musings, mutterings, and creative muddle. . .

Monday, March 2, 2015

This Sweet Box & I Need YOUR Creative Help!!

Let's have some F-U-N!!!!

I spent Friday at a fun arts-crafts-antique market in Joplin, Missouri with a friend of mine. While I left many (oh! Still swooning over the table top printer's cabinet that still had all of its drawers. siiiiiighhhhh!) treasures there - I did come home with a few special items.  One little box spoke to me. It said - 'take me home and love me.' So I did. . .

I love its obvious hand-made design, it's splattered & splotchy paint (my favorite colors!) and the wonderful old vibe it gave off.

It required some TLC - one of the sides had collapsed in, all of the nails are rusty, the bottom had warped and left a large gap in the front. Some tender ministrations with my needle nose pliers, amazing paint scraper (aka nail wedger, paper smoother, sticker peeler. . . . ),  hammer, my super-duper drill

and a couple of new nails (I was able to re-use the two I successfully pulled, but two broke - darn it!)  But now I need your help. I have entirely Too Many ideas on how to add a bit of extra life and bling to this sweet box and just can't decide. I want YOU to help me decide!!

I have LOTS of bits and pieces and trinkets and parts to choose from, and I have narrowed it down, somewhat. So are you ready? Here we go!

1.  A rusty water hydrant handle centered on the top

2. That same water hydrant, centered, but bumped up a little bit above the top edges

Okay. . .

3. Let's add some shiny sparklies - how about this vintage round rhinestone button

4. Or this interesting vintage rhinestone shoe decoration

5a. I'm sure you noticed that little copper 'moments' tag - do you like it below the hydrant or perhaps on the front of the box is better


6. Or maybe you'd prefer a key instead of the hydrant handle and sparkly bling

7. Then again - let's put the key with bling and move the moments tag to the front

8. Or maybe you think I should abandon all of the above and just go with this repaired DREAM mini-plaque

9. Or maybe a bit of all of the above
10. Or maybe something different than any of the above. . .

So many-many options!!! So hard to choose!!!  I just love this little box and can't wait to finish blinging it out and putting it to use (which I haven't decided how I'm going to use it and decorate with it yet - but I will. You KNOW I will!!!)

Comment with your favorites (note the numbers before each photo), or add your extra suggestions then stay tuned for the winning design in a future blog (or follow ksyardbird on Facebook or Twitter for the winning results even sooner). And ~{THANK YOU}~ for the help and suggestions!

Have a Creative Kind of Day!!

Robin Z

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The bLiNg of it all!

Recently I was nominated to be a part of a Facebook Art Challenge.

Yes! ME!

To some, this may or may not be a big deal, but, for me, to be recognized and nominated by someone who is friends and acquainted with many well-known and extremely-talented jewelry designers and artists was a HUGE honor. Huge.  And the pressure was on to share only FIVE of my favorite creations and to nominate other jewelry artists. Pressure. An honor. Honorable pressure.

This Facebook Art Challenge was initiated by Donna Greenberg Arts. To participate in the art challenge, I was asked to post a piece of my art jewelry for each of the next five days and nominate another artist daily to participate.  (that's wee-sneak peek you see below. . . a teaser, if you will. . . )

Susan Ray honored me as one of her nominations.
Susan is an incredibly talented artisan who creates treasures ranging from mixed-media jewelry (and has published several books about 'beaded jewelry.) to amazingly realistic model railroad scenes. She's also a very important mentor to me and the brainchild and co-administrator of our Facebook group Crafting Jewelry which now has over 600 members! –Be sure to check it out!

So which Treasures did I share and who did I nominate?  I'll tell you - right here and right now :-)

Day One. I nominated Barb Montague Solem! I admire her artistic eye and varied designs. Would love to meet her in person and take one of her classes one of these days.

This is a favorite of mine – the colors are gorgeous! It was created a while back ago specifically for a friend who was looking for something dressy, yet versatile enough to be worn every day. It can be worn long at its full 37-3/4" length, or wrap it twice for a shorter, chunkier look. Or forget the necklace and wrap it around and around your wrist for a bracelet. Cool! See that charm set? Add it, don't add it - it's your choice. Oh, with that pretty rhinestone studded toggle clasp, you can twist and arrange this necklace with its random aquamarine pebbles, aquamarine tubes, blue-green pearls, silver-blue pearls, mother of pearl ovals, and sterling silver beads of all shapes and sizes to your favorite look. Matching earrings (but not *too* matchy-matchy) will make this Bling Set a favorite. I LOVE-LOVE it!!

Day Two. I nominated Becky Nunn of Nunn Design!Becky has such inspirational components and designs – and the incredible Nunn Design Notebook Blog. I can always count on her to get me out of a ‘Creativity-Block’ fun k:-)

I call this wire-wrapped ring Harlequin Romance. I love love love the design on this mother of pearl button - isn't it gorgeous!? It's the perfect background for a cluster of tiny pink-lavender, peacock-blue, white pearls and sparkly Swarovski crystals -clear, taupe, and soft moss green. Talk about some romantic bling!
It's mesmerizing how they move and change direction and catch the light. Every time you look it, it'll look different. Was so fun making it too! Though there's an extremely good chance I will never make another;-)

Day Three: I nominated Barbara Lewis and her Torch-fired enamel. Her designs are simply inspirational. . . just wait until you see some of her work – WOW!

