Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Octopodes Nate and Kate!

If you regularly read my blog, you may remember that a couple of weeks ago I put up a poll to ask you what dangly leg animal I should make next in my collection.  I had done dogs, cats, sheep, birds, penguins, "anyone"....etc.

I foolishly selected a variety of animals that, in hindsight, maybe I should have considered more carefully!  Anyhow - the winner was the Octopus!

Thus I have made octopodes Nate and Tate as earrings with lots of dangly legs! (FYI, the plural for octopus can be either octopuses, octopi or octopodes! )

And so here are Nate and Kate.  Do you get their names?  Yes, could have been Ollie and Olivia but that seemed a little obvious.  So it is Nate = N-8 or N-eight and Kate = K-8 or K-eight as in "oct"??? A little obtuse? I do hope so!!!!

I want to sit on top!
Actually, Nate and Kate were easier to make than I had envisaged - and their legs really do dangle and jiggle well and make a sweet little ringing sound if they move a lot!  Hope you like them - especially if you voted for the octopus!

Yes, Kate is the one with the wider hips!  Nate looks so much more like a male!  You can tell they are quite the playful couple of octopodes!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Under our wing

A customer saw my "mommy bird" necklace with a mommy bird and two little ones under her wing, and asked me to make her a family bird necklace, with mommy and daddy and two little ones - like her own family!  And so I made "Under our wing" for her.

 Mum and Dad are snuggled close together and each holds a little one under their wing!  What a sweet little Byrd Family!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Guess who is being born today?

A quick snapshot of my work bench:

Can you guess who is being born (and cooked in the kiln) today?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday's spotlight - The Joys of Travel

By guest blogger Pete.

I mentioned previously in this blog that Pam and I were going to London for an elongated weekend with our daughter, Mary, and her family.  We had a great time there but both felt rather tired by the time we arrived home after a torturous journey home!

We were traveling by train and after signal failures in various places, delays, missing connections, slow taxi rides to get to other connections which we still was not one of those travel experiences you want to remember! 

We were so exhausted by the time we got home, we didn't even have the energy to cook dinner!  

Whilst in London our two grandsons brought us up to date with the latest in "T. T.".  Come on now!  Work it out!  As my elder grandson said to me recently, " Do try and keep up, Grandad!".  I'll let you into some of the secrets of "T. T." next week  and tell you more about the good parts of our trip!

Keep on thinking about what "T. T." can possibly mean.  It will probably drive you bonkers but the brain exercise will be good for you.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Light up my life

Following on from inspirations from Mexico, these two pairs of earrings are part of the month of earrings challenge - nos. 23 and 24.  I have to make 30 pairs of earrings by April 1st....

The design was inspired by the simple repetitive patterns seen in Mexico used for decorations.  A simple square or circle on it's own doesn't look like much, but lots of squares and circles together make more of an impact.

The first pair I entitled "Light up my life" as I think they look like little lanterns: 

The second pair is "Starry, starry night":

I sort of see them as starter-ear-threads! For those who haven't worn ear threads before.....They are light weight, and so comfortable elegant silver and gold earrings.  Yes, you can tell I love ear threads - just want to encourage more people would try them.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who let the birds out?

My bronze "birds with attitude" are featured on Cuteable's website today!  See where a bit of attitude gets you!!!

You go birds! However, they have promised to behave themselves while they are out and about on Cuteable :-D

Merry go round - Inspirational photo challenge

It's time for another ride on the merry-go-round! Jump on and join a group of 10 artists/crafts-women as they link around the world and tell you a little about their lives in art and craft.

This month's topic is: An inspirational photo challenge. The idea is that we take a photo of something and then use that as an inspiration to create a new piece.

For my photo, I used one that I took while we were in San Miguel last week.   On the main plaza, in front of the church, there were always people selling things - including a few people will lots of lots of balloons.  I so wanted to see them lift off and fly into the sky......

But they stayed on the ground ;-(

However, it seemed such a great image and as I'm always looking for ways to include color in my pieces, I thought I'd try the balloon man idea:

and thus "Anyone can get carried away" was created!

It's a brooch and good reminder that sometimes it's good to keep hold of those strings, even if it seems a little scary, and just get carried away and enjoy the ride! 

Hope you like him.  Now head over to the other "merriers" and see what they came up with.  As we are all on different time zones, please be patient if someone has yet posted their inspiration!

