Laughing Dog Arts

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Say Goodnight, Gracie

Gracie started her life in Utah. She showed up on my neighbor Gwen's porch in a snow storm, peering in the window, looking pathetic and starving. Gwen finally gave in and began feeding her. Eventually Gwen and her family moved next door to me and brought Gracie along, being the compassionate and responsible people that they are. Gracie took up residence in their barn, preferring as always to keep to herself rather than becoming a house cat. One day she came over here and discovered that I had cat food available to my cats in the laundry room. Since Gwen had gotten another cat, Gracie decided she would rather take her chances living here amongst my Pit Bulls and Rottweiler rather than get beat up by the new cat, a vicious black cat named Choo Choo Man. Can't help but be vicious with a name like that now can you? Gracie discovered that she could live in relative safety in the crawl space under my house. At this point, she had never been named, but was called the barn cat when she lived at Gwen's, and now became the basement cat. I considered calling her BC but that didn't seem any better than basement cat. Finally, after she had already been here for 6 or 7 years, I decided to call her Gracie. She mostly stayed hidden, but came out every day for me when I would feed her. She loved for me to pet her and brush her and hold her but even though I tried to get her to come into the house, she never let me carry her indoors. No one else ever saw her, she preferred to stay hidden away. Occasionally she would come out and sun herself just outside her escape hole. That is where she was when I took this photo. She never stopped purring when she was with me. I felt she was showing her appreciation that I allowed her to live her life as she wanted, in her solitary space. Gracie shared her life with me for 11 or more years, living there in the crawlspace. She stopped purring last night. I buried her right where she is in the photo. She was a sweetie.

Say Goodnight, Gracie.
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Friday, February 26, 2010

Llama quilt

Continuing with my llama theme, here is a little wall hanging I made to represent Surprise. She is the prettiest of my llamas, in my opinion. In her opinion too, I'm sure. She is the queen. I made this for my friend Joan. I showed a picture of Joan and her llamas a few posts back. Joan is the 80 year old woman I got my girls from.
She loved this piece but unfortunately when her house burned down a couple years ago, so did this gift. It was the least of what she lost, she was lucky she didn't lose her life. I don't remember the size of it, probably about 22" x 20". I used a lot of my own hand dyes on this piece. Not great art, but it was really appreciated and I enjoyed making it. Now that Joan is in her new house, maybe I should make her some new art.

Listening to Colin Hay today. He used to be the lead singer/songwriter in Men At Work.
Be well.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spit Happens!

Whatever you do, don't click on this picture.

When spit happens, it tastes real bad.

I mean, really really awful.

You didn't click on these, did you? You'll be sorry, it is so gross!! Poor girls, it's like having...oh, never mind. You get the picture.
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Mr. Mel

Mr. Mel
Once upon a time, there was a girl who lived out in the country and had a flock of chickens. She chanced to look out the window one day and saw a flash of bright blue down in the chicken yard. When she went out to investigate she discovered a young peacock, flashing his feathers for the chickens, who ignored him. This peacock stayed around for about 18 years and the girl named him Mr. Mel. This was because the beautiful blue of his feathers reminded her of the beautiful blue eyes of a certain handsome movie star, also named Mel.
Eventually Mr. Mel grew old and passed on and the girl buried him in the bamboo grove where he had enjoyed spending his last days. Mr. Mel has been gone for a year now but I still miss his bright feathers, his loud voice, and his companionship. I made this piece shortly after he died to commemorate our friendship.
His beauty and presence lives on in my memory. Any time I see a flash of blue in the garden I still imagine for an instant that it is Mr. Mel. I half expect to hear his voice, screaming out an alarm every time a car drives by, or to see him displaying in the yard, the wind blowing his long tail feathers out.
Enjoy the beauty around you.
Be well.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

More Nuno felting

Finally I got the results I was looking for. This time I took two very light little silk scarves, each about 34"x 5" (see below) and put some colorful roving on them, and rolled them up and felted. Above is a close up with the finished scarf hanging in the window with the sun shining through it.
Above are the two silk scarves before I laid the roving on and wet it all down, slightly felting enough so it would stick together. Then I laid the two scarves end to end with some extra roving on the overlap before I rolled the whole shebang up in my bamboo mat to do the final felting. I wanted a longer scarf than just one of the silk pieces would have made.
This is more like what I was striving for in the first place. I love the other two pieces I made but this one is more wearable. I want to do something with that gorgeous first piece I made a couple weeks ago, but it is too thick and stiff to wear as a scarf. This is a very lightweight decorative scarf, drapes beautifully.

