Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Hare raising tale....

As promised.... I thought it would be fun to chat about rabbits. (well, for me anyway...ha ha ) I notice everyone in Europe refers to "hares"... Here in New England we do have a Snow Shoe Hare (though i've never seen one in person, more a northern New England thing I guess?)... but down here, we have your basic Cottontail Rabbit... small and without the lanky legs; much more abundant in our area.  We have a resident one who has been frequenting our yard since the spring... I suspect he or she probably knows what became of my strawberries.... 

I was told recently by a lovely friend, that I am "prone to rabbits".  I never really thought about it like that... but I suppose perhaps I am. It looks like this started young, and has continued...
In the photo below, I am with my first rabbit, Hoppity.   I was happy to find that my Mother had provided some information on the back of the photo. 

Snappy pants huh?
 I wonder if my finger is in his cage and if he bit it?
Yeah  to people who take the time to write on photos so you know what's going on many years later!
Just a guess, but I"m thinking that this book (yes, I still have my childhood books..) is where the inspiration came from for the name...  Apparently 3 years olds don't go for orginality. :)))

Hoppity, from what i recall didn't like being captured and put back in his cage... why would he I suppose... We had him for many years....and i think he started to think of it like game of keep away.  Hiding in the rhubarb, and circling the shed, just out of reach waiting to see which way she was coming from next.  I wonder if she still has scars from the scratches once she got hold of  him....
Here we are gardening together.....
These are amoung my favorite things...
The one on the left is of course brandy new to the rabbit fleet, he has no name yet.
Beside him is "blue bunny" ~ found all alone on the floor at the "Bargineer" (a discount store back in the 1970's)  when I was probably a 5, 6, 7 ?  He's been with me a long time....
Next we have "Pewter Rabbit"....  he was purchased from the Thornton Burgess Museum in Sandwich, MA ...  he came along a few years after Blue Bunny.
and beside him is "Peter". He is from the National Trust shop at Hill Top, Beatrix Potter's house in England.  He is fairly new in the scheme of things, 1998 ~ but treasured none the less. :))))

And this is from this summer.  My beautiful sweet Sophie.
I am reading about Beatrix Potter, and as you can see she is enthralled with the story.
(the cage and the fencing save the chasing and the scratching...:))))
Of course we have lots of other creatures now... including a new mouse named Finnigan O'Squeak. (I am a bit prone to mice also... but that's a story for some other day....)
There is just something about the rabbits I guess.
  They inspire art in the form of drawings as well as clay... and now in silver....
We certainly don't need any more rabbits, or any more anything for that matter... but I still look every year in the 4-H tent at the Common Ground Fair; just in case there is a big, soft golden colored rabbit there...
a modern day Hoppity perhaps?  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Foray into Silver 'Art Clay'

I've been wanting to try "silver clay" for a while now.... It is (from what I have read), 99% silver, in some sort of binder that makes it look and act like clay.  It reminded me of "paperclay" when working with it... it starts to dry in the wink of an eye and if you add water to "rehydrate it" a bit, it turns to smoosh!
I found it very stressful to work with, not physically, but mentally.
It's sold by the gram, and I had to mortgage a small dog to get a miniscule amount of the stuff.
It's not like you can say, this isn't going well.... I don't want to play anymore when you have $5.00 worth of clay under your finger nails alone!
So... here we go.

This is what I made, they look just like paper clay right?
 What you see there used about half of my 10 grams.
(For those of you not in the US,  a dime is 17.91 mm across, or .705 of an inch.)
(* measurements according to wikipedia,  I'm not really that smart....)
The directions said to make sure the clay was dry before "firing" it. Apparently, if it's not completely dry, you run the risk of it exploding ~ and sending metal bits flying about the place...Didn't sound like much fun. So they sat in my oven for 24 hours. (it's got a pilot light always going that keeps the oven at a gentle 100 degrees or so. (may I note that when we loose power for some reason ~ the oven still works, unlike those stoves with electronic ignition, which is why i insisted on going "old school"....*cough* but i digresss) Once dry (it was noticibly heavier when dry), the stainless steel mesh was put directly on the gas stove burner.
It burns the binder off, and makes a small flame for a few seconds..and then i sort of waited and watched. It said that it would glow a peachy orange from the inside... and when i saw that glow to start timing my "firing".  (When I use the other half of the package I will be firing it at night, with the lights off. Daylight makes it near impossible to see the glow or lack there of.)  It said you couldn't fire it too long (unless it started to sweat or melt...) so I just waited... after what seemed like forever, I could see it start to look almost gray (like a charcoal briquette)... and sense a glow.  When I couldn't stand it anymore, and my face felt sun burned from my near constant inspections of it's glow... I shut the stove off, and this is what I had.
It looks just like it did when I started? Where the heck is the silver???
 Then the bunny when on the hot seat....
Same drill;  much waiting and more watching; the bunny was bigger and thicker.

So there they are, in their shiny splendor!
As you can see, I found the silver.  You have to use sandpaper, or a wire brush of some sort to remove the white clay residue (or whatever it is).... and then I used my silver jewelry polishing cloth to make them shiny. I can see now how making them smoother to begin with would be helpful.
Teeny little heart! Lopsided, just like I like them!!
And the bunny, nestled into a blossom of my lovely Geranium!
I am ridiculously proud of them.... and I don't usually say I'm proud of much I do...
But it is just SO COOOOL that I made a little silver rabbit.
He's not perfect, but who is?
 I know his ears are a bit wonky.. and his feet are a bit small; but he mostly looks like a baby bunny right?

Next post we can chat about all rabbits ~ both real and imaginary.... 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Being Creative ~ "Travel"

Welcome back!

The theme for Being Creative, for August was Travel.

Our little friend here is at the Parker Mills. station in Wareham.
  A leather suitcase in hand, worn a bit from all the places it's seen... she's heading to the station at dusk for a night time ride thru sleeping villages and dark woods in south eastern Massachusetts.
Once on the train, she will traveled to Boston on the Old Colony Railroad, and then on to Portland, Maine on the Maine Central Rail Road~ to Burnham Junction.  From there she will get on the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railway to get to her final destination; a small farm, in a small town in the hills of Maine.  
It will probably will be a long ride.
Not to worry, she's brought along a good book.

Had I been around in the early 1900's, this tiny little station would have been at the rail road crossing near our home.  The train still goes by, but it no longer carries passengers, only trash on its way to be incinerated.
The little station is long, long gone.

I like the "romance" of travel... I like the planning and the dreaming. I imagine going across bits of Europe on a train... not one of the new rocket fast trains... an old fashioned train with character and charm.
I harken back to our two trips across the pond... it seems like a million years ago.
 With our "zoo" now a days.... real travel has lost a bit of its appeal.  The reality of having to leave our furry/feathery/finned family sort of clouds the thoughts.
So I travel in my mind.... and from my corner of the couch, watching to see where Rick Steves and the "Globe Trekkers" take me next...
Sometimes i get out my collection of Beatrix Potter books and head off to the Lake District.
 I also travel via my wonderful Pen Friends, and all the great Blogger Girls I have the pleasure of meeting here in BlogLand!