Sunday, December 30, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Gifts Galore.


This beautiful little collage was a gift from the talented Dawn. If you want to find out about that delicious background then look for the reference to potato chips on Dawn's blog.
One of the added Christmas blessings was being spoilt by gifts galore. I won't bore you with pictures of my food processor, if you are a local friend you may get to taste the results, you may even join me on a picnic where we will use my new picnic basket. It was the year of the cat, and I received a beautiful porcelain cat, cat bowls, cat calendar and more. I love the strange serendipity of Christmas gifts.
I remember the year as a child where I received three watches, and the year of heart lockets, the year of note paper and the year of tea towels. I remember the year of petticoats (if only the Grandma's and Aunties knew I wore them as dresses and felt like a princess). There was the year of cutlery and the year of car accessories. Some of these 'years' match with trends and interests, others don't. Each giver spent ages choosing a gift and thought that they would be unique, so of course - even as a child - the gift were valued. Have you had a 'Year Of ...'?
These two art dolls were from Dotee: Henny House and Feelings.
When I picked up Henny I smiled and looked around for someone to share her with (Archer obliged,but was disappointed to only get a look). When I opened Feelings I paused to look within. Later I reflected that it was the essence of the artist that led to two quite simple dolls changing my feelings and emotions. Thank you Dotee.

This beautiful jewellery was a gift from my Aunty, in England, and was made by her grand daughter (does that make Rachel a second cousin?). Anyway, my wardrobe is bulging with purple clothes and I just ordered a pair of purple shoes, so I am sure these will get a lot of wear.

There are so many gifts I could blog, and when I get broadband (very soon) then that will become easier. For now know that I appreciate each and every piece of art I receive.
I am always blown away by the gifts I receive, those chosen with loving care and those created from the heart.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Christmas Bling

Due to popular request (giggles) my Christmas ‘bling’ appears here. The sterling silver necklace features a rare filigree spoon handle; I have two different ones and have not yet found more. The heart and amythyst piece above the spoon is a silver brooch given to me decades ago – and now looks silly on its own against my large body
The wonderful large beads are hand made in Nepal and their caps are engraved sterling silver, the smaller round beads are vintage speckled glass.
Christmas Day was bliss, lovely family, huge quantities of delicious food (Which is always calorie free on public holidays), delightful gifts, bubbly and an adorable neice who got so much joy from unwrapping gifts and playing with new toys.

Archer would like me to tell you that he was a very good boy – and he was! I came home and cooked fresh fish for Charles and Phantom so all boys were spoilt too.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Blessings To YOU

from Julie, Charles, Phantom and our model for this evening, Archer.
Do you see Archer's collar? His Christmas bling involved some ferocious concentration and a little time. A few lessons were learnt: Beading in bed leads to an uncomfortable nights sleep and guests may think you are mad to make a collar.
I have just finished my bling, a new silver necklace to wear tomorrow. I even used some of my 'too good to use' treasures.
Have a safe and happy day as we celebrate this special birthday.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Soar

I had started this necklace a week or two ago but it was one of the projects I completed sitting at the table with dear friends. My dining table looks out over town, to hills and ranges, giving clear views of each and every weather change. It also allows those seated to see many birds including the seagulls that circle in the storms and the pelicans whose flight path I am under. It was such a precious time to be creating with friends who saw my view as a gift; who reminded me of my blessings.
With the encouragement of Dawn and Kylie I have listed 'Soar', a OOAK necklace on Etsy ( www.julieh7@etsy.com) . I have no idea why I am not allowed to do links today, will try to tidy this up tomorrow. Meanwhile many thanks to Nina with whom I made my first booklace.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Blissful Times

I have had my lovely friend Dawn to stay over the past weekend and more. What a treat to spend so much quality time with an art buddy, and particularly one with such a very generous heart. Even more, one whose body clock matched mine: afternoon naps, late nights and a sleep in every morning – bliss.
It was my birthday over the weekend and I took the opportunity to have family and close friends join me for a cheap and cheerful meal at the local Squid Shack; Dawn’s sweet and friendly family (who were camping just our of town) joined us too. My neice showed off her new shoes, as my Dad begged left overs. No, no, he was not hungry – just delighted to see L throw the chips for seagulls braving the cold weather outside.
I was blessed with many delightful gifts (always an unexpected surprise at 37) including the stunning quilt above. This is my friend Kerry’s very first patchwork effort! Yep, I am speechless too.
Archer and Phantom adored Dawnie, and it was a blessing to watch someone else delight in their affection and antics – hilarious too when Archer scoped out Dawn’s icicle dolls and selected one for himself. It was rescued very quickly and no beads were ingested.
Charles was shy and as Dawn spent time with her family on Monday he squeezed in a weekends worth of cuddles. I was trying to list some scrummy house shaped buckles on my etsy with him smooching on my lap. Definitely not items from a pet free home, but hopefully still hair free!
So much more to tell, and art to share, however I HAVE to take my list and go forth in search of several errant Christmas gifts; the 'just right item' to complete my packages.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This and That

