To Gnome Me Is To Love Me

This month’s challenge, hosted by Art Elements, is “To gnome me is to love me…”  A gnome challenge is just what I needed! I made a ceramic gnome for my daughter last Christmas, but then just before I was ready to fire it, I broke it’s hat off! So I promised my daughter I’d make a replacement, but I’d never gotten around to doing it – until now! I glued the hat back on the broken gnome so you could get an idea of how it was supposed to look.

collage 1

After I joined the Art Elements challenge, I made 3 new gnomes. However, I glaze and fire my ceramics at a community ceramics studio, which is closed now, due to Covid 19. So I’ll have to show the gnomes as just greenware (unfired clay). The other issue I had was that, other than a fettling knife, (a special knife for use in ceramics), all my tools were at my community studio. So these little guys are literally made by hand – only my hands, without any tools. They are a little rough, but I can clean them up once I can get back into the studio, before I kiln fire them.

collage 2

Two views of new gnome 1

collage 3

Two views of new gnome 2

And below is a photo of me smoothing the surface of the second gnome.

gnome pic 1a

These first two gnomes were made about a week ago and have been drying ever since. Then last night I made a third, larger gnome. Here he is in the beginning stages. He has a body and a nose, but nothing else, at that point.

gnome 4a

And here he is sort of complete. He needs to dry more and then get the details refined and the surface smoothed.

collage 4

Two views of new gnome 3

Thank you for visiting my blog and viewing my unfinished gnomes. Can’t wait to get some tools, glaze and fire them. Thanks also to Jenny Daves-Reazor and Art Elements for hosting this challenge.

This is a blog hop. Please visit the artists below to see their interpretations of the gnome challenge.

AE team:
Marsha
Cathy
Jen
Jenny
Lesley
Claire
Niky

Guests:
Tammy
Linda – You Are Here
Hope
Cat
Sarajo

Monday Musings

  • Happiness is having a Golden Rain Tree right outside your kitchen window!
yellow flowering tree
Golden Raintree
  • Even if sales are slow at a show, its worth it if you make a new friend. I met Sharlynn of Ashar Gems at a show on Saturday.  We visited on and off all day and we even traded jewelry.  I now have an awesome woven-wire pair of earrings that Sharlynn made.  Check out her shop.  Lots to love there.
  • Did you ever read Make Way For Ducklings when you were a little kid? I was driving south on Interstate 5 last week when I saw a mother mallard duck and about 9 little ducklings making their way across 6 lanes of traffic!  They’d already safely negotiated the 3 northbound lanes and were now waddling across the southbound lanes.  Cars slowed and changed lanes and the mallard family made it all the way across Interstate 5 to the wildlife reserve just west of the freeway.  Whew!

baby ducks

    • I am so proud of my student teachers. This is the last week of their internship and they have all grown and learned so much!
    • Now that I’ll have more time to myself, I really, really need to clean my studio!
    • The baby bunnies in the woods by our house are adorable.
brown rabbit
  • It is not good to forget to turn on the timer when baking a cake.
  • I am getting better at being strong and assertive when the situation calls for it.

Monday Meanderings – National Train Day

All Aboard!

What?  You didn’t know there was a National Train Day?  Well, neither did I, but my husband is a train buff and if it’s about trains, then he know it.  Trains are to him, as beads are to me–that about sums it up!  So on Saturday, May 7th, we hopped aboard an Amtrak train and headed south to Portland,  Oregon.

red sign on a black train engine

To celebrate National Train Day, a couple of vintage trains had been brought in to the Portland depot.  There were also informational booths inside the depot and hundreds and hundreds of people.  Clearly my husband is not alone in his fascination with trains.

