Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Inspired by Nature - Fungi




Back in October of last year, I shared this picture of fungi on a tree with my facebook friends.  I thought it was most unusual with all the ruffles.  Sheri Selles Lesser also commented about the scarf and gave me a link for a scarf pattern.  I was intrigued and downloaded it from http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/curly-swirly-scarf. 




Several weeks later I bought some yarn and a hook.  I could not find where my old one was stashed.  Too many years between crocheting projects!   As my life goes, the pattern and the yarn and hook sat in a sack for a few more weeks.



This past Wednesday I started to crochet and this is the finished product!  Not bad!  I also had a photo shoot for my jewelry and had the model wear the scarf so you could see it on her.  You should check out her company "Twitterpated"  by Ashley Spicer.  Very talented lady! http://www.etsy.com/shop/beTwitterpated?ref=seller_info
When I got home, I could not resist hanging the scarf on a tree.  See how nature inspires me?  And what a laugh I had!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Would You Answer My Survey?

A survey!  Just the thing to help me know if I am going in the right direction!
Don’t you just love to take surveys?  This one is not scientific but the information will be helpful to me.  So if you would like to answer the questions and email them to me I would appreciate it.  Just copy the questions, answer them in an email and send them to me at design.britt@gmail.com  Next Friday I’ll share my impromptu local surveys answers along with yours.
SURVEY
Take a look at the pictures of the crystal pendants.
#1

#2

#3


#4
Do you like the idea and the design? 

Do you like the shiny (#3) or the patina finish (1,2,4)? 
Which style do you like best?
What kind of chain would they like to see?   Or would you like to use your own?
Any other comments are welcome. 

*If you want to see the process, check out my previous blog.  http://www.lindabrittdesign.blogspot.com/2012/01/recyling-crystal-teardrops.html

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An 'A HA' moment and a Change of Attitude

 A few years ago, Peter and I went on a 'musical keyboard' tour in England and Scotland. I've been going through my photos and was reminded of this 'AHA' moment.  I wanted to share the story with you. 


Walking along
Cromwell Street
in London on the way to Victoria and Albert Museum, I stopped and took pictures of a side street lined with sunlit townhouses.  The repetition of the building styles combined with the sunlight was quite a sight.

Just as I was putting my camera away, a gentleman down on his luck, came up and started talking to me.  My first reaction, I’m sorry to say was, “I don’t have any money to give him.”  Instead I answered his first question, “Where are you from?” and listened to a very interesting piece of history.

  “You can always tell that particular architect by the style of his decorative detail. The layout of each house was designed the same.  The first floor was for welcoming guests and entertaining; the second and third floor was for the family; and the fourth was for the servants.”   He continued with the social atmosphere of the time and how today some of those same issues remain.  Today of course, all those lovely homes are “flats” or apartments.  

Standing on the street, appreciating this man’s knowledge and ability to share it, made me wonder how many of us could or would do the same in our town.  When this retired lawyer finished his discussion and told us to enjoy the rest of our day, I no longer cared about the dirty paint splattered clothes and glasses, the shuffle, or general unkempt appearance.   I had acquired an enlightened sense of history and the photograph I took would be more than just a pretty street scene. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Winter Vacation –The Arizona- Sonoran Desert Museum

Cutest Prarie Dog Saying Hello!
Remember when you had to write an essay about “My Summer Vacation”?  That is what came to mind when I decided to share my recent visit to Tucson’s ‘Sonoran Desert Museum’ www.desertmuseum.org .  Peter and I spent about 4 hours enjoying the landscape and animals and could have spent more time.  This is one place I visited often when I lived in Tucson; one place I miss and one place you should know about!
Hundreds of saguaro cacti line the mountains on the way to the museum.  Half the fun is driving on the winding mountain roads outside of Tucson, getting to the crest and looking over the desert floor.  It makes me feel small and full of wonder.
This place is a world renowned zoo, a natural history museum and a botanical garden.  Walking along the many paths, you see interpretive displays.  The plants and animals represent a large area of the southwest- Arizona, California and many states of Mexico.  There are more than 300 animal species and 1200 kinds of plants in 21 acres of incredible desert. 
The live animal exhibits of Big Horn sheep, Mexican Wolves, Bobcats and the Grey Fox, the Walk-in Aviary and the Hummingbird Aviary are just a few of my favorites. 
Check out the color!
The enclosures look real and blend into the landscape while they keep the animals ‘caged’ and safe.  I watched some of them being built with wire and concrete and paint. 
The Bighorn Sheep need lots of space to climb on large rocks and their home provides just that.

