"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Using the Gifts that God Gives Us

Franz Joseph Haydn, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the classical period, once said to his musicians, "There are so few happy and contented people here below. Sorrow and anxiety pursue them from everywhere. Perhaps, your work may someday become a spring from which the careworn may draw a few moments rest and refreshment."

Although this was said for those living over 200 years ago, it still rings true today. I hope that every artist reading this (whether you write, dance, sculpt, paint, etc.), becomes a spring from which the careworn may draw a few moments rest and refreshment.

Sometimes when I find myself overly worrying and anxious, I look at your art blogs as a way to escape the harsh realities of this world. I imagine there are plenty of others who do the same. I bet you never even realized how much your work comforts and inspires others.

Now don't you feel good about yourself? Of course you do!

My First Attempt at Tags

I'm not a paper artist, not even a scrapbooker. I don't have rubber stamps or fancy cutting tools. Somehow though, watching other artists, like the amazing Elizabeth from Creative Breathing, transform paper images into beautiful tags inspired me to give it a try. Here is a "weekly calendar" of tags I created using images from an old children's book and lots of vintage flowers, trims, and buttons:

MONDAY: Watch the bubbles fly -

TUESDAY: See the wash get dry-

WEDNESDAY: Mend with all your might-

THURSDAY: Make things clean and bright-

FRIDAY: Bad for dust and flies-

SATURDAY: Good for cakes and pies-

SUNDAY: From all tasks we're free. After church we have our tea.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Vintage Christmas Images to Share!

On Saturday, we took a road trip to Jersey City, to visit our friends, Beth and Karl. While Ted took Mary and Nicolai to a science museum, Beth took me to NYC! For my birthday, she planned out a few flea markets she knew I'd love.

While at "The Garage" I found some old Christmas cards that were part of a scrapbook from 1948. Here are three of the best ones I'd like to share with you. Feel free to use them as you wish!

I'd love to go back to "The Garage"; unfortunately, we only had about 15 minutes before closing so we had to act fast! It was heartbreaking though. I found these old pictures under piles of ephemera stashed in big Tupperware bins. So many of the old papers, cards, pictures, and scrapbooks were getting totally destroyed because of the way they were just thrown into the bins. Every time someone looks through them, they just get more crinkled and ripped. You'd think the man selling them would want to better preserve them. At least I was able to save these in time!

While in NYC, I also experienced my very first cab and subway rides! I'm sure I stood out like a sore thumb as I held onto the pole in the subway, big stupid smile on my face, excitedly saying how fast and fun it was!

And I'm certain I was out of my element when the man selling me the Christmas cards looked at me suspiciously and said, "Are you ALWAYS this happy?"

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fun with Altoid Tins!

I've always had a fondness for little trinket boxes, where you can stash tiny treasures.

Altoid tins are just cool. Every time I recycled one, I cringed. Recycling is good, but repurposing is better!

Surely, there must be something I can do with an Altoid Tin? Time to research the internet and invoke the Muse!

Let's see.....seasonal scrap paper, vintage millinery and lace, and a vintage spool painted and glittered a sparkly red....

a miniature vintage snowman cup cake topper and flowers, an old Christmas card for the background scenery, pretty pearls, faux snow, old tinsel, and a vintage cardboard Santa Claus......

and vintage candy-cane colored pipe cleaners to frame it. What do you think of my little piece? Oh! That was too much fun! How about another?!

This time, I'll keep the lid attached.

I picked up a pack of old cardboard Santas at an antique shop this past winter for a song. I knew they'd come in handy! He holds a mini bottle brush tree that I bleached, dyed a very chic pink, and decorated with teeny-weeny little beads. An old Christmas card is used for background scenery and is lined with a silver chenille stem. A miniature snowman and sled make the perfect accents!

After lining the lid with green plaid scrap paper, I highlighted it with vintage garland. Next, I cut out "Jingle Bells" from antique sheet music and I topped it off with vintage wedding bells.

keeping with the integrity of the Altoid tin, I decided not to decorate the outside of it.

My nosy little girl had to see what all the fun was about and asked if she could make a tin with me, but wanted it to be a Halloween theme.

