Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Eve 1945

 New Years Eve as a holiday holds no appeal for me.  I've never liked it even when I was much younger. To help it pass by without me I'm normally in bed sleeping by 10 PM,  and can't  remember the last time I rang in the new year with a group of friends. I find it very sad actually, for several reasons. One, it's the end of a year, passing of time, our children being that much older, days gone by. Since my Mother passed away a few years ago, I find it doubly sad, since New Year's Eve marks the wedding anniversary of my parents, as they were married on this date in 1945.  I keep this photo out all year round.  It has in it 3 people I love very much. My Mother,  my Father, and my Grandfather who I adored as a child.   Since we purchased our cabin a few year ago, I now have a retreat to go to every year for New Year's Eve. No pressure to find something exciting to do with friends, no parties, no sadness while others around me are celebrating. I can quietly ring in the New Year and reflect on happy times.  They would have been married for 64 years this New Year's Eve.  I think that is what I will celebrate.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

~~Welcome 2010~~

Happy New Year to all.  Now that the holidays are coming to an end, I have many plans in store for my art, my home and my blog.  I am looking forward to experimenting with PaperClay sculptures, perhaps some polymer clay, mixed media projects and some altered jewelry.   I already have 3 workshops scheduled and an art show in store over the next couple of months. Although I hate to see a year end, and the holidays over,  it is a nice relief for the pace of life to slow down, and settle in for the long winter.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

**Warm Drinks and Sweet Cookies**

One of our biggest family traditions is making sugar cookies, to leave out for Santa and the reindeer, of course, but it's hard to resist one or two, especially paired with a warm drink. Hot chocolate, spiced cider, Herbal tea..... they all taste especially good this time of year. Recently my friend Eva of Vanesseva Designs of Etsy surprised me by sending my 9 year old Mya this adorable mug cozy that she makes.  It's a Christmas theme, and who wouldn't love to savor their hot chocolate in this soft, warm, hand knit sleeve that slips right over your mug? My daughter loves getting mail, and even moreso, little presents in the mail.  Needless to say it made her day, and mine as well, to have someone so thoughtful to do this.  I guess it its a perfect example of the generosity and warmth that some people bring to others this time of year. Merry Christmas Eva, Merry Christmas everyone!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

**Who Doesn't Love Silver?**

I love anything silver.  Better yet,  tarnished, aged, vintage looking silver.  It has a much warmer sparkle to it than anything new and bright.  German glass glitter, tarnished garland, mercury glass, and vintage jingle bells all have a special place on a shelf at Christmastime here at home.  It especially looks warm and inviting when mixed with white lights on the tree, candles lit, and bits of Christmas-y colors here and there.  Here are a few of my favorite old silver goodies.                                                                    

