Things I Like...

I really don't consider myself to be materialistic;  I generally make-do with what I have (or what I trash-pick).  That said, I do have bunches of art supplies...and crave a few more!  Lately though, I've become pretty committed to what I like and what I don't like.

Teavana Oprah Chai Latte, Teavana Youthberry/Wild Orangeblossom Tea, Tazo Passion Tea

I've never been a fan of milk or cream in my tea (or coffee, for that matter), but a couple of weeks ago I broke down and tried the Oprah Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks.  Truthfully, I've avoided the Oprah tea...I kind of shied away from the "endorsement".  The moment that blend of ginger and cardamom hit my throat I felt rather comforted.  Sounds silly, but it's true.

I got hooked on the Youthberry Wild Orangeblossom blend last year when my brother sent me a package.  Fruity and delicious!  This past summer, I replaced it with a more affordable Tazo Passion tea, served over ice.  Very refreshing and so much less expensive!

iPhone6 (versus the Samsung Galaxy S5 I had for one long, miserable week)

One of the local big box stores had a deal a few weeks ago...trade in your working smart phone and receive a $200. gift card when you purchase a Samsung smart phone.  My "geek" squad person must not have gotten the memo...he said that only the Samsung phone was a qualifying purchase (he was wrong.)  At the time, I figured that the amount I would have to spend for the S5 would more than make up for the loss of an iPhone.  I was so wrong.  I left the store that evening with the Samsung and honestly, a sadness in my heart.  I felt like I had lost an old friend.  How crazy is that?  By weeks' end, the Samsung went back to the store and many hours later I left with another iPhone.  I would still be using my old iPhone, but all of a sudden it heated up and wouldn't hold a charge.  Life is back to normal...#firstworldproblem solved.

That about does it for things I feel strongly about in the "like" category.  While I might "like" something on Facebook...it doesn't mean I'm passionate about it (like I am my iPhone!!).


Fun stuff!

I've just started reading this book (an advanced reader's copy), and it's so on target.  So many times we wish our lives away without doing anything remotely close to attaining our wishes and desires.  Life seems to fly by and, to quote the Dusty Springfield song, "wishin' and hopin, and planning and dreaming" don't seem to get the job done, although planning is key!

This weekend I'm doing something so very exciting!  I'm going to a weekend workshop in Paducah with a friend.  Nina Bagley is teaching her "All Wrapped Up" bracelet/necklace workshop at Ephemera Paducah.  I can't wait!  We're taking off Friday afternoon, and staying the weekend as the class is two days long.  Read about it here...



I know it's not officially summer yet...but WOW!  after the crazy long winter, our weather has gone from cool to ultra-hot in a matter of days.  Not much spring to enjoy, but at least winter is behind us for several months.  My unofficial start to summer was last week.  Our library branch was closed for the week due to a mini-carnival/food-fest in the library neighborhood, adjacent to our building.  Carnival rides, music, etc., were a great reason to close for the week!  Even though I went in for a few hours during the week to take care of a few things, the week was mostly my own.  I needed to prep for a street fair not quite 1/2 block away from my house.  Old Town Sunday Market.  The street was closed for one block, and over 50 vendors participated in this event.  It was pretty fabulous...all kinds of vendors, food booths & trucks (food was in an adjacent parking lot), beer garden, live music.  I shared a vendor booth with a friend, and we were pretty comfortable out in the weather...her tent and the canopy of trees blocked the heat of the sun, and there was a gentle breeze blowing.  

 My side of the booth...not much produced for the event, but enough.  Another friend brought some hand-knitted cloths to sell.  My big seller of the day was scoops of lavender.
 I need to work on my technique for the heart necklaces, but I couldn't improve on the beautiful hand-painted silk ribbons.
Aren't these plants beautiful?  I spotted them on a walk in one of Evansville's historic neighborhoods.


Things I'm not good at...

Writing a grammatically correct sentence, for one.  I am always in the mood to do something new...try something, make something, whatever.  What I'm never (it seems) in the mood for is carry-through.  Ideas--yes.  Follow-through--not so much.

At the beginning of the year, I signed up for A Year of Painting.  Have I even bothered to watch the lessons and create art?  No.  The Documented Life Project?  I stopped documenting weeks ago.  Blogging?  We know how that one goes.  Very, very sporadically.  Plant care?  Awful.  It all looks good when I first plant things in the spring, but as the temperature goes up, I start to hibernate just like it's the dead of winter.

I finished up my planting (all container plants) yesterday afternoon just before the storm hit.  Nothing was damaged by the strong winds and heavy rain.  As I sat on the porch last night, sipping a glass of red wine, I vowed that I would take exceptionally good care of my plants this summer.  No.Matter.What.


Wednesday's Painting Class

I finally finished a painting today in the 'Go with the Flow' class I've been leading at the library.  I started this one two or three classes ago and as I said, finally got around to finishing it...I think!  One never knows when something abstract like this is finished.  I just like the colors...
Many layers, many colors.


Marking Time

Waiting for Spring...we've had a few nice days in a row here in the Ohio River Valley.  Lots of sunshine, wind, and oh-so-much-milder temperatures.  I think I'll make it!

I've been keeping busy with lots of odds and ends...little and big art projects, a painting class, the Documented Life Project, and a mid-winter getaway.

