I've been asked to begin a blog that shows a "how-to" for the things that bring pleasure to my life. So, the intent of this blog is to share recipes, gardening, composting, sewing, crafts, art, everyday projects and even psychology tips to aid in healing wounds and living the life you're meant to live, a life with purpose!
Art PrintsArt Prints

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Seashells turn an ordinary Household item into Fabulous!

I like to think up frugal ways to decorate. I especially like using nature. I find Mother Nature's items are better than the imagination. I used to live in FL; this is where my love of seashells started. They were abundant and free! You can also find them very cheap at such sites as: http://www.qualityshells.com/shell-mix.html. That was a random one I simply goggled, "Cheap sea shells." So you may want to shop via your Google engine for a super savings buy.
With shells, you can cover just about anything.

You have seen picture frames and jewelry. How about taking bleached starfish and use your hot glue gun to decorate a large mirror? Drift wood makes a mirror just as dramatic.

Just make sure you take out the smell by bleaching first. I learned that lesson the hard way. ;-)

I wanted to include this vase because I use this idea all the time. You can put just about anything of nature in a glass vase and fill it with water. Find a very attractive large shell and do the same thing.
 A second mirror idea. You can mix paint with shells too:

Just what can we do with all those free shells?

You can go more elaborate, like with this chandelier:

Or simple, like with these candles:

You can see that sand was also a medium used in these. They make great gifts! Simply roll your spray glued candle in dry sand, you can spray a sealant if you want, but it is not necessary. Tie some jute or twine around the sea shell. Ideally, you can drill a hole in the shell first. I have also used a hot glue gun. ;-)
Pour sand on the bottom of the glass container/ candle holder, a few shells, water and a floating candle is as easy as it gets. It looks like you spent hours making it!
A totally elaborate idea, but if you have the hours to glue these cute babies on, wow... a conversation piece floor lamp! Or you can simply just do a lampshade on a table lamp to add interest. ;-)

How easy is this? Soap shells in an apothecary jar? Place this in your bath areas.
A bit more difficult, but worth the work. Decorate with shells strung upon thin wire. Shop antique or junk shops for old lighting fixtures, or take the form of what used to be a lighting fixture and add candles instead of the electric lights.
Again, candles can be used instead of electric lights. You can also simply use white Christmas lights.
You have heard of a dream catcher; this is the same idea, but with shells. ;-)

This is my favorite creation! Instead of a drum shade, use shells. They would look wonderful outdoors around a deck or patio area. Talk about a mood setter! Or you can make a simple wind charm.

Several simple ideas: To make an easy centerpiece, take three simple jars (canning jars) and fill half way with sand, place shells or starfish on top. Leave the top half empty and screw the lid on.
Or just take a pretty shell in the shape of a open dish and use it for a soap dish! ;-)

Or just make a simple shell tube. Collect shells from wherever you travel and place them in a tall glass vase. ;-) Memories in one place!

It is amazing what one can do with a simple shell!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Stages of "Do You Think We Should Go In?"

The story behind this award winning painting. "Do You Think We Should Go In?" is a title and idea that arose at a neighbor's home.

Ping Pong was an activity that became a serious event with the men in my neighborhood. A Pool Table in the open area did not get so much attention. In the room with the Ping Pong tournament going on, there was a lot of motion. Two of my neighbor's kids were poking their heads into the door, as one looked back at the other; the grandmother of the child (with his back to us) took out her camera and snapped the shot of her grandchild with my next door neighbor's child.
She and I were discussing how it was as if the boy in the front, Samuel, was saying to the little guy in the back, "Judd, Do You Think We Should Go In?" Having to capture the "cute"... I wanted to paint the scene I had envisioned that night.

 I got my hands on a copy of that picture, changed the boring basement with the solitary ping pong table for a kid's enticing fantasy land, and shortened the door to a more "Alice and the Wonderland" feel.

The following are the stages of the painting and a "how to" guide. Stage One of:  "Do You Think We Should Go In?"
I sketched this one out in pencil first. Then did the fantasy background in oil. The red doorway has a medium added on top of it, to appear with a dull shine, like a real door frame paint would look. In real life it stands out as if a coating is on it.

Adding some flesh tone in oil to the boys. Stage Two:

Most of this one is in oil; I wanted a shine to the paint. As far as the steps go, I am using oil paint from here on out. The carpet is a neutral shade, so the rest of the image pops. Adding some highlight and lowlight skin tones. Stage Three:

Adding hair and more details to face. Stage Four:

Adding clothes for colors that compliment each other. Adding expression to the face. Giving life to the little toy car Samuel holds in his right hand. It is the underside of the car with it's black tires showing. However, you can see the red car sides. I felt including the car he was holding gave it some "realism" to this very "surrealism painting". Stage Five:

Adding some brightness to the painting, so it will pop. Stage Six:

Last touch ups added and "Do You Think We Should Go In?" is finished. That is the story behind the painting. Or should I use the quote, "And now you know the rest of the story?" ;-D

Monday, May 16, 2011

Going to a Wedding soon? Here are 5 steps and the Do's and Don'ts for what to wear/buy. I have a wedding to go to and have been doing my research. ;-D

Wedding Guest Attire; Just what do I wear?
Okay, we cannot all be this dashing.

