Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Bisti Badlands

https://farmingtonnm.org/listings/bisti-de-na-zin-wilderness/
The Bisti/De-Na-/Zin Wilderness Area is one of the most difficult places to find!  Actually with the help of Google Maps we drove on dirt roads that bordered the area for longer than I care to admit.  The wire fences and gates protected fields of natural sagebrush and were definite barriers.  Hiking in would have been the only way to  enter from the dirt road.  And the lay of the land was flat with fields of sagebrush.  Where were those interesting formations we saw in the book?  After returning to the highway and going back the way we came, we turned at this sign!  It too led down a long bumpy dirt road and ended with parking spaces.  By this time it was hot but we decided to take water and hike in a little ways.

We weren't  the only ones in the area!

I am continually amazed and intrigued with the beauty I see in arid deserts.

It is such a surprise to go from flat sagebrush into areas of unusual formations that are carved from wind and time.  Different textures of earth and rock, different colors and so many shapes.  We only saw a small portion and will need to go back in cooler weather with more water and a backpack to explore.






There were beautiful designs where water had dried and I just had to take some pictures!  I'm looking forward to re-visiting this area near Farmington New Mexico!




Wednesday, July 12, 2017

To the Great Sand Dune National Park!

https://www.nps.gov/grsa/index.htm
 The tallest sand dunes in the U. S. are found here.  A dramatic picture presented itself as we drove into the National Park.  The sand dunes were made even more impressive with the beautiful mountains in the background.  Picking the best time of day for taking photos became a great game.  Late afternoon proved to be the best time.

There are 6 endemic species of insects found here.  Nowhere else on earth can you find the Great Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle.  Many animals (birds, amphibians and mammals) are also found here.  In fact over 200 species of birds use this area as their habitat.

Black-billed Magpie

Sangre de Christo Mountains in background
The dune field and much of the mountains are designated as wilderness

I love capturing sand dunes in pictures.  The forms and edges, the lights and darks are ever changing.

The Medano Creek - fun to wade across and play in the sand.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Road Trip Continues -Canyon de Chelly


It was a warm (well hot!) windy afternoon and we both wanted to visit at least part of Canyon de Chelly.  Having visited this site many years ago, it was such fun to see it again.  Next time I really want to take the jeep tour to the bottom!  https://www.nps.gov/cach/index.htm

The cholla (one of my favorite desert plants) were blooming.  I think they have some of the prettiest blooms and some of the most dangerous stickers!   It's so easy to step on a piece that has come off the mother plant and so difficult to pull out the stickers.  

Beautiful Cholla

Standing in the hot wind thinking about the early inhabitants caused me to compare their lives with ours today.  The scenery is beautiful and harsh  and peaceful.  Wonderful to see but I don't want to work that hard.  At the bottom of the canyon the trees were green and you can see where the people lived 5000 years ago.  Navajos live there today and I could see their trucks and homes from the rim.


Cliff Dwellings
The swirling patterns on the large rocks were mesmerizing.  Fun to see so many large formations that  are unique to the canyon.



Zooming in on a swirling formation!
 


A long way down!
Canyon de Chelly - a magical place to visit!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summer Road Trip - Alamosa Nat'l Wildlife Refuge


Peter and I just returned from our summer road trip to the Great Sand Dune National Park in Colorado.   I'll be sharing some of the sites along the way in the next couple of blog posts and hope you enjoy them.

Alamosa Nat'l Wildlife Refuge(  https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Alamosa/about_the_refuge.html )
This is a wildlife refuge that covers 11,169 acres and has a mission to enhance the wetlands and desert habitats while providing protection for migratory birds.  It is located in the San Luis Valley in south central Colorado.


It wasn't until we drove into the visitor's center and followed the scenic trail that I realized what diverse habitat existed in this area.  The road followed the Rio Grande where we saw a Ruddy Duck in breeding plumage.  I love the male's blue beaks! 

Ruddy Duck in breeding plumage

At the visitor center there was a large milkweed plant that was different than the ones we have.  I did not see any Monarch butterflies but the bloom was lovely.

