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

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hurry! Hurry! Step Right Up, Folks!

Get'cher Vintage Circus Supplies Here!

Clearing out my stash once again and didn't realize how many circus-themed supplies and collectibles were packed away!

Last summer, I was on the hunt for the old-time feel of carnival and circus supplies for a neighborhood party.

Anytime I found anything remotely resembling a circus or carnival, I scooped it up.  Having things on hand helps conjure up ideas and inspiration. 

When it comes to the circus, the older the pieces the better! 

I've been debating whether to put these in my Etsy Shop or keep them for further projects.

Having more projects in mind than I know what to do with, I figured I could part with these and maybe help someone else who's creating their own altered art.

 Some people wonder how I can have so many knicky-knacks and art supplies.  But I say, anyone who works with their hands knows the importance of having your tools right there when you need them. 

When it comes to art, is there anything more frustrating than being totally hit with inspiration, actually having the time to dig in, only to find out you're short of supplies? 

That's not for me, sister!

So, while I'm penned up at home with two sick children, I take the opportunity to dig it all out and decide which goes back in! 

Sounds easier said than done.  We sometimes get attached to our things don't we? 

But it's all ok, because I know once the space is cleared and I have lots of room to work on my newest love-interest......I'll need some new supplies!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Newest Noah's Ark

Every piece of art I create needs to tell a story and this Noah's ark is no exception.  After Uncle Dane's unexpected passing, I wanted to make something special for his two young granddaughters, Haley and Taylor. 

The idea came to me when I saw a large piece of wood in Dane's barn.  Immediately, I envisioned it as the ark's hull.

But, this was more than I could handle.  The wood's very heavy and too thick for me to cut with a bandsaw. 

Normally, I would have asked Uncle Dane for his help.   Isn't it surreal that his son, Brian, was able to step in and do this for me?  He cut it down to just the size and look I was after.   And the best part?  Now the ark is from both of us.

The animals are rounded up onto the second story, which is an old converted wooden box.   I made the fence by cutting dowels and wrapping them in jute.

For the the third tier, I refurbished a birdhouse into living quarters for Noah.  The entire ark is painted and aged for a time-worn look.

Of course, there's got to be a gangway for the animals to board the upper deck.  Two planks made from wood and Popsicle sticks do the job.

But WAIT!  What have we here?  Oh, the poor little misfits, tossed off the ark into their own little boat.

A long piece of rope keeps these skunks at a safe distance.

Noah looks on to make sure the little stinkies are doing ok.

"In Loving Memory of Uncle Dane 2012" was burned into the ark on the other side. 

Because Dane's granddaughters are so young, I thought it was best to give them plastic animals, rather than carved ones, which are too fragile for little hands.

To Haley and Taylor, Love Uncle Brian and Cousin Jill.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Shane's Confectionary in Old Philadelphia

If you're ever visiting Philadelphia, there's one little shop you've got to visit, Shane's Confectionery.

Have you ever watched "Unique Sweets", on the Food Network Channel?  It features unique bakeries and pastry shops from all over the country. When Shane's Confectionery aired, we knew it would be an easy day trip.

Mary recently told us she wants to be a pastry chef, a scientist, and an artist when she grows up.   We told her a pastry chef is all those things combined into one! 

Mary now has a list of bakeries and pastry shops she'd like to visit.  Who knows?  Maybe this will inspire her to open her own shop one day.  She already has the name picked out.  Shhhh...I'm not allowed to tell anyone!

What's so unique about Shane's?  They use the same industrial machines that were used back in the early 1900s!

Unfortunately, the back room where all the candy-making takes place wasn't open to the public, but we were lucky to watch the whole process on "Unique Sweets."  Not only do they use all the old machinery, but the entire shop is decorated reminiscent of that time period.

Even the workers dress in old-time clothing.

It was very hot outside so we had to keep that in mind when buying chocolate. 

Huge apothecary jars filled with old-time candy lined the shelves. 

What to choose?  What to choose? 

Marshmallow, taffy, gumdrops, and suckers.......  

Nicolai never saw such huge jaw-breakers!

Tempting, isn't it? 

Not a surprise, Mary fixated on the chocolate-covered marshmallows. 

Here's a fun way to decorate for the Fourth of July.

Marshmallow and chocolate on a 94 degree day.  Not the best idea.

Right down the street was a cozy little pizza shop.  We had lunch and decided to just let the kids eat the candy right there since carrying it around wasn't an option. 

Dark-chocolate covered apricots and caramel mixed with sea-salt.  So decadent!

Brick-oven pizza, old-fashioned candy, and the affection of grateful children will melt any parent's heart even on the hottest of days.  

"Well," said Ted, "since we're here, why not walk around a bit?" 
So we did.
But that as they say, is another story.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Turn-of-the-Century Images to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

Listed in this post are 15 late-1800s to early-1900s images for you to use however you'd like.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Aunt Candy's great-grandfather owed a mercantile during the 1890s-1900s in a small Ohio town. 

Many of these images come from old advertisements that were included inside boxes of tea and coffee he'd order for the store.  I think Candy said they were referred to as "trading cards." 

Do you remember back in the 70s, "Wonder Bread" would tuck little cards inside their loaves too?  The excitement of seeing what was on the cards rivaled the suspense of discovering the hidden treasure inside a box of cereal and Cracker Jacks.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a scanner and had to just use a camera to get these images.  They seemed to have come out pretty clear though.

Besides advertising cards, Candy also let me take pictures of antique postcards too.

Too bad companies got rid of all the cute little freebies for the kids.  Now on a cereal box, it just tells you to go to their website for games.  Blah!

Have you gotten a box of Cracker Jacks lately?  We got a ton of them last summer for our carnival party.  Almost every box contained a tattoo.  Big shlameel.

 Well, as I type this, the kids are outside trying to start a water balloon fight.  Looks like I better go referee!

Hope you can find some creative ways to use these images.  Enjoy!