Monday, November 23, 2009

The Old Catskill Hotels

Back in the mid 1800's and in Victorian times the privileged would spend their summers in what was then known as the Catskill Mountain Houses. These were immense mansions on the cliffs overlooking the Hudson Valley where they would restore themselves with the fresh mountain air. I've always been fascinated by the Mountain Houses and the Hudson River School of Artists.... the ground breakers for American Art. Frederick Church, Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand and many others found great inspiration in the Catskill Mountains for their art. Frederick Church fashioned his mansion in such a way that all of the windows would frame the Hudson River just as though it were a painting. His home is called Olana, and if you are ever near Hudson, N.Y. it is a fascinating home to see, along with his paintings on display.
With the Catskill Mountain Houses and Hotels in mind I fashioned an old room key from a heavy piece of copper for a necklace. Here is my 'antique' key necklace:
Just think of all the hands that held that 'old' key and the stories it could tell. ;o)

Have a great week...



Saturday, November 21, 2009


Time for some new material to work with. I love these old sheet music graphics... don't you? Now if I only knew how to play the piano......



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Time Flies Necklace

Many projects in the works right now... a painting... some textured collages for Quimby & Smith's upcoming show and some small pieces with a Christmas theme.

This is a necklace that I just finished using a vintage pocket watch. You can't see it in the picture, but there is a vivid cobalt blue screw at the bottom and a sparkling crystal in the centerpiece. I reflected those blues in the cobalt blue beads, then hand forged differing styles of links to create the rest of the necklace.

I like to wear my jewelry before selling it so I can determine if anything needs adjusting or finishing. In this case some of the links seemed to have tiny burrs that would catch on a delicate sweater, so I went over the whole necklace with a file, smoothing out anything that might catch.

I think it's done :o)

Have a great day....



Wednesday, November 18, 2009

UFO's and Weird Phenomenon

Not too long ago we spent a week up in New Hampshire with my daughter and her husband. While there we stayed in our motor home on their property which abuts an air strip owned by her husband's family. We park to the side of their house which gives us a lovely view of the fields, mountains and of course the air strip. It's a very large, wide open space affording an amazing view of the night sky.

One night around 10pm I decided to head back out to the motor home to get some sleep and my daughter said she wanted to walk over with me. I headed out first with her following shortly behind. As soon as I walked outside I heard a very loud, very deep humming sound and saw some lights up to my left coming very slowly over the trees. It wasn't a hum like a helicopter or the roar of a jet, it was a steady deep hum like a large factory or generating station would produce. The lights were shaped oddly... several lights in the front, narrowing in the middle with 2 more lights, then widening in the rear with several more lights... all white. If you imagine the shape of a dog biscuit that's about as close as I can explain the shape. It seemed to be flying low although it might have been immense and I lost the concept of size and distance... I don't know. My daughter then came out of her house and immediately saw what I did and said "OMG... what is that?!"

We watched it fly across to the center of the field, then very quickly it headed south where we saw what appeared to be one side flipping up to make a 'V' shape and a small light appeared up to the left. As soon as this configuration took place the craft veered instantly to the left, farther south, and then very quickly to the right where it disappeared.

My daughter and I ... mouths wide open.... couldn't believe our eyes.. but whatever it was we both saw it and we agree on the size/lights/sound/speed. We'll never know what it was but since it is unidentified I would have to call it a UFO.

As most of you know, I live in the Hudson Valley near Pine Bush and our area has been determined to be a vortex of magnetic energy similar to Stonehedge. There have been hundreds of sightings of UFO's here making Pine Bush a UFO Capital. Our area has been featured on the History Channel, Discovery Channel and many other documentaries about UFO's because of the frequency and legitimacy of the sightings. The 'hot spot' is about 10 minutes from our house near a cemetery. There are hundreds of stone chambers peppered throughout the valley that are believed to have high magnetic levels and perhaps are related to the sightings.

If you would like to see some footage and read more about Pine Bush and UFO's here is a great link Pine Bush UFO ... fascinating! One piece of footage has an illustration of the UFO like we saw in New Hampshire.

