Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Three Bowls



This week I've been seeing many small polymer bowls being made and not to be outdone, I've made my own.  I started to look for a tutorial on making polymer bowls and there are several but I decided to make them my way!  There is a movie at the end of this blog showing both sides of the bowls.
  
polymer canes
I have a small 4" dia porcelain bowl I used for the basic form and selected some of my finished polymer clays.  There are small to large canes in a variety of patterns.  I think this is a great way to use my old canes.  I wanted to see the same pattern on the outside and the outside of the bowls.  And I wanted my frogs that have translucent clay surrounding them to stand out.  When you pick up the bowl and look through it, two of the bowls remind me of stained glass.



The difficult part was finding the correct thickness to cut the polymer.  Too thin makes a very flexible bowl.  Each of these three bowls are different thicknesses.  The yellow one is the thickest and the stiffest.  All of them will be fine to use as bowls.  I just won't put them in the dishwasher due to the heat making them soft.  As they cool they will harden again but I don't think I'll take a chance on them being misshapen.

I had a great time making these and just had to share them with you.






Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Safari - Then and Now!

My Photo from My Safari in Tanzania - 2007

I saw the following article on the AFAR (my favorite travel magazine) website and thought how 
much fun it would be to compare my 2007 safari packing list to this list from 60 years ago.


My Journal entry: July 8 Pre-planning: Our trip starts September 8 2007 and we are concerned about the 35 pound weight limit per person. I bought a piece of luggage that weighs 5 pounds. These 35 pounds includes my backpack which will have my camera and lenses, journal and some basic items we may need if the luggage is lost. My backpack is 17 of the 35 pounds. My list: 1 pair sandals-leather, 1pr flip flops, 1 roll toilet paper, blue windbreaker, nightie, bra, 4 camisoles, 5 pr socks 6 pr undies, 2 pr cargo pants, 3 long sleeve shirts, a fold up pack for dirties.
And of course in my backpack: my Art Kit! an envelope book that fits into a vinyl zippered bag. It will have some small cut paper to use for sketching and writing, markers that are slow to dry out, pencils, small scissors, leather string, needle, and thread, sandpaper, several kinds of tape about 3 ft long wrapped on the leather thread, watercolors in paper form, a small brush, 2 ink pads and a plant press made of 2) 4” x 6” pieces of foam core with waxed paper sheets and rubber bands. This will fit in my backpack.
Also in my backpack: 2 Nikon lens and camera, binoculars,
pills, toothbrush and paste, shampoo and conditioner,
deodorant, bandaids, antibiotic, sun screen, kleenex packets, wet ones, lipgloss, mascara, fingernail file, small laundry pkts., 2 pr sunglasses, hairbrush, earplugs and a few other misc. items.
Total weight: 34.6 pounds (suitcase and backpack)
 FROM AFAR ( MY FAVORITE TRAVEL MAGAZINE)
This Safari Packing List from 60 Years Ago Will Make You
Laugh   Even cooler? 

You can go on this exact all-women Outback safari this year.

