Inspired by Extreme Pumpkins.
Custom made carburetor parts for 1977 Toyota Celica: $80.00
New tire to replace improperly repaired old tire: $75.00
Not exploding into a pillar of smoke and flame on the highway or experiencing an exciting blow-out and multiple roll-overs in the middle of nowhere: priceless!
As you can see...she's home! While we were in Oregon replacing the brakes, plugs, filters and various other worn out parts, our "new" car acquired a name: "Little Blackie" Of course, this name is not approved by Wife Whisperer or Number One or Number Two. Lucky me, I got to pick the name. Remember the character Mattie Ross in the movie "True Grit?" When Mattie decided, in her charmingly stubborn way, to join Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) in their hunt for killer Tom Chaney, Mattie got herself a darling, little black horse and called him "Little Blackie", so...there you have it. Plus, "Little Blackie" is just goofy enough to make my guys squirm. Anyhow, isn't she pretty?
We started our road trip Friday, Oct. 24 in Hillsboro, Oregon and drove about 2400 miles to Houston, Texas...a long way in a 31 year old car. Ah, but she's a good little pony! That's 4 solid days of driving. Yes, we had a few little glitches but hey, it's all part of the adventure.
Glitch number one: my parents dog decided to drive.
Glitch number two: no cup holders. Multiple other glitches: the doors don't align so the windows are permanently opened about 1/4 inch; the hatch leaks; there was a mystery fluid on the floor in the back; the suspension needs work; there's no radio (that's 2400 miles with NO RADIO); the tires are too small, etc, etc. But, that's all small time stuff. Driving day one was excellent. We drove from Portland through the Columbia River gorge. The weather was spectacular. We made it to my sister's house in Nampa, Idaho with no problem at all.
Yep, there's the guy who bought me a car on Ebay. This photo was taken on driving day two when LB turned 80,000 miles. By the way, I wasn't allowed to drive for the whole trip! Must be a guy thing... I have to add here: someone commented that this must have been a romantic trip and, strangely, it was. This was the model car I had when we got married 23 years ago. It was a funny, warm feeling sitting in this car next to this man, all these years later.
Driving day two was another fabulous day--until we got about 10 miles outside Burley, Idaho and 1/2 tank of gas seemed to disappear. Little Blackie barely coughed into Burley where we were immediately forced to fill up again. We limped about 1/2 mile more to this place:
God bless "Merle!" This is where the $80.00 custom carburetor parts come in.
Turns out, we were spewing gas (approximately 1/2 tank) all the way down the highway. But, God is good and there was no fiery pyre for us. A little welding and we were back on the road. The next surprise was a leak in one tire. Although the tires were almost new, someone had the bright idea to repair one with a plug which didn't show and didn't hold. Again, we were blessed to be able to get it fixed at the last minute before everything closed down for Sunday. Thank you tire guy at Wal Mart in Price, Utah.
We saw windmills like this all across the country. These were outside Salt Lake City, Utah.
Driving day three: absolutely incredible. Incredible weather, scenery and company. We stopped at Arches National Park in Utah. If you've never been to this part of the country, I highly recommend it.
The Three Gossips (A favorite of mine. Can you believe how blue the sky was?)
LB at Double Arch
Man of the Year (I think Wife Whisperer loves LB even more than I do!)
guess who? at Double Arch
Ham Rock (another favorite)
We hiked up to the edge of a humongous canyon to see Delicate Arch across the way. To give you an idea of the size of this arch, there's a person in the left of the photo.?
Driving day three was equally as wonderful. Much of Utah looked like this and then we were in New Mexico which looked like this:
Shiprock New Mexico, Navajo Nation
Wife Whisperer and I lived near Shiprock in Farmington, NM...many, many moons ago. I wish we'd had time for Mesa Verde and Durango but we whizzed right by. We'll probably hit those spots when we return for our Route 66 trip.
We spent night three in Santa Rosa, New Mexico which is right on Historic Route 66 (aka America's Main Street). I always thought I'd travel The Mother Road but now I know for sure I'll be back. The vintage signs and places left on the route are a quaint piece of American history that almost slipped away. We had breakfast at Joseph's, took photos of many of the old signs and hit the road again.
booth at Joseph's
Next time, we'll stay at the La Loma Motel and eat here:
This sign was incredible at night...all red neon.
Club Cafe-once very popular. Now, all that's left is the sign
Driving day four; almost home. Well, not really since it takes about 10 hours to drive across Texas.
Long, long trains were a familiar site across the country. This guy was honking and waving. I think he was impressed with Little Blackie. We got held up at the New Mexico/Texas border by this one:
Gas was 10 cents cheaper on the other side of this train. The cheapest we saw was $2.07 outside Temple, Texas...probably due to this:
There were tons more of these in Texas:
Oh yeah...we saw TONS of these across the country as well. They outnumbered that other guy's signs by far, especially in Colorado. (Don't leave me a comment about this...I'm just telling you what we saw!)