There is also a book about it called 'The Pine Bush Phenomenon'

I think it's all very exciting and fun to think about, especially since it's right in my back yard, but if you want to read about your own area I would recommend the 'Weird' books. I personally own 'Weird New York' where they list all the strange/interesting phenomena in New York, but I believe they have published a book for nearly every state now. So pick up a copy and learn of all the strange and wonderful things in your back yard.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Children's Book Freebie

Busy preparing for the class I will be teaching this afternoon at Quimby & Smith in Pine Bush. I will be teaching "Everything you wanted to know about polymer clay but were afraid to ask." We can always find room for one more if you want to stop by at 1pm.

In the meantime, here is a sweet little freebie for you to use in your work.
Have a great weekend and don't let the Nor'easter blow you away.



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Saved Her Life!

lol...not too dramatic eh? It got you here!

So here's the story:

Once upon a time there was a bff who desperately wanted an antique dress form for her studio. I had secretly wanted one as well but felt we needed to find one for her first. Every time we headed out to a flea market or barn sale she would make her wish "Oh .. please let me find a dress form today!" ... but no... no dress forms came our way. Then one day on the way to the Rhinebeck Flea Market bff said "I am NOT looking for a dress form!" (She plays these little psychological games) I agreed that we were NOT looking for one, and with that mindset we met Pamela and started on our treasure hunts. I've posted all the other treasures we got that day but now comes the fun part.

There were hundreds of vendors outside with amazing and fun vintage and antique pieces but not the 'unmentionable'. The three of us decided to check out the inside market and the second we walked in the door what do you suppose we saw. (Just how big can Janet's eyes get?) A dress form! I dashed ahead to see if the price was prohibitive and couldn't believe my eyes.... $10?!?! I did a pivot turn and headed back to Pam and Janet with this incredulous look on my face which they interpreted as 'Oh my.. that dress form is VERY expensive!' Neither of them could believe that it was $10. Perhaps I'd read it wrong and it was really $100? But no, it was in fact $10 because on close inspection she was in deplorable condition.... some stretchy fabric disintegrating inside and out.... a missing head and a serious case of hip displacement... lol Janet looked and looked and debated and then walked away saying it would be too much work for her to take on... but she would think about it.

Okay, here is where I have to play it cool.. ( $10?!?!?!)

We walked around for another 10 minutes or so and I very calmly asked "Are you sure that it's too much work? Are you sure you don't want to buy it?" She said "No, it's more than I want to take on." to which I said... "The reason I'm asking is if you aren't going to buy it I am."( $10?!?!) All's well with the world... she said go ahead.. that it would be something I wouldn't mind taking on. So I dashed back before anyone else could buy it ($10!?!) and while paying for it I asked the woman if perhaps she might know of another dress form that would be in better condition. As it turns out she was a dealer and she did in fact have another dress form (with attitude) in lovely condition with a brass finial, but it was in an antique shop about 20 minutes away. Long story short we went down to the antique shop in Hyde Park and ...

Oh... that's right.... I was supposed to let Janet tell the rest of the story.... maybe today?

But I can still show you the pic of my little lady whose name is 'Mona'. I brought her poor little self home and cleaned her up, lubricated her joints and realigned her... even gave her a new/old head which was a wooden finial off an 1800's organ, then covered her with dress pattern paper for interest. She had a rough life on the poor side of town but now she is the queen of my studio.

Meet Mona...



Saturday, November 7, 2009

Autumn Freebie

Now that the weather is changing so dramatically and we've seen our first frosts I've become more preoccupied with the forecasts. On that note I want to share a scan I did of an old Almanac... gorgeous isn't it?

Have fun... make something magical with it :o)



Thursday, November 5, 2009

Memory Lane Mountainville

Yesterday I spent the day with my Dad walking down Memory Lane. For those of you who have read my post about Ketcham's Store and the cash register and spool cabinet, you will understand.