Monday, December 7, 2009

~~~Angels Abound~~~

Angels descending, bring from above,

Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

~Fanny J. Crosby

Angels have a home throughout the year around my house, but some come out only at Christmastime.  I see no reason why we can't decorate with the things we love, all the year long!  My Mother had a large collection of Angels, so perhaps I inherited my interest in angels from her.  I am lucky enough to have some of her angels.... and I think of her fondly whenever I lay eyes on them.  These angels are just a few of my collection, and a few of my favorite things.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Family In Desperate Need

If this story does not make a person feel blessed, then nothing will. This story brought tears to my eyes, and right now the only thing I can do to offer help is to spread the word, so here it is...

~~When Reindeer Fly~~

There is something so majestic and mysterious about reindeer.  Almost as if they are a mythical creature, but they are not.  I have alwayas loved reindeer, both real and pictures of them in old books or old figurines. About 5 years ago I stumbled upon the deal of a lifeteme ( do you ever have one of those deals that you continue to be shocked about even several years later?!?) at Ebay...... a lot of 17 vintage reindeer, some made of celluloid, some meant to be in a set complete with a harness, some to hang on the tree. Many were that soft aged white that I love so much, or the soft gleamy silver.  2 were rather large, around 10 inches and made of the richest color of gold.  17 reindeer in all, for just a little over $20.  Here are a few of that wonderful find..... which continues to be some of my favorite things!!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

*~*~* SNOWFLAKES*~*~* One of My Favorite Things

Someone once said  "Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together.”  The very first snowflakes of the year excite me just as much now as they did when I was young. Seeing them gather on a cold window, sometimes you can  see exactly how intricate they really are.  Amazing things, snowflakes.  One of my favorite ways to decorate for Christmas is with snowflakes...... glass, glitter, vintage or new, silver and white, large and small.  I have a collection of perhaps 30 snowflakes that I hang grouped against windows, on trees,  and in my kitchen in "dead space" under the cabinets.  It is a collection I continue to add to yearly.  This is just a small sample of what I have.... some of my favorite things.                                         


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

~~More of My Favorite Things~~

Creamy whites, soft tarnished silvers, anything aged and timeless.  German glass glitter, tiny vignettes under a cloche, and elegant sparkle that catches the light.  Vintage reindeer and bottlebrush trees. These are more of my favorite things.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

~~The Twelve Days of Christmas~~

Throughout the season, I am going to showcase some of my favorite things about Christmas..... one at a time. Every year we all look forward to bringing out treasures that are used for such a short time.  It sparks old memories of special people in our past, and special moments of days gone by.  Whether it is the sparkle of snowy white objects mixed with the tarnished vintage silver treasures, or the scent of fragrant evergreen mixed with rich deep red berries.  I think everyone has their favorites, and as a part of the "Twelve Days of Christmas"  these are a few of my favorite things!

A family Christmas tradition we have, is to scout the countryside for wild Rose Hips, Osage Oranges and  Thistle , since the rich golds, deep reds and earth browns blend perfectly with the fragrant mixed evergreens.  Filling various outdoor containers on all of our porches always gets comments from friends and neighbors.  This year we encorporated some angels to the mix.  It looks wonderful even after the holidays are over,  and since most of the items are  "found objects", the price is certainly right!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

~~Faerie Woodland Creation~~

I purchased this gothic style shadowbox/house at Halloween, and it made an awesome spooky house for an altered witch project, and now that it is time for Christmas decorating I decided to make it a little faerie woodland scene.  Complete with pearl garland, bottlebrush trees hand glittered with mica and a sweet little faerie paperdoll peering  out as if peeking through the snowy trees.  Faerie Christmas!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

~~Huge Thanks to TheFeatheredNest~~

I have always admired the blog of TheFeatheredNest, and Dawn's friendliness, helpfulness and warmth always shines through to her readers.  Her talent amazes me, her spirit astounds me, and her generosity and willingness to help others is truly remarkable!  The other day when I was having a few "issues" re-arranging my blog, she offered to help me get it just the way I wanted.  I'm not exactly computer illiterate, but I am definitely limited in my capabilities.  I love the way my blog now looks, in the soft winter whites, and with wallpaper rather than a background..  If you have not already, PLEASE visit her blog for inspiration, tutorials abound, images that will spark your imaginiation, and creativity you will not be disappointed in!  Thank you Dawn, from the bottom of my heart!

Monday, November 16, 2009

~~A Faerie Christmas To You~~

Some Vintage Inspired Faerie Shadowboxes I have been working on, for a workshop I will be doing for a friend within the next couple of weeks.  The miniature bottlebrush trees were bleached and sprinkled with mica flakes, and the crepe paper medallion holds a star scattered with German glass glitter.  The mini banner was computer generated.  I am especially liking the winter whites and aged silvers this year for Holiday colors.  More to come!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Meet My Good Friend Pat (Whyte)

Did you ever meet someone from the online art world who you just instantly felt to be a kindred spirit with? Someone you have an instant freindship with?  Someone you feel as comfortable talking to, as if you had known each other for years?  That is how I feel about my online art friend Pat,  aka Whyte on Etsy.  Her shop is filled with scrapbooking and journaling embellishments, vintage themed collage, altered art and mixed media treasures.  I especially love her pieces made with a vintage feel, time worn and "comfortable".   Pat loves animals, as I do, anything vintage, as I do, she is an eternal optimist, as I am, and she always has a good word for everyone, rarely judging, always finding the good in everything she sees.  Please take a few moments to read about her, and then afterwards visit her amazing Etsy shop.  You will not be sorry, and you may just find a kindred spirit as I have!

Hi Pat, Thanks for letting us all get to know you a little bit more, and especially for sharing some of  my favorite things in your shop! When did you first decide to give selling at Etsy a try, and what were your biggest lessons learned/hurdles faced?

Thanks, Carol, an interview by a spectacular friend and artisan, what a pleasure and opportunity!

