Adventures With Grandkids

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I promised I’d write a post about the visit of the ankle biters. Well, one of them is a little older than that, but still young. They are both males, but with really different personalities. That’s how it goes with kids.

The youngest had never met us, but that didn’t seem to be a problem as long as we acted like loving humans, which how could you not do? They were lots of fun, but I’d quite forgotten what young ones were like to entertain. We gave them art stuff and took them on adventures and everything worked out fine. I now have pictures on my fridge done by both of them. Now, that’s art.niles family

So, we loaded up food and the two dogs and the boys and headed out! Dogs can be more unmanageable than boys, but they really were quite good on this trip. I worried about all of them getting too close to the cliffs, though.

I am including a photo of this adventure: the Devil’s Fire, or as some call it, Little Finland. By either name it is totally awesome. The trek to it is a bit daunting, but neither of the boys had to be carried. As we approached the hills, the boys (Finn and Jude) noticed white staining on the rocks, so I taught them how to lick rocks (I’m not too sure mom appreciated that) to tell what it is. In this case it was alkali or salt. They got quite a kick out of licking rocks! Me too, for that matter. The desert is full of alkali areas, so they can lick rocks to their heart’s content.

We climbed to the top where the really special stuff is and right-away showed them petroglyphs on the very rock they walked upon. These glyphs are probably as much as 10,000 years old. I can’t even imagine that span of time. And to think humans were here then is awe inspiring.

I look for special rocks and twigs whenever we are out as I use them in my art. We found Moki marbles for the boys–round bits of sandstone rock. I have many of those, as well as chert and round rocks and just rocks I love. That would be most rocks. I figure we have about 50 ton of rock on our property, and aside from the landscape rock, we’ve carried it all in–from little to large. Needless to say, they had rocks in their pockets when we got home too!

It was great to have them here, and it seems they liked it to! Now we look forward to the next great adventure with them.


Sometimes It’s About Rocks

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How cool is being able to post from the home page. I love this!

Since we are still trying to get out into the desert–the weather hasn’t permitted–I will continue with info on fabric arts! I not only make jewelry, but also make masks and help with the cliff spirits. That is where I am headed (to the craft table) when I finish this blog and write my article for the paper.

All our art is created from recycled materials, or reclaimed materials, in as much as possible. With jewelry, I do have to buy certain things and I just can’t resist rocks–you know, the kind that are mined and cut and polished. Well, that’s not entirely true. They can be just any old rocks that are lying about in the desert and happen to catch my eye. I even incorporate rocks into the cliff spirits and my jewelry. I made an awesome cuff bracelet with a found rock as the focal point.

I once picked up a piece of rusty metal and made a necklace out of it. Here’s a picture.

Okay, so I haven’t figured out how to insert a picture with text. I can get it in, but I can’t add text after it. So, it’s at the end of this piece.

It’s such fun to find objects and creating something with them.  When finished, you have a story to tell. The metal is from an old mining site here in Nevada that we visited. I believe that is where we saw a rattlesnake as big as you’d ever want to see one, and a little too close for comfort. He was cold, though, and didn’t bother us.

I find my fabrics, trims and yarns in various and sundry places. Some come from my discontinued books (I have an interior design business), some come from friends and family, some come from yard sales, and some come from the local fabric store. I just love fabric and sometimes a pattern just has to come home with me. It sort of jumps into the cart as I pass by. How can I not give it a home?

Sometimes, I create a unique fabric with some of the methods I’ve described previously. There are many more ways to create unique fabrics and they can be made with objects you probably have at home or that are easily found.

I have collected stamps at yard sales with the intent of making designs on fabric. Stamps are easily procured. Or if you’re feeling really creative, you can cut a simple design on an eraser–one of those tan ones–and carve the design out so as to leave raised places on the eraser, making it a stamp.

Using acrylic paint, put a bit on a plate. Using a foam paint brush, brush some to cover the stamp surface. Now, you can press the stamp onto the fabric. Press hard and don’t rock. Do this all over the fabric until you are satisfied with the results.

Or you might try the same thing with paint sticks and a stencil. Transfer the paint from the stick to a brush and then paint over the stencil pattern. 

Just remember to let it dry thoroughly, and once dry, iron the back to set the paint. You can paint directly onto fabric, which I do with metallic paints to embellish existing prints. I usually do this after I’ve rolled them because I think you get better results this way.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas because next week I’m going to explain how to roll them. It’s pretty basic, but it does take practice and good fine motor skills.

Have a great weekend. Maybe we’ll get to go roaming in the desert after all.