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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Winner of the ATC Give-Away Is......

Here's the Artist Trading Card (ATC) that was up for grabs. The winner will also receive 3 different ATC blanks to try her hand at her own cards.

OK! And the Winner Is.......Wait. I'm no fool! I'll get Mary to choose to winner. Where's Mary? Maaaarrrryyyyyyyy????????????????

Who's that peeking out from under the covers? Up, Mary! Mommy needs a favor.

All the names are written down and loaded into the cherub planter.

She closes her eyes and scrambles the names before choosing......

Wait....Mary, you're covering up the name!

Congratulations Nan! Email me your address at buckscountyfolkart@yahoo.com so I can send your winnings out to you!

Thanks to all who played!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Just Thought This Needed Repeating

I wrote this last March, when I was only blogging for about a month. It's all about Wabi-Sabi, and I just felt like it needed repeating for all you PERFECTIONISTS out there!


No, I'm not referring to something you'd find on the menu at your favorite Japanese restaurant. Wabi-Sabi is of Japanese origin that celebrates the imperfections in life. It is Wabi, the "humble," alongside Sabi, "the beauty of the natural progression of time." Rather than pursuing perfection, it brings appreciation to the simple, unaffected beauty of things as they are, such as the cracked pot, the beaten up chest of drawers, and the rusty old wagon, once a beloved toy, that now sits in your garden as a planter for Spring flowers.

Being a Folk Artist who also has tendencies to be a perfectionist, I sometimes have trouble honoring the concept of Wabi-Sabi. In my zeal to make the "perfect" piece, I lose sight of the very feel I'm trying to evoke from it. It's the simplicity and natural charm of Folk Art that make it so pleasing. When I create, I WANT my art to look time-worn and home-made, imperfections just add to its character. I want you to want to touch it! Run your hand over the soft, warm wool. Feel the notches in the carved wood. Check out the distressed crackled finish and feel the smooth vintage buttons between your fingers. That's what makes the piece "perfect" in my eyes.

To me, Wabi-Sabi and Folk Art go hand-in-hand. Both honor the character and beauty of everyday life. The next time I find the perfectionist in me stealing my joy, I'll close my eyes and say, "Wabi-Sabi". Not only do I respect its meaning, but it's so much fun to say out loud! Try it, you'll see what I mean. OH, JUST TRY IT. You know you want to!

Friday, January 21, 2011

More ATCs - Told You They're Addicting!

I couldn't help myself; I had to join just one more swap! This was a "Fantasy-Themed" ATC swap where we had to create one using images like elves, fairies, mermaids, etc.

The first was made from images I got from a Bumper Book dated 1931. I experimented with water color pencils for the background and clothes. And of course, added sparklies.

This one was lots of fun! Again, I got these little fairies from the Bumper Book. See the older fairy in the background? He's sitting on a toadstool making shoes while three little fairies look on. For the background, I used scrappaper that looks like clouds and another that looks like grass. The word, "Wishes" came off an old Anniversary card.

I got this gnome from our very own Jackie at "Once Upon a Fairyland"! The background is from a vintage card.

Once again, the Bumper Book was used. I just got this book in the mail today from Ebay - less than $6.00 and it's filled with stories and pictures of fairies! I combined two different pictures into one.

These ATCs are actually going to be sent to Germany for the swap. Wish I could travel there!

As I type this, I'm actually trying to keep from going through the roof. I noticed our house just kept getting colder and colder. At first, I thought our furnace was broken. Then I noticed we have NO OIL! I called Meenan Oil Company, who we pay $315a month to, asking why we have no oil! Apparently, they just filled us 2 weeks ago. How can we possibly be out of oil in only two weeks?!! They don't know of course, but will send some oil over within an hour to get us through the night and then they'll send a real delivery sometime tomorrow.

Sometimes it's good I've got an Irish temper. Being so hot under the collar is the only thing keeping me from freezing right now.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Newest Obsession & Give-Away!

Just when I think I've started to focus and hone my skills in one area, Lisa goes and introduces me to Artist Trading Cards (ATCs). They've become my new obsession!

For those who never heard of ATCs, An ATC is like a baseball card, except instead of a baseball player on the front it's artwork. The dimensions are strictly 2.5 x 3.5; other than that, practically anything goes. You can embellish it and make it 3D, or keep it flat so it can slip into a plastic sleeve.