This is our last day of expected sun. It has been so wonderful to have this spring respite from the cold dark wet winter. The daffodils have begun blooming, the robins flocked to the freshly mown lawn, and the birds have been singing joyfully. Tomorrow we expect to be back to rain.

Listening to Greg Brown today.

Be well.
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Llamas again

Here is my 80 year old friend Joan, feeding her llamas and peacocks. She is the one who gave me my llady llamas.
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Friday, February 19, 2010

Llama love

Queen of the herd, Surprise, mother of Powder.
Audrey asked me about my llamas so here are some pictures of them. I have 5 llamas, two white ones, and 3 black-ish, brown-ish, red-ish ones. The white one above was the only one born here so she is my baby, I named her Powder. My other white llama is a male, he came named Puff, so now I have Powder and Puff.
Above you see my other male, named Indie. Indie has scary looking teeth but he is quite harmless and gentle. None of my llamas have ever spit at people, btw, although they frequently spit at each other. I try to stay out of their line of fire if they are having a spitting match. The walls of their shelter show evidence of these missed targets.
Above is one of what I call the 3 Divas, she is Angel. The other diva is Surprise. The only one I named was Powder, all the rest arrived already named. Surprise is definitely the queen of the herd and since Powder is her baby, Powder seems to be second in command now. One would have to work with these llamas quite a bit to be able to touch them. Mostly they let me get only so close and then they move away before I can actually make contact, with Powder being the acception. I can pet her.

Below you can see buck tooth Indie with his goat buddy. The goat passed away last summer but they were very close friends as you can see. Usually the llamas don't like to lay touching each other, although they are herd animals. Indie always let Lacy the goat cuddle up to him, and he helped keep Lacy warm during the winter.

Llamas are the quietest animals I have ever been around, and the easiest keepers too. They make a humming sound, so peaceful. I had them for years before I ever heard one of their alarm calls, which is quite alarming indeed. I came running to see what the commotion was all about, expecting wolves at the door (okay, maybe only a coyote) but it was the neighbors cows who had gotten into the pasture. Surprise did not like them in HER pasture, and was letting every one know it. They are very alert and good watch animals. Some people use them as guard animals in their sheep or goat herds as they can kill dogs or coyotes. Not all llamas would do this, but some will.

That is enough of a llama lesson for the day. See how green the grass is in the last photo? That was taken last summer but it is just as green right now. I know the rest of the country seems to be snow bound, but here it has been very mild and warm. Warm enough that we mowed the grass yesterday! That might be the earliest mowing ever. If this keeps up I will have to get my shorts out. Of course, there was frost everywhere this morning, and I had to break the ice on the water for the llamas, but we have full sun and the days warm up splendidly.

Be well.
Listening to the Pogues today.

New display

I want to welcome my newest follower, my cousin Karen. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Karen! Maybe I will have to give you a little present next time you come visit me.

I removed the woven necklaces from my display board and put up my collection of fiber art/ mixed media postcards and ATC's. Some of the ATC's are more accurately ACEO's since they are ones I bought on Etsy. The dog ones for instance. In the center I put a couple of pieces I created, also the Valentine plaque that Anne gave me. I will remove my own pieces when I have more ATC's to put up. Anyone want to send me one? I'll make one for you if you do.

Be well.
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Weaving fiber

A few years ago I became enamored of the work of Helen Banes and her pin woven necklaces. I had her book, Beads and Threads and followed her instructions to make these necklaces. I have only worn them a couple of times. I guess the fun was more in the making. Too fancy for me since I mainly wear T-shirts. Still, they are rather striking.
The one below used all my own hand made polymer beads. The thread is just regular embroidery floss.
These have all been hanging on my wall for a couple of years as a display. I took them down, maybe I will remember to wear them now. Tomorrow I will show you what I put up in their place.

