Russian Doll test painting
Saturday, 31 May 2008
Russian Doll test painting
Friday, 30 May 2008
Thursday, 29 May 2008
golden rutilated quartz and sterling silver double strand bracelet
Which brings me to the last two images of some treasures from a thrift shop in Santa Rosa that we brought back with us. The clock is a reproduction but its lovely and we got it for $10 and its sitting happily on the mantle above the fireplace. M and I are totally enchanted and amused by it, amused because across the street was a shop selling shabby chic rustic white furniture, mirrors and clocks, etc, and we figure the clock we got for the thrift store would have been more that $75, the clock is only battery run but I think my dad would appreciate that we bought it. Clocks are one of his hobbies, he finds them normally broken ones and fixes them. The buttons are a lovely shade of lilac and will eventually adorn a java jacket that has been abandoned in mid-knit, I will get back to it eventually honest. I think the buttons were around .25 or .50 cents. I probably would have brought back half the contents of the thrift shop if I had a big enough suitcase. I wish the charity shops around here carried things half as nice.
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
I started my blog a little over a year ago, I started it as a way to get back into writing, I was never one for journals, or diaries, I'm much more of a random, notes, squiggles, lists, drawings and thoughts hastily scribbled down in one of the various notebooks I drag around with me. I thought that If I started a blog and tried to write in it that I would at least start to get back into writing, I love to create characters, and stories, but life always seems to get in the way of such things as time to sit down and crack my head open and have a poke around to see what in the depths of my fractured mind. It started out with my thoughts and bits of writing, some Drabbles and grew to include the recipes I create in the kitchen and my battles in the garden, and came back round to include arts and crafts, something that I had stepped away from for years and have now seemed to have thrown myself into up over my eyeballs. In rediscovering the world of arts and crafts I have rediscovered another piece of myself from before H came along. Now he will sit and help me with my beads or sit questioning why i am putting tea onto papers.
2. How did you come up with your blog name? Meridian Ariel is something I have had for a very long time, it used to be one of my Chat handles from back in the days of the X-Files Room on the WBS chatting forum something like 11 years ago. Yes I am that sad a geek, Ariel was the name I gave instead of my real name, Apryl, and I always though Meridian was a lovely name, you might have noticed I like names, if you look at the jewellery in my Etsy shop.
3. Do your friends and family know about your blog? What do they think of it? My dad reads my blog every week, he can see the crafts I make, the cakes I create, and whatever outings we have been on, especially when I forget to e-mail him. My friends visit my blog as well, Frizbe leaves comments, and Meg visits from time to time (especially if there is a meme involve) and a few other friends visit it from time to time but don't always leave a comment.
4. How do you write posts?
Haphazardly. Actually it just depends on what crafts or baking I have been doing that day. I have been known on rare occasions to write a couple of posts a day if I have been particularly busy crafting and the light is good enough to photograph my creations good or bad. Some of my posts like the craft challenges I write in word and think quite a bit about, the rest are normally straight out of my head, spell checked once and posted.
5. Have you ever had a troll or had to delete unkind comments?
I have deleted a few junk comments but I have been lucky to have not had any nasty comments, most of the comments I receive are from like minded crafty people, and a few friends, and it really cheers me up to open my blog to find that someone has read it and been thoughtful enough to leave a comment.
6. Do you check your stats? Do you care how many people read your blog? If you do care, how do you increase traffic?
I do have a site meter but I only ever check it when I'm board, but then I do get a kick out of seeing where my visitors have come from. Its nice to get new people that visit my blog and to go visit their blogs and leave comments in return, it makes you see how big and how small the world is, That there are other people out there that appreciate your art or writing style, your crafts etc.
7. What kind of blogs/posts interest you? I read a lot of different blogs when I go blog hopping, mainly crafts related, I love to look at sewing blogs even though I can't sew, and I love jewellery blogs, humorous blogs, and cooking blogs too.
8. What do you like and dislike about blogging? I like writing the posts and sharing my recipes, thoughts, and crafts, blogging enables me to share what I'm up to with family and friends that are too far away to see in person more than once a year. What do I dislike? I can't really think of anything except when blogger kept going German on me and wouldn't upload images. I have found blogging a very positive thing for me so far, and I hope it continues to be.
