February 27, 2009

Upcycling

upcycling: the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value. –wikipedia

One of my very favorite magazines, Cloth Paper Scissors, included my bottle cap charms in their latest issue and newest column. If you’re interested in the step-by-step click here for my original post back in October (…and how great are those paint tube peeps by the Oiseaux Sisters on the cover!)

I’m thinking that if there’s anything positive about the recession and current environmental concerns, it’s the fact that a whole lot of us are taking a closer look at how we can upcycle. It’s an exciting process. Actually at this very moment, I have 10 thrifted wool sweaters in a variety of splashy colors and patterns drying in the basement. I bought this book and can’t wait to transform them. Stay tuned for felted wool experiments coming soon.

Speaking of trash, check out some vintage beauties that I’ve acquired via estate sales in the past year. I paid under a dollar for each of these heavy metal cans that I absolutely adore.

I’ll have to say it’s hard to put trash in something so charming. That’s a good thing. Double thinking what’s truly trash and what has the potential for an upcycling. February is almost out and that means yard sale season a.k.a opportunity is right around the corner.
Happy Friday!
Filed Under: projects, thrifting
February 22, 2009

A little bird…

…told me. All of those whisperings. Did they start in my head or my best girlfriends? Are the whisperings instincts gently leading me or was it something I read? I’m not sure…so I’ll just say I must have heard it from a little bird.

Above is a look at the beginnings of this piece. First, I primed muslin with gesso adding lots of texture. Once the gesso was dry, I painted with various shades and sprinkled paint droplets on top. I then cut a piece of the muslin to size for the canvas of “A little bird” saving the leftovers for another project. I matte mediumed paper scraps, trim and ribbon on top and then went in and painted more detail. I used embroidery floss to hand stitch the lettering and outlines on the bird. I finished with a variety of swirly machine stitches to suggest all of those whisperings we hear. Zigzag stitches enhance the texture of the grass. I think throwing sewing into the mixed media pot adds unique elements of interest and charm. I’ll definitely be experimenting with more of that.

A little bird is now available as a print over in my etsy shop.
February 20, 2009

introducing…Funky Feathers

You may have noticed what has flown into my etsy shop over the last couple of weeks. I figured that it’s about time I gave them a proper introduction. You meet Funky FeathersFunky Feathers meet You.

My sewing machine has been busy cranking out original soft sculpture personalities which I’ve been wanting to bring to life for some time.

The ideas for these quirky birds have been coming at me fast and furious. Making my vision a reality involved many trails, errors and redos.

Take the legs for instance. I purchased more different types of wire and bendable-this-and-that than I care to admit. The legs had to be just right. I tried everything before deciding that I liked paper wrapped floral wire (painted) the best for it’s texture, thickness and bendability.

This is Love bird, a flirtatious gal in the mood for love. She certainly wears her heart on her sleeve.

Have you ever wondered about the Early Bird’s secret weapon? It’s simple. Lots and lots of caffeine.

And finally, Bird Seed Thief is not content with the slim pickings in the feeder. This mischievous guy is running away with the whole bag.

I’ll have these three versions (no two exactly alike) of Funky Feather wall hangings available over in my etsy store. Plus a flock will fly north with me this May for my first art fair! Can’t wait for that.
Happy Friday!
February 17, 2009

They’re back


It’s that time of the year. Those familiar rainbow colored boxes are making an appearance. We have a salesperson in our house so we had to purchase a few…maybe more than a few…boxes. Justifiably, it’s all for a good cause.

All five family members got to order one box in their favorite flavor. I’ve made it clear that choice doesn’t mean ownership, but apparently this kid isn’t taking any chances…and I know where she’s coming from. Once those boxes get opened you have to be really quick. Like lightening quick. Poor turtles are stuck with crumbs around here. Hopefully you’ve received your order or it’s on the way. I’d offer you some of ours, but we’re down to a box or two with threatening notes attached. You wouldn’t want that.

I remember my cookie selling days when a box would set you back a whole $1.25. While the price has changed to $3.00 a box, my favorite flavor has stayed the same. I’m a true thin minter through and through Especially thin mints slightly frozen. How about you?

