Sunday, August 28, 2011

An Old Hobby Revisited

               This time of year I still fight the urge to go back to an old hobby and passion of mine, flower pressing. Many years ago a dear friend taught me this old and delicate art. She has always been a very talented artist. As a matter of fact back all those many years ago she and her mother worked as a team to sketch items of clothing from descriptions for K-Mart.Their sketches were then sent on to be produced and sold in stores. She encouraged me to give it a try and after one summer I was hooked. Once you gain a passion for pressing your eye is constantly wondering as you drive down country roads.

One of my favorite wild flowers or weed it's all in how you look at it is queen ann's lace. It always looks so beautiful after it is pulled out of the press. It was a great flower to use as a filler behind other flowers or it could easily stand alone and look magnificent. I think I loved it so much because pressing any white bloom is tough since they tend to turn brown.
I also love the tale of Queen Ann's Lace.The story goes that the the dark spot in the center of the lacy flower is suppose to represent a drop of blood from where the Queen pricked her finger while making the lace.
Nightshade another fun wild flower/weed to press. I love the color contrast!

Nearly every flower or weed has a tale about it's name and meaning. I love it because it adds a little more fun to this craft or hobby as you press and create your art. I never actually had a fancy flower press like I know they make. I used like my friend used,old telephone books and any heavy object available to press it down flat. The pages in the phone are actually perfect for this,and after all who really uses their phone books to look up a number anyway!
This is a hobby that keeps you very busy each spring and summer,because you can't run to the store in order to stock up supplies. Each year I worried about having enough to make it through all of my craft shows. I would make framed and matted pieces of art as well as gift cards, tags and stationary.

 This one of the few pieces I have left. It's been 14 years since I have worked this type of craft. I only made two pieces where I did a pencil sketch and added the flowers as the only color in the picture. The girl is from a photo I found in an old Victoria magazine. I still have quite a few of the original publications boxed away. They can still inspire me with oodles of creative ideas.
Sadly the age is now showing(20 yrs old) and these flowers are losing their color.

 Another flower that should not be over looked due to it's size is forget-me-not's. These little,teeny romantic, blue blooms are a powerful addition to any piece.They can pack a big punch of color since there are so few blue flowers in this world

How can anyone not fall madly in love with this flower!
Pansy's, rose buds, zinnia petals,and marigolds were all perfect for pressing. Marigolds, believe it or are surprisingly fun to press. The best and really only way to press a rose bud or a marigold is to take a sharp knife and cut them in half. This will yield you two rose buds, and dozens of little individual ruffled petals hidden inside of the marigold bloom.

 Rose buds may take a little longer to press and dry out but the wait is certainly worth it.The thicker the flower the longer it will take and the more pressure you must apply in order to process them correctly. Trust me there is trial and lots of error in this craft. But rarely much of an expense. I always used a heavy paper to make my pictures and just a white glue that dries clear. Long tweezers and toothpicks will be your main tools. Once finished it was then off to the framer for the final and very important step. The right frame and matte is so important to really enhance all of your summer long hard work.

Ivy is another great one to press. They hold their color nicely. There were few pictures that I ever made without a few ivy leaves in it. It looks especially beautiful if laid out in a wreath shape.So don't forget to press plenty of green leaves along with your colorful blooms. They are absolutely a necessity for balance in any art piece you make.

There are so many it's difficult to remember all the names. Just try it. Start by pressing anything and everything. It costs nothing to begin....a few blooms and an old phone book.Oh and don't forget a heavy weight. Make sure it's heavy enough to really press the book flat. I often used heavy patio blocks,or some unused childhood funny is that......that was probably the most they were ever used!

Whenever you go for hikes or walks in the woods always carry a small old paperback book and a few heavy rubber bands. This way if you come across something you are prepared to pinch off a few and carry them away safely tucked inside of the book. But of course don't do this is parks and protected could get in a bunch of trouble.

Then in a month or two open up your presses and you will discover so much fun and some beautiful treasures ready to make gifts for friends and family this winter. 
But hurry the season is nearly over. Should you miss out this year, look for these beauties to come popping up next spring. 
White flowers are difficult to press they can turn brown in the process.

Violets are sort of the silent gun shot that announces the beginning of the new pressing season.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Jumping For Joy!!

        Well if I had better knees I sure would. A few weeks ago I received a message in my Etsy store from an editor of an online magazine. She said that they were interested in using my Campfire in their next issue. Well I was ecstatic to say the least and said yes of course followed by a lot of silly thank you,thank you, thank you.
The online publication is called Babiekins Magazine.

This magazine is a breath of fresh air for today's Mom. Each page is chocked full of very hip and fun clothes for kids.

