Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Just checking to see if my dichoric bracelet photo looks distorted when I upload a photo from Live Writer vs my blog. Just looking at the photos as I am inserting them into my note they look fine compared to how they looked when I added them to my blog.  Strange.

I also added my beaded goddess and mermaid that I upload via my blog the other day as those photo' s looked distorted.

blue dichoric double strand bracelet

blue jasper bracelet and earrings

beaded goddess

beaded mermaid1

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Beads, Beads and more Beads

Today I felt like beading, and so I decided to take a ride to the Bead Cache, in Mansfield, MA. This is a wonderful little bead store with a huge assortment of lovely beads. The gals that work there are so helpful. The store also has 3 ring binders with all kinds of free bead patterns. If you are ever in that area stop in to their store.

Anyway, after browsing for the longest time; I bought several strands of beads, sterling spacers, and ear wires. Late this afternoon as I was taking my beads out of the bag I decided that I would work on a few things.
So, here is what I made. The scans aren't great as it was already dusk outside when I took the photos. I may try retaking the photo's tomorrow. The colors are so much prettier than the scans. I chose the blue beads, because they reminded me of the ocean, and so I couldn't resist buying those.

Unfortunately the scan looks distorted and the gorgeous colors just don't show up. I wish I knew why the scans seem to upload to my blog in a distorted form. Anyone else have that problem? Any clue's to why this is happening?
 Click on the distorted dichoric blue bracelet photo below,  and then it won't look distorted.

                                                Blue Dichoric double strand bracelet and earring set.

                                                         Blue Jasper bracelet and earring set

I have a spiral beaded bracelet that I started, but when using seed beads and the light dims I have a hard time seeing what I am doing in the fading light. So, that bracelet will have to wait for another day.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Beaded mermaid and goddess

If you follow my blog then you already know that I love mermaids. I also love to bead among  all the other hobbies that I have.
 Here are two beaded projects that I created awhile ago. The pieces look distorted in the scans for some reason.
I rubber stamped a mermaid and a goddess onto fabric. I then stitched and cut out around the images, and stuffed the bodies with polyfill fiber. Then I had to pick out the seed beads to bead each piece. The mermaids fringe hair needs to be reenforced in the center as the center beads/hair keeps flopping backwards as can be seen in the above photo. The mermaids face is a button that I bought at a rubber stamp convention in Rhode Island from a booth selling charms. This mermaid was my second beaded doll project.

The beaded goddess below has a clay face that I glued to the fabric. The goddess was my first attempt at beading a little art doll.
I am now beading a small goddess that will be made into a pin. The little body is made of ultrasuede that I am stitching my beads onto. I need lots more practice as the beading isn't perfect, but I am self taught and learning as I go. I had fun creating my little beaded pieces so that's all that counts, right?
In the past I have made art dolls from domino's and other game pieces, and some of those can be found in my Domino's picture trail album if you wish to view them.

ATC's for July swaps

I signed up for several swaps this month, and just this morning finished working on the last two.
For my An Affair With Art group for the July swap our inspiration piece was red polka dot. I decided to make a fabric atc. I used a scan of a girl with a red hat that I photocopied onto fabric. I sewed the piece onto red polka dotted material onto cardstock. I added paper tape around the edges and rubber stamped  the word Doll (from Junque), and then added a silk and paper flower with a striped brad to finish off my first ATC. This ATC will be sent to Jeri.

My second ATC was created for Art Haven and we had to use either a crown or a hat on an ATC.
I love the image of the little girl with a butterfly in her hand. The ATC background is cardstock from the Mariposa DCWV paper stack. I drew the wings onto script scrapbook paper, and cut them out. I then added a shrink plastic crown which was coated with dimensional magic. The bottom of the ATC has paper tape. My princess fairy. This will be sent to Diann.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Altered Vacation Fund Bank

aawa vacation fund bank2

I didn't get to go to Texas for a art gathering of friends from a Yahoo group AAWA that is being held this weekend.  So, for those of us not attending there were some swaps, games, challenges for us to participate in.

The latest challenge was to create a vacation bank to save all our change and dollar bills at the end of the week for a vacation fund for next year. We could alter anything we wanted, but we had to upload a scan by tomorrow morning.

