Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kids in the summer...

... want to play video games all day!  Well at least my kids do!  But once I can get them outside they are likely to be out for hours with neighborhood friends, riding bikes, digging (Sorry! not anymore, the dirt pile's closed), or looking for worms and slugs to feed the chickies.

Ethan's cactus is 3 years old now.  Isn't that bloom amazing?  And the photo ...  by Ethan, age 10!

Aeryn's daisy.  This flower is quite a diva - hugely dramatic wilting, bring on the water, and then it perks right up.   Kind of like Aeryn sometimes, being one of the few girls in the neighborhood is not so easy.

Go play!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Picasso's Doves

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hello there...

long time no blog.  A month, really?  The garden is progressing nicely.

 My sister and I are prepping for another garage sale day.  Friday July 2nd only, 9 - 3.  If you're local, check out Portland craigslist for the full details.

There is a fabulous giveaway at Bling It On!  Beautiful beads in one huge prize or a 6 way split.  Go check it out!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bringing it together...

The two passions of my life: art and gardening, need to come together.  How can I do this in an authentic way?  It would be easy to simply focus on garden, floral themed art: lovely necklace inspired by the lavender and purples of the foxglove, with a touch of white, green and pale yellow, maybe with a microscope slide pendant with a transparency, some collage or text.

While that sounds really pretty... does it improve, educate, inspire?  Do you notice the wild strawberries, pine needles, and moss in the background, the tiny faded blossom of the red azalea peaking up along the bottom? 

I am starting to disagree with the old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words," at least in this case.  There is so much more around, above, and beyond this simple photo that I want to convey:  The seeds this flower grew from, the soil amended with compost,  the fairy garden plan in a tattered old magazine that first inspired me to plant foxgloves in my garden in New York, the time and effort my sister and brother-in-law spent designing and building the retaining walls, how each time I see this plant on now think of a tv commercial

Just like high fructose corn syrup, foxgloves are totally natural!  If you're a plant geek, like me, this might make you giggle, because foxgloves - Digitalis are entirely toxic, poisonous to humans and animals.  Just because something is "natural" doesn't mean you should eat it, and what is "natural" anyway?       Off the soapbox now... check out some of the parody videos of the commercial on YouTube - scary funny.

P.S.  I've decided to take a break from the Self-Portrait project for a while.  Might pick it up later, or think of a new series.  What should I do?  No, seriously, I am asking.  Is there any project/idea that y'all find interesting?  (yes, I can occasionally use "y'all" - my dad's from West Virginia.  I'm half Southern.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Self-Portrait Saturday/Sunday #9

LOVE this time of year!  The weather is just so gorgeous... blue skies, no bugs, cool breezes, warm sunshine.  Of course I was in the garden all day yesterday - with a short break for soccer - Ethan played really well, and his team won - and a trip to the garden center for grapes!

So today's project is putting up an arbor and planting 2 Golden Muscat grapes,  and some spearmint, a hardy kiwi (male- I'll get the female next week), and 2 cherry tomatoes.  Yummy!

Have a happy day!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy Wednesday...

Louise Nevelson-inspired assemblage I did as a sample for Art Literacy.  4th graders love it, hope you do too!  I love that I was able to make this with scraps, my stash, nothing new.  I haven't been to a craft store since I took the April Stash Bust pledge.  Wow, that is really huge for me!

The next step is color.  All-over gold spray paint and then it will go on the family art wall.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Self-Portrait Saturday #8

Long day...  my son's 10 year old birthday party at a laser tag place.  Looking forward to relaxing, gardening, and a trip to the library tomorrow.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Self-Portrait Saturday #7

or is it 6?  I'm not sure.  Hopefully my connection will last long to finish this post.  

Beyond the white curtain is my backyard, where a rainbarrel waits to be hooked up, and a pile of potatoes waits to be planted.  If I can finish those two tasks today I will be a very happy girl.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Why aren't I posting?

I've been sick... sorry friends.  You might think I overdid it on the gardening (I usually do – it's great exercise), but most likely I picked up bronchitis.   Hope to be back on track next week.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

in the garden....

is where I have been.  I am feeling a sense of urgency this year to start and finish projects.  And I really do feel like I am making progress.

Here is the garden related crafting I did last week:

Very old, brown magazine holder, collaged with garden catalog photos.  Yay for Mod Podge!  Now I have one nice place to keep all my garden catalogs together.

