Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snowed in

We got quite a bit of snow yesterday in Western NC. It varies from 5" to 8" in different parts of our yard.

Front yard and the woods...


The front sidewalk...


Weird formation on the railing...


Front steps before anyone walked on them...


Looking out the back door...




Our dog loved running full speed all over the yard.








Looking out over our front yard/down the driveway...


Front porch steps after the dog and I messed up all the snow...


St. Francis in our front yard...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - Honk honk



One of my favorite places in the world is this lake in Black Mountain, NC, about 20 miles west of Asheville. I used to live there and loved walking around the lake every morning, enjoying the beauty of the surrounding mountains and the wildlife.

On Tuesday I met a friend at a restaurant for lunch in Black Mountain and then drove over to the lake for a walk. As you can see, it was an overcast day with a blustery wind but I savored every moment. I felt sorry for the birds having to be out in the cold, and they were not happy with me, disturbing their nap when I walked by. They untucked their little heads from under their wings, and let me know in no uncertain terms with some energetic "honks"! :) Aren't they beautiful?



"In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind." (Job 12:10)

~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~
There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says:
I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know it's true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God

So look around you and see where YOU can see God's fingerprints. Is it in nature? Kids? Animals? Where do you see them? To find out how to join "Fingerprint Friday" and see links to other posts, visit Beki at The Rusted Chain.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lion, Tiger, and Bear Share Lifelong Bond



Posted on care2.com

By Stephanie Rogers, MNN.com

They were together even as tiny cubs, found in Atlanta, Ga., during a police raid on the home of a drug baron. So perhaps that strange beginning helped forge this unusual friendship between Leo, Shere Khan and Baloo — a lion, a tiger and a bear.

Now, the trio lives together in their own purpose-built habitat at Noah’s Ark rescue center in Locust Grove, Ga., where they even have a creek to swim in.

They moved into the roughly $24,000 home after living with the zoo’s founders for eight years.

“To our knowledge, this is the only place where you’ll find this combination of animals together, they are our BLT, (bear, lion and tiger),” said Diane Smith, assistant director of the zoo at Noah’s Ark.

Visitors can watch the 1,000-pound bear, 350-pound lion and 350-pound tiger play together in the grass, or lounge on their porch.

Jama Hedgecloth, cofounder of the zoo, says the animals are “oblivious” to the fact that they wouldn’t be friends in nature. They share a bond that Hedgecloth and her husband Charles recognized early on.

“It is wonderful and magical to see a giant American black bear put his arm around a Bengal tiger and then to see the tiger nuzzle up to the bear like a domestic cat. When Leo wakes up, the three of them mess around for most of the day before they settle down to some food.”

“Noah’s Ark is their home and they could not possibly be separated from each other.”

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - Happy Birthday, Meg!


Today is my granddaughter Megan Claire's 8th birthday! I thank God for this beautiful little girl I'm privileged to know and love. She is very smart, loves horses, is great at soccer and is our "girly girl." Love you, Meg!

~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~
There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says:
I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know it's true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God

So look around you and see where YOU can see God's fingerprints. Is it in nature? Kids? Animals? Where do you see them? To find out how to join "Fingerprint Friday" and see links to other posts, visit Beki at The Rusted Chain.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tutorial - How to use Alcohol Inks with Polymer Clay - Part II - Faux Ceramic


This is the 2nd part of my tutorial for using alcohol inks with polymer clay. Today we explore how to make "faux ceramic" pieces.

What you need:



• White polymer clay or light-colored scrap clay
• Something you can press into the clay to texture it (see step 2 below)
• Cookie cutter or craft knife
• Wax paper
• Alcohol inks
• Paintbrush
• Brayer or Roller
• Liquid Sculpey



1. Condition and roll out a piece of white clay.



2. Texture the clay with a texture sheet....or a rubber stamp....or a sea shell or a rock....or something you find around the house like jewelry or buttons with a pattern on it.

3. Cut out the size you want, with a cookie cutter (dedicated to clay only) or your craft knife.

Here is my heart, textured and cut out.


4. Bake the clay and let it cool.

5. While waiting for the clay to bake, squeeze out some Liquid Sculpey on a piece of waxed paper and drop a few drops of alcohol ink on it. You can make several little blops with different colors and let them sit a few minutes so the ink evaporates a bit. Mix each blop with a paintbrush.



6. Apply some of the ink and Liquid Sculpey with a paintbrush or your finger. You can make your piece all one color or put different colors on different sections of it...or apply ink and dab some off with a tissue. Experiment to see what you like best!



7. Bake again for 15 minutes.

8. Finish as you wish as a pin, pendant or magnet. I will coat mine with acrylic varnish and glue on a pinback.

Here are some other pieces where I used a variety of colors on different sections.



~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~

For a completely different effect than starting with white clay, here is a moon pin I made from blue, black and violet scrap clay. I put some plum alcohol ink on part of it, and let the clay colors show through on other parts.




~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~
Visit my shop to see more of my creations:

Artsy Clay on Etsy

~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~

The instructions I followed came from here... Faux Ceramics Tutorial

You can find more ideas for using alcohol inks here:

Craft Gossip
Crafty Goat
Beads and Beading
Mossy Owls' Ten Ways to Use Alcohol Inks

I hope you have as much fun as I have!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tutorial - How to use Alcohol Inks with Polymer Clay - Part I

I've been having so much fun with alcohol inks and polymer clay for the past year or so. It's a great combination to experiment with!

The first instructions I followed are from the book Polymer Clay Surface Design Recipes by Ellen Marshall.

Here's what you need:
• I bought alcohol inks by Adirondack at Michael's Craft Store in the rubber stamping section. Each set has 3 colors.