Milkweed
There was a pair of Brewer's Blackbirds building a nest.  I rarely get good pictures of black birds so I'm pretty happy having these.

female Brewer's Blackbird

Male Brewer's Blackbird


We also saw Yellow-headed Blackbirds and Red-winged Blackbirds!  Seems lots of birds like pass through this area!

Yellow-headed Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird

2 White-faced Ibis in flight
On the way out of the refuge we saw these Ibis flying and I think they will somehow work into a design for jewelry!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Design Transfers on Jewelry

I like a more free painting technique 
Polymer Clay Universe 2017 has some really fun online classes and I'm learning different techniques for polymer clay.  I want to share the results of one class I've enjoyed.  It's titled  'Mini Masterpieces' with Syndee Holt.  This is the link to the site in case you want to check it out!  https://createalong.teachable.com/p/polymer-clay-universe/

Syndee shows how to use the Jelli Plate, design transfers, silkscreens and alcohol ink pens for coloring.  She also demos ways to finish the jewelry pieces and attach cords. There is so much information and Syndee explains the steps completely.

For years I've been experimenting with ways to use my personal photos in jewelry and now I have another to add to my list.  I can make a black and white laser copy of my photograph and size it in Photoshop, repeat it and then transfer the finished design directly to polymer clay.  That will be another post!

For this project I used a design that Syndee furnished in her class.  This one gets transferred to clay and colored in with alcohol ink pens.  If you like to color, this is a great class and technique.  There are many painting styles to experiment with like the one at the start of this post.  I tried several.

One of the designs I transferred to clay
Ready to finish these colored pieces

The finished pieces

The 2 pair of oval earrings use the same design as above
Finished Earrings










Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Lizards on My Journal

Finished piece

It's been quite a while since I tried to sculpt anything but it's been in the back of my mind for a time.  After watching tutorials by Aniko Kolesnikova better known in the polymer world at 'Mandarin Duck', I just had to try sculpting a journal cover.  This is a link to one of her tutorials that you might like to see.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2QLifZkONI

Of course I had to try lizards...specifically young Bearded Dragons!  I have 2 live ones and was able to check on details often.  I'm sure 'Willie' and 'Mario' wondered why I was so interested in their parts.

This picture is of the flat sheet of shaded brown polymer and acts as the background for the sculpture.  It is important to make this the actual size you want for the cover.  It can be trimmed when you are done but it's difficult to make it bigger.  This one is 8" x 11".  


Background
It took some time and a failed lizard before I got the hang of forming lizard parts.  I started with the head and scaled the body to fit.  Bearded Dragons have a distinct triangular shaped head with high bones above the eye sockets.  They flatten their bodies when relaxed and basking and they have cone shaped spines that outline the body.  

First lizard basic body
Finding the right texture to represent the individual scales was fun.  I finally decided to use some metal leather stamps.  After texturing, the cone spines were added.  Talk about time consuming!


First lizard textured with spines.  Waiting for his buddy!
 I made the second lizard and placed him on top of the other.  When I go to Reptile Shows there are always baby Bearded Dragons stacked on each other on a log.  Pretty cute!  They just like to be together.  That changes as their hormones get going!



After making this and having such a good time, I'll do more.  But I have some concerns about using this as a journal cover.  When I write in my journal, I like to have it open all the way and it might be on my lap or a table.  My concern is about the raised sculpture getting in the way or having to be careful not to damage it.

I like this so much that I may put it on a board instead of on the journal and hang it someplace - maybe on the front porch!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Notebook for a Quilter




Once in awhile, I take a class that really resonates!  Anke Humpert's  class on notebooks in Polymer Clay Adventures was one of those classes. Mosaic Notebook Covers with Anke Humpert at PCA 2017.  

I have a very good friend who is a quilter.  She was having a birthday and I wanted to make something special.  It seemed like a polymer cover on a spiral journal would be perfect.    

Finding the right kind of notebook with the right kind of spiral turned out to be more difficult than anticipated.  I found one at The Dollar Store but it was not as thick as I wanted.   I purchased it and by the time I made the book  cover, several pages had to be removed so the cover could turn.  Next time I'll look for a thicker one!