Happy Earth Day!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

*8 Things: Learned/Learning/Learn


1. To say no.
2. Everything, yes, everything is connected.
3. Composting - my son told me yesterday "Your compost is way better than the one from the store." I can make awesome healthy soil.

4. It will be okay.
5. To move my body again, thank you Nia dance!
6. My stuff does not define me (this one is hard, I have issues with letting go of "things")

7. To eat healthy
8. To say no.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Self-Portrait Saturday #6

Cutting it close today . . .

Photography and typing all in one (super efficient)!

Luckily you can not see how dirty my fingernails are!  I've been in the garden for the past few days getting ready to plant some seeds, sifting three wheelbarrows of compost, cleaning out the chicken coop, and looking for free plants, paver bricks, and even more compost on craigslist.

 I am reading Gaia's Garden, rereading actually, and finding so many great ideas.  I wish I had the time, energy and money to do half of them.  Hopefully after implementing more permaculture ideas, spring gardening won't be so much back-achey work.

I'll be back to more crafty stuff later this week.  

Where ever you are: enjoy the sun, be grateful for the rain.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Some pretty things...

Nina Bagley's jewelry, this is an older one.  Some of her newer designs on Ornamental are more colorful, still so beautiful.

The altered "fancy" knits at Anthropologie.  I love all the ruffles, flowers, pintucks and lace. Their catalog is inspiring me to remake some of my plain t-shirts.  I am trying to discipline myself to always do some hand sewing when I'm watching tv.

Who and what will inspire you today?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Self-Portrait Saturday #5

Sample for Picasso Art Literacy project.  Cubist Collage Self-Portrait.   At the moment I do have hot pink streaks in my hair. 

Go play!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Something green...

in honor of Style Shock Cheer!  

I'll be in Anaheim for a long weekend cheering for my niece at competition.  My largest packing/traveling dilemma seems to be... "What project will I work on?"  Idle hands = no more fingernails for me, so fabric roses it will be.  (that rhymes, sorry!)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Vintage button sweater

Collections... Sometimes you have a collection that you love that you can't imagine actually using.  My grandma's vintage linens are like this for me, I am fine wearing her jewelry, but gorgeous lace tablecloths actually put on the table... I'm not there yet.
Buttons are a collection that can be beautiful in storage and in use.  I love my little button jars, all the different colors and patterns, sorting them out to find the perfect little accent for jewelry or a project. 
Another sweater from Target (surprise, surprise). Vintage shell buttons 
replaced the original plain brown buttons. 
Eventually, I figured out these were shoe buttons, like these I found on ArtFire
  Maybe they originally were from a pair of boots like these vintage Victorian boots
Problem: The little gap near the waistline always bothered me.
Solution: It just needed MORE buttons!!!!!
I love how doubling the number of the buttons solved the gaping problem 
and beautifully refers back to the original source of the buttons. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

April Stash Bust

I have a lot of craft stuff...  It sometimes seems like it is taking over my house... oh, wait!  It actually is!  And living as green as possible is an important part of my daily life.

So when Diane of CraftyPod shared this with me, I knew I had to join in. 

In honor of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, you can make a pledge not to buy any new craft supplies, art materials, tools or fabric for the entire month of April.  Go get a badge from Dollar Store Crafts and check out the whole story over there.  Then, create a project from your stash using only what you have on hand. Submit your finished project detailing the stash materials you used with a link to your finished project by Earth Day, April 22nd.

I am so in on this one... I actually gave away my craft store coupons for this week, thereby removing temptation. This is a great opportunity to evaluate what you have, organize your stash, reduce (give some stuff away to a school, church or shelter), reuse, recycle.  My mind is always full of potential projects, so challenges like this are a great way for me to prioritize and energize myself to create.

Off to eat some chocolate (also good for energizing)...  Thank you, Easter Bunny! *bock*bock

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Self-Portrait Saturday #4

So I've had a few people ask me...

"What's up with this self-portrait thing?"

It is not my usual kind of activity, it seems a little vain and self-centered, so it makes me a little uncomfortable every time.  Part of my inspiration is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, "Do one thing every day that scares you."  Hmmm, maybe I should change it to one thing every week...