I have been helping out in a jewellery class at school; and picking up a few tips myself. In a quiet hour last week while most of the student's were working on projects I made this bracelet. I think every wire wrap is shaped by a question: Can you show me jump rings again? Is this tight enough? How do I? It was a nice haven, a comfort zone within a comfort zone; wire within teaching. I didn't have anyone in mind as I made this one so I have popped it on Etsy.
Thanks to Sherry, Kate and Dawn for participating in PIF you will get surprises soon.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pay it Forward

"I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don't know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog." is what I read on the talented and kind Gunnel's blog a few weeks ago. Yesterday this lovely quilted Christmas card arrived in my mail box - despite the fact I was fourth to comment.
Now I make the same commitment to you - I think it will be some of the ATC's from the same series as the one above which will wing their way to you.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Gifts from the heart

on etsy
My lovely friend Kim sent Halloween to Australia for the second year. Do you see the candy corn socks and ribbon? My first candy corn experience, in 2006, was bliss. Love the button and trim, ummm... but I might have enough spiders :) . Kim and I are doing a special swap at the moment - I am looking forward to sharing the results.
Nikki blew me away with the time that went into this Box of Chocolates; each of the little books has quotes about chocolate, for example: Man can not live on chocolate alone; but woman sure can.
The guarantee on the back cracked me up: All chocolates are guaranteed to give hours of amusement and are 100% calorie free. Enjoy as often as required. Please store in a cool dry place away from Clever but Cute Cavalier Spaniels and Aiding and Abetting Cats. Containers no Macadamia Nuts (cos a nut takes up space where a chocolate should be). Just precious.
This classy box came from my friend Kylie and now is home to my 'business cards' - yep, you heard right. I am often asked when wearing my jewellery if I have 'a card', so I made some and try to remember to have one in my purse. Makes me feel like a bit of a Diva.
This box came from the talented Carmel. At the moment it has some of my favourite metal buttons in it. Not sure if that will be its 'forever job'.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mid-week Art

I found this picture of a tri-colour Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in an old Readers Digest Condensed Book. In the picture a lovely old lady is holding her CKCS on her lap. Somehow framing it gives the look that 'he' is about to be strangled. Ummm I do understand that feeling, at least once a day - between cuddles.
My Mum commissioned this Cat Food Tin Lid People Posy for a friend; she was pleased with the way this one worked out. I am all done with Christmas commissions now and have one or two special projects I want to complete - then it will be free play for a couple of months, YeeHa!
I have received a lot of amazing art and treats in the mail this week and will make my next post a celebration of arty friends.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Intention, Obsession and Reality

I have been buying typewriter keys for years; how I wish I was in the UK or the USA and could buy whole typewriters cheaply; but I digress. This was the year, and this was the weekend. I was finally going to whip up a batch of earrings, the odd bracelet and ... well who knows. But of course I decided I needed to pull the letters for the first pair apart; they needed cleaning. Then I figured I might as well do the whole set.
It became and obsession, I now have three sets of keys in piles like this on my desk. I am ignoring the others, they are hidden in a drawer again. Perhaps I should sell them, then their dirty glass would not haunt me, but they are so beautiful. Who used them? What messages did they send?
So now I have three sets all clean and ready to put together, a free (except for the vacuum) Sunday afternoon and an overcast creative day. But, now I have decided I might as well drill them all as I put them together - at least 150 tiny holes, the ones in glass with a fine diamond drill bit...
That jewellery might end up gifts for 2008 and you might find chocolates inside this years wrapping paper. I kid you not. I have already given up on Christmas cards and decided to send Happy New Year cards - again - it happened in 2005.
Why couldn't I have just made a set of earrings? I guess the answer is simple, that is not who I am...

Friday, November 23, 2007

A visitor and more

There have been a lot of spiders this year, and I really don't mind them - outside. This one was too close for comfort as I groggily reached for the tea canister this morning. I know he is harmless, I know he eats the flies ... but that does not mean I want to live with him.
So, after the obligatory squeal as my fingers brushed his back I stood up looked around and realised I was alone. Archer could not reach the bench, the boys would not. Bravely I gathered Mr Hairy into a glass, tiptoed outside and released him, over next doors fence.
Note to self: Next time check a) The neighbours are not having coffee on their veranda and b) That I have clothes covering all 'bits'.

