Saturday, December 29, 2012

Camp Verde, AZ

A few days ago, my family stopped by Camp Verde, AZ to visit my in-laws. On our way out, the kids asked if we could pause for a moment or so by the river near the house. Running water and trees? I'm so there. So I snapped a few shots along the way.


And, since this is sort of a crafting blog, here are a few of the items that I made for Christmas presents. The first is a pair of socks that I cranked out on my antique sock knitting machine. I was really proud of the way I got the stripes to match up on these!
And this is a necklace I put together for my daughter. The pendant is one that I bought from an artist last summer at Fibers Through Time. I made the chain from copper wire, using the Viking Wire Weaving technique. (Look over to the left there in my 'popular posts' for the link to the tutorial on how to do that.) I was really pleased with the way this turned out.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Photography, roses, cattail fluff, and serendipity

This is the picture I was going for today, for my 'picture a day' project. I have roses growing around an itty bitty pond in my front courtyard. The pond has a few cattails that have decided to grow in it, and my kids love playing with the cattail fluff. They'll grab a handful and just blow, making all sorts of dancing bits of fluff fill the air. So, my daughter thought it would be pretty to have the fluff fill the air around the rose. Both she and my son had a great time blowing fluff for me, and we eventually got the shot.

But...I looked over, and spotted something else just as cool. So I kept shooting, but changed where I was aiming without my son being aware of it. Is this not an awesome shot? I so want to title it, "I DO believe in fairies!!" It looks like he has a glowing creature cradled in his hands. I love it.

So, what did I learn today? Remember to look all around you! Sometimes the coolest capture is not what you're focused on originally.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Juggling balls and restocking the shop

Now that most of the Christmas crafting is done, I'm starting to pay attention to my poor neglected Etsy shop again. My stock there has been dwindling down, and it is time to do something about that. So today I started taking photographs of some of the juggling balls sets that I had lying around. They had been in a little craft store, but unfortunately it was a victim of the struggling economy and closed its doors earlier this year. So I had some back stock. While I was updating, I got a request for a custom set of juggling balls, in blues and greens. I figured while I was at it, I'd make up a whole batch of a half dozen sets in some of the more popular color patterns. So, before dinner I spent awhile wrapping golf balls in wool roving.
After dinner, I rolled up my sleeves and got into the physical part of the process. I coat my hands with a drop of the dish soap, pick up one of the proto-balls, and soak the bundle under some hot running tap water. Then I toss the ball back and forth between my hands, rolling it around and around, until the wool shrinks down and velcros itself together. Once I had them all well felted, I threw the whole lot into the dryer to tumble around for a final hardened finish. Man, that many golf balls in the dryer are loud!
I'll be taking more pictures and getting these up in the shop over the next few days. Time to re-stock!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The Christmas cards are mailed, the packages to distant family are shipped, and today the family took the afternoon off and we put up the tree together. Yes, it really is as tall as it looks! I have to stand on a step stool to decorate the top branches, and I still can't reach the star. My son can, though. How did I get to be the tiny one in the family? I can remember the days when I used to be big... Anyway, there is still some shopping to do for the in house folks, and maybe some more cookie baking to do. We've already gone through a batch of my great-great-grandmother's cookies. They were fun to make with the kids (kids = young adults at this point, but they are still my kids!), and made a lovely late night indulgence the other evening with a bowl of peppermint stick ice cream and a hot mug of licorice spice tea.

I have a few more projects that I want to finish up (pictures after Christmas), but now that the tree is up I can pretty much relax and enjoy. I do so love this season!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Daily moments and Chrismas presents

I'm going to pop some filler pictures in here, that I've been taking for my 'picture a day' project. Now, if you are one of my close relatives, don't scroll down past these pictures until after Christmas. The rest of you? Wander on down to see what I've been up to as you choose.

I've been putting the lights on the Christmas tree...

And enjoying the roses blooming in my front garden...
Noticing the textures in the orange grove near work...
And enjoying quiet moments in the studio. (Actually this is my son holding his trombone behind the candle. But it counts as quiet because he wasn't actually playing at the time.)

Annnd..... (Relatives all gone yet?)
Very busily weaving 6 sets of 4 napkins for my extended family. This started out as white 10/2 mercerized perle cotton for the warp. I hand painted the warp with four colors of brown/rust/cream, using the method I showed you all in this post: . Then I used solid colors of 10/2 cotton for the weft, making it so each set of napkins was unique. Total time in the project was 30 1/2 hours, which means these napkin sets are too labor intensive to make for sale at a reasonable price. But they'll make lovely Christmas presents, don't you think?

And this is why I haven't been posting much recently. My family reads my blog here, and I didn't want to post process pictures of their presents and spoil the surprise. But I figure they can stand it for one post a year.