Another reason I started doing the self-portrait project was because it forces me to blog on a more regular basis and be accountable to myself.  I really enjoy blogging, researching information and preparing photographs, but sometimes life and responsibilities get in the way.

Like right now,  I really need to finish a lesson plan on Picasso for elementary school art classes.  The focus is cubism and self-portraiture.  Maybe next week, I'll take a break from the photography for my Saturday self-portrait.

This week I spent some time (maybe a little too much) making fabric roses, seen here on the t-shirt I'm holding. Very fun recycling/altering/sewing project... I can't wait to do more... and share!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An easy way to alter clothes...

Sew on new buttons!  


This vintage-inspired sweater (from Target, a few years ago) had some very pretty pale purple flower buttons, a few popped off and ran away as buttons love to do.  Instead of matching the existing buttons, which would have been easy enough, why not switch to some cool vintage shell buttons?  And why not choose some brighter colors that coordinate with the pretty yarn embroidery.

From the top: purple, white, yellow, green, blue, brown, magenta and white again.  This sweater makes me happy every time I wear it!  (and I know - I really should have ironed the sweater first)

Something that doesn't make me happy is something really kind of silly, but...

Yes, I'm a girly girl and I love pink, but aren't there maybe, somewhere out there, some men who might like to learn how to sew a button too!  I haven't read this book yet, but it does look pretty good, despite its gender stereotyped cover.

For a manly approach to sewing buttons, check out this video.  It is a little corny, but does the job.

Threadbanger also has a great tutorial on How to Sew a Button

And, in case you were wondering, I do have a few more "button" focused altered clothes to share. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My sister's black and white jacket

Altering clothing doesn't have to be hard.  Sometimes the simplest changes can transform a garment from a bench warmer to a starting player.  (A sports metaphor - where in the world did that come from?)  

My sister's beautiful jacket from White House/Black Market had a covered hidden snap that was placed right over the beautiful embroidery.  It was totally functional but didn't enhance the jacket at all, in fact it kind of messed up the symmetry of the front.

Solution:  Sew on a basic frog clasp.  The nice black trim accents the embroidery and both jacket edges are clearly visible. 

Notice the rough frayed edges  - very cool detail!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Self-Portrait Saturday #3

*New and Improved* 

with makeup 

... and clean hair!

Moosey says...

"Happy Birthday to my niece!"

have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Accept the Universe...

with all its mysteries 
There is joy
to be found
in the mundane
and the sublime.

This painting hangs in my studio, opposite my desk, always in view.  I developed the saying when I moved to Oregon - it was a huge life change - and the painting took almost a whole year for me to complete.  The start of the saying was inspired by one of my college textbooks, Accepting the Universe, by John Burroughs.  Going back and re-reading it I realized it was even more powerful that I remembered.  Burrough's reaffirms my belief that everything is connected.  The idea of living holistically, that all your decisions are connected and express your values and your spirit. 

What do you want to say to the world today?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Self-Portrait Saturday #2

This week flew by, mach speed.  Wow!  This coming week is Spring break... of course, we will be going abroad, lounging on the beach.... NOT!  But even though fancy vacations are not in the picture, I love school breaks.  I love letting the kids sleep in, I love having somewhat more free days, away from the 8:30/3:05 grind, I love the potential of getting some projects done. (wish me luck!)   I hope to work on a lot of photography this week, clean my house (unending), and do some fun activities with the kids, maybe go rollerblading.

Me, Saturday morning.  What is that awful thing I'm wearing?  That is my "woogie," technical term, you know.  It's an ancient fleece hooded cardigan that is my at-home robe/sweater/uniform.  It is not at all stylish, but it works for me.  I try really, REALLY hard not to ever wear it outside the house, but sometimes I forget. 

Anyone else doing the self-portrait "thang"?  Leave a link so we can encourage each other to keep it up! 

I am not at all used to having my picture taken.  I've never felt that I was photogenic, so this is a difficult task for me.  But doing what scares you or makes you uncomfortable helps you grow and learn - many other people have said that so much more eloquently, but you get the drift.

have a great weekend everyone. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Self-Portrait Saturday

Not my original idea, tagging along here with the wonderful Nina Bagley, whose blog Ornamental is a constant source of inspiration.  The idea of posting a photo of me, taken at sometime during the week, can't guarantee it will be Friday or Saturday (I'm just not that into schedules), really makes me kind of nausaeous.

So this is me, late afternoon, no makeup, happy.

