Sunday, June 29, 2008

So Much Rain...a Garden Update...

We are in a very wet weather pattern here in Upstate New York. It has been hot and muggy, making the perfect scene for thunderstorms and heavy rain to roll in almost every day last week. As soon as my geraniums recover from getting doused with pelting rain, and start to put out some nice blooms again, down comes another deluge! I really have no right to complain. We could be dealing with floods as our brothers and sisters in the mid west are. Or it could be the other way around and we could be dealing with drought and fires, as in California... So all in all i am pretty grateful for what we've got going here. Even if the geraniums do look a little grumpy!
The roses continue to bloom and the bees were having a blast rolling around in the pollen this morning...

And the phlox are starting to bloom too...

This variety is called "Bright Eyes" and it smells so sweet. My Grandmother Mary loved phlox...

While it is raining cats and dogs outside, inside the crafting goes on... Time to make new baby hats out of cotton yarn for The Paper Sparrow. We put out a dozen on the shelves at the opening and are down to 5, with no little boy's hats left. So, it's time to get the looms out again! I hope your weekend is going well....

Saturday, June 28, 2008

"a little pin money = a little help"

Photo from the website " a little help"
One of the reasons i like to put my arts and crafts out there for sale is, it gives me some "pin" money to do with what i want. When i sell my sock and glove animals, i take a little of that money and contribute it to The Mohawk and Hudson Humane Society..the animal shelter of my choice. If i sell something that is related to my teacher Amma, then some of that money goes to her many many good charities. Usually i ask that it be put towards her orphanages. After the Tsunami, the number of displaced children in the orphanages grew and grew. I wonder how Amma manages to feed and clothe them all. When i finally sit down and start my planned series of paintings based on the stories of some of the women i support thru Kiva, (IF these paintings ever materialize and IF they ever sell) some of that money will go back into Kiva. It is all so natural and it makes so much sense to me. The Universe gives and you give back. In my mind, that's how it all works. Well, while watching the Nightly News last night there was a special segment on "Making a Difference" (click on Making a Difference link to view the segment) about this organization, called " a little help" It is a non profit organization, run by one American woman in Afghanistan, who has only one part time assistant, and she is REALLY making a difference in this big world-especially for women and girls in that war torn country. Please take a few minutes to check out her site. Her requests for help are simple and few. One of her current goals is to supply a blind woman's group with yarn and knitting needles. These disabled women are being taught to support themselves in a simple way...working with their hands. And aren't some of us striving to do the same thing? The big difference here is, we can get up, get in our cars and drive to the craft or yarn store, buy our materials and go to work. These women, in addition to being blind, cannot go out in public alone, unescorted...Yarn shops in Afghanistan? I would guess not many. And without being allowed or being able to work, who has money for yarn and knitting needles? So i thought i would share this story with you all in hopes that someone else will be inspired and keep the story going. In the meantime, i need to get to work and make some money!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Stocking the Shelves

Well, i managed to make three more dolls for The Paper Sparrow this week. A kitty and a puppy out of socks, and a glove dog too. They are all numbered, named, tagged and ready to go to the shop for Troy Night Out.

The new granny square baby blanket is ready to go too, along with some prints of my Mother's and my paintings. They have been selling well recently.

Here is a closer look at the new baby blanket...

This is a close up of the dog's face. His name is Bowser. He is the first sock dog made with my own design. The embroidery is coming along. Just like anything else i guess-the more you do it, the better you get at it. I'm hoping i can improve over time! Ok, time to get these goodies bagged up and off to the shop. I'll be there tonight helping Katie in any way i can. We're expecting a big crowd tonight! I wish you could come!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Got An Award!!!

Paula from The Fraker Farm nominated me for this award! Thank you so much Paula! Wow! It is an honor to be nominated by Paula as she is one of the folks who's blog i visit every day. All my life i have always wanted to live on a farm. Well, by reading Paula's blog, i can at least visit one every day! Check out her blog. There is always something new and exciting happening every day!

Now the rules to this award are the following:

1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contribution to the blogging community.

2) Each award has to have the name of the author and link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that presented her/him with the award.

4) The award winner and one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y Pico" blog so everyone will know the origin to this award.

5) To show these rules.

OK! So, here are my nominations. Of course, Paula from Fraker Farm would be one of my picks, but she has already been awarded, so...

#1- Kate from The Peony and the Bee

Kate's blog is full of crafts, sewing, cooking info and recipes, and news on her life and her new business, The Paper Sparrow. Kate also happens to be one of my daughters! She is also the reason i became a blogger. Thanks for introducing me to this crazy blog addiction i now have Katie!

