Wednesday, December 25, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Season's greeting everyone! Santa here. Just wanted to let you all know that The LaChance family have been celebrating the season with family and friends. I did my best to make this Christmas extra special but I think the new dog Bailey stole some of my thunder. Thank goodness she didn't bite my in the cheeks while making my way through the house with presents.
Time for me to catch up on some needed rest. Blessings to all of you :)
Santa

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

SO MY CAMERA IS DEAD...

My camera has ended it's long run and I am trying to find a way to get my pictures from Halloween and Thanksgiving downloaded and posted.....along with everything else that has been happening. I do have one happy picture to share. The latest member of our family. Bailey! We are hoping to bring her home next Friday. Yes, Friday the 13th. This may now be a lucky day for us from now on.
Look at that face!!!!!!!! What a snuggle bunny.

She was at a shelter in Florida which was going to put her to sleep. But a shelter up here in MA said they would take her so she took the long trip along with a handful of other unwanted dogs, only to have no room for her again. Finally, a wonderful shelter in Salem, NH took her in, and ta-da, we found her. We have been searching for a rescue dog that needed a sweet young girl like Julia to shower it with love. Though we tried for months, nothing was "perfect"...until Bailey. Julia fell in love with her from the minute she laid eyes on her. If truth be told, I took a shine to her too. I have never owned a dog; always been a cat lover. But this girl just had a sweet charm I couldn't resist.
Hope you all had a fun Halloween and Happy Thanksgiving. Let's hope my pictures can be saved so that I can share with you all later. For now, I guess we all know what I will be asking Santa for this Christmas!
Chow for now,
Cyndi


Sunday, September 29, 2013

FINAL (maybe) HALLOWEEN SHAKER

Tuesday will be October 1st. Can I get a "Hey Ya!?!
So love this time of the year. The leaves are just starting to get hints of color. In a few weeks, we should be in full color. I get giddy thinking about it.
Funny thing about Fall, when I was a kid, I could have cared less about turning leaves. As a matter of fact, my Dad would drag my brother and I out for a ride with my Mom every October to look at the foliage, only to be met by groans and moans. Oh, the agony my brother and I felt hearing him say "Hey, let's go for an adventure ride and look at the leaves". NOOOO!
Years later as an adult, I moved from the South Shore of Massachusetts to the North Shore, and I was so blown away by the amazing color of the Fall. Call it what you will, but I was hooked. That first year away from home, as I found myself driving in my car gazing at the foliage, I stopped to pick up some special leaves to send home to Dad. It was a light hearted joke between him and I, and a clue that I had gown-up...figured it out. The foliage was amazing, just as he said all those years before. He took those leaves and pressed them in a framed picture of me on his desk. It is still there, 30 years later, even after his passing. Fall always reminds me of my Dad :) That, and candy corn....but that is a story for another day.
Say Cheese!
I finally finished up my JOL Shaker. I was hoping to re-open my Etsy store tonight, but I keep running into glitches. It has been a while since the shop as been dusted off, and things certainly look different. As I work out the bugs with the Etsy IT Team, I will keep posting pictures here of any new items.
I would love to start selling right from by blog but I know very little about setting it up. If any of you are out there with some experience or helpful tips, I would love to hear from you.


So here he is! He is fully functioning....another words, he is a "true" shaker. He makes a rattling sound when shaken. I had to create the basic hollow shape, fill him with rice or beads, and then sculpt his face with paper clay. Some crepe paper and ribbon and he is ready to party!
I was a little craft with these tiny blank canvases from Michaels. With some printed sheets of Thanksgiving postcards, I decoupaged the images, added a 1-step crackle medium on top and aged them. Created a hanger out of some fall greenery, a splash of glitter and ribbon...and tada!
Thanksgiving Ornies


Thanskgiving ornies. I like these. Pinterest is full of tags with vintage postcard images, but I love the canvas look and the crackle. It is hard to see in the pictures, but it gives it an antiqued painting vibe. They were quick and simple to make. I am definitely doing a few for Christmas.
On to the most important subject! Has everyone been out there shopping? I love hitting Target and Home Goods around this time of the year to see what adorable things are calling my name. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. Not much out there that is peeking my interest enough to slap down some cold hard cash. But, Target did have these adorable felted pumpkins. Large and smaller sizes and soo inexpensive. Super fun.
Felted Pumpkins from Target
Fekted Pumpkins from Target
And they also had these to-die-for owls.
Owls from target
A trip to Home Goods and I found and even better selection of the same owls with different colors and sizes! Damn, they make my heart sing. Love them.
More Owls but from Home Goods
Home Goods
Well, time to take a hot shower and get cozy!
Have a great night everyone. I will keep you posted on the Etsy situation.
Chow for now,
Cyndi

