8/13/20

Tree Stump Miniature House

About a year ago I purchased two tree slices figuring I'd do something with them. I figured I'd take pictures of my wire wrapped jewelry on them, but that never happened. All I've done with them over the past year is put them in a bag to donate to a thrift store... and then take them out. Yep, a year of doing that. While going through my studio again purging items, I again came across these two tree slices... again, they were put into the "donation bag." Then I had an idea what to do with them, finally! Turn them into a miniature house! So out of the donation bag they came!
A miniature house? Yes, a tree stump miniature house. I haven't quite figured out how to do this just yet, I'm just going to wing it. The first thing I was needing to do was to get the bark cut off the edges. Once that was done I stained the wood to give it a nice appearance.
 Then using super sturdy cardboard I cut a base for the miniature house trying to replicate the look of tree roots that show on the surface of the ground. I cut a piece of cardboard to create the walls of the tree stump and cut long slits about 1/2 inch apart so I could get the cardboard to wrap around the shape of my tree. I only have two wood slices, so the center floor I made used two pieces of heavy duty cardboard glued together. I used tacky glue and nails to secure the wall into place. I cut holes into one wood slab and the cardboard floor so I can add stairs later.
Once the cardboard and slabs were in place I added balled up pieces of tin foil and tape to make the tree stump look more realistic. When the shape was how I liked it I added a layer of torn up paper bags to everything so I would have a smooth surface to work with. I also added a chimney to the right side of the tree stump.
 For the top of the tree stump I added a piece of leftover tubing from my outdoor drip system. I wanted a slight raised edge of my stump and this worked out perfectly. It is covered in pieces of glued on paper towels.
 To create the windows I used pieces of clear acrylic sheets that I had on hand. I framed the windows with illustration board and then covered it with drywall patch.
 Here you can see the front panel of my miniature tree stump. I'm still needing to cut out some windows on this piece and then figure out how to create a hinge so it can swing open and shut. You can see in this photo how I use the tin foil and tape to create shapes on the cardboard...
I think it is turning out super cute so far. Next up is to work on getting the interior walls done along with the tree bark on the tree stump itself.

6/18/20

New Garden

Our house is on a corner lot and I've taken part of the front side yard and fenced it in so that it not only makes the front yard look better... but it gives me room to grow a garden.
I am going to paint the fence... eventually... but I've got a lot of other little things I'm needing to address first. This side yard area was where I had a rose garden, after giving away all the rose bushes I had all of these retaining stones left. I dug up my grass along the sidewalks edge and created a long planter. Oh.My.Goodness. I'm in love!
I was lucky to have enough pavers to have it graduate up towards the house, which is great because my yard/lawn/driveway do that.
It was a lot of work moving the retaining stones, planting, putting down weed barrier, laying a drip system... and putting down the bark and rocks for decorations... I'm loving how it is turning out though!
 I have one more area next to the fence that I'm needing to complete then tie the drip system into a water line so I don't have to hand water this area anymore.
I'm going to use a cement form to lay down a cobblestone path to the gate-- eventually. I created an opening in the fence for my outdoor cats to use so they can go into the backyard. Here is my former feral cat Barney coming in the garden to join me...
  He is so good natured  it is hard to believe he was once wild.
He is like a puppy-dog... always following me around and wanting belly rubs... love him~
I was in a rush to get these tomatoes in the ground as they were pretty root bound. I only planted four out of the six I had bought as I need to buy more good dirt to turn the corner of the planter.
This new space is 25' x 25' and with that is a lot of new pickets that will shrink so, I dismantled a 8'x4' lattice to get the long thin pieces of wood to nail over the openings. I have a staple gun that also shoots nails-- so it was easy peasy to tack them up. Instant privacy. This isn't going to be your typical veggie garden. I'm going to have a few tomatoes and peppers growing in a planter and the rest of the area is going to be an area I can use all the yard surplus I have in the other side yard.
In this area by the gate I'm going to lay some red cement bricks to create an area for the wooden spool table and chairs. (I was eager to put them in this area but now are getting in my way!)