It is also full of other items such as toys and party ideas and stories and well....... my Campfire!!
I love how they featured the items. Now my little Campfire is like a piece of art,it looks like a Rembrandt to me. I am so,so very grateful for this and excited, since this magazine is seen worldwide.

During my insane frenzy this morning of flipping pages to see if I was included...I did notice a lot of great items that I now have to go back and check out....oh darn it...haha!

Wish we'd had things like this, you know the INTERNET!!......back in the stone age when I had small kids. I remember how hard it was just to find cute boys clothes,which is why I learned to sew in the first place. Now I sew almost constantly.

I do owe a huge THANK YOU to a dear friend named Joyce who taught me how to use my sewing machine and how to make a dart correctly.That's back when I had more time and no money( well one out two have changed) so sewing became the only recourse for my household. Boy ole boy the things I made out of an old pair of worn out denim jeans. I learned to save anything and everything that could be re-used or re-purposed. Now do so is fashionable and "green",but back then for me, it was the only way to live.

Please stop by Babiekins Magazine and take a look at all of the incredible photography,and articles,not to mention the jaw dropping beauty of these kids in this issue 6, as well as all the other past issues.

Thank goodness for venues like this, it is such a blessing for us Etsy shop owners.

I hope they know just how much it means to us to be noticed!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Witness to Magic

           My daughter in law was recently at our local Target store and witnessed a funny yet amazing moment I just had to share. The store was totally packed with Mother's trying desperately to gather all of their kids school supplies. With many of these Mom's were just as many kids, and their siblings who weren't happy about the process.There isn't anything more stressful than shopping to the sounds of screaming and crying kids,most of us have experienced this with our own. I'm not sure who it's more stressful for the parents or the shoppers lucky enough to get out without their own fussy brood.

Suddenly as if a magic wand had been waved and a spell had been cast,an deafening silence fall over these back to school Target aisles. This naturally peaked her interest and she had to discover what exactly had happened.
Even his red money pouch says S.C. on it. It's all in the details!!
This gentleman was what had happened! Without even uttering a single word had caused something that I bet most of these Mom's had prayed for....... silence...and good behavior, like no one else ever could.Wide eyed jaw dropping looks for all of the little ones who seconds before had been very,very naughty!
God bless this man,and oh how I envy his bravery and his power!! This sweet gentleman who lives somewhere in our community has turned up before as if by magic.
Once a few years ago as we all had to attend my oldest grandson's school choir concert, his little brother just wasn't very happy about it. Of course it wouldn't have taken you long if you were sitting near us to learn his name, since we were saying like a Buddhist chant....Preston sit still....Preston inside voices please.....Preston sit Preston I don't have any candy.....Preston it's almost over, well you get the idea.
This rosy cheeked man and his wife just happened to take a seat directly behind him. I never heard or even noticed them arrive,I can't imagine why (haha), but just like magic there they were. And just like magic and a prayer answered he reached up and tapped Preston on his shoulder. Oh how I wish I had a video of his expression as he turned,to see who was addressing him while he was busy being fussy. This angel dressed in red said "Preston have you been good this year?" He could not find his ability to answer but his face sure showed how much he hoped so!
Not a another word was uttered by Preston,not a wiggle,not a squirm was made. As we turned to leave I smiled to this wonderful stranger and his wife and mouthed Thank You. They both nodded in complete understanding what their presence,and question had meant to us. I feel certain that this is an everyday occurrence to them.
Even his car is red and says Santa Claus, how funny is that? I think this is a wonderful reward for aging and having silver gray hair,to be able to make children smile and behave....WOW what a gift!!
My other daughter-in-law says that he will be returning after several years of retirement to her school  as a teacher. He will teach a class called Career Building.
Hummmm....I just wonder to myself,how many will graduate from this school with an uncontrollable urge to become wee little toy makers.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I'm So Over This Heat!

        Okay I am soooo over this heat! I do love summer but I have always been more of a winter girl and these last 18 days of CRAZY heat has simply reinforced that! I know I'm not alone in this insane weather. It seems much of the country has been effected. But honestly how do landscapers and construction workers do it! I feel bad for our guys who are framing or roofing each and every day in this scary, intense heat. We have some of the best guys around. They arrive every morning laughing and smiling and prepared to work hard. I guess we all might as well grin and bare it because there aren't any other options.
I think a couple of weeks ago nearly every church I passed had the same message on their signs that read...If you think it's hot here you should see the temperature in hell. Then a morning radio host made the best statement ever he said Satan Called he wants his weather back! Boy how I wish I could box it up and mail it back.....come on Fall!!
I haven't had much spare time to write a post,or to much of anything else for the last week and a half.I have had a lot of orders (grin-no complaints)and we have tried to get our camp as much as possible. Shoot we might as well it's wayyy to hot to be down at the creek or work in the yard!

Our little weekend get away!It still needs some pizazz on the outside!
Our new lot number post

A sign near where we park our golf cart.

An attempt to add a little something to the exterior.
   Boy were we hoping there would be a frosty cold front come through a couple of weeks ago. You see my brother just purchased a vacant lot in the RV park just behind our camp.  My brother and his wife have a lovely three yr old 5th wheel RV camper and decided to find a permanent home for it.

I personally think that there are few marriages that can survive the dreaded HELP ME BACK IN THE RV OR BOAT ladies know what I'm talking about. They are driving and we are doing the hand signals to indicate which way to go. Be honest has the idea of ever allowing it to go over a cliff ever crossed your mind....really....not even for nano second...ha! Well over the years I have felt as if we needed a support group for women who have to suffer this dreaded task!My sister in law has had several years of it and decided to park it once and for all. As a joke one year I even made her a set of flags. Each flag was to help direct him. Like green for go forward,yellow for backup,orange for backup just a smidgen more....and so on. Then for the final flag I had a pair of men's boxers to indicate that s**t has hit the fan so to speak hahaha!!!
So two weeks ago they began work on their new lot, and we have been helping them. Well okay let me correct this husband has been helping and I've tried to be there as support, and as a gopher for as long as I could stand it!! Which wasn't really very long.

One of my favorite cottages in the park.

Another cute one in the park. Look at their tiki style mailbox on the porch.
Now one I am good at is cruisin in the golf cart in the evening when it cools down of course. I love to drive around and see what our neighbors have built or added to their places. The park has a nick called Whoville,because everyone drives around and says oh who's that,look there who's that? Kinda true and funny really.But I do love to drive by my favorites and here are only a few. I plan to post some others. There are like 750 camps in this park so it is a fairly large gated community....of weekenders. Some stay all summer and then head south in the winter.But come the first of November the water in shut off and we all must head home for the winter. 
This is one crazy fun camp.You can tell they have worked hard to achieve this funky exterior.

Part of the side fence of this awesome camp.
Photos do not do this camp justice. It sits on a dead end road in the park and is situated down lower than the road so it's hard to get a good shot. But it is incredible to see. A funky margaritaville type style and simply chocked full of years of collecting unusual items.
 Some lots have campers with additions built onto them or over the top of them.I think that probably 95% of  the lots contain a camper. The rule use to be that your place had to have an axle....a non permanent structure.You lease the land for 100 years but now the rules have changed and you can actually build a small cabin. But no modular homes are allowed still.Some residents have created some beautiful places and some have missed the mark COMPLETELY!! Like any neighborhood I guess.
I have tons and tons of favorites. It is so much fun to drive around in the early morning or evenings and get ideas. The main problem for us is when we are all there the front of our place is nearly blocked with vehicles.But it's perfect for us.We are only a couple of miles from the lake and State Park so there is always something to do.....or what we enjoy even more is to do NOTHING! Our park has a pool,shuffle board,miniature golf,a playground(with the dreaded monkey bars!!!),tennis courts,and basketball court. Most of which hasn't been crowded lately with the heat....even the pool,the water has been wayyy to warm. But once the sun sets it is packed!!
My husband and I drove by this neighbor and said this is what we need at our place.I hope to be able to build something similar to this over our small patio.One of the Spring storms blew down the canvas one we had just bought last year.So I think we need a sturdier structure this time.
I wanted to show you a great find.Since we do fire restoration we often come across items that the customer decides to toss out. I have an entire laundry room of cabinets that I was able to salvage.This table and chairs is another item we were able to clean and put to good use!I especially love the price $FREE!
We have been there just long enough that it's time to repaint the interior and we (Amy and I not the men folk)want to replace the carpet. It has seen better days. Now that we sell carpet it shouldn't be as big a chore.....and we have painters sooo viola!!Well I wish it was that easy.If only I had a magic wand.

This is a proud moment for a Mom. My son decided a couple years ago to take a few of the guys down and have them open the camp that year. Then it would be a guys weekend of fishing on the lake. Sounds fine doesn't? Except they forgot when they were pulling the boat through the gate that the car behind would need to stop and slide the gate pass again. So YES the drove through the gate and it is now a 50.00 souvenir in our office.
There's nothing like a day on the lake!

Wow he caught a zip-lock baggie!!
 Next week I hope to post the photos of the work that's been done at my brother's place.But first I must edit out the ones of me in a lawn chair a tad tipsy from my favorite wine and holding an electric fan on my chest.Since I rarely ever have a glass of wine I have a question. Does extreme heat intensify the effects of drinking wine??? Because it can't be my fault that I turned into a glob of useless jello last Saturday....oh maybe it's because I was so tired from watching them all work!! Well anyway that's my story and I'm stickin to it!!