Mandala Monday- Best laid plans

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Happy Mandala Monday!  Just like I’d decided, I started my mandala on Sunday this week.  I actually cut one of my beautiful lilies (they die so fast anyway) and some flowers from giant hostas in my front yard.  I collected some blueberries and “mystery berries” from a bush that seems to be growing out of one of my blueberry bushes (I actually have to find out what that plant is because I’m debating whether or not to cut it down to save the blueberries or let it continue to grow).  Here it is, in case anyone has any ideas:

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So, I got my berries and buds inside and was thinking of using a plate as a background, like in this beautiful mandala post from Patty:

http://bitze.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/wet-july-mandala-monday/

I was starting to think about an arrangement when a little friend crawled out from inside my lily.  Now, I could have kept thinking and arranging, but I was in our bedroom and had this terrible vision of the bug flying around all night keeping us awake and my wife begging me to kill it.  (I’ve been doing all my work in the bedroom this week because the temperatures have been in the 90s and it’s the only room with air conditioning.)  I quickly scooped up the flower and brought it outside to try to free my new friends (there were actually a couple in there).  The mosquitos started eating me alive and those little buggers just didn’t want to abandon ship, so I gave up and left them, and the flower, outside.

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That left me with just the hosta flowers and the berries, so I made a simple design and called it a night.

I woke up the next morning, Monday, and was thinking what I could do with my mandala- print it and draw something in the center, try to recreate it, start over from scratch.  I had to drive to the eastern part of the state to go to the funeral of my pastor’s wife’s father, and I thought about my little empty mandala on and off for a lot of the trip.  It was a beautiful drive and I was able to stream Pandora on my phone the whole time (not always possible driving through some of the more remote areas).  As I was leaving the funeral, I saw this beautiful Peace Pole outside the church and knew at once how to complete my mandala.  They have always moved me, and today’s was no exception.

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So, here’s my offering:

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I’m wishing peace and comfort to my pastor and his family; peace and comfort to us all.

Perfect day for working on the lawn!

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Yeah, so I was being sarcastic. It’s been in the 90s all week. And before that it alternated between torrential downpours and heat waves. This has been quite a summer, and it’s only just begun. But, I’m having our new shed delivered on Thursday so I have no choice but to brave the heat and get the area ready.

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Here’s the “before”. I’ve been using it as a “junk corner”, partially to kill some of the grass and weeds growing there and partially because I needed somewhere to put my junk. Luckily, about 3 feet around the fence had already been part of my garden and had a huge pumpkin vine growing there last year. That just needed some basic clean up and weeding.

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This handy-dandy “Fiskars” weeder is my new best friend, compliments of my lovely wife. It’s super easy to use, doesn’t requiring bending over, and all the work is done by foot. There was a bit of a learning curve and it works on some weeds better than others (it’s a dandelion annihilator), but I absolutely love it. The best part is that it gets the whole root. And I have not been paid to advertise this thing. (Though I wish I had.)

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So, now I just have about 20 square feet of grass to dig up. The good thing is that I have about 20 square feet of ground that needs grass in other parts of the yard. The bad thing is that it’s 92 degrees and feels like 101. Did I mention that?

So, there’s no “after” yet because its not “after” yet. But it will be… soon. (Unfortunately, probably not soon enough.). I’ll keep you posted!

UPDATE: End of day two. I’ve certainly made progress but still have so far to go… and a busy work week to top it off. Well, as Dory would say: “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Swimming, swimming, swimming.” (Swimming sounds SO good right about now!)

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ANOTHER UPDATE:  It’s DONE!!!  I finished in the nick of time (and in the pouring rain- with a tornado touching down about 20 miles away).  Here’s the rest of my work:

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And here’s the wonderful contractors’ work:

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We Have a Shed!!!  (next step… paint)

Mandala Monday and Rainbow ICADs

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Another busy Monday and electronic Mandala.  I did have the foresight to take pictures of some beautiful flowers blooming in my garden before work (and before the torrential rain).  (Oh, and this isn’t being uploaded until Tuesday because of said torrential rain and nearby tornado knocking out the internet.)  I couldn’t have brought myself to cut them to make a 3D mandala, anyway.  I used my handy dandy iPhone and PicCollage app to play with the focus, crop, and arrange them.  The one in the center is from a bulb I planted a little too late last fall (I was afraid).  It grew and bloomed magnificently this Spring, though.  (Of the 60 bulbs I planted, only about 10 came up, but they’re totally worth it.)  This flower took my breath away when I opened my door this morning.

One of the prompts for Daisy Yellow’s ICAD last week was “rainbow” so I couldn’t resist using it as much as possible.  I made my first rainbow card last week in celebration of the overturning of parts of DOMA, but it was a quickie and certainly didn’t do the rainbow prompt justice.  Here’s the link to her challenge:  http://daisyyellowart.com/icad/

I also started posting all my cards on Flickr.  Tammy, from Daisy Yellow, made some great theme-based collages with some cards from the first month so I’m hoping she’ll pick one of mine if she does it in July.  Here’s the link to her Flickr page:  http://www.flickr.com/groups/daisyyellow/pool

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I tried this background using a leftover piece of wire fencing I used for my chair planter.  I put it under a card and rubbed over it.  Unfortunately, I got too ambitions and tried to used too many colors (to go with the rainbow theme).  It ended up getting really muddled.  The quote was nice, so I experimented with a few different scripts.  I did a couple others with the crayon rubbing technique and only one or two colors and those came out much better (keep an eye out for them in future cards!).

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I rather like this one.  It’s a simple magazine page collage with a quote written on a cut-up card stitched on.  The quote is from “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enough”, one of my favorite choreo-poems that was also made into a pretty great movie.

