Thursday, April 12, 2018

changing weather, some beads

This week started out very hot!

 It was almost 90 degrees on Monday.

Today was cold and windy.

The Jacaranda trees in the neighborhood are from South America.

They have their seasons mixed up.

They only a few weeks away from blooming, but you wouldn't know it.

They have just lost all their leaves, and they are dropping their clam-shell like seed pods.

I picked these up as I walked home from work today.

These would be fun to draw, but I don't feel like sitting still right now.

Earlier in the week, I made some stretch bracelets from some beads I bought at the Orange Circle.

There is a Native American store among the antique stores.

Matoska Trading Company

In January I was shopping for an old kitchen table at the Orange Circle, and I found the store.

Their beads are a bit expensive, but they have everything to make authentic Native American crafts.

They have all kinds of beads, feathers, leather crafts, music and incense.

I bought these beads back in January, but I misplaced them when we moved everything.

Also this really awesome obsidian arrowhead!

I have no idea where it is.

If I made it into a pendant, I'm afraid it would stab me.

I made these simple stretch bracelets with the beads I got on Monday.

This purplish-blue is my favorite color.

Now that I think of it, it kind of reminds me of the Jacaranda flowers.

I also made these stretch bracelets from other beads.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

antique chandeliers

Monday I had a dental appointment, so I was given that day off.

I discovered that my dentist has the exact same laminate floor that we put in the house.

It is good to know that it is a very durable floor...

My dentist is near Orange, so I went to the Antique stores in the Orange Circle to walk around.

I still had an idea to put solar lights on a chandelier.

I have been going to thrift stores for a few months, but they don't have a lot of selection.

For instance, this chandelier at a Goodwill was only $9!

A nice price, but pretty ugly!

This was just too 70's funky for my tree.

Every antique store at the Orange Circle had chandeliers.

The selection was really wide.

There were chandeliers from $40 to over $1000.

This store seemed to have nothing but chandeliers, and very expensive ones.

I didn't even go inside!

One store had exactly what I was looking for- just garden-type antiques.

I have been here before, and it is a really big place, and very inspiring if you like crafts.

All the stalls are cute and artfully arranged.

This place had dozens of  shabby-chic wrought iron chandeliers. Many of them even worked!

Unfortunately all the chandeliers in this store were cleaned up and painted, and ready to go.

Also they averaged around $100!

I was looking for something junky, just a piece of iron, that I can paint myself, and put my own lights on.

The other antique "malls," on the circle had tons of random stuff.

I found these chandeliers, but none were less than $40.

Walking around the Orange Circle was good exercise.

I'm still hoping to get lucky and find a chandelier at a thrift store...

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Old roses

Earlier week, I made this collage in my journal.

That day, I was making an effort to paint and paste things onto the paper. 

I was organizing art supplies (which seems to take up more time than actually painting)
and these were just scraps that caught my attention.

I also tried again, to do these roses with watercolor.

They were starting to wilt.

I drew a sketch with watercolor pencil.

I'm still rusty after not drawing for so many months, so my aim was off.

After drawing the roses, I put in a background with regular watercolors.

This time I tried not to make the background mud-colored.

The sketchbook is large, 11x14 so I had issues with the background drying at different rates.

The rose I drew was not very neatly done.

Instead of filling it in with a wash, I kept scribbling on it with markers.

I also added some more color in the background, with a watercolor pencil.

I went over the background again with water to blend it.

This is where it ended up:

 Messy but better than nothing.

Yesterday I put the rest of the lanterns in the orange tree, to get them out of my way.

Still thinking about how to light them up with something solar powered. 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Things to do with solar lights in the backyard, part 2

Here are the paper lanterns after I sprayed them with varnish.

I hung them in this little tree to dry.

I thought this tree was sick last year, because its leaves were curling.

This year it seems to be doing OK.

Using the top part of a post shaped light seemed to work on the smaller lanterns.

I used hot glue to attach the solar light to the top of the lantern.

I took the bottom part off of one of the lanterns, where the battery-operated light went.

I thought it wold make the lantern light-weight.

Instead, that was the part holding the lantern together, and now it was ruined.

I couldn't figure out what to do with the bigger lanterns.

Stuffing the lanterns with the string lights wasn't quite right.

(The post shaped lights were too small for the big hole on the lantern.)

I wanted to hang the lights from this big tree.

The last time, I threw the light strings over a branch and let them dangle.

The branches are just to far out of reach to hang the lanterns in a sensible way.

They would need to hang down by a rope like 20 feet long, and that would look silly.

I thought of running a string of lights horizontally, and hanging the lanterns from it.

There wasn't really anywhere to attach the strings though.

I ran a string from a tree trunk to this shed, but the shed is alongside the tree not under it.

I gave up trying to do something with the big tree.

I ended up putting the two lanterns I finished, under this orange tree.

I will put the lanterns away until a better idea comes up.

Meanwhile in the garden today I found a tiny praying mantis!

I was digging a hole to plant something, and it landed in the dirt nearby.

This is something I always wished to find in my garden as a kid.

I would collect bugs and this was the top of my wish list.

I never saw a live one until about two years ago...

Its funny that I am finding all these things I liked as a kid, again.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Things to do with Solar Lights in the backyard. Part 1.

I have a lot of solar lights in the back yard.

There are these small post kind that go in the ground:

They can be found for as little as dollar, but they get kicked around, and dirty.

It seems like they only last about a year.

I also have about 10 solar light strings.

At first I had them wrapped around the base of this big tree.

This was OK.

At night, it made enough light to see nearby.

Last year, I hung them high in the tree so that they dangled like Spanish moss.

This was cool, especially in the wind, but it didn't throw much light on the back yard.

Putting them up was fun.

In January I took them down. That was more fun. Not something I want to repeat.

This year, I wanted to do something different.

I looked up some ideas on the internet.

The coolest idea I found, was using a thrift store chandelier, and using the post-type solar lights in place of candles!

I can't wait to do this.

I'm still looking for a cheap chandelier at a thrift store!

Another idea from the internet involved sticking two hanging plant baskets together.

I have a bunch of these baskets around the garden. They also cost $1.

I glued a string of lights to the basket.

The gluing was messy.

Also I don't think I'll be able to remove the string without messing up the lights.

Not sure if I want to do more of these.

In San Diego I ate at a Tibetan restaurant.

The ceiling was decorated with mismatched paper lanterns.

I got an idea, to stuff the string lights into paper lanterns.

Paper lanterns are also cheap.

This month, I picked up some paper lanterns at the Dollar Tree and the 99c store.

(These two assembled ones are from Dollar Tree.)

They come with a battery powered LED, which is nice for indoor use, but it would be hard to flip a switch if they are way up in the tree.

Of course I also went to Daiso, where they had a much nicer variety.

These larger ones are from Daiso.

The yellow one in the back is from a 99c store. They only had yellow.

Daiso also had plain white lanterns in many sizes.
You could paint on a white paper lantern...
Or use all white lanterns. That would be awesome for a wedding.

However, I was going for an eclectic look, like that restaurant.

Next, I sprayed them with a varnish, hopefully to keep them from falling apart in the rain.

They had to dry overnight.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

In the garden and tried some watercolor

Friday was my day off and I did a few things around the garden.

I took some pictures of flowers.

I almost never see the sage flowering.

It looked like lavender but it didn't smell pretty at all.

The ranunculus from San Diego in the front yard is at an end.

There are some marigolds and daisies next to it that will last a little longer.

Here is a bunch of things that I picked in the back yard.

The other day I visited with an old friend who had an old picture I painted with watercolor.

It reminded me that I haven't painted flowers in about a year.

I decided to try painting those roses with watercolor.

It took me a while to find my painting supplies.

Everything is still scattered all over the place.

I sketched the flowers in my sketchbook with a watercolor pencil, and went over it with a wash.

This went OK.

Then I filled it in with watercolors from a tray.

Choosing the right colors was harder than I remembered.

It would have been OK, but I felt like adding a background.

I painted an ugly brown background, and ruined it!

It's nice to see the pictures of the progress, so I can see where I messed up.