9. Tag 5 other bloggers. I don't know who to tag for this, but I found this a really interesting meme so I invite everyone to do this Blogging Meme
Friday, 23 May 2008
As part of fufilling the Cupcakes, Candy and Ice Cream Challenge I wrote for the Mumsnet Crafters blog I thought I would use these delicious cotton candy coloured faceted pink "candy jade" beads, which I believe are a dyed type of quartz. My intention was a simple pink and silver bracelet, but apparently the beads had a mind of their own and paired up with some rogue nephrite green jade beads I had kicking around in my beading box. Once they got together I was powerless to separate them again.
Next I settled down to crafting a bracelet from a strand of delicate rutilated "golden stranded" quartz, the beads ignored my attempts at taming them and I found myself holding a string of strawberry quartz and half a dozen coin shaped peridot beads. So today's theme appears to be pink and green, I am wearing a green skirt after all, but paired with a black blouse so not everything is the colour of watermelon or watermelon candies I should say.
I may do some painting as well for the challenge, a nice little cupcake , or an ice cream melting in the summer sun. Everyone is welcome to join the challenge, there is no true due date, if you feel inspired by the thought of cupcakes and candy then please leave a comment here or on the mumsnet blog. You don't need to be a mumsnetter to join the challenge, you just have to feel inspired and being possed of a sweet tooth won't hurt.
Most of all have fun crafting. And remember a knit cupcake is far fewer calories than a real one. ......mmmmm...... cupcakes......
p.s. the light is terrible today, all grey and overcast so the pictures aren't so great.
Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
Open the book to page 123.
Find the fifth sentence.
Post the next three sentences.
The nearest book to hand is the book I just finished reading.
Dead Man Rising by Lilith Saintcrow A Dante Valentine Novel.
page 123 ends on the 5th sentence so I will type in the next 3 sentences of the next page the start of chapter 12
"Jace stood in the living room, his arms folded, the portable holovid player bathing the room in its spectral pink glow. He hit the mute button as soon as I appeared. I held the cloak over my arm, a long fall of sable velvet; I'd managed a tolerable French twist with my recalcitrant hair. "
The novel is the Second book in the Dante Valentine series, it is dark futuristic fantasy, think the Jetson cars hovering about in a city filled with demons, witches, cops, and a psionic murderer. good clean fun then.
what genre of books do you read? and why? Good question, I mainly read sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, or some combination of the three. The why of it is in part as simple as that is what I started reading when I graduated from children's books, and an obsession with the Little House on the Prairie Novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder (yes I watched every episode of the tv series as well). My dad was my influence for my love of books and reading, he gave me all his Stephen Kings to read when I was about 10 or 11. Stephen King's The Stand remains one my my favourite novels to this day. I enjoy books that transport you somewhere else to expierince things beyond the realm of this reality.
What books do you dislike? I cannot stand books of the "this is my horrible life read all about how terrible it was and feel guilty" , reading is meant to be a pleasure not something horrible and unpalatable. I'm not too keen on modern romance, we live in the now why would I want to read about it?
favourite children's books?
The Dragon Machine by Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson is a beautiful book and H loves it and must read it at least once or twice a week. One of my special favourites are the Shel Silverstein poetry books, I would get them at Christmas and sit all afternoon reading them and giggling to myself.
favourite classic novel? Pride and Prejudice of course, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, I should really read more classics but I think High School cramming the likes of Jane Eyre, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Catcher in the Rye down my throat it rather put me off classic novels for a very long time.
all time favourite book? or author? I have many, a lot depends on the mood that I am in, I like Laurel K Hamilton, Stephen King, Bill Bryson, Julie E. Czerneda, Lilith Saintcrow, Anne Bishop, many many more.
what is the next book you will read? I have a stack of novels to get through near the top are The Devils Right Hand by Lilith Saintcrow (book 3), Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder, and I have no idea its a big stack and its upstairs, and I am not.
what will your next book purchase be? either the next Laurel K Hamilton, or some crafting books on beading, or on learning to sew/embroidery for complete morons type of thing.
favourite place for reading? I love to read in the garden or sitting in a cafe with a good latte and a piece of cake, and if its a coffee shop in a book shop even better. I think I may be addicted to the smell of books and coffee.
tag 5 people. I don't know who to tag for this so I will say if you read this meme and feel like filling it out then leave a comment and I will visit your blog and read your answers! Have fun.