One strict rule, which seems to get a lot of controversy, is that the ATCs must be TRADED, never sold. One way to trade is through swaps. One Swap I joined was an open-themed swap. The only restriction was it had to be flat enough to fit into the plastic sleeve. I kept this swap mostly to paper.

This ATC is entitled, "Coming to America" and is a picture of an immigrant landing in New York. I looooooove working with vintage pictures. I used old sheet music for the song, "America".

This was my patriotic ATC. It uses pieces from a vintage card and old sheet music. I scorched the edges of the card to give it a war-torn look.

These images are taken from a magazine from the 1950s. I thought the two girls playing with the puppy was cute.

Next, is my little gypsy fortune-teller. I glued some hand-cut hearts onto the crystal ball. Then, I added another crystal ball on top of that and rubbed distressed ink over it. This shaded the hearts and makes them appear inside the ball, rather than me just gluing them on top. I sprinkled it with glitter for a bit of magic.

Being a homemaker, I joined an "All About Laundry Swap," I had a good time with this one! Here's a vintage picture of a girl doing the laundry. There's an ironing board in the background. It reminds me of laundry day at my house. To get motivated, I watch "Hoarders."

I ADORE this old lady! Just look at the face she's giving! I wrote on the bottom, "Every Day is Wash Day" and have a calendar in the background, circling every day in red that she needs to wash.

Another vintage piece of a girl washing her clothes outside by hand. I wish I had had a white marker to draw the bubbles instead of the black. Live and learn.

In Honor of my Irish roots, and the fact I love this old woman so much, I used her image again. This is a Help Wanted ATC with the words, "No Irish Need Apply." To give it the old world feel, I scorched the edges with a lighter and of course, antiqued it with distressed ink and a wee bit of crackle finish.

The last swap I joined, (I told you I got obsessed!), was a "Secret Love" swap. The idea is to develop an ATC about something you secretly love. The catch is, something had to move on the card. Being extremely new to ATCs, I don't know what possessed me to take this challenge, but I did!

My first is a Victorian girl holding a diary. As long as I could remember, I've had a diary, which as a mature grown-up I now refer to as my "journal." My secret love is writing in it. At this point though, I also have a family journal, art journal, Mary journal, Nicolai journal, and health journal! The journal actually flips pages, which is the movable part.

This is my "Honey Bunny" picture and I've used it on several things so far. My secret love is...well...not so secret...it's Ted! This girl holds a Valentine bag filled with two valentines you can actually take out and read. I got this bag and the valentines from a Dollhouse Miniatures magazine I've had forever.

The next movable ATC I made represents my love of rummaging through old things to find secret treasures. I created two tiny envelopes and inside them are even tinier papers, birth certificates, report cards, baby books, etc (all taken from the Dollhouse Miniature book). The person who gets this ATC may be surprised when she opens the envelopes to find teeny weeny perfectly proportioned papers!

What's my other secret love? A warm kitchen and hot, home-made meal in the oven. When you open the door to the oven......

It's filled with a nice brown turkey! The casserole dishes are from a 1950s magazine, and I added real fabric for the oven mitt and dishcloth.

And finally, the ATC Give-Away! I just love this young guy in his dapper clothes! He used to be standing by a lamp post, but I instead have him holding a vintage Valentine cupcake topper. A cute little kitty looks on and a star with Feb. 14th stands for of course, Valentine's Day. It's covered in fabric with tiny little red hearts (remember, this card is only 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches!) and distressed in ink. This Artist Trading Card Give-Away is for this card. Also, if you're interested in trying to create an ATC yourself, I'll send along a few cards to get you started. Just leave a comment by January 31st.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

For the Love of Valentine's Day

When I was a little girl, my absolute favorite book was called, "Yours Till Niagra Falls." It's a collection of autograph verses from 1950 and is just cute as could be. As serendipitous as life can be, I now own the very same book I used to always take out from our school's library. I'm also happy to see it's now one of Mary's favorite books.

So, for your viewing pleasure, I present to you my latest Valentine projects along with some little verses from the book.

In Central Park
There is a rock,
And on it says

Farther down
There is a tree,
And on it's carved,
"Remember Me."

