuck. Darrell has some kind of, as yet to be identified, virus or infection that is mimicking Swine H1N1 flu. Swine flu tests out negative but the Doctor grounded all of us anyway. Darrell went back to the Doctor this morning to have blood drawn to check for any identifiable virus and bacteria. He's actually starting to get better, his fever is retreating. He is on three antibiotics now so we doubt that anything is alive in him that would show up in the blood work. Oh well. If Marsha and I don't get sick, we're allowed out on Monday. This started Wednesday evening.

Soooo.... Marsha has moved into the craft room as "She ain't sleepin' with him!". We have a daybed in here, but the cats sleep on it at night. We knew there was no chance in #$%^& that they'd share with her so accommodations had to be made. We pulled out the trundle bed for them so she could have her own bed. The room is pretty much taken up with beds as there seems to be no reason to push the trundle back under the daybed since she's camping out in here again tonight.

See the rubber mallet on the end of the bed? That's what I use for softening hard polymer clay. Yo!Fred, the cat, covets it. It's his favorite toy. It's a strange household. The mallet is on the trundle bed to entice him to sleep there on his little blue towel which he also favors lately. That little blue towel is his new fetish. We're calling him the 'little blue tow'l boy'. He doesn't seem to mind the new name.

I just stepped on the nylon, or whatever it is they make it out of, dog bone that's under the bed. It's well chewed and spiny on the bare foot, but I'll survive. The huge fan is because Marsha is the master of hot flashes. Everybody knows it, so I'm allowed to write it here. I think she's rather proud of being such a good flasher.

Back to the dog... we heard her crunching on the other side of the trundle bed this morning. Didn't have a clue what she'd found. Didn't want to look, but figured we'd best investigate anyway. She'd managed to get the lid off our cookie container and was helping herself. I retrieved the container and the remaining cookies. They didn't look too slobbery so Marsha and I are now eating 'dog cookies' when we need a snack. We've also discovered that the dog has probably eaten the cat's food today. She's enjoying her quarantine, and she doesn't even have a Doctor's note. Let it hereby be know to anyone from work who is reading this, Marsha and I do have Doctor's notes! Darrell doesn't need one as anyone who takes one look at him quickly backs away.

The craft room is the command post of the house right now. It's as far away from Darrell as we can get. Marsha and I both have laptop computers so we've got them set up between the two beds in here. We're both playing the computer game "Return to Ravenhearst". It's a mystery game. It won the Game of 2008 award. Most of the game is a mystery to both of us and we're faking our way through it. We're taking copious notes as we try to find our way around the manor where it takes place.

Here's the daybed where we're camped out. It's covered with bits of papers with strange looking symbols, series of numbers, little drawings and reminders of what's in each room of the manor and how to get to the care-giver's cottage and where the fuel is to get the trolley car running if we could just find the funnel. You'd have to play the game to understand that. We also have a collection of phone numbers. The problem is we don't know which phone numbers are for the game (there's phones to dial in it and all the numbers are secret) and which ones are for Doctors and friends. We just sort of dial in the game and on the phone using the same lists and wait and see if anyone answers at either place. We have a variety of phones mixed into the mess of papers and cookies and computers. If something rings one of us scrounges under the papers trying to figure out which phone it is. We don't care who's it is anymore, we're just happy to talk to anyone.

Marsha just announced she needs a dog cookie.
I've been alternating playing Ravenhearst with writing up directions for making babies. I could just leave it at that and let those of you who are new to this blog wonder about it... or I could explain. There's pictures on down in the blog of little polymer clay fairies. I'm going to teach some ladies how to make them later in the month. I needed some basic diagrams for them to use as 'go bys'. I also took photos of each step of the process of making (clay) babies and they might get posted here. Or they might not. It depends, on what, I'm not sure.


Darrell just reported his temperature. It's on the way back up. Oh well. He just said he'd go away now. He's not allowed in here as this is the uncontaminated room, if you can believe that from the pictures!

