Friday, April 17, 2015

Leaving Time for Surprises


We just returned from an 8 day road trip to Big Bend Texas where we saw spectacular country and the best wildflower show in 30 years.  One could almost OD on nature’s beauty…  The Texas Bluebonnets were 3 ft deep each side of the road and went on for miles.  The sides of the mountains and hills were blue and yellow with white dotted here and there.  I wanted to stop (which we did often) and just sit in the middle of the blue. 


We planned the trip with time to stop every so often as I needed to walk and keep my new knee limber.  That let us explore along the way stopping for short walks, looking at birds and flowers, discovering rocks and finding places we might like to visit again. 

Golden -breasted Woodpecker





Texas Bluebonnet
It took 2 ½ days to get to our destination and 2 ½ days to get home.  That left 3 days to explore Big Bend and 4 days to decide where to car camp while traveling.  We were able to find secluded campsites as well as a campsite in a Texas State Park (they had a shower!).




Vermillion Flycatcher

 
Greater Earless Lizard

Prickly Poppies
Big Bend National Park is named for the big bend in the Rio Grande River and encompasses 800,000 acres.  It is said that Pecos Bill lassoed a wild tornado and carved a series of amazing river canyons.  It is home to over 450 year round and migratory bird species and the elevation changes from 1800 ft. along the Rio Grande to 8000 ft in the Chisos Mountains.  There are deserts, canyons, pine forests and so many wildflowers to be seen!


Rio Grande


We signed up for distributed camping where we were assigned a primitive campsite on a long dirt/rock road in the Pine Canyon area.  We found it in the dark as we drove slowly trying to get the Jack rabbits out of the road.  I finally had to get out with the flashlight and walk in front of the truck shooing the critters into the brush as I laughed.  They were confused by the headlights.   

The stars were brilliant in those dark skies as we looked for the various constellations.   By day we explored by truck and on foot and we marveled at the variety of adventures to be had in this park.
 


     Next week I’ll finish the trip home and show more surprises we found.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Cinco de Mayo Necklace




 In my last post, I shared my adventure of making a complex polymer cane using fabric as an inspiration and the design in the fabric was inspired from Mexican tile.  I decided to make a necklace to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, (May 5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinco_de_Mayo and use some of the canes as beads.


It was fun to give the beads dimension by curing 2 halves, assembling the halves into a whole bead and creating a way to hang them. 


.

Focal Bead
Front of Focul Bead
The focal bead looks like a pillow with the two convex squares over the four sides of skinny ovals
The mobius bead above the focal pillow bead is attached to the necklace with a lobster claw.

Each large bead is decorated front and back to give a finished interesting look to the necklace.  Polymer beads are lightweight and durable. 

The back of the beads shown in the first photo above.

Margaritas, mariachis, chips and salsa and a colorful one of a kind necklace should make May 5 pretty special! 

From Cooks.com!

SUPER MARGARITA

4 oz. Cointreau
4 oz. Tequila
4 oz. freshly squeezed key lime juice
ice, as desired.
Combine ingredients and shake with ice or pour over ice, or pulse in blender.
Dip serving glass in water then dip edge of glass in salt.
Makes 4 servings or serves one, four times.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fabric, Mexican Tile and Polymer



Stepping into a fabric store is a little like Alice going into Wonderland.  There are so many colors and patterns, textures and tools!  I used to sew and that was my excuse to investigate any fabric store in any town I visited.  Now I usually go with a friend who quilts and just look.  But every once in a while I find a piece that I just have to have – just to look at.  Inspiration fabric is what I call it. 


This piece brought back memories of many kitchens and baths and furniture I designed for clients using Mexican tile on the walls, floors, counter tops and accents……NO not all at once! It reminded me of Cinco de Mayo and Tucson with Mariachi bands and colorful flowers. I bought a ¼ yard, set it by my desk and looked at it often.  This week I decided to make some polymer canes and see what I could do using the fabric as the inspiration. 














First the colors are selected and mixed.  Then I started making the black and white cane (bull’s eye) for the center and started building canes to combine into the pattern. 

This shows the ends of the canes that are uneven or not acceptable for a complete slice.  These were used to create the bead, medallions and buttons I made

Canes in progress - pieces of the whole!

This is the same cane in different sizes
 I've learned to save parts of a cane for future use and I've learned to save the leftover clay to make buttons and beads!  In fact, I got so involved in using the scraps after I finished the canes that I have yet to make something from the final cane pictured at the beginning of this post.  (A cane is a roll of clay with a pattern running through it.  It is a term borrowed from glassmaking) 

To make the beads, buttons and medallion shown below, I made the basic shape out of scrap clay and thinly slice patterns from the end of the canes pictured above.  I layered and combined them to create the patterns you see.  For the beads, I added translucent polymer in a pattern to give more interest and depth.  If you look closely you can pick out the different cane patterns as they overlap one another.