Cigarettes, a manicure kit, a skirt suit, perfume—these items are not exactly what you’d think to pack on your way to a rugged safari. But 60 years ago, in 1957, it was all on a packing list for a group of adventurous ladies who set off on a safari in the Australian Outback. The journey stretched roughly 287 miles from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock, known today as Uluru. It was one of the first all-women excursions in the Outback. Naturally, they had to look and smell their best, even if they were going on an off-the-beaten track excursion.
The 1957 safari was sponsored by Women’s Weekly; now, SEIT, an Australian tour operator, is giving women today the opportunity to follow the path of these explorers.
The tour will begin in Alice Springs, as did the journey 60 years ago. There, Edna Bradley will speak about the original tour, which she embarked on when she was 20 years old. The tour then will set off in sprinter buses for Uluru, where participants will explore Aboriginal lands and the jaw-dropping nature the Outback has to offer.
The cost for such an honor? AUD$1,780 per person, which includes accommodation and camping equipment, all meals, transportation, and tours. You can reserve a spot here.
Ready for a chuckle? Here’s the original 1957 packing list:
Underwear: At this time of year it would be quite comfortable to wear nylon undies. The colours should be either pink or blue and if possible, not white. If any passenger cannot wear nylon, swami or cotton would be best.
Nightwear: Pyjamas [sic] or nightdress, whichever preferred. Cotton would be best. A heavy dressing gown will not be required, so suggest a cotton housecoat. This will also save bulky packing and cut down on excess luggage.
Toilet Articles: Face washer, soap (in container), toothbrush and paste, skin perfumes (bottle tops to be cellotaped) talc powder, etc., shower cap and slippers, 2-3 towels. It would also be wise to pack make-up in your toilet bags and don’t forget your face tissues.
Manicure set: A very small manicure set would be advisable. However, a nail file, emery board and perhaps natural colourless nail polish would suffice.
Clothing - Air trip: The best travel outfit would be a suit with a not-too-slim skirt. If possible do not take an overcoat, as this will prove a nuisance. A large type of sports hardback could be carried, thus enabling you to take it on the various trips and so alleviate packing one. A hat would be unnecessary and shoes can be of the type you prefer. Your suit can be worn right through to Alice Springs if you so desire. I have made arrangements for this to be left at the hotel where it will be quite safe.
Clothing - Trip to Ayers Rock, etc.
(a) Clothes: Your clothes should be of the oldest possible kind. The best colours are khaki or tan. Overalls, jeans or light-weight slacks would be ideal. The same also applies to shirts or blouses. If you prefer not to wear this type of clothing, skirts in the colours would suit admirably. Wear whatever gives you the most comfort.
(b) Shoes: Desert boots, rubber soled walking shoes or sand shoes would be suitable.
(c) Sox [sic]: Should be the same colours as mentioned previously and if possible perhaps nylons which can be easily rinsed.
(d) Hats: A loopy [sic] or small type of linen sports hat so that a fly-net can be attached to same. The latter item is most essential. One or two scarves could be packed, as these could be tied around your hair to keep it from blowing whilst driving and also keep the dust out.
(e) Frock: If you so desired you could include a cotton frock, cotton skirt or a more dressy pair of slacks for the evenings. If you are taking a cotton frock you may want a pair of sandals to go with it.
(f) Cardigan: A cardigan is a must. The days will be very springlike but the nights are inclined to get a little cool. Once again, keep to your muted tones.
Essential Miscellaneous Items
-Sunglasses
-Skin cream. Climate very dry and may affect your skin.
-Plastic water bottle with drinking cup also of plastic.
-Cigarettes. If you smoke, it will be necessary for you to carry all your own cigarettes.
-Sweets. Lifesavers or kool mints are handy to have along.
-Coat Hangers. Do pack a couple of hangers as you will need to put your suit on one which will be left at the hotel.
-Handkerchiefs. If you use these, don’t forget to pack them. Kleenex Tissues (large) would be very suitable and cut down on laundering to be done on your return.
-Torch. This is a must.
-Camera. Don’t forget to carry this as the great outback has wonderful photographic material.
-Put these tickets in your handbag. You can’t get far without them.
link to the article  https://www.afar.com/magazine/this-safari-packing-list-from-60-years-ago-will-make-you-laugh

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Realizing What Really Is Important

Sometimes it takes a catastrophe to make us realize what really is important.  
                
Letting my everyday frustrations pile  and allowing my tendency to jump into projects that are at the far edge of my skillset caused some angst.   I made an overlay ring that went fairly well other than getting the silver too hot so the ring band is no longer symmetrical.  The good news is that it fits and if I don't let anyone see it closely it won't show and I like the texture caused by too much heat.
 

The overlay silver cuff class I took was a huge stretch for me.  I got most of the design sawed out in class but that was all.  'Ok' I said, 'I have everything at home and I can finish this there'.  When I got home I worked for 2 days to get the two pieces of silver to solder. It should have taken 15 minutes maybe.  At the end of the second day, I realized that the solder tip I was using was too small and when I changed to the next size with more heat  - the solder melted!  All I can say is that my torch and I are much better friends now!  The  piece of sterling will be a cuff one day.

Some day this will be a cuf!
My summer home project of repairing the low driveway stucco wall is taking all summer.  Today I bought the primer and the paint and I'm pretty sure I'll get it done this year!  I'm also pretty sure I won't do another stucco project.



