Thursday, December 12, 2013

2013 ABS Ornament Blog Hop

Well hello! Welcome to the fourth annual (my third) Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop! A great big thank you to the lovely Heather Powers of Humblebeads, Art Bead Scene and Earrings Everyday for hosting this fun hop! I love, love, love collecting and making Christmas ornaments - thus, Artfully Ornamental.

Nearly every ornament on my tree is handcrafted either by me or by an artisan who I bought the ornament directly from. I love that! I have sent two boxes of ornaments away with two of my children, now that they've established their own homes. I have the ornaments of my other two still on my tree. It's fast becoming too full! Next year, I think I may buy - I can't believe I'm going to say this - a tall, narrow artificial tree (the hubster and I have only ever had a real tree) to put in another room with one of my ornament groupings on it. Not sure yet which grouping - ocean themed, trees, angels - there are other collections but those 3 are the largest, will go on the tree. We'll see!

The ornament I created for this hop has been on my mind for over a year. I just had to figure out the mechanics of it, and find the time to create it! I present: Walking In A Winter Wonderland

This is a sweet little snowboy snow globe! I also painted snowflakes on a red resin bead attached to the ornament hanger.The sweetest part of this ornament for me is that it's interactive - it works like a snow globe! I am so, so happy with how this ornament came out!
See the glitter at the bottom of the globe? See how it's in a drift on the right side of the ornament in the picture above this one, and how it's in a drift on the left in the photo above? Squeeee!!
See!?! The glitter moves!!

I also painted a snowflake on the back (which I'll be removing and repainting, it's a bit too scrunched together - easy fix though). Sigh...
Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoy your hopping today and are enjoying a cup of hot cocoa while you hop (click here for links)!
As a treat for you, I'm sharing a recipe I've made for years: Hot Fudge Sauce! It's a recipe my friend Julie shared with me. Last Christmas I gifted small containers of it to my co-workers, they loved it (I used the small snack sized Glad containers)! My family is disappointed when it's not in the fridge. I always double it (or more.....), but this is the standard recipe (and yes, I made a double batch last night - yum):
Hot Fudge Sauce
1 1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate (I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao)
1/4 cup unsalted butter (I use Land 'o Lakes)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghirardelli)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light cream
1 teaspoon vanilla (use good quality real vanilla, not artificial)

Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium sauce pan over low heat. In a bowl, mix cocoa powder, sugar & salt (I whisk them together, it breaks up the cocoa powder). Remove pan from heat and add cocoa mixture to the pan, mix well. I add the powdered mixture to the pan in either 1/2 or 1/3 increments, stirring 'til blended - this will be thick. Add the light cream slowly and stir 'til smooth and blended. Again, I add the light cream in either 1/2 or 1/3 increments. I've found this is the best way to easily incorporate it into the thicker mixture. Return the pan to heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir to mix. Pour into your container(s). Cool, then refrigerate and keep refrigerated; it thickens as it cools. I portion out a couple of spoonfuls and zap it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to pour over my ice cream. Enjoy!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

2013 Art Charm Exchange Benefiting Beads of Courage

Welcome to the 2013 Art Charm Exchange hosted by the lovely Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions, benefiting Beads of Courage! What is Beads of Courage? BOC provides arts-in-medicine programs for seriously ill children and their families in over 150 hospitals in the United States and around the world. The beads and materials provided by BOC allow children to tell their story. Not only are monetary donations made to BOC, many artists contribute art beads to BOC to help make each piece a child makes very, very special.
When I saw Jen's post about the swap and it's theme of LOVE I knew I had to join! Create 11 charms to send to Jen - 1 to be used in the auction to raise money for BOC and 10 (including one of our own) to be returned to each of us. 9 new, lovingly created art charms and money for charity - it's a win-win! Last year the auction raised $600 for BOC.

AUCTION INFORMATION: You have the opportunity to help raise funds by either bidding on a charm or charms that make your heart sing (bid high, bid often) or use the Buy It Now option (new this year) to get your favorites! The auction is here on ebay: the auctions are staggered over 3 days - today starting at 7 a.m., Saturday (11/16) starting at 9 a.m., and Sunday (11/17) starting at 5 p.m. Each day, charms will be added every 2 minutes. Jen will combine shipping charges and hold your items to ship at one time. If you opt for the Buy It Now option you must buy immediately. Jen will hold your BIN and not charge additional shipping for your auction items. You'll need to message her through ebay to let her know.
Now, for my inspiration - I LOVE the beach, I've written about my love for the beach and my favorite local beach, Willard Beach, a number of times on my blog. I also always have my camera with me when I walk the beach, whether it's my iPhone or my DSLR I'm always taking pictures. I have a thing for hearts and search them out wherever I'm walking. When I find one I take a picture of it in its "habitat" and quite often bring it home with me if it's a rock, a shell, or a piece of sea glass. I generally have my happy little trinkets in either my camera or my pocket.
Auction Charm: LOVE spelled using a rock, a rusty doorknob, mussel shells and white shells; seaweed heart