That’s all for now.  Thanks for looking.

Mandala Monday

ImageIt was time to harvest some of my herbs and it also happens to be Mandala Monday.  Here’s what I came up with.  I used a newspaper with an announcement of one of my favorite farm stands winning a local “best-of” for the background.  It’s a really loose design, with some long shoots from my thyme around the outside of the circle.  I added in some shoots from a variety of mint plants in the center and then put some cilantro on top with the flowers from the cilantro (going to seed for coriander) in the middle.  I love it and the best part is how my hands smell after picking and playing with the herbs.  Or maybe the real best part is the delicious things my wife will be able to make with them.

Here’s the before (the mandala) and the after (with them drying on my porch):

ImageSpeaking of my amazing wife, it was my birthday yesterday and here’s what she got me (among other things).  It’s a regular cornucopia of craft supplies.  Did I mention that she’s amazing???

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2 More ICADs

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Here are two more additions to my growing ICAD collection.  I LOVE this exercise and am so grateful for finding the project and having the courage to jump in.  Thanks, Tammy!  Here’s the link to her page, in case you want to join in (or be inspired):

http://daisyyellow.squarespace.com/icad/

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I’m enjoying seeing other people’s ICAD contributions almost as much as I’m enjoying making them myself.  Here are some other WordPress bloggers who have some great collections going:

http://trashbubblesandlifeslittlebits.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/i-think-icad-i-think-icad-i-think-icad/  – Lynn is posting hers once a week.  Although she doesn’t promise she’ll be able to keep them up for the whole summer (but who can?), I love what she’s done so far!  The coolest thing is that in another post she’s given a link for turning a print (in her case, an ICAD) into fabric at http://www.spoonflower.com/ .  I really want to try it!

http://missdiane73.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/icad-day-8/  – She’s posting a couple at a time.   This is my favorite of hers, so far.  I love how graphically bold it is and I like that she’s also using quotes on her cards.

http://thebatamonblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/two-more-war-comic-icads-a-theme-in-my-artwork/  – Here’s a young artist who’s jumping in on the fun.  He’s using pencil drawings for his cards and has a great eye for shading and dimension.  Keep up the great work!

Chair Planter

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I was tag saling and came across this beautiful distressed green chair with no seat. It was practically screaming at me to plant flowers in it… so I bought it for $3. The paint was already perfect so I just decoupaged on some flowers I cut out from a cool piece of tissue paper I had laying around.

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After I sprayed the heck out of it with clear matte sealant (about 10 coats), I made a kind of basket out of chicken wire and put it in the hole where the seat would have been. Using gloves would have been smart at this point, because my hands were not happy with me after that. I stapled it in with a ton of staples and then lined it with garden fabric, also stapled in. Then I filled it with dirt and plopped in the flowers. I used white petunias and vinca vine, thinking they would fill it out and overflow quite nicely. The vines were my wife’s idea. Some mulch to top it off and voila!

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It’s found a nice home under my peach tree.

Here are some examples of planter chairs I found on WordPress and from some that I’ve pinned on Pinterest (my go-to page for anything I want to remember):

http://flowersavvydesigntips.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/an-old-chair-takes-front-seat-in-the-garden-when-it-becomes-a-planter-by-sharon-mcgukin/  – Nicely executed and with directions.

http://laceandlures.blogspot.com/2009/03/my-little-flower-garden.html  – My DREAM garden look.  So much color, so much upcycling, and a birdhouse!

http://www.cre8tivedesignsinc.com/2010/05/chair-planter/  – I LOVE how she threw a bunch of random “objects” in to this one.  A flea market extravaganza all in one little garden display.

UPDATE:  I was posted as a “guest blogger” on 30 Days/30 Things- a really cool blog by folks who challenged themselves to create 30 things using upcycled items for 30 days.  They did it and then decided to continue posting ideas from other people until they ran out of ideas.  That was 817 days ago!  How cool is that?!?!  Here’s their site- so many AMAZING ideas!

http://www.weupcycle.com/tag-817-gastbeitrag-beetstuhl/

 

Birdhouses

I love birdhouses! They can be so unique and creative and the only requirement is that they have a hole to let the bird in. The “bones” can also be purchased at Michael’s or similar craft stores and are like a blank pallet.

I saw a collection with books used as roofs at a local artisan’s gallery (Pinch, in Northampton, MA). I though they were amazing. It prompted me to try my own. I love decoupage, so it was only logical to use pages from the book to decorate it. I painted my own little designs, as well. I made two as raffle prizes for our Jill and Jill. My niece won one of them, so I can visit it whenever I want.

This one was just painted and decorated. I made it to match my son’s playroom and then screwed it to the wall with a screw through the hole.

My favorite birdhouse was made for my wife by her father. It’s made out of a tree branch, primarily, with a knot for the hole. It’s so organic and rustic, but amazingly beautiful. We actually put this one outside on our fence. I hesitated because I didn’t want it to get ruined by the weather but it would have felt like a crime not to give it back to a family of birds.

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I recently found these metal birdhouses at Market Imports in Raleigh, NC and fell in LOVE.  They make me want to learn how to use the welder my wife got me for my birthday last June.  (I’ve been too scared to take out of the box- I’m afraid I’ll either kill myself or become addicted to welding and not want to stop.)

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I keep adding to this post!  These are the coolest birdhouses I’ve found so far.  They were outside “Ross’ Grill” in the Provincetown mall.  I love the combination of found items/objects.

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UPDATE: I my eternal quest for interesting birdhouses, I just came across this blog. She’s making a whole collection for a craft fair. It’s like birdhouse Heaven!
http://crazytraylorcreations.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/trail-market/