#2-Jess from TeddyBear's Wednesday

Jess makes the most beautiful teddy bears, as well as other crafts! And she just happens to be a really nice person. I check in on her daily. Her work is so inspiring!

#3- Amy from Twelve Acres

Amy also lives on a farm and blogs about what life is like while living off the land. Amy raises chickens and gardens and even nurtures a little orphaned squirrel.

#4- City Mouse from City Mouse, Country House

"City Mouse" lives part time in New York City, and part time up in the Adirondacks. His posts are so informative about daily life in the woods, and the history of that area. They have just decided to put up a new mini cabin in the woods where they own property.

#5- Barbara from Fuzzy Thoughts

Barbara is well known in the knitting community for her fantastic knitted dolls and patterns she makes for crafters. Check out her blog. Her creations are amazing!

Well, thanks once again Paula! This was so much fun!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Park

On a beautiful, warm, early Summer day
in Troy, New York...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Work by my Favorite Artist

My grandson Seth gifted me with these images from his school folder. His class raised Painted Lady butterflies and learned all about the life stages of a butterfly, before setting them free this week. Seth is also an accomplished poet...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Natural Beauties

I just LOVE fresh eggs! And you can't get much fresher than this! These lovely beauties come from some very happy, well kept, free range chickens. We have the good fortune to have met Shirley, an ex-co-worker of my daughter Kate, who lives close by on a small farm. We refer to her chickens as "Shirley's girls". I love the colors of the shells...soft to sage green, and the lovely browns...and i cannot get over the color of the yolks...dark orange and so rich. I got so attached to these eggs and the chickens who laid them that last Christmas, my daughter gave me a photo of "Shirley's girls" as a Christmas gift! Now that's Love!
**NOTE: I got a few emails asking if the free range, fresh eggs tasted different from store bought eggs, and i have to say YES they do! The shells are thicker (more calcium in the chicken's diet?) the whites cook up nicely(less watery) and the yolks are a deep rich orange color. The flavor of the egg is more intense...Maybe we will hear from a few experts who have chickens and eggs who sometimes check in on my blog..Paula? Amy?

Painting of Cape Cod

Here is a painting i did on old typewriting paper from a photo i took in Cape Cod. Looking at those roses and honeysuckle brought back some good memories.... I love painting with watercolors on this old paper.

Old Friends Return (Or Ode to the Survivors)


I went out early this morning after the rain showers passed and took some pictures of my old friends in the gardens. These are the survivors of the construction that has been going on here for the past three years. They have survived being stomped on, run over by bulldozers, crushed by building supplies...you name it! I am thrilled that so many of my beloved plants have come back this year. It really is amazing....

This is a wild rose that i dug up at the cottage we used to stay at in Cape Cod. I have a few of these bushes here that started out as a little sprig that i carefully carried home and transplanted in the ground over 20 years ago, when my children were small.

I also brought home this wild honeysuckle from the Cape, and even tho it's supporting fence was torn out early this Spring, it too, came back...

The wild geranium came back against all odds

As did the sweet peas i planted many years ago...

This Queen Elizabeth rose took the most abuse, with a truck rolling over it with a full supply of house siding. The trunk of this bush was smashed flat to the ground, but sure enough, soft green canes came up around the old crushed center....
The area i worried about the most was the small shade garden in the back. When the masons did their job putting in the new garage floor, they just pushed tons of old broken concrete from the old floor back up under the soil there. I had spent years collecting different types of hosta, ferns, lily of the valley and bleeding heart, and in a few days they totalled that area. I had no hope that the hosta would come back...but they did! I did loose the lilies and ferns, but i am lucky to have any survivors at all. I had a landscaper come in to take out the concrete chunks and i lovingly transplanted the hosta back to their rightful place.

Last week i added a new bleeding heart. Also, the hybrid honeysuckle came back. The hummingbirds love that stuff...

So, in the end, we did loose some beloved plants, like my Grandmother's lilac bush, and my fairy roses....But the phlox are coming back, as are the purple coneflower, the trumpet vine, and the morning glories that were first planted by my Mother's Grandfather at her home. And of course, i have my tiger lilies back too! Gardens are amazing, living, breathing things to me. They can be so resilient, no matter what comes at them. I hope i can learn to be as resilient and face whatever comes at me, and at the same time add something beautiful and positive to the world. We all learn to bloom where we are planted!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Piece of the Sky

I made these earrings last night. The birds are hand carved bone from Indonesia, pale blue glass beads, and silver ear wires

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tilly-Kitty

This is the newest sock doll, Tilly-Kitty.
I made her for my sister in law Ann, who is struggling with Alzheimer's Disease. She has always loved stuffed animals and cats, so i hope this little one will bring her some joy...In the meantime i am working on the embroidered faces, and i like them better than the painted ones on the sock material. What do you think?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lola's Favorite Thing...