I also like to "write on the beach" whether it's directly in the sand or with the trinkets I pick up. I happen to write the word LOVE a lot! So, when I saw Jen's call for participants I knew I needed to join! Using Photoshop I reduced the image size of 10 of my pictures - 5 beach hearts and 5 of the word LOVE. The word LOVE is spelled out using driftwood, rocks, sea glass, white rocks, white shells, mussel shells, a sand dollar, tumbled brick "stones", and written in the sand. The "hearts" are a seaweed, clump a piece of heart shaped seaweed, a rosa rugosa petal, mussel shells, and a heart shaped piece of tumbled brick. The bezels were another story- for another post. I ended up finding base metal pendants that I could use as double-sided bezels. I used a punch to punch out the images, sealed them multiple times and glued them to the bezels; then I glued sand in the bezels around the pictures - multiple times. I also used German glass glitter to highlight the ocean foam. Then I sealed it all with several pours of ICE Resin. The sand ended up being a bit sparse in a few places, but wasn't visible until the resin cured...Sigh.....

Did you know sand grains encased in resin can be sharp as a knife? Well they can be, so some filing was involved and re-coating with ICE. This resin is fantastic! Its leveling and doming properties, its glass like finish - fabulous! I love the charms I created - they totally represent me and what I love. I hope the ladies who received my charms love them as much as I do.

These are the amazing charms I received. I am so honored to have received such beautiful, miniature works of art. I'm not certain yet whether I'll combine them into one piece, use them sparingly, or hoard them (and participate again to add to my collection) to make something at a later date. I am so thrilled with each and every one of these charms and the love infused into the making of them.
Kristi Bowman, Linda Haskell, Caroline Dewison
Cheryl (Lee) Koopman, Charlene Jacka, Shai Williams
Julie Schmidt Bowen, Ginger Bishop, Carolyn Chenault

To our hostess with the mostest - Jen Cameron, thank you so very much for coordinating such a wonderful swap and fundraiser. I'm raising my glass to you! I can't wait to hop along this weekend. Now, check out the auctions & check out the other artists blogs to see what they created and the inspiration behind their designs:

Caroline Dewison:
Lori Bowring Michaud: (you are here!)
Charlene Bausinger Jacka:
Kristi Bowman:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm.....

Last month the very generous and talented Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions announced sign-ups for the 2013 Art Charm Swap benefiting Beads of Courage. I jumped at the chance to join! Each artist sends Jen eleven art charms and receives ten (including one of her own) back; the eleventh will be auctioned off to benefit Beads of Courage. Please take a few minutes to read about the BOC program, it's really wonderful!
Charms need to be in Jen's hands by Friday, October 25. Mine were put in the mail to her today and she should receive them on Tuesday.
The charm reveal day is Friday, November 15. Please come back to see the charms I created and received. Here's a little teaser - does it make you go "hmmmm"?
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

2nd Annual Challenge of Travel:: South Portland, ME

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Challenge of Travel - Staycation Edition, hosted by the lovely Miss Erin Prais-Hintz of Treasures Found! Thanks for stopping by!
Miss Erin challenged us to make something inspired by where we live - welcome to SoPo as we fondly call it! South Portland is on the Southern Coast of Maine, a suburb of Portland, Maine's largest city. SoPo was a blue collar bedroom community for a long time. It's a bustling community of approximately 28,000 people. We have five elementary schools that were renovated or rebuilt at the turn of the century (it sounds so long ago when said that way), two middle schools and one high school (home of the Red Riots) which is currently undergoing a $40 million renovation (it's a lot further along than the facebook page indicates). I work as a secretary in the Superintendent's Office and, when my kids were growing up, I was on the School Board for 9 years. My husband and I both grew up here and are proud graduates of SPHS (and members of the class that created the Zoo Crew)!
 Spring Point Light on the left and Bug Light on the right
It's home to three marina's one of them the largest service marina in the State of Maine. We have two lighthouses - Spring Point Ledge Light on the campus of Southern Maine Community College (it's a beautiful campus - can you imagine looking out your classroom window at a beautiful bay and its islands?) and Portland Breakwater Light, affectionately known as Bug Light because of its small size. Bug Light sits on an 8 acre park which was formerly two ship building yards during WWII. My grandmother Dorothy Bowring was a Rosie the Riveter during WWII at one of the shipyards.
 Fisherman's Point at the far right end of he beach and a lifeguard chair looking to the left of the beach
SoPo has two public beaches, Davis Beach (it's a public beach most don't know about; it's accessed by a stairway on private property, and where I find most of my pottery shards) and Willard Beach (three if you count the beach that appears at low tide beside Spring Point Light). Willard is in a nice little cove, I didn't realize I didn't have good shots of the whole beach, I'll have to work on that. I spend a lot of my free time walking these beaches picking up my treasures (sea glass, heart shaped rocks, pottery shards), though sadly, not too much time this summer (insert sad face). My favorite time to walk our beaches is fall, winter and early spring - winter especially, it takes a hearty soul to spend serious time on a beach in Maine in the winter. It's peaceful, and mostly mine. Willard Beach is my favorite place on earth! My Uncle Chick was the lifeguard there for 38 years and it's the beach my mom and dad met on. My husband and I spent lots of time there when we were kids and I took my kids several times a week when they were growing up. It's small, but beautiful!

