Days of Rest 57

~ Sun coming through the clouds ~ Photo by J.D. Kittles Photography ~ used with permission ~ To see more of his awesome photography, just click the photo!

~ Sun coming through the clouds ~ Photo by J.D. Kittles Photography ~ used with permission ~ To see more of his awesome photography, just click the photo!

Fabulous Friday!

I missed last week’s Fabulous Friday post. I didn’t want to miss this one. Besides, I have something I wanted to share with you that we think is truly fabulous.

The first promo goes out to family and friends. If you have family, friends you’ve grafted into your family, and/or friends, then you know how important they are. In particular, this shoutout goes to our friends and family who have visited our home or supplied us with gazillions of bottlecaps over the last two years. That’s right. Two. Years. We’ve had in mind to remodel our kitchen from a dark, country, plain ol’ kitchen into a nifty-difty Steampunk Pub Kitchen. We have lots of projects in mind for the remodel but the first thing we wanted to do was attend to what used to be a window over our kitchen sink. My mom used it as a sort of storage cubby for years. I repainted it 2 years ago and backed it with a piece of plexiglass that I painted with glass paint. This gave it a sort of English pub feel and started the whole Steampunk Pub idea. The ‘stained glass’ was the first step and we used the cubby to display interesting bottles we’ve collected over time. Some of those were from friends and family, as well. Today started part two of the window remodel. We’re framing out the window opening with bottlecaps. So if you visited our home and drank any kind of beverage that had a bottlecap, or if you knew about our project and donated to the cause, it’s likely you’ll be represented in our window frames. Here’s a photo of the progress so far. We completed as much as we could with the adhesive that we had on hand. We’ll continue working on it over time. We’re very excited about it!

This photo was taken by John with his cellphone. He wanted to share our progress on Instagram.

This photo was taken by John with his cellphone. He wanted to share our progress on Instagram.

John and I have been storm spotting/chasing lately and if you haven’t seen any of his recent storm photography, then you’ll want to click on the photo above to go to his photography page and check those out. I don’t think people really appreciate or understand what a valuable asset Storm Spotters and Chasers are to the community as a whole. Yes, sometimes a situation can escalate to danger quickly but in all cases, safety is the first important thing you learn when you take the Storm Spotter Class. If it was not for the spotters and chasers, I really believe more unsuspecting citizens would be seriously harmed or killed during dangerous weather. It pays to learn, observe, and be better prepared. So my second shoutout is to the Storm Spotters and Chasers out there who are doing their best to save lives. Reed Timmer is one of the very active storm spotter/chasers and you can check out what he does at his website by clicking here.

For some strange reason, there aren’t many quotes about bottle caps. (Having a little chuckle about that!) But I did find this nifty photo post on Tumblr (Sorry, WordPress!) which shows several Jones Bottle Caps sayings. I chose one to type out below, but if you click on these words here, you can read more of them!

“Feelings of goodwill to all should lighten your mood.”

We often hear of bad weather, but in reality, no weather is bad. It is all delightful, though in different ways. Some weather may be bad for farmers or crops, but for man all kinds are good. Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating. As Ruskin says, “There is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” ” ~John Lubbock, “Recreation,” The Use of Life, 1894

And for a song today, I’d like to share one from Matisyahu, who is a favorite artist of ours. I hope you’ll enjoy this piece from his new album. If you like what you hear, please do support his hard work!

More Masked Projects!

I’ve started work on the largest of the mixed media art pieces I’ll be doing. The canvas is 18 x 18. I wanted to showcase three masks in Mardi Gras colors and work in a Mardi Gras background. I’m up to step three, which is decorating the masks. I want each one to be unique in more ways than the fabric and mask designs. Here are two pictures showing the work so far. The lighting in our kitchen is terrible but the photos came out clear enough to grasp the idea behind the project.

The first step was to paint the canvas black. They didn't have a black canvas in the size I wanted to use. The colors of paint I'm using are black, purple, pale antique gold, metallic green-gold, and white.

The first step was to paint the canvas black. They didn’t have a black canvas in the size I wanted to use. The colors of paint I’m using are black, purple, pale antique gold, metallic green-gold, and white.

I used the colorful paints to create a simple background of different confetti. Then I placed the masks on top to determine a pleasing placement. I also attempted to roughly plan out what I wanted to embellish the masks with. The only one that stayed the way it is in the picture is the green horned mask. I used brass beads to embellish it.

I used the colorful paints to create a simple background of different confetti. Then I placed the masks on top to determine a pleasing placement. I also attempted to roughly plan out what I wanted to embellish the masks with. The only one that stayed the way it is in the picture is the green horned mask. I used brass beads to embellish it.