Making a new pair of earrings to wear to the Stephenson School Auction tonight - tiger eye, jade and pearl maybe.  

have a great weekend

Monday, March 8, 2010

Green man Giveaway...

and the winner is  Erin.

Thanks so much for all of your entries and comments.

I hope to do a giveaway every month.  Although they say a woman can never have "too much" jewelry, when you start to make your own it can quickly become too much (unless you have one of those super fancy house size closets with huge flat drawers and fabulous cases for storing everything... alas I do not).

I dreamt about closets last night... no jewelry storage though.  It had pretty hanging space for all my scarves.  Lovely dream.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Another with photos

OWOH was so much fun, I can't wait to do it again next year, but that is a long, long, long time away. Not really! But let's do a another giveaway anyway... this time just for followers of debvandet designs.  There aren't many of you (yet) so your chances of winning are really good!

On Sunday, March 7th, I will give away my Green Man microscope slide necklace and coordinating earrings.  Hopefully if the USPS cooperates the lucky winner will receive them in time for St. Patrick's Day.  No special reason why St. Patrick's Day, it's just the next holiday, and the Green Man necklace goes with the theme and needs a happy home.

The Green Man necklace has a soldered microscope slide pendant with Dover transparency of Celtic/Medieval man with sword and peacock, the back glass is frosted and embellished with green, gold, and silver alcohol inks. The double strand chain (approx. 20 inches long to top of pendant) and bail- accented with a faceted peridot bead -are made of assorted green seed beads with a silvery box clasp.  My husband loves Celtic design, mazes and labyrinths.  He always encourages me so I thought I'd create something a little less girly (okay -it really isn't, is it?) in honor of him.

The coordinating earrings have flat green glass beads stacked with 2 green seed beads, a silver bead, and a faceted "peridot" (it might be real peridot - lesson learned on documenting my materials here) on silver french wires.

The rules are so simple:
1.  You have to be a follower of debvandet designs
2.  You have to leave a comment saying count me in or something to that effect,
3.  If you're are selected as the winner you have to send me your mailing address ASAP so I can send out the necklace by Tuesday, March 9th.

have a happy day!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

New book that I can't wait to read...

Doesn't it just look inspiring?  It has always been important to me to define myself as an artist,  and one wonderful thing that shows me I've succeeded is that my children say, "My mom is an artist."  It used to be "My mommy makes good art." LOVE THAT!

But one thing that has been difficult for me to do is to incorporate my kids into my creativity.  Not to yell "I'm working..."  "Just let me finish this: stitch, background, cutting, whatever."  "Isn't there a new Ben 10 on the DVR?"  (I know I am so bad, TV as babysitter, rotting their brains...)  Now that Aeryn is 8 and Ethan will be 10 in May, their patience and skill level have improved enough that some collaboration might be possible.

Hopefully, Shona Cole's  The Artistic Mother will point my in that direction.  If you've picked it a copy already, let me know what you think. If you'd like turn learn more about the book, and upcoming chances to win your own copy check out her  blog  An artful Life.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A little more on OWOH...

I was so happy with my experience during One World One Heart that I wanted to make something extra special to go along with the necklace and earrings.  And as with many of my projects I had to use my existing stash (no hoarding).  And I wanted it to be functional... so a jewelry folder seemed like a useful, fun project, especially since one of my favorite books A Charming Exchange has a gorgeous example designed by Ruth Rae.




I can post this now 'cause Geni received it... and she liked it.  The jewelry holder is made of pink felt embellished with machine stitched fabric scraps of gold, browns, and a touch of red.  The buttons, name letters and ribbons were hand-stitched. The jewelry is tied in place with brown lace and ribbon.

I am so happy with how this project turned out.  I can't wait to make another one.

Hopefully my giveaway prize will arrive soon!

Monday, February 15, 2010

And the winner is...


No. 7 on the Magic Carpet ride.
Comment no. 17 selected with the random number generator. 

I will give a whole week for Geni to claim her prize.  If it's not claimed by Feb. 22, I will select another winner.

This week is busy, busy, busy!  My baby girl is turning 8 years old and part of her present is a bedroom makeover.  Purple, silver, and rock 'n' roll!

And I have this in my hallway...

My gram's old garment rack with a few things I've altered (a few = 3!) and many more waiting their turn for some special attention.