Tuesday, August 27, 2013

DIY a Haunted Mansion

Ledge Village is my growing collection of paper houses. I have blogged about it frequently here, here and here. It was clear to me that the village would need a haunted house for the Halloween season and so I went about designing one. I included all that a classic haunted house needs - a turret, broken windows, falling timbers, a crooked fence, a swooping bat and a weeping tree.

I started with the Silhouette software and created a pattern.......

If you cut it, and follow my tutorial, you'll end up with something spooky like this....

It is designed in the style of Ledge Village so it is thin, with all details on the front. It can be perched in an unexpected spot, like on top of a door or window frame.

I think I need to buy some spider webs although I am fairly sure that if I leave it up until Halloween, they'll grow their own!

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Using Feathers • Turkey Feather Wreath

We have wild turkeys roaming our woods and occasionally as we hike, I find a feather or two. I have been saving them for years, collecting them in feather bouquets. This morning I took the smaller turkey feathers and quickly inserted them into the twig wreath hanging on the family room hearth.

It added some wonderful fall accents to the very plain yet natural wreath.

I know everyone in the blog world is all about painting brick white (along with every piece of wood tim and cabinetry). I just can't see it in my home which is filled with natural elements. I'll keep the natural brick.

A little history about this hearth. I built it myself long before there was an Internet to learn how. This room was David's original workshop and there was a cinder block chimney there. I went to the local school which was having an addition built and I watched the masons laying brick. I asked a few questions and I came home a taught myself some basic masonry. This is my only brick project and it works well in our home.  The wood stove is our heat source. I probably could dig up a picture of me over 20 years ago slinging the mud for this project. Maybe not!

On the far wall you can see one of the sculptures designed by my husband David. I have explained his work before but for those of you that are new viewers, here is a link to his website ( my other job!). Take a peek to see his kinetic sculptures in action.

Happy Fall everyone!

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© 2013 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy


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Monday, August 19, 2013

Learning to See • at Storm King

Blogging and photography go hand-in-hand, at least in the design, decor and craft world. I have been working on improving my photography skills since I started this odyssey three years ago. Learning photography, like blogging, is never a done deal. There is always something, new to try, something different to do.

This past Sunday, David and I stopped in for a day at the Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, NY. This is a place we visit regularly just for inspiration. It is a park dedicated to showing monumental outdoor sculpture in a landscape that has been reclaimed to maximize the visual impact. We find it inspiring on many levels, from the sculpture, to the nature, to the landscaping.

This visit fell shortly after David forwarded me a blog post about five self assignments to teach yourself to see. It was posted by Rick Berk at the Digital Photography School blog here. I didn't do any of his suggested assignments but I was inspired to create one of my own. I approached Storm King with my new macro lens and decided to play with depth of field. I waned to see the world differently through the lens.  Here are a few of the hundreds of photographs I took yesterday.

Pay attention to the depth of field. It was what I was exploring.

I also took a few classic Storm King photos so you can et an glimpse of the beauty.

I took very few of the sculptures which is unusual. Generally it is what I focus on.

But I always take a photo (or twenty) of the Andy Goldsworthy Serpentine Wall.

If you are ever in the area (not far from West Point, NY, make a Storm King visit a priority. In the meantime, read the assignments by Rick Berk and check out his examples. Then find a "learning to see" assignment for yourself.  

©2013 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Week of Gramzee Time

Our four year old grandson just spent the past week with us. It was his first long stay away from home and my first time being primary care giver in many, many years. I am happily exhausted after a very special week and know that next week will be very, very quiet.  But I might get some blogging and crafting done!

My mantra of living creatively gets displayed differently on weeks like this. My creativity was directed toward making this a memorable week for all of us and it was.  I had been collecting Pinterest ideas for awhile but there was one that I knew would be right for Taylor during this summer.  We made cork sailboats this morning and this afternoon after nap, we donned swim suits and bug spray and took the boats sailing in the stream.

This idea comes from Handmade by Charlotte.  When I saw it I knew I'd found a use for the wine bottle corks I'd been saving. I made a couple of modifications for durability. I liked this project because it takes less than five minutes which is about 1 minute longer than a 4 year old attention span!

