Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Forested Fairy Land

Iargo Springs is an historic Native American site.  The waters that flow from the river embankment were believed to have healing powers, and so, the area became the site of important pow-wows for the regions earliest inhabitants.  I can personally attest to the sense of calm and serenity of this place, and yes, I do believe in its power to heal.

Iargo means "many waters."

Water, and moss, and ferns, oh my!

The air is so wet it feels difficult to take a deep breath,
and you almost feel like you're in a temperate rain forest.

It feels ancient, and I suppose it is.

Then you arrive at the river.

Can you see those two white dots out there on the water?
Those are either Mute Swans or Trumpeters.  I hope they are
are Mute Swans, they are rare and endangered. 
If there is any place they could survive,
I have to believe it would be Iargo.

Now, to give you a little perspective about how far you descend into this
otherworldly place,  you can climb back out with me...
here we go!

First rest stop...

Second rest stop...

One more to go...
Nearly 200 steps in all, whew!
Notice this last photo is a little blurry, 200 steps will do that to you.
Ha Ha!  But I made it out, and would do it again in a heartbeat.

I hope you've enjoyed your tour, dear friends.  If you are ever in the area,
be sure to stop and explore Iagro for yourself.  I promise you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Going Nowhere Fast!

Have you ever felt like you're going a hundred miles an hour, but standing still at the same time because it looks like nothing is getting done?  You're sure you've been working hard because your exhausted at the end of the day?  Well that's been me since we came back from our mini vacation. 

I won't bore you with most of the details, because really its been mostly everyday "stuff" just hitting the fan all at the same time.  Stuff like the washing machine electrocuting itself with a load of jeans sitting in the rinse cycle and needing to run a grocery shopping marathon.  (I forgot to warm up first and pulled a cramp half-way through!)

However, all the "stuff" pales in comparison to the decision to move my studio from the converted garage space to our walkout basement, currently used as an office.  The basement is completely finished with a bathroom, separate storage and laundry rooms, and a walkout onto a small, walled patio.  All good, right?  The move will also get my artwork away from the dirtier aspects of cleaning and refurbishing some of our more "distressed" vintage finds.

The part that's got me a little consumed, okay obsessed, is the need to redecorate.  I'm talking replacing carpet that still looks dirty even after you clean it, and walls that haven't been painted in several years, editing furniture to make room for more important furniture.  You get the picture?

So I've been running around choosing paint and fabric for new drapes, ordering carpet and trying to figure out where everything is going to fit, etc., etc., etc.  This would all probably be really fun if I didn't need to have it done, like yesterday.  Actually, choosing the fabric for the drapes was really fun and I LOVE it.

Tomorrow we're off to an auction, so a break in the redecorating frenzy.  Hopefully I'll have lots of treasures to show you.  In the meantime...vacation!

This is the view of Tawas Bay from our room,
beyond the pier is Lake Huron and beyond that is Canada.

The morning we checked out, so did the sun...
but not for long.

This is the Ausable River Valley, land that I love.

More than 100 miles long, the Ausable
 stretches half-way across Michigan's northern, lower peninsula.

This is one of six dam ponds, big lakes actually.  At one time the river
provided all the electricity for the northern region of the state. 
The dams are all still in operation.

A little drift wood at Loud Dam. 
This tree root is actually about 4 feet in diameter.

A narrow little bend in the river, but so charming.

This place is the overlook at Iargo Springs,
a truly magical place, and I don't use that word lightly.

Iargo Springs deserves a post all its own,
so come back tomorrow for a trip into fairyland

Friday, June 18, 2010

Farm Charm Friday

These photos of a neighboring farm were taken early last fall while I was walking my dog.  Just a glimps of my neighborhood while I'm out fishing.

I'll be home tomorrow --  see you then.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

In the Studio - A Glimps of What's Cookin'

I'm not actually in the studio today.  I've gone fishing - literally!  But I wanted to leave a couple of posts for you and hopefully they'll launch when they're supposed to.  Sorry, some of the photos are a little blurry -- I was in a hurry so I can have my posts done by the time Hubby gets home and we're ready to hit the road.

I guess you could say I'm working on a little bit of everything...

I'm calling this one "Fresh Eggs"

And here's a group of holiday characters...