The color scheme I chose reflects colors that my friend likes - turquoise and shades of peach.

Selecting a color scheme
I chose several textures since I wanted the cover to look like it was quilted fabric.  Each pattern piece is a different texture.  It was fun to use some of the rolling wheels and sticks that I don't often get to use.  This is also a great way to use some of the scrap clay to merge colors for interest.

Selecting textures
The pattern is curved like fabric might be and the pattern is pieced like a quilt might be.

Placing the shapes of polymer 'fabric'
The piece is baked after cutting the holes for the spiral and decorating the 'quilt'.

Waiting to be 'stitched' and placed in binder
After baking (or curing) I used alcohol ink to draw 'stitches' on each pattern piece and then placed the cover on the spiral to finish the book.

 Happy Birthday Luana!

'Quilted' stitched and finished 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Walk on the Beach

San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
We just returned from San Carlos, Sonora Mexico - a quick trip to visit a very good friend!  The first thing we did was to take a walk on the beautiful beach.  My friend kept telling me that the hurricane (this year) had torn up the beach and it was rocky.  It was rocky in portions but we had our beach shoes with us for those places and walked in warm sand the rest of the time.  I wanted to share that walk with the ocean textures and animals with you.  You know I'm looking at birds, lapping ocean and shells while enjoying the sea breeze and ocean smells!  I saw dolphins but did not get a good picture of them breaking the surface.

An Eared Grebe had a long swim going mostly in circles.  Look at that red eye!

This was the greenest shell I've ever seen!

I brought this one home.  Such an interesting interior structure for the shell
 
A Life Bird for me!  The Reddish Heron
  
Enjoying the texture of a shell.   

Talk about texture!  There were stacks of shells at the estuary 

Beach debri....texture!

And just in front of the condo where we stayed a pair of Gila Woodpeckers were feeding young.  The male is in the nest in the palm tree.  The female on the side of the tree took turns gathering food and feeding.

Hope you enjoyed my walk on the beach!  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Bisti Badlands

https://farmingtonnm.org/listings/bisti-de-na-zin-wilderness/
The Bisti/De-Na-/Zin Wilderness Area is one of the most difficult places to find!  Actually with the help of Google Maps we drove on dirt roads that bordered the area for longer than I care to admit.  The wire fences and gates protected fields of natural sagebrush and were definite barriers.  Hiking in would have been the only way to  enter from the dirt road.  And the lay of the land was flat with fields of sagebrush.  Where were those interesting formations we saw in the book?  After returning to the highway and going back the way we came, we turned at this sign!  It too led down a long bumpy dirt road and ended with parking spaces.  By this time it was hot but we decided to take water and hike in a little ways.

We weren't  the only ones in the area!

I am continually amazed and intrigued with the beauty I see in arid deserts.

It is such a surprise to go from flat sagebrush into areas of unusual formations that are carved from wind and time.  Different textures of earth and rock, different colors and so many shapes.  We only saw a small portion and will need to go back in cooler weather with more water and a backpack to explore.






There were beautiful designs where water had dried and I just had to take some pictures!  I'm looking forward to re-visiting this area near Farmington New Mexico!




Wednesday, July 12, 2017

To the Great Sand Dune National Park!

https://www.nps.gov/grsa/index.htm
 The tallest sand dunes in the U. S. are found here.  A dramatic picture presented itself as we drove into the National Park.  The sand dunes were made even more impressive with the beautiful mountains in the background.  Picking the best time of day for taking photos became a great game.  Late afternoon proved to be the best time.

There are 6 endemic species of insects found here.  Nowhere else on earth can you find the Great Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle.  Many animals (birds, amphibians and mammals) are also found here.  In fact over 200 species of birds use this area as their habitat.

Black-billed Magpie

Sangre de Christo Mountains in background
The dune field and much of the mountains are designated as wilderness

I love capturing sand dunes in pictures.  The forms and edges, the lights and darks are ever changing.

