Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It makes scents to me

Pastel ACEO

What does your choice of perfumes and colognes say about you?  Do you like to smell like something fresh out of the oven or sickly sweet with a swarm of bees circling over your head? 

Perfumes and colognes make perfect gifts don’t they? Once I had a boyfriend who presented me with an expensive bottle of cologne that I absolutely detested.  Every time he came over I had to dab the vile stuff on, gagging as I did.  We broke up after a bit and I truly believe that the perfume had something to do with it. They no longer make it, so I guess i wasn't alone.

If you are considering buying fragrance for someone this Christmas (Are you listening guys?) before you do, perhaps you should check out the following list of choices and match them up with the giftee.

1.     Industrial strength.  This is the favorite of Grandmas everywhere.  While the scent itself is not too awful, it is so overpowering that it has the ability to cause dizziness up to a mile away.

2.     The way to a man’s heart.   Feel like a cookie, or some fruit?   This is the fragrance for you.  This one has the ability to cause anyone within its range to break a diet.  Fortunately perfumers haven’t come up with a meat loaf scent yet, but give it time.

3.     The bee’s knees.  This is any scent of a very identifiable flower.  Think gardenia or Easter lily.  Just make sure you have your epi-pen handy.

4.     Hippy heaven.  A flower child fav, Patchouli is an Asian plant with a very strong scent.  Right up there with musk and jasmine, it should bring back many happy memories of days gone past.  Use with caution or you may break out the flower printed bell-bottoms and fringed vests.

5.     France is best.  The French are fantastic perfumers, no question about it. But really there is no need to actually go to France to buy.  My brother visited France while I was in college and wanted to know what I wanted him to get me.  My answer--French perfume.  He returned with a tiny bottle of perfume I could pick up right here in the states.  And here I was thinking I would be getting something unique.  By the way, French perfumes often appear in the industrial strength category as well.

6.     The hiker.  Do you like the smell of rain on the grass?  If you do then you fit in this category quite well.  It’s wood-sy, and outdoor-sy and many other sy’s that are found in the open air.

7.     The Fan club. Sometimes wonderful, but mostly hype.  It always bears the name of some celebrity.

8.  The XX file.  I know, forgive me for the nod to an old TV show about aliens.  Women who love this fragrance like it to be a combination of scents--and unidentifiable.  Whoever’s listening, this is my fragrance of choice... :-)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

You can make a five dollar origami star

***The holiday has been exhausting. As a result, I have been a bit absent from the internet.  Cooking and entertaining for 15 people does that to a person.  And then there is the Nightmare before Christmas, otherwise known as Black Friday.  Not for me!  I was sound asleep in bed when others were pushing and shoving in order to get that deal.  Anyway back by popular demand...the instructions for folding an origami star out of five one dollar bills.***

I am posting these instructions by request.  Every Christmas I fold origami stars out of five one-dollar bills.  Sometimes I leave them as tips in restaurants.  Other times I give them as gifts with a string attached for hanging on the tree. Most people love them and think they are complicated to create, but if you can fold a paper airplane you can fold an origami dollar star. You can make them using one dollar bills but if you feel generous you can certainly make them with fives, tens, twenties, fifties…well you get the picture. A chopstick, butter knife or skewer makes it easier to tuck the pieces together.

1.     Lay a dollar bill with the ONE facing up on the table and fold it in half lengthwise.

2.     Open the fold and fold the top corner to the fold line.  Repeat on the other side.

3.     Turn the bill so the point is facing you.  Fold the point up to the edge of the circle on the fold line.

4.     Turn over so the folded edge is at the top.  Fold the right hand corner to the center fold line.  Fold again.

(Just like you are making a paper airplane.) Repeat on the other side.

5.     Turn over.  You have made a pointed flap.  Take the bottom edge and fold up under the flap.  Fold it again under the flap and repeat it a third time. You now have a star point with a tab on each side. The front will be the one with the flap and the back has a pocket.

6.     Make four more star points for a total of five.

7.     To assemble start from the back.  Tuck one of the folded tabs into the back pocket of another.  Then tuck the front tab under the flap on the front.

8.     Repeat this around for all the points.  The last one is the hardest but with the help of a chopstick you can easily tuck it in.  It stays together nicely. 
9.     Of course if you want to spend the money it’s easy to unassemble and spend!

front of point

back of point

back of star

Easy, easy and so much fun!  It is best to use crisp, new one dollar bills to fold since it makes a sturdier star.  You can easily ask your bank for new dollar bills and have fun, believe me... "you can't make just one!"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Giving Thanks


This Thanksgiving…

When you dress in your holiday finery, remember there are those who must wear rags.

When you sit in your cozy and comfortable homes, remember there are those who shiver in the cold.

When you sit down at the dining room table, remember there are those who have no table, no chair and no dining room. 

When you are eating your turkey with all the trimmings, remember there are those who hunger and whose plates will be empty.

When you enjoy the company of friends and family, remember there are those who are all alone.

And after the feast is over and it’s time for bed, remember as you slip under the crisp sheets, there are those whose only bed is a pallet on the cold, hard, ground. 

Be thankful for the simple things we all take for granted.  And if you think you have it bad, remember there will always be those who wish they had it that bad.

