She has made her own southwestern styled furniture from birch wood and tree roots that must be over 100 years old. Much of the furniture: tables, cabinets, master bed, entertainment center, table lamps, etc., that fills her house, she has made herself. She looks through magazines and sees items she likes and she says, I can make that! And she is off on another project.
She is lucky that she lives near the mountainous woods that are very familiar to her husband who retired from the Forestry Service in that area, so her materials are virtually free. She has made her husband buy her the various saws and wood working tools that she uses, poor guy, he also bears the brunt of the hard labor.
Her only other costs are art and related supplies. She does buy odd pieces of tile, which she breaks up into small pieces and covers her counters and coffee table tops with mosaic art scenes. She also paints retablos, paintings of religious figures and saints on pieces of flat boards. She continues an arts and crafts form that has been practiced since the Spanish colonists settled in New Mexico in the late 1600's.
Many of her furniture pieces and retablos have won prizes in local fairs. Similar items offered by local artists and crafters sell for big bucks. She has taken some consignments for her furniture and arts and crafts, but in general, she hates to part with her creations.
She is such an inspiration! I look at her arts and crafts and convince myself that I can be as creative and artistic as my sister (fooling myself). Last summer while visiting her I had one of those inspirational moments. I borrowed her acrylic paints and brushes and did a painting of El Santuario de Chimayo, an old church in the village of Chimayo about 40 miles from Santa Fe (the soil in an adjoining room is believed by many to have healing powers and is visited by believers from all over the world). Anyway, I did the painting from memory, as I have visited the church many times, and consequently there were a few inaccuracies.
Surprisingly, the painting came out quite nice; the colors were bright, fresh, and close to true. The composition and perspective were very pleasing. I so admired my painting that I scanned it and sent it off and had my very own postage stamp made. I use my stamp on mail to my family and friends. One of these days I'm going to pursue my own arts and crafts projects as a result of the inspiration provided by my sister.
Chris Jensen is a contributing author and editor of Jetfly Blog. For more related articles and reviews visit Jetfly Arts & Crafts Blog now. Also, for the best up-to-date related online products, check out Jetfly Multi-Purpose Craft Supplies Shop for todays current online deals.