Everything except the plants I'm pulling from my other side yard where everything is stacked... I evidently over buy things for my yard as much as I do for my studio!
I have so many fun things to put in this area-- I grabbed some chairs and a bird bath.. all of which are getting in the way of making progress, so I had to stop bringing over the fun stuff until the not so fun stuff has been finished! Oh-- and I've got a huge tree stump with loads of roots that needs to come out! You can see it in the lower left part of the photo below. Just one more thing getting in my way of having fun!
I had to grab some cinder blocks and use them for stairs until I come up with a cute step down for this area.
We are expecting a long stretch of 100 degree temperatures, so I imagine other than watering-- very little is going to get done in this area for awhile!
big hugs,
Cheryl

4/7/20

Face Mask Pattern

I've been spending my days making face masks for my husbands coworkers who work at our local hospital. These masks are not for them to wear at work but for them and their spouses to wear when they are out in society running essential errands. I'm giving these masks to them to wear as "gentle reminders" to keep a safe distance from others. They are not hospital grade masks.... so keep that in mind.
At first I was concerned that I wouldn't have any elastic at home knowing all the elastic in town is sold out. I don't know why I was worried, if you know anything about me, you know I like to buy things in bulk. I've got a full spool of elastic and a full spool of twill tie as well. Plus a jar full of white and black thread... and obviously a huge hoard of fabric. *wink*
So, here is how I make my easy peasy face mask.
Firstly, you'll be needing a piece of fabric measuring 9" by 12" I've got a huge stack of fabric cut, I like to buy in bulk-- and I like to make things in bulk too!
Take the rectangle fabric and fold it over so it now measures 9" by 6" Pin the sides together along the 9" side so that there will be an opening to turn the mask inside out when the piece is completely sewn together. I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Next you'll be working along both sides of the mask (the 6" sides) Cut a piece of elastic 7" long. Place the elastic inside the mask and pin each edge to each corner on one side of the mask.

 It will look kinda wonky, but it will lay flat---
when you pin it down. Do this on the other side of the mask as well.

Sew along both sides of the mask using a 1/8 inch seam allowance. Go back and forth over the elastic to make sure it is securely attached. You can use a 1/4 inch seam allowance, but it makes the mask a smidgen smaller, its your call. So here is the mask sewn together. At this point, using the opening in the 9" side turn the mask inside out.
Once it is turned inside out you can see it resembling a face mask.
Iron the mask flat.
Now comes the part in constructing the mask where you'll be creating the pleats. Don't be intimidated, it is easy peasy. If I can explain it well that is! First, figure out which side is going to be the front as opposed to the back, and also, the top from the bottom. If your working with a pattern in the fabric, it should lay with the image/words facing you. Once you've figured all that out, fold the mask in half and iron it creating a nice crisp edge.
Next, open up the mask and take the bottom of the mask and iron the bottom edge up to the line created when you folded it in half previously. Iron that crease in the fabric.
The top edge needs to be folded down to be ironed too--- BUT, the top edge will not be flush with the center mark. It needs to be ironed leaving about 1/4 inch above the center line.
Here is what the backside of the mask looks like. I've highlighted the ironed creases with chalk so hopefully you can see what I was trying to explain. 1.)Fold in half 2.) fold the bottom edge up to the middle 3.) fold the top edge down 1/4 inch above the center line.
Lastly, pulling the fabric together to create the pleats. I'm hopeful I'll explain it well enough for you to understand me-- if you choose to give this mask a try.
Ok... so, the previous photo shows the backside of the mask....so I needed to turn it over to start making the pleats. Each crease you created when folding and ironing the fabric will be the backside of each pleat. First pleat: open up your mask you have what looks like four rows. I like to start with the wider side, the one that folded up to meet the center line. I fold one side completely before going to the other side of the mask.

Hopefully, looking at this next photo will be helpful! This photo is the backside of the mask. See how the chalk lines line up with the fold of each pleat? That is what you want. The ironed crease is pinched, then the fabric is folded onto itself and pinned...

If you take some fabric and just try to copy the above photo-- you'll get it, I promise! So, here is one side pinned and now I've started on the other side of the mask.
Again, here is the pleats from the backside---  the ironed creases will be folded to the back. So, you pinch the fabric and lay it down and pin it.