Drive by Texas Sunset
As day four drew to a close, we ended up having to drive in the dark for a few hours. Let me tell you, we were glad to pull into the driveway. We covered 6 states in all. Someone was so happy to see us...
Wife Whisperer has taken to calling her our "Unrepentant Terrier." Our guys were glad to see us as well. This is the first thing they did:
They're under the mistaken impression that they're going to be driving LB. Rock on dudes...but in someone else's car!
"Naberius" by Deryn Mentock
Just in time for Halloween! If you're anywhere near Marshfield, Massachusetts, stop by The Stamp Act and see "The Gorey Details" exhibit originally organized by my talented friend Sylvia Luna. "The Gorey Details" is an incredible gathering of artwork from 26 different artists based on the spooky little tales of Edward Gorey. Each artist was given a letter of the alphabet to concoct their own character and matching "Gorey-ism." For more about my piece "Naberius" click here. I got to see the exhibit last year and the artwork is amazing! Go...see!
I had so much fun with project #12 from my jewelry challenge that I decided I had to make another version. But...take a look at this absolutely fabulous, antique, Moroccan bon bon server sent to me by the lovely Maryam of My Marrakesh. I went to her blog to get pick up her link and got caught up in her posts on Rwanda. Maryam's travels, of late, have taken her to Rwanda where she saw and heard many things. You must take a look at this post of hers...then go read the rest of her Rwanda experiences. Maryam has a big, soft heart. How could you not, after being there? In any case, here is a beautiful thing that Maryam has gifted me with. Maybe she knows my fondness for bon bons (my fondness, Wife Whisperer's vexation...he suspects...something about bon bons and television)
"Tea and Sympathy" by Deryn Mentock (sold)
And doesn't my new server make a wonderful photo prop for my new piece? This piece is here with me in Oregon, looking for a permanent home...
As in project 12, I used a silk rod, woven over with sterling, for the focal. This time I added freshwater pearls and vintage brass bead caps to to create a fanciful flower garden.
I wanted to counteract the pink a bit so I added black accents. This dichroic glass bead was perfect. I also added a strand of grey/black pearls and a strand of pearlized pink glass seed beads (both in the top photo).
The clasp is sterling and the ring it connects to is fine silver. I made it from pmc and kiln fired it some time ago. It's been waiting to be used in the right piece. The fabric wrapped link is done, again, with a piece of silk rod. Thank you again Maryam for the pretty server...it happily occupies a place of honor in my home. No bon bons yet but...we'll see!
I'm leaving Friday to teach my Joujou Charm Keeper necklace in Hillsboro, Oregon this weekend (spots for this workshop are still available) and, I admit, I have an ulterior motive for this trip to Oregon. Way, way, back in the day...I owned a sweet, sporty little Toyota Celica that I absolutely adored. She looked like this:
Fast forward to a few months ago. Wife Whisperer, expert wife wrangler that he is, decided to surprise me by gifting me with a little trip down memory lane. He got online and happened across a 1977 Celica in terrific shape...and bought it for me...on ebay. Yes, Wife Whisperer bought me a car on ebay! That's my man. Sweet and generous. It just so happens that the seller was in Vancouver, right across the river from Hillsboro so, after I'm finished teaching, we'll be driving this 31 year old car back from Oregon to Texas. She's an antique. She's a classic. I'm not sure about the condition of her carburetor but I know her body looks good (she's had work...wink, wink). She has a brand new, shiny, black paint job. How far that will get us on our almost 3000 mile journey, I'm not sure. At least we'll look good sitting on the shoulder of the road. So, say a little prayer for us...we may need it!
"Fleur" by Deryn Mentock (sold)
I've been looking forward to the projects in this section of Mary Hettmansperger's book "Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet." Many of them involve wire weaving which I love. This piece, called Looped Silver Cone Necklace, is number 12 in my jewelry challenge to work through Mary's book.
As soon as I saw Mary's version, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this piece and I was really looking forward to the weaving. I've done weaving before but, I have to admit, this time I didn't quite get it on the first try...or the second, or the third! I finally took a closer look at the instructions and discovered I was trying to loop the wire through the wrong way...duh! I used a piece of a carrier silk rod. Silk rods are created when silk is spun from the cocoon. The silk is carried over a rod and, during this process, it builds up and must be cut off the rod. Hence, silk rods are formed. I'm very excited about using this unique and beautiful material in my jewelry pieces.
Techniques for project 12:
Mary used sheet metal for her cone. This would look great with copper sheet metal and steel or sterling wire netted over the top. She also placed a large bead at the top of her cone, below her loop, which I didn't do.