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg. mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup caster/white sugar
1 tsp. grated lemon zest (2 limes)
juice of 2 limes
1 cup sliced and hulled strawberries
1-2 tablespoons of caster/white sugar
for the base:
12 biscuits (makes roughly 1½ cups crumbs)2 tablespoons melted butter
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
6 glass ramekin dishes.
Crush the biscuits and add the melted butter and cinnamon (optional). Mix well and press firmly into the ramekin dishes (alternatively for a larger cheesecake us an 8-inch pie pan). Pat down using the back of a tablespoon. Place in fridge for 30mins to set.
While base is setting. Mix together cream cheese, mascarpone, lime zest, lime juice (I normally put the lime juice in to taste roughly about 2 limes worth but if you would prefer a zestier cheesecake add 1 more) sugar, using a wooden spoon or electric mixer. Pour the cheese mixture over the base and spread evenly. Put cheesecakes in the fridge for at least 1 hour to set, (if making a large cheesecake it will need at least 4 hours to set, preferably overnight).
While the cheesecakes are setting, slice the strawberries and sprinkle with a generous amount of sugar (1 to 2 tablespoons). Just before serving spoon the sliced strawberries and juice over the mini cheesecakes.
cooks notes: I originally made these mini cheesecakes for Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May a Mexican holiday) I served them after we had nachos, burritos, and refried beans. The cinnamon in the base blends well with the sweet strawberries and the lime cheesecake. M was very impressed, he ate 4 of the 6 ramekins I had made,. H was initially sceptical about it being lime but after eating all the strawberries off the top of his cheesecake he proclaimed that the cheesecake bit was actually "quite nice" .
Monday, 19 May 2008
J's watch final assembly
Friday, 16 May 2008
We have arrived back in one piece from a fast and furious trip to Paris, three mums, three 4 year old (going on 14 I'm pretty sure) kids, H and his two best girl friends. It could have been hell it could have constantly rained, and the kids could have continuously fought, sulked, and whined the two days and one night away. But the kids were great save towards the late afternoon of the first day as we steered them towards the apartment we had for the night. It was quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing you ever saw, me and my two friends dragging our respective children along as they stumbled along in a sleep deprived daze. Bless.
I had been to Paris once before with M on our one year anniversary, M says we went up into the Eiffel tower which I cannot remember for the life of me, I'm not terribly keen on heights and tall things to begin with so I'm not really surprised I didn't remember. Mostly we wandered around the streets cooing over pretty buildings, prettier patisseries, and lovely chocolatiers, and all this french and cosmopolitan. The children were cooed over, and photographed by Japanese families. When asked what their favourite thing about the trip was the kids replied "Going up the Tower", "Pain au Chocolat" , or "the carousels" and apparently they are already planning another trip, though how they will get there without any mums I'm not sure.
We had a great time, H was quite enamoured of the metro system and was very proud to get to put his own little ticket into various machines. I was really impressed at how good the kids were, and they actually managed a few "Merci"s and "Bonjour"s without any prompting, I on the other hand did manage hello, pardon, and thank you, but that's about the extent of my french, I took Spanish in school, which means I can understand Spanish on a level slightly above Dora the Explorer.
My only regret for the trip is that we encountered some used book stalls on the street and I didn't buy anything because it was the first day and I didn't want to carry it around all afternoon and the next day. I'm kicking myself now as I want to make some more of the painted pages I have been doing and a french book would have been great. Next time I guess... and yes there will be I have told M there will be we might even drag his mum along, free holiday for her free babysitting for us!
The Eiffel Tower
The Pompidou Centre
OK now that that boring travel stuff is over with on to the give away portion of this post.
This post is number 200 and as such I think that calls for a give away don't you? I think you do so her goes, leave me a lovely comment, and they are all lovely and next Monday I will draw a random winner.
.....oh yes I nearly forgot the prize!