The Medano Creek - fun to wade across and play in the sand.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Road Trip Continues -Canyon de Chelly


It was a warm (well hot!) windy afternoon and we both wanted to visit at least part of Canyon de Chelly.  Having visited this site many years ago, it was such fun to see it again.  Next time I really want to take the jeep tour to the bottom!  https://www.nps.gov/cach/index.htm

The cholla (one of my favorite desert plants) were blooming.  I think they have some of the prettiest blooms and some of the most dangerous stickers!   It's so easy to step on a piece that has come off the mother plant and so difficult to pull out the stickers.  

Beautiful Cholla

Standing in the hot wind thinking about the early inhabitants caused me to compare their lives with ours today.  The scenery is beautiful and harsh  and peaceful.  Wonderful to see but I don't want to work that hard.  At the bottom of the canyon the trees were green and you can see where the people lived 5000 years ago.  Navajos live there today and I could see their trucks and homes from the rim.


Cliff Dwellings
The swirling patterns on the large rocks were mesmerizing.  Fun to see so many large formations that  are unique to the canyon.



Zooming in on a swirling formation!
 


A long way down!
Canyon de Chelly - a magical place to visit!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summer Road Trip - Alamosa Nat'l Wildlife Refuge


Peter and I just returned from our summer road trip to the Great Sand Dune National Park in Colorado.   I'll be sharing some of the sites along the way in the next couple of blog posts and hope you enjoy them.

Alamosa Nat'l Wildlife Refuge(  https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Alamosa/about_the_refuge.html )
This is a wildlife refuge that covers 11,169 acres and has a mission to enhance the wetlands and desert habitats while providing protection for migratory birds.  It is located in the San Luis Valley in south central Colorado.


It wasn't until we drove into the visitor's center and followed the scenic trail that I realized what diverse habitat existed in this area.  The road followed the Rio Grande where we saw a Ruddy Duck in breeding plumage.  I love the male's blue beaks! 

Ruddy Duck in breeding plumage

At the visitor center there was a large milkweed plant that was different than the ones we have.  I did not see any Monarch butterflies but the bloom was lovely.

Milkweed
There was a pair of Brewer's Blackbirds building a nest.  I rarely get good pictures of black birds so I'm pretty happy having these.

female Brewer's Blackbird

Male Brewer's Blackbird


We also saw Yellow-headed Blackbirds and Red-winged Blackbirds!  Seems lots of birds like pass through this area!

Yellow-headed Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird

2 White-faced Ibis in flight
On the way out of the refuge we saw these Ibis flying and I think they will somehow work into a design for jewelry!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Design Transfers on Jewelry

I like a more free painting technique 
Polymer Clay Universe 2017 has some really fun online classes and I'm learning different techniques for polymer clay.  I want to share the results of one class I've enjoyed.  It's titled  'Mini Masterpieces' with Syndee Holt.  This is the link to the site in case you want to check it out!  https://createalong.teachable.com/p/polymer-clay-universe/

Syndee shows how to use the Jelli Plate, design transfers, silkscreens and alcohol ink pens for coloring.  She also demos ways to finish the jewelry pieces and attach cords. There is so much information and Syndee explains the steps completely.

For years I've been experimenting with ways to use my personal photos in jewelry and now I have another to add to my list.  I can make a black and white laser copy of my photograph and size it in Photoshop, repeat it and then transfer the finished design directly to polymer clay.  That will be another post!

For this project I used a design that Syndee furnished in her class.  This one gets transferred to clay and colored in with alcohol ink pens.  If you like to color, this is a great class and technique.  There are many painting styles to experiment with like the one at the start of this post.  I tried several.

One of the designs I transferred to clay
Ready to finish these colored pieces

The finished pieces

The 2 pair of oval earrings use the same design as above
Finished Earrings










Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Lizards on My Journal

Finished piece

It's been quite a while since I tried to sculpt anything but it's been in the back of my mind for a time.  After watching tutorials by Aniko Kolesnikova better known in the polymer world at 'Mandarin Duck', I just had to try sculpting a journal cover.  This is a link to one of her tutorials that you might like to see.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2QLifZkONI

Of course I had to try lizards...specifically young Bearded Dragons!  I have 2 live ones and was able to check on details often.  I'm sure 'Willie' and 'Mario' wondered why I was so interested in their parts.

