Monday, December 28, 2009

Ho, ho, ho. This isn't funny at all.

To maximize the $6.99 value of the pet sweater, I thought it would be lovely if Lester (he of the pink nose) would model before it gets packed away. You may recall Larry, the brown-noser, modeled it rather unsuccessfully on Christmas Eve.
Lester was even less amused, delivering a one-two hook sans claws (or maybe it was Santa Claws). In fact, he wiggled and squirmed so much he was able to leap right out of the sweater in mid-air. So much for cat couture and holiday cheer. I thought it was a tasteful gift; I guess they wanted catnip.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A new appreciation for sewers

No, not sanitation systems, although I appreciate those also. I mean people who can operate a sewing machine, or in this case, anyone who can wield a needle and thread without drawing blood, tangling one's materials in knots or making the finished object look like it was not sewn by King Kong or a Far Side cow (they of no opposable thumbs).

I was all thumbs in my first attempt at making a sock monkey, and worse still, I was late and missed most of the free class offered by the American Visionary Art Museum this Saturday. My first clue that I was in trouble was the lack of parking. And when I finally took the elevator up to the third floor classroom of the Jim Rouse (creator of Columbia, where I live) Visionary Center, I was shocked to find fiberfill flying everywhere and what looked like 300 men, women and children busily cutting, sewing and stuffing socks into fabric precursers of homo sapiens.

I couldn't even see a registration table; just dozens of round tables full of socks, buttons, yarn and more. Luckily, a woman wearing a "Monkey Helper" nametag took pity on me and gave me a pattern and five minutes of instruction. Then she started cleaning up. I felt pretty sheepish, thinking I could just drop in anytime--that's how I had understood the event. I also felt pretty disappointed, knowing sewing is not my strong skill and thinking I'd never manage to make a sock monkey, or even a sock amoeba.

But determination is a virtue, or something like that, and I stitched away into the wee hours, mostly because my neighbors were having a raucous party. By 3 a.m. I had a head, torso, legs and one ear, as well as two daisy buttons that gave Gladys all her personality. It really is all in the eyes.

I woke up this morning eager to finish, and hoping all the party-going neighbors had well-earned headaches. I had one, too, from trying to thread my needle without my glasses. But seeing Gladys with all her limbs intact and her wired tail made me feel all better. That, and some oatmeal monster (I mean monkey) cookies we made after that.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A quick post from Tinsel Wonderland

These photos are all related, although it might be a little hard to understand old dollies, a grinning dog, a tree topper and giant cheese puffs. They are all connected by the sweet and talented person in the bottom photo, my dear friend, the delightful Lisa Kettell. I was lucky enough to spend last weekend with Lisa, her family, friends, six inches of snow and DJ the wonderdog (seen above just after getting a treat and sliding it off the counter stealthily).

Lisa conducted a class in making the clay-headed, paper cone-bodied angel tree toppers in Lafayette, NJ at a workshop she called Tinsel Wonderland on Dec. 5. It was a snowy wonderland, thanks to mother nature, and an extra-pleasant time, thanks to Lisa's mother Joan. The other lovely attendees, like Terri Ventura and Pam Huntington made it extra-special, too.

This is a short post, but check out Lisa's many pictures on Facebook, Flickr and her blog. And mark your calendar for April 7-10, 2010 for Art Opera in Red Bank, NJ.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Oh, Scrap!

Yes, that Glamour Don't (DO wear pants) greeted me inside the front door of The Scrap Exchange. I knew right then it was going to be a great and fun shop! Their motto is "We Collect, You Create." I'm all about that. And collect I did, from old dental x-rays (cool! yuck!) to paper spools, brocade trim, test tubes and more.

Set up as a not-for-profit, this organization has been collecting industrial and paper scraps and other funky materials to be reclaimed and repurposed through their store, gallery, workshops and parties. They are open seven days a week and feature a gallery of finished art for sale as well as not just aisles and aisles of scrap, but rooms and rooms of scrap. It IS altered art heaven.