Item one is this small (4 1/2 x 4 1/2) painted page of a coffee/tea cup or similar as I am willing to make something unique for my winner, just tell me something that you like (toadstools, fairies, cupcakes, vintage, etc ). I also need you to tell me your favourite colour as I am also including a semi-precious beaded key chain made just for the winner. Good luck!
The drawing for the give away is now closed. The winner will be posted within the hour.
Monday, 12 May 2008
Is there ever an evil queen around when you have some poison apples to sell?
I can't seem to leave these vintage story book pages alone. And as I have a special fondness for drawing trees I really couldn't resist combining the two. As for the apples the tree just needed a splash of colour, there for some blood red poison apples on black tree limbs. The tree calls to me, its dying leaves whisper when the breeze is still. It says it needs a mount and a frame and I'm inclined to agree.
I have also been dabbling in a bit of monochromatic bead work, The bracelet below is Black agate, white jade (or possibly white quartz as they look pretty much identical), and silver, I am so tempted to keep it for myself, I have a lovely black blouse it would go great with. I am in dire need of some more silver beads so I have come up with a diabolical plan to drag M and H to Lichfield for the day tomorrow and disappear to Spellbound Beads for just a little while... honest.
Then I really must get to work on the garden, the poor little bean plants and pepper plants in the green house are desperate for re-potting, but at least I have some beautiful lilacs to sniff.
Friday, 9 May 2008
I really was going to do the housework honest but I just had this idea in my head inspired by the plushie toadstool that LucyKate has done a beautiful tutorial for, alas my skills with a needle are quite lacking so instead I painted one. Well actually its slightly more complicated than that, I had a vintage children's book that was in very poor condition so I cut out the pages and stained a page with a tea bag, let it dry then painted it with watered down acrylics. Technically its black tea-ed down as I used the left over bit of black tea from staining the page as my water cup. I'm not sure if that is lazy or not but it was fun and I think the fun bit is what crafting is all about.
This morning I dragged all my beads out, and there are quite a few now as I got 3 lots of beads in the post yesterday. The first creation is a watch that I have a commission for, I'm happy with it so far but I'm waiting on some more clear quartz beads that I may swap for the ice flake quartz used in this first attempt at a beaded watch. The second is a watch using white quartz and lime jade, though I think the oval jade beads are more of an acid lemon colour than a lime colour. Its very summery and bright.
My intention is to do some painting and drawing later this afternoon or once I have had more coffee to keep me going. I need to sort the house out its an absolute and utter tip but we are having the bathroom done and its such a mess everywhere I have lost the will to wield duster and hoover.
Some recipes will be popping up soon and this post makes 197 so I think that calls for a give away when I hit 200.. don't you? Any Ideas for a give away? I thought something along the lines of a commisioned bracelet/earrings or possibly a small painting... give me your ideas please.
Wednesday, 7 May 2008
The flight was good, Virgin Atlantic are great, H fell asleep about 2 hours before landing and woke up with some cajoling required. Upon looking out the window as the plan banked for landing he wanted to know if the plane was going to crash into the water. We landed smoothly with only a bump or two after roughly ten hours of flight, H watching Bee Movie and Charlie and Lola 50 times. I watched Juno, and something else that was apparently quite forgettable.
After the joy of customs, M getting fingerprinted and eyeball scanned, or whatever they do to ensure he is who it says on his passport, though H and I could have been anyone standing there with our little blue American passports in hand. We collected our luggage, H’s car seat being last to track down around a dark corner on an inexplicable separate conveyor belt with no sign or reason we were off on the air-train to the rental car centre. It was chaos as National has now taken over Alamo and its not going terribly smoothly we eventually ended up with whatever SUV we wanted on row Z and H choose a black SUV Rav 4 or something (I’m not a car person I don’t pay attention to these things. It was black, had 4 wheels, and got us from A to B, C, D- Z.
Our hotel was just across the water from SFO and you could watch the planes taking off and landing on the runway, H and M were quite impressed, I was less so. I guess it’s a boy thing. H woke us at 3am and not long after we got dressed and hit the road north to Santa Rosa. The Plan? Well there wasn’t one really we got some bagels from Sonoma Valley Bagel Co. and coffee from Wolf Coffee (possibly one of the strongest coffees out there, I’m convinced the steam will strip wallpaper and the coffee will remove varnish.
