Sunday, September 30, 2007

As per suggestions

Wow...a week since I posted, I think that I am going through blog withdrawl, but the grading and teaching has to come first!

Ok...I took many of your suggestions into account, and here is my once change purse, masquerading as:

An apple cosy

A vase cosy

A junk receptical

What do you think?

Sunday, September 23, 2007 are it.

Ok...I got tagged a couple days ago ...but I didn't post my tag list so here it is:

I am tagging:

Albina Rose

Ok gals...tell us 6 random facts about you and sent on the tag to six others!

(I have seen this as 8 things on other's blogs...but my directions said 6 when I got 6 is what I'm doin.)

Oh...and please go down to Wednesday's post and make me feel like SOMETHING I revealed to you was interesting enough to garner comment! Please! I feel so boring!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Jelly, jelly, jelly for my belly

All I have managed to make this week is JELLY...lots and lots of grape jelly. But, it is the best darned concord grape jelly to ever pass the lips of man or beast. No Welch's for us here. All our jelly is made from the fruit of our 75 year old vines that grow on the arbor at our Long Island home.

Since I describe the process for everything else, why not this?

We picked over 30 pounds of washed and sorted grapes (so the actual picked amount before culling was probably more like 70 lbs). We have to sort them and pick over them carefully, because we find little guys like this:
Isn't he cute? We named him and all his tiny snail brethren George and set them free in the compost pile.

We then squashed them and boiled them into juice. The boiled mash gets filtered twice. The juice then has to sit in a tall container for at least 12-24 hours so that the sediment and the tartaric acid crystals settle out of the liquid and fall to the bottom, otherwise you get crunchy and cloudy jelly.

We then made two batches (with one more to follow today) of jelly by pulling 8 cups of juice (per batch) and mixing it with 6 cups of sugar, boiling it, boiling it and boiling it some more while carefully monitoring the temperature and constantly testing it for reaching the "jelly point".

My husband claims that I have Jelly Performance Anxiety, as I am always convinced at some point in the process that our grapes didn't have enough natural pectin and that they will NEVER become jelly. This is in fact a VERY good gauge of when the jelly will happen, because about 3 minutes after my declaration that the batch is HOPELESS AND WILL NEVER SET does. Every time.

SO now we have jelly...for us, for our neighbors' children, for my friends at work, for family. We also still have about 200 lbs of grapes on the vine, which would probably be enough to do 40 more half pints of jelly, but there is only so much jelly one woman can make. Any winemakers out there? Wanna come pick some grapes? Please?

Cause next week we make Fig Jam....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


As I understand it, I'm supposed to come up with 6 interesting things about myself to tell you here goes:

1. I used to work for J.Peterman. Yes, that J.Peterman. And guess what customers? Asking if Elaine was on her break or if Seinfeld was around was just as funny the 1076th time as it was the first. Go ahead....ask me again!

2. I met my husband on an afternoon blind date...and disliked him at first sight. I thought he was a huge stuck up snob. However, after a second blind date that day which was even more disastrous, I went to meet my pals at the local Irish Pub to commiserate about the sorry state of my love life...and who did I bump into but: Yup, you guessed it, a rather more drunk and much more fun future husband. After we left the pub that night I:
  1. talked our way into the gallery where an 8 foot by 3 foot painting of me was hanging (more on that later) by pretending that I worked there
  2. walked 2 miles home and didn't remember any of it, cause all I was paying attention to was him
  3. flushed an opossum out from under a neighbor's pick-up truck cause he had never seen one.

It was meant to be....

3. I worked for several years as an artists model. (See #2). It was great motivation to stay in shape and I got to participate in the artistic process in a totally new way.

4. I hate to have people watch me eat. Particularly Cheetos. I can only eat Cheetos alone. Sorry. I think it has something to do with the obligatory finger licking.

5. I have actually had cat scratch fever. It is no fun. Did you know that the lymph nodes in your head that run along the back of your skull can swell to the size of small plums? I do! I have Herbert to thank for this. Want to check Herbert the Killer cat out? Peruse my Flickr stream.

