Thursday, July 1, 2010

freedom don't come free

{listen too...}
"Let the world go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike,
that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans,

born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace,

unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship,

support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty. This much we pledge and more."

"to those nations who would make themselves our adversary,

we offer not a pledge but a request that both sides begin anew the quest for peace..."

"Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty.

Now the trumpet summons us again, not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need, not as a call to battle, though embattled we are,

but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation”,

a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America can do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

John F Kennedy's Inaugural Address
January 20, 1961

Have a Happy 4th of July my Sweet Friends!

And when the words 'Thank You' don't begin to express my feelings of pride & honor & gratitude towards our American Hero's,
when I am at a loss for words & can find nothing else to say,
I am always mindful that...

'Freedom Don't Come Free'!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

hand wrapped wire bird nest tutorial

Hi Sweet Hearts...
Who's up for a probably not so good, but really fun & given in love,
tutorial??? Yeahhh, me too.

I'm ADDICTED to making these wire bird nests, I adore their versatility.
I make them into...necklaces, bracelets, key chains & glue them onto
my vintage domino's. I sell that at my shop for $16.95, but if you go to
etsy you can see them going for much more.
OK...Ready??? Here we go...

I'm showing you the back of my nest so you'll know that like
in a real birds nest, they are not perfect. Every one is a
little bit different then the next. Take joy in the uniqueness of
each piece & know you will get better with practice.
{I've practiced a lot & my backs still are messy!}

These are the three tools I use. A wire cutter, a crimper & a round
nosed pliers. I got mine at the craft store, but any household tools
you have on hand will work.

The supplies needed are:
jewelry wire, {I use a 26 gauge}
3 faux or freshwater pearls
1 larger bead or faux pearl & 1 smaller one
2 end caps
1 tube bead to use as a bale to put your chain through

Now, I'm a thrifty gal. What I like to do is go treasure hunting
for old vintage necklaces & bracelets that are broken. I buy them
for their pieces & other then the end caps, I think that's where I got
all of these supplies. Even the cool ball chains were from the Senior
Thrift Store. They had hideous plastic promo #1's on them,
but they were only .10 cents. I bought them all!

You are going to use 2 pieces of wire, both about the length of your arm.
{now that's just what works for me, you could also cut one 2 lengths long}

Thread the 3 faux pearls onto your wire leaving a tail about 2" long
Push the pearls together into a triangle & twist the 2 ends tightly several
times at the base Fold your short end to the back & with the long end,
start to hand wrap in a circle around the pearls

I like to keep the wrap pretty tight because as you work with it,
it tends to loosen it's self. Stop when you have about 4" of wire left.
Taking your wire...pull it under the nest & up through the bottom
into 1 of the 3 holes next to your pearls. This is where I use my
round nose pliers to pull the wire up through the nest &
wrap it around a 2nd time.

Tip: Don't wrap too tight. Not loose, but not tight.
When you pull it tightly it pulls all the wire over to one side
& now you have a lopsided nest. Coming from underneath,
do this in the remaining 2 holes of the nest. Your nest
should start looking a little like a peace sign.

Pull both of the tails you have on the backside up through the top
of your nest & clip to about 1". Time for your 2nd piece of wire.
Take one end of the wire & pull it up from the bottom to the top side
leaving an inch on the top. Hold the 1" tail with one hand & start
wrapping the wire in a circle around the nest as above. I do this until a
little less then 1/2 of the wire is left. Holding the nest firmly, turn it over
to the back side. Continue wrapping, now your creating the bottom of
your nest. Work from the outside in, until you have a nest base that you
are happy with. Make sure to leave a couple of inches of wire to secure.

Going back through the same places you had worked on before, pull
the wire from the bottom to the top securing 2 times in each spot & ending
with the small tail. {I try to go into the bottom, center circle a couple
of times to make sure the bottom doesn't come undone}

Pull your final tail from the bottom back up through the top & now
you should have 4 short 1" tails sticking out of your nest. {the 2
ends of the 1st length of wire & the 2 ends of the 2nd length of wire}

With the 4 pieces of wire coming up through the top, we are going
to make tendrils. Using my round nose, I grab the tip of 1 wire &
roll a tiny bit into a circle. Pull your pliers out, grab a hold again &
keep twisting your wire into a tiny coil. You can push them down
into the nest or pull them loose, but make sure the very end is
tucked away so as not to scratch anyone.

Your nest is done, now for the extras! Cut another piece of wire
about 4" long. With the round nose, take one end & create a
coil just like you did for the tendrils, that will hold your
beads on. Add 1 small bead, 1 end cap, 1 large
faux pearl or bead & 2nd end cap.

Bend the top wire at a right angle leaving only 1/4" below to wrap
on. Push the end of the wire through 1 of your nest secures,
I use which ever one is loose enough to push it through easily.

This part is the hardest part for wrapping sucks!!
Take the wire & wrap it several times around the wire above
the end cap. Try & keep it nice & tight & use your round
nose to help pull it around. After 4 wraps, clip the wire on
the back as close as possible & use your crimper to push
down the sharp end so it won't scratch.

Now your nest should look something like this.
OMG...we're almost done, I promise!!!

At this point you can do many different things. You can simply
use a jump ring. You can create a ring with another little piece
of wire & attach securely. I used a tube bead. Cut a piece
of wire about 4" long. Put it through the bead & slip one end
of the wire through the top of the nest going to the back & the
other end through the back to the front.

Pull firmly to straighten. Using the round nose, wrap the wire ends
around the base of the bead going in different directions, clip
as close as possible & crimp down the sharp ends.

Viola!!! We're done.
Now you have your very own,
Hand Wrapped Wire Bird's Nest & I bet it's FABULOUS!!!
This one I made into a key chain.

I hope this all wasn't too confusing for you, trust me...
it took way longer to write this then it does to actually make one. LOL

Thank you for joining me on our Creative Fieldtrip &
I hope you have fun making your own little bird nests.
I can't wait to see what you all come up with!!!


PS: I think I should get some kind of workmens comp for
this project as I hit my head really hard on this when I stood
up after making our craft. OUCH!!! LOL

Friday, June 11, 2010

proud to be an American

Sweet Friends, With Memorial Day having just past & the 4th of July right around the corner, I wanted to start getting into the spirit of things here at home, on my blog & at my shop. I am one of those patriotic Americans that gets teary eyed sitting at a baseball field, looking & smelling the beyond green grass, on a lovely summer evening, singing the National Anthem. I's 'Field of Dreams', who doesn't right?

I get goosebumps walking through Washington DC, standing amid the history that this Nation was founded on. Staring up at the Lincoln & Jefferson Memorials, feeling so small among giants. Thinking back to the bravery of our colonial Father's, imagining that our new, little Nation could ever defeat a world dominating force like England...& yet we did.

A nation that was willing to war brother against brother to right the wrongs that had long gone unacknowledged about what the true meaning of "all men are created equal" infers. Having been fortunate enough to have stood in the battlefields of Gettysburg & in the exact place where Abraham Lincoln gave his amazing Gettysburg Address, I am in awe of this place I call home.

Being an American, I have the luxury to call home my California coastline to my Brother's Baltimore, MD harbor & all destinations in between. My home is big & beautiful & diverse. It has oceans & deserts, islands & redwoods, prairies & majestic mountains. It's so big it has places I've seen, places I wish to see & places I will sadly never get a chance to see.

So, here's some fun vintage images for you to create with and let's get out our red, white & blue & celebrate a nation that's not perfect, but is always trying to remedy that flaw & I will remind myself again of the wonderful words spoken in a Pennsylvania field in 1863. I think I'm going to town & buy a fresh new flag to fly today! Hugs Friends...

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

sarducci's & san juan capistrano

Greeting Friends from Laguna Hills, California! Dad is doing soooo much better, it's hard to believe he was teetering on death 5 short weeks ago. We had a lovely outing yesterday to San Juan Capistrano where we enjoyed the sunshine, lunch in the courtyard of Sarducci's & a little stroll in the Old Town district of Los Rios Street on the other side of the train tracks. Isn't this photograph fabulous of the Capistrano Depot in 1895...I ADORE the dress!

This is the same building 115 years later, can you see the courtyard? That's where Dad & I sat & had our lunch next to the center fountain, while a couple of little, hot sparrows braved the crowd & took a leisurely bath. Watching these little birds that have been visiting the Mission every summer for centuries is such a joy, they always make me smile.
The Cliff Swallow is a migratory bird that spends its winters in Goya, Argentina, but makes the 6,000 mile trek north to our warmer climate in springtime. According to legend, the birds first took refuge at the Mission after an irate innkeeper began destroying their mud nests. The Mission's location near two rivers made it an ideal location for the swallows to nest, as there was a constant supply of the insects on which they feed, and the young birds were well-protected inside the ruins of the old stone church.

As one walks along the Los Rios Historic District of San Juan, you get a glimpse of Capistrano's past and the oldest residential street in California. The adobe houses were built here in 1794 by the builders & the ranch hands of the Mission. To walk this street is to recapture the tranquillity of the slower pace of life that existed before the turn of the century and before. It was not long ago that the streets were still dirt. Willow trees grow among eucalyptus and palm. Cactus and wildflowers grow beneath sprays of bougainvillea.

So friends, if you ever get a chance to visit beautiful Mission San Juan Capistrano, don't forget to go to the depot & wander over to the other side of the tracks. History & serenity await you there, along with the soft mellow sound of Mission bells. A day to remember for us both I think!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

200 Friends!!! WOW

OK...who's pulling the wool over my eyes??? {where did that phrase come from anyways???}
It seems like just a second ago, I did my Gala Award Ceremony Giveaway for 100 Friends & now I stop in to shout "Howdy" & I have my 200th is this possible!!!
I am honored, I'm delighted, I'm humbled, I'm happy, I am astonished at how quickly I went from 100 to 200 friends & I am simply in love with BLOGGING!
The friendships I have made through blogging are some of the closest I've ever had in my life. There seems to be a commonality between bloggers that makes it so easy to connect. Maybe because we are all traveling down our different paths trying to find our own authenticity. Whether it be through art, crafting, photography, gardening, writing or junking...the 'journey is the thing.' And if along that journey we are lucky enough to find like minded souls who understand the importance of this & will allow us to follow them on their life's adventure, we have truly found BLISS!
THANK YOU so much my friends for making my life even better by having you all in it & I just can't wait to see where our journey's will take us next!!!