Tuesday, February 9, 2016

YEAR OF THE MONKEY - HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR FROM BRAVE ME and THE BELLAGIO CONSERVATORY...

For anyone who knows me, THIS goes against every fiber of my being, but I couldn't pass on sharing the beauty of the Bellagio's newest installation in the Conservatory just because I'm a little (a LOT) creeped out by monkeys.  So, here's to you...for you...from me...it wasn't one of my favorite things photograph, but at least they weren't real.  They were real enough!
Like the proverbial elephant in the room - the lobby has a giant mirrored horse in the room!  GIANT mirrored horse, under the Chihuly glass ceiling.
Starting with the overall effect inside the Conservatory - will eeeeeeeeeeease into the simians.  Gigantic peaches and beautiful Chinese lanterns, suspended from the ceiling.
Chinese New Year officially started yesterday - the Bellagio Conservatory will celebrate with this beautiful display through March 12th.
Bromeliads in every color...
Mums and other fancifuls thrown into the mix, too.
Fancy flower children...
The floral designs in the clothing were impressive this year.  The children are elements from displays of years past.  They seemed happier this year, somehow.
But unaware of monkeys in the trees behind them...run, children!  Run with your little plaid lunchbox in your hands!  (That's a post of a different color, and for later in the week.)
Ponds of beautiful Koi...anything to keep my mind off...
"those" which were hanging overhead.  I don't think I've photographed a display quicker than this one!  7 FOOT MONKEYS!  SHUDDER!
And I commented, at the time, that I didn't know why there weren't MORE monkeys in this "Year of the Monkey" display.  I would have "monkeyed" the hell out of that display if I had been in charge. And then, I realized what I was saying.  Twelve were plenty!  I was uncomfortable enough.
It is a beautiful display, and a fitting tribute to the Chinese holiday, irregardless of the subject matter.  I would have done better with the Year of the Dog, undoubtedly!
You've got a little over a month to take it in, if you're in town.  If not, take my word for it, it's beautiful.  I will be going back one last time this week, to photograph the beautiful large American flag that was rehung a week after we visited this day - thank you, Bellagio!
Happy Chinese New Year - Happy Tuesday!

Friday, January 29, 2016

THE TINK YARN HAT...FABULOUS YARN, AND A KILLER HAT PATTERN, TO BOOT!

Well, I finished up my knitting assessment assignment for TINK YARN on Sunday evening, and wanted to share - both about the yarn and the pattern!  Getting right to the hat pattern, on my beautiful girl, this one was truly a one-day knit.  Or, a two-football-game knit.  Hell, you could even whip this up during the Super Bowl, in team colors!
Drawstring side can be worn as seen; further back, behind the ear; or in the back at the nape of the neck.  Adorable any way it's worn.  Pattern has two style choices for knitting with one or two colors - this one was knit in the one-color version, using BOTH of the TINK YARNs sent to me - the worsted weight is their "Rich Bitch", and the I-cord tie and pompoms utilized the "Changing Seasons" sock weight, held double.  That was the gorgeous yarn used for the shawl.  
BOTH of these are like knitting heaven - soft, squishy, easy on the eyes AND hands.  I just can't say enough great things about the product these Vegas girls are turning out - and they all have full-time jobs, to boot.  The packaging is pretty cute, too!
I LOVE this worsted weight!  This was beautiful and fit fabulously, straight off the needles.  TINK'S yarns get even better with wet-blocking, but this didn't need it...at least for the time being.
Subtle color changes (I love tonal yarns!) for that added yarn personality.  This is the edging on the shawl/scarf done from the other skeins.  The black I added to the mix (also a TINK YARN) was SO very hard to photograph...in fact, it completely changed color outside.  In actuality, it was tones of black, gray and white, with tiny hints of the same turquoise here and there (click on the photo, and then click again).  Those two sock weight yarns had the tiniest threads of Stellina, or SHINY STUFF (it's a technical term)...not overbearing sparkly - JUST enough.
These two yarn colors were perfect for complementing each other - they told me it was actually just a random draw, and in that case, I feel like the biggest winner of them all.  How'd I make those cute little pompoms?  Clover has invented the greatest gadgets ever for pompoms - done in a matter of minutes!
The pattern?  MINTY by ERICA JACKOFSKY.
The fabulous yarns?  TINK YARN, all the way to the bank!