6. I teach forensic science in my "real" life. So watch it. My students are convinced that I could get away with murder....and I like it that way. My favourite topic is blood spatter analysis....soooooo much fun! Nothing like combining math and mayhem! Of course, the kids love it when I do my Miss Cleo routine and do handwriting analysis. I can read them like an open book from a handwriting sample. It is a totally creepy and illogical talent that I have always had, and I could probably make a fortune, but I don't exploit it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tag...I'm it!

Goodness! I just got tagged! I suppose that I shall have to think of 6 interesting things about myself to share with you folks tomorrow...hmmmm. Interesting...and publicly sharable, this might be tough.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tooting someones horn: Artistic Detour

This chica is relatively new on Etsy, and I just wanted to give her a little love. She is Artistic Detour. She is currently holed up in her island lair off the coast of California, making incredible stuff for you to peruse! She mainly works in fused glass, but also is selling some pretty prosh kimono fabrics from her shop. Her glass pendants are generously sized and feel great on the skin (trust me, I know). She has an amazing eye for color and creates pieces that just make me want to eat them up. Check her out!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Collaberative Challenge #2

I guess this is kind of the reverse of what I did before. I issued a challenge to someone else, now I am asking you to do it for me! I was playing in the studio, making some felt beads for a commission, and wanted to try a new technique that I had seen in a couple of felting books I had gotten from Japan (more on those later). I wanted to make a change purse, and what I ended up with was this:

It is really cute, about 3.75 inches (9cm) across and 3 inches (7cm) high. What I didn't think about was having a purse frame to fit the top....which I don't. And after some looking, don't seem to be able to find. The inside is totally hollow and a great shade of pink. (Very -nudge)

Here is how I made it for those of you who might be interested:

I wet felted several layers of roving around a Styrofoam ball, then cut it open, put in a ball of Styrofoam that was slightly smaller (which I had to cut down from one the same size as the first), then I wet felted it some more with the decoration applied. After that, I put a ball of soft foam inside and needle felted the decoration on again for a little added security.

So, my crafty friends, the question is: What does it become now?

Help me out, I have no idea. Because when I look at it right now, all I see is a change purse...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

As promised but late

This is the problem when you are a make promises to lots of people and then you have to prioritize them. Yesterday I promised some students I would stay after school and work on metric conversions with them after they gave me the puppy dog eye...hence the no pictures of the gorgeous necklace. It was the day before a four day weekend, and I would normally run out of my classroom like a bee after honey on a day like that, but who can resist the puppy dog eye in connection with a request for extra help? I love you people {those folks who for some strange reason continue to come back here and check out what I make and say}, but sorry, those kids will almost always come first.

So here it is a day later, and the skies are blue and lovely with tiny puffy clouds that remind me of just why all those artists came out here to Long Island to live and work. The air is crisp with a tiny hint of a moist fall to come, there is a dead opossum in the street in front of my house (we bagged it, and yes, I felt bad cause I think it is the one that I saw waddling across the yard at dusk from my perch on the deck many nights this summer; and I generally feel bad when things die in untimely ways; I'm human like that) and I have fired up the camera. So here:
It is one of the necklaces that Leah (Kneek) made in response to the collaborative challenge. (see posts below). It is silver and the little object inside is a bit of amethyst. Aren't you jealous? Don't you want one? I have one. he he he he (evil giggle)

NOTE: Kneek just opened an etsy shop where you can have one of her creations for your very own! Please go check her out!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mid Week Too Tired Blues

It's too late to take good pictures and I am way tired after a long day of teaching but I just had to crow. My good friend Leah over at Kneek (Homework) sent me the sweetest surprise package and you are all going to be madly jealous. Leah honey, if you are reading could be making a fortune, a FORTUNE DO YOU HEAR ME, selling these on Etsy! This is exquisite!

I promise pictures tomorrow. The light is gone for the day and I want you to really be able to SEE this beauty!

