Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas, Decorating!

My brilliant housecleaning moment today: Not so much! My sweetie brought up all the Christmas decoration boxes today. We are having a couple small gatherings here this season, so I am going all out on decorating the living and dining rooms for the first time in a couple years. Of course, decorating in my small-but-tall house means getting all the tchotschkes and doo-dads and collectibles down from way-high up, then cleaning and dusting rarely-accessed levels.

Being up on the stepladder puts me at eye-level with the chandelier, which has upward-facing glass cups. And I see dead bugs in the glass cups. Eww. So I had the oh-so-clever idea of using the canned air to blow them out. It worked. It worked VERY well, unfortunately! Dead bugs and bug parts fountained feet into the air and rained down on me, my hair, the workbench/kitchen table, on the floor. I now get to sweep and vacuum, and I will be finding bug parts in my beads for AGES!!

I am convincing myself that the chandelier is brighter now, and that bug-parts-surprise was worth it. Because I have another chandelier like this one in the foyer, and I'm talking myself into tackling that one, too. Maybe tomorrow!

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Poor Baby!

Tonight, my sweetie and I took our miniature longhair dachshunds for a walk in a lovely wooded area. The mosquitoes were fierce, but we didn't think much of it at the time. Half an hour after we got home, I got a good look at Maureen's face. She looks like the losing prizefighter after 10 rounds! Apparently, she is fiercely allergic to mosquitoes! Swollen eye, fat lip, lumpy nose. So pathetic and heartbreaking. We called the vet and were told to give her Benadryl. We're waiting for the swelling to go down in the next hour, or it's a trip to the all-night vet! I feel like such a bad mommy.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Creative Collaboration

My husband and I are prime examples of "opposites attract." We each have our own hobbies, and there is very little overlap between them. Until now. He was reading one of his magazines, and picked a metalworking project for our moms for Mother's Day. I looked at the pattern, and saw the potential for my adding to it.

The pattern is for a brass flower with 8 petals and a leaf, on a stem. The picture in the magazine has it all in brass with a shiny, smooth surface. The original design is by Walter Yetman in the April/May 2009-Volume 22, Number 2 of Machinist's Workshop.

My husband likes working with his machining lathe to make tiny, intricate pieces. I have been playing with copper and texturing hammers and metal stamps and patinas. So I suggested we both work on this. We chose copper for the petals, brass for the stem and inner parts and the leaf. He created the individual components, and I textured and patina'd and shaped the petal and leaves, he soldered the leaves on and fastened the parts together.

They turned out beautifully, and our moms loved them. And my husband and I found our differences still complement each other quite well!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Wonderful Haven

It has been such an amazing week- I am behind on my posting, but have so many topics!

Here is one of the joys of my creative life, and it's currently CLEAN! Crafters may be aware of the elusiveness of open workspace. As I am working on a project, the creative components pile higher and higher, and the available space shrinks and shrinks. Then another project that just can't wait joins the fray, then the mending, then a handful of brand new treasures I don't have time to put away, then....chaos ensues. At that point, I have to stop everything, and put everything back where it belongs. And start the process again.

I remodeled the workroom just less than two years ago. I finally decided that my space shouldn't be dark, dingy white with piles everywhere and no storage. I emptied it out, painted it bright colors, and organized it within an inch of its life. I have been buying/collecting inspirational art, and this weekend, I finally put it all up around the room. I love it!

Now to play!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Military Family Appreciation

I am creating a set of yellow ribbon charm pins and selling them in my Etsy site. I was a military wife; I'm still married, he's retired, now. Thing is, he was in the Army Guard. The support that is part of the active Army and military is not as much a part of the Guard. We all live spread out in the community, not on post. Most of us don't know one another. It is hard to find someone to ask for help. I remember what it's like to take care of the house and the family and the home fires while he was away.

I am donating 50% of the price of these pins to provide funds for spouses to hire lawn work or driveway shovelling or a handyman or babysitting, or whatever need is at hand. Please remember your local service members, wherever you are.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Keep Your Stick on the Ice

With all due respect to Red Green, we've had an exciting day here at the lodge. I was playing on the computer when I heard sirens nearby. Ok, not too unusual, since we live next to a main artery used by fire and police responses in the area. Then I heard a low-flying helicopter. That is unusual. The combination, really unusual.

