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1  need help to ID item in Discussion and Questions by blupaisan on: January 10, 2018 12:02:59 PM

Bought two units of this unmarked cord at the thrift store. Ball n chain covered in cotton fabric.
Want to order more of the real thing but don't know how to search for it if I don't know what it is!
Any ideas? My first and only guess is a curtain cord. No luck yet.
Thank you!!
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2  dizzy Acroneuria Abnormis in Completed Projects by blupaisan on: December 29, 2017 01:52:27 PM

This is a Christmas gift that I started creating way back in September.
As I went to the river for relief on a hot day during summer, I encountered these cool bug exoskeletons on the rocks. They are hatched out acroneuria abnormis, a critter who builds a twig house and crawls on the river bottom, then creeps onto a rock, hatches, and flies away, leaving behind these fascinating discarded forms. I knew that my daughter would find them charming (better word?) so I began gathering them in September.

They are ridiculously delicate so I brought many many tiny boxes to put each one in so they wouldn't get legs all tangle up and break. I pried them off the rock with a sewing needle. Many broke during the attempt.
Once home, I had the brilliant idea that a burlap backing would enhance the natural look. I laid them out in the position I thought most artistic, was satisfied, then discovered to my horror when I removed them for glueing, that the burlap clung to them (or vice versa) so they all fell apart.

I returned to the river which by this time (late October) was a bit chilly for wading. I persevered, even dropping my phone in once as I bent over for the choicest of brittle skins.  But do you think I could locate another fifty critters?  oh, noooooo..... I found a lousy five.     I had to turn to a very lame Plan B and go home and friggin REPAIR the broken ones.  Me, with aging eyesight and clumsy fingers. I did manage to glue many many legs, abdomens, pincers, and antennae back on.

the above pic shows how I glued them to the much more tender backing (no more burlap for THIS project, thankyouverymuch) using a weight because they themselves had no weight at all to them and would not touch the glue dot firmly enough. I thought it ironic that a mud house built by another bug was the ideal weight.

Here they are all mended again

above is a dinner plate which served as an accurate way to get the outer circle started.
It looked pretty bare and the spiral just wasn't popping out to the viewer so I added morning glory seeds in between each bug.

thanks for looking!  It was such a fun project.
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3  Kitty of a friend, birthday gift in More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works by blupaisan on: December 18, 2017 10:51:11 AM

This is Siva. Or, was Siva. A sweet (no, actually she was a terror) bengal cat that passed away at an early age about a year and a half ago. My friend still speaks lovingly of her so I did this portrait for her January birthday.

I first met my friend as the caretaker of her two bengal cats. Siva was nearly feral and since I have worked with ferals for years, I knew how to approach her. My friend (then my employer) exclaimed as I pet her on the head. Normally, no one could even get near her. I think that is my favorite memory of Siva.

Pen and ink with watercolor and the whiskers were done with white marker pen.

thanks for looking!

P.S.  I am being lazy with grammar in this post so if it seems like I am petting my employer on the head, and other such confusions, so be it.  Tongue
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4  my brother gets this ornament. He started me on dark humor at age 10 in Winter Holidays by blupaisan on: December 11, 2017 01:07:47 PM
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I found a birdhouse ornament in the 25 cent bin and added some tactful sculpy to it!

the arm made it quite heavy so before I glued it in, I put a very large glob of glue in the lower back corner inside to help balance out the weight. It worked!

He is gonna love this. I hope it survives the trip to California
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5  pop up (more like flop up) birthday card in Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General by blupaisan on: December 11, 2017 09:41:34 AM

The 11-year-old that I mentored way back when dropped out of the program after only a couple of months but I have kept in touch with her ever since. It is now her 16th birthday and I can hardly believe it!  She got to go to France last year and keeps talking about how much she loved the eiffel tower.  So of course I had to include that.

I sent away for a gorgeous die cut tower which never arrived, durnitall, so I had to make do with a homemade one.

I thought I was being super classy to use a plastic sheeting but it took many attempts to adhere it to the paper. This has happened before with this beautiful striped blue piece and I feel kind of dumb that I keep trying to use it and think it will react differently. Isn't that the definition of insanity or something?! 

Front of the card

more of an angle to show how much it pops out.

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6  ornament made from a Cape Gooseberry husk in Winter Holidays by blupaisan on: December 10, 2017 02:07:25 PM

Some rampant weeds emerged in the flower bed last summer. They were interesting so I did not have the heart to yank them out. Come fall, they had created these cool husks. I only today looked up what the actual plant is.