These are at the top of the enclosure basking in the sun.

This guy is BIG! Look closely at the bigger picture and you will see him at the bottom of the hills.

 Obviously I could go on and on and I have hundreds of pictures from this place.   I just had to share a few with you. If you want to see more, check out my flicker page http://www.flickr.com/photos/brittdesign
  Please don't miss this on your ‘places to visit’ list.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Organizing Makes Time for Fun!


 

 This week I’ve been reorganizing my computer.  Peter rebuilt it and that meant I had to save everything and put it back when he had finished. 
It occurred to me that I have been pretty sloppy about saving and organizing my many (and I do mean many) photographs.  So instead of just dumping them on the ‘new’ computer, I went through them and deleted, organized, deleted, organized and now they are back in folders where I can actually find them.  That also meant there was no time to play in clay or make jewelry!   “It takes less time to do a thing right, than it does to explain why you did it wrong.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  - and then do it again!
The exercise reminded me, once again, to do it right the first time.  It saves time, money, eyesight, frustration and makes more room for joy!  So this small bundle of success has inspired me to take more time for the little things - the first time around. 
Now that I have my work done, I'm going to play!  A reward!

I’ll be out of town this weekend enjoying the Tucson Symphony play Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which famously caused a riot at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris at the premiere in 1913.  Also the Tucson Early Music Society, http://azearlymusic.org   features ‘The New Esterházy Quartet’ performing music showcasing Mozart and Haydn's Intertwined Relationship.  History and music never cease to entertain! 
And yes, we will see friends, go birding and visit one of my favorite places – The Sonoran Desert Museum http://desertmuseum.org/  I’ll have lots more photographs to put in the correct folders and to share on Tuesday’s Nature Post!




Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Patience, Determination and Talent



If you’ve been following my blog posts, you know that I love to photograph birds!  When eight Tundra Swans decided to visit the Prescott Lakes, I was ready with my tripod and Nikon camera with the long lens (Tamron 200-500).  I had my binoculars, hiking shoes and Peter (my resident birder)! 
Tundra Swans breed in the Arctic tundra and migrating south to warmer weather.  It is really unusual for them to be this far south.
We went to Watson Lake and saw four of the swans near the far shore….too far for any picture.  Then we went to Willow Lake and saw none.  The next day we retraced our steps and found four at Watson Lake and four at Willow Lake.  The ones at Willow were near enough for photography.   I carefully walked toward the water close enough to ‘shoot’ but not to disturb them.   Took lots of pictures in different exposures and happily left.  When I got home and looked, I realized the feathers weren’t as defined as I wanted and were overexposed.  I needed to try again! (No, I'm not including those photos!)  Fortunately, the swans were enjoying our lakes and weather and I had time.
Back to the lakes again!  This time there were no swans at Watson Lake and they had all flown into Willow.  On the long narrow outcrop, the eight swans stood (most on one leg with their heads tucked under the wing) or rested on the ground (with their heads tucked under their wing). 
This time I decided to go even closer as they seemed to ignore the humans watching them.  And this time I waited and waited and…..waited …until one of them stretched his neck and his leg.  Snap! Snap!  Snap!   And this time when I looked at my pictures I was very pleased and wanted to share them with you.
If I counted up the hours of watching and waiting, it would equal a good day’s work plus!  In my opinion all wildlife photography requires patience and determination equal to talent! 

