Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Project: Dragon Gourd



I've started a new gourd project. I have the design in my head, but I haven't picked out the gourd parts yet. So far, I've been working on the central character, who is a small dragon. He's not finished yet, but I'm going to share him with you anyway. I'm using Christi Friesen's book called, Tips, Techniques, Inspirational Ramblings, Creative Nudgings and Step-By-Step Instructions to Help You Create dragons. This is another of her wonderful series in using polymer clay to create whimsical creatures. I'm trying to look through quickly, get ideas, then go off in my own direction, but he is heavily influenced by this book. Ms. Friesen has a nice way of instructing, full of humor, fun and tongue-in-cheek look at creating polymer clay sculptures. I own a few of her books now and would eventually like to get the rest. She has great bios at the end of each book, all different. You can find these through mail-order, i.e., amazon.com. They're a great addition to any polymer clay library. So without further ado, here's Blueberry. He's made with Sculpey III in these colors: blue, navy blue, tan, gold, and brilliant ivory. There's no rhyme nor reason to the blending of the clays, just pull some off or cut a strip, layer and shove it into the pasta maker. I'm still finishing his spikes and his face and plan to redo his neck ruffs. He'll be making future appearances.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Branching Out - My New Blog

I decided to "branch out" and start a new blog in addition to this one. I thought I may be wandering too far off the crafty path with my last post about bugs and plant diseases. I've started a new herb garden/flower garden and am all about companion planting right now. I thought since my main focus in writing is for younger audiences, that I would also focus my new gardening blog for them as well. I'm in the process of doing research (love research!) on companion planting so that I can map out which herbs and tomatoes to plant next to which ones. I'm also going to plant gourds around a pine tree in my back yard. I think the bark will be rough enough to provide a trellis for small gourds. I'll be planting marigold and nasturtiums with them. Thank you Target for still having seed packets for sale. Lowe's has already removed theirs for the season. They informed me that planting season is over here now. We'll see about that! Anyway, if you have little ones who love to get their hands dirty in the garden, please direct them to my new blog, Tiny Green Thumbs, http://tinygreenthumbs.blogspot.com. I'll be posting more there this summer about my new garden and fun ideas for getting kids involved in growing things. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Faery Knitting Podcast

I've been listening to a podcast which is called Faery Knitting. It's produced by Spinningerin, who spins, knits, makes goat cheese from her own goats on her Texas farm and also tells us a faery tale each episode. I have been fascinated by these stories since childhood. Maybe that's why I've ended up such a sci-fi/fantasy reader as an adult. I tried reading the Nancy Drew books as an elementary student, like my friends did, but could never stay with them. I always returned to the Doctor Doolittle or Wizard of Oz series books. Give me something magical to read and I'm there. I also knew Spinningerin was cool today when I was listening to her episode of The Goose Girl and heard her make a reference to Bertie Wooster. If you're not familiar with these books by P.G. Wodehouse, do yourself a favor and check them out. No, they're not fantasy, but the situations that this character gets himself into and out of almost defy reality. P.G Wodehouse was a British author who wrote these books in the 1930's. They're hysterically funny. Henry and I own a copy of the British sitcom which featured Bertie and his butler, Jeeves, the brainier of the two. They're a treat to watch and do justice to the novels.
Back to Faery Knitting. I visited the blog today and discovered another podcast, Craft Lit, in which the podcaster reads from literature. I have subscribed to this podcast as well and will report back as soon as I've had a chance to listen. Being an audio book addict, this is like finding a new restaurant which features my favorite food. Thanks for the reference, Erin, and continued success with your podcast.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Among the Vines Podcast, Episode 5, Gourd Gardening




Among the Vines with the Gourd Lady, Episode 5, Gourd Gardening is now available to download. I didn't post pictures of the snails and slugs in my last blog, but I'm feeling the little slippery things may be feeling "dissed", so I'm putting them in this post as the featured creatures. The top picture is none other than the garden slug. The link to this picture is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slug
The link to the Decollate Snail (pictured below) is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decollate_snail. You can find all pictures in the Wikipedia websites. Good luck with this year's crop. Go out and get your hands dirty! Send me pictures of your gourds this year and I'll post them on my blog. Happy gardening and may it only rain when you've left the garden. Shown below is the brown garden snail. This link is : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_garden_snail

Friday, May 16, 2008

Spring Planting: GOURDS!



It's nearing that time to begin planting gourds, and my new podcast is all about the gourd patch. I'm including several pictures here to add to the information I'll be sharing. Those of you who have grown gourds before, especially in the South, will be familiar with at least one of these creatures. Top left is the southern spotted cucumber beetle. Top right is the striped cucumber beetle found in other parts of the country. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucumber_beetle)Left is the squash vine borer moth. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squash_vine_borer) Center are squash vine borer larvae and frass. Right are squash bug eggs and below their nymphs. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squash_bug) Most important to keep in mind when growing gourds or any other crop is garden hygiene: keep your garden free of spent vines, limbs or other debris. Good drainage will prevent your crops from being too damp which can lead to fungal infections. Pictured here on the left is bacterial wilt. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacterial_wilt) On the right is powdery mildew. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powdery_mildew) These are not only unsightly, but are also very detrimental to your gourds' health and development. Thanks to Wikipedia for the photos of these bugs and plant maladies. As always, I welcome comments.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lion Brand Knit Along


Lion Brand Yarns is hosting a knit along with a beautiful Tree of Life Pattern. Here is their website: http://blog.lionbrand.com/2008/05/07/
tree-of-life-knit-along-1/
. I don't have enough of this yarn, but I may try to substitute.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Lisa's Plate - FINISHED!



I've finally finished the plate. I haven't been able to deliver it to its owner yet, but maybe tomorrow. On to my next project...)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Lisa's Plate II


I've started adding some details to the giraffes. I tried with the High Definition paints (Folkart), but they just seemed too thick for fine detail. I like using the regular acrylic paints for this. I like using the HD paints for backgrounds. This plate had a finish on it and I was afraid to do more than just minimal sanding on it since it was not my plate. The HD paints have a really good grip and blend well for large background colors. I worried about the two paints not being compatible, but after all they're both acrylic. I remembered doing wall painting with Folkart paints over regular wall paints. That works as well because, again, they're both acrylic paints (flat or eggshell paints). The regular paints work just fine over the HD. I painted in the eyes and I believe this helped me with the overall look of the giraffes. I need to work on the mother giraffe's ear; I believe it's too small. Painting is like writing. Some days it works and some days it's better to leave it alone and come back. I'm anxious to finish this and hopefully will this weekend.

Other news: I'm getting a spinning wheel. Yes, yes, yes. Henry and I visited Weaver's Web Gallery yesterday in New Bern, NC. We looked at two wheels and I picked out the Louette. It has a classic style wheel and is beautiful. I'm going back this summer after school's out to take lessons. My first attempt yesterday ended with the wheel snatching the whole piece of wool out of my hands - whoosh! :) I'm going to post more later when I start my lessons. The summer's getting even better already!