Monday, February 27, 2012

Monarchs with Cynthia

I borrowed a photo from Pinterest because it is the PERFECT one to show what I saw while I was in California.


That beauty is my friend Cynthia Vartanian & she had the most perfect day planned for me on Monday (President’s Day has never been so much fun!)


She took me out to Pismo Beach State Park to see the amazingly tall Eucalyptus Trees which are the wintering habitat for these stunning beauties. Click HERE to learn more. The official count on February 6, 2012 was 23,000 PLUS butterflies!


Look closely & you’ll see them fluttering high up in that pine tree. HUNDREDS of them but, the lens on my camera just couldn’t capture the magnitude of the numbers. DSC05616

See them WAY UP THERE against the sky (on the left side of this photo).


To give you perspective of the size of these trees, this environment… there is Cynthia trying to zoom in on some with her camera & in the background (across the road) is an Amtrack train whizzing by.


Eucalyptus Trees are so foreign looking to me. We have nothing like them back in Texas. The peeling bark is so strange but, this is the PERFECT habitat for the monarchs. The perfect food source & climate makes this their winter home.


A walk along the parks path shows a wonderful RV park that I hope to interest “HONEY” in for the summer. And you can see the rolling hills/mountains are beginning to green. Again… this doesn’t look like Texas!

Ice Plant collage

On the trail taking us toward the beach & along the path (photo to the left) you see the surf in the distance but, look at the greenish cast on the right side of that photo. It’s a total covering on the hillside of the ice plant which is the close up in the photos to the right. It’s a succulent & comes in all different colors with this one being PINK. Again… NOT IN TEXAS!

DSC05624 The trail head ends & dumps you out here……




With the town of Pismo Beach just climbing up that mountain & the water trickling from a little tributary.


People just walking the beach & enjoying the beauty.


A mother & child flying their Monarch Butterfly Kite in the breeze.


A happy Texas girl wishing this was her full time life!


And that’s the view from my log where I’m sitting… that’s the climb up to those trees. As that’s the trail head back to the park & the car. And my visit with Cynthia is about to end. I’m sad about that but, looking forward to the next visit which will be when I come back for An Affaire At Tiffany’s in May.

I hope you’ll come back to see more of my California trip. See you soon.

HUGS! Charlene

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Sunset at Riki's

A glass of red wine… friends… wonderful conversation and God’s paint box in all it’s glory!!!! Life doesn’t get any better than that! Another day in PARADISE!

HUGS! Charlene

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Charming Romance Class

A Charming Romance Class

I can tell you that the bracelet above (which is the class sample) didn’t happen in just 2 days! This bracelet belongs to Diana Frey (one of our two instructors). I have just spent the last 2 days learning soooooooooooo many techniques with Diana & Riki Schumacher. Friday Sandy, Joy & I headed to San Luis Obispo for two days of fun & creativity. EACH charm takes a lot of time to create.


Day one had Riki showing us the magic of PMC Silver Clay. The entire morning was spent with demo’s on etching metal & PMC Silver Clay. The entire afternoon was spent making out charms. Rolling the precious metal clay out & stamping the different patterns into the wet clay. Or using molds that we created (from objects that we had with us) or using one of Riki & Diana’s many molds. Everything went into the kiln for two & a half hours of HOT firing.


New tools to learn… I had seen photos of a metal saw but, the thought made me shutter. Riki made it look easy as pie! Did I do this? NO! But, I did try many different tools.


Next up… Diana showed us so many connection ideas that we were just amazed at all the choices. Rivets, screws, nails & many other new things to try.


Above is just a couple of examples. I’m sorry my photos are really not great but, most of them were taken for remembering techniques not beautiful blog photos. But, I wanted to share all the fun things we learned. Don’t you love the variety there? I LOVE the square piece that has a vintage watch face sandwiched between the 2 etched layers. I soooooooooo want to do that too.


