29 October 2015

Necessity...

Necessity is the Mother of Invention...
a substitute for No. 27.


Earlier this week I mentioned that I was giving up on silver soldering lessons (for now) and instead reviving my leather working skills.

Forty something years ago I went to college in Mexico. The Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende. Smack dab in the middle of the country.   San Miguel is a mountain town, a national monument, the birthplace of Mexican Independence, all cobblestone streets and colonial architecture.
To me, it felt like home.  I get the same feeling when I drive up the road to this cabin, seeing the mountains looming ahead, as I did when I came into San Miguel. I feel like I am coming home.

Anyway, the Instituto was an art school. And a craft school. My classes included weaving (seriously) and drawing. Painting. Jewelry classes. And leather working classes.

There I learned that working with leather is really not that hard. You can sew on it just like fabric. There's just a few tricks.

A couple of years ago I bought this little purse.

Perfect. Almost.

I love the concept of it. It's perfect. EXCEPT.  
The size. It is only 8" by 6". That's a pretty standard size for a clutch. It may be a standard size but I can't fit my phone, credit card holder AND sunglasses inside of it. At least not all at the same time.

But my attempts at finding the same thing only LARGER have been unsuccessful. I can find the size but without pockets. Or I can find the size and maybe it does have pockets but it costs a gazillion dollars. I wanted 12" by 8", but it just didn't seem to be out there. (At least not in my budget.....)


So. I decided to make my own.  My first idea was to incorporate this little Mexican blanket fabric with the leather. That became my prototype.

More perfect. 
And why can't I find a single spot in this cabin that doesn't have 
dog fur on it?? Carlos???


And I love it. Everything fits. It's just the right size. Perfect.

Do you know how hard it is to find the perfect little bag?  Impossible almost.


So now I'm going to make it completely in black leather. With the strap. And extra pockets inside.
And then I will be insanely happy.

Black leather, gold leather, taupe leather. 
O! The possibilities. 
The inspiration.

Or something like that.

27 October 2015

Less than two months

Less than Two Months!

Yikes! I have less than two months until I turn sixty. And I'm supposed to have this list finished. 

Not gonna happen.

O well. 

When I made this list, I lived in a different world. Seriously. Right outside the fourth largest  city in the United States with every imaginable opportunity/product/event at my fingertips. An airport within an hour's drive. The beach an hour away in the opposite direction. Traffic, stores, MALLS!! and lots of people.

About one third of the way through the list I ended up in a tiny rural town of maybe 1200 people. When I go to "town", that means about 7000 people, a Wal Mart, a grocery store (Safeway) and  a Murdoch's Ranch Supply. The closest airport is two hours away but the one that we usually have to fly out of/into is a good 4 hours away. Mountains are everywhere but no beach.

Me on the beach in Florida.
Where I won't be at Thanksgiving.

Which is why No.13: Thanksgiving at the beach won't happen. I had hoped to spend Thanksgiving with Belle in Florida. But Bunny and I were in Florida back in September. Last week Belle was here. I just put Belle on the plane back to Florida from Colorado (twice- TSA lines at the airport took over an hour, she missed her first flight because of it) so it seems silly to go visit her again so soon. Besides, Bunny has a severe case of Senioritis and since she has already missed 5 days of school and she graduates in December, I cannot condone her missing any more school. The hubs and the Big Guy are staying in Texas for Thanksgiving, Belle will be in Florida and Bunny and I will stay here. Or somewhere near here. I'm open to suggestions.

No. 11: Get something published....well, I guess I can say I have self published my own blog. Some things I have no control over but it doesn't hurt to put them out there. For now I will consider it accomplished. Multiple times. 

No. 27: Refresh those silver soldering lessons doesn't seem feasible. I've asked around and no one teaches silver working classes. I'll have to wait for civilization to take a class. I could probably pick it up from YouTube but the supplies are expensive enough that I prefer not to make a lot of mistakes trying. And I want to be able to repair the jump rings on my bracelets, so I don't want to ruin my favorite jewelry with inexperience. 
As an alternate I've decided to refresh my leather working skills. More on that later this week.

A little leather pocket on an inspiration bag.
The next one will be all leather. 

No. 19: Go up in a hot air balloon could be done here. But hot air balloons require very early morning departures and the hot air balloon rides nearest me are still 2 hours away or more. So I thought maybe a helicopter ride over the Royal Gorge. That's only an hour away and doesn't require me to pop out of bed at 4am. Or earlier. Except. I just checked.  Helicopter season was over October 15. Oops. O well. I've got some ideas for that hot air balloon in the future. 

No. 55:See a polo match.  Wrong season. Wrong place. I was hoping when Bunny and I went to Florida to visit Belle in September we might have been able to catch a polo match, but no. Wrong season there, also. If I had stayed in Texas, it would have been done by now. Never occurred to me that possibly there was polo in Colorado, but I just checked. There is. I just missed the season. Again, it will happen. Just not in the next two months.