Lantern on a caboose

Although I don’t share his fascination with trains, I did find that there were many opportunities for cool photographs of gears, valves, springs and such.  My photos took on a sort of Steampunk atmosphere.  I hope you enjoy them.

bolt and gear from an old train

red valve on the side of an old black steam engine

two metal coils on an old train

drive shaft

old steam engine gear fuel gauge on an old steam locomotive

Macro Monday: In The Garden

Macro Monday Meanderings

studio waterstone

Lori of Studio Waterstone is hosting a blog hop for photo buffs who love to take close-up photos.  I posted a close-up of a dragonfly on my Facebook Page this morning.  The photo is about half a year old, and had been published in my blog sometime ago, but it generated all kinds of interest.   So-o-o-o I decided I would participate in Lori’s macro-photo blog hop.

Here’s how Lori describes “i heart macro.”:

Simple. No words except, “i heart macro.”
Take a picture – up close. REALLY up close, then post it.
We share and visit and visit and share.

The sun was out and I happily tramped through the garden capturing bits of spring.  But can I decide on just one photo to publish?  No, of course not!  So take a peek at  all three photos and let me know which one you like best.

Pink flowers, close up photo

fern stems poking up out of a stump, with moss nearby.

Fir needles poking up out of a hole in a tree stump.

Close up photo of a camillia blossom

Camellia blossom

•-:¦:-• Leave a comment a let me know which one you like best.  I always love to hear from you! •-:¦:-•

Monday Meanderings – Singing The Blues

Feeling a Little Blue

I’ve been feeling a little blue lately.  Nothing major,  just kind of melancholy.   I’ve also been feeling a bit over busy, so I just took a break today.  I brewed my favorite herbal peppermint tea and sat on the deck in the sunshine.  I thought the Vitamin D might do my mood some good!

Mug with running rats that says, "Welcome to the rat race."After sitting and sipping awhile, I took a stroll through the garden and snapped a couple of flower pictures.  Flowers nourish my soul.

Spring blooms in the garden

Pink Camila

Spring blooms in the garden

Pink current blossoms with a blue watering can.

Pink current blossoms with a blue watering can.

We’re doggy sitting a friend’s golden retriever while she is on vacation, so I had company during my garden sojourn.

two dogs:  McKenna & Chochi

McKenna & Chochi in our garden.

I took a nap this afternoon and now I’m feeling better.

✿Don’t forget to enter my bracelet giveaway.  The details are here.✿

Do you sometimes slide into a slump?  What do you do when you need to recharge your batteries?

Easy Spring Flower Arrangement

Helleborus Floral Arrangement

Would you like to add a beautiful accent to your livingroom coffee table, but don’t have much time or patience for an elaborate floral arrangement?  I’m about to share with you the most simple and pleasing flower arrangement imaginable.  All it takes is some blooming Helleborus from your garden. 

Helleborus come in a variety of colors.  Some bloom in the winter and are commonly known as Christmas Roses.  We have three colors of Spring blooming Helleborus in our garden:  deep purple, white with purple flecks and yellow.

Helleborus blooming in our garden

White and purple helleborus

5 petal yellow Helleborus

As you can see in the photo below, most types of Helleborus flowers hang downward, like bells.  This makes it difficult to see their faces in a floral arrangement, but we can easily solve that little problem.

purple Helleborus in garden

Here’s How

Fill a shallow bowl with water.  You can get creative here.  Perhaps you have a shallow serving bowl–even an 8″ (3.1 cm) pie pan would work.  In my case, I’ve used a bowl that was originally purchased to hold potpourri in the bathroom.  I never use it for that purpose anymore, because I love using it for flowers.

Shallow bowl filled with water Cut some stems of Helleborus.  The number you will need depends on the size of your bowl.  I used 8 for this bowl.

Cut Helleborus on kitchen counter

Now cut the stems so they are about an inch (.4 cm) long.

cut helleborus stems 1 inch long

Float them in your shallow bowl.  The Helleborus will remain “sunny-side up”.  This way you can enjoy these pretty blooms even better than when they were in your garden.