These teeny tiny junk pins are 1" wide and were such fun to make. If you know where I can source more of these little kilt pins please let me know.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A little more play.

If you would like to see more of the detail in these ATC's then click on the image; they should enlarge. Thank you so much for the encouragement and comments after I posted the first five in this series. I framed up the images for these last weekend and tinkered with them for the rest of the week. I have used some more images of my father and his brothers - all spares from a memory board I did for Dad's 60th a few years ago. I used some pictures from my collection of strangers too.
Thank you also to those of you who have bought some treasures from my Etsy clean out. I am going to put some bigger items on e-bay soon. For now there are some buttons on Etsy.
I have a button addiction. I admit it. I sorted my buttons into colours a few weeks ago. After I had filled one compartmentalised container 20" x 12" and had half filled the second I realised I had more buttons than I could ever use. I have made up a dozen bags of 50+ and will put them on Etsy today.
Look at this fabulous collection of art and ephemera, it was a gift/trade with Sherry. What an amazing lot of thought has gone into this gift, two beautiful pieces of art, some vintage Sunday School lesson cards, ration vouchers from Sherry's family during the war, old photo's and more. Archer got his own little bag of goodies... I truly treasure each and every piece. Thanks Sherry (my e-mails to you are bouncing...).

Monday, November 12, 2007

Play Time

On Saturday as I was cleaning and sorting in the art room I kept coming across little bits and pieces that were in the wrong containers, did I put them in the right containers? No. I started to play. I thoroughly enjoyed losing myself in the little pieces.

I have a few pieces of jewellery on my Etsy, with the excess of embellishments I have begun to list. But, I think the focus on paper has come from jewellery commissions I have to complete this week. Does that make sense? I read Misty’s latest post and thought, oh yes, that is me – best under pressure and last minute … now if only I could create art which ‘talks’ like hers.

By the way, I don’t normally use family pictures in my work, but the three little boys in the top ATC’s are my Dad and two of his brothers! Weren’t they cute?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Trading Treasure

I lugged this lot out to the verge this morning, and tried not to be irritated by neighbours scavenging before I had my pile just so. After all, I am planning on driving around a few streets just to see if there are any pet baskets or suitcases lying around. Naturally I lifted too much and did something to my neck, so decided to head inside to put away all the art goodies I bought last weekend.
I was just about to dash back out for more storage containers when I realised I had more charms, stampings and bits than I will uses in several life times. I am a dreadful shopper - always buying in bulk - after all it is cheaper - umm, not if I just keep the goodies. I have started listing some items - mostly in mixed bags - on my Etsy. Hopefully some of you will make my excesses your treasure.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Art, Bargains, Gifts and an Update

Archer is sleeping happily on my lap, and seems to be well on the way to recovery so I thought I would share some goodies. The photo above demonstrates my families relatively new understanding of what makes me tick. The escutcheon, beautifully tarnished and genuinely old was a gift from my brother on Sunday. The rusty bottle cap from my English Aunty, here to stay for a few weeks, she spotted it when our walking. All the other goodies in a little bag from my dear Dad. Just precious, and I must remember to ask him what the fantastic round holey thing on the left is.
I had to make another Vintage Posy, just for the pleasure of assembling the pieces. This is the result viewed both in bright mid-day sunshine and inside.
When I met with Dawn last week she gave me a blank round canvas, I was itching to try working on a round base and took a little time to play. Kylie do you recognise the flowers?(another gift from a talented friend)
The delicious goodies below are purchases (and gifts) from Judy, at Red Velvet Elements. I am just itching to get going on the projects I have in mind for these and yet I am determined not to whinge about lack of art time, or at least to whinge less. A recent letter from a child I sponsor in Rwanda reminded me that she spends all day surviving and that play time is not just a treat for her - it is unknown.
While searching for some more oxidising patina on the weekend I spent a blissful half hour in a local non-franchise, owner run hardware store. My squeals of delight amused both the father and grandfather (of two of my students). The escutcheons are brass and the dear man wanted to polish them for me - I suggested that touching them with a polishing cloth may lead to violence and he backed off - shaking his head in bemusement. I bought wonderful little nails - that were weighed out on antique scales too!
I do love to shop locally, but an art addiction of mine is the copper mesh below. Super fine, it can be folded, cut, torn, heated, aged etc, etc. The only place I can find it in Western Australia sells the mesh in 12" x 6" pieces for $15. This roll (OK, I confess I bought two) is 12" by 36" and cost US$11 in Michael deMeng's store. Even with the exchange rate and postage I am getting a complete bargain - six times as much for almost exactly the same money. Which of course justifies the other goodies I bought, including these gorgeous nails with raised numbers on their ends - I don't know if I will be able to actually use them, I just like looking at them in the cute little glass jar.