Nos. 57 and 58 should get done. Ice hockey game and fly fishing. Seriously. I live less than 3 miles from one of the best fly fishing spots in the U.S.  And ice hockey is in Denver, 4 hours away.  Colorado Springs has ice hockey but not professional. We shall see....

No. 28: Learn to shoot a gun. I could do that here. But it may take more effort than I am willing to expend in the next 7 weeks. The weather has changed and do I really want to spend a few hours outside in the cold? No.  It could be done easily in Houston. That can wait.

No.7: Learn calligraphy is another one that would benefit from a larger locale.  I tried teaching myself but I was not successful. Someone that reads handwriting would have a heyday with my script. It can be bold, cursive, block letters, leaning left or right. Depends on my mood. So to tame my propensity to be all over the page- literally- I need professional help. 

No. 24: Organize all those photos.  Well, I have made a dent in the digital photos that I have here with me on my computer. But a gazillion photo albums lurk in the cabinets back in Texas. 

No. 5: Go the opera or ballet.   I hope to accomplish this one once I am back in Texas. Not before my birthday but before the end of the year. I always love The Nutcracker. Time to go again. 

And No. 1:Big 60th Birthday Trip.  That one is planned. There will actually be two little trips. One in February to S. Padre Island (a place I have never been) and the second to Lake City, Colorado in June.  That's a place I have been to many times and will be thrilled to go back. 
But seriously? With this group of women I could go to the La Quinta in Podunk and have fun. 


Fifty out of Sixty. That doesn't sound so good. BUT. The whole point was to get me out of my routine, to reunite me with some aspects of myself that I had let fall by the wayside. I have certainly accomplished that. 

And the ones that don't get done? Ninety by Ninety!!!
(I've already got the blog name reserved...)

15 October 2015

Better Ghouls and Gardens

Better Ghouls and Gardens: Decorating for Fall


Yay! One of my favorite times of the year- Fall.


And with Fall comes Halloween and with Halloween comes decorations. And candy. But for me, mostly decorations.

I shared my pine cone balls last week.  They are hanging outside.

Inside I decorated the mantel since there really isn't much else to decorate around here. And this mantel is so crazy odd...weird proportions.  Any help it can get is always welcome.

There are bats left over from a previous Halloween.


Bats that I stitched up last year.
Love the plates from Safeway with Mr. and Mrs. Skull.


Lots of bones found around the neighborhood.

Deer vertebrae.
I love bones.


A wine bottle with a black crow plus gourds and little pumpkins.  A candle cork tops off the bottle.






 A plaster cast of Carlos's paw seems to fit right in.

 Beautiful votive candle holders from Target add a little shine.
Felt leaves from the pumpkin patch made by my chicas add a little whimsy.


In the mirror you can see the ghosts from last year 
flying over the doorway.  

Happy Haunting!





13 October 2015

It's Good to be Queen...

It's Good to be Queen. 
Or Not.


Last week was homecoming week for Bunny.  

I find these events are so much more special in a small town because, well, because, size matters.
Really. In this case, smaller is better. I'm becoming the biggest advocate ever of smaller schools.

Anyway, Bunny was nominated to the Homecoming Court meaning either she or one of her three friends was going to be crowned Homecoming Queen. And all of the girls were/are good friends.

And because this is a small town the girls got to be interviewed by the newspaper and be the stars in the parade.

Since this is my blog and Bunny is my baby, I get to share her week with you.


It started with an article in our newspaper, The Mountain Mail.







Homecoming week always has themed dress up days.  Seniors get to wear togas, so Bunny and one of the other queen-wanna-bees coordinated their costumes.

Natty and Bunny
Thank goodness for "YouTube" and toga tying instructions.

On Wednesday there was a school assembly on the football field where the "court" was presented to the student body.


Bunny and her escort, Jett, are second from the right. 
(Photo courtesy of M. Moltz)

Wednesday after school there was a parade down the main drag.  The queens-in-waiting led the pack, waving and throwing candy.

Smile! 


Adorable old Dodge convertible....

After the parade was a bonfire, which I did not attend, also documented in the newspaper

(photo by Ryan Summerlin)


Thursday was, blessedly, an off day. No homecoming court duties required. Thank goodness.  I think all of the girls were exhausted at this point.


The football game Friday night was the highlight of the week. Bunny specifically requested (demanded) that her dad fly 1000 miles from Texas to escort her onto the field. Being a good dad, he complied.


photo M. Moltz

What Bunny didn't know was that her sister, Belle, also flew in from Florida as a surprise. Belle hid out in town at a friend's house, only showing her face once the football game was underway and Bunny was safely tucked away in the school library.
I love this picture taken by one of the other moms.  She managed to catch Bunny's face just as she realized her sister was in the stands. 