None of these things are dramatic, catastrophic, or will be remembered in 5 years.  

When real disaster hits, everything falls back into areas of importance. That's when we realize how fortunate we are to have each other and to have our health.  It's when our hearts go out to those in need and our hands reach out to help.  I'm thinking of the victims of hurricane Harvey and the devastation to their lives.  



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Vintage Clothing

Finally I have some new vintage pieces in my vintage etsy shop
https://www.etsy.com/listing/537019176/vintage-dotted-swiss-dress-dotted-swiss?ref=shop_home_feat_2

This past week, I've decided that I need to put the vintage clothing on my vintage etsy shop.  www.brittdesign.etsy.com   I've had a plastic tote with some of my favorite vintage items packed away for several years making them even older.

sneak preview
Years ago, early 2000's, my good friend Jay and I shared a booth in Tucson's Copper Country Antique Mall.  It was a huge building with many spaces and a cafe inside.  A large bull on the roof named 'Fred' kept watch.  My parents had just moved into assisted living and my brother drove a UHaul truck filled with lots of their things.  Between that and the help of some friends, there was plenty to fill our space. My partner, Jay, has amazing talent at merchandising and selling so our space was really special.

Copper Country Antique Booth
There were several items I just could not part with when we finally closed our space and I packed them in this plastic tote. My vintage hat collection sold except for one hat.  I gave the 1920's flapper dress to a family member along with some long slips my grandmother wore.  Now I'm down to vintage pieces that are not family pieces and someone needs to enjoy them.

sneak peak
I've dragged my feet getting the items on my vintage etsy shop because the process takes so much time!  I'm out of excuses and will be adding pieces one by one.   Photos of each piece of clothing are taken.  I found a willing lovely model to photograph and the clothes  fit well enough.  We spent a morning in the woods with the sun coming through the trees and had a great time enjoying the early fashions.   Then came several hours of editing and taking a few more photos, cropping and resizing them and deciding which to use.  I promised my model I would not use her face!

Next came the descriptions, the measuring and the pricing.  There is quite a bit of research that goes into all of that.   When you see the Facebook post that says, 'Finally! I'm putting some lovely vintage clothing in my vintage etsy shop!'  you know what I mean!  I hope you will take a look once in awhile and see the additions.   www.brittdesign.etsy.com   





Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A New Journal Cover






Creating a journal cover in polymer clay that has an embossed leather look was a fun project!  I've  had the  centerpiece polymer parts done for months.  Some of you might remember me asking what I should do with them.  I decided to incorporate them into the cover!  




The polymer needed to be conditioned and I made 2 colors a few shades apart so I could interchange parts of the design.  I textured the clay by using a texture plate that reminded me of embossed leather.


After placing the decorations on the polymer and texturing, I used powdered copper, bronze an gold to create color movement.  At first it looked too bright but I burnished with a cloth.  It started looking like old leather!

I baked the 8 1/2 x 11 journal cover in the oven at 275 degrees for 30 minutes.  Then I painted a burnt umber over everything and wiped it off.  That really helped 'age' the cover.    

The cover is sealed with PMII  and glued to the journal.  It has an old world feel with mixed media components.  I hope someone enjoys using it!  




Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Sneak Preview of an Upcoming Collection

My Favorite Piece!
Planning a new collection of jewelry for the holidays takes time, thought, and experimentation!  I'm sharing some of the process.  The story goes something like this.  The owner of Prescott's Salon 3 asked if I might be interested in creatinng a holiday collection for the shop.  Of course, I said, " let me see what I come up with"

Holidays = color, shine, texture and surprise

Bits and Pieces
I realized those qualities were appearing in my combinations of patterns and colors.

combinations of color, texture, shine and surprise
 Once I had my combination for the collection, I started making beads and pendants in various shapes.  There is more to do but I wanted to give you a sneak preview!

going to be a necklace

Deep purple and lots of shine!



A little Asian flavor!

Center is Sugilite with metal clay copper ring on polymer background

A view of my work space in the process!
And if you have read this far, please leave a comment and a suggestion for the collection's name!  I'll have a surprise for the best suggestion!