May your luck be like the capital of Ireland
"Always Dublin."

May your life be like an old-fashioned gown - long and beautiful.

You love yourself, you think you're grand.
You go to the movies and hold your hand.
You put your arm around your waist,
And when you get fresh, you slap your face.

I'm not a Northern beauty,
I'm not a Southern rose.
I'm just a little schoolgirl
With freckles on my nose.

A kiss is a germ,
Or so it's been stated.
But kiss me quick,
I'm vaccinated!

True friends are like diamonds,
Precious but rare;
False friends like autumn leaves
Scattered everywhere.

Tell me quick
Before I faint,
Is we friends
Or is we ain't?

It was midnight on the back porch.
Two lips were tightly pressed.
The old man gave the signal,
And the bulldog did the rest.

Gold is pure
And so is pearl
But purest of all
Is an innocent girl.

Boys are like a box of snuff.
Get one whiff and that's enough.

Our eyes have met,
Our lips not yet,
But oh you kid,
I'll get you yet.

He is a fool who thinks by force or skill
To turn the current of a woman's will.

Don't make love by the garden gate.
Love is blind, but the neighbor's ain't!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Free Vintage Valentine Images For You 1930s-1940s

Remember this past summer, when we traveled to Dane and Candy's farm? We picked corn, rode horses, discovered kittens in the barn, built bon-fires, and my favorite - did lots of antiquing!

This is one of my greatest scores - several boxes of vintage valentines from the 1930s-1940s.

Ok, Jill. They're cute. But why are they considered such a score? Glad you asked! Let me explain - no. Too much. Let me sum up. These are super rare and unique because they are as original as you can possibly get them. These were found during a warehouse estate sale. The warehouse has been closed for nearly 70 years! The children of the owner who were conducting the sale didn't even know these valentines existed!

I bought several boxes of these. Inside each box are not only the uncut, unfolded valentines, but their envelopes as well. I'm guessing these boxes were supposed to be distributed to stores, but the warehouse closed before they made it out. Talk about unique!

I picked up sets of children and animals. There is also a large set of 3D valentines. When you fold them, they turn 3-dimensional and stand alone. I couldn't decide which was cutest, so I wound up buying a box of each. I know. I'm so weak!

So for my journaling, tagging, scrapbooking, junque journaling, ATCing, ACEOing friends, here are some delicious images for you!

I'm also selling little lots on my Etsy shop and on Ebay. Ebay has more of an assortment including the larger 3D valentines for those who may be interested in getting hold of some of these rarities! Of course, my Ebay seller name is: buckscountyfolkart.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Feeding My Soul

Kids are finally off to bed. House is clean. A glass of Sutter Home and Billie Holiday singing in the background. Who wouldn't be inspired to create?

Although these old felt carolers and ice skaters were cute the way they were, I wanted to give them more character. They went from being Christmas decorations to unique Valentines!

This young girl is out shopping for her sweetheart. She's got a metal heart and Valentine quilt in one arm, and a basket full of goodies in her other. Her basket includes antique mercury balls and a vintage cupcake pick.

Looks like this fellow's all set for the big day! Three sparkly hearts overloading his arms with a large "Happy Valentine" stick, which is actually a vintage cake pick. I don't know why I added the goose to the bottom of his feet. It just seemed to go with the Victorian look.

Making these was extra fun because it gave me the chance to combine the old with the new, which is something I loooooooove.

What's Valentine's Day without a pretty combination of pink, red, and white?

This little lady is so shabby-chic! She holds her vintage "Happy Valentine's Day" sign in one hand and a basket stuffed with Valentine delights in the other. Silver garland, pink feathers, iridescent gifts, sparkly hearts, pale pink pearls, a pink rose and white dove all put me in the mood for a big heart-shaped box of chocolates.

This reminds me of a teen-aged boy wanting to impress his girl!

Can't you just feel the love-sick anticipation of this young boy, who obviously spent his whole paycheck on his sweetie-pie? He's got a lot of coordination too - he's balancing it all while on ice skates!

It's been SO hard to focus lately! So many ideas filling my head, so many adult responsibilities pulling me in a totally different direction, so little time it seems......but I'm thriving on it!!

How about you?!