A Good Match

via Photo Challenge: A Good Match

Ben Huberman on the Daily Post challenged his readers to come up with a “good match.” Mine is a bottle arrangement I made in my bedroom. I’m crazy for bottles, and I love colors, so this is a perfect decor statement for me. My OCD kicks in from time-to-time and makes me rearrange the locations of the bottles within the arrangement, but that makes me happy, too.

Here’s how they look:

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Can you tell my tastes fall somewhere between Gypsy, Bohemian, dumpster-diving?

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Fairy Gardens

I have been in love with these sweet little gardens since I began seeing them on Pinterest a few years ago. I love to make things like this with my granddaughter, but we just have not gotten around to this project. I think maybe this summer we might make a fairy garden on the covered porch so it will be protected, because I can’t imagine letting one get damaged in any way.

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Having never really been into miniatures, I can’t figure out what the allure of these little neighborhoods is for me, but for me they really have an intrinsic charm.

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It seems they can be whimsical or downright intricate, both of which are just fine with this girl! And there are variations on the “broken pot” look.

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And they can be a themed garden, like this farm miniature:

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You can even get the, as we say in the South, store-bought versions, but for my money, that’s like cheating and not nearly as much fun.

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If you have made a fairy garden, please share it here. If my granddaughter and I get one made, we’ll certainly share our project.

I feel a bit happier just thinking about these tiny treasures. Hope they brought a smile to your face, too!

Drawing

I have always wanted to draw. Some in the blogging community have heard me say this before, but it’s worth repeating, I would love to be able to draw.

Well, my friend, who is quite an extraordinary drawer herself, said she had heard about some high school art teachers who used a method to teach drawing in their classrooms with much success. She said it had to do with geometric shapes. Sure enough, she found the site and sent it to me this week.

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The method was developed by two brothers, Phil and Bob Davis, who discovered that the parts of every object could be broken down into a square, circle, oblong, triangle, or oval. Now this sounds like something that I can get into. For example, here is the first quick sketch of a bird:

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http://www.how-to-draw-and-paint.com/learntodraw.html

Notice they used only the geometrical shapes.With this as the model, it should become fairly easy to pencil in, erase, pencil in again, until you have something that actually looks like a bird.xlearn_to_draw_3-jpg-pagespeed-ic-e9h8ht4vgthow-to-draw-and-paint.com/learntodraw

Call me crazy, but this makes sense to me. And when I finish my farm chores, my blogging, my writing, my online selling, and feeding my dogs, I am going to spend some time practicing this technique.

Take a look at their site because they really seem to have found a break-through in this drawing business. Let me know what you think. Or if you have another suggestion or system, please share with me!

Dilemma

O.K., here’s my situation. I was in Michael’s a week or two ago with my sister. We were having a swell time when I came across some very chunky yarn. Now, I had done my research and knew that chunky yarn, in general, is a little expensive, but this yarn (yes, it was unraveled and the paper holding it together had been ripped off one skein) was only $5.99 each.

I got all excited and, of course, bought it, using my senior discount and all the coupons I had. I bought a few other things, so my coupons were doing double-duty. I put those babies in my cart, took my bag to the car, and whistled all the way home.

I have never worked with chunky yarn before for the reason I have already explained, so I did not know how much of these gargantuan skeins I would need for a throw for my husband, It looked like a lot of yarn to me.

I began my throw (old-timey word for throw – afghan) and reveled at its softness and coziness, making my hubby touch it and pet it every time he passed by me. Was I ever surprised when these two huge balls of yarn produced this finished outcome:

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Sooooooooooooooooooooooo, I could try to find this strange-colored, possibly discontinued, probably completely different dye lot yarn online or at Michael’s or at Michael’s online :). Or I could frame this rectangle with another color. Any thoughts?

I’m new at crocheting, but I love it so. I bet I won’t be deceived by the size of bulky yarn skeins again. I will double the amount I think I need. Stay tuned for the solution !

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Shine

One day recently, a writing prompt was tossed out using the word “shine.” I have several reasons why I want to riff on that word. First, I had a friend who once told me that I was like the crow character in the outstanding piece of children’s literature, Charlotte’s Web. I took that as a compliment because I knew it was true. I happen to love shiny things. Even though many scientists disagree, too much anecdotal information has been passed around for me to disagree with the ones who seem to know. Crows like shiny things and so do I.

And it does feel a little out of my control.I’m cuckoo over glittery, sparkly things. If it’s shiny, even if it is cheesy, plastic, fake, or a knock off, I am going to choose it, whatever “it” may be. I feel better having gotten that out of my system.

Take, for example, the mirror in my bathroom. I wanted a Mexican silver leaning mirror more than anything I could imagine a few years ago. But, alas, a silver mirror was a little bit above my pay scale. Where did I go? I went to Pinterest, Silly.  And here is what came from that research.

 

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It’s just an old door with a Walmart unframed mirror glued onto it. Then glue is used to sketch out the design. When the glue is dry, aluminum foil is laid over the  designs and smoothed out with fingers or the eraser tip of a pencil. Hooray!

