8/30/15

Mermaid Statue

I bought a resin mermaid statue recently from our local swap meet. Here she is after I painted her... I have been wanting a mermaid for my backyard, and with a lot of little kids about--- it is important that I have a "modest mermaid." You'd be surprised at how many well endowed/nude mermaids I've had to pass up! The tip of the seashell she is holding was broken off. That didn't discourage me from buying it-- in fact, it made it cheaper. *wink* For me, I knew it was an easy fix. I grabbed my favorite, Fix-it-all. It is a really great product that I find super easy to use. Here you can see the repair I made using the patch. It comes in a powder form and you add water to create the consistency you'd like to use. I always mix it up to form a type of clay. It is very much like using paper clay in my opinion.
Once the patch job on the sea shell had dried I began to paint the mermaid. I didn't take a before photo, I was in so much of a hurry to jump into the fun task of painting! The mermaid was the color you see in the previous photos. I used metallic green paints to paint the mermaids skin and tail. For the seashell, I used muted colors so the shell would look as real as possible. I did the paint on the mermaid in layers. This is the first layer before I sprayed it with a clear gloss sealer.

 The next coat was a black wash over the mermaids scales and body. With the previous paint sealed it made it a breeze to do a wash of color over the existing paint without so much as a smudge.
For the mermaids hair I started with black paint and then used different dark colors that I imagined would be in the oceans water to make her hair a little more interesting. I guess you can't do anything wrong with painting a mermaid... since you don't have one to compare it too. Next, I sealed the newest painting I did and began the last layer. I used some shimmering glitter gloss paint to her tail and added some small rhinestones around the scales at her waist and a few on her tail and then some more at the tails tip. One last coat of clear sealer to finish her up. I have plans of putting her in a cage filled with sea shells.... but for now she is just on a shelf.
I've also been working on putting up some outdoor lights in my backyard that tie into the overall theme of my yard. I purchased seven wrought iron lights for the crazy low sum of $20.00. I did have to take the glass out of each one and spray paint them, but that was an easy fix. We had to create a wooden hanging post for each light to hang from... here you can see the two we have started with. The lights have not been wired yet, but in the near future I see it coming together! I'll add some more rope at the top where the lights hang from--- I'm not to thrilled with the rope at the bottom... but from close-up nothing looks good. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
 I also wanted some mood lighting on the side of my house. This area called for a softer light source. I bought some round wooden tree supports and cut them so that they would only stand six feet high when placed in the ground. I spaced them eight feet apart and I am going to string outdoor cafe lights from the tops of each pole stringing them all together.
 I have also been working on making some outdoor games. Here is a pirate themed ring toss game I've made... It is still needing a little bit more work, but the majority of it is finished.
 
At the top of the ring toss game I have a deer antler, a pulley/hook and a silver candle sconce.

In the middle I have an old pirates cup, a sword handle and a ships cleat... and the extra space is reserved for a hook from some unfortunate pirate who has lost his hand...

at the bottom of this new game... a jaw bone from possibly a cow? and a skull and cross bones.
 I have sooooooooooooo many projects that are in different stages of completion.... and that is just the way I like it.
big hugs,
 

8/18/15

Wire Wrapping Classes

With the new school season starting up, it had me itching to get back to school too! Well, not "school-school" that'd be bore--- ing. But wire wrapping classes! *woot-woot* I have been admiring a lot of beautifully wire wrapped cabochons online lately. Of course with my "I can do that" attitude, I signed up immediately! I wanted to jump in feet first into some huge elaborate project with swirling wire around a beautiful stone--- didn't quite work out like that. No, I started by making a ruler. A wire gauge ruler... but a ruler none the less. At least I was lucky to get a one on one lesson from a person who is very good at wire work, so I figured it would benefit me in the long run...*sigh* but a ruler? okokok... now that I finished that project, I admit, I do see now how beneficial it will be to me later... It is a lovely ruler if I do say so myself~

