Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Puppy for Christmas

Ever since we lost our basset hound, Scooter, to cancer, our oldest daughter has been obsessively searching animal shelter sites for a suitable replacement.

Meet Oscar Blue.

He is a five week old, miniature Australian shepherd, we got free from one of my husband's co-workers who breeds them.

The litter was born while the humans were away so did not get their tails docked.

Hence the affordable price!

Personally, I wanted to name him "Wags" because his tail spins like it's battery operated.


The name we all settled on is a compromise.

It's doesn't come to me naturally.

I keep calling him Scooter and Rebecca still insists that his name should be Dr. Socks!

Everything they say about the breed is true.

Oscar is so smart and fun loving.

We've had him only 5 days, but already his is half house broken.

Today he stood by the back door to show that he wanted to be let out

(he loves being outdoors),

and manages the stairs going down from our deck

(he struggles to be let down- he does not want to be carried).

He plays tug-o-war with socks and his squeaky toy

and undecorates the lower branches of the Christmas tree.

Our St. Bernard, Lucy, just barely tolerates him right now and stays away.

She does not take kindly to a young upstart trying to herd her!

I'm sure they will be better friends when he gets bigger.

Oscar has already wormed his way into the hearts of the kids!

They say not to give puppies as gifts at Christmas.

But this one had been on a wish list.

Not mine particularly, but he's wormed his way into my heart too.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Caught on Film

Only one week left to do Christmas baking and writing out cards(!), and I find myself obsessed with experimenting with this 8mm film I found in my basement.

Inspiration rarely happens conveniently.

Today I decided that weaving it was the thing to do.

I did it on a clipboard to hold the ends in place and the board was also a nice portable work surface.
I added some sheet music for variety and as it happened, stumbled on some lyrics
that suggested a theme.

Done with the weaving, I taped the loose ends on three sides and slipped the piece off the clipboard.

The whole time I worked on the weaving part, I'm thinking,

"what next?"

I made this up as I went along and did not completely rule out the possibilty of trashing it in the end. A waste of time perhaps, that would have been better spent on Christmas preparations.

But I trudged on.

Fast foreward past stitching down the film weaving (stablizing it), rummaging for an appropriate photo, deciding on other assemblage bits and sewing them down too, on the sewing machine and by hand...

...And you have my mostly finished piece.

An homage to some of events and memories caught on film. First child, a beautiful spring day (or is it summer?), and maternal pride.

The photo is an original, already colorized, that I bought in a lot on etsy.

I chose to add metal snaps instead of buttons, because they resemble film reels.

Also a lot of baby clothes has snaps for ease of dressing and undressing.

I was tempted to hot glue the snaps on, but was too lazy to take out my glue gun and wait for it to heat up.

Needle and thread were quicker to find, although I was wishing for a thimble at times.
(Not easy pushing through layers of plastic film.)

So, another use for the film I am selling in my etsy shop. :)

I haven't forgotten my promise to show you my 8mm film brooch idea, I just haven't wrestled one into being yet!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Little Quiet in the Hustle and Bustle

You wouldn't guess from this tranquil vigniette...

...that this is the mess I create in.
Both art and etsy listings.
Or maybe you would, because you have a similar creative mess?
Don't ask me why a jar of dog biscuits share the same space with Mod Podge.
There is no correlation.

These beautiful bottle brush trees are from Patty and Linda
(2 of the Queen Bees- see my side bar),
who provided me with a veritable forest!
Strangely enough,
the rooster looks at home among the trees.
I get a mental break from my chaos when I look at this window sill.
A little bit of calm.
A little bit of bliss.
Then back to work I go.

I think I will keep the trees out all winter.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bottles of Joy

I made some of these last year to sell at a Christmas bizaar and sold the two sets in no time.

This year's set is a special order for an aquaintence here in town.

I had the bottles chosen and the labels stamped from last year yet, so there wasn't much to completing their assembly.

Yet it took me a whole year to get around to it.


The bottles are a great way to use up cheap trinkets--

polyester lace, crummy pearls and cheap looking irridescent tulle.

These are last year's bottles in the photo above.

This year my supplies were a bit more limited, so I improvised.

Plastic buttons, a white feather, some cheap lace and even some

yellowed string made their were into the bottles.

The magic is in the faux mica-like flakes I pour in last.

It sticks to the inside of the bottle and gives the contents an ethereal shimmer.

I serioulsy need to make a set for myself.