The pumpkin hour as arrived and so off to bed I go. Can you guess what I will dream about?

Macadamia Toxicity in Dogs

I heard that Macadamias were bad for dogs, just as I had heard that onions and chocolate were bad for dogs. Our farm dogs ate a lot of Mum’s stew (full of onions) and were healthy old darlings. Most of us have snuck a piece of chocolate to our dog and it has been fine too. As few as 6 macadamias can send a dog into toxic shock.

On Saturday my fridge moved on to that great hole above which the seagulls circle, after 19 long years of service. It was a sudden end. My brother lent me his old fridge so I would have time to choose a new one – what a star! I dashed out to replace my vegies without securing the house from the canine Hoover. He found a bag of macadamias on a side table – and I guess the smell called him; he ate a lot, about a cup and a half!

By early evening Archer was choosing bed not my company. By late evening he was staggering his back legs unable to hold his weight, had a temperature of 39 deg C (yep I have a doggy thermometer for that place) and his little body was wracked with tremors. I Googled the Macadamia nuts and was shocked to read that this was a normal reaction. A late night trip to my vet was frustrating – the vet on call-out had not heard of the problem and could not get any information from sources she considered reliable.

A chat to my regular vet this morning has confirmed my reading from last night. I must keep Archer’s temperature down (to prevent organ failure), or he has to go in and be on a drip. The rear end paralysis/weakness, tremors and major signs will resolve themselves with 48 hours. The associated depression could last a little longer! Lucky for Arch’ the garbage guts had actually swallowed most of the nuts whole – don’t ask me how I know that, but as he can’t hold his own back end up to ….

As we come up to Christmas with bowls of nuts sitting around at parties this becomes a real risk. My past posts have led me to a sisterhood of doggy Mums who despair at their eating habits. Please take care and let anyone with a dog know about this one.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Something old, something new ...

and not a wedding on the calendar. This necklace really challenged me mentally.
The elephant was part of a vintage bracelet, I almost didn't buy it because it was labelled 'hand carved bone'. After wandering away a few times I realised that I somehow needed to give new life to this old piece - in order to justify the death of whatever animal it was carved from. When I ran the blow torch over the pieces, to highlight the texture, the terrible smell which arose confirmed I was indeed working with real bone.
I sat and looked at this piece for ages- waiting for it to talk to me, wanting to do it justice. I wasted more copper wire, trying a couple of arrangements, than I have in the entire past year.
Now I am happy the piece tells the story I wanted it to and I enjoyed wearing it today. I will list it on etsy later in the week.

The beautiful tassels were my swap with Doreen! They are even more luxurious in real life; I keep running my fingers down them.
The wind spinner below features beautiful buttons (you know I love those), stones and mirrors; it was a gift from Melissa and came with a wonderful canvas and beautiful quiltie. I have definitely been spoilt this week.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

An Outing to Smile About

I picked a strange day for a journey, but it was a good one. Today I headed East along the coast to visit with my friend Dawn and her family.
Spring seems to have rushed away and winter has jumped back in to its so recently vacated slot. Just a couple of days ago, Thursday in fact, it was 29C (85F); today the temperature rose to 12C (50F) and we were surprised by loud drifts of hail raining on us from the heavens.
We sat in freezing temperatures chatting about art, family and furry people. It was such a joy to meet Dawn's lovely daughters - what special people. Fun to play 'Greed' (a dice game) with them and to enjoy the fact I was with a most generous friend.
All the attention wore my little man out and he slept almost all the way home. Yes, he is wearing a coat ... I know ... I know ... I may have laughed at 'clothed' dogs in the past, forgive me please, I changed my mind.
Being the forgetful woman I am, I forgot about the camera until I was in the car and well on the way home. However, I enjoy the contrast in the photo's over the Pallinup Bridge in sunlight and the rain falling thickly as I drive.
Mt Manypeaks was a lovely sight, its' two highest peaks dusted with clouds.
Have a safe and warm Sunday. West Aussie's don't forget to adjust your clocks, and I will be back with some art soon.