As for me. . . today I’m sharing my bronze framed clear crystal hearts wrapped in deeply oxidized hand-forged sterling silver wire and dangling from matching ear hooks. 1-5/8" of sheer amazingness. Unique in a simplistic fashion. I love the contrast of the metals with the clear glass. (P.S. These darling earrings are still available for purchase - you can find them HERE)

Day Four: I nominated Patricia Peters. I met Patricia through Susan and apparently we share a love of vintage buttons. In the spirit of this common adoration, I’m sharing a button creation today.

Mixed metals of brushed silver and antique copper are inspired by the watch-fob look of two stacked vintage mother of pearl buttons (complete with a sparkly rhinestone center!). The 31-1/2" silver-tone chain has two copper framed clear crystal hearts and an antique copper safety pin decorative clasp. Classy - with a little vintage 'edge.'  (P.S. This amazing necklace is still available for purchase - you can find it HERE.)

Day Five. I nominated Debby Anderson of Romancing the Bling!
I first ‘met’ Debby a little over a year ago when I messaged her about locating some of her wonderful components. . . and we were instant friends. She’s an inspiration to so many and her love for her art shows in everything she designs.

This is one of my first - and favorite - necklaces I had created with a Vintage Romance by Debby Anderson component. The color of these graduated strung pearls is beyond description. Blues, purples, greens, bronze, brass, silver - some with a milky foggy hue are simply stunning with the sweet green crystals. Closing in the front with an over-sized brassy hook and floral enhanced 'eye' - the charm is simply charming as well. The green faceted stone is framed with a bit of a bronze cap and topped with a lovely deep amethyst crystal. 18-1/2" of love!

Through this marvelous experience, I made some new friends, received some humbling accolades, and am newly inspired in the studio. 

And now, if you'll excuse me - I'm off to play with some shiny beads and sweet charms, funky clasps, and beautiful bits and pieces. Be sure to click on all the links to learn more about the artists here. 

And to keep up with all the latest ksyardbird happenings - watch this blog, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest, or go to the website where you can find the links to everything ksyardbird

Have a Blingful kind of day -

Robin Z

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

BEST Spicy-Sweet Snack Mix Ever

Looking for a tasty twist on the same old snack mix?  I L-O-V-E the combination of spice (black pepper, jalapeno, chili peppers) and sweet (mango, honey, sugar) and was daydreaming about how I could somehow incorporate that into a snack mix with my favorite crackers, nuts, and other tasty nibbles.

Here's what I came up with:

Spicy-Sweet Snack Mix

4 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cardamom

Combine all ingredients in small bowl and set aside.

3 cups nuts (we prefer a pistachio, cashew, almond mix)
2 cups oyster crackers
2 cups small pretzel twists
2 cups bugles
2 cups corn chex

Combine all ingredients in large bowl then toss with seasoning mixture.

Spread on jelly roll pan(s) and bake at 350 for 20 minutes stirring once or twice (a large plastic spoon works well). Remove from oven, place in air-tight container and toss in 2 cups craisins and 1 cup fish crackers.

Let cool completely before sealing container.

This recipe is EXTREMELY flexible. Once you taste the 'sauce' you may decide you want more cinnamon and less brown sugar. . . or less pepper and more maple syrup. Or maybe you like extra-seasoned snack mix and want to double it all - DO IT!!!

Prefer peanuts and walnuts? That's awesome - use them! Don't want oyster crackers? Skip them. Prefer wheat or rice Chex? Go for it. You're the one that likes to dig the Cheerios off the bottom? Add them:-)

This recipe is just a suggestion of what I found works for us. Feel free to add more or less of anything suggested. Trust me, this recipe is constantly being tweaked depending upon the occasion, ingredients on hand, and who's going to be munching it.


Have a Spicy-Sweet kind of Day -

Robin Z

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Wallbanging Good Orange Cake. Seriously.

Okay. Here it is. Just in time for Holiday Parties - THE cake recipe of all cake recipes.

Well. . . at least in our house. Was my requested Birthday cake at eight years old. . . and nine. . . and 10. . . and. . . It was the one that arranged the furniture in mine and Hubster's first house (yeah - it may have been our muscle that moved the furniture, but it was the cake that helped us decide where it should go. Or, more aptly, that the furniture all looked good right where we left it with the couch in the center of the room). It's the one I took to a certain board Christmas party, accepted compliments on the 'moist orange cake' and enjoyed the little-more-than-usual relaxed and party-like atmostphere.

We make sure to *always* have the ingredients on hand (which isn't too hard) and it's a great go-to for a quick, easy, make-ahead cake. So are you ready for this???

Friday, December 19, 2014

Buttoning Up Last Minute Ornaments

Got Buttons?!?! You know I do!!! Every shade of every color and nearly every size from teeny-tiny buttons for baby garments to big ol' over-sized 1960's coat buttons.