I actually learned about etsy on ebay. After success selling overflow items in my home and running into others’ artwork on there, I added some things I created for Christmas 2007 and waited for the $$ to start flowing in. Ha! I was giving my creations away in auctions, so went to the forums and learned ebay was not the best place to make a profit on artwork, but sellers were buzzing about etsy. I registered on etsy, but didn’t set up shop right away; it was almost 6 months before I listed my first treasure. The biggest hurdle for me is time because I work 2 part-time jobs. The biggest lesson learned is etsy is a “biggest” handmade site out there, so there is no just opening shop and waiting for the money to roll in. There is a lot more marketing, a.k.a time, involved than I imagined….but have to say, it’s a blast for me. That cliché “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is how I feel about my art passion and my etsy shop. There are frustrating days, for sure, but in general I’ve never had so much fun trying to make a profit.

What has been your most popular selling item you keep on hand, and what is your favorite item to create for your shop?

My most popular items are handmade supplies that I believe I’m selling to other etsians, not exactly the direction I was planning to take my shop, but working. My favorite item to create for my shop? Believe it or not, I don’t think I’ve discovered that yet because it will be a combination of something I love to make that sells very well. That hasn’t happened yet. Either I love to create it and the right buyer hasn’t found it yet. Or what sells quickly does not particularly satisfy my muse.

What has proven to be the biggest surprise for you since opening your shop?

That is easy to answer because it truly has been a most wonderful, pleasant surprise. The people I’ve met in the forums on etsy have not only become great cyber friends, but have tempted and encouraged me to try new directions in my artwork and crafts. The source of information available through the artisans on etsy is overwhelming. One can read first hand reviews of art products, share different techniques and skills, and there are almost an infinite supply of doors leading to new experiences and worlds. And I was just looking to sell some of my treasures for ego and profit. That’s truly become secondary now. I had no idea.

What do you use as inspiration when you feel a creative slump coming on?

Difficult area for me because I’m always looking for something unique and different from what everyone else is doing. And that is my Achilles heel. It’s really not the production that keeps me from filling my shop, it’s the idea, the thought, the process. I love looking at others’ art for inspiration, but find it a fine line between inspiration and merely reproducing an idea with my own technique. The thrill for me is the lightbulb idea. But I also fall harder when I put that lightbulb idea in my shop and no one else is “lit up”! LOL! It’d be much easier if I just followed the successful paths of others.

What are your favorite pasttimes when not creating/listing/promoting your shop?

I have so little free time right now, I’m out of balance and owe more time to the other people in my life who are important to me; my significant other, adult children and friends have been very tolerant, but I’m pushing limits. Reading, I love propagating new plants from cuttings, and piddling in the yard. Because of the recession and trying not to spend tight money right now, I’m becoming obsessed with repurposing and upcycling so I’m researching ways other people do the same.

Pat, thank you for giving us some insight into your art world, and your personal life as well.  It is already a pleasure to know you, and finding out this much more has been insightful and fun!

Monday, November 2, 2009

~~Do You Love Grunge Tags? How about a Tutorial!?!~~

Ordinary shipping tags, boiling water, instant coffee granules, vanilla and cinnamon
I mix the first 3 ingredients in the glass measuring cup, cool, and then pour half into a shallow container, big enough to dip the tags into.

You can just dunk the tags into the mixture, or leave them in for 20 seconds or so, depending on how dark you want your tags to be. Either way, lightly tap the tag against the edge of container after dunking, so you don't end up with puddles on your tags. Lay them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet.

The part that makes them the most aromatic, is lightly sprinkling cinnamon on them while they are wet, before baking. Don't go overboard... a little goes a long way! You can then add a second layer of tags on the cookie sheet, and repeat the cinammon sprinkling on the 2nd layer.

Bake in a preheated oven of 250 degrees, bake for 5-6 minutes, flip the tags over to expose the underside and continue baking for another minute or so. You will feel that they are dried out and beginning to curl up when finished baking.
Over a sink, I brush the excess/loose cinnamon off each tag with my hand. Make sure to store the finished tags in an airtight container (the original package they came in, or a zip lock bag works well) to savor the aroma !
Let your imagination run wild while altering and collaging them. Use distress inks, stamps, faceted jewels, Glimmermists, ephemera, copies of old photos, lace, buttons, and more. They make wonderful gifts in a set of 6 or so, or to use as a bookmark. Using them to embellish that special gift for someone isn't the only use for these!
Just a couple of ideas. Great for Chritmas, birthdays, or anyday! Enjoy!

 When I first discovered the fun of making altered gift tags in that deliciously scented, aged look, I knew I had to find out how to grunge the tags myself. First of all, alot cheaper (you can grunge 100 large shipping tags yourself for about $6, and the ingredients will last for several hundreds of tags). Second of all, you can get the exact measure of grunge and scent you want. I have had several friends request a tutorial on how to do this process , so here goes. Any questions, please feel free to email me. First of all, you will need basic shipping tags ( I like the larger size, with string attached available at Staples for under $6 a pkg. of 100). You will also need 1 1/2 cups boiling water, 3 T vanilla, about 4 T instant coffee granules. Mix those 3 ingredients together, let cool slightly. You will also need ground cinnamon. ALL of the ingredients can be no-name, or generic brands. Go the cheapest route!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Theme Thursday Challenge

Wow, it has been ages since I have participated in an art challenge, and I just happened to remember tomorrow is Thursday, AHA!! Theme Thursday challenge is up! The theme this week is "favorite colors". That one could easily change daily for me. Lately however I have really been into the blues, especially for the holidays approaching. Here is my blue piece, the cover of an altered Christmas book I have just completed.


From top center, working clockwise These amazing tags were created by Pat , Nancy , Barb ,

Working from upper left, clockwise, please visit these talented artists ... Kathy, Kim , Barb, Aimee and Tamara.
Several weeks ago I was asked to help out with organizing a Christmas tag swap, with my good online friend Pat of TheWhytePaper, and just about an hour ago I went to the mailbox only to find the tags I was given in exchange for making 9 tags for others. I have to say, I couldn't pick a favorite one. All of them are wonderful miniature works of Christmas art! It will have to be a pretty special gift for a pretty special person before I can ever attach any of these beauties to packages to give away! Please take a few minutes to visit their blogs and shops. You will not be sorry!