Now, if you've got all that. the last thing you'll be needing to do is sew along the entire outer edge of the mask. I used a 1/8 inch seam allowance. You can use a 1/4 inch seam allowance it wouldn't change the size of the mask at this point, but make sure your catching and closing the opening you've used to turn the mask right side out.

Here is the mask completed.
I like to iron the completed mask super flat... and then iron them in half. This serves two purposes. One, it looks cuter... and two, if by chance someone (even though they shouldn't) rewears the mask, the person will be able to tell which side should be up against their face. These masks should only be worn one time then washed and dried to be worn at another time.
Here is the finished mask popped open.
The mask is surprisingly comfortable to wear.  It does have a gap at the bridge of your nose -- but you can easily tighten that up by adding some double sided tape and adhere it to your face.

One word of advice, don't use super cute/adorable fabric! People stop and talk to you about your mask! Move along people, move along...
Stay safe! Big hugs,
Cheryl

1/13/20

Quartzsite

Last week I went on a little trip with some friends from our local gem and mineral club to Quartzsite, Arizona. It was an eight hour drive from California to Arizona--- but with all the laughter during the drive, it honestly felt like a four hour drive-- how is that possible? I didn't know exactly what to expect, but I knew there were things to buy-- so that gave me some comfort... *wink*
I bought a bunch of rock hearts. I think I'm collecting them now.
 I love Labradorite. Here is a bowl full of it... all 144 pieces! Labradorite has iridescent blues and greens in the stone that shimmers when you move it. This is a super bad photo to show that off, but trust me, it is beautiful :-) Because they are cut and polished for the color to be on top and you are basically seeing the sides of the cabs.
I also bought myself an Amethyst Crystal. My friend bought one..... so... I had to have one too. I couldn't find a nice one and was fortunate to have my friend Eddy find just the perfect one.
 It kinda gets lost in the scheme of things.... so, I think I need to get more and have a "collection." Another trip to Quartzsite is in order!
 I got two bags of broken crystal fragments to use in making wire wrapped pendants. The bigger pieces I'm going to have to whack with a hammer to make more manageable pieces. "Hammer time."
 Once the pieces are the size I'm wanting them to be, I'm going to use a sanding/grinding machine to smooth the edges. I'm going to do the same thing with these Amethyst pieces below. (the flash distorts the color, they are darker in person)
I bought 100 dyed agate slabs for a very reasonable price. I bought the smallest size they were selling, again to make pendants with.
 The next find was a fun one. I kept seeing finished pendants where they had used big blobs of copper... I was smitten! I actually was working my way back to a vendor to buy a finished copper pendant when I spotted a man selling the copper blob pieces. Needless to say, I'm going to be making my own.
 I bought a total of 75...
 The vendor gave me a huge stack of cards describing the copper nuggets so that I can tuck it in with finished pendants.
 These three cabochons are the only other rock cabochons I bought other than the Labradorite. I have no idea what they are, I just liked the shape-- and the price. ($1.00 each)
 I picked up some glass hearts and shapes along with three goldstone Holy Crosses. (goldstone is man made glass) I'm going to pull off the silver bail pieces and wire wrap the hearts.
 I bought three slabs of goldstone to create my own cabochons. I got three slabs of color.... gold, blue and green.
Here is a teardrop shape I am working on, underneath the teardrop is what the goldstone looks like before it has been polished... pretty huh?

 I bought a lot of chip beads to use making some trees of life. A young girl I know is having a baby and that is why I bought all the pink and blue... probably way more that I'm needing!
 Of course when I saw Labradorite in chip beads, I needed to get a bunch of that!
 There were so many beads to choose from and this is all I got... wha-wha-wha......
 I also scored some black showcase boxes. Some are hinged with glass in the lids, a few are just divided spaces in a frame that I'm going to use to separate items in my jewelry drawer. Those three sizes of boxes that you see in the bottom left are to put a piece of jewelry inside of then close the lid and it ends up looking suspended in the center of the frame.
 I also bought some metal specimen stands which I'm going to use as stands for my new jewelry showcase boxes.
The trip was definitely a lot of fun and there was so much to look at and consider buying... I think I did pretty good, no regrets with things I bought and things I didn't buy.
big hugs,
Cheryl