Next you need:
• A piece of fabric with texture. I used a kitchen dish rag.
• Wax paper.
• Rubbing alcohol in a spritzer bottle.
• A brayer (roller of some type). You can buy one at the craft store in the polymer clay section, or use a piece of PVC pipe.


1. Condition and roll out a piece of clay.



2. Lay the fabric on the wax paper and spritz it lightly with alcohol.



3. Drop ink onto the fabric. You can use just one color or more - side by side or one on top of the other. First I used blue, then green.



4. Pick up the fabric and wax paper together and place the fabric down on a piece of clay. Or put the fabric on the clay and put a small piece of wax paper on top of it.



5. Roll the brayer over the wax paper, applying pressure to transfer both the ink and the fabric texture.

MESSY ALTERNATE METHOD to 4 and 5: If you don't mind getting ink on your fingers, pick up just the fabric and press it into the clay with your fingers. :)



6. Cut the clay into desired shape with a cookie cutter or craft knife. Add additional texture if you choose. I pressed a texture sheet (purchased at Michael's) into the clay. Bake and finish as you wish. I will coat mine with acrylic varnish, either matte or glossy, then add a pinback.





~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~

Visit my shops to see my creations:

Artsy Clay on Etsy
Artsy Clay on Bonanza

~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~

You can find more ideas for using alcohol inks here:

Craft Gossip
Crafty Goat
Beads and Beading
Mossy Owls' Ten Ways to Use Alcohol Inks


~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~

Come back tomorrow for Part II - how to make Faux Ceramic pieces.

Fingerprint Friday - Reveling in the sunshine



We finally got up above freezing temperatures this week! {{Thank you, Lord!}}

I was walking from one building to another at work a couple of days ago and saw this squirrel ambling across the parking lot. He seemed to be out enjoying the sunshine and 45 degrees. He stood on his hind legs and looked right at me (so cute!), but by the time the camera clicked he was headin' for the hills.

~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~
Want to help the people of Haiti? Buy one of these beautiful necklaces from Beki at The Rusted Chain.
A portion of each sale goes to Haiti Disaster Relief.

~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~
There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says:
I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know it's true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God

So look around you and see where YOU can see God's fingerprints. Is it in nature? Kids? Animals? Where do you see them? To find out how to join "Fingerprint Friday" and see links to other posts, visit Beki at The Rusted Chain.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Did you know some children's jewelry is not safe?

I just read this article in our local newspaper and find it VERY disturbing.

"Barred from using lead in children's jewelry because of its toxicity, some Chinese manufacturers have been substituting the more dangerous heavy metal cadmium in sparkling charm bracelets and shiny pendants being sold throughout the United States, an Associated Press investigation shows.

...Cadmium is a known carcinogen. Like lead, it can hinder brain development in the very young, according to recent research.

...Some of the most troubling test results were for bracelet charms sold at Walmart, at the jewelry chain Claire's and at a dollar store. High amounts of cadmium also were detected in 'The Princess and The Frog' movie-themed pendants."

Even more reason to shop handmade.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Yum

When it's too cold to go out (24 degrees high today - brr!) when we really don't have to, what's more fun than cooking up some special dishes?!

We made frittatas today, a vegetarian one with leftover stir-fry and the pictured one with bacon, diced tomatoes and cheese. I chopped and grated, and my husband Mike did the cooking. Sooooo good!

You can include any vegetables you wish but here's what we did.

(Preheat oven on "broil" before you start cooking.)

First, you fry bacon (I did it in the microwave), then break it into small pieces.
Cut grape tomatoes in half.
Grate cheese.
Put bacon, tomatoes and cheese into skillet. Arrange it so everything is evenly spread out.


bacon, tomatoes and cheese


Break 10 eggs into the pan. Add spices as desired. We like Mrs. Dash's Table Blend, garlic, oregano and basil.
Put stove setting on medium. Keep an eye on the frittata. When it starts to bubble, turn down setting a little bit (halfway between medium and low).
Let it sit till it is cooked almost all the way through. (Don't ever stir, just let it cook as is.)


cooking on top of the stove



Set skillet into oven on broil setting for a few minutes. Watch it and it will puff up and get slightly browned on the top.
Take skillet out of oven, sprinkle some more grated cheese over the top, put back under the broiler for a couple of minutes till the cheese is melted.
Let it rest a few minutes. Cut and serve.

Bon appetit!


Just before melting the cheese in the broiler

Friday, January 08, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - Snow and cold



We still have snow in our front yard from the huge storm on December 18th. A lot has melted but as you can see, there's still quite a bit. I noticed when I took the photos this morning that it's been all tracked up by the tiny feet of birds and bunnies!



It's 14 degrees here today. Brr! We've had extremely cold temps all week. So it's a good day to count my blessings. I'm thankful for
...a warm house
...a warm office at work
...family and friends
...good health
...delicious food that my husband has been cooking (frittatas for supper last night - yum!)
...warm sweaters, sox, scarves, mittens and boots
...joyful church music
...and God's love, even if that includes snow and cold. :)

This quote came in an email and I love it...
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain." {CHANGE TO SNOW}

Reminds me of the quote, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade." {CHANGE TO SNOW AND SNOWBALLS!}

~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~
To find out how to join "Fingerprint Friday" and see links to other posts, visit Pampering Beki's blog.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Handbook 2010

This came in an email and seems to cover all the important stuff:

Health:
1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E's - Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2009.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

Personality:
11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18.. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner of his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21.. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...

Society:
25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

Life:

32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. God heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come.
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank God for it.
39. Your inner most being is always happy. So, be happy.

Friday, January 01, 2010

First item listed in 2010!


Green, Lavender and Blue Memory Wire Bracelet


Here is my first listing for the New Year. Visit my bracelet and necklace section here to find your favorite color.