And so it goes

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turquoise in progress

I have started a new adventure in creativity. This soon-to-be necklace has been a real challenge. I have taken it apart at least three, and maybe four, times. I don’t usually work on anything so structured, but here I am jumping in with both feet. I wonder what prompts me to take on these challenges and to stick with it until I am satisfied.

The above photo is not my latest. I took out the beads around the neck and I have decided to embroider all that shows through of the backing. This is no easy task. I am using Brazilian embroidery floss: it tangles and twists and makes me crazy. I can’t do regular back stitches as the surface is too rigid. So, it is one stitch at a time. The upside is that I’m using floss that was given to me and which would have been thrown away.

This time, I’m taking notes on the process. It’s hard for me to be organized, but I realize that it makes my future work easier. I have cataloged all my beads and labeled all the boxes my fabrics and trims are in. That alone was an adventure. You just never know what will happen when you try something new.

The following picture is one of those new projects I took on without a pattern. Common sense is a good quality to have. I had the earring pattern, so I did have something to go by, but I was worried it wouldn’t work.

Macrame necklace for Pat

In the past, I’ve been very successful when I’ve learned a new technique. I get books and tutorials and go from there. Sometimes I just incorporate a technique I already know. Sometimes I take hours determining what a rock or piece of wood wants to be. Once this piece is finished, I’m going to make dolls and purses. I need a new adventure.

I do love what I am doing and hope I can continue to share my adventure of art with you.


It’s Hard to Know When to Quit


Sometimes others don’t love what you have created as much as you do. Maybe they even hate it. But that’s part of the challenge and the fun of creating art objects. At present, we are trying to create a buzz on Etsy for my stuff. In working the process I realized that I had a piece I’d put about 50 hours into that wasn’t going anywhere. This is the piece:

Butterflies and roses

I love it, others love it, but no one wants to buy it. So, I thought I’d remake it and see how that went. I discarded the butterfly and several of the flowers. I think maybe it was just too much. It’s hard to know when to quit, and that’s what separates the great artists from the mediocre. Here’s the beginning of the re-creation. What do you think? I’ll post it when it’s completed.

Re do butterflies and roses

As you can see, it started out as a beaded collar. I intend to use the green pearls to make the necklace and incorporate the focal piece I’m now working on. And, of course,  I kept the beaded leaves. My method of creating is rather organic and sometimes I work myself into a corner. The best thing about creating that way is that I have to discover my own way to make everything work. I can safely say that creating wearable art is the adventure. It always keeps my mind active as I try to figure out how to turn my vision into something beautiful.

While looking for those pictures, I came across others I had created. I was doing craft fairs then and sold almost everything I made. Going through the pictures reminded me of those I loved the most. They tend to be ones created with found objects and textiles.

Story teller 2

As you can see, it isn’t always jewelry that comes to mind. I love rocks and wood and this happened when a friend gave me the driftwood. It was another of those projects where I had to figure out how to bring the idea into fruition. She is a Storyteller made from the driftwood and flat river stones and textiles and beads. At some point I want to make a dragon from wood and tattered fabrics. I guess I’ll have to live a few more lifetimes to make everything I have in my head. But it is always an adventure.

I also want to give a shout out to a really nice guy. I made a comment on his blog and he had the good graces to send me some marketing tips. Check him out at:  https://affililatelife.blog/. (…and thanks for all the fish.)

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.