The Greenbelt Walkway is a paved, six mile trail that extends from Bug Light in the east to the Wainwright Recreational Complex in the middle of the city. Year round folks can be found walking, running, biking and skating along this beautiful  trail. It's part of the Eastern Trail System.
 Photo from the SP Land Trust websiste with the old bridge and gazebo (the gazebo has been replaced too)
We have a very active Historical Society, located on the grounds of Bug Light Park, and a very active Land Trust ensuring that we continue to have beautiful green space (there are more than I'm going to list here). Hinckley Park in the central part of the city has walking trails and two ponds that my boys fished in every summer. They and their friends would grab their pop-up tent, poles, backpacks full of snacks and entertain themselves for hours! Clark's Pond in the western end of the city is where residents cut ice blocks in the winter months before we had refrigeration. Several years ago a walking trail was built around it. In the heart of the city is Mill Creek Park. It's beautiful, and it's difficult to believe that it was formerly the city dump. It has a pond we call the Figure 8. Until a few years ago there was a beautiful bridge across it - I miss that bridge. Many brides walked across that bridge to reach their groom at the gazebo on the other side on their wedding days. Three of my four children had their prom pictures taken at Mill Creek Park. The city hosts summer concerts on Wednesday evenings - ending each summer with a concern by a local band, Motor Booty Affair. Motor Booty is a 70's tribute band - the park rocks out to the boys from Planet Funktar each summer, it's a blast. Mill Creek Park also hosts our annual Art in the Park each August. For the most part the weather is lovely for this beautiful day for artists to sell their creations (last year - not so much). New this year are family movies on a big screen on Thursday evenings at Bug Light Park. I haven't been, but I've seen friends' posts on facebook about the fun they're having. Thomas Knight Park is at the end of the road which connected to the old Million Dollar Bridge, which connected South Portland and Portland across the Fore River. It was replace in the late 90's with the Casco Bay Speedway Bridge. It caused quite a bit of controversy when it was built, but I think we're all used to it now.

There are many, many more things I could tell you about our beautiful spot on the earth, but I think you came to see what I created too! So, I present - "Second Time's a Charm":
Why Second Time's a Charm, well this isn't the necklace I set out to make several weeks ago.  Let me just tell you that raw polymer clay touching metal that has been colored with alcohol inks (and is unsealed) is a disaster, as is rushing to fill bezels (can you say over-fill and air bubbles). You must add your resin slowly so that it has a chance to settle. That perfectly domed bezel that you rushed to fill will inevitably run over the edge of the bezel - trust me. It's another post altogether.....
So, last night (yes I'm ashamed to say I was so frustrated from the first attempt I waited 'til the last minute to create my piece) I went with the K.I.S.S. philosophy. I hauled a boat-load of stuff out of my studio to the dining room table, but went with simple instead.. As I said earlier, I spend a lot of time on the beach. I have LOTS of sea glass (unfortunately the vast majority of it is craft grade, not jewelry grade) and pottery shards (as well as heart shaped rocks and tumbled pieces of brick...and driftwood). I had pulled several pieces out of my collection a year or so ago intending to make a necklace, so that's what I finally did. I like it a lot and I think I'll wear it later today!
I used copper foil and soldered the pottery shards with a sterling silver bearing solder and connected the pieces with  jump rings. The textured, base metal chain (I think I got it at Michael's a while ago) reminded me of rope as did the sterling silver toggle clasp. Not bad for a last minute decision.
So, grab a cuppa' and hop along to see what the other artists have created! Have fun and thanks for stopping by! A great big thank you to our hostess, Miss Erin Prais-Hintz! I haven't yet figured out the Linky tool, so 'til I do visit Miss Erin's blog for the list of participants!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

When they built you brother, they broke the mold...

In Loving Memory Of
Who Passed Away May 9,  2004 
Well they built the Titanic to be one of a kind,
but many ships have ruled the seas
They built the Eiffel Tower to stand alone,
but they could build another if they please
Taj Mahal, the pyramids of Egypt,
are unique I suppose
But when they built you brother,
they broke the mold
Now the world is filled with many wonders
under the passing sun
And sometimes something comes along
and you know it's for sure the only one
The Mona Lisa, the David, the Sistine Chapel,
Jesus, Mary and Joe
And when they built you brother,
they broke the mold

When they built you brother,
they turned dust into gold
When they built you brother,
they broke the mold

They say you can't take it with you
but I think that they're wrong
'Cause all I know is I woke up the morning
and something big was gone
Gone into that dark ether
where you're still young & hard & cold
Just like when they built you brother,
they broke the mold

Now your death is upon us
and we'll return your ashes to the earth
And I know you'll take comfort in knowing
you've been roundly blessed and cursed
But love is a power greater than death,
just like the songs and stores told
And when she built you brother,
she broke the mold
                            -Bruce Springsteen
We love you and miss you every day, T.
Dad, Mom, Caiti & Josh, Matt & Katie, Gabi