This picture is of the flat sheet of shaded brown polymer and acts as the background for the sculpture.  It is important to make this the actual size you want for the cover.  It can be trimmed when you are done but it's difficult to make it bigger.  This one is 8" x 11".  


Background
It took some time and a failed lizard before I got the hang of forming lizard parts.  I started with the head and scaled the body to fit.  Bearded Dragons have a distinct triangular shaped head with high bones above the eye sockets.  They flatten their bodies when relaxed and basking and they have cone shaped spines that outline the body.  

First lizard basic body
Finding the right texture to represent the individual scales was fun.  I finally decided to use some metal leather stamps.  After texturing, the cone spines were added.  Talk about time consuming!


First lizard textured with spines.  Waiting for his buddy!
 I made the second lizard and placed him on top of the other.  When I go to Reptile Shows there are always baby Bearded Dragons stacked on each other on a log.  Pretty cute!  They just like to be together.  That changes as their hormones get going!



After making this and having such a good time, I'll do more.  But I have some concerns about using this as a journal cover.  When I write in my journal, I like to have it open all the way and it might be on my lap or a table.  My concern is about the raised sculpture getting in the way or having to be careful not to damage it.

I like this so much that I may put it on a board instead of on the journal and hang it someplace - maybe on the front porch!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Notebook for a Quilter




Once in awhile, I take a class that really resonates!  Anke Humpert's  class on notebooks in Polymer Clay Adventures was one of those classes. Mosaic Notebook Covers with Anke Humpert at PCA 2017.  

I have a very good friend who is a quilter.  She was having a birthday and I wanted to make something special.  It seemed like a polymer cover on a spiral journal would be perfect.    

Finding the right kind of notebook with the right kind of spiral turned out to be more difficult than anticipated.  I found one at The Dollar Store but it was not as thick as I wanted.   I purchased it and by the time I made the book  cover, several pages had to be removed so the cover could turn.  Next time I'll look for a thicker one!

The color scheme I chose reflects colors that my friend likes - turquoise and shades of peach.

Selecting a color scheme
I chose several textures since I wanted the cover to look like it was quilted fabric.  Each pattern piece is a different texture.  It was fun to use some of the rolling wheels and sticks that I don't often get to use.  This is also a great way to use some of the scrap clay to merge colors for interest.

Selecting textures
The pattern is curved like fabric might be and the pattern is pieced like a quilt might be.

Placing the shapes of polymer 'fabric'
The piece is baked after cutting the holes for the spiral and decorating the 'quilt'.

Waiting to be 'stitched' and placed in binder
After baking (or curing) I used alcohol ink to draw 'stitches' on each pattern piece and then placed the cover on the spiral to finish the book.

 Happy Birthday Luana!

'Quilted' stitched and finished 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Walk on the Beach

San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
We just returned from San Carlos, Sonora Mexico - a quick trip to visit a very good friend!  The first thing we did was to take a walk on the beautiful beach.  My friend kept telling me that the hurricane (this year) had torn up the beach and it was rocky.  It was rocky in portions but we had our beach shoes with us for those places and walked in warm sand the rest of the time.  I wanted to share that walk with the ocean textures and animals with you.  You know I'm looking at birds, lapping ocean and shells while enjoying the sea breeze and ocean smells!  I saw dolphins but did not get a good picture of them breaking the surface.

An Eared Grebe had a long swim going mostly in circles.  Look at that red eye!

This was the greenest shell I've ever seen!

I brought this one home.  Such an interesting interior structure for the shell
 
A Life Bird for me!  The Reddish Heron
  
Enjoying the texture of a shell.   

Talk about texture!  There were stacks of shells at the estuary 

Beach debri....texture!

And just in front of the condo where we stayed a pair of Gila Woodpeckers were feeding young.  The male is in the nest in the palm tree.  The female on the side of the tree took turns gathering food and feeding.

Hope you enjoyed my walk on the beach!