Lola just LOVES books! Most of her books here are cardboard books, as she shows her love for them by kissing (and drooling on) them, slapping and patting them, and turning the pages. She does have a few "big girl" books tho..She just loves the art work and bright colors in Jenny Sue Kostecki -Shaw's book, "My Traveling Eye" Her favorite part? The front cover, and the back page. It's Jenny Sue's self portrait as a child. If you have little ones in your life, or you are like me and just enjoy children's books, this is a lovely little book to add to your collection.

Lola patting Jenny Sue...(Please excuse Grandma in her nightgown! :)

Lovely Lola Fast Asleep

Yesterday Lola spent part of her day with us. She is just turning 9 months old. And she just cut her first tooth, which can make a happy baby a bit fussy.. But this good little girl took her nap curled up on the blanket i made for her before she was born, with her favorite teddy bear next to her.
Our little Sleeping Beauty...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

New Loans at Kiva

Kiva is an organization i have been a part of for a little over a year now. It is one of those fantastic organizations that give you the ability to make a real difference in this world. I have always wished i had a large sum of money to donate to causes i felt strongly about. Well, so far that hasn't happened...yet! But with Kiva, your money is pooled together with other donors so that small businesses in other parts of the world have a chance to get off the ground and thrive. For as little as a one time $25.00 donation, you can help a woman in a very hard situation in a very poor part of the world become a successful business owner, and help to feed her family. Your money is loaned out for a specific amount of time-anywhere from 4 months to a year and a half. The recipient then pays the loan back monthly in payments they can afford. Each month you are notified whenever a payment is made on your loan. At the end of the term, you are notified that the loan has been fully paid and that you have credit in your account. At that time you can choose to take your money back and keep it for your own use, or re loan it! It is a fantastic concept where everybody wins! Here are some pictures of new and favorite businesses i have had the privilege to support...
Anna paints on fabric
Thou Suk is a weaver of silk
Najma makes plastic flower bouquets for holy days and special occasions

Peregrina is a farmer and raises sheep for fiber, guinea pigs for food

Georgina is a seamstress
I had a hard time choosing which business i would post, as each and every one of them are so important. I am a firm believer in supporting other women, and i believe that if i support other businesses, then my business will be supported in turn. If this sounds interesting to you, check out the Kiva website here

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Birds in Blue

I have been working with different metal components in my jewelry making
Amazonite beads, hand chained, with a little metal swallow as the centerpiece



Fire polished blue glass beads with a vintage reproduction of a swallow in brass


Turquoise beads hand chained to a little metal branch, holding a sparrow family to be.


(That's a huge egg for those tiny birds! The hen must be the one flapping her wings...OUCH!)

Pancakes for Breakfast

Oh Yeah! His favorite...especially with fresh blueberries!
(The dogs had some too, but they were finished before i could take the picture!)

Friday, June 6, 2008

More works in progress....

Another little sock bunny made out of a single sock. I haven't decided on the face yet. I love sock dolls with buttons for their features, but if i use buttons, then the little folk cannot be allowed to play with the doll. And my paint markers will not show up on the black material. I would love to embroider more faces on my dolls but i am SO terrible at embroidery! I guess i'll just have to start practicing.....

In the jewelry department, i made a new set up last night using some of my favorite beads- rhyolite oval beads with serpentine spacer beads, hand chained together. The centerpiece is a reproduction of a vintage dragonfly in brass. The earrings are also a repro of tiny moths, and the wires are also made of brass. The beads above the moths are serpentine. (the jewelry is displayed on my Grandmother Mary's Ivy platter)
On other fronts:
My friend and fellow bonsai enthusiast Scott, gave me some seeds to try to sprout and here are a few of the babies-little Jacaranda trees! It's hard to believe these little guys have the ability to grow 30 feet high!

And i thought i would include a picture i took this morning of my little gas stove working away! We had some torrential rains and very heavy thunderstorms move in last night, and this morning the air was chilled just enough to trigger the stove to kick on. This will probably be the last time this will happen until Fall, as the hot and humid weather is set to move in tomorrow. Here comes Summer!