Finished Medallion Necklace


Finished Art Beads
 I'd love to hear your responses to my Mexican tile fabric inspiration!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Leaving Time for Surprises


We just returned from an 8 day road trip to Big Bend Texas where we saw spectacular country and the best wildflower show in 30 years.  One could almost OD on nature’s beauty…  The Texas Bluebonnets were 3 ft deep each side of the road and went on for miles.  The sides of the mountains and hills were blue and yellow with white dotted here and there.  I wanted to stop (which we did often) and just sit in the middle of the blue. 


We planned the trip with time to stop every so often as I needed to walk and keep my new knee limber.  That let us explore along the way stopping for short walks, looking at birds and flowers, discovering rocks and finding places we might like to visit again. 

Golden -breasted Woodpecker





Texas Bluebonnet
It took 2 ½ days to get to our destination and 2 ½ days to get home.  That left 3 days to explore Big Bend and 4 days to decide where to car camp while traveling.  We were able to find secluded campsites as well as a campsite in a Texas State Park (they had a shower!).




Vermillion Flycatcher

 
Greater Earless Lizard

Prickly Poppies
Big Bend National Park is named for the big bend in the Rio Grande River and encompasses 800,000 acres.  It is said that Pecos Bill lassoed a wild tornado and carved a series of amazing river canyons.  It is home to over 450 year round and migratory bird species and the elevation changes from 1800 ft. along the Rio Grande to 8000 ft in the Chisos Mountains.  There are deserts, canyons, pine forests and so many wildflowers to be seen!


Rio Grande


We signed up for distributed camping where we were assigned a primitive campsite on a long dirt/rock road in the Pine Canyon area.  We found it in the dark as we drove slowly trying to get the Jack rabbits out of the road.  I finally had to get out with the flashlight and walk in front of the truck shooing the critters into the brush as I laughed.  They were confused by the headlights.   

The stars were brilliant in those dark skies as we looked for the various constellations.   By day we explored by truck and on foot and we marveled at the variety of adventures to be had in this park.
 


     Next week I’ll finish the trip home and show more surprises we found.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Cinco de Mayo Necklace




 In my last post, I shared my adventure of making a complex polymer cane using fabric as an inspiration and the design in the fabric was inspired from Mexican tile.  I decided to make a necklace to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, (May 5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinco_de_Mayo and use some of the canes as beads.


It was fun to give the beads dimension by curing 2 halves, assembling the halves into a whole bead and creating a way to hang them. 


.

Focal Bead
Front of Focul Bead
The focal bead looks like a pillow with the two convex squares over the four sides of skinny ovals
The mobius bead above the focal pillow bead is attached to the necklace with a lobster claw.

Each large bead is decorated front and back to give a finished interesting look to the necklace.  Polymer beads are lightweight and durable. 

The back of the beads shown in the first photo above.

Margaritas, mariachis, chips and salsa and a colorful one of a kind necklace should make May 5 pretty special! 

From Cooks.com!

SUPER MARGARITA

4 oz. Cointreau
4 oz. Tequila
4 oz. freshly squeezed key lime juice
ice, as desired.
Combine ingredients and shake with ice or pour over ice, or pulse in blender.
Dip serving glass in water then dip edge of glass in salt.
Makes 4 servings or serves one, four times.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fabric, Mexican Tile and Polymer



Stepping into a fabric store is a little like Alice going into Wonderland.  There are so many colors and patterns, textures and tools!  I used to sew and that was my excuse to investigate any fabric store in any town I visited.  Now I usually go with a friend who quilts and just look.  But every once in a while I find a piece that I just have to have – just to look at.  Inspiration fabric is what I call it. 


This piece brought back memories of many kitchens and baths and furniture I designed for clients using Mexican tile on the walls, floors, counter tops and accents……NO not all at once! It reminded me of Cinco de Mayo and Tucson with Mariachi bands and colorful flowers. I bought a ¼ yard, set it by my desk and looked at it often.  This week I decided to make some polymer canes and see what I could do using the fabric as the inspiration. 














First the colors are selected and mixed.  Then I started making the black and white cane (bull’s eye) for the center and started building canes to combine into the pattern. 

This shows the ends of the canes that are uneven or not acceptable for a complete slice.  These were used to create the bead, medallions and buttons I made

Canes in progress - pieces of the whole!

This is the same cane in different sizes
 I've learned to save parts of a cane for future use and I've learned to save the leftover clay to make buttons and beads!  In fact, I got so involved in using the scraps after I finished the canes that I have yet to make something from the final cane pictured at the beginning of this post.  (A cane is a roll of clay with a pattern running through it.  It is a term borrowed from glassmaking) 

To make the beads, buttons and medallion shown below, I made the basic shape out of scrap clay and thinly slice patterns from the end of the canes pictured above.  I layered and combined them to create the patterns you see.  For the beads, I added translucent polymer in a pattern to give more interest and depth.  If you look closely you can pick out the different cane patterns as they overlap one another.

Finished Medallion Necklace


Finished Art Beads
 I'd love to hear your responses to my Mexican tile fabric inspiration!