One of my favorite weeds is the wild cucumber, which also produces an interesting husk that resembles a dollhouse loofah sponge. So I was delighted to see these come along.

I picked the best one with no holes, allowed it to dry over my woodstove, then dipped it in watered down paint many times. i wanted to keep the paint very watery indeed so nothing would clog up the tiny latticework of the pod.

I than added tiny felt leaves that I  cut from a larger piece (thanks, SonjaBoo, that was in your surprise matchbox!!) and added a bead.
The whole thing is about an inch high.
I like it but it sure is delicate. I made it for a friend in VA and I hope it arrives intact.
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7  Zombie Nutcracker and side-kick in Winter Holidays by blupaisan on: December 10, 2017 01:21:02 PM
My daugther Acadian Driftwood handed over an average nutcracker last January and requested that it be turned ZOMBIE.

It was a huge amount of fun, not just creatively, but because for once I could smash something with a hammer out of joy instead of anger.

I did not take before shots, but here is the finished product.

I found a 25 cent ornament in the bin at Goodwill and knew this nuthead had to have a sidekick zombie doll in his grip.

A few years back, Rosie and I were walking near her old home and came upon a very fine bird skeleton. I saved several choice bones and they came in handy for this big guy's leg and one arm.

I also made teeth out of cut up bones.

When I had used up available bones, I went to my geranium plant and plucked off dead stems for the ribcage.

they also served as toes for the sidekick doll.

The back....

I can hardly believe the lever still goes up and down after all of the abuse this thing took.

Of course this dude had all painted-on clothing so in order to create the ragged look of zombie clothing, I added bits of paper towel here and there and painted them.

The bits of earth on the legs and base were made with paint mixed in with ground walnut shell, courtesy of a friend who decided not to use it after all as bedding in her gecko tank.

thanks for looking!!

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8  Re: Holiday Altered + Mystery Matchboxes 2017 - Gallery in The Swap Gallery by blupaisan on: December 07, 2017 02:43:20 PM
SonjaBoo stalked me so very well.

Here is the first matchbox, atop a vintage wooden thread spool

The tender winter holiday scene sent me into bliss.  I am dying to know if I am correctly recognizing a Monopoly piece.  ? ? ?

And the back:

Christmas, vintage, and cats?  Shocked How can anyone go wrong.

I love it so much. It is perched amongst my houseplants on the shelf.

The surprise....

Real (as far as I can tell) vintage wrap around this next box whose drawer is full of goodies.  I expect no one will think I am crazy for being excited about getting tiny bits of xmas sparkly items. I need them. Gonna put them to work immediately on an ornament that I have to mail out soon.

There is a magnet with paperclip that is already on my fridge, holding an important business card.

There is a wee xmas pendant that nearly made me CRY, it was so perfect for me.

A kitty in a basket, a red and white mushroom (total swoon) and the most adorable wee turquoise button. I just adore tiny perfect things. Particularly in this color.

thank you so much, SonjaBoo. i am extreeeeeemly happy.
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9  First snow sculpture of the season in Completed Projects by blupaisan on: November 20, 2017 08:51:29 AM

On a brick for size reference.
Bead eyes from my stash, pine needles for whiskers.

She melted in five minutes!!
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10  Yummy Giant Puffball, easy recipe in Vegetarian / Vegan by blupaisan on: November 04, 2017 07:46:51 AM

This enormous puffball mushroom was calling to me. I had never eaten a wild shroom before but if there is a safe one to id, this is it!!

Look how it takes up the entire sink!  I did not wash, you mustn't of course, but it was just there so I could chop off the tiny area of root.

The outer skin is tough, so slice it all off. Plus, IT WILL GIVE YOU SERIOUS GASTROINTESTINAL ISSUES OF YOU EAT IT.

cute one slice after removing the outer smaller 'heel' as you would a loaf of bread.

Marinating 2T of sherry, 2T of tamari, 2T of balsamic vinegar for 20 minutes, turning over halfway thru.

Fry in olive oil for 5 minutes on medium, I had to adjust frequently so it would not stick but that is due to the fact that I have all lousy cookware. Add 1T chopped garlic, 3T chopped fresh basil, and flip the whole thing so that your added stuff is now on the bottom, turn heat down one notch and continue to fry for another 3 minutes. Turn heat off, put loose lid on the whole thing and let sit for 5 minutes.

I sprinkled turmeric all over and put the slice on a generous bed of alfalfa sprouts.

It was truly yummy and very filling!

thanks for looking!!
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