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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fun and Easy Halloween Project Tutorial!

Anyone want to learn how to make a vintage-style
paper mache black cat container the easy way? 
Well, just follow Mary along! 
First, all you need to do is cover a plastic Jack O'Lantern
container, usually found in dollar stores
or thrift shops, with paper mache. (or my favorite "Rigid Wrap").
Like Mary's glasses?  There's no lenses.  I popped them out.
She just wanted to be "stylish"!

Once you're done wrapping the Jack O'Lantern,
let it dry at least 24 hours.   I also made
little babies ones!

 Since we're making a cat, let's not
forget the ears.  We simply cut some out
using the back of a cereal box and taped them
to the head.  
Again, Mary covered with Rigid
Wrap and let it dry another 24 hours.
 For those who don't know, Rigid Wrap
is a very thin mesh-like fabric that's
coated in plaster.  I believe it's the same material
that was once used for making casts. 
All you have to do is cut it, wet it, and
stick it on.  As much as I'd like to use
newspapers, flour and water, my paper
mache never turned out well and I always
wound up hating working with it.
This stuff makes it fun and easy (as
you can clearly tell by Mary's expression.)
 Once dried, paint the cat black and
start decorating!
 And with some help from Mommy, Mary now
has herself a vintage-style Halloween container!
We plan on adding a wire handle to it, which
will add more texture and make it look
like an old trick-or-treat container.
Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Just Bought a New Book for Making Scrumptious Paper Dolls!

Recently, Mary gave away her much loved American Girl
paper dolls.  It was hard for her to part with them, but
knowing how much her cousin, Haley loved AG, and
the fact Mary felt she outgrew them, she agreed to
give them away.  I was so proud of her I decided to
get her a new "mature" paper doll book.   And from
the smile on Mary's face, you can tell how much
she loves her new found artistic side!
Have you ever heard of "Collage Couture" by Julie Nutting?
This book is packed with techniques and ideas for
creating your very own paper dolls.   
Mary made her first out of the back of
a cereal box with crepe paper dress, blue ribbon,
and scrap book paper hair and shoes.
 Her second doll was made from scrap
book paper and sparklies.
 My favorite part about this book is
it's for girls of all ages!  I can't wait
to try a few myself.
With the approval of Julie Nutting,
here are a few pictures of the
inside of the book - just to
give you a glimpse of the eye candy. 
 This book shows you how to sketch your own bodies and
clothing, as well as backgrounds should you want
to display them.
 While Mary was in her art class,
I read the entire book, including the Introduction
(which I rarely read!)
 I always loved paper dolls and even remember
cutting out the cartoons in the Sunday paper
and playing with them.
 I had thought about waiting until Christmas
to give this to Mary, but it's been a great
way for her to spend some time during the
Pennsylvania heat wave.
I always appreciate when someone shows us a new
book, technique, or idea to learn from.  This was one book
I thought was worth blogging about! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Treasure Hunting at Dead Horse Bay

Have you ever heard of Dead Horse Bay? 
Also known as Bottle Beach and Garbage Beach?
While other families enjoy the white-colored sands
of the Jersey shore, this is the kind of beach
we like to visit!   Picture a time-capsule
from the late 1800s-1950s.
 Known as Barren Island in the 1850s, this beach
was home to the garbage of dozens of factories
and horse rendering plants.  Yes, you read right.
Tons of garbage and horse carcasses were
dumped here; hence, its nickname Dead Horse Bay.
 During WWI, all the surrounding trash from
Manhatten, Bronx, and Brooklyn was also
dumped here.  You wouldn't believe the
amount of old bottles scattered about!
Even before I found out about this beach,
Mary had just learned about it in school and
she was the one who told me it was also
referred to as Garbage Beach.  We collected
some pieces for Mary to bring to school
to show the class and give her own
personal description of it. 
 By the early 1900s, the government cried
eminent domain and people were evicted from their
homes to make way for what is now Floyd
Bennett Field.   All the garbage left behind from
hundreds of people's home was also buried here.
 During the 1950s a cap in one of the landfills burst, littering
Dead Horse Bay with years of debris, which continually
washes ashore to this day. 
It's not just the beach that's filled with old
garbage.  According to the park ranger we met,
this entire area is a huge landfill.  Even where
my friend, Beth and Mary stand is just
layers and layers of sand filling a garbage dump.

 And just across the bay is
a gorgeous view of New York. 
For those who like to take a step
back in time and explore the past,
it's definitely worth the trip.   I guess
I like it because it's not just pictures of the past.
I get to actually touch the past.
 My mom didn't understand it.
Beth found it.......interesting.
The kids, Ted and I all want to go back.
 And as they say in New York.... 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Who Says Bunnies Are Just for Easter?

Vintage Lefton bunnies get a
Halloween make-over!
 First, he needed a slight paint redo.  His
white fur was pretty, but didn't quite match the
Halloween feel I was going for.
Shading and with gray paint 
gives him a darker look.

 Details! Details!  I LOVE Details!
 Using glittered scrapbook paper and vintage
black trim, I created
a Victorian cone brimming with
a combination of old and new
bits and bobs.
 Can never have too much texture!
Not satisfied with him standing alone,
I created a base out of an old
child's block.  
 The other Lefton bunny was a little
harder to figure out by the way she's sitting on
all fours, but I finally came up with the idea of
a bunny wearing a witch's cape and hat.
 These bunnies look so serious!
 The clasp on her cape is part of an old
bracelet.  Her basket is filled with hand-made
goodies.  There's even a miniature
bottle brush tree covered in orange glitter. 
 The wagon is made from a piece of
wood and wooden wheels.
 My interpretation of a Halloween
 Another reason why I love recreating old pieces
is because I get to use so many different mediums.
Paint, fabric, clay, wood, vintage figurines,
millinery, ribbons, old jewelry, miniatures.....
 Put them all together and this is
what you get!
More Halloween to come!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Come See My Halloween Transformation

Transforming something old into something new 
is one of my favorite past-times.
While still maintaining
the integrity of the old piece
watch how she's transformed!
 First things first, repainting the figurine.
I chose black and orange of course,
for her dress and hair ribbon.
 Even her little package was painted orange
and decorated with a teeny black
paper rose as the bow.
 If the devil is in the details, I better
get myself to church!
Armed with old laces and trims, I was
able to add texture to her dress.
 Because her arms are overflowing with
gifts, I pictured her coming home from a
masquerade ball.  This gave me the idea
to have her wear a silver glittered mask.
 Every little girl looks extra cute in polka-dots!
 A Victorian cone filled with Halloween goodies
and a Halloween flag made with a vintage
silver pipe cleaner makes me dream
of cooler, Fall weather.
 Her music box actually still works so
I decided to give her a solid base to stand on.
More scrumptiousness to come!