Thursday, March 29, 2012

Making Thursday: Earrings Project

It all started with the weather, Mister Sun decided to show himself on Sunday lighting up my little studio. What a difference the bit of sunshine made, everything seemed so much brighter and somehow a flash of inspiration struck. In the closet, 2 boxes of beading supplies sat untouched for who knows how long. The turquoise dyed howlite was purchased about the same time as the orange speckled plastic bead and the clear quartz. I've always liked the combination but didn't know how to combine them all. The idea of an earring came to me that sunny morning, a piece of sterling silver wire that was just the right length was cleaned and bent into shape. Some little fiery glass seeds and a bugle bead was added for the tiniest of details and voila, the first pair of earrings was born.

I was so excited about this creation I immediately got dressed and after a quick bite of peanut butter sandwich with milk, stormed down the hill wearing my new jewellery. The destination was to a little bead shop I had discovered earlier in the week. A yellow resin bead caught my eye but it was not until the discovery of the carved bone round and another green/brown resin did the design fell into place. Enthusiastic about this beginning I raced back up the hill, at home I rummaged through my bead collection and found a couple of Swarovski crystals that showed off the right amount of sparkle. I ended up wearing this second set the rest of the weekend, on Tuesday and also today.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Mexico Postcard Day 3 En Route to Red Canyon

Hello Tuesday! How is everyone doing today? The little bit of sunshine that appeared over the weekend has now gone and Miss Weather has returned to rain. Relentless rain I called it, the kind that went on and on, not knowing when all that grey and wet would stop. There is nothing one can do about it, the sun will return soon enough, instead of waiting around let's all escape to another episode of... the road trip to New Mexico!

Day 3 started out with an exciting morning at Salt Lake City, there was a brief visit to Salt Lake Temple and a most delicious lunch at Rancherito's. Tummies filled with beef fajitas prepared in authentic Mexican style we headed towards Red Canyon, our destination of the day. The highway was quick to take us out of the city and soon we were back to the wide open country. Not a lot went on during this part of the road, there was only a few cars, absent was also the clear blue skies and the high sun we saw on Day 1 and Day 2. Colors were more subdued, even the contour shapes on this cloudy forecast appeared softer as seen below. I am always partial to saturated tones but the muted hills with the splash of wildflower lemon in this view was a delight.
A pull away from the camera revealed a grander scene, thoughts of what it would be like to wander about the meadow under the big sky was soon replaced with...
... the weather prediction for the day. The radio announced rain and a good chance of a thunderstorm, notions of what this would be like for camping outdoors did not deter us, we had come all this way to indulge in something different, a little bit of water was not going to get us down. We came prepared with rain gear and clothing for all kinds of weather, we knew the blue skies would not last long.
With this realistic conclusion the camera began to focus on the river by the side of the road. This was the first time we came across a stream, in the background cultivated plains against strong standing mountains, what a magnificent sight.
Back on the road a different outlook, the sage green against that tan yellow combined with contrasting bits of dark olive, components of a desert palette. 
I just think this part of North America is an artist's paradise, would you look at those hues created by Mother Nature, no artificial medium could recreate those exact colors but they were sure inspiring. 
Everywhere we looked we were entertained by tones that were joyously singing despite the growing dark clouds.
Only one shot of a farm scene on this drive, agriculture was not as common as they were in the previous states of Washington and Idaho. Hay bales and a tractor left out on the field that Monday, no one had returned to work on that September long weekend.
Back to inspiration lane, a photo of graphic forms created by Mother Nature, a triangular hillside sat on cadmium yellow bar, this could be a poster in itself.
A completely different view, a lonely tree stood against the backdrop of windswept clouds, a painting idea perhaps?
The grass covered land continued on, only to be met by a fence and some low lying sheds, another picture concept came to mind.
Pastel hillside in cool fades complemented warm desolate grounds, the illustration suggestions were endless.
Our attention returned to the road ahead, at posted speeds of 85 miles / 137 kilometers an hour, everything around us were changing dramatically... 
... the landscape that was made up of tall golden grass transformed to tan colored terrains speckled with bushes of lime and sage green.
A few kilometers away a plateau appeared on the horizon, the curve ideal for a sculpture or pottery shape, with so many visual treasures found my heart was filled with gratitude.
Over the horizon the clouds continued to gather, the little car drove into the grey. As if to return my appreciation Mother Nature rewarded us with 2 very different outlooks on each side of the freeway. On the right thick, long grass that resembled the shaggiest of carpets.
On the left, rolling hills in various shades of beige to green. 
In the distant the river we noticed earlier on reappeared, it had broadened and was closer to the road, colors of disturbed water this greenish gray fit right into the earth tone palette of this gorgeous land. 
Scenery after scenery the countryside was constantly evolving, I am simply out of words and could only stare with content as I sat here releasing a peaceful sigh.
The dark clouds urged us on, what kind of weather were we driving ourselves into?
A distraction from the current climate, a most interesting looking ridge, not single but triple colored shades, which somehow went together so well. This was the first time I saw something like this.
A hint of reddish earth captured below, a clue of what was to come but there would be many more miles ahead. Our New Mexico adventure will continue next week!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Making Thursday: Woof! Woof!

Last week I proclaimed Thursday to be making day, nothing much came of it other than a few sketches in the sketchbook. This week there was more determination to create something useful, something joyful. It was a good thing I didn't head out which I was planning to. Earlier in the day it was sunny and I was just about to drop laundry washing altogether to head downtown when the skies got dark all of a sudden and then it started to hail, trees were shaking about rather violently. With a deep sigh I continued with the laundry... talk about a swift change of weather.

You see I had plans, big plans for all those clothes I bought when I was thrift shopping some moons ago. A sweater with jolly stripes took my fancy at the time, and it still did when I was re-organizing my closet over the weekend. A doll or an animal of some sort was what I had in mind, a few drawings later led to a fox shape. While refining the form on a larger piece of paper, the conclusion was a dog.

The pattern was retraced onto another paper, half an inch of seam allowance was added, 2 pieces of fabric were cut out and most of the afternoon was spent sewing to the sounds of Radio 2, Julie Nesrallah and Tom Allen, as well as the pitter and patter of freezing rain against the window. Classic tunes turned to jazzy, vintage tracks and stitch by stitch the needle went around the textile, until it was finally time to stuff the dog and... Stripy the Wonder Dog was born. Woof! Woof! Take that bad weather!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Mexico Diary Day 3 Salt Lake City and Beyond

Hola! Hard to believe it's the first day of Spring today with rain, bits of snow, grey clouds and the gustiest of winds! The weather has been creating havoc for the past few weeks but let's not fret and escape to... New Mexico!! We are on our third day of the road trip, in just 2 days we have driven over 1,500 kilometres and arrived in Salt Lake City. After a restful sleep at Camp VIP we woke up to the sounds of chatter from adjacent campers, breakfast was boiled eggs, refried beans on Mexican buns (a new creation thanks to the previous night's shopping spree at !Viva! Supermercado) and fresh tomatoes, it was good and very filling. 

Fueled with energy we headed off to the showers and later on, the visitor centre located in the downtown area. Numerous questions of future destinations were met with patience and cautious advice, about an hour was spent talking to a very knowledgeable staff volunteer. Armed with helpful information in brochures and maps of various locations, we left with many thanks and headed out of the city...

... But not without making a stop at the Salt Lake Temple pictured below, the city is home to a large number of Mormons, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it was not part of our plan but we could see the church from the car.
The prestigious looking towers drew us near... 
 ... and soon we were on the temple grounds gazing up at the centerpiece of the Temple Square, it stood a prominent 222 feet in height and is the largest and best-known of all the temples.
There was a pool in front of it, with no wind that afternoon the tranquil water captured the spires' image, for some reason its reflection faired better than the actual building.
At the top of the tallest tower, the golden Angel Moroni stood, one hand held a trumpet as he blew into it, as if to summon all of God's creatures in His presence. I am not of religious faith but this is one of the most divine structures I have ever come across.
A look around the acres revealed other buildings situated close by...
... as well as their mirror image on the calm pond.
Incidentally the pool was the centre of the attention that day, many families had brought their loved ones to the church grounds to pass their Monday that September long weekend.
We wished our schedule was as leisurely as theirs but there lied ahead many more miles to cover that day. A brief focus on the flowers before departing, as with any public garden colorful blooms play a welcoming and cheerful role. 
As we walked on the camera decided to capture the signs on the post, apparently there were many unexplored areas at this location and as it appeared only a small region of the entire 10 acres was discovered. 
The stroll through the Temple Square was a short one, in fact it lasted only a few minutes, but the excitement of this new finding took a toll on my big breakfast, I was famished once again and in need of nourishment. "Hungry already?!" was David's response when I announced it was lunch time, somehow I become a creature with a voracious appetite during our holidays. Quick to the rescue was a Mexican restaurant I noticed earlier on, truth be told I saw Rancherito's on our way to Camp VIP the night before, and many more times when we drove on North Temple Road.
The man behind the counter announced #1 on the menu was the most popular of all combos. After listening to the description of beef fajita with rice, refried pinto beans, guacamole, lettuce and 2 tortillas with 3 different kinds of chilli sauce, "2 please!" was the reply. As we chomped away at the gigantic meals a family of 4 smiled at us, they were sharing one #1 and were very much amused at our expense.
Would you look at this delightful platter below, I dreamt of savoring Mexican cuisine during our road trip and I must say it was one of the most yummiest food I ever tasted. At a reasonable $7.75 per combination it kept us full for an entire 8 hours, enough to last until dinnertime at 7 PM. I went back to the counter for a drink of horchata, the first time I heard about it was a post on Etsy. It was another gratifying discovery, filled to the top with ice in a huge styrofoam cup, the refreshing rice milk stayed cold for the next few hours, a great accompaniment in the warm car.
Driving off towards the interstate, the car passed by some businesses in the Latino district, their vibrant and color store signs caught my attention. I have visited Chinatown and Little India in Vancouver but this was a brand new experience.
Adjacent to the shop above more Latino retail, I was curious as to what it would be like to live in an area like this, would it be as entertaining as the restaurant visit?
Back on the highway, signs like this gave an up-to-date time required to arrive at certain parts of town, an aid to traffic congestion it was something we frequently observed in major American cities.
Also spotted along the route were advertising billboards for various trades and professions, but this one from Chick-fil-A stood apart from the rest. We first became aware of its poor handwriting which led to the crude spelling... then the 2 cows gave the final clue to the message. I still chuckle when I look at this!
Mountains bordered the edge of the city, I remembered one of my art instructors commented on how breathtaking the scenery was. Even though our stay in Salt Lake City was short, it was certainly sweet and what a sight!
The hills continued, their colors and shapes ever changing as the road carried on.
Wind turbines that we witnessed earlier in the trip presented themselves again, but this time they were in the vicinity of the city, and not in the outskirts as previously noted.
A bit of blue tried to peak through the clouds, the skies were not as clear as Day 1 and Day 2, but the temperature was somewhat cooler much to my relief. Forecast predicted a bit of wet and grey that day. 
Regardless of the poor weather prediction, it did not dampen our spirits. The little car went on and bade farewell to the yellow flowers that lined the freeway, our New Mexico road trip will continue next week!