In the end, Bunny was not Queen. Kaitlyn Moltz won that honor.

                                                                                         photo M. Moltz



Did it matter? Not one bit. 


08 October 2015

Fun with Pine Cones...Part Two

Fun with Pine Cones, Just Call me Martha...
Part Two.


Today I am going to show you how to make your very own gorgeous (!) pine cone balls.

The cast of characters:




Two 10" styrofoam balls, conveniently already packaged in plastic.
A couple of grocery bags of pine cones... it takes a LOT of pine cones to cover a 10" ball
Hot glue gun and LOTS of glue sticks
Jute string about 18" long- two pieces
Knitting needle or skewer to poke the jute string into the ball

Leave the plastic on the styrofoam ball!
(If your styrofoam ball does NOT have a plastic covering, cover it in a kitchen trash bag, securing with hot glue.)

First knot one end of the jute string a few times. Poke a hole into the ball about 6" to 8"deep.

Stick that baby with a knitting needle or skewer.

Squirt a bit of hot glue into the hole. Force the knotted end of the jute string into the styrofoam ball. Squirt more hot glue into the hole to hold the string in place.

Poke the string into the ball.

Now.

Start gluing the pine cones to the plastic covered styrofoam ball. Gloves help with this project as some of those pines cones are pointy!  Leaving the plastic on helps keep the styrofoam from getting soaked since this will be an outdoor ball.  I started near the string and interlocked the pine cones as best I could. There were still some gaps but I went back to those after covering the entire surface with the larger cones.



Keep the pine cones as close as possible.
Try to interlock them as you go.


Warning: This is not a quick project. It took me most of one morning to do one ball.

Once the entire surface is covered, go back and fill in the gaps with smaller pine cones or dried seed pods or whatever else you can find that suits your fancy.  There are at least three different kinds of pines on this property with different size cones, the smallest of which was perfect for the gaps.

Once done, tie a loop in the jute and hang.  A ribbon can be added if desired but I like the simplicity of no ribbon for this cabin.

VoilĂ !

Done! 
Enjoy. 

Warning: After hanging these outside, I noticed the next morning that there were HUGE gaps of white styrofoam showing between the pine cones on one of the balls. Immediately  I assumed the squirrels had somehow managed to eat my pine cones or the birds had attacked or possibly the hot glue had failed and the cones had just fallen off.   But once outside I realized that the pine cones that had been open when I glued them had just closed up. Who knew they could even do that? I guess they were freshly off the tree. A couple of days now and the cones are open and seem to be staying that way. No more white showing through.




07 October 2015

Fun with Pine Cones

Fun with Pine Cones, Just Call Me Martha...
Part One.


In spite of my sincere efforts to get back to regularly scheduled posts, I've failed.  Somehow I got mixed up on days last week and posted Tuesday and Wednesday instead of Tuesday/Thursday. This week I planned two posts and missed my deadline. Visitors, Homecoming duties for Bunny, more visitors.  I'm behind.

BUT! I will attempt to divert your attention from my disorganization with my latest little project.

If you spend any time on Pinterest or any of the DIY blogs then certainly you have seen these:


Honestly I try to stay  off of Pinterest because it makes me feel inadequate. I feel incredibly guilty when people follow me on Pinterest because, seriously, I am never on there, seldom post, and have no fabulous ideas. 
But I get it. 
Pinterest serves a purpose. 
Like inspiring people who have a surplus of pinecones.

And I have a HUGE surplus of pinecones this year.  Neighbor Sue made some wreaths with all of her pine cones. That got me to thinking about something decorative but I'm not too into wreaths. Around here they will just get blown off the doors. 


Sue's wreath.
The project that got me thinking....

So I decided a couple of pinecone topiaries would be fun.

I scored two ten inch styrofoam balls suitable for bases at the local Walmart.

Plastic covered styrofoam balls.
How convenient.


Searching for planters to put them into I realized...wait. Topiaries are a little formal, a little stuffy. This is a cabin. 
Who am I kidding? 
Not such a good idea after all. 

But what to do with the pinecones and styrofoam forms?  

At this same time I noticed my hanging planters were looking beyond pitiful. The deer had somehow grazed a lower one down to nubs.  And in the winter, I hate the empty hooks jutting from the cabin corners. They look so lonely.


 Used to be petunias.
Now deer food.
(Hi! Carlos...)


Aha!

Pine cone balls to hang from the planter hooks. They won't die.  They won't freeze. 

And once it gets closer to Christmas I can spray paint them white or silver, add twinkle lights, red ribbons and make them Winter balls.

But for now they are fall pinecone balls.


Pine cone balls.
An improvement over dead hanging baskets. 


Next post: The How To....
Stay tuned....