Monday, February 28, 2011

Tea on Tuesday- Sewing Box Safari

I wrote this post on Monday to post very early on Tuesday morning,
but forgot that there was no "2-29" this year so Blogger took my wrong input and defaulted to "2-28". I have been caught with my slip showing. How embarrassing!
So many eager readers have already left their kind comments so I can't very well remove this post!
So Happy Tea Tuesday on Monday!
Thank you, everyone for your kind words of sympathy and prayers.
The first day without Scooter was the hardest, but it has gotten progressively easier.
Our St. Bernard, Lucy has stepped up her role as house dog and been very attentive to us all.
But also for me, creating, making something, is powerful therapy.
All of you creative types are nodding your heads. Yes?
So I invite you today to join me on a journey into the deepest darkest part of my sewing/ button box.
Go ahead and get yours out- I'll wait a minute.
I have my Earl Grey in a utilitarian mug. No room for fussy china on this trip.
I have no time for mopping up tea spills in the middle of exciting discoveries!
I normally push pass the first layer quickly, but with my recent success at transforming button cards into angels, I am giving these cards a second look. The ones with missing buttons have possibilities...

Is your tin or box (jar), a mess like mine? I don't clean much "out" because everything is interesting in context. Single buttons attached to clipped off card bits, or the buttons hurriedly cut off shirts so the fabric still clings to them. Other buttons are strung together in groups in case a matched set is ever needed. And sometimes I find a piece of soap or wax (to lubricate needles or thread or maybe to mark fabric?) or tags from some forgotten purchase or old safety pins, or etc., etc.
Today everything has possibilties.

And this is how I've come to make a mostly empty button card into a base for a collection of notions. The pearly plastic button was hanging by a thread on this card so I shored it up with snippets of lace and gave it some company in the 3 remaining spaces. I didn't cut anything down. The other buttons and hook and eye were found on their respective card scraps, "as-is". I used artistic license by adding the scrap of sheet music, but otherwise everything else I found in the bottom of my button tin.
I added the bit of blue thread for interest. I clipped a tangled length from a spool and wrapped it around the button until the arrangement looked right to me. Looks pretty natural, doesn't it?

Then I made "le chic" to read "eclectic".
Too peRfecT!

Here's another card I started. There was only one snap left on the card, so I gathered a diverse group of buttons to keep the snap company, following the pattern of holes left by the other snaps. I still haven't figured out a clever title to make out of "Sew-On-Snaps", but something will come to me.
What have you gleaned from your button safari?
For more Tea Tuesday posts, see Kimmies blog.

Friday, February 25, 2011

He Will Be Missed

Our bassett, Scooter started feeling poorly about two weeks ago when his eyes got gooey and he couldn't keep them open. The vet gave me an ointment for his eyes without an office visit (thank you!).
Then a week later, he started looking sickly. No energy, walking like he was suddenly fragile.
A trip to the vet and we were told he had a urinary tract infection.
A couple days ago, after 10 days of antibiotics and no improvement, his breathing was labored and he wouldn't even eat a dog treat.
After a rough night where I got maybe 3 hours of sleep and thought he would die,
we took him to the vet again.
This was yesterday.
An x-ray revealed that something was enlarged. The vet thought the spleen.
My husband said, "operate".
Like we have the money.
The vet does not accept Blue Cross.
But suddenly we love this pain in the butt dog who digs into the kitchen trash and has chewed up my favorite storage containers (to get at the food inside) and has followed me around like a cat so that I have almost tripped and fallen over him many times.
Yes, THAT dog. We suddenly want to try anything to keep him. If we can. He is barely two years old. Too young to be serioulsy ill. We will make payments to the vet.
So the doctor operates and finds, not a bad spleen, but Scooter's liver covered in cancer.
She does not rouse Scooter from the anesthetic. We had agreed on this before hand. And late afternoon we get the bad news. Scooter is not coming home.
We cry and miss him.
His velvety ears. His clownish ways.
His pain in the butt habits.
We eat dinner for the first time last night without worrying about food being eaten off the kitchen counter while we aren't looking.
Our St. Bernard gets all of the leftovers scraped into her dish alone.
Scooter's dish will be washed and retired.
He is missed.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Junk Mail

When I left a comment on Halle's blog so I would be entered to win one of her hand made creations (One World, One Heart), it was like every other time I left a comment to enter a drawing. I was hopeful but not laying bets. But this time

The really cool part is that although I had admired this particular journal, I had no idea it was a junk journal made up of paper scrap. My favorite kind!!!
This salt and dye page is one of my particular favorites.

As is this retro spread.

All disguised as a conservative looking day planner circa 1978.
My grandmother's favorite flower was lily of the valley as is my mom's (she is a May baby), so the cover of this journal is sentimental to me.
The best prize on all counts!
And thank you also Halle for the tea you enclosed!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I've Been Everywhere, Man, I've Been Everywhere...