Same sort of thing happened when a friend gave me an old frame the other day. She owns a frame shop and has to replace many old frames. Lucky me, right? So, although I usually I like to make trays from frames, this time I happened to have a $1.00 mirror from the Dollar Tree and thought maybe a shiny, bedazzled mirror was in order. And look what happened! Not finished, but it is shiny.

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So, my dear, sweet friends, do not leave any silver, aluminum, glass, or mirror-like objects where I can see them because like that crow, I just might abscond with them.

Acts of Altruism II

It’s Friday, my day to share an idea with all of you that might get us in the mood to help other people. This week I want to talk about Samaritan’s Purse, specifically their Operation Christmas Child program.

As I’ve already shared, I am looking for things I can do that fit within my skill set and my time schedule. A few  months ago I read an article in a magazine about this particular charity and became intrigued. This was something I could do at home and that would make a difference. Well, don’t you know a few weeks after seeing the article, I met a lady in the yarn aisle at Walmart.

We began talking and she explained she was looking for yarn she could use as a washcloth. After chatting awhile, she mentioned she was a part of the Samaritan’s Purse charity. I had my  notebook with me in which I jot down things to remember, and I showed her where I had made a note to myself to find out more about this organization. I’m thinking this meeting was meant to be.

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Operation Christmas Child is a Christian-affiliated program, but at its heart, it reflects the universal idea that children who have very little “need a little Christmas” as Auntie Mame so famously said. (Everything I know I learned from Broadway musicals.)

Another thing I love about this program is that the small presents that are donated are packed into shoe boxes, so each child gets his or her own little box. Take a look and see if this might be an act of altruism you’d be interested in joining. If not, we’ll have another idea next Friday!

 

Throw Nothing Away!

I happened to come upon The Global Indian Blog on a day when its author, Vishruti, had turned her post over to a guest blogger, Camila from Chile. But from what I can gather, Vishruti is a nature-lover, a designer, and a businesswoman who hosts an awesome blog.

On the day that I visited her site, the guest poster was sharing remarkable recycling DIYs using cereal boxes, used shopping bags, cookie boxes, CD paper sleeves, old boxes, washi tapes, and a bit of glue. Her results were beautiful and set my heart atwitter.

So I took Vishruti’s blog to my husband, held it in front of his face, and said:

“See why I never throw anything away?”

I was only slightly kidding because I’m a grown woman and I know that if a person keeps everything, that person will soon have people visiting him or her from the television show “Hoarding: Buried Alive.” But still, there are so many ways to make cards, crafts, and decor from the humblest materials, and these objects make a real difference to the lucky recipients.

Call me crazy, but I get the same feeling when I see recycled gifts as I do when I see a brand new puppy. I’m not kidding, and I completely fall apart when I see a new puppy.

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I know some of my Pinterest friends out there know exactly what I’m talking about, right? All you have to do is enter “pallets” in the search box on Pinterest, and you will discover hundreds of things you can make from these cast aside crafters’ treasures.

I’m pretty sure if you cut magazine pages in strips and tape them together in circles to make a paper chain garland, you will understand, too.

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Realize

I guess I didn’t realize what writing my own blog would entail, feel like, and require. As I’ve said before, I’m a freelance writer, so it’s easy enough for me to write blogs for someone else. But making my five-day-a-week blog fun and interesting uses a different part of my brain and comes from a unique place in my heart.

If I were reading this blog right now, I would tell the writer to calm down, have fun, and stop stressing. And that’s not bad advice. But I want to make sure that taking this project on will help other people and give me a platform to give a little something back to my readers.

I also did not realize five years ago how much fun it is to be a maker. Lucky for me, I have a retired contractor for a husband, and he came with all the tools and experience of 40 years in the business of building and remodeling houses. Now that we’re both retired, I have every DIY-er’s dream workshop. No, I haven’t come close to the mastery my husband has for making just about anything. But, boy, do I have fun using his equipment and learning from him!

So here’s my latest “made item,” and I hope it will inspire you to try putting something similar together yourself. This time, I changed the bottle type, changed the number of bottles, and made the handles from rope. Take a look:

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Simple, but useful as a centerpiece or flower holder, right?

So, happy making and here’s wishing you some realizations of your own!

Here We Go!

I have written lots of blogs for other people, but this is the first blog I have written for myself. The Muses’ Emporium is going to include ideas, suggestions, crafts, making, designing, and plenty of other fun stuff. In fact, if we’re not having fun, we’re not going to do it!

Please let me know what you think about our projects and ideas, and please send me anything you think is worth sharing. If you have tried any of the schemes we talk about, please feel free to share your words and pictures.

Remember seeing this window idea on Pinterest a few years ago?

Remember how exciting it was to finally find a place to store all those ideas, favorite things, fashion suggestions, and much, much more in one organized place. If you’re anything like me, finding Pinterest was like Christmas, birthday, and winning the Miss America Pageant all wrapped-up in one riveting package.

So the window idea was one of my first tries, since I had a few old windows laying around. I used Goop, colored gems, old broken glass, and then I grouted the whole pane after the glued pieces dried. They turned out just the way I wanted and are currently hanging in my bedroom, except for the third one. It recently found a home in my son’s new house in New Mexico. Still got some windows and still have the urge to make a few more. I’ll post ’em when I finish.