Monday, December 10, 2018

Best PIctures of 2018


November 8-10 New York to see Mike Birbiglia's show "The New One." It was my second time seeing it -- I highly recommend it! i am sure he will film it someday so you all need to watch it.

Hilma af Klint show at the Guggenheim

October 18-28 Seine River Cruise (Paris to Honfleur and back). Avalon was the cruise company -- very nice boat, great food!

One block from the hotel where we stayed the first night.


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All around the town they have placards of his paintings at the site where he painted it. There is a Stairway at the end of this alley that comes from the street above. The building in the painting with a bright orange roof can be seen through the little space in the trees.


It was very overcast and a little drizzly when we were in the garden.



All manner of horrors are advertised to sinners on the center arch of Notre Dame.


August 9-14 California to visit Aunt Carolyn and my cousins

June 6-10 Shoemaking workshop. From pieces of leather to shoes on my feet! If you want to try it, check to see if there are upcoming classes near you.

May 1-3, I took the Megabus to New York ($42 round trip!) for a work-related workshop but also saw a play ("Lobby Hero") which was very good. 

For the past two years I've been sewing weekly. My closet is now 90% my own handiwork.
Just a few of the things I've made.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Vacation Snaps Made More Fun With Prisma

Prisma is my favorite app. It makes my pictures look like what I would draw if I had more time and talent.

I visited my Aunt and cousins in Santa Barbara, California. I don't know any of the people in these shots; I just like scenes of everyday life.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

DIY Tall Pet Gate for Cats

After inheiriting my mother's cat very sweet snuggly cat, Dillon, I discovered that he is a major jerk to other cats. He tolerates Georgie but really does not like Kam. He was a farm cat and has tangled with wild animals ... He doesn't back down from the hiss and swat that my indoor cats dish out.

After several World War III fights, and a serious fear that Kam will end up severely traumatized and/or severely injured, I determined I needed to divide the house up into sections.

At this point you're probably saying why would you even keep him, why not find another home? Why? Because he's the best cat in the world except for this little problem.

But, issue #1: my downstairs sort of open plan... doorways but few doors. And upstairs, the cat would be stuck in one small room. I wanted the kitties to have a more room to roam yet stay safely separated.

My first thought was to find a baby gate or pet gate. I Googled "tall pet gate" and the tallest I found was 44 inches. If you have a cat you know 44 inches ain't going to cut it. And they weren't very wide anyway.

My solution: 72" x 16" wire shelving components, zip ties, and cup hooks! The zip ties bind the shelves together to make z-fold "gates" to keep the cats apart.

The cups hooks on the walls hold the gates in place but also allow me to swing one panel open to get in and out. It's not beautiful but it does the trick.

Light can pass through, I can see what they're up to, and they can see each other. (I'm still hoping that someday they will tolerate each other.) I  switch the cats between the areas so nobody starts to think of any particular section as "mine." Each section has a litter box and food/water station.

The gates are completely removable in case I need to get furniture through the doorways, if company comes over, etc.

On the upstairs gate, I even fashioned a little cat door. One of the six foot panels is actually a 4-ft piece and a 2-ft piece. The 2-ft piece is at the bottom and only connected with zip ties on one side. The other side is connected with removable clips.

The  72" shelves were $10 each
(Rubbermaid makes two different kinds -- one seems pretty expensive but there is a cheaper version that is fine for the DIY pet gate, available at Home Depot and Lowe's.) The shelves come 12" and 16" wide. I used a combination of widths to span my various doorways.

100 4" zip ties and 8 cup  hooks cost about $10.

If the internet won't provide, make it yourself!  One trip to the hardware store and Voila, tall pet gate!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Tutorial: Chalkboard Beads

I received a request for a tutorial on these beads. 

The most critical part of this process is having the right kind of stamp. I designed the stamps because I couldn't find any like what I needed. 

The difference: the negative space of the stamp design needs to be the "solid" portion in your artwork so that it will end up as the raised part on the stamp -- the part that makes the impression. In other words, these stamps are set up in reverse of how most stamps are created. 

The stamps look like this:

The artwork that I had turned into stamps looked like this:

I like the design element to extend into the border area so each element breaks the edge of the frame. 

How to Make the Beads

  1. Roll a sheet of black and impress two stamps. 
  2. Cut each one out leaving an equal amount of space around the edges of the impression that is wider than the border you eventually want to have on the bead.
  3. Cut a third rectangle of clay that is the same size as the two impressed pieces. 
  4. Cut a strip out of that third piece to leave a channel for the stringing cord. (After cutting out the cord channel, the third piece is now actually two separate pieces of clay.)
  5. Place one of the impressed pieces face down on your baking cardboard making note of the "top" edge, if that matters in your design. 
  6. Lay the two channel pieces on top of the impressed piece leaving a channel where you want your stringing cord to run. 
  7. Place the second impressed piece face up on the stack, making sure the "top" of this piece is aligned with the top of the face down piece. 
  8. Gently pat to ensure that the layers are adhered to each other.
  9. Trim all four edges of the bead to make the stack even and smooth on all sides. 
  10. Your channel hole may disappear momentarily, but gently insert an awl or skewer to open the hole and channel up again.
  11. Cure the bead.
  12. After it is cured and cooled, sand it a little to get the roughness off the surface. 
  13. If you want to make the edges of the bead smooth instead of sharp, sand all the edges and corners to give the bead a worn feel.
  14. Use a tiny bit of white acrylic or oil paint to cover the surface very lightly, then wipe most of it off with a very level, light touch. My stamps have fairly shallow impressions so too much paint will overwhelm it and using a hard touch when wiping the paint will probably remove it all. 
  15. After the paint dries, sand the bead again to get any remaining paint off of the high surfaces.

You can also use copper metallic clay and paint it with a mix of turquoise and white to look like copper patina. Two samples are in the photo at top.

There are some of my stamps available in my etsy shop. Just go to etsy and type in Artybecca to find it.

I get my stamps made by because I can squeeze a bunch of designs on a 7" x 9" area and then cut them apart.

There are also stamp makers on etsy who will turn your design into a stamp. I have not used them so I can't vouch for any in particular.


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