Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Recycling Solves Simple Problems

More and more, I find myself finding uses for items that have already been purchased and used once. Is there another use for the used? Everyone seems to be coming up with some ingenious ideas for things that would ordinarily end up in the landfill, and that's a great happening!

Here is the dish with the stone spray, now sporting a coat of gold metallic glaze.

In a pinch, use it for wrapped candy or shelled nuts. Who doesn't have shelled nuts in a dish hanging around at this time of year? Somehow, without one bristling with nut crackers and picks and shelled walnuts (that no one eats), it's just not the holiday season. Sort of lower case and dull.

We have a love affair with bath soap in this house. The lower ledge of the tub had been filling up with pieces and parts that hadn't made it to the soap sock (made with a real sock!), and the risk of them spilling into the tub had been growing daily. Finding a soap dish to hold all those pieces and parts was a lost cause, and I gave up looking. I didn't want to chance getting a glass dish. None of the plastic bowls suitable for the job matched my bathroom. So, I went into my 'zoning' mode and let my brain sort it out without me.
It finally did.
My stash of gently used, fairly heavy plastic dishes is towering in my studio, filling up an apple tote. One day, I pulled out a round bowl and immediately decided this would make the ideal soap dish for the tub ledge. But, it needed some decoration. There is a narrow dividing wall in my bathroom with a pretty glass panel painted with art nouveau flowers. This design has been in the back of my mind for a long time, and someday I intend to decorate the shower curtain and toothbrush holder with those same flowers.
Why not start now, just to see how it goes?
The 1st step
Matching colors was easy, so I started with the bronze metallic for the petals. Copper metallic was the shading color, with expresso and royal gold for the remaining parts.
Here is the finished soap dish:
Disjointed, I know, but who said I had to follow the flower pattern exactly? There is no clear spray on the tray, so we will see how long it lasts. And who needs more chemicals on their skin? Certainly not me!

This little project isn't recycled, but it wanted to be featured on this post.
I purchased a package of small Christmas sun catchers at the dollar store. They were cute. I didn't already have them. And I knew just what to do to spiff them up.

Cute, aren't they? They came with their own tiny pots of sun catcher paint, but that wouldn't do. Nope. Not for these cuties destined for the bedroom window- to catch the sun!
I used some metallics, but I wanted glitter on them, too. Their window faces south. Enough said. All of my many pots of glitter clutter my work desk right now, and they fit the bill. Using tiny paint pots I had recently bought at the dollar store, I starting mixing. Over the past couple of weeks, I have discovered a few mediums to suspend glitter in, but this time I used Mod Podge Gloss as the medium. Each pot is half MP,  half glitter. More glitter, more bling! They're now ready, sitting on the shelf waiting for decorations to be hung.
It was one of those 'I need to do some no-thinking painting' days, especially after a major disaster with a frosted glass ornament.

Can you guess what this will be?

One hint- the middle piece is cut from an empty milk jug. Note the paper clip.

You'll see the completed project in the next post.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

On Thanksgiving Day

You've raped our Dear Mother,
    degenerate child,
And you've done it for dollars
     with a lie and a smile.
You've poisoned her breath
     and polluted her blood
With your urban erections
     and the scars that you've dug.
In arrogant homage,
     for pillage you pray.
Tell me- who thanks the Red Man
      on Thanksgiving Day?


Is it you, mister banker,
     or your well padded son?
Is it you, mister lawyer,
     for some appreciation?

For the Nations you've leveled,
     for your plastic display-
Just who are you thanking
     on Thanksgiving Day?
                                                                                Copyright 2011 W. D. Ahl

This poem was written by my husband, and given to me as a gift. It is the most profound and moving gift I have ever received.
Thank you, baby. I cherish it always.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!


Cowland Studio

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Experiments and Projects

Clay is fascinating.
Clay is fun.
Clay is frustrating.
But I keep at it. And now with Stroppel Cane on the scene, it doesn't matter how absolutely awful my canes are! They can be put to use in the process called Stroppel Cane, developed by Alice Stroppel. Thank you, Alice! After playing with cane and nearly throwing it at the wall, I tried Alice's method and here is what it looks like:
Right or wrong side
Wrong or right side
When I decide how to apply it, I'll get back to it. Until then, clay is on a vacation, cooling its jets in the cabinet.

Ever since I read a post or two on making stamps, I've been on a journey of experimenting and testing. Pictured next are the finals I have found to be the best for me.
All they need is mounting, which will be on hard packed styrofoam.
Wanting them only for backgrounding, I started going through my millions of designs, both new and from my tattoo artist days. Talk about unlimited! I've drawn my own Native American designs for decades, and they're all compiled in a few file folders neatly tucked away in my file drawer. They'll be wonderful for making leather projects. Here's a little shot of some that are ready to make:
As always- the possibilities are endless...

Sitting still in dialysis is hard on me and very cold for my left arm, so I set about crocheting an arm warmer. After finding my favorite purple shade, I got right to it and finished it in time the next morning for a trial run.
Chaining 30, I used half double crochet stitches across and for all successive rows until the piece reached from my finger tips to elbow.
The hook size- 'J'
Now it's ready to stitch two sides.
A few minutes later, it was done.
The Arm Sock- aka The Purple Flipper.
It works for me.

Hubby likes the Marie Callender meals on those days I'm too tired to cook (bless him!), and I started washing them to keep for anything they might be used for. Who knows? I happened to look at my stock of spray paints, and the Stone Spray caught my eye. Hm. Why not?
Two coats, and here is what it looks like now:
It seems to want something more, so I think I'm going to try a gold metallic varnish over the spray. What do you think? Any suggestions? I'm open.

Working on a Christmas order, I got to the point where I had to wait for paint to dry, so I decided to see what could be done for Christmas tags. Grabbing some leftover recycled paper from a card I made, the contoured (?) scissors went to work. Only two of the four I bought work well enough to use, but all four were only a dollar, so no complaints here! I had just picked up a tiny snowflake punch, so it went to work, too. This is what I whipped up in five minutes:
It's a start. The labels I designed will be put to use on this end. Don't you love double duty?

Not long ago, I came up with a simple process of applying glitter. It's been under evaluation for about two months now, and it hasn't lost any glitter or shine. Finally!! Something simple and fairly cheap to use on ornaments. It also works on fabric, because I tested it there, also. Can you guess what I'll use on my two new purple Tshirts?
So, here is a start on an ornament I'm working on. It's more or less experimental, as I'm testing graphite papers for transfers. I'm looking for the easiest way to transfer a design and have the lines disappear during the painting process, even if I'm using transparent paint. So far, it looks like the grey graphite paper, when traced very lightly, is the winner. Take a look:
Click the picture to enlarge to see the detail.
And so, experimenting goes on and on. I don't think I'll ever exhaust all the possibilities in my studio. There are so many things to paint on and so many things to paint with! And I love it.

Today is cookie day for me- great grandma's Soft Molasses Cookies are on the menu. Then, I need to take some pictures, now that my old Singer and Shiny Brites are here. How did we accumulate so many boxes of Christmas stuff? Really- it was a truck load!

The sun is out.


Cowland Studio