Let me just say that my blogger pals ROCK!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

All Apologies

I want to give sincere apologies to all my loyal readers who were unable to load my blog due to the craptacular gymnastics going on at Etsy yesterday. I don't know what is going on over there in Brooklyn, but for the time being, I have {sob} taken down my Etsy minis from the side bar so that this blog will once again load smoothly. When they have gotten their collective merde together, I will return my Etsy links to their rightful places.

Read on my handsome and beautiful on.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Acting like a Maniac

What a fun and exhausting week!

Since I have gone to the trouble to have a job teaching and molding America's youth, I have made the promise that I would never write about it in specifics, as I could potentially let something slip that could embarrass a teenager that I teach, or bring attention to my district, or upset someone that I work with. But let me say this...the first three days of teaching are exhausting, I don't care where you do it or who you are doing it for. It is a constant precarious dance of showing that you are caring, loving, witty, wickedly smart, creative, a little soft, a lot hard, fun, funny, humorous, an entertainer, interesting, interested, knowledgeable, quick on the uptake, slow to anger, posses super-human hearing, have three sets of eyes, already know their names, can count papers while walking backwards and talking at the same time and can laugh at yourself when you don't, all while being a tough as nails bitch about the rules when they want to see how far they can push. If that wouldn't wear out Superman, I don't know what would. It is like being in a Broadway opening night show eight times a day...five times a week.

So...this having been the first week of school, if you know a teacher out there who you think is doing a great job ....or maybe this is really their FIRST WEEK EVER {bless them}...give them a pat on the back or a little hug. They really are going to love your kids, and probably already do.

With that said, I can't wait to get into the studio today and recharge myself for Monday! Yipee!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

No one will notice...

"Orange, I wouldn't have noticed if you didn't point it out"

Big Orange has something on his face. Little orange has some slight words of encouragement...even if they are somewhat backhanded. Little orange isn't used to this whole being nice thing. This is a 3 inch x 4 inch minature encaustic painting with acrylic underpainting. Just another in my series of "Mean Flower Paintings" that I offer on Etsy.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Garage Sale Heaven

Ok...I don't know a crafter or artist out there that doesn't love a good garage sale and I just had to share this with you. I was browsing Treehugger and came across their write up about this little tool. It is a nifty Google mashup that allows you to put in your own address and it will automatically pop up a map with all your local yard sales. Your house is marked with an "H" and if you roll over the other flags, it gives you the addresses of each yard sale on the map.

Now keep in mind, that this was Labor Day Monday. If it were a Saturday, the flags would be so heavy on this map that it would make Tienanmen Square look like the Fireman's Parade! Treehugger reminds us in the original article that this doesn't work in all areas and seems to work best in and around major cities, but gosh, give it a try! What have you got to lose? I know I always try to plan out the most efficient route when I do my Yard/Garage Sale-ing....this tool is going to make that sooooo much easier.

Oh my antique dealing grandmother, Mary Jane, would have been in hog heaven!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Collaborative Challenge: Part Deu

In the immortal words of the "A-Team":
I love it when a plan comes together

Back in July, my friend, Leah, put a lovely knit wire necklace she made up on her blog. I was then inspired to make a sketch of how she could take it a step further and issued her a COLLABERATIVE CHALLENGE.

Well, she completed some pieces and just posted them to her blog with spectacular results. Wow! Kneek, color me impressed! Check out what her creativity has wrought!

This is the kind of work that makes me want to pick up some needles and hooks and learn something new!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Green Flowers

I'm sure she will be Ok, Green.

This little flower isn't so mean, he is a little more concerned than angry and that makes a change for these tiny guys. They tend to be a bit more bitchy than this. It is pretty unusual for them to be this nice to each other.

This little encaustic is 3 inches x 4 inches. I had primed and painted the background for this and another piece this size over two months ago, but just got around to doing the encaustic layers. It was cool enough yesterday for me to fire up the hot plate and melt the encaustics. I consider this a little warm up for a commission that I want to finish this week. I firmly believe that you have to warm up your artistic muscles just as much as you need to stretch your athletic ones.

I hope someone buys this soon...cause I have the perfect Moo stickers to put on the package!