Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Home from mini-vacation

Well I don't have any exciting projects going on right this moment. I've been on a working/vacation, and I'm in the process McHottie was kind enough to share his cold with me. How sweet, huh? He was sick the beginning of the week, then I started coming down with it around Thursday, but I tried not to let it keep me down

We stayed in a friend's ocean front beach house and helped them get it ready for the upcoming tourist season. Of course you know the "girls" and I had to go beach combing each morning and hunt for treasures... 

Of course my son had to go fishing...

The water was surprisingly warm for March.  
I couldn't keep Bella and Shelby out of the water! 
Shelby is our "bird patrol". She makes sure that no seagulls land near us nor fly too near the ground. She will jump up in the air trying to keep those nasty flying rats off of "her beach". 

You would think that a little priss pot like a Yorkie would be afraid of the ocean, but not Miss Shelby! She LOVES the ocean! Both of my dogs love to swim, the ocean and boat rides. 

We watched this trawler several mornings in a row heading south. It was fascinating to hear it, but not be able to see it because the fog was so thick. Then all of a sudden it would pop out of the fog bank. Then as the sun came up it just melted the fog away like warm breath on a cold pane of glass. 

This pair of dove had a nest somewhere in the dune near the ocean front deck. They came and visited often, especially in the morning while I was having my coffee or after dinner when we got back from an evening walk.

 How would you like to wake up to the sight of this every morning? I know I sure would! I know our normal every day home is only a few miles from the ocean, but after a week of seeing this every morning it just doesn't seem close enough. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dragon Flies

What screams summertime is here louder than dragonflies! I know we've been fortunate and we've had a really mild winter, but I'm ready for summer!

As usual I used what I had around the garage to make these. I don't like to do projects where I have to go out and buy a lot of supplies. My husband calls me Fred Sanford because I hate to throw things away. Our recycling center has a little carport/shed where people can put items that they don't want any more, but are too "good" to chunk in the dumpster. I can't haul the garbage away without making a pass through there. 

For the "body" of the first dragonfly I used a 2 inch tapered spindle/leg. The wings are framed with 12 gauge aluminum wire, then I used 20 gauge beading wire to fill in and decorate the wings. They were pretty, but they still needed something to "dress it up", so I used some beads to add some color and pizazz.

I used some scrap metal to make the "eyes" and the antenna. 

I used a heavy 1 inch stapler to attach them to the spindle. 

As much as I like this first dragonfly, it really took a long time for me to make it. I decided I wouldn't be able to make any money if I spent that much time on all of them. The next day I set out to try to shave a little time off of the creating of the wings. 

The first set of wings I made were made out of pallet wood left over from the pallet benches we made last month. (I still need to post those pictures) The slats of oak were pretty thin and pretty easy to cut out with the jig saw. 

I "eyeballed" how large to make them. I knew that I wanted them to be large and exaggerated.  I figured they needed to be about the same length as the spindle. 

Then I went about painting them. I used shiny metallic paint that I picked up for less than 60 cents per can! 
I know! Not only am I smart, but I'm also thrifty! 
I painted all 4 of them with these six cans of paint and I still have paint left over! The great thing about this paint is because its made for cars, its waterproof , so it shouldn't flake, peel or fade. 

Did I mention yet that I got all six cans of paint for like $3.50?

I wanted each dragon fly to be a little different from the next one, but its kind of hard when they're all painted from the same color pallet. I decided I'd give them all a little bit of personality through their eyes. 

I really loved how the metal strapping worked for the "antenna". I experimented with the eyes and used something a little different for each one. 

For this lady I used curtain hooks. I just bent them and twisted them around and then used screws to attach them to the spindle. 

This lady has a couple of screws, nuts and some washers for her eyes. Its really hard to see in this picture, but they stand out about an inch or so from her body. 

Note: Its really important to pre-drill your holes so your wood doesn't split. You don't want to go through all the work and then split your spindle during the assembly! I'm famous for skipping steps and taking short cuts, but this is one step you don't want to skip.

Then I remembered some laminate flooring that I had left over from another project. It was perfect for this project! Its lightweight and it didn't soak up the paint as bad as the porous wood. 

 It cut like a hot knife through butter! See how thin it is? And once again - I was able to use what I had instead of going out and buying new material. 

I used 1 inch staples and glue to attach the wings to the spindles. 

I pre-drilled the holes for the eyes and the holes for the antennae. 

My English Bulldog Bella supervising to make sure I do it right...

I laid the body on a towel so I didn't scratch/damage my paint job on the body of the dragon fly. 

You don't have to have a high powered brad nailer or staple gun, but it did make it go a lot quicker.

If you don't have access to nifty tools like these I strongly recommend pre-drilling pilot holes and using screws to your table leg. 

I used some scrap 12 gauge wire to make a hanger, and stapled it to the back. If you want your dragon fly to hang on a slant, you may want to add another hanger farther down on her "body". 

I hung this lady on my outside shower. Ain't she the cutest?

So y'all tell me what you think. I value your feed back. Please send me pictures of what y'all make and feel free to share.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


So my shadow and I took advantage of the beautiful weather last weekend and went for a walk on the beach. I'm new to photography (with a good camera), so Bella and I had a little fun beach-combing and snapping a few photos along the way. I am in no way claiming to be a professional photographer. I just like to take pictures and every once in a while I get lucky, and with a cutie pie like this its easy to get a few good lucky shots every now and again. 
After dis we go for milkshakes, right momma?
Bella loves to sniff out treasures on the beach. She's also a social butterfly, so she thinks she is the official welcome wagon and should "speak" to everyone we pass on the beach. 

Melissa Shell
Southern Shores, NC

 Bella used her keen sense of smell to sniff out some treasures for me, but unfortunately she also stepped on some of the fragile things, too =(  Fortunately for me it was a really good day for shelling and there were lots of starfish to be found. 

Look! Its like someone dumped a whole bag of them just for us! We found a few pieces of sea glass, too! 

Clam shell and starfish

We been walking for miles. Can we go for milkshakes now Momma? Pweese?
 I had some minor surgery that's got me home bound for a couple of days, so I hope to get out and about next week and maybe Bella and I can get up to Corova and get some new horse pics. Until then let me share some of my favorites Corova pictures that I took earlier this year before Santa brought me a nice camera....

 Aren't they just beautiful animals? Hard to believe they're wild. This baby isn't very old at all. Momma isn't letting me get very close...

I took these from the boat with my cell phone, so they aren't very clear, but still....

 This is from the inside of the basin at the Whalehead Club looking out. 

 This is going in to the basin at the Whalehead Club at the Corolla Light in Corolla, NC. 

 She's looking for treasures. 

You want this chair? You gonna have to give me cheese...

I fink I smell cheese.