Alison at Tweed Delights -
Mitsy at ArtMind -
Kim at Vilt a la Kim -
Sara at Crafts of Texture -
Fabienne at Easterya Jewellery Creations -
Mariana at Florcita -
Agathe at Le Bar du Vent -
Lily at Lily Pang Art and Design -
Wendren at Wren Design -

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wiggle Room....need your help choosing a name

I can't decide on a name for my latest little "anyone can" piece.  It doesn't haven't be an "anyone can..." name.....Anyhow, here's the necklace:

Yes, little Anyone wiggles his/her hips and legs as you wear him/her - but it's tricky to show movement in photos!!

I'm thinking:
  • anyone can dance (which is what was in my head as I created it)
  • anyone can wiggle (which then came next...)
  • wiggle room (which is my current favorite....)
Which do you think is best? 

Let me know in the comments section which name you like best.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Keep a green tree in your heart....

"Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come."

Isn't that a nice quote!   It's a Chinese proverb.  I used it to create a pair of earrings for my month of earrings challenge...which is ending all too soon.....

As the month of earrings is a challenge - in that we have to produce 30 pairs of earrings by April 1st - I thought I'd an extra bit of challenge and use it as an opportunity to try new things!!  So I decided to do some carving for these earrings.   I've done only a little before so carved onto a speedball mat/pad and then used that to impress the silver clay in.

Once fired, the green tree was colored with hand tinted resins.

One of the big benefits I see from using this type of carving is that you could then make quite a few copies of the earrings.  Hmmmm, maybe this isn't such a benefit for me as I so much prefer one of a kind or just two of any design!!! ...but it was good to try and I'd do better next time :=D

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Anyone can do tricks! - Olympic earrings!

These earrings were inspired by a comment made a couple of years ago by my elderly mother-in-law.

My husband had been talking to her on the phone and she had said she had been watching the olympics on television, so he asked her which sport she had been watching. Her reply was "it was people doing tricks"!

We had to assume it was gymnastics!  I'm not sure the olympians would have been flattered to hear that they do "tricks" - but it did conjur up a lovely image.

And so - my little "anyone" figure, is doing "tricks"!

As my mother in law frequently makes interesting statements, we thought of starting a blog in her honor, calling it "mum's the word" and listing her classic phrases!!!  

Anyhow, hope you like my strong anyone's who have been working out hard.  Perfect earrings for gymnasts, yoga lovers, and any tricksters out there!!

They are part of my Month of earrings challenge - #22.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday's Millinery Musings - Ganesh - In praise of a Sturdy Hat

By guest blogger Jennifer.
Jennifer's Etsy Store
One September, in the dead of night, the nearly 300 year old Valley Oak that had stood watch for centuries on the northwest corner of our property mysteriously split down the center of its trunk, pulled apart by its own massive limb, and came crashing down to the ground.

Half of its huge canopy covered our front garden and the 2 lane road in front of our house. It took a back hoe, 6 chain saws, 2 dump trucks, a chipper and 15 burly fellows 2 hours to remove this one limb. A few weeks later a similar crew came and spent all day cutting down the remainder of the tree.

No person or creature came to harm and no property was destroyed. It was miraculous. It was grace.

In the very heart of the wreckage, buried in the fallen canopy, clamly sat Ganesh, our beloved garden protector, who is carved of soft Indonesian tufa stone. In Hindu mythology Ganesh is the destroyer of evils and obstacles to seekers on the spiritual path. He stands at the threshold of new beginnings and captures all difficulties with his noose. His blessings include all manner of success, knowledge and wisdom.

His elephant head denotes wisdom, his trunk OM - the primordial sound that brought all creation into being, his body represents the earthly lives of human beings (he has a big pot belly!). He is humble enough to ride the lowest creature as his “steed” - a mouse. Ganesh is very well loved in India. And, you may have guessed already, Ganesh wears a hat!


Our Ganesh was not unseated by this calamity of the tree falling but rather watched calmly from atop his stone seat. The only damage to our garden aside from a few crushed plants, was to Ganesh’s hat - the spike on top of his ornate helmet was snapped off, so cleanly in fact that Dave was able to glue it back invisibly. No harm done!

Over time our garden has become more beautiful as it bathes in the new found sunlight. The olive trees and lavender have come into their own and the Calville d’Hiver heirloom apple espalier is taking off. The roses, once struggling to grow and bloom in the dappled shade of the oak tree, have shot up and out, the Nearly Wild and Knockouts exploding into a joyful pink riot of blooms each spring.

And the birds are back. The blue jays and towhees often sit on Ganesh’s fan-like ears (he is all ears to our petition!). They sharpen their beaks on his spiked helmet. Ganesh sits at his ease, ready in a moment to rise and protect the garden and all beings who enter it. He is never without his hat.

