Turning junk into treasures…

I got to spend one night with my new friend and fellow quilter, Debbie Fisher. She and her husband, Jack, have a house way up on a hill overlooking the Cumberland River near Nashville. Debbie invited me to stay with her before flying home from Kentucky. Their house was peaceful and quiet. I loved the wind blowing through the trees.

Debbie’s background is in floral design, but what she does is way more than working with flowers. She credits the man she worked with for teaching her how to turn junk into art but can I just say that she has a whole lot of talent on her own.

Objects that I would (and have) thrown away can be amazing when handled well. Look at this light fixture…

Silver plate holders for casserole dishes, flatware, and the bottom from a pressure cooker combine to make a really great chandelier over her breakfast table. Debbie uses family ‘junk’ most of the time and she knows where the flatware came from.

And the family cheese graters make a fantastic light fixture.

Debbie’s mentor made dolls from junk. Maybe I don’t get out enough but I’ve never seen anything quite like this…

If you have a drill with a ceramic bit and wire, you can do this too. I am not personally a fan of porcelain dolls but these made me smile. If I ever do make one, mine might be creepy on purpose.

Debbie makes junk dolls that are a collection of the stuff you would find in a junk drawer. She builds an armature from heavy wire over a foam cone. There is a doll’s head on top, with a pretty collar. Then she hangs family junk on the doll.

She knows where everything came from and the story behind it.

I wish I had kept more of my family’s junk but I still have some and I am going to make at least one of these. Not with a doll’s head (again, creepy) but something else on top.

But wait! There’s more! Why oh why did I make the silver plate ice bucket we got when we got married go away?!

The table was Jack’s dad’s work bench, cut down to fit the kitchen. And the rolling pins are perfect below it.

I used to hang plates on walls. Why did I stop? Who knew that more could be better? Could it be that I’ve made too much stuff go away? Maybe I need to go antiquing!!!!

Lastly, the fairy garden in an old wheelbarrow. I have one of those and this could happen in my yard, soon-ish.

There you go. You have now been inspired by Debbie too. Thank you, Debbie, for sharing your art with us all!

Home again, home again…

I’ve been back from Hawaii for nearly a week. Jet lag is over, the piles on my desk are mostly gone. The laundry is done and summer is here.

I do miss Hawaii. I miss having a MaiTai under the Banyon tree at the Beach Bar, watching the sun go down.

I miss watching Jack be a kid, doing brand new things in a place so unlike home.

We did a fair bit of waiting for things… like food from food trucks. We didn’t let the wait bother us, we were patient. That is something I am doing my best to hold onto… patience while waiting.

I kind of miss the sound of roosters. I wouldn’t mind free range chickens in our neighborhood but I don’t think they’d last long. Coyotes, birds of prey, and cats would probably love the idea :-).

I don’t miss the roads on Kauai. The main road runs around the island in a U-shape. There isn’t a road where the cliffs on the north side of the island are. If you are in Princeville and want to go to Waimea Canyon, you have to take the long way around to get there. It’s not that far by mainland standards, but speed limits are low, there are usually only 2-3 lanes, and being in a hurry is a bad idea.

The road on the north side of Kauai hugs the slopes in many places. This is an island that gets a lot of rain and sometimes roads and bridges wash out. This is a spot on the 2 mile stretch of road between Princeville (where we stayed) and Hanalei (where we went pretty often). One of the lanes is mostly gone, washed way down the slope. It’s a long drop. Traffic is cut to one lane.

Driving is never risk free. We drove this road in the same way that the locals do. However, every time we were on this bit I said a little prayer.

I miss the colors of the ocean, sky, and sand…

Sadly, not every beach is pristine.

We’ve all heard about plastic in the ocean but finding it on beaches where I’ve not seen it before got my attention in a big way. The amount of plastic on some beaches was shocking. I gathered those big pieces inside a 3′ square space on the beach near Lydgate Park.

I looked for shells on every beach. Instead of colorful beach glass, I kept finding colorful bits of plastic. And, in case you are wondering, the shell gathering was not particularly good. It could be that pretty, whole shells are hard to find, but I couldn’t help but wonder if there isn’t a correlation between that and the pollution.

It’s depressing, right? But this is a real thing and it’s better to see it because ignoring reality changes nothing.

We all do our best to reduce our use of plastic but if you live a ‘regular’ life like we do, it’s impossible to live without plastic. However, I’m trying to do better. I am going to stop being so quick to replace something that is not recyclable just because I want it in a slightly different color or shape. I’m going to pay more attention to packaging. Feel free to give me other ideas.

Back to happier things… we all miss Wailua Shave Ice! FYI: we really aren’t that red in real life. The umbrella and tables are red and we are basking in their glow :-).