Be well.
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

another beaded thing

I never quite think of good titles for these little doodle bits I make. This one was inspired by a colorful piece I saw on Judi Hurwitts blog, Approachable Art, specifically here: They are nothing alike other than the horizontal lay out, but still I may as well give credit where credit is due. I like working with these bits of dyed scrim that I have. Also I stitched in lots of beads and a few bits of shell I picked up. This piece measures about 12.5" x 12.5".

Be well.
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines Love

I hope everyone who reads this is having a lovely Valentines Day. I want to share some of the love I have received these past few days from my friends. First, above are the cards and ATC's I was lucky enough to receive from the creativity group I am in, Stitch 'n Bitch. It just makes me happy to look at these and realize all the thought and effort that went into the making of them.
Next, above you see the little Amor quilt from my friend Martha, over at Glitterbones She also sent a fat quarter of some lovely wool Asian fabric similar to what she likes to use in her work, and this little beaded heart brooch. Sweet! Thanks, Martha! I especially love that little quilt, it is about 8" square and so darn cute with all the hand stitching on it.

Finally, in the nick of time the mail man brought a package on Saturday from my friend Anne. I was rather floored to receive all this bounty. She knitted these wrist warmers (she calls them mitts) for me! Aren't they lovely, I couldn't make these in a million years. She has shown the pink heart plaque on her blog as she was creating it, I never would have thought I'd be the recipient of it. So much detail to look at that was never visible in the photos. Plus a nice blank notebook and some pens to write or draw in it with. The orange java love is a postcard.

Thank you, all my friends, from the bottom and top of my heart. These gifts are all such wonderful expressions of the friendships we share and serve to make me feel very special. I so much appreciate this, you don't know how much. Happy Valentines Day to you all!!

Love from Jan
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lovely in her Bones

I enjoyed making this piece. The woman is my great great great grandmother. Lovely, isn't she? I was inspired to use the poem by Theodore Roethke,
"I knew a woman,
lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed,
she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved,
she moved more ways than one."
It is rather a potpourri of items gathered from here and there in my studio. Feathers, lace, copper washers, beads, some beautiful trim, and other bits and bobs. I rather like this piece.

Today, listening to the Swell Season. I love that Glen Hansard's voice, he is such a passionate singer. Also I want to welcome my newest follower. Welcome Mary! Mary has 2 blogs, one is our creativity group blog, and the other is one she maintains for garage sale hints:

Be well.
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bells and Elves

This is my doorbell. More aptly it is my gate bell. My yard is fenced and since I have Pit Bull dogs people don't like to come inside the yard, they are afraid of being licked to death or beat with a tail. So I found this cool bull bell at a (what else?) garage sale. It has a lovely tone.
If that bell doesn't get our attention, try ringing this one. I have a rope hanging off the gate with this big bubba on the other end. I will hear this one even if I am out in the field, half a mile away.
We have these little gnomes around the property, hiding in the moss and trees, keeping their eyes on things. I appreciate the help.

Be well.
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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Garden Art

Fabby Dolls (my newest follower, welcome!!) was asking me about alcohol inks and how to use them. You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words so here is another use I have made of them. An old bowling ball washed up in the last flood so I covered it with aluminum foil and then sprinkled the foil with alcohol inks and spread the inks around with blending solution. This piece of redneck garden art sat out in the sun all summer and this is what it looks like today. Still retains quite a bit of color in spite of the sun and rain. Not as bright as the day I made it but still pretty good.
In case you haven't figured it out I am a dedicated garage saler, recycler.

Be well.
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Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Mare and Marie

I received a call from the gallery where I have my fiber art. They did a big switch around and took all my work down, could I please bring in some new pieces and pick up the old ones. I do have new work to put in but I don't have all the labels and pricing and paperwork done so I decided to head on into town and pick up my old work before it got lost in the shuffle.
This is one of the pieces that was there. Hello, Marie! Haven't seen you in awhile, welcome home. I wouldn't have minded if The Mare and Marie had found a new home somewhere, but that's all right. I put so many hours of work into the beading on this piece, I'm happy to have it back so I can enjoy it again.
What do you all do with your piles of art work? The ones that haven't sold? I don't have enough wall space to display it all, maybe I should loan some out.
Be well.
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