Saturday, February 28, 2009

I hope it works!

I have to do something about the gopher infestation I'm having, but I don't want it to involve traps or poison.
Basically I just want them to go somewhere else.
Shoot, I've got a few acres of weeds they're welcome to.

The reviews of Uncle Ian's Mole and Gopher Repellent are positive, so I'm crossing my fingers.
It's blood meal and chili powder, and the gophers supposedly don't like the smell or taste.
No harm to any plants, animals, or birds.

I've heard coyote urine works well too, but I can't find synthetic.
The real thing is harvested, in my opinion, unethically and inhumanely, but I would try a synthetic.

Anyway, I figured it was worth a try.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Genny Spencer's Diary

I never would consider myself a tech geek--it's all sort-of still over my head.
On the other hand, however, I keep four blogs, I have an account on MySpace that I don't use, an account on Facebook that I use a lot, an account on Twitter that I use occasionally, and I pretty much feel lost without a computer.
So, I guess I've entered the techie realm afterall.

When I drive, if I'm not listening to an audiobook, I pretty much always have it on AM radio.
Yes, I have become my parents. Sigh...

So, because my dial rarely wavers from KFI (except at the 9am to 12noon slot when Rush in on...then I turn to 102.1FM and listen to KPRI), I sometimes listen to The Tech Guy, even though it's not really my thing.
Host Leo Laporte seems like a really nice guy--he's always laughing and kind. He mentioned something on his show the other day that I find fascinating.

Usually the entries on Twitter are moments in your day, anywhere from
"ummm, my Mocha is really good this morning" to "off to bed, zzzz".
David Griner has taken it one step further and is posting a daily entry from his great aunt's diary, written during 1937 to 1941.

Leo was saying it sort-of brings you back to earth, because the entries of rural farm life seem innocent and simple.

He giggled when he read the entry from January 28:
"Had a squabble with the boys over skating. Got Mamma a lot of persimmons."

Daily feed of the diary of Genny Spencer here, but be sure to read about the development of this in the earlier link--it's really interesting.

Labels: ,

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Video Sunday

The recent Grammy awards included two absolutely amazing performances.
First and foremost, the legendary Radiohead.
Thom Yorke is backed by the USC Trojan Marching Band (who, in my opinion, stole the show. They rocked!)
Hopefully the video is still up (copyright, you know...don't the powers that be realize these videos sell their records? Hello...). See it here.

Also, Adele, with Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland, singing "Chasing Pavements" (the first two YouTube versions I originally saved have already been pulled. So frustrating)

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 16, 2009

Swap charms received

I picked my charms up from the post office today (thankfully, there was a key to a locker in my mailbox on this holiday), from the Romancing the Charm Swap.
Trish has posted about each participant's charm, so read the details on her blog.
This is the swap for which I made the soldered glass charms with butterfly wings.
It's fun that what I received are all so different--some are felted, one is a wrapped bead, others are polymer clay, or bottle caps.

Romancing the Charms Swap Received
I love the little vial of Love Potion #9; its bottle filled with pearls, pink sequins, and glitter.
The quilted heart is just beautiful, and I'm glad to have received something made of fabric for this swap.
The adorable little bird on the top row is made of shrink plastic.
The long burgundy colored charm in the second row is micro-macrame! Who knew?!

Oops, this one didn't get in the photo as I had it out to remind me I still needed to get the email address of the artist so I could thank her.
This heart, of all things, is a cut and painted gourd.

Trish suggested all the participants use their charms for a bracelet, and I really like that idea.
She said she wore hers to work the other day, and got loads of compliments.

I hope to put my own bracelet together soon.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 14, 2009

San Diego Treasure

A couple of days ago, the newspaper announced that the Marston House would be closing to the public.
The Marston House is a home situated on the outskirts of Balboa Park, and is a grand example of the Arts and Crafts movement.

The house was built in 1905, designed by William Hebbard and Irving Gill for local philanthropist George W. Marston (of Marston's department store. He also gifted San Diego with Presidio Park).
The Marston House is currently protected as an historical landmark, and has been under the umbrella of the San Diego Historical Society.
The Society, however, cannot afford to maintain the property, so is giving control back to the city.
Note the city is close to bankrupt.

This weekend is the last time to tour the residence (now a museum), so my mom and I made sure we didn't miss the opportunity.
The interior reflects the simplicity and clean lines that Craftsman style embodied.

This fireplace was inspired by one at Wellesley College.
The gorgeous chairs are Stickley.
The Arts and Crafts movement also embraced the idea of bringing nature in...with beautiful views of the canyons and grounds, wood built-ins, and details such as quarter-sawn wood and burlap wall covering.

The small souvenir shop was selling its contents at 50% off.
I saw people leaving with reproduction lamps, architectural books, and purses.
I purchased a coffee mug with a quotation by Gill:
"Any deviation from simplicity results in a lack of dignity."

I also purchased a couple of greeting cards, including this one with its amazing pomegranate imagery by Yoshiko Yamamoto and printed by The Arts and Crafts Press.

Save our Heritage Organization is not able to undertake responsibility for this property at this time, but I hope another organization will.
This is a treasure that this city needs to preserve.

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Garden Snacks

Gopher Snack
I'm still working on my garden.
In fact, I just ordered six more plants online, and I have big plans.
Dude, the gardening catalogs are better than porn...

See that patch of dirt in the photo?
The day before I took that picture, that space was a columbine, and Bush Ladybells.

Overnight, it got sucked into the earth...
evidently a tasty snack for a gopher.

It's looking like I'm going to have to place chicken wire around all my new plantings.
Traps are not an option.
I heard coyote urine scares them away, but I would only purchase a synthetic for ethical reasons.
I wonder where I can purchase that?

The plant in the photo here is a Violet Tubeflower (Iochroma cyaneum).
Next to it is a Salvia--gorgeous when it blooms in purple and chartreuse, I'll be sure to get better photos soon.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Whimsical Tree

This is way belated, but I never did show you guys my Christmas tree.

My mom is pretty much over the whole holiday deal, so she never wants a tree or anything.
I, however, love festivities and traditions, and this year I really wanted a tree at her house.
She objected initially, but then ended up liking it afterall.

Last summer, I scored an awesome wire tree at a church rummage sale.
It's nearly four feet tall, and the 'branches' come off the center pole for storage.
I paid $3!
The cashier happened to be the woman who donated the tree, and she told me she paid $65, and that was on sale.
She said she kept it up year round and just changed out the colors of the ornaments per different seasons and holidays.
I guess she just tired of it.
I was soooo excited to find it.

Here you can see it in my mom's livingroom, with one of my kitties, "That Baby" looking on.
I added purple and chartreuse ornaments that I got on sale at Michaels.
Christmas tree and That Baby
I suppose I could put it on a table, and I really do need to sew a tree skirt.
Note the boxes behind it and under the window are my wood floor planks (stored until my room is ready for their installation). Lovely.

I thought the look of minimal ornaments was rather sophisticated, but I couldn't help but add more whimsy with some selected ornaments.
I also strung a neon light that is on a flexible wire (once a part of a school art project) up the center pole.
Whimsical Ornaments added
Wire Christmas Tree
Ornaments included a goldfish, a seagull, a moon, a windchime, a palm tree, a really cool crystal chandelier that I bought at Rogers Gardens, among others.

Labels: ,

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Video Sunday

The one, the only, the timeless
Ray LaMontagne, singing "Trouble"

And his version of Crazy will blow your mind too

Labels: ,

Friday, February 06, 2009

The charms I made for the Valentine's Day Swap

When I mentioned all the hard times I had with the Romancing the Charm swap, I didn't mean to warn anyone off swaps, I was just saying I somehow have a talent for making everything more complicated and more expensive than it needs to be.
I continued, even after the class, to have issues.
It took me forever to make the charms, they're far from perfect, and they're far too fragile, but hopefully they'll be well received.

The swap required I come up with an idea for 19 identical charms for Valentine's Day.
I gave it serious thought, as I think art in any form deserves intention and a degree of symbolism.

I like what I do to carry some form of meaning.

The crucial part is that fine line where you've over-thought the process, or where you didn't know how to you wind up with something too cluttered.
In all things, one must remember:

In simplicity lies elegance.

At the start, I figured I'd make a collage.
I began with listing symbols associated with love and Valentine's Day, from cupid to Conversation Hearts candies.
For collage materials, I thought of the Queen of Hearts playing card, or an illustration of the Queen from Alice in Wonderland.
'Love' postage stamps, red roses, vintage valentines, lace, the goddess Venus.
I thought of a sepia-toned photograph of lovers from the 1920's, or even a transparency.
A seed packet of Bleeding Hearts flowers would be interesting.
Pearls. Kiss prints.
I thought of using a vintage sewing pattern of a dress with a heart-shaped bodice--all these great ideas in a regular collage, but not when I'm limited in size (per the challenge requirements) to an inch and a half.

But beyond symbolism and design, how was I going to make my charm?
I considered making little paper collages, partially stitched, glued onto altered Scrabble tiles.
This would be especially apropos on an 'X' tile, the universal symbol for 'kiss'.
I also considered collages under resin in bottle caps (both crafts I've only read about, but would like to try).

I considered sewing pink vinyl hearts stuffed with heart-shaped sequins.
Perhaps a tiny mosaic on tin.

What to do? And what should be my design?

In the end, as you know, I decided on soldered glass, but my options for what to sandwich under the glass was still up for debate.

I love text on things, so I thought of including famous quotations about love, or perhaps portions of a famous poem, or song lyrics ("My Funny Valentine"? Or "Tell Him", my favorite song by Lauryn Hill?).

I considered focusing on my favorite phrase, Ndinombethe (pronounced "in-day-nom-bay-tay"), an African expression meaning "As I go, I am wearing you", meaning the effect we have on one another as we cross paths, be it accidental or intentional.
Though the expression refers to even strangers we meet, it certainly also holds true about the one we love, and the indelible imprint love leaves on our hearts.

Then I was sitting drinking my coffee the other morning, my black cat purring on my new soft robe, and out of the blue I thought of butterfly wings.
What a beautiful charm could be made with a piece of butterfly wing under glass.

Wings are simple yet complex, fragile, inherently beautiful....just like love.
The epitome of elegant simplicity.

I found real butterfly wings on eBay, specifically intended for craft use.
The set was for about 80 wings, and I was hoping that 20 of those would be identical (probably monarch), and indeed that was the case.

Though most recipients probably covet the beautiful blue wings, and I could probably cut enough squares to use, what I really wanted was wing tips.
I wanted the angles of flight.

I have a photograph at the beach, where the sky is a brilliant blue, and I thought this would make a great backdrop
Even the cloudy sky is interesting

For the reverse side, I thought I'd use a sparkly foil, perhaps with organza and the final words of Lenny Kravitz' "You're my Butterfly":
Fly high
fly fly fly

(there's only one inch after all).

But then I was at a client's house, and I noticed a work of art framed in glass.
No mat, no color, just glass.
And I realized that the wing itself is beautiful enough to stand alone.
My pleasant surprise was discovering the underside of the wing is just as lovely.
The bonus is the beauty of God's creation can outshine my limited soldering abilities

So this is what I made

I added a hang-tag for shipping, and included a quotation relating butterflies and love (the author is unknown)
Charms ready for mailing
Love is like a butterfly,
It goes where it pleases
and it pleases wherever it goes.
Love is like a butterfly,
Hold on too tight, it'll crush,
Hold on too loose, it'll fly.

Other interesting quotations I considered:
May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.

~Irish Blessing

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Labels: , ,