And as I think about it, patience and determination combine with talent to create much that is worthwhile in life.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Recyling Crystal Teardrops

Small Bundle of Success #1
A small case of crystals has taken up space on my shelf for a few years and this December I decided to create jewelry using them.  There were vintage teardrops, Swarovski teardrops, and chandelier prisms - all have some kind of imperfection.  In the case of the teardrops the tops are broken and I just hate to throw them away. 
3 Teardrop Crystals with Bead Caps
My solution is to make bead caps with bales from silver metal clay and glue the crystals into the caps.  Since silver metal clay shrinks in firing, I knew I needed to make the caps larger.  I molded polymer clay over the top of the teardrop and baked it.  This gave me a firm form where I could build my bead cap of the silver clay.  I started with 3 forms and made 3 different caps with bales.  This was an experiment that worked!  The forms made the caps bigger than the crystals with room to shrink.  Also I found the perfect drying place for the clay caps......the points of my jewelry pliers!

Front Side

Back side

Style 2

After the clay was dry and sanded, I fired them in my kiln. 
The finished caps were brushed, polished and fitted to the teardrops.  Then I used E6000 glue and carefully attached the caps to the crystals.  I love them and think I will make several more for my etsy store (www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign) for Valentine’s Day gifts.  What do you think? 
 
Style 3 Finished!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Small Bundles to Share in the New Year

It’s the New Year! 


Instead of listing all kinds of resolutions or none at all, I’ve decided to share my goals for this year….   




I will have fun doing whatever I am doing.
I will experiment with new techniques and share them.
I will exercise my willpower by enjoying and sharing small successes.
Recently while listening to NPR, I heard Roy F. Baumeister talk about his new book, “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength”. Recent research suggests that we might look at willpower as a muscle, exercising it and building it by achieving success in small things. Enjoying the small successes will make it easier to tackle bigger challenges and have success with those.  That made a lot of sense to me. In fact, I’ve used that technique in time management. So this year I will see how I can break down the things I want to accomplish into small bundles. I’ll be able to enjoy the success more easily and build up my will power muscle!  And of course part of enjoying that success will be sharing those small bundles with you and getting your responses. 
Small Bundle #1 coming in the next post!   Saving those chipped and broken crystal teardrops! 
WISHING EACH OF YOU A SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Inspired by Nature - Fungi




Back in October of last year, I shared this picture of fungi on a tree with my facebook friends.  I thought it was most unusual with all the ruffles.  Sheri Selles Lesser also commented about the scarf and gave me a link for a scarf pattern.  I was intrigued and downloaded it from http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/curly-swirly-scarf. 




Several weeks later I bought some yarn and a hook.  I could not find where my old one was stashed.  Too many years between crocheting projects!   As my life goes, the pattern and the yarn and hook sat in a sack for a few more weeks.



This past Wednesday I started to crochet and this is the finished product!  Not bad!  I also had a photo shoot for my jewelry and had the model wear the scarf so you could see it on her.  You should check out her company "Twitterpated"  by Ashley Spicer.  Very talented lady! http://www.etsy.com/shop/beTwitterpated?ref=seller_info
When I got home, I could not resist hanging the scarf on a tree.  See how nature inspires me?  And what a laugh I had!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Would You Answer My Survey?

A survey!  Just the thing to help me know if I am going in the right direction!
Don’t you just love to take surveys?  This one is not scientific but the information will be helpful to me.  So if you would like to answer the questions and email them to me I would appreciate it.  Just copy the questions, answer them in an email and send them to me at design.britt@gmail.com  Next Friday I’ll share my impromptu local surveys answers along with yours.
SURVEY
Take a look at the pictures of the crystal pendants.
#1

#2

#3


#4
Do you like the idea and the design? 

Do you like the shiny (#3) or the patina finish (1,2,4)? 
Which style do you like best?
What kind of chain would they like to see?   Or would you like to use your own?
Any other comments are welcome. 

*If you want to see the process, check out my previous blog.  http://www.lindabrittdesign.blogspot.com/2012/01/recyling-crystal-teardrops.html

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An 'A HA' moment and a Change of Attitude

 A few years ago, Peter and I went on a 'musical keyboard' tour in England and Scotland. I've been going through my photos and was reminded of this 'AHA' moment.  I wanted to share the story with you. 