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, September 20, 2017

Three Bowls



This week I've been seeing many small polymer bowls being made and not to be outdone, I've made my own.  I started to look for a tutorial on making polymer bowls and there are several but I decided to make them my way!  There is a movie at the end of this blog showing both sides of the bowls.
  
polymer canes
I have a small 4" dia porcelain bowl I used for the basic form and selected some of my finished polymer clays.  There are small to large canes in a variety of patterns.  I think this is a great way to use my old canes.  I wanted to see the same pattern on the outside and the outside of the bowls.  And I wanted my frogs that have translucent clay surrounding them to stand out.  When you pick up the bowl and look through it, two of the bowls remind me of stained glass.



The difficult part was finding the correct thickness to cut the polymer.  Too thin makes a very flexible bowl.  Each of these three bowls are different thicknesses.  The yellow one is the thickest and the stiffest.  All of them will be fine to use as bowls.  I just won't put them in the dishwasher due to the heat making them soft.  As they cool they will harden again but I don't think I'll take a chance on them being misshapen.

I had a great time making these and just had to share them with you.






Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Safari - Then and Now!

My Photo from My Safari in Tanzania - 2007

I saw the following article on the AFAR (my favorite travel magazine) website and thought how 
much fun it would be to compare my 2007 safari packing list to this list from 60 years ago.


My Journal entry: July 8 Pre-planning: Our trip starts September 8 2007 and we are concerned about the 35 pound weight limit per person. I bought a piece of luggage that weighs 5 pounds. These 35 pounds includes my backpack which will have my camera and lenses, journal and some basic items we may need if the luggage is lost. My backpack is 17 of the 35 pounds. My list: 1 pair sandals-leather, 1pr flip flops, 1 roll toilet paper, blue windbreaker, nightie, bra, 4 camisoles, 5 pr socks 6 pr undies, 2 pr cargo pants, 3 long sleeve shirts, a fold up pack for dirties.
And of course in my backpack: my Art Kit! an envelope book that fits into a vinyl zippered bag. It will have some small cut paper to use for sketching and writing, markers that are slow to dry out, pencils, small scissors, leather string, needle, and thread, sandpaper, several kinds of tape about 3 ft long wrapped on the leather thread, watercolors in paper form, a small brush, 2 ink pads and a plant press made of 2) 4” x 6” pieces of foam core with waxed paper sheets and rubber bands. This will fit in my backpack.
Also in my backpack: 2 Nikon lens and camera, binoculars,
pills, toothbrush and paste, shampoo and conditioner,
deodorant, bandaids, antibiotic, sun screen, kleenex packets, wet ones, lipgloss, mascara, fingernail file, small laundry pkts., 2 pr sunglasses, hairbrush, earplugs and a few other misc. items.
Total weight: 34.6 pounds (suitcase and backpack)
 FROM AFAR ( MY FAVORITE TRAVEL MAGAZINE)
This Safari Packing List from 60 Years Ago Will Make You
Laugh   Even cooler? 

You can go on this exact all-women Outback safari this year.