I used more pieces of carrier rod for a few wire wrapped links to tie the color of the focal into the piece. I used red brass for the wrapped links and for the stamen in the flower.
I added a couple of faceted, smoky quartz stones and some fat, freshwater pearls.
I created some interesting chain links from fused fine silver and added a couple of sterling clasps and sterling wrapped ends. I used a cold liver of sulpher patina to get that great variation of color on my fine silver links (thank you Kate!) This piece is finished off with a strip of silk in a luscious brown shade. I'm loving this flower form so much, I've already started another so it may be a little longer before I get on to project 13. Show me what you're doing...leave a link in my comments!
"It's Your Favorite" by Deryn Mentock
For those of you working on my Mary Hettmansperger summer jewelry challenge, you may have noticed that summer has now turned to fall...but, that's ok. Even though it's taken me a bit longer than I thought it would to get through the projects in Mary's book, I've enjoyed it so much, I'm going to continue through the fall and right on until I'm finished with all the projects. I hope you're still with me! The best projects, meaning the wire projects, are in the upcoming section of the book. This is project 11...Tin Lid Pin.
Techniques for project 11:
I used a special bottle cap (I've been saving it for a long time but can't remember where I got it!) for the focal. I drilled holes in the side and inserted 16 wires; each wire was flattened on one end to hold it inside the cap. Then I used fine gauge steel wire for the weaving and finished the ends with beads and spirals. The back is a game token that I domed with a dapping set. (Harbor Freight had a terrific deal on their "doming block and punch" set last week at about 29 bucks. You just can't beat that! Here's the link where I notice it's $35--still a great deal for the set.) The back of the bottlecap made a good "bezel", even if a bit irregular. I popped the pendant onto a ball chain for now. So, what have you done for project 11? Leave me a comment and I'll link your project. Check here for challenge details and here for other participant's projects.
Guess where I am... In San Antonio, at Wired Designs, taking a weekend workshop with Kate McKinnon! She's here teaching two consecutive workshops. You've probably heard of her but, just in case you haven't, she's a mega talented precious metal clay artist. Kate is a terrific teacher. She teaches pmc differently than anyone I've taken from. She is extremely knowledgeable about the makeup, temperament and treatment of the clay and she knows how to make a piece that is truly fine jewelry. Kate's pieces are built to be both beautiful and structurally sound. We're working mostly on rings but included in that is box construction and chain making. If this sounds interesting to you, you should take a look at Kate's new book:
Today, we're making components, which we'll assemble tomorrow. Unfortunately, the work will have to be fired again and mailed to me so I won't be able to show photos for awhile. I'll just tell you that the work that came from the workshop before us was fabulous so...check back and I'll get some pictures up as soon as I can. One of my projects is a little house pendant...so cute!
Remember this sweet card that my friend Diana Frey gave me? When I first laid eyes on it, I thought it would make a beautiful book cover. So, between class preparations, I whipped together this little classroom journal to take with me in a few weeks to Oregon for my Joujou workshop.
The pages are just tied into the spine so I can add or take away whenever I please. The plan is to have my students write in it; sign, write, draw, doodle....whatever strikes their fancy. (Did you notice how I'm cleverly getting my students to do half the work on the classroom journal? I figure that really boosts my chances of finishing it!) I love the way Diana took a simple print of her artwork and added new life to it by embellishing it with fabric, thread and a button. In fact, I gave it a try with some artwork of my own:
This was a collage I had originally done as an altered calendar page. I printed it and stitched silk and netting around the edges. I stitched it to a piece of folded card stock and...ta da! Attach it to an old book cover and you've got an instant journal cover.
For the inside front cover, I used a card given to me by my friend Cindy Forrester. I stapled the card closed, except for the top, so it can hold class handouts, sketches or maybe takeout menus.
There's a little library pocket to hold business cards and small stuff.
I had to include this fab faux postage from my pal Catherine. I don't know where she finds time to make these stamps but she always includes them on her correspondence. This butterfly looks like he could flit right off the page! Oh, that page is a piece of wallpaper, torn and tied in, given to me by Sharon. You can use almost anything for pages and, it's better if you do! I've also got lined paper and decorative paper tied in.
I'm tying envelopes into my journal to hold photos from my classes. These are from the Mingled Elements class I teach with DJ Pettitt. I love teaching and love my students. I think this will be a great way to remember the good times with them.
Thank you again to Sally Jean for your generous winning bid on my piece "Prayers of Jude." Thank you also to those of you who donated to this cause. Because of you, I am able to send a total of $650.00 to Hope for Haiti! I'm so grateful to be able to bless the people of Haiti just a little...and very proud of my fellow artists' willingness to give as well.