I have managed to avoid getting sick all winter, in spite of the germs and bacteria settling in with my husband and kids, but this morning, my dry throat feels serious, so I am drinking some seriously medicinal tea.
Fortunately I like the taste of anise, because this tea's main flavor is black licorice.
Doesn't need any kind of sweetener, because the flavors are naturally sweet.
Aaaaah, I can feel my throat feeling better already!
Now on to my kitchen tour!

My studio may be brown, but my kitchen is colorful and kitschy.
I started collecting cheesy souvenir plates a few years ago.
It started when we were furnishing a travel trailer and I found a spoon rest from Old Faithful (now broken) and a metal tray from Mt. Rushmore (our "s'mores tray").
My first criteria is that I had to have been to the place the plate was a souvenir of.
Kansas, Missouri, Virginia, Dodge City (KS), Monatana, New York (NY), Washington D.C. and Bagnell Dam (MO) are represented in my collection so far.
After that it is unique shape, lacy rim piercings or gaudy gold highlights.
This is something my grandmother might have bought.
She sent postcards to friends, but bought a plate for herself.
Actually, my grandmother prefered The Last Supper decoupaged on a slice of wood, but that's another post- "religious kitsche".
I wouldn't use these plates for serving pieces, because the glazes and finishes may contain lead. They are just for "pretty".
In fact some of these plates come with holes (and strings) in the back so they can be be easily hung up on a wall.
I have had to attach plate hangers to a few plates that weren't already "wall ready".

I started with a modest display over my stove,
but now the plates are spilling over onto other walls.

This group is on a short wall next to the refridgerator.
The Statue of Liberty is the most contemporary and "tasteful" plate in my collection so far.

But my heart belongs to the ruffly, fussy plates.
And these are all china,
and I always find them in mint condition.
They are survivors!
To be honest, I don't think I've actually been to Montana, but I've been to Idaho and the Dakotas, so I figure I've at least experienced the "big sky" that Montana has laid claim to.
I am loving buying my travel memories for 10- 25 cents apiece at the thrift store.
Like orphaned saucers and widowed cups,
these old colorful ladies need a home too!
For more Tea on Tuesday posts, visit Kimmie's blog.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spine Tingling Books

I did some more book demolition over the weekend.
There is nothing more exciting than tearing the covers off of an old decaying book to see what is hidden underneath.
And I love the paper sandwich created from restacking the resulting mess!
All I need is a bird's nest and a stuffed crow and I've got a Victorian naturalist's vigniette!
It might be hard to find a stuffed bird, but I'm sure I could find a nest.
It's a windy day and all kinds of things are falling out of the maple tree in our backyard.

Carpe Diem!

What crazy things are you creating today?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Color of Chocolate

Inspired by a recent post on Penny's blog where she asked if readers would post of a photo of where they blog, I took up my camera, aimed and clicked.
Maybe I should have actually fixed my hair, but then I would never get around to taking a picture!
And then emboldened by my spontaneous act, I changed my blog's avatar.
No more hiding behind a teacup and dip pens!
So aside from the deeply etched wrinkles, the second thing I noticed was that my photo was very brown.
The color of antique wood, aged leather, yellowed and stained papers, tea, coffee and chocolate.
It's the color of my hair (specifically nutmeg), half of my clothing (the remainder is mostly black) and the color of my eyeglass frames.
I have tumbling piles of yellowed and antique things in my studio and this is where I blog.
I bet you are so not surprised!
The color of my blog might have been a small hint...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Button Card Angels

Just to illustrate that even a card of rather homely plastic buttons can be transformed into something sublime.

Old hymnal pages were the right color and set the right tone for these heavenly beings. Antique buttons disguised the "new-ness" of the original buttons on the cards. Variety adds interest!

Crocheted bits were once capped sleeves off of a shirt too stained to wear. I splashed some cold tea (the dregs of my teapot) onto the crochet for a light, irregular stain. Once dry, I cut out shapes that suggested wings to me and sewed them onto hymnal pages for a bit of stability. The sewn thread holes made natural perferations in the paper. Easy for tearing irregular shapes.