Helleborus floral arrangement

Place your arrangement on a low table, so that when you sit down, your line of vision will gaze down toward the upward pointing Helleborus faces.  I placed my arrangement on the shelf under my clear glass-topped coffee table in the livingroom.  The lovely flowers put a smile on my face every time sit on the couch to read or relax.  Enjoy!

Helleborus floral arrangement

I had cut one more Helleborus stem that didn’t fit in the arrangement, so I placed it in a crystal goblet and set it on the dining table.

Helleborus in a crystal goblet

What are you favorite springtime cut flowers?  Let me know if you try a floating Helleborus floral arrangement.

Monday Meanderings – Sorrow and Gratitude

 Last night when I was driving home from the grocery store, a large brindle pit bull mix dashed out in front of my car.  He bolted out so fast that I didn’t even see him.  I just heard the thunk of impact, saw him careen through the air and land on the other side of the road.  I slammed on the brakes and ran from the car screaming and crying.

Immediately a woman and two men were at my side, assuring me that it wasn’t my fault.  It had happened too fast.  The lady put her arms around me and I buried my head in her shoulder and sobbed.  One stranger comforting another. There had been two brindle dogs and the second one had run away, scared.  One man tried to follow it, hoping it would go home, so the owner could be told about the one I hit.  But the dog ran too fast, and the man couldn’t keep up.

The other man went to his car and got out those blue plastic gloves that doctors use and he moved the dog to the roadside.  I briefly wondered why those were in his car.  The lady made me sit down and she continued to hold me.  It turned out that she was a doctor and she was worried that I was in shock and shouldn’t drive.  We called my husband, but he was out in the garden and didn’t hear the phone.  I told her that I’d be OK to drive the rest of the way home, but she insisted that she should drive me home in my car and her husband would follow and bring her back. She said a person’s judgment can be impaired when they are in shock.

So, in addition to the time they spent with me and the dying dog, they added another half hour to their day by driving to my house and then back to where they’d started when the accident occurred.  When I got out of the car at my house, the woman gave me a hug before she and her husband drove off.

I only know her first name; that she is a doctor and what her specialty is.  I will try to find her in the phonebook and thank her for her extraordinary kindness.  In the car she told me, that in light of what happened in Japan, if one person can’t reach out to another in need, than we really have nothing of worth.

I’m not going to write about the specific details of what happened to the dog that I hit, but the brutal images are burnt into my memory now. However, alongside that memory, is the memory of the kindness of strangers, who went out of their way to comfort me and assure my safety on the way home.

If you have a dog, please keep him/her in a fenced yard and keep your cats indoors.  Someone is grieving today because their beloved dog never came home last night.  Love your pets well–they give so much to us.

My rescue dog

"I love you, Chochi!" (my dog)

Monday Meanderings: Desert Garden

{Monday Meanderings: Musings & Observations From Beyond the Bead Studio}

Playing Nursemaid

I’m getting this posted really late on Monday, because my good friend, Rose, had knee surgery today.  I drove her in to the clinic this morning and then took her home after surgery.  I’ve got homemade soup simmering on her stove now and we’re icing her knee every half hour.  The biggest challenge is keeping her immobile.  I swear, she wants to go to work tomorrow, even though the doctor strictly said, “No!”.

Balboa Park, San Diego – Desert Garden

My husband and I took a train trip to San Diego a couple of weeks ago.  While we were there we visited the Desert Gardens at Balboa Park.  We saw the most amazing cacti and succulents from all around the world.  Did you know that a cactus is a form of succulent?  I didn’t.

I went crazy taking pictures of all the strange and intriguing plants and I’ve been anxious to share them with you.

I love how this picture turned out!

The Desert Garden has more than 150 species of cacti and other desert plants from North and South America and about 1,300 cacti, aloes, and other succulent and drought-resistant plants from around the world.

Each season has something to offer, but the most amazing flowers bloom January through March.  There were fantastic blossoms everywhere.  It was breathtaking, really!