I used a coffee can that I covered with a vinyl wallpaper. I then sponged gold paint to make dots using a strip that has lots of holes. I can't recall what the proper name is but  sequins are punched out of this strip and then you are left with all the holes and the strip can be used as a ribbon.  I also used stickers and a scan of a mermaid. I also found some  kids play dollar bills in my embellishment drawer that I glued to the can.  The lid isn't completely finished. I want to add some foreign coins to the top to cover the middle of the cover where I cut a slit for depositing my money. The back has 2 play dollar bill glued to each side.

aawa vacation fund bank1  aawa vacation fund bank3  aawa vacation fund bank 5

aawa vacation fund bank lid

cover that needs a bit more embellishing

Okay, anyone know the correct term for the punch strip left after the sequins are punched out?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Feeling Lightheaded today

Yes, I'm feeling very, very lightheaded. I had my hair cut this morning. I couldn't believe that I let my hair get so long. Well, for me it was long...shoulder length.  I had 6 inches cut off and my head feels so light. :-)
 With all this heat and humidity I couldn't stand the length anymore.  Losing all that hair feels wonderful. I am loving it! The haircut is short like I had it in the past. See picture below. My hubby calls it a bowl cut. :-)

It's been a busy week for me. Monday I took my dad to the eye doctors down the Cape. Tuesday, I babysat all day for my nieces twin boys. Wednesday just did laundry and other chores. Today, after getting my hair cut I went to Plymouth to do errands, and then on to a couple thrift stores looking for glass for garden totems. I also stopped at Michael's and bought some stickers and scrapbook paper that were on sale.
Then, I stopped by my son and daughter in laws to see my little Bella this afternoon. I can't believe in 2 days Bellz will be 2 months old.
I then stopped at the grocery store. Now I'm wondering what I will make for supper as it is hot and I don't feel much like cooking.

Maybe tomorrow I will have time for some art or beading. The summer is just flying by so quickly don't you think?
Well, hope you have all had a wonderful week.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beach tag

Since it is summer, and I love anything to do with the beach; this morning I created another mermaid tag. The mermaid was from a napkin and I adhered it to a tag that I made to fit the piece.  Stamped wet and wild and  then machine stitched in iridescent metallic blue thread a piece of dark blue  netting over the tag. 

I found some small wood pieces in the mark down bin amongst a lot of buttons at JoAnn Fabric's yesterday. The buttons and wood piece packages sold  for 50 cents. I bought the 2 sea themed packages that were in the bin. In the package was a scallop shell, starfish, seahorse, 2 fish,  and a nautilus shell. I covered the starfish wood piece with green glitter glue, and when the glitter glue was dry I glued it on top of the netting. Punched a hole in my homemade tag and add fibers.

Do you love the sea? How about mermaids?

mermaid tag with netting

Woe is me Paris postcard

The AAWA online group that I belong to is having an Artful Gathering in Texas this coming weekend. At the hotel where the ladies are staying there will be a conference room available for the attendee's to work on art  projects.  The group that is going will be making a Paris themed book. So, for those of us who aren't attending the gathering there is a Woe is Me Paris themed postcard swap. We send a Paris themed postcard to one person.  Below are 2 postcards that I created with a Paris theme.

AAWA paris postcard woe is me swap

paris woe is me pc

Barbara another member of the group who isn't able to attend also hosted a horse tag swap. We had to make 2 tags and send to  2 others. I made 3 tags  as I wanted to send one to Barbara. I made them all the same.

aawa horse tag7.10

Friday, July 16, 2010

Big Surprise in the mail yesterday

I went off for the day with my friend, Betty Ann. We took a ride to Plymouth to the shops at Village Landing, across the street from the waterfront where the Mayflower is.  I wanted to go to the bead store not simply beads to see what they had new.

At the bead store I bought a few strands of beads. Pink pearls and crystals. Then we browsed around in some of the other little shops. Saw lots of nice mermaid items that were reasonably priced and got lots of ideas for creating some mermaid items myself.  Then off we went to the Christmas Tree Shop in Marshfield. Didn't find much there, but had fun poking around.