I make stuff to give or sell away

and all I keep for myself are the photos

and the memories of creating.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Being Martha Stewart

Over the weekend I made curried pumpkin soup.

From pumpkin.

The real thing.

Not canned.

My goal was not to make soup

(that was a spontaneous improvisation),

but to cook up the pumpkins I bought back in October,

after the first frost brought them inside

where they cluttered our front entryway.

My husband was threatening to throw them out.

Because they annoyed him.

They clashed with the Christmas decor.

I was reminded quickly why I procrastinated.

(I have done this cooking pumpkin thing before- many years ago).

It took most of the day to cut up, scrape out, and cook up two medium pumpkins

(twice bigger than the one I have photographed).

Thankfully, Rebecca, now 7 and very helpful,

happily did the chore of scraping and sorting out the seeds.

She also washed them.

And spead them on the pan.

Now I have the satisfaction of not only having 6 quart sized freezer bags of pumpkin to put away for future use (harnessing my child's abundant energy in the process), but also toasted seeds, the afore mentioned soup and...

...several loaves of spicy pumpkin bread all ready for Christmas gift giving to teachers and neighbors.

It's a Good Thing

being Martha every once in a while.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Find the Treasure

Would you have bid on this box lot at an auction?

How much would you pay, and would you have gotten into a bidding war?

Well, you know I bought it.

But not because it had sewing notions in it.

Those were a bonus of sorts.

I bought the whole box because I saw this vintage red leather wallet in it.

They just don't make them like this anymore and this one turns out to be brand new, never used.

Still has the original papers in it (blank I.D. card, mock photo) which dated it to be the 1950s!
It's in my etsy shop now.

Now what else do you see?

I found another pair of scissors for my collection (!), some rusty and not so rusty tools (seam ripper, needle punch, awl, and screw driver) and a bit of serendipity--
red twist.
"No more twist" from the "Tailor of Glouchester".
"Cherry coloured" twist was used for the button holes.
The mice had run short before they could complete the waistcoat for the mayor's wedding.
One button hole short.
And here's the thread.
In my auction box.

I also found this lovely pink and green assortment which I plan to add to my shop.
Maybe need to dig into my own stash for a few more buttons, and trims.
Maybe I should add a hoop and it could be a kit of sorts.
One rather drab box can yield a lot!
I love the hunt!
Does it thrill you too?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why I Never Throw Anything Out

Most everything is pregnant with possibilities in my book.

Long after the bit of vintage taffeta was used up, I held onto the cardboard spools and packaging, because I just knew they could be repurposed into something wonderful. I just didn't know what, right off. Some things have to clutter up my work space for awhile and be a daily reminder that they have fabulous potential.

Then last night, around 9:30, inspiration hit.

I had been toying with how to present this home movie film I found in my basement (abandoned by a previous owner of our house) and the ribbon spools naturally came to mind-- and because I never buried them into a drawer or box, I could find them easily!

Why reinvent the wheel, when 60 years ago, someone brilliant already designed great packaging?

By the way, the film is also pregnant with possiblities!

I have only begun to play with it!

As an embellishment, it's a no brainer.

Here I grabbed a button card, with two buttons left hanging on by a thread (literally), and transformed it into a tag.

Film is going the way of printed books in this digital world.
Preserve a piece or two in your art!

Perhaps there's a film noir altered book you're working on that needs this kind of authentic element?

Or a classic movies themed ATC series?

I am going to attempt a brooch next.

(You will just have to come back and look now, won't you?)

I am selling the 8mm film in 5 yard lengths in my etsy shop.

You saw it here first!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Tea (to Me!) and an Old Fashioned Country Auction

This morning I am enjoying one of the cinnamon rolls my mother-in-law made for my birthday (yesterday!) along with an uncustomary deviation from my "usual" black tea.

Something citrus-y seemed like the perfect pairing to a rich, sugary cinnamon pastry.

And it is!


The amazing thing was, that there was a country auction on my birthday(!!!)

So I went.

And dragged my antiquing friend Liz along for the ride.

It's a rare auction that happens on a week day

Most are Saturdays or even an occasional Sunday afternoon.

So one on my birthday had to be a sign of good things.

Or just really good junk at rock bottom prices!

At a country estate auction, where most things are pulled fresh from the barn,

you have to look past the dirt to see the treasures and their potential.

This stuff is not cleaned up for show.

I wasn't the only one who recognized this glass water kettle as something rare.

It sold for $27.

The dirt was free.

The hay trailers look like they are full of junk. Trash even.