I found a shave ice machine on Amazon and it’s not expensive. I could make my own flavoring from coconut milk and fresh fruit. But I have a feeling that after a couple of weeks the machine (made from plastic I’m sure) would be sitting in the cabinet gathering dust. Dang… we’ll just have to go back to Hawaii!

The Vatican

We got there early and Karen, Hunt, and I moved through quickly. I hate to admit this but there’s too much ‘there’ there for me. The statues, painted walls and ceilings all began to run together.

I did did like the floors!

This is a Sistine floor. I took it right before they said no photos.

Karen and Hunt did not want to go up into the dome at St. Peter’s, so I went by myself.

There is a lift, followed by a whole lot of stairs.

Along with dozens of others. First you are inside, looking down into the Basilica.

Then up more, and to the outside area very near the top. I do love seeing a city from above, outside.

Once down we had an amazing gluten free lunch. I had little round lemony donuts for dessert!

Then we met back up with Hunt’s students and went all over the place. Have I said this was a 9.8 mile day?

Everywhere you look, there seems to be a dome…

…or a fountain. Some are more famous than others. The Trevi Fountain is very famous, as indicated by the crowd.

But wait, there’s more!

And gelato, with crisp and tasty gluten free cones!

There are about 300 more photos but I’ll stop here. Good idea, right? Tomorrow we go out to see other things. I’ll be back.

Merry Christmas to me!

A little while back I posted pictures on instagram and Facebook from the Sherman Altrusa home tour. One home on the tour had a Sputnik chandelier that I loved.

Two days ago I found the same one on Houzz and Steve said ‘Merry Christmas’! Not one to let grass grow under my feet, I ordered it immediately. It came today! Amazing!

It was well-packed.

Chris helped Steve hang it. First they took down the older fixture. Lorna wants it, so I suspect the guys will touch be touching it again after Christmas.

Then up went the new one!

And, boom! We have a wonderful, mid century modern style light!!!

Steve loves it too, which is very nice. We are both grinning at it :-).

Color(s) of the year…

I’m busy working away on the next new thing that I can’t tell anyone about for months. It is ever thus. BUT, as I’m working, I can’t get these colors out of my head.

First, did you see the Kona Cotton color of the year announcement? The color is Tiger Lily and it does make me happy.

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Click here to see the Robert Kaufman Tiger Lily Look Book. It’s full of designs from their designers using this color.

A few days later, I became aware of Pantone’s color of the year, Ultra Violet. Who knew, right? I remember when there was one color of the year and that was that.

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Do you remember last year’s Pantone color of the year? It was Greenery…

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These 3 colors form a triadic color combination that is both lovely and not often used: purple, orange, and green.

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I’m hoping that now that I’ve shared this with you, I can stop thinking about these 3 colors because it’s very distracting when I need to be thinking about other colors :-).

 

 

 

Would you be interested in silk scraps?

While I was in NYC, I bought a scarf from an artist, Lydia Crespo, at Chelsea Market. We talked, and when she found out that I sewed, she asked if I would be interested in her silk scraps. She has a lot and hates to throw them away. I assured her that even though I didn’t need them, one or more of you might love to have them.

Email Lydia (info@argamandefiance.com) or click here to go to her site and email from there.

I bought the Black Gold Speckled Raw Silk Cape.

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Could I have made it myself? Yes. Would I ever make it myself, and speckle it? Probably not. Am I glad I bought it? Absolutely!!! This is the only scarf I own (and I own way too many scarves) that stays where I put it. And it is neither too warm nor not warm enough.

This is also the only scarf I own that has slits that are useful and that disappear when I wear the scarf like a scarf.

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So, there you go. If you are interested in Lydia’s scraps, I hope you get some!

Highlights from last week with Catherine…

These photos are from my phone. I haven’t had time to go through the photos on my big camera. They have to be turned into jpegs before I can post them. 

We shopped, a lot. For shoes, clothes, makeup, antiques, and more. Lots more. We both found Joy in shopping, but this little bit of joy came home with me :-).

Joy

We went to see the pumpkins and flowers at the Dallas Arboretum…

I am so bad at selfies. I’m never sure where to look and my arm is not long enough. At least this time my eyes aren’t roving off to the side :-).

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We went to the Dallas Museum of Art to see the Kusama Pumpkins. The are in a mirrored infinity room and you only get 45 seconds inside, per trip. That’s really fast!

I think 45 seconds is right. It just enough time to be impressed and not so much time to get over the coolness of the spectacle.

And then there’s this, perhaps the most artful exit sign in existence.

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Catherine and I had a great time together and I miss her. We are lucky that we live now, when there is FaceTime. We can still visit from opposite sides of the earth.