Monday, September 16, 2013

SHAKERS, DRUMS AND THE CRISP AIR OF FALL

What a difference a couple of weeks makes. The first week in September was hot and muggy. It certainly didn't feel like the first day of school. But tonight is very cool and brisk, and it finally feels like  Fall has arrived. This is my favorite time of the year. The cool nights and sunny days, the smell of the air, and, oh the colors! Can't wait for the leaves to start turning.
Halloween Shakers - still have more to come.
I want to share some of the pictures of the completed Halloween shakers.
I have 3 new black cats. They took some time to do, but it was worth it. I wanted to be able to fill them with beads so they would have sound as a traditional shaker. I couldn't find a hollow pre-made paper mache form in the sizes I wanted and didn't want to wait to order them....so I went ahead and made my own forms. Grabbed a couple of balls (LOL - sounds naughty!) and went to work.
New Black Cat Halloween Shakers.
Halfway through it, I will admit, I wished I'd just covered a solid styrofoam ball with clay and called it a day....but I am glad I didn't. I loved the way they turned out. Hope you like them too.
I still continue to make my traditional shaker designs because I always get requests for them each season. This year I added a twist to two favorite designs. I decided to make a "drum" design this year.
Halloween Drums
For those of you out there wanted to try your hand at making them too, they are made from 3 inch paper mache boxes. I punched holes on the side to run string through it with rusty bells on the end. When you spin them, they bang on the "drum" and make noise.
Hint: You want your dowel to stay secure in the box, so you need to run the dowel into the box before you glue it shut. Add a little clay and glue to the top inside and push the dowel through the bottom up to the top with the glue or clay (I used both - I wanted it to stay secure). Let it dry. This will keep it dowel from flopping around on you. Then glue the cover on top.
Back View
I wish I took some photos of the different stages. I really should start doing that so I can share with you all. Once I get going on something, I forget about the pictures...darn it.
It was my first attempt at these and as with everything, I wing it as I go along. I might make a few more and take some real step by step photos for you all.
Oh, and I got a little crazy and decided to do a three dimensional pumpkin shaker as well....and yes, I made the hollow form to be able to fill him with beads as well.
Hello there!
He is just a little naked -faced fellow right now but here is a sneak peek at him in his infancy. He will join the others hopefully this weekend.
Jess and Julia - First Day of 4th Grade
Before I say goodnight though, here is a picture of my peanut on her first day of 4th grade. She and her friend Jessica (on the left) are waiting for the bus. Good golly, she is growing up so fast.
Have a great night everyone!
Chow for now.
Cyndi


Sunday, August 18, 2013

IS IT SCHOOL YET?

I had another week off from work. My last for the summer. A few days at the lake and even more days in the basement cleaning and organizing boxes of "stuff". So much "stuff"! Where the heck does it come from?!
Next Saturday we plan a large yard sale and hope to get most of the mess gone. It is so nice to de-clutter :).
In just a few more weeks it will be school again. Can you believe it! Back to busy schedules, bus stops and homework. I always feel in a rush during those morning and I am not looking forward to 4th grade math! I never remembered school being this difficult when I was a kid. And what is up with the home work! Good Golly.
I worked on a few pieces during my days at home. I can't seem to focus on one holiday (as I nervously twitch one eye) LOL.
A Thanksgiving turkey. DONE.
New faces for this years shakers....some old favorites and some new. NOT DONE.
My desk looks like the Holiday Gods threw up all over it.
Chow for now,
Cyndi

Thanksgiving Turkey


Love the way the crackle turned out! 
Unfinished shakers. The cats still need there sticks and some crepe paper. The bottom two are similar to pieces I have done but I changed it up a little bit and added some rusty bells on the sides to spin and jingle..... they still need some crepe paper too. What a mess!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

THE WIZARD OF OZ SPLENDOR / NEW PIECES

A few weeks ago, an email popped into my mailbox. "New shows added", it said. I was excited to find out that the North Shore Music Theater located in Beverly, Massachusetts had added a few more shows to their production of The Wizard of Oz. I heard wonderful things about the show, and was disappointed I didn't buy any tickets when I had the chance. Finding out more shows were added was a happy surprise. I knew my daughter would LOVE seeing this, and since this would be her first theatrical musical, I knew I had to get tickets.
Lucky me, we were 4 rows back from the stage. Amazing seats. Now, for those of your familiar with the NSMT, you know that any seat in the house is perfect. But, dang! 4 rows back! This was perfect for her. She would be close enough to really feel the experience. 
So, Saturday we were off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz. And, WOW, he really was WONDERFUL. Here we were in this small theater-in-the-round, with the Wicked Witch, Glenda and Flyer Monkeys all hovering over us. So much thought was put into making this production as magical as possible and they nailed it! Even Toto was the cutest little acting pooch on four legs. I wish I could share some pictures, but they don't allow cameras. If any of you live close enough to make the trip to MA, give NSMT a chance to entertain you. You won't regret it.
A Christmas Carol is always performed in December. It will "make" the holiday of even the most grumpiest of Scrooges. This production will send chills and tingles down your spine. Too scary for younger kids though so leave the kiddies home.
Boston has some wonderful holiday shows, but for something truly memorable, take the drive to Beverly, just north of Boston. You will thank me for it. :)
Gosh, I feel like Roger Ebert today - LOL