Here's one of my new "favorite things":
 A collage sheet, microscope slides, and UTEE (ultra thick embossing enamel).  No soldering required!  I'm anxious to learn to solder, but I feel that I might lack the coordination to be successful at it.
 Scarlet Fields taught a crown and tiara making class at the library.  Everyone had such a good time!
My Documented Life journal...a junior Moleskine planner loaded (really loaded!!) with watercolor extra sheets and lots of Washi tape.  You know the phrase "everything's better with bacon"?  The same applies to Washi.
This doll head has been the object of my wants and needs for quite some time.  I keep seeing cool things made with doll parts, and now I have my very own doll head (and the arms too).  I couldn't help myself when I photographed her head in my wine cabinet.  While cropping the photo, I saw the meme maker option.  Had to do it.

I'm looking forward to the end of the Olympics so we can get back to regularly scheduled programming...I miss all of those somewhat trashy shows I watch...Scandal, Grey's, Revenge, etc.


Easy book binding tutorial

Here's something new and different for the PlumWater Cottage blog...a tutorial!  I think the last tutorial I documented was back in the summer of 2008 when I showed you how to make a dress form, using my daughter as a guinea pig.  That was fun...this is much easier.

It's easy to make a little travel journal using postcards(cut paper twice the length of the postcard), or, as I've seen on Pinterest, you can bind postcards into a booklet.  Send postcards home from all of your travels, and when you get back, voila!, a nice little memory book.  It's all done using the same process.  

In order to better utilize your resources (paper, etc.) here's a simple Japanese Stab-stitch binding to use.

Here's what you'll need:

·         Notecard, cut in half, trimmed to 4” x 5.5”
·         Copy paper, trimmed to 8” x 11”.  Sub-cut this paper to 4” x 11”
·         Ruler
·         Pencil
·         Awl or Screw punch
·         Waxed linen thread
·         Needle
Select note card.  Cut in half along the fold-line.  Measure, and cut the card(s) 4” x 5 ½”.

Cut copy paper (regularly 8 ½” x 11”) to 8” x 11”.  Cut this paper down the middle to create two long strips 4” x 11”.  Cut 8 full sheets, making 16 strips.

Fold each sheet in half (they are now 4” x 5 ½”) and crease the fold.
After all sheets are folded and creased, put them together with the folded edge to the right.  We will be binding the journal through the cut edges, then open up the folds for a nicely finished edge.
 Measure in ½” on the front and back journal covers and score.  Fold these scored sides so you can see the crease.

 Using a ruler, make 4 marks an equal distance from top to bottom.  In this case, make a mark at ½”, 1 ½”, 2 ½”, and 3 ½”.  Put the marks in the crease of the top cover.
 Add the paper (also called a “book block”) to the journal covers, making sure all folds are to the right, and the marked cover creases are to the left.  Hold pages and covers together with a clip.
Using an awl or screw punch, make a hole through the cover and the pages beneath.  Make sure you go all the way through the book block and come out through the back cover.  Continue with holes 2, 3, and 4.
The journal is now ready to bind. 

Follow the ins and outs of binding, using this chart from Lineco:
And this is what you end up with:
 After you bind the journal, it's time to take care of the page edges.  Insert a bone folder (or in this case, a Popsicle stick!), and slowly "cut" up the edge of the folded sheet.
 This will give you a nice, finished deckle-edge.
This is from one of the bookbinding classes we've held at the library.  It's a fun, inexpensive, and personal gift!



Not that 2013 was a bad year...it was far from it...but I like fresh starts.  New Years, new months, new weeks, new days.  There's always a fresh start, sometimes right around the corner.  I have no real resolutions this year...seriously...why bother?  I'm not very good at keeping up with something that I truly don't feel a part of.

I've signed up for a couple of on-line classes...one is just for January, the other runs the entire year.  Alena Hennessy's Year of Painting, and N*Studio's (January) Creative Jump Start.

My simple goals are to somewhat pare down the massive amount of art and craft supplies I've accumulated over the years.  If I can't do that, I'd at least like to have them organized.  That's the hard thing...I'm an "out of sight, out of mind" girl, so if I don't see it (or can't easily put my hands on it), I'm either frustrated, or I buy a replacement.  That's not a good thing any way you look at it.  I've been working on this massive project since just before Thanksgiving, and I probably won't finish it any time soon.  Taking my time to do it right.

I started 2014 off by attending a yoga class.  Yoga seems to work out some of those kinks I have, and the feeling of well-being in the hours following a practice is, as they say, priceless. 

The year seems pretty fresh and new to me, even though it is already (already!!) the 10th of the month.  We've had "way-too-cold" to go to work cancellations, an early dismissal due to a serious city water treatment issue, and now we're at the end of just week #2 of the new year and we haven't had a normal work-week yet. 

While at home on my "bonus day off",  I fell down the Pinterest rabbit-hole.  I came across a pin that truly inspired me...and took off with it like a dog with a tasty bone.  The pin was of a hacked Moleskine planner/art journal, and as I clicked links I came across a wonderful huge group of journalers subscribing to A Documented Life.  All it takes is a weekly planner (Moleskine or other), add-in papers (they call them tip-ins) and Washi tape.  You end up with a thick, chunky combination planner/art journal.  I used the small size of Moleskine (because it's what I had...and I like the fact that it easily fits in my purse) and spent some quality time with my paper cutter making tip-ins of watercolor paper.  Add the colorful and fun Washi tape and here's what you get:

Instead of stressing over a large art journal (the plan, for 2014), I now will just be following the weekly prompts and documenting my little life...and reveling in all of that Washi!


Happy 2014!

Sunny day...my favorite!  No resolutions this year, but hoping to document life a bit more than in the past few years.
Star Jasmine

Looking forward to sunny days (and warmer temperatures) ahead!

Baking and cheese making...

In the "learn something new" part of my life, yesterday I learned how to make mozzarella cheese.  Making and baking French bread w...