Agave blooms.

I was struck by how each plant has found its own niche and its own unique way to adapt to the environment.  And in spite of harsh conditions, they bloom with regal abandon.  So be it for us, as well.

Monday Meanderings: Sunny San Diego

My husband is a train buff.  He is an amazing font of knowledge about all things public transit.  It’s not unusual to be watching the opening scene in a movie with him and when he sees a train he’ll say something like, “This movie must take place in Chicago in the early 40’s.”  He knows what kinds of train ran where and when.  So for Christmas this year, I gave him a round-trip train ride for two to San Diego.

Amtrak train in front of a station house.

Last week we escaped the gray, dreary winter of western Washington State and caught a train south to sunny San Diego.  The trip takes about a day and a half and we had a small sleeper berth.  We passed through snowy mountains, ocean vistas studded with palm trees; past rivers, farmlands, cities and towns.  Whenever the train had a 10 minute layover, my husband would be out on the platform taking pictures of the trains.  His great happiness meant so much to me.

snow view from the Amtrak train

View from the train window, of mountains in Oregon, on the return trip.

In San Diego we visited Coronado, where they filmed “Some Like It Hot” with Marilyn Monroe.  I walked barefoot on the beach, luxuriating in the feel of the warm, silky, fine sand.

Hotel at Coronado, San Diego

Hotel at Coronado, San Diego

We went up to Cabrillo National Monument, with its incredible views of the San Diego skyline, across the bay, (see yesterday’s post) and we visited San Diego’s first mission.

The mission building and grounds were lovely, but what lingers with me was an old photograph of a class of Native American children, all with sad or grim faces.  These children had been forcibly  removed from their families and sent to the Catholic mission school.  This happened to Native kids all over the country and their tears flood my heart.

San Diego's first mission

I’ll post pictures from our visit to San Diego’s fabulous Balboa Park, soon.  I hope you vicariously enjoyed this trip, too!

Monday Meanderings: A Walk On The Waterfront

{Monday Meanderings: Musings & Observations From Beyond the Bead Studio}

Bits and Pieces

  •  You can now go to Beads For Busy Gals to see  the pendant, clasp and some of the beads I sent to Elisabeth Auld, my Bead Soup Blog Party partner.
  • ArtFire, the company that hosts my online jewelry studio, was ranked #1 in a Sellers Choice survey of  2,800 artisans  regarding online marketplaces!  The complete article is available at AuctionBytes.  If you sell online or are thinking about doing so, this article is very informative.
  • I’ve changed the look of my blog.  The biggest difference is that the center column is now white, making it easier on the eyes when reading.  The blog also has a clean, modern look now.  Simple and streamlined.  I’m still tweaking it a bit–I need to get my blogroll back on the right side, etc.  What do you think of the new appearance?  Please leave a comment.  I’m interested in your feedback.
  • I’d like to sincerely thank everyone who visited my blog and left comments for the Fusion Bead Challenge Reveal.  Your thoughtful comments and sense of community means a lot to me.  ♥Hugs♥

Waterfront Stroll

On Saturday, I took my dog, Chochi, to the groomers downtown, to get a bath, brush and nail clip. Afterwards we took a stroll along the waterfront.  I thought I’d share a couple of pictures.  I feel so fortunate to live close to the water.  Anytime I need a dose of serenity; Puget Sound is only 10 minutes away.  The Sound has been my friend all my life, giving me solace, strength, insight, joy and calm.

WA state Capitol Building in background

Behind Chochi is boat mooring and behind that you can see the WA state capitol dome.

Boats in foreground, WA state capitol in background

Washington state capitol building in background

 

Port crane with mountains in the distance

Port of Olympia crane with Olympic Mountains in the distance.

Small boat with the name of Godzilla

This little boat named Godzilla made me laugh!

red tug boat by the dock

I love this little red boat--so stout and boldly colored.