Here are the latest photos of some new completed pieces.
Rusted Wire Hanger - Burlap ribbon

Another wooden Halloween decoration you can hang on your door or wall. It is hand painted with a vintage black cat design. Aged and distressed, he is painted on an old piece of wood I had lying around.
(I have new shakers in the works.....more of my more popular past designs and a few new ones. Hope to have those finished in a few weeks.)
The other is a paper mache Santa ornament. I loved working on this guy. He was so much fun.
I sculpted his face on a paper mache teardrop ornament I bought from Michael's last year.




No glitter on this guy. Once I distressed and varnished him in a matte finish, he took one look at me and said "DONE". He is a good size....fits in the palm of your hand and much larger than the small snowmen I posted a few weeks ago.
If any of you are wondering when my Etsy shop will be re-opened, I am shooting for September 15th. I have a few Craft Shows planned in November, so I will be keeping some of my pieces for those shows, but I am planning to have new pieces for the store to celebrate the re-opening. I will keep you all posted.

Chow for now,
Cyndi

Monday, July 22, 2013

VACATION WEEK and CATCH-UP (final chapter)

Back to work this morning after an enjoyable, albeit extremely HOT, vacation week.
Saturday was particularly sticky and muggy….a perfect day to stay in doors and do some painting.
I have a few old pieces of wood that I have been itching to get some use out of. One piece was perfectly sized for an idea I had to incorporate this old vintage Halloween bag design. I am sure you have all seen this image on Pinterest popping up lately. Everyone seems to be gearing up for Halloween and this dancing cat has been very popular.
The project could be streamlined into something easier if you are not handy with a brush. Just print out the image and Mod Podge it to a board. But, for me, I enjoy the process of painting and aging the pieces myself so, I went for it! I find painting so relaxing.
With a little splash of green to jazz it up, some rusty wire and some torn fabric for ribbon…..tada!....it’s ready to go.
There are so many wonderful vintage Halloween candy bag images that the skies the limit with this project. Share with me some of the projects you are conjuring up.
Trick or Treat!
First Halloween creation of the season.
We hit the movies on Wednesday to see Turbo. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I went into this movie experience with very low expectation, but I actually enjoyed the movie. Two thumbs up! And bonus points for having Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Turbo….even in animated snail form, he is still adorable.
Julia and I spent our other free days hitting the lake. The temperatures were well in to the 90's all week with Friday topping a whopping 99. The lake was our best bet for some relief. It also gave her ample time to practice her swimming moves. Three weeks ago she could barely do the dogging paddle, but after going to camp for two weeks and a week with me at the lake, she is coming along quite nicely.
Our town lake, though small, is very charming. The geese and ducks hang out around the shore. No one is allowed to feed them, but I am sure they get a snack here or there from the crumbs left behind after the lake is closed for the day.
My little mermaid!
Julia hanging out with the ducks.

Can't spent a hot day at the lake without stopping for some ice cream. Jay Gee's home made cookie monster ice cream - yum!.....And yes, that is a cup of gummy bears too! Good heavens, the sugar overload.
Julia's BFF Jessica invited her to a party at her mother's company picnic. It was quite the day. She even got to hold a snake.....look at her face! She is loving it!
EEEK! 
While Julia spent the day at the party, Jeff and I went for a grown-up lunch date. We had a craving for lobster after watching the Phantom Gourmet on TV. Off we went to a seafood restaurant in North Andover, Joe Fish. Though it was the most expensive lunch I have ever eaten (my lobster roll alone was 30 bucks), it was a nice chance to splurge and enjoy some one-on-one time with each other. Over the last year or so, we drifted to an unhappy place and forgotten to make time for just “us”. Much of my disappearance lately was due to our struggles, fear and confusion of what the future would hold for us. Though we are still trying to find out footing again, we have promised each other to make time to build happy moments as a couple again. This spontaneous dash for lobster was a great way to build on those moments. So, it was worth the money!