Here's what the other side of the room looks like, simply because I want to record the mess.

This is where the cookie container was tossed last night to the dog's delight. This is also the path I have to travel to get to my clay play table. If I'm very careful, I can even sit in the chair. There's a little half baked fairy over there somewhere.

See the pretty box? That had one of Marsha's Mother's Day presents in it. Actually the box is in part of the present. An inflatable foot bath. She hasn't tried it yet. There's my shoes. If I wore them I wouldn't get stabbed by dog bones.

For supper, we scrounged. We had boiled potatoes with carrots. I pulled everything out of the freezer in search of protein to add to it. I was successful. We had a few frozen turkey (meat)balls. I also found two artichoke spinach patties. A search of the refrigerator turned up 4 onion rings. We had a jar of turkey gravy and we feasted... well sort of anyway and there's always dog cookies for dessert.

So that's how our day is going. And you know, it's all good. Marsha and I are not sick and have no signs of getting sick. Darrell is getting better. The dog is happy and well fed... and Marsha just yelled "Olive" at her computer game. I need to go feed the fishies. I wonder if they'd like cookies too?
And the Yo!cat just came in to check on his mallet. He's a happy little tow'l boy.
We are blessed!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fairy Princess

It's been a busy, crazy household the past week. Darrell has a vicious flu virus, not Swine - H1N1, not Avian either, according to the tests but nevertheless he's been very sick. Marsha and I have pretty much been confined to the house under Doctor's arrest to see if we're going to get it and to keep us from spreading it someplace else. Our plans are that we will NOT get sick!

I have had the opportunity to catch up on a clay project that I started a week or so back. I didn't post pictures as I wanted the lady I'm making if for to see it irst. She hasn't seen it in person yet, but she has seen a picture of it almost done.

Now, I think the little lady is done... Here we have the little fairy princess.



I used Penni Jo's (http://www.flickr.com/photos/pennijo/) tutorial for the oil pencil drawing for the face.

This just in!!!! Her video tutorial is online. You can see it at http://polymerclayproductions.com/videos/

Here's the little princess in progress with a black and white line drawing that I used as a guide for drawing on the clay.

I combined the Penni Jo style portrait with Christi Friesen style feathers.

You can see her 'stuff' at http://www.cforiginals.net/ It's worth the click just to get the free downloads.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Blue Yarn!

I decided to conduct the great yarn dyeing experiment last week. I didn't get it posted as I was under assault by a new medication. I have lots of cotton yarn left over that I never got knitted for my Mother. It's all very bland colors so I haven't been inclined to do anything for myself with it. Somehow, in a google, I came upon a website about dying yarn so I decided to give it a try.

It started with a trip to Michaels with a 40% off coupon. I bought a tie dye kit. I opened the box and stared into it, then dumped it all out.... there were lots of rubber bands. The cats in this house like rubber bands, they make great toys so there was some cat happiness for awhile. I attempted to stuff everything back into the box for the evening.

I wound my yarn into hanks and tied them off. I used a pale peach color and was planning on using blue dye on it.
Marsha says I have to credit the photo to her, so here's the credit. First photo by Marsha who managed to not cut off my head! I took the second photo though.
The next day, I put on old clothes and even rubber gloves. I usually skip the gloves as I find colorful hands to be amusing, but for once I decided to follow the rules.

I rummaged through the tie dye box and pulled out the squeeze bottle with blue powered dye in it. I added water. It was looking kind of purple to me but I figured with a good shaking it would be blue. Not so, it seems purple dye powder looks blue.

Change in plans. I decided right then and there that I wanted purple yarn. I started squirting and squishing the dye into the yarn. When I ran out of purple dye I declared the yarn dyeing done. I covered the yarn, tucked it in and let it sit over night.

The next day, I uncovered the yarn and untied the hanks and hung it up carefully. It dried beautifully and is waiting to be turned into a summer sweater.