All in all, the project is coming along nicely, though it will take time. I’m having to work on it around my work and family time schedule. I’ll keep updating you on the progress. I got the masks embroidered at Sew What Embroidery and Screenprinting based in Branch, LA. You can check them out by clicking here to get to their facebook page. The green one is embroidered in black and the fabric is a gold/green dragon brocade. The white one has pale gold embroidered scrolls on the fabric and it’s embroidered in pale gold. I’ll be using black and silver beads to embellish it. The purple one is a stretch lace fabric with hologram sequins on it. It’s embroidered in green. I’ll be using chain and metal scales to embellish it. I’m also going to use different kinds of fabrics and pictures to add to the background. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read!

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.” ~Emily Dickinson

Days of Rest 56

~ Red Amaryllis Lily ~ photo by J.D. Kittles Photography ~ used with permission ~

~ Red Amaryllis Lily ~ photo by J.D. Kittles Photography ~ used with permission ~

Days of Rest 55

~Child in a fedora ~ Photo by J.D. Kittles Photography ~ used with permission ~

~Child in a fedora ~ Photo by J.D. Kittles Photography ~ used with permission ~

Tree Costume Rundown

I only realized today that I hadn’t yet posted on the completed tree costume! I had to create a pattern from scratch to make the dress. It’s basically a t-tunic with a rounded skirt. It’s not perfect, for sure.  Because I couldn’t create it with a turtleneck, like Starshine wanted, I ended up making the dress with a boat neck and topped it off with a separate cowl that served the double purpose of covering her hair and neck. It may not have been perfect but it was adequate for the play and she was definitely the most fabulous tree that stage has seen in a while…or pretty close to it!

One of the reasons I do not make costumes for money is this reason. I don’t go for perfection when I create something. I go for what will work and strive to get as close to the target result as I possibly can. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. This time, it did!

You’ve seen the birds, their nest, and the hat. Here’s the photo of the whole outfit complete with makeup.

Photo taken by Melody ~ I used the camera that came with my phone to take the photo and the Pixlr-O-Matic app to edit it. This shows her hat, dress, nest and birds.

Photo taken by Melody ~ I used the camera that came with my phone to take the photo and the Pixlr-O-Matic app to edit it. This shows her hat, cowl, dress, nest and birds.

Certain flaws are necessary for the whole. It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks.” ~Goethe

Experiences and Observations

Hello again! I know my posts have been very sporadic over the last couple of months. There are many reasons but the fact is that there were some things that needed our attention more than our blog. The kids were involved in a play. They practiced 4 days of each week until the last week of June and then had two dress rehearsals. The play ran last week and finished up with a matinee this past Sunday. We’ve been working on doing what we can to separate John’s photography business from the rest of Kittles Family Artworks and while doing so have come to some other conclusions. We’re busy trying to organize all the things that need to get done in order to make these transitions go smoothly. We’re tired and worn out but we’re putting one foot in front of the other on this life journey and we’re walking the road together.

Because we are creative people, the need to experience new places and take advantage of new opportunities is quite important. We decided to take a much needed trip to refresh and renew our spirits. We opted to visit family in Georgia. There are many things to do and see in our home states so being able to stay with family is a great help on a tight budget. One of the things we’re determined to do more of are outings and trips to different places. We feel these are necessary to keep the mind sharp and fresh and to keep the creativity flowing.

Feeling tired and run down? Feeling like you’re in a rut and going nowhere? Then I highly recommend you get into your vehicle and just go driving. Don’t drive? Do you bike? A bike ride can be just as rewarding! Prefer walking to either of those? A good hike is refreshing and slow enough that you won’t miss the small things that are truly inspiring. We’re really enjoying our down time. It’s really great to be able to just step away from the daily routine and take a few deep breaths.

Just because we are away from home and away from the supply containers doesn’t mean we haven’t been creating new things or expanding our knowledge. Starshine and Magiba have been working on their drawing skills. I’ve been snapping and editing cell phone photos taken at some of the stops along our route. (If you’d like to see those, please keep an eye on my personal blog by clicking here. It is my intent to post a gallery of some of the best edits of our travel photos there in the near future.) John has been taking more storm, still life, and flower photos. (You can check out the photos he’s been posting on our trip at his blog by clicking here.) I can’t believe we’ve already been gone for 4 days! We have been creating things on our journey but I know I’ll be ready to start creating new artworks when our trip is completed!

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~Confucius