"I cried because I had no shoes till I met a man that had no legs."

Happy Thanksgiving 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A little paint + brown paper bag = an adorable stuffed Santa star ornament

Money is tight...everywhere, plus just about everyone is into recycling these days, so what do you if you and the kids would like to create some cute home made ornaments for the tree?  Get your groceries in a brown paper bag and you will have the main supply for creating a ton of these cute little stuffed Santas.  Add some supplies you may already have on hand and these little ornaments are pretty much cost-free.

You will need:

Brown paper bag

Acrylic paint in red, white, flesh, black and gold

Acrylic varnish

Tacky craft glue

Small and medium sized paintbrush

Gold thread (for hanging)

Paper towels and newspaper to protect work surface

Small amount of fiberfill for stuffing.

Optional:  tiny pompom and gold glitter pen

 1.  Cut open the paper bag.  Crumple the paper.  Working on the unlabeled side, re-flatten the paper and cover with a coat of red paint.  Let dry.

 2.  Thin some black paint with water and apply over the red paint wiping as you go.  Some of the black will remain in the wrinkles aging and giving the paper a leather-like look.  When dry apply a thin coat of varnish.  Let dry.

3.  Use the star pattern to cut out two stars for each Santa.  On one star paint the Santa as shown in the photos and let dry. 

Star pattern, click and print full size

Cut two stars

Paint the boots and trim

Paint a U-shape for face in flesh and white trim above

Paint white trim on sleeves

Paint white around face for beard

Paint a black stripe across for belt

Add white trim down center and above belt

Paint square shape in center for buckle

Add two blue eyes

Add black for pupil, red nose and lips 

4.  Apply a line of glue all around the unpainted side of the other star leaving the top point (where Santa’s head will be unglued.  This is where you will add the stuffing.  Line up the stars and press together.  Glue a 6-inch thread to the back inside for hanging before you stuff. 

5.  When the Santa is dry, add bits of stuffing in the body of the Santa.  A pencil or the end of a paintbrush helps to push the stuffing into all the points of the star evenly.  Add some glue around the top and attach.  When dry you may add a small pompom to the top of Santa’s hat or you can just add a dab of white paint.

Step by step painting instructions make this project easy peasy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mirror, mirror on the wall, my favorite art supply

What is your very favorite art supply?  Is it a special brush, or a color?  Could it be that you just love a certain medium and no other?  Perhaps your favorite art supply is a certain kind of paper?

We all have favorites, but ask me and I will tell you my favorite art supply is... a mirror!  Yes, you read it right, a mirror that I have hanging in my studio.  No, it’s not there to admire my beauty.  It’s not there to check out weather I have applied my makeup without any lines of demarcation. It's not there to ask it who might be the fairest of them all.  It is a tool I use to see what my eyes cannot see straight on.

Whenever I am painting something and something just feels wrong, I simply hold it up to the mirror and all of a sudden, like magic, it becomes transparent to me.  I see where it may need touching up, or adjusting.  I have been doing this since I was little and don’t ask me how I discovered it because I have no idea.  Try it and you will be amazed and will soon be hanging a mirror in your own studio! (If you haven’t already)

Friday, November 11, 2011

“Wanna come over and see my etchings?

Wanna see my etchings?

Holly design

 Who would believe such a line when it’s such a cliché?  But when I was young and oh so naïve believe it or not I fell for that very line.  Considering that I’m an artist I jumped at the invitation to enter the lion’s den in order to view his non-existent collection of etchings. 

After running around the couch 6 or 7 times I made a hasty retreat a bit wiser but fortunately no worse for wear.  Am I less naïve?  I don’t know, but please don’t try and sell me a bridge in Brooklyn.

My husband and I will be celebrating our 11th anniversary on Saturday.  12 years ago he knew that he didn’t need any tired old lines. He knew... Dare I say it?  Oh what the heck…”He had me at hello.”  Groan....

Years later…I am etching.  Acid etching that is, on recycled melted down at a very high temperature wine bottles to create original and unique holiday cheese trays.  My technique is quite simple…I wire and bead the neck and then etch an original design onto the glass.


I know it’s not paint, but it is art and since I haven’t participated in PAINT PARTY FRIDAY for a while due to other obligations…I figured I would join in once again.

look closely to see the etch

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fall…. into winter?

Every notice how some years the leaves are just so beautifully colored in the fall that it takes your breath away.  I am sure there must be a scientific reason for this abundance of reds, yellows, orange and maroons, but if there is I am not the one who knows it.

Of late the weather here in the Old Dominion is absolutely gorgeous.  The skies are bluer than blue and the leaves are simply awesome.  So, almost daily, after I complete my overwhelming list of chores, I grab little Maddie (my Jack Russell Terrier) and head out down a rustic trail with camera in hand.

I snap a few photos of the great blue heron, almost step on a toad…and a venomous copperhead snake but enjoy every breath I take.  I arrive home, refreshed and renewed.

When I return home I step onto my back deck and spy some more autumn color.  I snap yet another photo.  Later, as I check out the photos, I realize that just beyond the gorgeous yellow leaves tinged with red is the hint of winter and holidays to come.

Do you see it???  
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