So I head out to the front deck and try to see what's going on. It turned out that the helicopter flying low over my suburban neighborhood is a firefighting helicopter. It was putting out a one-acre fire in the woods next to the soccer and softball fields two blocks over! Hmmm, a forest fire in the neighborhood? That does sound a bit Red Green-ish, doesn't it?

They dropped foam and water into the thickly wooded and brushy area the fire fighters couldn't reach. What is really interesting, is that the helicopter only came online for fire assistance in Anchorage yesterday. What timing!
With the conditions being so dry for the three day, start-of-summer weekend, I have a couple tips for all you lodge members for your barbeques:

Do not pour the entire bottle of lighter fluid (or gasoline!) on the grill.
Do not use the barbeque that has been repaired with duct tape.
Do not use the fire extinguisher for cooling the beer.
Do not overcook the burgers to the point you can't tell that you just put a smoldering charcoal on a bun.
Most importantly, please don't have your picnic within 2 miles of my house!
Remember, we're all in this together; I'm pulling for you!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Dearest Treasures

We didn't like each other at first. It was in college, and her group of friends and mine overlapped, so we knew each other by name. But we weren't friends.

A couple years later, still on campus, both of us recently married, she with a baby in a baby seat. We shared a table in the Commons and started talking. 18 years later, I just put her on a plane after a joyous and brief visit as that baby graduated from high school this week. We're still talking and laughing and supporting and leaning and giving and being.

We had approximately 24 hours, the first time we've seen each other in over a year. It's as if we pick up the threads with no breaks. We raided all the fun, crafty, original little shops here in Anchorage, singing out loud to the same songs, or dancing-in unison! What fun to have someone who not only understands your quirky beats, but joins in and shares back. We are so different in some ways, yet we complement each other. We have our own language and shared history; one phrase that carries an entire volume of meaning that needs no explanation.

It is such a treat. I was sure I'd be sad when I had to drop her off at the airport. But I was smiling, because I had enjoyed our visit so much. This kind of friendship is the dearest treasure.

Peer Pressure is Dangerous!

Ok, peer pressure can be really dangerous! For example, most of my friends are focusing on living healthy lives, and have committed themselves to adding in activity. So, one signed up for the Mayor's Marathon-or at least, the quarter marathon portion. Then another, and another. Yup, you guessed it. Couch-spudlette me! I am now signed up, too. I haven't walked that many miles in a row in a really long time. On purpose!

I am planning on making the distance with my friends without slowing them down or embarrassing myself. So, I have been walking once and even twice a day. I get time to chat with a friend or my sweetie, get some color in my Caspar-the-Ghost skintone, and did I mention earlier how beautiful it has been outside? So many definite incentives. My other incentive is a bit more powerful. I will be travelling to Europe this September, and have no intention of having to sit out parts of the Louvre, or missing the Notre Dame Cathedral because my poor paws are too tender!

See, peer pressure can be good for you!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Walking on Sunshine

Last summer stunk. It rained and was overcast all
but two days. My lawn turned to moss, and our
camping plans washed away.

This summer is making up for last year! It has been marvellously sunny and warm. The one day it rained, the clouds washed the roads and watered the lawns, and politely removed themselves by the end of the workday. I was reminded of the lyrics "In Camelot"!

I work near a beautiful walking park. Today I called my sweetie and met him for lunch. We walked hand in hand around the park and the pond and watched the Canada geese. One gentleman practiced his juggling, and another was flying a kite as large as my car, while dozens of local business people broke away from their desks and walked or ran the paths. It was a wonderful, simple time to reconnect. We made plans for other outings and picnics this summer. Next time, the dachshunds will get to come along!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Starting Somewhere

I always tend to feel I need to know more, learn more, get better about whatever task it is I am trying to accomplish. So I postpone, and hem and haw, trying to do anything BUT put my work on the line. I am challenging myself anyway.

Ta Da! Pictures of my jewelry, on display! I haven't mastered the camera; I think I need an engineering degree to just read the novel-sized manual! I don't know much about blogging or computers; I am definitely behind the electronic wave. But here it is. I am taking the baby steps, even if someone might see me fall.

(Okay, the sappiness is over!)

This blog is going to be full of jewelry and my goofy take of the world and its wonderful quirkiness and my enthusiasm for creativity in all its amazing forms. I hope you find creativity and kindness and joy in your daily life, too!