Got home, went to the mailbox and there was a heavy box from Susan Mc Henry who belongs to an online group that I am on. The RAK that Susan sent me was unbelievable!!!! In the box I found 74 Prismacolor art markers. (including a Prismacolor blender pen and metallic silver and gold pens) My jaw about hit the floor. I can't thank Susan enough. I had planned on buying a set of 24 at Michaels with my birthday gift certificate, and a 50% off coupon.  Wowzer!!!!  What an awesome mail day, don't you think.

arthaven RAK prismacolor markers2

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Domestic Goddess Apron

arthaven swap apron yellow

Are you old enough to remember when everyone's grandmothers, aunts, friends mom's and  your own mother  always wore an apron while working in the kitchen? Years ago some wore aprons while doing household chores. Some wore the half aprons and others wore full bib aprons to protect their clothes from spills and splatters.  
Most often there was  something tucked away in the apron pockets. Sometimes it was a hanky to wipe away tears,  sometimes a candy treat if we were really, really good.  Aprons have made a come back and you can buy them in many stores today. Fabric stores have decorative fabric that is preprinted with an apron shape. You just cut out around the pattern and sew the apron together.  I can remember making my first apron in 8th grade. That was a long time ago, but it came out really well.  I was so darn proud of that pink and white check apron.

I recently joined a swap and we had to create a paper apron that measured 5.5 x 3.75 inches. We also had to include a summer drink recipe. The pattern that we had to use can be found on the Stampington & Company magazine website, under tempting templates. The are several nice template card patterns to choose from.

This morning I copied off the apron pattern, and then I enlarged the pattern on my copier to 150%. I ended up making 2 apron cards.  For the first apron I used a 12 x 12 sheet of stiff scrapbooking fabric that I bought awhile back at a wonderful quilt shop that is located on 6A in West Barnstable, MA. I visit that shop each time I go to the Cape.

I cut out my apron and pocket. I then stitched the fabric to a piece of cardstock, glued on some lace and added ribbon apron ties. From the pattern I cut out another bottom piece of the apron and glued it to the back side.  The buttons on my apron are vintage. I dug thru my big box of buttons that my mother  gave to me several years ago. I treasure all those old buttons too. I tucked in a small piece of paper towel inside the pocket. My mother and grandmother always had a tissue tucked into their apron pocket.

As for including a favorite summer drink recipe I couldn't make up my mind. I love pink lemonade, ice tea with lemon, root beer floats, orange floats, but decided I would include the recipe for Virgin Pina Colada's as children can also share a tall frosty glass.

arthaven swap apron recipe tag arthaven swap apron cream brown

arthaven swap apron cream brown with lace

Its hard to tell in the second photo of the cream/brown apron, but I went back and added a dark ecru lace on the bottom of the apron. In the photo it just looks like a shadow, but if you click on the photo on the enlarged photo you can see the lace clearly.

I had fun creating the aprons. This swap brought back a lot of wonderful childhood memories.  I think I may scale down the size a little and add one of the paper aprons to the handmade journal cookbook that I made. I keep adding recipes to my book. I really need to make a second recipe book, as I have two sons. Someday, when I am no longer here, they can enjoy favorite family recipes that I've handwritten the recipes  in their own books. I hope this post brought back memories from your childhood too. Have you ever made an apron? A few weeks back I bought some fabric to make one.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Celebrating another birthday

Well, today I am celebrating my birthday along with my birthday twin. My youngest brother, Richard was born on my 11th birthday. When he was born I wasn't very happy that I got another brother, as I wanted a sister, and to be born on my birthday too. That was a bummer at the time. (LOL)
I can't believe how fast the years have flown by. How can I be 62, old enough to collect social security. But, age is only a number and you are as young as you feel. I feel young!!! :-)
Not sure what my plans are for the day are yet, but I know that we will be going out for dinner tonight and I have to bring my brother his gift.
Tom gave me a gift certificate to Michaels, and I have a 50% off coupon and today is the last day to use it. I've been thinking of getting the pricey large set of prismacolor art markers. We shall see.
I'm also craving a big cupcake with lots of frosting. Yum.