Chow for now,
Cyndi

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Catch-up (Round Two)


Here are a few photos of the Christmas pieces I finally finished. They were left over from last winter. These poor guys were just sitting there, half painted, looking so pathetic. Now complete, I have a few pieces in the bag for this upcoming season. 
The Santa gnomes turned out better than I anticipated. When I finished sculpting them, I was a little hesitant about the look, but the primitive faces and hints of glitter give them just enough sparkle. They make me smile.
Santa Gnomes paper mache/clay, vintage glass glitter
These little snowman ornaments are a whole-lot-of-cute in a small package. The real-deal tarnished tinsel around the neck is oh-so charming and yes, the bells do ring.
Check out that hand of mine in the last pic - so red and blotchy! EEK! LOL
Paper Clay, bell, vintage tinsel, glass glitter

Starting tomorrow, I have a few vacation days to spend with Julia. Jeff and I are tag-teaming the summer, along with her attending a day camp. The summers were easier when he working from home but over the last 1/2 a year, he has been working at the office. This created some scheduling issues for Julia's summer vacation. A last minute sign-up to camp ended up being a winning choice. Julia LOVES camp and all the activities. Had I known, I would have signed her up for more weeks. I think she is almost a little disappointed that she is with me for the week - LOL.

She has been growing by leaps and bounds. Having her around has always been a hoot - she inherited her fathers humor (albeit a pull-my-finger type of laugh) but lately she has really come into her own. We take a walk right after dinner as often as possible,and she is so full of expressive stories about her day. I enjoy my talks with her more than I do most adult conversations. 

Back in May, she had her First Holy Communion. She was a year older than most of the other kids. We signed her up late for CCD classes but it worked out fine. You think a Catholic girl such as myself would have known when to get her started - but I went to parochial school so I never had to take "outside" classes before receiving the Sacrament. I completely missed the first grade lessons and started her in the 2nd grade. She was thrilled to finally be able to wear a pretty white dress and veil. But the bland taste of the host was very disappointing - she expected something much yummier.

Well, it is getting late - time for bed. Heading out to the lake tomorrow so I need my rest.
Catch-up Round Three coming soon.

Chow for now,
Cyndi

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Catch-Up (Round One)


It's been some time since touching base....5 months to be exact.
So, I will spare you from a long-winded post by playing catch-up in "increments". This will be Round One.
First off...Happy Fourth of July Weekend!
Two large 4th of July medallions I worked on. Crepe paper has bleached edges for an aged appearance. 

I hope you all had wonderful weather, yummy cookouts, and fabulous fireworks.
Julia started a day camp this week. She is going for the first two weeks in July and then again for a week in August. Lots of crafts, swimming, canoeing, fishing. She was a little apprehensive the first day. She didn't know anyone, but she has already made new friends and is looking forward to more fun this week. They will teach her how to swim which makes Mommy very happy. I am not a good swimmer. Never have been and never will be. I am thrilled that she will be able to conquer a fear I have never been able to do.
Easter was lots of fun this year, but I am sad to report that Julia is now starting to ask a few of questions about the Easter Bunny, Santa and even the Tooth Fairy. I pray this isn't the final "magical" year of believing. She is 9, and what she hears from some of the older kids at school is making her question the validity of the magical figures. It is breaking my heart because I know one day she will come right out and ask me for the truth. *sigh* I am going to work my tale off to keep that magic alive if it kills me!
I have no idea what age kids start to "get it", but no age is a good age in my book. Look at me, I am 51 and still get goosebumps seeing Santa in the mall! 

Julia with her Easter painting.
New Bunny I completed for Easter
Crepe paper collar and ribbons
Back View
Hope you all had a Happy Easter!
I thought I would show you the completed painting from my last post oh so long ago. I had just started them but here is a look at the final results. I love the texture of these. I have been putting brush to canvas quite a bit lately - it is always very "calming". Good for the soul.




I love the texture of these pieces

Lately, finding ways to re-energize and listen to my scattered thoughts has been a big part of the last 6 months. Focusing on the things most important....the little things that when all is said and done, are the real reason we are all here on this planet. That means, time with my daughter, family and friends, and with...myself - finding out where my heart wants to take me :).
More on that for Round Two.
I have laid-low this past year, and disappeared for the last few. Although for anyone who is addicted to Pinterest as I am, I am sure you have seen me pinning up a storm! It is a nice mindless pastime - so much fun looking at all the pretty things!

I will have lots more stories, and more pictures of what is unfolding at my work bench. I have decided it is OK if I stop working to enjoy some happy memory making because that is, after all, what it's all about.
If any of you are wondering if my Etsy shop is open, yes it is. I have not been posting anything new for quite some time to save some work for Craft Show appearances, but there will be pieces here and there soon. Halloween and Christmas are in full swing. I will be Etsy bound soon.
Catch-up Round Two to come!

Chow for now,
Cyndi