Filed Under: family, kids
February 16, 2009

Etsy finds + a giveaway

I’d been looking for the perfect pin cushion to celebrate my return to sewing. Of course I went right to Etsy where I knew there would be endless options. I ended up purchasing this handmade pear from retro mama. I absolutely love it. So much in fact that I’m having a hard time bringing myself to actually stick pins in it.

A month or so ago, I was lucky enough to win a vintage wall chandelier vinyl decal from another Etsian. Scribble It sells a large variety of custom vinyl lettering and wall art for home decor, businesses and vehicles. I “hung” my prize over one of my computer stations. If you haven’t tried vinyl art yet, check it out. It’s really easy to put up and surprisingly affordable.

Speaking of giveaways, if you head over to Simple Finds and leave a comment you will be entered to win one of my 8″ x 10″ ‘My Kitchen’ prints. Be sure to enter before Thursday, February 19th.

Hope you’re having a relaxing President’s day. I’ve managed to fit in a hair cut & color and after all of that beautifying, a much needed snooze. Back to work tomorrow.
February 15, 2009

a chip off the old block

Congrats to Illustration Friday’s newest proud parents Penelope and Colin. To celebrate, I created this party hat out of a…

…wooden children’s block and bits of vintage feathers, trims, beads, papers and fabrics. I found these blocks at a yard sale last summer. The nice seller had a very hard time giving them up and hoped that my kids would love the blocks as much as hers had. I felt slightly guilty and didn’t mention exactly what I had in mind for those smooth wooden shapes. In addition to the hat above, I’m seeing a plethora of future 3-D mixed media projects. How about you?
February 7, 2009

Early bird

I have often been amused by the old saying, “The early bird gets the worm.” When I was younger, I remember my mom attempting to rouse me in the morning by singing cheerfully, “Rise and shine…the early bird gets the worm.” I think I had a valid point when I reasoned that I didn’t want a yucky worm anyway so goawayandletmesleep. As fate would have it, I ended up turning into an early bird. I accomplish more in the wee hours of the morning than the rest of the day (with the help of a little caffeine mind you.)

Out of my three kids, I have at least one early bird. He often joins me in the studio before everyone else is awake. In the case of this early bird there’s no worm reward, but he does get quality time with Mom. Two birds of a feather working away during our favorite hours of the day.

Early Bird is available as a print in my etsy shop.
Filed Under: Uncategorized
February 5, 2009

On top of the hill

I think for the most part I’m a pretty fun, involved sort of mom. However lately, I’ve been reminded of my shortcomings. In particular, the fact that I am not a big fan of snow. Especially being out in the snow doing snow things like building snow people and snow forts, having snowball fights, sledding, all of that. Well today after the kids got home from school, I decided it was time to shake things up a bit. I put on nine layers and announced to the entire clan that we were going sledding. ALL of us. There were excited giggles and a disbelieving comment or two from my witty husband. After everyone was dressed, we piled our sleds and bodies in the van and drove the couple of miles to the really BIG hill.

Of course I took my camera so I could document that I have been sledding with my kids. They seem to have forgotten that I sledded with them last season or maybe it was two seasons ago?? At any rate, this was not the first time…but I admit, it doesn’t happen often. I usually favor baking cookies and warming hot cocoa for when they return.

Remarkably
, we all had a really good time tonight…soooo maybe I need to document that too? : )


p.s. special thanks to Debbie for giving me a Kreativ Blogger Award yesterday. You made my day!
Filed Under: kids
February 2, 2009

a creative loss

Did anybody else get this sad postcard? (picture me gasping out loud and bringing hand to mouth when I found this in my mail a few days ago.)

Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion was one of my very favorite favorite magazines since its debut in 1996. The home decor and creative lifestyle magazine reflected Mary’s personal decorating vision and showcased the homes of fellow artists. Each issue covered topics including family life, food, decorating, craft projects, flea markets and collectibles. Nothing against the replacement, but Home Companion was more me…less perfect more eclectic. I’m really going to miss “Living the Creative Life”. Thanks Mary and staff for all of those inspiring years. I’m absolutely heartbroken to see you go.

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