Imagine all the cast-off floppy disks you could ever want, pounds of paper, tubs of old keys, film cannisters, spools, lids. What about an entire "science" aisle? I was ecstatic with the bins of test tubes, beakers, pipettes, and lots of weird medical stuff.

There's also true vintage stuff intact, like old games, suitcases and clothing, as well as newly-made cool jewelry from scrap and vintage scrap. Check their Web site by following the link at top for an Iron Crafter challenge, event calendar and other activities, or visit their blog here.

Headed to New Jersey

What could be better than a Tinsel Wonderland Workshop? How about a Tinsel Wonderland Workshop led by the inimitable Lisa Kettell? See? There IS something better. So, I'm headed to New Joisey from Balmore, as the locals say. Actually, I wonder if people in New Jersey like it when interlopers say "New Joisey" or some silly variation. My guess is no. I'd better leave my nearly half-century Midwestern twang at the door. If you think about it, don't we all talk funny?

I'm excited to be hanging with Lisa, founder and creator of Art Opera, sad that I won't meet Ann-Denise Anderson, a fellow Lisa fan and supporter and artist in her own right, curious about what we're going to make (Santa's Toy Apothecary, a clay and paper mache Christmas tree with doll-head topper), and ready for some great antiquing at Lafayette Mill Antiques Center.

It seems like so long ago that I 'met' Lisa that I can't remember how or when. I think it was in her private Flickr group, The Faerie Zine, whose actual zine you can order on Amazon here. Not sure. We became fast friends, and I was honored to be asked to submit a piece for her first book, Altered Art Circus, which you can also order on Amazon. We've swapped art, we've commiserated, we've it will be fun to see her leading a workshop. TTYL and BRB...gotta go get my art on.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bunny takes Baltimore by storm

I normally keep my Blythe postings to my Blythe blog, but on Saturday, Nov. 21, art and Blythe intersected as I visited The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore with my Blythe friend Maggie of Balto. Maggie is quite the collector, and not just Blythe. She has tons of Barbies, Momokos, Wonder Frogs, you name it. And, she has a great deal of talent in customizing and styling dolls, as you can see above from my Bunny Velvet, a former Ashton-Drake Roaring Red, which Maggie re-faced and re-eyed and re-everything'd.

We had a great lunch inside the museum at Mr. Rain's Fun House, and had a great Blythe chat with the owners, while they gratiously indulged our photo-taking. The restaurant and gift shop are highly-recommended! And, I'm a member of the museum, so of course it is high on my culture list.

If you've never heard of Blythe, a doll who made a brief appearance in the early 1970s, you can read more here, or simple type in "Blythe" on Ebay or Etsy, and prepare to get hooked.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A few more views from Maryland

Last weekend saw beautiful weather in Columbia, MD, and I was able to take a couple pictures outside my apartment before I flew home Sunday to Indiana. Arrived to rain and more rain; drove to Chicago for a meeting last Tuesday (rain); flew back to Maryland Wednesday night...arrived to rain and fog. You get the idea.
But today is beautiful again, and I am headed to The Queen's Ink in Savage, MD and then to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore for a little arting, shopping, and then a min-Blythe meet. How can a day be better?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Meant for each other

The big ol' chippy doll head I got today at Attic Treasures in Ellicott City was one I had spied several months ago. I can't believe it was still there, as was a tiny one-inch one I also got. But the big one fit perfectly on this shabby chic pink dress form I got from Kelli at The Vintage Shoppes. The skeleton key on a ribbon is also from The Vintage Shoppes, as are some more treasures saved for another post.
Next stop was The Pink Cabbage, a co-op of 12 artisans, including Stephanie George of Doojies, who runs in the same circle of art girls I know IRL and virtually. I loved her altered art at the shop. I got some groovy flashcards, some art books, a shabby chic bed jacket (that will NOT be worn to bed) and a "mink": a fab racoon collar, that looks very chic but not shabby. Saw some great jewelry and lots of cool stuff. Will definitely be back!