Something for everyone, uh, except Easter.

Patriotic mice...

Christmas & Halloween - my favorites!


The key to my ghoulish heart.

And this is Bossy.  She's not as mean as she looks, actually she's quite sweet.
We found her as a kitten with a fish hook caught in her lip. 
She's had a bit of a sneer ever since. 

Thanks for stopping by for studio day.  See you when we get back.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Finding A New Direction

I've been thinking a lot about the art that I create lately.  First I was a painter, and a crafter, but mostly a painter.  I got my first real set of oil paints when I was about 11 years old.  Before that it was paint by numbers kits, although I rarely followed the numbers and staying inside the lines was totally out of the question.

When I started college (I was not an art major) the oil paints slipped away, no pun intended, and my creative outlet became pastels and pencil, and occasionally watercolors.  But over time, even these artistic endeavors dwindled as work took more and more of my time. 

After I married (I married late by the way - I was 36!) I was luckily to be in a position to start exploring my creative side again.  I created decoupaged plates, painted Santa faces on wood slabs, decorated wreathes, and even planted flowers in vintage containers.  Eventually, I started making dolls with cloth bodies, sculpted heads and hands, and costumes sewn from vintage fabrics.  I attended local craft fairs and art shows with my mom and sister; and we did pretty good during the hey-day of such events.

Ugh!  The turtle neck makes me look like I'm in a neck brace! 
Why don't our loved ones tell us these things before we go out in public?

Here are some early Santa's.  I even made the bases out of old lamp parts.

Over time however, the craft show craze began to fade and so I looked for some other venue to sell my goods.  By this time, I was making dolls almost exclusively.  I was lucky enough to find a wonderful gallery that would take my work (more on the gallery in another post.)  My dolls have now evolved to fully sculpted characters with wire and wood armatures.

Halloween and Christmas are my favorite holidays.
Vintage tins became my base of choice, and I use lots of old springs to make bobbles.

It's been a wonderful experience.  But...I feel myself becoming less and less motivated to create fully sculpted figures.  Instead, I am more and more drawn to the mixed media creations I find in magazines like Somerset Studio and on your blogs.  In fact, I have been so inspired that I decided to take the plunge and try to create a piece of mixed media art myself based on some of the things I love most...books, the garden, vintage lace, buttons and millinery, and old photos and paper. 

Here are the things I've gathered so far.  Although, I expect things will probably change as I go along.

 These are all things that I've collected over time.
So I guess, in a way, this post can also be called..."Tuesday's Treasures."

So thank you for the inspiration dear friends.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Trucks, Tractors and Turtles

I just couldn't resist the opportunity to head out and do some treasure hunting this week.  I live in a rural area and one of the small villages near my home organized a garage sale trail.  So armed with map, a pocket full of small bills and a couple empty totes, my sweet husband and I hit the trail.  The trail led down dirt roads, onto centennial farms, into a few subdivisions, and through the small village of Hadley.  The weather was lovely and by the end of the day the car was full and our pockets were empty.

One of my favorite stops was an old farm house with lots of vintage charm.  As I wandered through the piles of junk (I mean treasures) my eye wandered to the barn and beyond.  That's when I saw old truck!  I LOVE old trucks and so I left my growing stash of treasures, with a quick "Can you watch this stuff?" thrown over my shoulder at my husband, and took off to check it out.

She was a beauty!  The owner wandered over, probably to make sure I wasn't drooling on his baby, and told me this gem had belonged to his father.  As we talked, he told me he had a special truck that he was restoring in the barn.  So, of course, I had to go take a peek.  He was right; she's special, or rather, will be.


Before we left, I asked if could snap a few more pictures to share on my blog.  They were so kind to let me just wander around and click away.  Here's some of what I found...

Tractors hiding in the brush.

A lovely old barn with a great old Coca-Cola sign.


And last but not least...

That evening, as we unloaded the last of our goods, we spied a visitor in the back yard.
Mama turtle on her way from the pond to the farm field to lay her eggs in the gravelly soil.  She's a big girl, almost 2 ft. long from the tip of her nose to the tip of her tail.  She's been a resident in our pond for several years now.  But don't let her sweet looks fool you - she's a snapper and she bites!"


As you start a new week, don't forget to take a little walk on the wild side.