For those of you who didn't, I was born in Mountainville in New York and it's always been a very special place to me, complete with memories of Ketcham's Store. Yesterday my Dad and I wandered through Mountainville, taking pictures, telling stories and having those oh so bittersweet memories of being young and living in a beautiful place. I know that my Dad had so many more memories than I did as he is now 90 years old. He's not your typical vision of a 90 year old. He still works and drives (the senior citizen bus) and is physically and mentally as sharp as someone in their 60's or 70's. With a quick wit and a great memory he shared his story of Mountainville when I was born. .. um... complete with having a bet with the nurse about my birth that caused her to smoke a cigar... lol

I thought I would share some of those pictures with you today. ...

If you have ever gone back to your roots and where you lived after a very long time then perhaps you know how I felt. That same bridge going over Moodna Creek, the sign that said Ketcham Avenue (which is all of 100 yards long), the mountains, the valley... all of it just threw me back about 40 years. When I turned into Ketcham Ave it was with great anticipation of seeing the store once again. It's my understanding that the store closed when Mr. Ketcham died... decades ago.... and nothing was touched until recently. I am happy to say that the store still stands and I was able to get this picture:
I just stood there across from the store, letting the feelings and memories flood over me. It truly is so bittersweet remembering the squeak and slam of that old screen door... the one that is still there today.

We then rode over Taylor Road to the house where my parents played pinochle with their friends George and Grace every other Sunday. Amazing.... the same long dirt lane going back into the woods where I played... the same dammed creek where I ... well... I never did learn how to swim... but I almost drowned there and my brother found a copperhead snake one day. We sat there for some time just talking and remembering then off we went to see 'the train trestle'. It's formally known as the Moodna Viaduct but I have always known it as the Mountainville Trestle. My Uncle Bill lived in a big white farmhouse at the foot of the trestle where we could run over when the trains passed over and scare ourselves to death with the noise and the power of it all... all the creaks and groans of the structure as well. The trestle, built by the Erie Railroad, celebrates its 100th birthday this year.
This is a picture from Wikipedia so you can see the scale of it with a train crossing. The trestle spans the valley for 3,200 feet and is 193 feet high at its highest point, making it the highest and longest railroad trestle east of the Mississippi River.

I stood in the same place that I had as a child at Uncle Bill's house and took these pictures. Uncle Bill's house is gone now, as is Uncle Bill but the memory is alive and well. I must say even at my age now I'm still in awe of the immensity of this trestle. The only difference now is when I go to NYC for the day I'm riding on TOP of the trestle which is also an awesome experience. The conductor goes very slowly so as not to get the trestle rocking.

And this photo is one I took especially for you Janet...

And lastly, we drove up to Pleasant Hill Road to see if the house I was born in was still there... and it was! It's one of those old Sears Craftsman houses...built to last. I can only imagine the feelings my Dad had seeing the old house and he had some great stories about the hurricane of 1951 and cooking geese for Christmas... also my brother driving his tricycle down the front steps. My Dad was the caretaker for Camp Felicia at that time and they nearly named me Felicia (ew). There is still a lovely view from the house..

I hope you have enjoyed the trip down Memory Lane with my Dad and me. It was a very memorable and special day for us.



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Oh sooo rusty!

What is it about rust? The rich color? The texture? The history of the piece?

All of the above... I love rust! While in NH I took quite a few pictures of rusty equipment as well as collected rusty 'bits'. This pic is part of the front end on a Model A 'doodlebug'. I hope you can use in your work. If you need a higher resolution just drop me a line and I will send it to you. Please include your email addy in your post.

Have a great day...



Monday, November 2, 2009

The Last Stormville Flea Market Hoorah

Yesterday was the final flea market for this year at Stormville, N.Y. and of course Janet and I were NOT going to miss it. (Can you tell we're inseparable?) Our friend Anne joined us there and we three had a great time (We missed you Pam).. albeit exhausting... I think we dug/searched/rooted/scoured the antiques section for about 6 hours. Oh... small break for sausage and peppers and fried dough... mmm!

Here is just a small sampling of the treasures at the flea market. Quite honestly I was so busy dashing and hunting I forgot to take very many pictures. This was just one vendor, a lady from Maine whose name I have if anyone is interested:
And here are some of the treasures that followed me home:
All in all it was a great day... great weather... great treasures and great friends.