Thanks for visiting my blog! MudBay Musings chronicles creative journeys, with inspiration and humor I find along the way... including my mother's and my artwork, stories, local bird life and garden favorites...
all of which I hope will bring a smile to your heart.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Squirrel - Proof

Look who joined us for breakfast this morning in our “squirrel-proof” birdfeeder!

One of our resident Douglas squirrels apparently became weary of defending piles of seed on the railing (our version of a bird – squirrel Smorgasbord), favoring his own little private stash of seeds instead.

One must marvel not only at his ingenuity, but also at what must have amounted to a bit of squirrel-contortionism in order to initially squeeze himself through one of the feeder’s small openings. My curiosity piqued, I watched him until his tummy reached its capacity, and he unceremoniously slithered out one of the holes and went along his merry way.

During this time, a gray squirrel had been watchfully feeding nearby. After the tiny Douglas squirrel vacated the feeder, the way-too-large gray squirrel tried her very best to figure out how to duplicate his gastronomic coup. After several failed attempts, her resulting frustration appeared to bring about a sort of “squirrel headache.”

Luckily for her, there was plenty of seed left on the railing…

Snapshots of Spring

Himalayan blue poppies echoing the bluest spring sky. Candy striped pink and white clematis with dramatic mum-like centers, engulfing their obelisk support. Vivid orange and red-orange poppies, their textured petals like fiery, crinkled silk. Lilac bushes bending under the weight of their fragrant cascades.

My hammock, slowly swinging as I relish these snapshots of spring.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Reuse, Repurpose, Re-Enjoy!

Many items that are now considered throw-aways, we artists consider valuable - if only for their intrinsic beauty. Beautiful, once-loved treasures are suddenly relegated to be without official purpose. I wonder… did they actually lose their purpose somewhere along the way, or did we just cease to realize their value? In the spirit of “reuse, redesign and repurpose,” here are a few of my favorite “re-enjoyments”:

A butterfly appliqué from my great, great aunt Nellie’s dressing gown, coupled with one of her shoe ornaments, gives its aged,tattered body a new, plump physique.

Half of a buckle from my grandmother Virginia now swings and sways with the addition of two antique metallic tassels.

A sterling table broom now is elegant again with its crumbled broom replaced by fringe from a dilapidated silk shawl, embellished with a button from my great-grandmother Marie.

And what silly, wooly llama wouldn’t love her own black Victorian hat made from a strategic portion of a dancer’s costume, along with her own antique dress ornament saddle?

What items do you re-enjoy?

Soldered Twinchies

I’m itching to get back to soldering again. Using bevels, although a bit problematic, is well worth the drama. For these 2x2 pendants, we used glass bevels for the tops and cut plain framing glass for the backs. The brass embellishments were tinned then brushed with the same black patina used on the soldered copper foiled edges. Images: background tree image paper by ArtChix, rabbit die-cuts from Victorian Scrapworks, and vintage postage stamps.

Fun with Felt – Again!

Last week’s get-together with the Lunch Ladies was wonderful, as always. This time, we experimented with Kunin felt. I was struck afterward at how my beads matched “sea colors”… clam shell purple, crab shell/coral red, urchin green, sea blue... Hmmmm… perhaps someone missed the summer sun just a tad this past winter!

If you’d like to try this fun technique, here’s a summary of how we made our beads:
Using a sewing machine, stitch rows of decorative patterns with metallic thread onto Kunin felt (use cotton/metallic threads; do not use polyester core metallic threads for this technique - they will melt). Cut the felt apart into strips, depending on how long you want your beads to be.

Cut slightly wider strips of bright, contrasting cotton fabric (we used cotton batiks). Wrap a short length of the cotton fabric several times around a small dowel; the diameter of the dowel will determine the size of the hole in your beads. While holding the wrapped cotton firmly, wrap a piece of the stitched felt strip twice around the dowel (trim length to size as you wrap), layering it on top of the cotton fabric. Use two or more pins (make sure they have metal, not melt-able heads) to secure the felt into place.

Using a heat gun, heat the felt, rotating the dowel to heat evenly. The felt will begin to melt/dissolve, shrinking around the cotton, leaving the metallic stitching behind in a lacey effect. Add rub-on metallic wax to some of the remaining stitching to add a little ‘”pizzazz.” Note: Safety precautions must be taken when heating Kunin felt – this stuff is toxic. Don’t do this indoors and don’t breathe the fumes. Masks are recommended!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In the "Spirit of a Mermaid"

My mother is a talented lady! Here is one of her creations from several years ago – an undersea fabric collage vest and matching necklace.

The fish were each comprised of many different fabrics, then collaged onto assorted batiks and quilted with various decorative threads. And what would an undersea vest be without a proper mermaid artifact necklace? We found a fabulous lampwork bead at a local show, I gathered an assortment of fibers, and she promptly wove a necklace to match!

Thus, I’m convinced… every gal should have the opportunity to dress in “the spirit of a mermaid” at least once in her lifetime…


Gazing upon our wisteria’s fragrant cascades shimmering in the breeze is one of spring’s lovely pleasures.

Virginia's Purple Quilt

I love this purple lap quilt. My mother made it for her mother quite some time ago. It warms my heart to know it will soon find new life in the arms of my lifelong friend Julie….who has since childhood shared my grandmother’s unwavering ardor for purple. May she have many blissful naps and cozy evenings under these feathered, purple stars.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mother's Day

In honor of Mother’s Day, here two of my favorite pictures of my lovely mother, Jo.

I love the picture of her doing crafts while I’m resting on the table. This epitomizes her easy-going, artistic nature. What an adventure it was growing up immersed in all things crafty and fun! And the picture of us lazing on the dock in the summertime...does life get any better than that?

Thanks, Mom for being such a wonderful mother, amazing example and best friend for the past fifty years. I love you. Happy Mother’s Day!

Full Flower Moon

In honor of the Full Flower Moon on May 9th, here is my interpretation of our lunar display – a “Pat Austin Full Rose Moon.”

If pressed to choose a favorite rose (can anyone truly pick just one favorite?) - my choice would be David Austin’s exquisite “Pat Austin.” This English shrub rose’s velvety peach petals are softly illuminated by lustrous, golden accents. When gazing upon their beauty, I often find myself lost in thought… rather like contemplating the moon.

Happy Full Flower Moon, Everyone!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tassels, Anyone?

It’s no secret to those who have visited our home…. I love tassels! I actually love making them even more! There is something very relaxing about wrapping fibers for skirts, decorating tops, and spinning cords.

Some of these tassels perhaps fall into the “What was she thinking?” category, but that was part of the joy of experimenting with various fibers and techniques… and color combinations. Fifteen years ago, I vowed to “boldly go where no tassel maker has gone before;” my current style is much more conservative. I now favor hand-dyed rayon fringe skirts and more delicate beading as opposed to bold chenille and chunky yarn in wild colors.

Here’s a little trip down tassel-making memory lane…