What happens in Vegas IS leaving here, daily...get yours today -   Also available through JIMMYBEANSWOOL.COM




Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A WHOLE GAGGLE OF MARIES - NEW LIFE FOR OLD PINCUSHION DOLLS...

I've got a thing for pincushion dolls...especially the Marie Antoinette and Madame Pompadour ones.  Can I tell who's who?  Nope.  I just love them all.  I decided last year that friends and family I love needed to share in my wealth of these beauties, instead of them being squirreled away in the cardboard box - after all, I bought them for that very purpose.  AND, for some reason, I kept running into the same doll, over and over...and worse yet, BOUGHT HER, over and over.  SO...starting two Thanksgivings ago, I dug them out of hiding and went to work.
This is how they all started - these are the special ones I've kept for myself.  These are all German made from round about the 1920s.  The Marie on the lower left is the one I had plenty of, as you'll see - she's the one that started it all with that particular doll, so she will stay with me - I like the dark eyebrows.
Each face on this particular doll, although from the same porcelain mold, was slightly different, at the hands of the varied artisans working in the factories.  She stands 4-5/8" tall, while the larger one is just under 5-1/4".
Dolls with their "hands away" from their bodies are a little more coveted among collectors (would I say I'm a collector?  No - I just got caught up in a pretty face, evidently).  This grey-haired beauty has the most detailed hair...thin lines dragged through the paint to add incredible definition.  She's 3-5/8" while the little one stands 2-1/2".
SO...I started here - SMALL POTATOES!  This is a traditional pincushion doll - attached to a traditionally used pincushion base, which I had to make, since she had none.  This is Marie Lorrie, who went to my sister-in-law.  Behind her sits Marie Jackie, who ended up done in the same manner, and with my dear friend here in Vegas, that same Christmas.  Everything on these is completely hand stitched in place, save for the machine stitching on the clothing construction.  I hate glue, silly me!  See the birdcages in the back?  Watch what happened next...
"Why limit myself in size, and to just pincushions", I said!  The larger doll started life as a Munzerlite "lamp doll" from the 20s...they actually had wire cages covered with silk dresses and bare light bulbs underneath.  I'm assuming there were probably lots of boudoir fires in those days.  This doll has her original mohair curls with a tiny silk flower in her hair.  She is constructed from some type of HEAVY plaster (she had a LARGE threaded bolt embedded under her bust for attaching to the lamp), and painted beautifully with a satin finish heavy paint.  Her half-arms are metal, and attached to her torso by wires that feed into a cork in the top of each arm.
This is Marie Barbara - she went to my Mom...she stood around 18" when done.  The silk roses are all handmade - all buttons and rhinestones are antique.  The large rhinestone starburst, an earring from her mother, my grandmother, sewn into the mix.
She was filled with large, heavy, mercury-glass type ornaments in a crackle-bronze color, once she arrived safely at her destination.  The second doll?  I will end the post with her...stay tuned.
This Christmas, I went back to the Maries for another round.  While Marie Jackie sat on a traditional pincushion, Marie Jackie II is atop a birdcage.  Velvet ribbons and silks on this one - more antique buttons and handmade silk roses.
Antique hand-crocheted doily for a bustle, with caged, heavy mercury-style ornaments - I believe she finished right around 15", give or take a curl or two atop her beautiful head.
Vintage, broken jewelry piece among the roses, and one large antique wooden button, below.
And Marie Abbi, the pink girl that now belongs to my son's fiance.
I may have overbought Maries over the years, but was so happy to be able to share these girls with those I love.  Another hand-crocheted antique doily bustle on this one.
I seem to have overbought on antique buttons over the years, also - shhhhh!  Digging in my stash, I was able to come up with a tiny pink celluloid puppy button that was added into the mix.
Which brings us to the last, for the time being - remember, I have all those unfinished ones in the first photos, still.  This is Marie Jaclyn...or "Mother Ginger" as she is referred to by my "Nutcracker" lovin' girl.  I wanted to fill her with small children, but my daughter was happy with the shiny silver ornaments!
She's a tall girl...almost 22" in height.  Silk dress - this was a fun one to try and figure out, if you remember her wire arms from above.  I wrapped her bust first, hand-stitching everything in place, and then attached the poofy (filled with tulle to retain the "poof") sleeves one at a time.  More handmade silk and linen roses...more antique buttons and rhinestones...more heavy glass ornaments...yards of crinkly tulle.
A large cut-steel butterfly buckle on her bustle, along with more antique treasures.
Here's to making some special memories from those treasures you've overbought held onto.  HAPPY BEAUTIFUL TUESDAY, or as Marie would say, "GO EAT SOME CAKE"! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