Cigarettes, a manicure kit, a skirt suit, perfume—these items are not exactly what you’d think to pack on your way to a rugged safari. But 60 years ago, in 1957, it was all on a packing list for a group of adventurous ladies who set off on a safari in the Australian Outback. The journey stretched roughly 287 miles from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock, known today as Uluru. It was one of the first all-women excursions in the Outback. Naturally, they had to look and smell their best, even if they were going on an off-the-beaten track excursion.
The 1957 safari was sponsored by Women’s Weekly; now, SEIT, an Australian tour operator, is giving women today the opportunity to follow the path of these explorers.
The tour will begin in Alice Springs, as did the journey 60 years ago. There, Edna Bradley will speak about the original tour, which she embarked on when she was 20 years old. The tour then will set off in sprinter buses for Uluru, where participants will explore Aboriginal lands and the jaw-dropping nature the Outback has to offer.
The cost for such an honor? AUD$1,780 per person, which includes accommodation and camping equipment, all meals, transportation, and tours. You can reserve a spot here.
Ready for a chuckle? Here’s the original 1957 packing list:
Underwear: At this time of year it would be quite comfortable to wear nylon undies. The colours should be either pink or blue and if possible, not white. If any passenger cannot wear nylon, swami or cotton would be best.
Nightwear: Pyjamas [sic] or nightdress, whichever preferred. Cotton would be best. A heavy dressing gown will not be required, so suggest a cotton housecoat. This will also save bulky packing and cut down on excess luggage.
Toilet Articles: Face washer, soap (in container), toothbrush and paste, skin perfumes (bottle tops to be cellotaped) talc powder, etc., shower cap and slippers, 2-3 towels. It would also be wise to pack make-up in your toilet bags and don’t forget your face tissues.
Manicure set: A very small manicure set would be advisable. However, a nail file, emery board and perhaps natural colourless nail polish would suffice.
Clothing - Air trip: The best travel outfit would be a suit with a not-too-slim skirt. If possible do not take an overcoat, as this will prove a nuisance. A large type of sports hardback could be carried, thus enabling you to take it on the various trips and so alleviate packing one. A hat would be unnecessary and shoes can be of the type you prefer. Your suit can be worn right through to Alice Springs if you so desire. I have made arrangements for this to be left at the hotel where it will be quite safe.
Clothing - Trip to Ayers Rock, etc.
(a) Clothes: Your clothes should be of the oldest possible kind. The best colours are khaki or tan. Overalls, jeans or light-weight slacks would be ideal. The same also applies to shirts or blouses. If you prefer not to wear this type of clothing, skirts in the colours would suit admirably. Wear whatever gives you the most comfort.
(b) Shoes: Desert boots, rubber soled walking shoes or sand shoes would be suitable.
(c) Sox [sic]: Should be the same colours as mentioned previously and if possible perhaps nylons which can be easily rinsed.
(d) Hats: A loopy [sic] or small type of linen sports hat so that a fly-net can be attached to same. The latter item is most essential. One or two scarves could be packed, as these could be tied around your hair to keep it from blowing whilst driving and also keep the dust out.
(e) Frock: If you so desired you could include a cotton frock, cotton skirt or a more dressy pair of slacks for the evenings. If you are taking a cotton frock you may want a pair of sandals to go with it.
(f) Cardigan: A cardigan is a must. The days will be very springlike but the nights are inclined to get a little cool. Once again, keep to your muted tones.
Essential Miscellaneous Items
-Sunglasses
-Skin cream. Climate very dry and may affect your skin.
-Plastic water bottle with drinking cup also of plastic.
-Cigarettes. If you smoke, it will be necessary for you to carry all your own cigarettes.
-Sweets. Lifesavers or kool mints are handy to have along.
-Coat Hangers. Do pack a couple of hangers as you will need to put your suit on one which will be left at the hotel.
-Handkerchiefs. If you use these, don’t forget to pack them. Kleenex Tissues (large) would be very suitable and cut down on laundering to be done on your return.
-Torch. This is a must.
-Camera. Don’t forget to carry this as the great outback has wonderful photographic material.
-Put these tickets in your handbag. You can’t get far without them.
link to the article  https://www.afar.com/magazine/this-safari-packing-list-from-60-years-ago-will-make-you-laugh

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Realizing What Really Is Important

Sometimes it takes a catastrophe to make us realize what really is important.  
                
Letting my everyday frustrations pile  and allowing my tendency to jump into projects that are at the far edge of my skillset caused some angst.   I made an overlay ring that went fairly well other than getting the silver too hot so the ring band is no longer symmetrical.  The good news is that it fits and if I don't let anyone see it closely it won't show and I like the texture caused by too much heat.
 

The overlay silver cuff class I took was a huge stretch for me.  I got most of the design sawed out in class but that was all.  'Ok' I said, 'I have everything at home and I can finish this there'.  When I got home I worked for 2 days to get the two pieces of silver to solder. It should have taken 15 minutes maybe.  At the end of the second day, I realized that the solder tip I was using was too small and when I changed to the next size with more heat  - the solder melted!  All I can say is that my torch and I are much better friends now!  The  piece of sterling will be a cuff one day.

Some day this will be a cuf!
My summer home project of repairing the low driveway stucco wall is taking all summer.  Today I bought the primer and the paint and I'm pretty sure I'll get it done this year!  I'm also pretty sure I won't do another stucco project.



