Monday, April 11, 2011

Herb Garden, Again

Over the weekend the Mister & I worked on putting my herb garden back together again.

The reason we have to put my herb garden back together is because-- long story short, it was torn up when the neighbors had to have their electrical cables buried. The post for all the electrical for our neighbors is in our back yard. So when the cable was buried, the trench for it was dug straight from the post, through my garden and into their yard. Above is what it looked like after they were done. It used to have a beautiful "checkerboard" made with the patio blocks, with herbs in the open spaces between the blocks.

Even my little turtle guardian of the garden was broken...

Anyway, once I got over fuming about the damage, there was nothing left to do but put it back together again. Pretty much everything was dead from the mess when the trench was dug, so we decided just to pull out all the remaining stones and patio blocks, till up the soil and start from scratch.

I am looking at it as an opportunity for improving the design from last time-- for instance, this time we're using more of the blocks to make a sidewalk and area for a bench. Last time we used flagstones and although pretty, they were very uneven and hard to walk on, so this will be much better.

I'm excited with the progress we've made so far and looking forward to my garden being even more beautiful than before.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Peacock Tales

So I have a project where I'm trying to create the look of peacock feathers and it has been challenging to say the least.

To begin with, its taken forever for me to get the clay I needed for the project-- Premo has a peacock pearl clay in their new 2011 colors, but so far I've not been able to find it locally even though it was released in January. I couldn't even find it online anywhere-- stores that carried some of the new colors didn't seem to have this particular color in stock, for whatever reason. Finally, after looking and looking I found some to order online and ended up paying an exorbitant shipping price for it.

The other color I need is green pearl, which has been discontinued in lieu of the new 2011 Premo pearl colors, so that has also created a difficulty. I finally found two blocks of it locally and have been hoarding it for this project.

But ANYWAYS-- on to creating the peacock feathers:

First I mixed two shades of peacock pearl and created these "eye" canes which will be in the center of the peacock feather. Then I mixed a darker shade of green pearl and was ready to assemble the second part of the feather cane.

I have to add--I am not a caner; I have very little experience with the technique, and then its been with only the very simplest of cane designs, so I approached this peacock cane project with all the online feather cane tutorial information I could find and quite a bit of trepidation as well.

Failed cane attempts #1 and #2. Sigh. The one on the left didn't seem to have enough definition between the layers of black & green, plus the shape wasn't what I wanted. On the right, I tried using silver between the green layers for more definition and I got it-- but did not like the results.

So I decided to lighten the dark green pearl just a bit so it wouldn't blend into the black and I tweaked the cane design a little and--

Finally. A peacock feather tip. But would it reduce and still look okay? *fingers crossed*

Yay! I'm pleased with how this one turned out. I think it will work for what comes next. And its a good thing, because all my trial and error has used up the majority of the peacock and green pearl clays I had.

Now on to stage two...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Altar Updates

Its been a long while since I cleaned and rearranged any of my altars, so I decided it was time to do something about the last night.

Part of the reason my poor altars have been so neglected is because I haven't been able to figure out how to cat-proof them. The cats love to eat feathers, play with tarot bag drawstrings and knock crystals on the floor and break them. *sigh*

Here is the solution I've been working on for my main altar-- almost everything is contained! The bell jar has a robin's nest filled with found feathers (for air), one of the jars has polished and unpolished stones/crystals (for earth) and the other has seashells (water). I'm still a bit worried about the open flames on the candles, but I'd hate to resort to battery operated votives. The altar doesn't feel alive without fire. I supposed I could do jar candles as well, but I love using the banded onyx holders I found for the Lady and Lord. Although I'm sure they'd rather I use jar candles than set a feline afire!

This is my devotions altar-- hopefully everything is safe from the cats. Since this table is smaller and not near a window, the cats tend to leave it alone. This is just a nice, simple altar where I can ground and center or sit nearby and think. I have my pagan prayer books & devotionals, plus my Tarot Affirmations deck here. I love my little Japanese rin (gong), its ring is perfect for creating a meditative state.

I'm glad I did spring cleaning and rearranging of at least a couple of my altars. It feels like I've welcomed spirit back into my room and it makes such an amazing difference in the atmosphere!