RED ROCKS AND ARROYOS - Tink Yarn Finished Project

Off the needles, and OFF THE HOOK!!!  My "first" project with TINK YARN (actually not my first project using the yarns, but first for this project) finished, blocked, and ready to roll.  For those that dabble in yarns, this stuff is incredibly soft on the needles, and even better cast off and blocked!

The name?  Reminds me of our SW red rock buttes and canyons and the arroyos below, with just enough water to feed the sage and pinion pine that grow there.  (NOTE:  Colors on this project are more "true" in the following photos...this one on the ol' mannequin just didn't have the right light early this morning, but was too great not to include - this shawl has the BEST, deep triangular shape for draping bandanna style.)
For those who DO dabble...here's the info:  TINKYARN.COM is where you can find the yarns. The two colors used here are "Changing Seasons" (the desert rust - a brand new color for them...don't see it on the website yet?  ASK!!!) and;  "Rich Bitch in a Limo" (the blue-green/soft black combo that definitely lent itself to this!).  NO color discharge in my sink last night, when soaking this for blocking.  They pride themselves on this - these are FABULOUS yarns!  The worsted weight is next on the needles.

Outstanding, free pattern from Ravelry.com - PLUMA SHAWLETTE by Lisa R. Meyers (this is my third go-round with it).
What happens in Vegas can be yours without leaving home -

Monday, January 18, 2016

I ANSWERED A CALL...TINKYARN.COM

Hopefully an entire week of creative fun here - it's January 18th and I already have things spinning in my head and flying off needles.  I answered a call a few weeks back for my favorite (and LOCAL) "Indie-dyers" and yarn aficionados, TINK YARN.  Bloggers and podcasters were recruited to test their yarns and give feedback (as well as let the rest of you in on the Vegas secret).  Those of us here in Vegas already know, and the secret's out of the bag now!  They were just recently "inducted" into JIMMYBEANSWOOL.COM, with their "Fremontini" color way (as with all my posts, direct links are highlighted throughout - all ya' gotta' do is click on 'em).
One of their biggest cheerleaders, I gladly sent in my name...they sent THIS back, with instructions to use it how I wanted.  Not one, but TWO of their fabulous creations - a new color called "Changing Season", in a fingering weight, and "Rich Bitch" (the color of money!) in a heavier, worsted weight.  The Tink girls have an entire catalogue of clever "Vegasy" names for their color palatte.
These yarns couldn't have been more perfect - it has "me" written all over it.  My mind immediately raced to the desert Southwest, and a few "baubles" picked up and gifted to me this past year.  Turquoise, Coral, Terra Cotta, Red Rocks, Sage and Cottonwoods lining the bottoms of the desert Arroyos in spring...teeny tiny little flecks of gold, here and there.  Yep, desert perfection!
So, following their first rule of instruction (the first rule of Fight Club is...you do not talk about Fight Club...yep, different club) of "Get that yarn on the needles!", I chose a pattern I had done for two gifts this year and cast on, for myself this time.  A new project called for new needles, too - whoever the absolute genius was that decided SQUARE knitting needles was a good idea, BRAVO!!!!!  Who woulda' thunk?  They're fabulous.
And the yarn?  To die for...like knitting in butter, without the grease.  I had an extra skein sitting here that I had watched being dyed on a day I was invited to see how their yarn is born.  I had saved it for a special project...the tones are the same ones used for the turquoise skein, with some black thrown in the mix, but this was a fingering weight, so was perfect for this project.  AND, it just so happened to be named "Rich Bitch in a Limo" - my two projects will tie into together, perfectly...and "richly".
While you're waiting to see the end result (which I'm hoping for in the next few nights myself) you might want to check out not only their own website at TINK YARN, but go read about the whole winning process these three friends have developed, by clicking here for HOW TINK YARN IS BORN.  What happens in Vegas USUALLY doesn't stay in Vegas, despite what you've heard...the word's out about THESE THREE!
Laci, Terri, and Ashley of