We waited outside the Target store for ten minutes before it opened then did a bit of a blitz shop round for food stuffs, gifts, bits of clothing, said hello and chatted with a woman I worked with there many moons ago. We then hit Old Navy for more clothes and those jobs done decided to head out to Sonoma for a walk around the square, coffee in the gardens of the Sunflower Café. H played in the park and the centre of the square and then we went and tasted cheese at the Sonoma Cheese Factory. The cheese factory is great but they have added a café to the back of the shop and you can no longer see them making the cheese but you can still taste it. We also had poke around Baksheesh a fair trade goods shop that I used to frequent quite a lot.
We stopped by Mary’s Pizza Shack to sit out on the deck underneath the old Magnolia tree and have pizza, My Dad used to take me there when I was little, a few years older than H is now. After that we headed back to Santa Rosa and met up with Meg at our old haunt of Barns and Nobles. We had a good talk and walked around the mall and downtown Santa Rosa, which seemed much prettier and tidier than I can ever remember it being while I lived there. We had burritos at Taqueria El Favorito, the best burritos in Northern California and H was quite taken with the Mexican Music Juke Box and entranced by a couple of Mexican Children that were speaking Spanish, I think he though they might have been real live versions of Dora and Diego.
The next morning we headed out to the coast and Bodega Bay. On the way we stopped off at the town of Bodega where there church and schoolhouse are that were used in the film The Birds. We had lunch at Dee’s at Lucas Wharf, the best Fish and Chips, accompanied by some of the nicest tarter sauce ever. After that we went to Portuguese Beach, my favourite beach on the Sonoma Coast and M wandered around taking pictures while H played in the sand and I tried not to cry as I sat running my fingers through the sand breathing in the salty ocean air. No seaside beach in England can compare to standing on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, The last time M and I were at the beach it was storm season and you could only park at the top of the cliff to watch the waves crash over the rocks and cover the entire beach.
They call the coast Highway 1 Dramamine drive for all the twists and turns and the worst of it is driving north past Jenner, the road twists and turns and hairpins back and forth, but is still undeniably beautiful. We drove north to the Timber Cove Inn to stay the night, it’s a peculiarly California kind of place, its nice, and rickety, posh and neglected at the same time, Our room had a windows overlooking the Cove and a balcony to sit on. it’s a beautiful place a place that you have to go to say you have been. In the night a rather determined raccoon attempted to break into out room but other than that you could hear the crash of the waves on the rocks.
view from our room at the Timber Cove InnFlying Goat Coffee in Santa Rosa's Railroad Square
The next day we headed back inland to Santa Rosa, via Coleman Valley Road to meet up with my friend Jaci, who I hadn’t seen since High School and only last summer got in contact via MySpace. We met in Santa Rosa’s Historic Railroad Square at Flying Goat Coffee had a good walk around and had a meal together down town with her family and mine, Did I mention her son is a year old and has the same name as H?
The next morning we headed out to Fairfield and the Jelly Belly Factory, H was in heaven, I think we could have left him there for days watching the machinery and smelling all the lovely fruity Jelly Belly smells. Later Meg and I went to see a movie, just like old times, and like old times we snuck in Jamba Juice Smoothies and sat and watched Smart People which was quite good but not the sci-fi fest I was hoping for. The last day in Northern California we drove out to Calistoga to see the Old Faithful Geyser and a walk around the cute town itself. The next morning we flew out to my parents in Idaho and cue two weeks of snow and miserable weather, except for the day we arrived and the day we left. We flew back to California for two more days one last day in Santa Rosa were we stayed at the Fountaingrove Inn and had a last visit with Meg and Jaci before driving down to San Francisco.
In San Francisco our Hotel was just off Union Square so we did a bit of shopping, you could see Bloomingdales and The Big Old Navy from our Hotel window. We did the touristy thing, rode the cable cards, wandered around Ghriadelli Square, Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. That’s about it, I think we will go again one day, as we ran out of time to go to Petaluma, or to ride the Larkspur Ferry past the prisoners at San Quentin before docking at the famous Ferry Building in San Francisco. I never realized I missed things so much until this trip and visiting them all again.
Fountaingrove Round Barn
the golden gate bridge