Just wanted to post a picture that I just took of the surprise that Steven, Robin and Bella dropped off for me a little while ago. I believe we will be having lobster salad rolls tomorrow. Oh boy!!!
These 2 cooked lobsters are between 2-3 pounds each. Lobsters are also called bugs in New England.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stuffed Quahogs

Monday  night Tom and I came home to find a large bowl of quahogs in the refrigerator that Steven had dropped off. Steven's friend has a cottage right on the ocean. Steven and Robin went to a party there on the 4th of July and they dug some quahogs from the mud in the water right in front of the cottage at low tide.
 Steven had never made stuffed quahogs before and so that is how I got them. I will cook them, and he will get to eat some.
I had to decide whether to make a quahog chowder or to grind them and make stuffed quahogs also called stuffies or hogs. I haven't made stuffed quahogs in a long time. I really hated to turn on the oven on this hot afternoon, but I needed to cook the quahogs as I didn't want them to spoil.  I decided on the stuffed quahogs.

How to Open (Shuck) Quahog Clams

To the novice, opening quahog clams may seem like an insurmountable task. The process, called "shucking", is quite easy once a few important techniques are learned.
Before shucking clams, they should be rinsed thoroughly and scrubbed if necessary. When finished, they should be free from sand, mud or other debris.
The simplest way to shuck quahog clams is by placing them in a freezer for a short period, typically about 30-45 minutes. Chilling clams to just above freezing will relax and tenderize them.
The perfect situation occurs when the water inside the clam just begins to get slushy. At this point the shells may remain closed or barely gap open.
Once the clams are chilled, they should be laid on a sturdy work surface and opened using a special clam knife.
Begin shucking by aligning the clam knife with the shell's outer edge. Carefully but firmly, push the blade between the shells, working inward.
Once the blade penetrates, use a slicing motion to cut each adductor muscle loose from one shell. The clam can now be opened easily.
Catch the clam juice in a bowl and continue cutting the clam meat away from each shell. Shuck each clam into the bowl, When all clams have been shucked, they can be rinsed in the their own juice and transferred to a second bowl.
After the rinsing process, carefully pour most of the clam juice in with the clean clams. Discard the last few ounces of juice, which may contain traces of grit or shell fragments.
Refrigerate clams immediately after shucking. Quahogs

Pronunciation: \ ˈkō-ˌhȯg,  ˈkwō-ˌhäg
            Quahogs are bivalved mollusks/hard shelled clams. The smaller hard shell clams are called littlenecks, the cherrystones are a little larger,and the largest are called quahogs or chowder clams.

                                                                        A Recipe for 
                                                          BAKED STUFFED QUAHOGS

12 quahogs (save the juice for the bread stuffing)

3 tablespoons oil or ground salt pork (I prefer salt pork)

2 to 3 onions, chopped

3 to 4 stalks celery, chopped and you can also use the leaves at the top of the stalks

Part of a loaf of dry white bread

1 teaspoon black or crushed red pepper, or to taste

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

With a stiff brush scrub the shells of any mud or grit. Throw away any quahogs that are open as they are bad before you try to shuck open the shell. Shuck the quahogs with a shellfish knife, saving the juice and shells.
To make the quahogs  easier to shuck, you can put them into the freezer for about an hour, or zap them in the microwave for 30 seconds to relax the muscle that holds the shell tightly closed, just until the shells pop open. Strain the juice.
The food processor doesn't work very well so use an old fashioned hand crank food grinder or one of the grinders that fit onto a Kitchenaide mixer to chop your quahogs and salt pork. I chopped the quahogs with the medium sized blade on my hand grinder. Chop or tear bread into small pieces. Saute onions and celery in oil or salt pork. Heat your saved quahog juice.

Combine quahogs, onions, celery, pepper, and parsley and some saved juice. Add enough of the bread to create the desired consistency. It should be a little moist. If you add too much bread just add a little more heated juice. Spray your quahog shells with PAM. Mound the stuffing into the saved quahog shells. Sprinkle stuffing with a little paprika. Bake on baking sheet at 350-375 degrees for 20 -25 minutes. Makes 24 depending on the size of the quahog shells.