Joy really was on a roll & actually got many of the charms she made onto her bracelet (above). Also, you can see a collection of many of all the students piecesl put together for a group photo. Some of the items were the etched sheets, cut out whether in a circle or a square, some sandwiched together, PMC charms layered onto the etched piece or just stand alone. A heart with a bale made from a 16 gauge wire, hammered into a paddle shape bent & secured through another heart with a long screw, a German porcelain doll head drilled with a diamond tip bit… the learning went on & on. Truly feeding the artful soul.



After all of this… I kind of think Maddie had the right idea…


My bed is calling my name & there is another full day of fun ahead tomorrow.

HUGS! Charlene

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine Art Day- A Sweet Success!


Where has the time gone? I promised myself I’d be better about getting back to blogging more often but, DARN IT LIFE GETS IN THE WAY SOMETIMES! I plan on working on that but, in the mean time a small catch up on an amazing SWEET DAY with friends. WHAT A GIFT A FRIEND IS! We had lots of sweets to fuel our creative fires. I made a cake, Angela brought cupcakes, gooey butter cake & heart shaped brownies.


I bought a red plastic table cloth (we were painting & gluing on the dinning room table!) as well as red flowers & the cutest insulated mugs for each girl! BLINGED MUGS OF COURSE!


In the photo above you can see Angela’s letters (that had been decoupaged) sitting at her spot. And there is sweet Jan with her amazing pillow of lace making tools. Just the pillow alone was so interesting (with little drawers & padded just right with pretty trim along the edges) but, that lace OMG!!!! And the bobbins of thread… Each Bobbin a work of art in it’s own right!


See what I mean?


I just wanted to pick each one up & touch/feel it. They have been hand made from artist all over the world & Jan can tell us amazing stories about each one. A TRUE COLLECTION of beauty.


Just watching her for a few hours I can’t imagine how she doesn’t YANK her hair out!


This takes about an hour to hour & a half for an INCH!!!!! The patience of a SAINT I’m telling you!!!! But, it’s stunning don’t you think? Below you can see Angela & Cindy really taking it all in. Remember to click on the names that are highlighted in dark blue for a link to their blogs.


Cindy & I were working on cases for our altered compacts (for the swap we are in for the up coming Art Event An Affaire At Tiffany’s by the amazing Kim Caldwell) & below you can see a few peeks of those.

Compacts collage

Lots of fun to create!


And then I cut out & stitched A BUNCH of these. I saw a photo on Pinterest (OH HOW I’M HOOKED on that & that is where MANY hours go for me) for a scarf that I really liked & thought “I want one of those” & while I’m at it I’ll whip up one for Diane & Riki as thank you gifts for my up coming trip out for A Charming Romance Class”. LORDY LORDY!!!! I had NO IDEA what a LOT of work that this would prove to be. Here’s the photo from Pinterest to give you an idea of started the madness.

Felt Flower Scarf

This one was made by Karoline at Cherished Vintage. She makes these & sells them on Etsy if you’re interested. Then Sandy was doing some sleuth work for me since Karoline doesn’t have a tutorial & found the one below made by Amy at Watch Me Daddy which does have a tutorial.

Another scarf by Watch Me Daddy Blog

Amy’s tutorial does not cut out each flower shape & although it’s cute I wanted to go more for Karoline’s look so I bought cookie cutters & used a disappearing ink pen to draw around the cutters. That’s 12 flowers per scarf… 6 different sized flower shapes in EACH flower… That’s 72 flower shapes cut for each scarf! YIKES!!!! Maybe I should have started a few months ago. Well, Angela helped me sew 3 of them & I worked on a few more but, I don’t even have one scarf done. Instead of using felt for my scarf I chose to use a really soft beautiful feeling light fleece which will make it feel good (I was afraid the felt would be stiff or rough on the neck) & is a softer look. Also a few pearls are added to mine & I really like the way things are shaping up. Stay tuned….


In the mean time I’m thankful for a fun filled SWEET crafty kind of day with these Crafty Buddies of mine. Hope you had a wonderful Valentines Day & I’ll be staying busy heading out for my Charmed Romance Class while hubby keeps the home fires burning & Ms Elle fed & entertained.

HUGS! Charlene

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