Walking along
Cromwell Street
in London on the way to Victoria and Albert Museum, I stopped and took pictures of a side street lined with sunlit townhouses.  The repetition of the building styles combined with the sunlight was quite a sight.

Just as I was putting my camera away, a gentleman down on his luck, came up and started talking to me.  My first reaction, I’m sorry to say was, “I don’t have any money to give him.”  Instead I answered his first question, “Where are you from?” and listened to a very interesting piece of history.

  “You can always tell that particular architect by the style of his decorative detail. The layout of each house was designed the same.  The first floor was for welcoming guests and entertaining; the second and third floor was for the family; and the fourth was for the servants.”   He continued with the social atmosphere of the time and how today some of those same issues remain.  Today of course, all those lovely homes are “flats” or apartments.  

Standing on the street, appreciating this man’s knowledge and ability to share it, made me wonder how many of us could or would do the same in our town.  When this retired lawyer finished his discussion and told us to enjoy the rest of our day, I no longer cared about the dirty paint splattered clothes and glasses, the shuffle, or general unkempt appearance.   I had acquired an enlightened sense of history and the photograph I took would be more than just a pretty street scene. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Winter Vacation –The Arizona- Sonoran Desert Museum

Cutest Prarie Dog Saying Hello!
Remember when you had to write an essay about “My Summer Vacation”?  That is what came to mind when I decided to share my recent visit to Tucson’s ‘Sonoran Desert Museum’ www.desertmuseum.org .  Peter and I spent about 4 hours enjoying the landscape and animals and could have spent more time.  This is one place I visited often when I lived in Tucson; one place I miss and one place you should know about!
Hundreds of saguaro cacti line the mountains on the way to the museum.  Half the fun is driving on the winding mountain roads outside of Tucson, getting to the crest and looking over the desert floor.  It makes me feel small and full of wonder.
This place is a world renowned zoo, a natural history museum and a botanical garden.  Walking along the many paths, you see interpretive displays.  The plants and animals represent a large area of the southwest- Arizona, California and many states of Mexico.  There are more than 300 animal species and 1200 kinds of plants in 21 acres of incredible desert. 
The live animal exhibits of Big Horn sheep, Mexican Wolves, Bobcats and the Grey Fox, the Walk-in Aviary and the Hummingbird Aviary are just a few of my favorites. 
Check out the color!
The enclosures look real and blend into the landscape while they keep the animals ‘caged’ and safe.  I watched some of them being built with wire and concrete and paint. 
The Bighorn Sheep need lots of space to climb on large rocks and their home provides just that.

These are at the top of the enclosure basking in the sun.

This guy is BIG! Look closely at the bigger picture and you will see him at the bottom of the hills.

 Obviously I could go on and on and I have hundreds of pictures from this place.   I just had to share a few with you. If you want to see more, check out my flicker page http://www.flickr.com/photos/brittdesign
  Please don't miss this on your ‘places to visit’ list.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Organizing Makes Time for Fun!


 

 This week I’ve been reorganizing my computer.  Peter rebuilt it and that meant I had to save everything and put it back when he had finished. 
It occurred to me that I have been pretty sloppy about saving and organizing my many (and I do mean many) photographs.  So instead of just dumping them on the ‘new’ computer, I went through them and deleted, organized, deleted, organized and now they are back in folders where I can actually find them.  That also meant there was no time to play in clay or make jewelry!   “It takes less time to do a thing right, than it does to explain why you did it wrong.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  - and then do it again!
The exercise reminded me, once again, to do it right the first time.  It saves time, money, eyesight, frustration and makes more room for joy!  So this small bundle of success has inspired me to take more time for the little things - the first time around. 
Now that I have my work done, I'm going to play!  A reward!

I’ll be out of town this weekend enjoying the Tucson Symphony play Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which famously caused a riot at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris at the premiere in 1913.  Also the Tucson Early Music Society, http://azearlymusic.org   features ‘The New Esterházy Quartet’ performing music showcasing Mozart and Haydn's Intertwined Relationship.  History and music never cease to entertain! 
And yes, we will see friends, go birding and visit one of my favorite places – The Sonoran Desert Museum http://desertmuseum.org/  I’ll have lots more photographs to put in the correct folders and to share on Tuesday’s Nature Post!




Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Patience, Determination and Talent



If you’ve been following my blog posts, you know that I love to photograph birds!  When eight Tundra Swans decided to visit the Prescott Lakes, I was ready with my tripod and Nikon camera with the long lens (Tamron 200-500).  I had my binoculars, hiking shoes and Peter (my resident birder)! 
Tundra Swans breed in the Arctic tundra and migrating south to warmer weather.  It is really unusual for them to be this far south.
We went to Watson Lake and saw four of the swans near the far shore….too far for any picture.  Then we went to Willow Lake and saw none.  The next day we retraced our steps and found four at Watson Lake and four at Willow Lake.  The ones at Willow were near enough for photography.   I carefully walked toward the water close enough to ‘shoot’ but not to disturb them.   Took lots of pictures in different exposures and happily left.  When I got home and looked, I realized the feathers weren’t as defined as I wanted and were overexposed.  I needed to try again! (No, I'm not including those photos!)  Fortunately, the swans were enjoying our lakes and weather and I had time.
Back to the lakes again!  This time there were no swans at Watson Lake and they had all flown into Willow.  On the long narrow outcrop, the eight swans stood (most on one leg with their heads tucked under the wing) or rested on the ground (with their heads tucked under their wing). 
This time I decided to go even closer as they seemed to ignore the humans watching them.  And this time I waited and waited and…..waited …until one of them stretched his neck and his leg.  Snap! Snap!  Snap!   And this time when I looked at my pictures I was very pleased and wanted to share them with you.
If I counted up the hours of watching and waiting, it would equal a good day’s work plus!  In my opinion all wildlife photography requires patience and determination equal to talent! 

And as I think about it, patience and determination combine with talent to create much that is worthwhile in life.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Recyling Crystal Teardrops

Small Bundle of Success #1
A small case of crystals has taken up space on my shelf for a few years and this December I decided to create jewelry using them.  There were vintage teardrops, Swarovski teardrops, and chandelier prisms - all have some kind of imperfection.  In the case of the teardrops the tops are broken and I just hate to throw them away. 
3 Teardrop Crystals with Bead Caps
My solution is to make bead caps with bales from silver metal clay and glue the crystals into the caps.  Since silver metal clay shrinks in firing, I knew I needed to make the caps larger.  I molded polymer clay over the top of the teardrop and baked it.  This gave me a firm form where I could build my bead cap of the silver clay.  I started with 3 forms and made 3 different caps with bales.  This was an experiment that worked!  The forms made the caps bigger than the crystals with room to shrink.  Also I found the perfect drying place for the clay caps......the points of my jewelry pliers!

Front Side

Back side

Style 2

After the clay was dry and sanded, I fired them in my kiln. 
The finished caps were brushed, polished and fitted to the teardrops.  Then I used E6000 glue and carefully attached the caps to the crystals.  I love them and think I will make several more for my etsy store (www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign) for Valentine’s Day gifts.  What do you think? 
 
Style 3 Finished!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Small Bundles to Share in the New Year

It’s the New Year! 


Instead of listing all kinds of resolutions or none at all, I’ve decided to share my goals for this year….   




I will have fun doing whatever I am doing.
I will experiment with new techniques and share them.
I will exercise my willpower by enjoying and sharing small successes.
Recently while listening to NPR, I heard Roy F. Baumeister talk about his new book, “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength”. Recent research suggests that we might look at willpower as a muscle, exercising it and building it by achieving success in small things. Enjoying the small successes will make it easier to tackle bigger challenges and have success with those.  That made a lot of sense to me. In fact, I’ve used that technique in time management. So this year I will see how I can break down the things I want to accomplish into small bundles. I’ll be able to enjoy the success more easily and build up my will power muscle!  And of course part of enjoying that success will be sharing those small bundles with you and getting your responses. 
Small Bundle #1 coming in the next post!   Saving those chipped and broken crystal teardrops! 
WISHING EACH OF YOU A SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR!