More With Four, Inspired by Four

ring with danglesThis time next week some of us will be in the middle of a long weekend or a long lie-in on the couch or bed after celebrating July 4th.  I can already hear the cherry bombs and fireworks around the neighborhood the past few days.

At the start of summer I still drink my hot tea, though, summer heat doesn't mean I switch to iced tea- perish the thought.  Regular drinks are  hot tea only and lemonade or water.  The over 21 drinks are for another story.  Do you have a favorite summer treat?

ring with saved medal
I used one of the Holy Medals that I've been saving from the mail or given by others and made a ring.  Feeling a little guilty for tossing these in the trash over the years, I recently started saving them in the bits and pieces containers.  Quite a few of the medals or pendants, charms, icons, whatever you want to call them, are well made, some in solid metals and some beautifully engraved and made in Italy.

wear in either direction, medal ringI took this pretty blue and gold colored medal and glued it to an adjustable ring base.  To the bail I added the beads and faux pearl (which was part of an earring).  It can be worn with the dangles facing over the back of the hand or over the finger.

What have you made for the Inspired by Four?  Link up your blog post in the linky below.  Join our Pinterest Group Board, follow the link and leave a message on the group board.  Hope to see you there.  Our next linkup on the blog is July 26th, in four weeks.  Have fun!


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And the Questions Keep on Coming

jellybeansladybird ladybugNow that I've had the good fortune of time to think of the 11 Questions for the Liebster blogs, here are the 5 blogs I have named and the questions for them.  They want to pass on the award to 5 blogs with less than 300 followers, and to answer my 11 questions on their blog.  They should then ask 11 questions of their choosing of the 5 bloggers, and so on...  Here is my blog post where I answered Sue's questions.

    pour me a cup
  1. What color is your front door?
  2. Do you have a nickname and what is it?
  3. What is the best compliment you ever received?
  4. As a young girl, did you keep a diary?
  5. What is your favorite spice to cook with?
  6. If you could stay a certain age for the rest of your life, how old would you like to be?
  7. From your own blog, what is your favorite post?
  8. What is the most annoying or putrid sound, odor, taste, touch, or sight you have ever witnessed?
  9. What is the best advice you ever received?
  10. How old were you when you got your first kiss from a crush or boyfriend?
  11. Can you keep a secret?  
lots of dolls
"Bonus Questions"
What do you imagine the world will be like in the year 2199?
What do you wish you could do now that you don't yet know?

Once I start thinking of questions, the list will get longer, so I'll stop here.  Have a fun time on these.  

Are You Killing Your Creativity When You Strive to be Perfect When You Are Chosen For Custom Projects?

aceo crackle surface dots in bright colors New End Studio
An ongoing project with no end in view, begins like a tree in the forest, but all that effort in making the work perfect, turns the tree into a toothpick.  A box of toothpicks is a sad display of effort.

When someone suggested I make custom items, I nearly passed out.

My throat tightened, heart started beating louder and blood pressure increased.  The heat rose in my face to the top of my head, and I felt faint. My blood sugar dropped.

I had to sit.  Wait.  I was sitting. 
Dizziness and cortisol were speeding through my muscles, the adrenalin wasn't released fast enough.

On the outside, I looked cool and collected. 
Inside, my hearing went quiet and I just wanted to continue to block out the conversation without being rude.  I wanted to rewind back a minute before the idea of custom work was suggested.

Don't we all (sometimes) want a rewind button?

Perfection and custom work are seriously unmeshed in my book.  I want the work to be the best possible.  Having multiple projects going at the same time helps me to not finish things, giving way to all kinds of time demands.

Okay, moving house is a big time demand, and eye surgeries, eye issues, and regular life does put a big dent into any free time; but, eventually I have to finish the projects.

Copious amounts of honing and polishing the work drag out the inevitable conclusion.  I usually find fault with something, days, weeks, even years later. Laying out boundaries does not come into the solution.  Humor does though.

I'm not perfect.  When polishing and readjusting keeps the item from getting to its destination, it makes perfection a fault.  The recipient doesn't see the imperfection, they only know they are waiting for the finished item to arrive.  I'm usually a bit early, but for something I am so invested in, I will drag out the details, procrastinate, and refine, hone, and repeat.

Worry over what someone thinks or says is not productive, and you can always find a rogues gallery of critics.  Those who receive the item matter.  Those who don't understand the work, don't buy the work- don't matter.  The old saying, "You can't please everyone all of the time, " is so true.
New End Studio Say Yes in flower petals and twigs
Read my blog post for the Say Yes bouquet.

Taking some wisdom to replace perfectionism procrastination and make a good habit includes: Polish to the best point possible.  Get the work into the hands of those who want and appreciate the idea, time, effort, and expression. Enjoy the process and see it through to its end.

Using the best efforts available, "Finish the work."  
Then let it go.

Are you a stress-free custom project maker?  Do you enjoy custom work or do you like to follow  your own path?  Would you ever refuse a custom request?

Making Buttons and a Liebster Award

jellybeans blog awardI'm in the midst of getting the house ready for sale, doing all kinds of jobs that have been put off for too long. I was wondering what I could write about since my desk has been left in the middle of a couple of projects for weeks and I haven't gotten to them.  So no new works to share right at this moment.

Sue Forey-Fibreart  gave me a Liebster Award and I have the answer to my blogging dilemma with this post.  Thanks, Sue- for the award! and these fun questions:

ladybird ladybug1) Who is your favourite artist?
     I 've gone in cycles, sometimes it's a photographer, watercolorist,
     collage, abstract,...right now I  couldn't pick just one person.        

2) Are you a morning early bird or night owl?
     Until recently a Night Owl, but mornings are becoming more
     productive.  I like that early morning bird chorus.

lots of dolls3) When did you first start writing your blog?
                                                I started this blog in March 2010.

4) Who is your ideal man?
      Living or Fictional?  He'd have to be something special to keep
      my attention.  ♥

5) What is your worst habit?
      Only one?  (My Ideal Man may be reading this. See #4.)

colorful ribbons6) What type of music do you like to listen to?
       Depends on my mood, and if I can sing along.  Folk, Rock, Jazz,
       Blues, almost anything, any era.  My Ideal Man would like to
       sing, too or at the least, not mind my attempts.  

7) Favourite holiday destination?
      Somewhere near an ocean, not rural, and not too far from a city
      with museums, antiquities, and more.

8) Do you sell your creations and if so where?
      In the past, I listed and sold aceos on Ebay, but took a break.
      I now have a Storenvy shop, which  is currently in limbo.  Last year I
      created  a blog shop front, but have not opened it as yet. In the
      meantime, if you see something on the blog that you like,
      just email me.

9) Who is your biggest fan?
      I have no idea.  Do I have one?  If you're out there, please come forward,
      let me know, and why?!

10) What is your favourite weather?
pour me a cup        Depends on my mood.  A light, soft rain, not cold, not hot and
        not humid for those dreamy days.

        A brisk, crisp thin airy day for the middle of autumn.

       The warm, early Spring light days for easing into gardening.

        Walking by moonlight on the crunchy snow in the middle of winter,
        when it's quiet and  the air is cloudlike from your breath and just
                                                 less than bitterly cold.

11) What is your favourite TV show?
        Have to say that I don't have one favorite show.  My thumb is wearing out from channel
        surfing. Sometimes I read while the tv is on.  Maybe this is the answer to #5 above.

I made these Liebster images with free photos from the  Morgue File and editing on ipiccy.  If you like them and use them, I wouldn't mind a linkback here.

Please visit Sue  and her awardees.  Sue makes beautiful felt paintings, landscapes and myth making stories come to mind.  Now I have to think of 11 questions for the next 5 awardees, the awards go to blogs with less than 300 followers...

BBQ Chipped by Faux Buttermilk a Chicken Tenders Recipe

BBQ Chip Chicken TendersDo you have a guilty junk food pleasure that you had to give up?  Chocolate doesn't count, lol.  For some of us, it's almost a Basic Food Group all on its own.

So this leaves me with another bag of BBQ chips that are hotter than hot, the latest, "Wise Sweet Heat."  Okay, they did say, "heat" and I should have realized there may be truth in advertising, sometimes it surprises when it is true, so I decided to give it a try.  After coughing, getting teary eyed, and losing the skin on the roof of my mouth, I figured here goes another bag into the garbage, a waste of money and skin.  Not to mention, but I will, a waste of a junk food pleasure.  Au revoir my chippie friends...

Enter a thawing package of Chicken Tenders.  I wondered if I crushed the chips, could I use them as a coating?  I made up a bowl of Faux Buttermilk since I didn't have any buttermilk in the fridge and thought this marinade would cool the heat.

plate of chicken tenders
I let the tenders marinate overnight in the fridge.   The next day, drained them, coated with flour then dipped in egg, then bagged and tossed them in the crushed BBQ chips and baked them on parchment paper in a 425F oven for about 30 minutes.  The result:  It pretty much worked;  the Faux Buttermilk and coatings significantly cooled down the heat of the chips.

Are you a food rescuer and reuser or would you toss it out and move on...?

How about joining us for Inspired by Four?  If you'd like to join the Pinterest Group Board, follow the link and leave a message on the board.  Pinterest will send the Invite to your email, accept the invitation and you can start posting to the group board.  Hope to see you there.  Our next linkup on the blog is June 28th.  Do you want a prompt?  How about, "Time, Cold, Roar, or Luck."   Click here to see the Inspired by Four posts or clicking the image in the sidebar will take you to the same place on the blog.  Have fun!

This is my Tuition, What is Yours? Haiku and A Toast to Artists!

haiku on tuition desktop workspace


Unschooled fugitive
journeys in staggers and thrusts
makes radical lien.

I had a Zen type of moment today.  The decluttering and all the other normal but stressed out things made me search for a little space where I could clear the mind of all distractions. Deciding to work out a haiku was more time consuming than I remembered, but I did it. Everything comes with a price, cliche, but true.  This is my tuition.  A little blast from the past, to finally put things back there and lock them away.

I don't often take photos of my desk as there are gifts being made or supplies still in packages.  There is just a small space to actually work on and leave pieces to dry, sometimes for days in a row.  Maybe because I see it and it is calling out to me, "Get in here and get to work!" that I try to think of all the other things that need doing.  I want being at the desk to be a refuge not a burden.  

Because I had only one practical art class in college, a required course, I took it during the summer semester so that I could get the misery out of the way as fast as possible.  To my unending surprise, the instructor, once he got past the fact that I couldn't draw realistically, was very encouraging.  He helped everyone in the class, even me, ahhh the karma of patience. 

One day he said he wanted to talk to me, and to go for a walk down the hall.  Uh oh.  It turned out that he wanted me to sell a pattern to one of his contacts in the city.  Just getting into the display case with other patterns was a milestone, but to think it could be valuable, was he kidding?  I didn't believe him.  He wasn't kidding and was not used to people like me who did not believe in the value of their work.  I would have to work this out, my soul did not appreciate what he had said.  

In class, I hid behind Abstracts which were easier and more on the surface of my skill level.  You didn't have to explain them fully. (Che cosa significa? What does it mean?)  Plus, there was a dear older (senior) Italian man, a student, who loved my abstracts, so that helped a lot.  ♥♥♥  I haven't thought about him for years, and there he is now front and center in my mind, as plain as day. He's probably up in Heaven right now, painting in Oils. 

macro portion view of mixed media

My high school art teacher despaired as she was of the mindset that if you can't draw, and draw it to look just like a photograph- a realistic depiction, then you can't make art.  She wasn't the only teacher who pounded this message, beginning in First Grade.  That's why I said "misery" to speed through the summer session. 

So, you see, if someone mentioned art, I would be interested, but aloof.  One of my good friends got a Masters in Art from a well known art college.  All okay for her, she could draw realistically, but during all of the time we spent together, she never expressed that art comes in other forms.  

Let me tell you this little story:  My friend wanted to make a gift for me of two framed notecards.  She showed me a selection of pretty, store bought, embossed cards.  I chose the yellow and the gray cards.  The colors appealed to me and I thought they looked well together. She delayed, hemmed, and hawed telling me it was a big mistake, a little, okay, a lot of ridicule thrown in just to establish that she was the art major, the one who knew better.  

I could not be swayed from my color choice.  Yes, she would have felt better if I acceded to her M.A., but then I was left feeling, well, you can imagine.  Funny thing is, a short time after she finished the frame, she decided to include the piece in her portfolio for a possible gallery showing.  She presented her portfolio and the gallery owner wanted my selection of the yellow and gray cards.  Bites.  She asked me to lend her the framed piece which was then hanging on my wall, so I handed it over.  From that one piece my friend received orders for framed cards.  I would never gloat.  

I carried the yellow and gray cards for many years from apartment to condo to several houses to storage.  Last week I finally dismantled it.  It was a reminder to me that sometimes those with more schooling, more experience, etc. don't always know more than the person who is leaning from the heart.  To take a chance, especially when you haven't learned all the conventional ways, the conformist ways loaded with biases, can sometimes be the best way, your peace of mind way.   But you already know that.  I've kept the cards with faded edges to maybe reuse in some new piece of mine.  The frame is in the Future Yard Sale Pile.  

I'm still learning and experimenting.  Blogging has brought more people and their art to me than all the museums and galleries in total that I have ever visited.  It helps to see their dreams and passions for their chosen media  splashed out across the blogosphere.  Bright, gloomy, day glo, sepia, and everything else, whatever they make is another day in paradise, well, sort of.  Here's to all the artists and the artists at heart! 

This is my tuition.  What's yours?  

etsy treasury image

(Go see some of my Treasuries on Etsy here. There is even a Yellow and Gray one.)   
Do you update your Treasuries?  

Mini Speed Cleans for In-between, Use Placemats!

Cleaning the refrigerator, the ordeal of taking out the shelves and drawers means trying not to drown the countertops and floors while washing everything.  Back in December when my fridge expired, with all of the food and a full freezer, I imagined my new fridge would be easier to clean than the last one, only because this one would have glass shelves instead of wire racks.

Au contraire.  The glass shelves require constant cleaning because, well, they are glass and every little thing marks them.  The milk pitchers leave rings and rings and rings; and I wipe and wipe and wipe.  

Top shelf where I have the milk pitchers
with the brand spanking new placemat.
I picked cups, because I'm matchy that way.
What to do, what to do?

Light bulb!  Cover the shelves with something wipeable and removable and easily replacable.  That's a lot of ble- bull.  No, it's true.

What to cover the shelves with?  The shelf liners had a pebbled surface or were woven, so those are out. Anything not smooth is out.  Anything with a strong plasticky or chemical odor is out.  The solution must be removable and not sticky.

One trip to a $ store, hunt down some vinyl placemats and after washing said placemats, put them on the shelves and voila.

Eggs, Bacon, Bread, Strawberries...
I need to shop.
The placemats were not wide enough to cover the complete shelf, but I can live with that.  If they were turned, they would be cut and pieced.  So, I bought 4 placemats, one for each shelf and one which I cut in half which fit perfectly in the fruit and veg drawers.  I forgot about the deli drawer, so I'll get one more placemat  to fit inside the drawer.

See the wire rack?  When my old fridge was being hauled away, I decided to save the rack, maybe to use in the craft room to hang things on.  Instead, just because I'm curious, I put the rack in the new fridge to see if it would fit.  The old fridge was several cubic feet smaller than this new fridge, but the same width, so the rack fits perfectly.  I get to customize my shelves!  Love that.  If you need another rack for your fridge, see if you can use a wire rack, it might work.

Last, but not least, yes I chose a fruit placemat for the fruit and veg drawers.  Just had to cut it in half and it covered them completely.

I cleaned all the shelves before laying down the placemats and for that in-between cleaning, work great.

Now, should I cover the wire rack, too? Hmmm... maybe yes.  I guess I could have gone with bland placemats or all of the mats the same design, but I didn't, what would you do- be plain or use variety?