As my friends can attest, when I get into something... I am all in. I bought the tools, the wire and several different totes to carry it all. (I still haven't found one cute and large enough to suit my needs- yet) I have been to three classes so far and haven't made anything in the classes other than friends! (and the ruler) That being said, I have watched-- listened and yes, learned. Who knew? Right? The instructor passed out written directions to a bracelet everyone was working on. I took it home and created one of the links to the bracelet. Shown below with the yellow round stone. I only made one because I wasn't to keen on the design. I also glued some tiny polished rocks to an old cross that had previously been in a "scrap pile." I'll stick a dollar price tag on it and it will sell quickly. *wink*
With my feet wet, I decided to create some more on my own. I decided to create some free form wire wrapped stones. I figured there is no right or wrong way to do that. Right?... so I just winged it. I have a lot of polished rocks in my yard, so I rooted through them to pull out some small ones to play with. I managed to come up with a small bowl full~
Here are a few free formed wire wrapped stones I have made... so far. Here are the quartz crystals....
These ones below are a few of the rocks I had gathered from my backyard. The light gray one is a beach stone. 

Some more of the rocks I had in my back yard collection. I added some jewelry quality rhinestones to some of the swirls. Once I was finished with that, I had an idea to create tiny seed bead wire trees to hang on a necklace. I have a collection of over 20 large wire trees and the idea of making a tiny one to hang on a necklace sounded like a good idea. They are not really all that time consuming and even though I'm just winging it, I think they turned out pretty darn cute. I used small rocks on two of them and a glass cabochon on one.

The "Tree of Life" is very popular. So, I made some of those too.
Here is a close up of the smaller of the two. It is not a perfect cabochon, it is just a flat polished rock. The rock is not perfectly balanced in its shape, but I think it looks pretty good considering I did this on my own. I added a tiny seagull charm to this one.

Watching the skilled artisans making beauty out of wire inspired me to give it a try myself. I created these two totally on my own... gasp.. unsupervised! The blue stone isn't a perfect cabochon. It has many different angled sides and it is faceted along the edge on both the top and the bottom of the stone. I like a challenge and wrapping this stone certainly was. 
I will take these into my next class so I can get some feed back on how I did. I know I am needing the basics to build upon. I admit it. BUT, once I get the basics, I'm going to be off and running! 

Along with the wire wrapping class, I am also taking Lapidary classes where I am going to be learning how to cut, polish and engrave stones. I have a lot of rock slabs that I have been buying over the years from estate sales, yard sales and the swap meet. I can cut all of those into cabochons to then use in the wire weaving class.
Like that isn't enough on my plate, I have also been taking Silversmithing classes as well. I am in the process of creating a silver ring with a bezel that will hold a small cabochon stone. I have always wanted to learn how to use a torch and solder metals. For now, the torch and all of the highly flammable liquids near by kinda scare the bee-gee-bees out of me, but I have a great teacher who assures me I most likely won't make anything blow up. So, I have that going for me. *wink*

There are many more classes that I am interested in taking as well. I will be taking the faceting classes and the lost wax casting classes too and any other classes that come up!
big hugs,
 
 

8/5/15

Back Yaaarrrggghhd

I have been reworking some of the areas in my backyard recently. I decided to move the pirate ship cabin off of the cement pad and put it in the lagoon area. I had to cut down a tree and pull up some plants to make room for it... happily it fit... whew. Here is the view when you are at the top of the stairs looking down into the lagoon area...

 The view looking up the stairs from the bottom of the lagoon area...

I have never fully loaded the top of the pirate ship before... but now that it is in this new area, it just called for more detail in its staging. Of course, it just wouldn't look right without a cat in the picture right? Here is Puss-puss in her new favorite spot. 
I had this wooden chest sitting on top of the pirate ship for about four years. It just needed a fresh coat of paint and now it is going to be a focal piece filled with treasure and pirate loot...
The backside of the pirate ship is facing the wooden deck area which is the area where we play a lot of games. So, the backside of the pirate ship needed to be tricked out too.
The underside/back of the boat is open and instead of closing it in, I decided to use it to showcase some pirate loot.
There is a lot of things in this small space, which isn't readily visible unless your bent over peering into the space--- but just in-case someone does that--- it will look fabulous.

Out of everything I have done recently, this spot is my favorite... I love how the striped pennant looks draped from the ships mast across/through the plant. It is the little things isn't it?

Looking down below the pennant is a golden Buddha statue with coins tossed at its base.... for wishes I imagine. Pirates need a lot of luck. 
Tomorrow I will be out in the yard bright and early trying to get things moved and organized before tackling another new project.

A big thank you to those who sent their love my way over the loss of my sweet cat Chumley. Your kindness was heart felt.
big hugs,