None of these things are dramatic, catastrophic, or will be remembered in 5 years.  

When real disaster hits, everything falls back into areas of importance. That's when we realize how fortunate we are to have each other and to have our health.  It's when our hearts go out to those in need and our hands reach out to help.  I'm thinking of the victims of hurricane Harvey and the devastation to their lives.  



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Vintage Clothing

Finally I have some new vintage pieces in my vintage etsy shop
https://www.etsy.com/listing/537019176/vintage-dotted-swiss-dress-dotted-swiss?ref=shop_home_feat_2

This past week, I've decided that I need to put the vintage clothing on my vintage etsy shop.  www.brittdesign.etsy.com   I've had a plastic tote with some of my favorite vintage items packed away for several years making them even older.

sneak preview
Years ago, early 2000's, my good friend Jay and I shared a booth in Tucson's Copper Country Antique Mall.  It was a huge building with many spaces and a cafe inside.  A large bull on the roof named 'Fred' kept watch.  My parents had just moved into assisted living and my brother drove a UHaul truck filled with lots of their things.  Between that and the help of some friends, there was plenty to fill our space. My partner, Jay, has amazing talent at merchandising and selling so our space was really special.

Copper Country Antique Booth
There were several items I just could not part with when we finally closed our space and I packed them in this plastic tote. My vintage hat collection sold except for one hat.  I gave the 1920's flapper dress to a family member along with some long slips my grandmother wore.  Now I'm down to vintage pieces that are not family pieces and someone needs to enjoy them.

sneak peak
I've dragged my feet getting the items on my vintage etsy shop because the process takes so much time!  I'm out of excuses and will be adding pieces one by one.   Photos of each piece of clothing are taken.  I found a willing lovely model to photograph and the clothes  fit well enough.  We spent a morning in the woods with the sun coming through the trees and had a great time enjoying the early fashions.   Then came several hours of editing and taking a few more photos, cropping and resizing them and deciding which to use.  I promised my model I would not use her face!

Next came the descriptions, the measuring and the pricing.  There is quite a bit of research that goes into all of that.   When you see the Facebook post that says, 'Finally! I'm putting some lovely vintage clothing in my vintage etsy shop!'  you know what I mean!  I hope you will take a look once in awhile and see the additions.   www.brittdesign.etsy.com   





Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A New Journal Cover






Creating a journal cover in polymer clay that has an embossed leather look was a fun project!  I've  had the  centerpiece polymer parts done for months.  Some of you might remember me asking what I should do with them.  I decided to incorporate them into the cover!  




The polymer needed to be conditioned and I made 2 colors a few shades apart so I could interchange parts of the design.  I textured the clay by using a texture plate that reminded me of embossed leather.


After placing the decorations on the polymer and texturing, I used powdered copper, bronze an gold to create color movement.  At first it looked too bright but I burnished with a cloth.  It started looking like old leather!

I baked the 8 1/2 x 11 journal cover in the oven at 275 degrees for 30 minutes.  Then I painted a burnt umber over everything and wiped it off.  That really helped 'age' the cover.    

The cover is sealed with PMII  and glued to the journal.  It has an old world feel with mixed media components.  I hope someone enjoys using it!  




Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Sneak Preview of an Upcoming Collection

My Favorite Piece!
Planning a new collection of jewelry for the holidays takes time, thought, and experimentation!  I'm sharing some of the process.  The story goes something like this.  The owner of Prescott's Salon 3 asked if I might be interested in creatinng a holiday collection for the shop.  Of course, I said, " let me see what I come up with"

Holidays = color, shine, texture and surprise

Bits and Pieces
I realized those qualities were appearing in my combinations of patterns and colors.

combinations of color, texture, shine and surprise
 Once I had my combination for the collection, I started making beads and pendants in various shapes.  There is more to do but I wanted to give you a sneak preview!

going to be a necklace

Deep purple and lots of shine!



A little Asian flavor!

Center is Sugilite with metal clay copper ring on polymer background

A view of my work space in the process!
And if you have read this far, please leave a comment and a suggestion for the collection's name!  I'll have a surprise for the best suggestion!

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!