So you have to dig through boxes and make a mental note of what is in them.

So you wouldn't accidentally buy a box of old pens.
I actually bought all of these on purpose, when they were bundled with a tray of knick knacks, a coffee mug a couple planters and an old cookie tin of quilt squares.
I paid $1.00 for ALL of it.
Hey, do you know how hard it is to find a pen in my house when I need one?
And my kids like sharpening pencils more than using them!
Auctions are not all about antiques and collectibles.

Although I also scored this McCoy planter (yes, the Real McCoy, marked) for a mere $4.00!
The farmers were more interested in wire egg baskets which went for $16.00-$22.00 a piece.
I was not even tempted to join into that bidding war!

The temperature barely got above 50*F (10*C. ?) and that's only when the sun came out in the early afternoon. Liz and I had dressed for the cold but were shivering within the first hour (auction started at 10am).
But it was worth it.
And some hot coffee from the concession stand eased our discomfort.
Between us, we spent $51-- and packed my van!
I will reveal more in future posts.
The auction was as much entertainment as shopping.
Like, did you know that framed paint by number snow scenes are worth $25 each?!
They are when when close friends and family members bid on them.
For more Tea Tuesday posts, visit Kimmie's blog.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Compulsive Collecting #138 (It's Tea Tuesday!)

I don't know which I found first, the cup....

Or the saucers.

Or maybe the collection started with this sugar bowl.

In any event, I found this creamer only last week.

It's only taken me about 5 years (maybe even longer!) to amass this collection of matching crockery, from garage sales and thrift stores, but cost me less than $1.00 total!

And that's the thrill of the hunt!

For more Tea Tuesday posts, visit Kimmie's blog.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Compulsive Collecting #312 Children's School Scissors

Yes! When I find a pair of vintage, paper cutting, scissors at the thrift store,

at a garage, or estate sale,

I buy them!

Brings back memories of grade school and doing crafty things.

I also just like the look of their all metal construction.

This is not my whole collection-- I need to find the rest,

squirreled away somewhere.


But moving on...

Don't you love the bit of rust and age patina on this red handled pair?

Here's a pair of "safety" scissors (blunt tips).

I have used all of these for cutting at one time or another,

when other scissors have gone missing around the house.


One pair made it into an assemblage tag I created, that was printed in Somerset Studio's "Fearless" issue.

My thesis was,

"Being fearless is,

having never used bee's wax before,

deciding it was a good fit with metal."

I was pleased that the editor "got" my idea and found some room on a page to print my art!

I'm not endorsing RUNning with scissors,

but some rules can be broken,

where no one gets hurt--

Some interesting, new things are explored

and amazing things happen.

What do you compulsively collect?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stamps, Stamps, Stamps

A few months ago, my mother sent me one of the most wonderful book/ journal/ scrapbook things I have ever seen.

Her very first stamp album.

She was a young teen when she started collecting.

The inside of the book has cardboard pages, lined with glasseine pockets.

Immediately I thought the album would be great for inchies, but I am afraid the fragile glasseine would tear from the bulky art.

Instead, I am starting to slip in the postage stamps I like or think a friend would like (or the ones I find later under my table, in a drawer,...) as I pour over and sort through the massive collection of postage my mother has sent me over the years.

This book will never be for sale in my etsy shop, but I always offer envelopes of old postage for purchase.

I love using postage stamps in my art, but I have more than I will ever be able to use by myself!

Currently I am offering vintage Christmas postage for sale.

In an appropriate envelope.

I also love the other kinds of stamps and am continually thinning out my collection.
This angel could be what you need for your Christmas cards or envelopes this year (and after Christmas-- she is timeless!)

I am also parting with some of my wooden handled stamps.

This is one from a box load I bought on ebay almost 2 years ago.

Some of wording on some of the stamps leads me to believe that they all came from a nuclear plant or research facility.

What could be more enticing or intriguing than mail art stamped, "CONFIDENTIAL"?
And the rubber stamp looks nice on display (even carelessly tossed aside on your work table).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Good Morning! Tea





There is something about wintry sunlight.

It warms rather than blisters.

It shines bravely, not ferociously.

It beckons me outside,

to our eastern facing front porch,

to greet the day.

For more tea inspired musings, visit Kimmie's blog!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stuff Those Stockings!

Because I know that time will get away from me, I am busy filling
my etsy
with Christmas in mind.

Some of my favorites are the little things that will fit into a stocking.

Something for her.

Something for him.

And they won't break your budget.

New things added almost daily!