Friday, June 26, 2009

Junque Jewelry

Another story that starts, "a funny thing happened while I was cleaning my studio...." .

I opened a small, battered, cardboard box and found a tangle of forgotten junk jewelry that I had bought in a lot months ago, "just because". None the of the necklaces looked very fashionable by themselves, so I thought I would try the gypsy excess look and put all of the pendants on one chain. More is more when less is not. hee hee. The toy shoe had a giant hole through the heel and as it happened, the ring from a round metal edged tag worked perfectly as a rough, industrial looking jump ring. The shoe makes the necklace, I think. The cross didn't quite work in the necklace so it's on its own chain to wear so the other charms dance around it as the central focus. How I prefer it anyway.

I'm not normally into jewelry making, but now I have a reason to collect more junk jewelry. Like I NEEDED a reason!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Butterfly Dress Pattern Beauties

These came about while I was still cleaning my studio. I found a dress pattern "filed" in the wrong pile, after finding a scrap of brown bag I had cleaned a butterfly stamp on (for a future serendipitous discovering) and added to that a scrap of hideous orange polka dotted scrapbook paper, oh and a strip of vintage fabric. Suddenly, the cleaning was forgotten in my creative pursuit of butterflies. BTW, thank you Margaret, for the butterflies!

That lovely tangle of thread along the bottom of each card is a hideous florist's ribbon (from the 1970s) that a friend bestowed on me. Remember how everything organic and natural became the rage? This vintage "ribbon" was burlap's answer to lace. I love the stuff!
I don't know who coined the phrase, "if nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies", but Emily Pruitt gave me a tag with that sentiment and I have been in love with it ever since.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Childhood Memories a la Queen Bees

Our first swap was organized by Carole and were tags about friendship. We had SUCH a great time exchanging art that we went around again. This time a 4 x 6 altered "postcard".

Carole loves fabric so hers is all plush loveliness. She gave us loops for hanging, but left the "hanger" to each of us to figure out ourselves. I came up with a very narrow test tube and filled it with tiny buttons, metallic beads, metal snaps and vintage pearls.
Patty couldn't do 4 x 6s for each of us (back trouble and a million other commitments), but surprised 3 of us with these cuty patooty ATCs. I also had to show you her envelope. Can you believe that chair stamp? Love it!

Linda's was waxed and layered and layered and layered. Like a fabulous paper pastry! YUM!

She loved reading books as a kid so the back of her card had a library book pocket with a personal note.

Margaret grew up in New Zealandand has lived in Switzerland for 20 years (?) now. I love her brother's milk bottle binoculars. Brothers are good for silly displays like that! Margaret looks quite vogue in her dad's fedora! She also created gorgeous posts, on her blog, about each of our cards which you MUST check out-- here.

And then there's me. I literally glued my collage onto vintage postcards for a base and everyone got writing and postage stamps from different countries on the back. I just need to make one clarification about my piece. I was actually born, Nathalie Bakunowicz. My dad later "Americanized" his last name to be slightly more pronounceable. As if! My Australian relatives still spell it the original way. And they pronounce it with the stress on a different syllable. We say tomato, they say tomahto!
Next Queen Bees swap? Because, of course there IS one! A sort of tag book RR made up of unbound pages (bound later when they reach home base).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Altered Cigar Box Revealed

I had posted a tease of this piece a few posts ago, but now that Margaret has the item in her hands, I will do a full unveiling. Seems appropriate too since I just showed you how I soaked apart the wallpaper used on this cigar box. The box definitely has a decayed look, which I love and I thought Margaret would appreciate too.

First I reinforced the boxes lid with a dryer sheet since the paper hinge was weak. Then I covered the whole box with vintage newspaper, circa 1930s (also found at my in-laws'), using watered down school glue. Then I washed the whole box with watered down gesso and wiped away the excess so the newspaper showed through in places. Next came the tattered envelope, reproduced photo (a friend's relative, not mine) and scraps of wallpaper. I sealed the deal with Mod Podge and seeing the filmy whiteness on the box before it dried, wished I had whitewashed the wallpaper with gesso to knock back the color a little. Margaret would have! This was my first endeaver with gesso (since using it to prime canvases in college a million years ago) so was a total learning experience.
I loved how the lace became translucent when it was glued down. Even though it was covered with a stiff layer of Mod Podge, it still added a softeness to the box.

Wherever I found "made in USA" on the wallpaper, I allowed the phrase to show on the box. So Margaret has a piece made uniquely outside Switzerland. Even the cigar box was from a distibutor headquartered in New York City. I allowed that info to show on the bottom of the box.

As brittle as the wallpaper was to handle when it was dry, it went down beautifully once wet with glue. They just don't make it like that any more!

The inside of the box holds vintage newspaper ads. Two women smoking cigarettes became a friendship flower exchange (even though Camels, it claimed, never jangle the nerves) and in the bottom of the box was a woman extolling the virtues of a certain brand of tea (only the tender tops were picked). She became shrouded in a rose garden.
Plenty of wallpaper pieces prepared now to do somethig like this again.
But Margaret got the first.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

No Really, I AM Cleaning!

No, I'm not tea dying paper. This is what is coming OUT of the paper as I soak it apart-- vintage wallpaper salvaged from my in-laws' latest renovation. I discovered the pile of it collecting dust in my studio. No time like the present for soaking it apart! I will be more likely to use it in a project.
Set out to dry on an old long sleeved t-shirt, it looks artistic already!
The colors faded as they driedI love the ragged edges of the disintegrating paper.

Some colors remained vivid.

While others are a mere shadow of their former selves.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wind Power, Baby!

Go here for a great project for the kids, or to give to friends who need to let their troubles soar away on the wind. A friend had given me four of these kites she made, one for me and three for my kids so we could go play in the park sometime. Instead, I gave three of the kites away as other kids in the park saw my son playing with his and wanted to know where we got such a cool toy. Made me wish I had more to give away. You should have seen these kids play. No battery powered toy would have given such joy!

And the materials aren't expensive. I made two today from kid art, bamboo skewers (wind fall twigs would do!), a cut up plastic trash bag (tail), cereal box cardboard (for winding string on) and that fine crochet thread for making doilies (I have balls of it from the thrift store- NOW I have a reason for buying it!).

So go let your inner child play. And take another child or two with you!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Avoiding Work

I am supposed to be cleaning my studio. Instead, as often happens, some found items have created an unlikely piece of collage. I won't bother explaining how the Tinman found himself on a vintage African postcard. Just go with it.
What are you avoiding today?