Best wishes and a happy spring to you!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday's spotlight - A Lincolnshire Thank You

By guest blogger Pete.

Twice a year for the past few years it has been possible for Lincolnshire residents to visit their local heritage sites free of charge.  This is a "thank you" to local folk for all the support, direct and indirect, that they give to local sites of importance.  Some visitors think that it is wrong to make an entrance charge to such sites - Lincoln Cathedral, especially, is selected for this criticism - but what such folk, often conveniently, forget is that all these various heritage locations need upkeep and upkeep, especially on old buildings, is extremely expensive.  In the case of Lincoln cathedral, no one is ever refused admission but the cost to maintain this beautiful, extremely old and very large building is astronomical.  No help at all is received from the Government.

It's unfortunate that some coach companies operating outside the county have decided that the two annual weekends when free admission is offered to Lincolnshire folk is also a most opportune time to run outings to various sites in the area.  It's easy to see why such companies feel that the offer of free admission will be a fee incentive for them to do their profit margins no harm at all.

Last Saturday and Sunday was one of those weekends when admission charges were dropped.  It's sometime since I had taken any photos in Lincoln Cathedral - especially of the beautiful nave windows - so I decided to pay a visit.  Ruth and John, as a birthday present for Pam, had paid for the restoration of part of the "David Window"  in that area of the Cathedral.  Whilst photographing these windows I met a very interesting character, who was researching the life of Robert Swan.  There is a large window dedicated to this Lincoln Benefactor, who was the first man to try and introduce a sewerage system into the city.  Unfortunately he was not successful but his efforts in that direction and other achievements were and are recognised.  My new friend asked me if I would email him a copy of the "Robert Swan Window" for his publication, which I was only too pleased to do.

Off to London soon so the camera batteries will have to be recharged for a day in the big city.  Just hope it doesn't rain.  Oh dear!  What a pessimist!
Still it is said that a pessimist is a realistic optimist who has all the facts.

Keep hoping.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Murals and Sculptures from San Miguel

When we were in San Miguel this week, two artists' work really stood out for me.  The first was Rodrigo de la Sierra.  He creates wonderful large sculptures using resin.  It doesn't look at all like resin to me - but when you see the photos (sorry, only from my phone so not great), you will tell instantly why I like them.  His work can be seen at the Fabrica La Aurora which is an old textile factory, and now houses 40 artists studios, plus galleries, a restaurant and all in a wonderful setting.

The second artist is David Leonardo.  His work is all over San Miguel but I was really taken with the murals he painted on the walls of one of the rooms in the Bibliotheca in San Miguel.  It took 2 years to paint all the walls. What color!

There was so much wonderful color and art there - it was very inspiring. I think a return visit is in order one day....

Friday, March 19, 2010

Zapper, Zipper, Outfield or Swatting? - Friday's facts, fascinations and folklore

When I was in Mexico this week, I didn't get to see any Caracara's - the national bird of Mexico but did see a male Vermillion Flycatcher.  Always a beautiful sight to behold with those wonderful scarlet feathers.

Photo by Bob Miller

An interesting fact about the vermillion flycatcher is that the male often seeks to initiate copulation by delivering a butterfly or other showy insect to the female.  Maybe the equivalent of oysters, champagne and chocolate????

And if you are ever lucky enough to see a group of vermillion flycatchers hanging out together - be sure to impress your friends by saying "look at that zapper of flycatchers"!  Yes, groups of flycatchers have many collective nouns, including an "outfield", a "swatting", a "zapper" and a "zipper".  I wonder why there are so many words for them?  Anyone know?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Next dangly leg animal! - Poll results

The poll station has closed!

The animal that won the poll that I have to make into dangly leg earrings was the Octopus!!!

Thanks for your votes..... I think :=}

Hmmmm. Now I have to make some octopus earrings with not 2 or 4 legs as I've previously done for other animals - but 8 legs!!!  What sort of challenge is that!!???????

Second place was the hippopotamus.  All the results are on the sidebar at the right.

A.N. Other ideas were:
  • monkey
  • capybara
  • kiwi
  • armadillo
  • lambs
  • ferret
  • yaks
I suppose an octopus is better than a capybara or yak!!!  I guess this is proof of the old saying "be careful what you ask for"!!!!

I'll be working on octopuses soon....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vegetables of San Miguel!

My feast of colors from the market in San Miguel:

Don't they look like toothless mouths?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Towers, spires and domes of San Miguel

We are on vacation in San Miguel de Allende at the moment and getting a great dose of color for the eyes!  The skies are a lovely blue and show off the many towers just beautifully. Here's a selection: