Octopus Theme for Art Elements

As soon as I saw that the theme for this month's Art Elements Challenge was "octopus", I was in! First off, I already had a piece designed (not made, yet) that incorporated an octopus pendant, but I also have a love for the underwater creature itself.
For one thing, they're extremely intelligent. As well, octopi have mad skills. Not only do they have several extra sets of "hands" (who among us hasn't wished for that?), but they also have the ability to camouflage themselves. So cool!

Anyway...I've had this altered pendant from Dry Gulch for a good while now. It finally made its way into my Bead Box 6 last month.

As serendipity would have it, Claire chose this magnificent creature as this month's theme. I was all set and motivated to finish the necklace I had already designed. BAM!
I kept the palette of beads simple, choosing aqua blues and white to give a nod to the water in which the octopus lives. Antiqued brass beads were also used to pull in the metal of the pendant, though it has been altered with a rusty patina. That patina gives the pendant a sunken treasure feel. Yum.

I really could have left it at that, but it felt like cheating since it was a project I already had underway. Initially, I had hoped to complete an assemblage piece like I did with the flowers theme last month and the owl theme in February. Alas, I simply didn't have the time. Instead, I pulled together a quick art journal spread using an octopus stamp I found I had.

Those colorful circles are supposed to be bubbles... It was more about me playing with the supplies I had on hand than anything else.

And, I recorded a video so you can watch me create my Octopus Bubbles Art Journal page. 
Don't let me keep you though, this is a blog hop and there's a ton of more octopus-inspired art for you to enjoy. (You can always come back later and watch the video, I'll understand!)

Guest artists: CatEvie and BethHope  (you're here), KarenKathyMelissaMichelleRozantiaSarajoTammy

Art Elements Team: CathyClaireJennyLaneyLindsayMarsha

Thanks so much for stopping by and thanks to Claire for a great theme!

Art Journal Travel Bag

When I travel, I always like to have some sort of project with me. I had to go out of town while ICAD 2019 was still in progress, so I made sure to pack some of my art journaling supplies to take with me in order to try to participate each day.

I'm always interested in how others pack their craft supplies for trips, so I recorded a quick video that shares the contents of my Art Journal Travel Bag.

Here's a look at the bag I used. It's a Primrose Hill, London bag that I found in the cosmetic section of Wal-Mart a while back.

While I wasn't able to participate in ICAD each day while I was away, I did make sure to only use the contents of this bag to create the cards I missed. It gave me an additional challenge but worked out well too. The cards created from this travel bag were cards 26, 27, 28, 29, & 30. They're included in two videos on YouTube if you're interested. 

Do you think I packed too much or not enough? What would you have packed?

Honey Do List - August Reveal

As soon as I saw this month's inspiration from Sarajo's husband, Eric, I knew it was my jam. A fern growing out of a crack in an ancient lichen-covered wall? Yes, please! Sarajo shares these photo inspirations from Eric each month and calls it the Honey Do List Challenge. I love that she opens it up for the rest of us to participate. It always gives me a kick in the pants and makes me think out of the box. While the picture was totally my jam, I absolutely struggled to incorporate it into jewelry, finally settling on an idea at the very last minute.
Digging through my artist-made components for an idea, I unearthed a green-glazed ceramic charm. I believe it's from Gaea, back when she had Gaea Exchange. The botanical element on it reminded me of the fern. I just needed to make a base of stone and lichen for it. 

That process started with a bit of fabric. I actually used white fabric with bows and dots on it. Because of my fold, you thankfully can't see the bows. (What can I say, I like using what I have on hand.) I dyed that fabric with a series of sprays in black, brown, and green that I heat-set. To add a little lightness back into the fabric and give it the dappled feel of the lichen, I added a short length of ecru-colored lace trim.

These two were folded in half, and sewn together at the top for security. From there, I fussed with a square of tin that was colored with Vintaj Patinas to get just the right color and feel of the stone. At one point in that process, I thought I was going to scrap the whole idea altogether. It was a mess. But, I persisted and eventually punched holes, bent the tin, created a wire loop at the top, and attached the ceramic charm.

To complete the necklace, coordinating beads in glass, crackled agate, brass, and bone were selected and wired together with antiqued brass wire. A long length of antiqued brass chain finishes out the piece. 

I'm so glad I persisted and made this necklace work. Granted, I've made other pieces in a similar style, but so much of this one was tailored just for the inspiration. I know I wouldn't have come up with this unique combination without Eric and Sarajo. Thanks goes out to the two of them. Make sure to head over to SJ Designs Jewelry to see what Sarajo made, along with any other artists who also participated. 

Peek at My Week (Aug. 18-24)

Another week of living and learning. And, somehow we're nearing the end of August. Is this year absolutely slipping by, or is it just me?
It was a beautiful day on Sunday, and we wanted to be outside. Friends came by for swimming and grilling and brought their baby squirrel. He was rescued after his mother was killed, and they're taking care of him until he's old enough to do so himself. Since he has to be fed every several hours, they brought him over in a carrier. Isn't he cute?

In addition to admiring the squirrel, we enjoyed homemade guacamole poolside before the rest of the food was ready.

Monday was a big day as our oldest niece (the one that's currently living with us) had her first day of college. Once she was off to classes, I spent the day with errands and Zoe went to the vet for a few issues to be checked out.

I packed in as much on Tuesday as I could. Even the appliances were working overtime! I made rice for fried rice later in the week (it has to be leftover/cold or it's no good) and made use of a chicken carcass for stock.

When I had a chance, I ran up to Southern Antiques and Accents to straighten up the booth before Ladies Night. 

Zoe and I enjoyed a brief walk around the property after a rain shower, and I couldn't help but admire the flowers. These hydrangeas almost look rusted. So cool!

After hitting up Ladies Night real quick, I made a quick, invented meal that we're calling Tat-chos. (In reality, I found several recipes for them online.) It's just tater tots, topped with cheese and taco soup (chili) I could see also adding sour cream and avocados to them - or whatever else you like to top chili-cheese nachos. They were GOOOOOD!

My grandmother had an appointment on Wednesday, so it was a short morning for me before I needed to leave the house. I did put a few touches on an art journal page before running out the door to pick her up and spend the day in Mobile. 

I also got to spend time with this silly niece (and her baby kitty) later in the evening.

Thursday was a fantastic day!
Once I finished some chores, I headed to Serda's Coffee to get a little work done away from the house. It's always nice to break out of the routine. 

We had a game night planned with friends but first met them for dinner at Dragonfly Foodbar. After dinner, they had to run an errand before we met them back at their house. So, I convinced Pat to drive us down to the Bay to enjoy the sunset. I wasn't disappointed. 

I'm not sure how many pictures I took in all, but not one of them is bad. We then had a great time learning to play Settlers of Catan

Friday was less fun as I spent the majority of the day cleaning the house. Once that was done, I made sure to set my sights on figuring out what I wanted to make for the SJ Honey Do List reveal. I was pushing it since the reveal is tomorrow!! 

No worries, I did finally work something out, but it took a lot of supplies!  I played in the craft room for most of the morning before Pat and I had a late lunch at a new place. 

Over lunch, I told Pat about a weird mushroom I had spotted, and he shared where he had seen some interesting ones too. That meant I went on a bit of a mushroom hunt when we got back to the house.

In the process, I spotted this tiny guy in the grass. Look at his antenna!!

Oh, and college football started on Saturday. I was thrilled to watch some College GameDay in the morning and finish the day with a college football game. Granted, my team doesn't play until next weekend, but it was awesome to get to gear up for it like that. 

How about a little inspiration from elsewhere?

  • I'm personally don't need any NEW hobbies (I have plenty), but Lifehacker shared tips on How to Explore a New Hobby without Breaking the Bank
  • You must know I love recycling and looking for ways to reuse materials, so when Lisa Yang shared how to Make Jewelry Displays from Boxes, she had my attention. 
  • While I'm enjoying the time in our pool, I know lots of people are ready for Fall, particularly Halloween, to get here. If you're one of those people, The Graphics Fairy has begun sharing some of their free printables perfect for gearing up for spooky crafts. Here are her Black Cat printables. 
  • Embroidery always catches my eye. These tiny pins from Irem Yaziki are miniature wonders!
  • I've seen loads of bracelets with sliding knots but have never considered using them on a necklace. Rings and Things has changed that with this Sliding Knot Necklace Cord DIY
  • Who doesn't like an inspirational book? My Modern Met shares 10 Art Books to Nourish Your Creative Soul. I know I saved this list for later. 
  • And, if books aren't your thing, My Modern Met also has a list of 6 Inspirational Documentaries about Artists. Let me know if you're able to find these on any streaming services, I haven't looked yet. 
I hope you find inspiration every day this coming week. And, please, share with me what's inspiring you! Have a wonderful week. 

Crafty Hope at Southern Antiques and Accents

I had intended to post this on Tuesday before Ladies Night, but the day got away from me somehow. Though the event has passed, there's no reason you shouldn't get to see my booth. It's still there at Southern Antiques and Accents on Greeno Road, open every day.
The store is nestled along one side of the L-shaped shopping center that used to house Fairhope's bowling alley and skating rink. This is definitely much more my style!

Next to the entrance, there's a board announcing when the next Ladies Night will be. It's usually the third Tuesday of each month. Mark your calendar! For those two hours each month, everything in the store is 10% off. And, many of the vendors have additional sales in their booths also. There's also live music, drinks, and snacks. It's a whole deal!

Once you enter the store, you'll walk up a short ramp of sorts toward the counter. Along the left side of that ramp is a row of shelves. My booth is the last one. Easy!!

As I mentioned the last time I shared the booth, I've reorganized most of the shelves by the materials used to make pieces.

Since tin is my current obsession, it's probably my most favorite of the categories. 

But each shelf does contain unique treasures, handmade with unusual and fun materials.

I even have a Sale shelf on the bottom. You'll find some real deals there.

If you're a regular around my blog, you likely recognize some of the pieces from jewelry challenges.

There are also a few things you may have never seen before either. Can you see the wired bangles next to the example tin? I love those!

If you happen to be in the Fairhope area (and you really should be!), make sure to stop by Southern Antiques and Accents (behind the Pizza Hut) to check out my booth and all the other fabulousness.

Peek at My Week (Aug. 11-17)

I tried to make more of an attempt to take pictures to share with y'all this week. That's funny because I started these weekly peeks partly to share some of the pictures I didn't share elsewhere. As some of my tasks have become routine, I guess some of the picture-taking dropped off. I'm working on reviving that habit.
On Sunday, I was actually able to tackle an outside chore that had been on my list for a while: cleaning the windows. Despite being somewhat in the shade, it was immensely HOT. So, a jump in the pool was necessary. As I was getting out, I noticed blackbirds all in the trees and across the back yard. This was the best picture I could get of them as they kept flying off as I approached. It was really cool, though.

The plan was to get back in the pool and grill dinner after a few more hours, but an afternoon thundershower ruined that plan. This time of the year, most days are punctuated with a rainstorm in the afternoon. It makes having an afternoon dip kinda difficult.

Monday was full of errands, including some school supply shopping. While I'm not going to school, I did pick up some pencils for myself. I was so happy to see them in rainbow order!

That evening, we were actually able to get the grill going before any storms blew through.

For some reason, I woke before daylight on Tuesday. It helped me ensure that I packed in as much as I could.

I took Zoe out at one point, and she insisted we take a walk through the trails. I spied that the beauty berries have started turning colors. I love that shade of purple.

Along one of the paths, I discovered several ferns that were withering away for some reason. This in-between stage was really quite beautiful.

I needed to get product pictures taken but it was simply too hot to bear the sun for that length of time. So, I decided to use the sunroom instead. Zoe wasn't thrilled. I did realize that instead of pulling out a folding table, my ironing board was the perfect surface to use. It's lightweight, height-adjustable, and sturdy. I WILL be using it again - maybe even outside!

I hustled to get a few tasks done on Wednesday as that afternoon my niece and I went to her college orientation presentation thing. What that WHAT!? College!!

As a reward for both of us being so grown up, I made taco soup and homemade tortilla chips. It was delicious.

Before heading out to take my grandmother to an appointment, I spotted Rosalina in her cutest sleeping position. She wasn't thrilled about me disturbing her nap. Look at those paws! 

After the appointment, I got a less perturbed picture of my niece's cat.

Friday was full of chores and a little stress, so an afternoon swim felt-earned. 

As graying skies ran us from the pool, I spotted this tiny rat snake. That put a smile on my face.

Saturday seemed to slip through my fingers. 
I played in the craft room some before meeting a friend for lunch. After that, it was just a lazy day that included me being in the pool for about three minutes before there was a big lightning strike nearby. Well, poop. Everybody out of the pool.

And, that's how my week went. How about some actual inspiration?
 It's been a busy but productive week, despite the rainstorms. 
I hope you were able to get something done too. 

Bead Box 18 - Reveal

 Hey y'all! I'm popping in to share the completed jewelry pieces that came out of Bead Box 18 . I've actually already stocked an...