Optional: Before serving the hot stuffed quahogs top with a pat of butter. Sprinkle with hot sauce if you want to add more zip to your stuffies.
You can freeze any uneaten cooked stuffed quahogs.Wrap them individually in saran wrap, and then put in a freezer bag. To reheat sprinkle a little water on the top of the stuffing and microwave.

There are many variations for making stuffed quahogs, and some add chopped linquica or chorizo for a spicy stuffie, but I like them with just the quahog stuffing the best.
After the quahog has been removed from the shell the stuffing is put into the empty shell that have been sprayed with PAM.

A cookie sheet full of the  stuffed quahog shells, sprinkled with paprika and ready to bake in the oven.
Here is a video that I found on the internet
On Cape Cod many driveways have crushed quahog shells instead of tar. The Indians made jewelry from the quahog shells and also used the shells for money called wampum.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Twins birthday party

Yesterday my niece's twin boys, Cody and Kyle turned 3 years old. We went to help them celebrate. The party was held outside near the pool.  It was really hot and so some swam before eating. We had a barbeque and then cake and ice cream and presents. I just had to share, as I love these two little boys. Happy Birthday Cody and auntie.

Cody and his mom, Trish. The boys just love blowing out birthday candles. They don't mind blowing out anyone's birthday candles. This was the first year that they each had their own cake .
cody 3rd birthday blowing candles
Kyle blowing out his 3 candleskyle blowing out 3rd birthday candles

cody and kyle rocking it 3yrs Cody on the drums and Kyle playing guitar. They loved their gifts! Rock on boy's!!!
cody and kyle rocking
cody drumming look at the tongue action going on. Cody is really concentrating

kyle 3 on drums1 Kyle trying his hand at the drums

cody and kyle marshmallows Cody and Kyle can't wait to open the little bags of marshmallows. We had a tough time convincing them that they couldn't toast those minature marshmallows over a citronella candle.

cody ins leeping bag Cody in his new Cars sleeping bag listening to the talking Cars birthday card. They wanted to go camping with their new sleeping bags, and they had to have the marshmallows with them.
kyle in sleeping bag Kyle reading his musical card in his new sleeping bag. Such concentration.

Bella and Daddy on 4th of July

Here is a picture of our son, Steven holding Bella taken at his friends house at the beach on the 4th of July.

4th of July Parade

I hadn't gone to the 4th of July parade in many years, and so early Saturday  morning when my sister in law, Terry called to ask me to go with her and her twin grandsons to the town's North Middleboro parade I decided to go.

Trish, my niece and  the twins mother is pregnant and is on bed rest, and so her mother has been taking the boys quite a bit to help out. I love those little boys, and I was happy to spend the day with them.

We left for the parade in North Middleboro around 9:30 , and had to find a parking space along the crowded parade route. We finally found a spot, and luckily we didn't have to walk to far, as it was a very hot day. We  lucked out and found a spot to watch the parade under a big maple tree. Great for shade, but not so great for taking photo's, as the camera ended up facing the sun.  Kyle and Cody had a great time. They  were excited to see the tractors, fire trucks from Middleboro and surrounding towns, boy scouts, ladies riding horses, twirlers, marching bands,vintage cars and trucks, politicians, animals, police cars and vehicles, and a float referring to the oil spill. The floats were fun. My two favorite floats were the Lions Club Steel Band that came all the way from Ontario, Canada. The youths on the float played awesome music on their assorted steel drums. That band had everyone clapping and swaying to their wonderful music. Another favorite of mine was the elderly (80 +) Alice in Wonderland and Mad Hatter.

Here are a few photo's that I took.

Terry with Kyle and Cody watching the parade.4th july parade tery and kyle and cody

4th july parade alice and mad hatter1

4th july parade alice and mad hatter 2 

4th of july horse an rider 4th july parade hot wheels truck 4th july parade tractors

4th of july parade old ford truck 4th of july parade green ford car 4th of july oi lrig 4 sale

4th of july steel band1

4th of july parade steel band2

4th of july parade steel band 3

After the parade we went back to my brother's house and the boys went swimming in the pool. We enjoyed a barbeque and then went back uptown to the carnival and then to watch the  fireworks.  The boys were worn out, but we all had a wonderful fun filled day.