This trio is flying off to Linda's for a Christian Paper Artists angel swap.
And in case the angels' face looks familiar, but you can't quite place it,
it's The Mona Lisa.
But you knew that.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Nursery Feast

Our two girls shared the same room up until last weekend when snow induced cabin fever inspired some change. The playroom annex to their bedroom is now Rebecca's room, separated from her big sister's by a dust ruffle-turned-curtain. Rebecca has had a hard time sleeping by herself (the curtain might as well be a brick wall!), but last night we got her room just right and she felt comfortable enough to throw a party to celebrate. "A Feast" she called it.
I was invited to partake of plastic donuts, pizza, a plum and various green and yellow vegetables. And of course, there was tea!
The most impressive part was that Rebecca cleared her "table" (under bed storage container holding all of her sister's hand-me-down Brat dolls) and put the dishes in her play kitchen's sink, without me telling her to. What a treat to put a child to bed in a tidy bedroom!
I am inspired to tackle the mess in my studio now and I am looking forward to many more feasts in Rebecca's (clean) room.
For more Tea on Tuesday posts, visit Kimmie's blog.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

My 6 year old has the cutest foot wear and can get away with wearing whatever she wants to in public. Today I suggested she wear a red velveteen/ velur skirt and top to which she added a Disney princess crown. She can carry it off.
She is passing out Disney princess Valentines in her kindergarten class today, so she is completely in theme!
Since my Honey is back on the road today, truckin',
(a load of styrofoam cups bound for Texas)
it's just me and the kids.
May make heart shaped hamburgers for dinner.
Or heart shaped pancakes and sausage
(I love breakfast for dinner!)
What are your plans for Valentine's Day?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

2 Hats and an Artist

It's easier to say something when someone else does the talking for you.

And I have a lot more to say!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Anyone interested in a stack of old, tattered book covers?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ancient Tea

This morning I am enjoying a demitasse of strong spicy chai tea
(kind of like Turkish coffee!)
while gathering items for my esty shop.
I love old moldering books, don't you?
This gorgeous old book of Ancient History had shed its covers,
so I decided to bind it up with twine and call it good.
Before I tied up the book, I briefly flipped through the pages
so I could describe its contents in my listing.
To my delight someone had tucked in their penciled notes,
so I added them to the outside of the bundle.
There were more annotations inside.
I love marks left by previous readers.

But the best was yet to be discovered!
I found a butterfly,
carefully pressed between the yellowed pages,
forgotten by the book's previous owner.
And so I left it to be re-discovered by the next owner.
This lovely bundle of papers and hidden treasures
is for sale in my etsy shop.
For more Tea on Tuesday posts,

Monday, February 7, 2011

The "Official" Snippet Roll

You are probably seeing these everywhere now, because Carol's "Snippet Roll", has struck a chord with creative-stitcher-upcyclers.
But it all started as a Junk-le Bell inspired swap.

And I am thrilled to say that I have one of the "first" created!

It doesn't display well as an ornament perhaps, but that point doesn't seem to matter each time I unroll it and discover something new I missed the last time!
Carol has a Snippet Roll tutorial on her blog if you want to make one yourself.
She is also offering an on-line journal class. There is a button on her side bar to register!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Switzy Junk

Margaret's Junkle Bell is literally a jewel for my Christmas tree, being made from broken jewelry findings. Really, it's pretty enough to wear as a pendant on a chain (hmmmm....) And as if her ornament wasn't enough, Margaret also included a gorgeous altered French postcard (love her ruffled crepe paper trim!), German scrap (not pictured) and these metal wings she
white washed and accented with gold paint.
I think she used the same kind of wings on her flying cutlery. So much beautiful treasure to arrive just after the rush of the Christmas holidays!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Junk-le Bells ROCK

Just a bit more "Christmas" before I finally close the lid on the storage box!
Linda and Patty got their ornaments done in a timely manner for our QB5 "Junk-le Bell" ornament swap, so I featured them in my December posts here and here.
And here is my glittery offering (finished after Christmas!). I made it using a vintage Christmas light bulb, the cap from a Christmas ornament, faceted glass beads (only "new" item) and old buttons for spacers. I painted the old scratched up bulb with Diamond glaze and sprinkled it with sugary glitter while the glaze was still wet. Next I wound and tied some tinsel fiber (like you use for knitting and crocheting to add *bling* to your project) around the neck of the bulb, making a loop on top to string dental floss through(yes! like you use on your teeth!) so I could add the remaining elements. I used more Diamond Glaze to hold the cap in place (to secure the tinsel fiber in place too!)and to secure the knot on the jump ring at the top. Voila! A sugar plum fairy "on point".
In the next couple days I will post about Margaret's and Carole's Junk-les. :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tea and Junk

More SNOW (!!!!) in Missouri and what is a girl to do but make lots of tea and play in her studio?
I can have the tea, but with kids home from school and my husband home with the flu, I have precious little time to myself.

Yet, because my sanity is SO important, I stole some time to create a junk journal from a tea box saved for such a time as this.
Actually I BOUGHT the tea for the packaging. Gorgeous colors! The instant iced tea was good, but I would buy it again for the box.
The journal's inside is made up of all kinds of yellowed papers, an envelope, and a few library pocket cards. Antique postage stamps add interest to the already lovely tea box cover.

I have this junk journal for sale in my etsy shop.
If I keep it, I won't feel the need to make more.
Got a package you've been saving for the artwork or design? I'd be happy to create a junk journal for you.
For more Tea Tuesday posts, visit Kimmie's blog.