What to Wear to a Wedding:
Recently I had a conversation with a friend about what to wear to a wedding that she was planning on going to. Good questions arose about whether a beach-type dress, a cocktail dress, or the basic black dress were appropriate.
No, ...and...

No. Sequins are not a good idea. ;-)

A good idea.

I am also going to a wedding in June and I want to wear appropriate attire for it. I have been searching online for dresses.
You want to be able to have fun!

Steps to keep in mind when deciding what to wear:
1. Make it easy. I simply typed into Google "wedding guest dresses" and many options popped up for me to look through. That is an excellent place to start shopping; you can view what fashion choices are out there before you even step foot out to your local mall.

Hum... I think I may be settling on: http://www.newyorkdress.com/Wedding_Guest_Dresses.html to order my dress, but I have not committed to anything yet. This site just seems to have a great selection.

Hum... If you are young and want to be on the edge of fashion, http://www.ageoftaurus.com/ has some very awesome dresses; I especially liked the Lotus dress.

Elegant wedding.
2. First things first:
What does the invitation specify? Is it formal or semi-formal? You need to know details like gown to the floor or mid-length, Indoor or outdoor and even hats or no hats?

Fun, colorful and light Wedding. Find out the mood the couple wants to have for the occasion.

3. Make sure that whatever you buy makes you feel amazing!
These girls look lovely. ;-)
You want to feel gorgeous, so you can be self-confident enough to be able to have a really great time at the wedding! If you choose something only because it is on sale, regardless of how it fits you; you will not feel as secure.

Grab a chair and enjoy yourself!

4. What you wear,or more importantly, how you feel in what you wear, may affect how much fun you have. This is especially true if it is not necessarily your friends, or if you will be introduced to people that you do not know that well.

5. Here are some guidelines that will help to figure out how to stay in-line with etiquette and feel comfortable in whatever you wear:
Wedding Guest Style for Her
·         Informal Daytime: Short dress or suit (business attire OK for morning weddings)
·         Informal Evening: Cocktail dress
·         Semi-Formal Daytime: Short dress or suit
·         Semi-formal Evening: Cocktail dress
·         Formal Daytime: Short dress or suit. Hats and gloves optional; although, if it is an outdoor wedding,or an outdoor dinner, consider a hat to shade the sun.

·         Formal Evening or Black-Tie: Long or dressy short cocktail (beading, glam accessories, wrap)
·         Ultra-formal or White Tie: Long gown, extra glitz (furs, diamonds, etc.)

Do's and Don'ts for Her
The yellow dress is a bit wrinkly, and, well No.
·         Don't wear white because it competes with the bride. There are plenty of other colors available.

·         Don't wear black or sequins during the daytime.
·         Don't worry about wearing the same colors as the bridesmaids or mothers. You can't possibly coordinate with everyone in the wedding party.
·         Do wear something feminine and appropriate, out of respect for your hosts. Club wear, overtly sexy clothing (strapless, see-through, etc.) doesn't belong at a wedding. If you have to ask if it's appropriate, it probably isn't.

This is a No. Save for a night out to a club.
·         Don't wear opera-length gloves (to top of arm) with anything but sleeveless or strapless gowns.
·         Do take off gloves to eat or drink.
·         Do use good judgment if the invitation doesn't specify the formality of the event.

No, I'd rethink this hat. It is wearing her.
        A pastel suit or soft floral dress for daytime or a little black dress for evening (after 6 p.m.) will take you almost anywhere.
I just love these caketoppers, note the diversity in the couples, hee...

Wedding Style for Him
·         Informal Daytime: Dress shirt and pants, preferably a sports jacket.
·         Informal Evening: Suit
·         Semi-Formal Daytime: Suit
·         Semi-Formal Evening: Dark suit
·         Formal Daytime: Dark suit and tie
·         Formal Evening: Tuxedo (if invitation states "black tie") or dark suits if women wear short dresses.

·         Ultra-formal Evening or White Tie: White tie, vest and shirt with your tuxedo.

Do's and Don'ts for Him
·         Don't try to get cute with a tuxedo. A black tux with white shirt and black bow tie is the best way to go. If "Creative Black Tie" or "Texas Formal" or some sort of other vague formal description is used, then going with a tux and black shirt, no tie, might be acceptable. Also, trendier cities like Los Angeles and New York might be more accepting of breaking with tradition.
·         Do wear a dark suit, with a tie if the wedding is after 6 PM, and doesn't say "Black Tie."
·         Don't wear a tuxedo during the day time, regardless of the formality of the event.
·         Do use good judgment if the invitation doesn't specify the formality of the event. A dark suit and conservative tie will take you just about anywhere.
Happy Weddings! ;-D