Mary and I put this one together using Halloween scrap paper for the background, Halloween graphics were cut out from one of my miniature magazines, a paper clay face of the moon (I molded from an antique sun pin), rusty nails for a fence, and silver garland.

The background on this side is taken from a photo of the Headless Horseman in a graveyard! We cut out more graphics from vintage Halloween cards for the cat and Halloween greeting. Mary found the black glittered bat and pumpkin in my stash of paper clay miniatures. I like to make things ahead of time, thinking I'll use them at one point.

I think Mary's getting addicted. She did this one all by herself afterwards and then another one last night, complete with a hand-drawn bird popping out of the tin.

As a mom and an artist, it's thrilling to see the little wheels spinning in her head as she creates her own pieces. I enjoy watching her try to figure out how things need to be applied correctly in order to work (eg: She learned yesterday that tape isn't strong enough to hold a spool to a tin!) and also how she likes to create things that "look pretty" or "cute". Pretty and cute are very important to a seven-year-old little girl!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming To Town!

This icy creation makes me yearn for cooler weather!

The entire piece is approximately one foot long from the tip of the polar bear's nose to Santa's sack of goodies.

Some people see this little fellow as a mini Santa while others see him as a jolly old elf. That's the beauty of folk art, it can be whatever you want it to be!

It was so much fun working with this polar bear! He's made from a very hard rubber and is very strong and solid, which is important considering all he needs to pull!

Sacks made from quilt squares are used to hold Santa's treasures. Vintage miniature satin ornaments and presents fill the sleigh. The little baby is sculpted from paper-clay using a German bisque doll from the late 1800s. After creating a mold, and adding a leg that wasn't attached to the original doll, I painted, antiqued, and added green glitter. Isn't he the cutest?!

Does this bear look like a "Humphrey" to you?

Trying to get close-ups without them being blurry isn't easy! I'm no photographer.

Santa rides a wooden sled that I painted white and sprinkled with white glitter and mica flakes for that frosty look. I added another piece on the bottom to give Santa a runner to stand on!

Santa stands approximately 4 1/2 inches tall. His head is hand-molded using paper clay, and then painted and antiqued. I needle-felted his body, using 100% wool. His beard is made from real rabbit fur I received from the great (and unfortunately, retired), Santa Claus artist, Norma DeCamp.

The sleigh full of presents wasn't enough! I added a brown pack to Santa's back to hold even more!

I love the teeny little elf peeking out from his sack of goodies!

My favorite part of creating this piece was being able to dabble in various mediums. Needle-felting, sculpting with clay, painting, designing, and working with miniatures kept the creative energy flowing!

Only 6 more months 'til Christmas!

Better Not Pout!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

To the two most important men in my life.....

The man who gave me life.....

And the man who shares my life........


And Happy Father's Day to ALL the other Dad's out there loving, protecting, and providing for your families.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

I've been in this world 41 years today. And to celebrate this auspicious occasion, I figure I'd do it up right - by hitting a flea market early this morning! Check out all my finds!

$2.00 - Five Christmas cds. I'm always looking to replenish my stock.

$1.00 - Two nesting boxes

$1.00 - Two unopened packets of angel and cherub die-cuts.

$1.00 - Three 1952 stamp & coloring books. I thought the kids would get a kick out of these.

$1.00 - Vintage Santa picks

$2.00 - Shoe-box sized Tupperware full of bird supplies. Doesn't it figure? I just mailed my package yesterday for a bird swap!

$2.00 - Shoe-box sized Tupperware filled with wooden hearts and Valentine crafts. I think I'll be hosting another party for Mary this year!

$2.00 - The MOTHER LOAD of new and old chenille stems! I also found some parasols, white fans, and vintage wedding supplies hiding inside!

$1.00 - cookie cutters

$2.00 - a box overflowing with Halloween delights!

50 cents - Four old aluminum children's tea party plates. They're so cute! They have "The Three Little Kittens" etched inside.

At the very last table, I came across all those art supplies being sold by an elderly woman who used to consider crafting her "Bliss."

Ted took the kids out for a few hours, giving me some much needed time to myself. And hopefully, my many subtle, ok.....maybe not-so-subtle, hints to bring home a chocolate birthday cake is resonating in Ted's subconscious mind. If not, Mary knows what to do!