Friday, January 13, 2017

Flowers in January ~

                                 Flowers in January

For the past two years I have ordered bulbs from Van Engelen Inc. They are imported from Holland and the bulbs are huge! This year I ordered 250. I finished planting them today, January 13. This is not unusual for me to plant as late as January 13. It has been later and they bloom. These are double narcissus in a variety of colors. They are sleeping under the plant smiles. While planting I was looking under leaves and found all sorts of plants coming up. The wild ginger looked great. The more I looked, the more I found.

                                             Snowdrops are blooming in the back of the house.

Last year I planted 100 snowdrops in the front of the house and here is one beginning to unfurl.

While walking near the studio, I encountered a honeybee. Not too far away was a pot of  violas, little johnny-jump-ups blooming. They have been here since October. A nice way to enter the house with flowers blooming in January.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Snow on our Mountain ~


My son texted me earlier today to ask if we had gotten snow. Once the temperature got a bit warmer than 12 degrees, I laced up my snow boots.

                                   I enjoyed the shadows from the trees falling into the snow.

    We have a nice collection of garden art. This little girl is about the size of a two year old. She                      usually greets me as I walk into the greenhouse.

                               My favorite stone which sits in the forest nestled among the ferns.

                                       A little bit of green coming up through the snow.

            Ray's sunburst design rising above the mountains nestled in front of the evergreens.

  A sculpture created for us by Margaret Gregg to represent each member of our family. It moves.

                                                               Snow on the branches

As I walked to the bottom of our property, I was fascinated with all the animal foot prints.

                                                           The phoenix rising above the snow.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

New Christmas Tree Ornaments ~

For several years, I have been creating a Holiday Ornament. This year it is a collaborative effort, an Appalachian Warm Glass, LLC design. The ornaments are the same size as pendants. 

We use Bullseye 90 COE glass. The base is clear glass. The red is for the top border and covers the wire hanger. The brown glass is for the base of the tree.

Dichroic glass is broken in a frit maker. The glass is then shifted until it is almost the size of a large piece of glitter. It becomes frit. There are two pieces of dichroic glass before they are made into frit.

I use Bullseye Glastac Gel to glue the glass to the glass. I also cover the tree with glue. I use a toothpick to find shiny pieces and also sprinkle the frit onto the tree.

Two trees decorated with frit. The trees are currently for sale at Heartwood and Arts Depot in Abingdon, Virginia. They are also at the Southwest Virginia Museum in Big Stone Gap, Va. Soon to be in the Charles Harris Library Gallery in Wise, Va. Next weekend, Nov. 18, 19, and 20, they will be available at our Open Studio.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Painting Pumpkins

 On September 19, I taught a class at the Southwest Virginia Museum in Big Stone Gap on painting pumpkins. Lessons learned: 1/3 of the tiny orange pumpkins purchased at Super Walmart were rotten. The pumpkin above was purchased at the Norton Farmer's Market in late August. Where ever you purchase your pumpkins, first clean them in a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Read to the end as I make some suggestions.
 Some materials I used: clear gesso, acrylic paint, mod podge, brushes, and BIC sharpie.
        First I covered the pumpkin with the clear gesso which helps the paint to adhere.
 I painted the top part of the pumpkin white. When it was somewhat dry I turned it over and painted the bottom half of the pumpkin. I wanted to the rush the process and used the heat gun to dry the pumpkin. Do not use a heat gun...let it dry on its own.
 I covered the pumpkin in washi tape. I noticed it was mottled and paint was coming off. Taking off the tape, the paint began coming off. If you decide to use washi tape, just clean your pumpkin and tape it up. Washi tape also comes in glitter tape.
 This is what the pumpkin looked like after I took off the paint. I continued on and repainted the pumpkin with one coat of paint and let it dry for hours.
 I used the Black Sharpie and drew designs on the pumpkin. It took awhile as the sharpie kept getting gunked up with paint. And the paint continued to come off. The sharpie covered it quite well.
 My favorite pumpkin at the museum class was the one covered in birds. It completely rotted and I am unable to share it with you. For the birds, you will need a rubber stamp, ink, mod podge, very sharp small scissors, sponge brush, and very thin paper. We used to call this onion skin paper. I inked up the rubber stamp. I made several images of the birds on the paper. I then cut it out. I tried to open the mod podge and it was glued shut. Always clean the lids after using. My husband opened the jar with his pliers. I then mod podged the pumpkin. I added the cut out stamp of the birds. Adding another layer of mod podge.
The mod podge is not completely dry. My suggestion to any crafter who is interested in painting or designing on pumpkins and would like their pumpkins to stay around for awhile... Buy small craft pumpkins that are foam or plastic. I noticed that Michaels has a sale on all their craft pumpkins. If I lived in an urban area, I would have bought some before creating this blog. Another thing I would recommend, do not use the clear gesso. Use mod podge on the pumpkin before painting it. This helps the paint to adhere. And let it dry between coats.                

I made a pumpkin coated in glitter which was absolutely gorgeous. To make a glitter pumpkin,  use mod podge in sections and then sprinkle the pumpkin with glitter. I used Martha Stewart glitter as it is the most sparkedly. It is really extra fine glitter. Go slowly, one section at a time. Glitter over a piece of paper. As you finish, put some mod podge on the bottom and place your pumpkin in the glitter on the paper.

Visiting a farmer's market and purchasing a pumpkin helps support our farmers.

         Using a craft pumpkin, your pumpkins will last a long time.