Start by collecting the supplies. I used 4 corks per boat, a 4-6" length of bamboo stake, some foam, a bottle cap and hot glue. Note: This was a project I completed while Taylor watched. He counted out corks and handed me supplies. It will be awhile before he can handle hot glue!

I started by drilling a hole in the center of one cork. It is the diameter of the stick. Taylor was thrilled because the only thing he likes more than cars is power tools.

I glued the four corks together.

I glued the mast (bamboo stick) into the hole using hot glue. I used bamboo sticks because I had a stack leftover from gardening. This was a project made from leftovers and recycled stuff.

I cut a triangle out of the foam sheet. I have no idea how many years ago I bought this craft foam but I am glad I saved it.  This is one of the modifications from the original. The foam sheet material is much more durable than the paper sail.  I hot-glued that to the mast. (Can one use hot-glued as a verb??)

After a test sailing, I added a centerboard - really just a bottle cap. I'll probably also add a little weight to it (by gluing a quarter in it) for added stability.

And our ships were set to sail. We made a small flotilla. Wish I had some hot pink foam for contrast.

We invited papa and all headed down to the stream....

Taylor liked the calm waters of the coves.

Papa liked riding the rapids!

ZeeZee took pictures and swatted at misquitoes! I don't know why they like me best!

It was a wonderful week!

©2013 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Friday, August 16, 2013

Wanderings • MAD in NYC

David and I made another visit to NYC recently to install one of his sculptures in a corporate office in the city. While waiting for the paint to dry we made a dash up to the Museum of Art and Design at Columbus Circle.  This museum is a favorite stop of ours because it focuses on Craft in America.  One of their current shows is "Against the Grain", an exhibition featuring works in wood in contemporary art, craft and design.  As with any NYC show, there were items that absolutely wowed us and other things we questioned. Here are a few photos of some of the spectacular work. I apologize for the iPhone photos. I was surprised we were allowed to photograph at all!

Wood Turning by Bud Latven, 2007

Facecord, a dresser by Mark Moskovitz, 2012

Enignum Shelf by Joseph Walsh, 2011

Two for Tango, Fontainebleau Suite by Pablo Reinoso, 2012

A Skeuomorphic Wing Chair by Martin Puryear, 2012

Wooden Textile Walnut by Elisa Strozyk, 2011

The show is open until September 15, 2013.  Well worth a visit if you are in NYC.

©2013, Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Saturday, August 10, 2013

I Love Little Houses!

Those of us in the DIY space seem to love our homes, not just our own homes but homes in general. And houses, big houses, little houses, DIY houses.  I have crafted so many different types. I imagine many of us were excited to see the new row houses available through CB2 .
These are one of those creative items that cross my design space every so often.  It is the type of decor that inspires me to create some of the house projects I have crafted and blogged about over the years. Here is a collection to show the variety by me within a recurring theme.

Yes, the house theme is one I revisit often. How about you?

© 2013 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Monday, August 5, 2013

Wild Flowers on Display

It has been well over a year since I installed the handmade ladder in my portico area. I figured it was time to move on so I brought back my birch stumps. I'd had them drying in the top of the garage for the last year. I decided to top them off with some wild flowers. There is a new variety growing out along the road, a dull pink flower in full bloom. I decided to experiment and see how they do in a dark corner.

I paired them with some of the natural ferns in my IKEA buckets and they seem to be doing quite well. The trick with wildflowers is that first test. Can they hold up once picked or do they wilt immediately? These seem to be lasting. I already know this type of fern is a good one. It easily lasts two weeks in water.

I tend to prefer wildflowers in this corner. Every flower or plant that I have purchased immediately grows fungus or mold and dies. Certain varieties of wildflowers seem to do much better.

I visited the Connecticut Botanical Wildflower sight which has a nice "search by color then picture" feature.  I have unofficially identified this weed as Eastern Joe-Pye-Weed. Here is their identifying photo.
• Family: Aster (Asteraceae) • Habitat: swamps, shores, wet meadows• Height: 2-5 feet• Flower size: tiny, in rounded clusters 4-7 inches across• Flower color: dull pink• Flowering time: July to September• Origin: native to Connecticut

The dull pink flowers combined with the bright green ferns and birch logs really lighten up the dark corner.

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© 2013 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy


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