Putting Things in Place

I've been so busy getting situated for my wonderful new job that I've barely had time to think about art, and that makes me grouchy! So I thought I could at least photograph a few vignettes to share and do a little blogging...since I am WAY behind.
I love my touches of pink and my doll heads, and looking at them everyday makes me happy.
In the top photo you will find a poppet box by Mica of Garboodles.

You can read a little bit about where I am in this article I wrote for Vintage Indie. It's a beautiful and historic area, with rolling hills, wineries, rivers, lakes, the Chesapeake Bay, ski slopes, you name it. And Ellicott City, which I profiled, has tons of cool shops. It's where I met an "in real life- IRL" art/vintage friend, Miss Kelli. Check out her new blog, The Vintage Shoppes. She's a partner in pink, and her house, studio and shop are to-die for! Her husband is in a pretty cool band, too, The Kelly Bell Band. Check them out on Project Playlist. They were voted Best Blues Band by Music Monthly for six years in a row and Best Band in Baltimore for two years running by City Paper.

The little art gallery above is in my closet, as you can tell from the shoes. It's a great place to assault my senses every morning. Some of the art is by moi and the cute Frida prints are by Tascha on Etsy. The big white frame in the doll head photo is vintage as is the pink Humpty Dumpty stuffy on the slipper chair.

More blogging later; I'm headed to Ellicott City, the Artists Gallery in Columbia for a "pastels and pottery" show and to the American Visionary Art Museum, which I joined. Gotta get un-grouchy!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Vintage goodness: shadow boxes, projects, buttons and a magnetic memo tray

I decided it was high time to go through my two tins of buttons, and when I found this vintage tray a magnetic memo board came to life. The tray is actually salmon-colored, with gold and black, and so I used an assortment of red, pink, black, gray and gold buttons and the trusty glue gun.

I've been collecting vintage medical supplies for a long time, since I work in health care. The perfect shape shadowbox came along, and voila! Medical shadow box. I love using old printer's type-storage trays and drawers for shawdow boxes. My next project is to incorporate my vintage art, school and office supplies.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Score! Birthday! Ebay! Etsy! Junking! Swaps!

September went out like a lamb, which was merciful, considering a certain number birthday--or perhaps other of life's diversions--has caused my blood pressure to rise into the danger zone. A little week-long break from blogging, Flickr, Hotmail, Etsy, Ebay, swaps, groups, and virtually everything else didn't necessarily help the BP but it did show me I really missed blogging.

I like my virtual record of art I've made, received, stuff I've done, read, etc., and although I don't post to my Blythe blog or my writing blog as often as this one, I do like to upload my photos to Flickr as soon as I take them, and organize them accordingly.

The books above, an old Alice in Wonderland, barely hanging together, and a fashion compendium with 1,000 pictures, were both found in antiques shops in North Webster, IN for $3.00 each. They're going to come in handy for altered art.

And thanks to some help from Maggie on Etsy, my Avon Small World re-collection of the eight 1970s figures is essentially complete, sans a few boxes.

The blue charm bracelet is the finished version of the charm bracelet I blogged about starting here. It traveled around the world, literally, to California, Pennsylvania, Norway and more, before making its way back to me in the Marie Antoinette Mail Art round robin charm bracelet swap.

And last but not least, the crazy assortment of goodies photo includes an Alice doll, some doll heads, a pink beaded jewelry box from Pier 1, some old Bailey's Irish Cream cups, a pretty pink rose necklace, a little lavender crescent-shaped dish, a reproduction apothecary bottle, an old tin robot and the finished version of my Zettiology skinny book, from a swap on Flickr, blogged about here. These treasures arrived via various means and reasons but all helped to make my birthday week and month special. More on the finished Zetti book soon. It's an explosion of art and color.

Meanwhile, many of the vintage books and treasures, bottles and doll heads came from one of the most wonderful places on earth: Green Oak Antiques in Rochester, IN. These three buildings are 10,000 ft2 (that's right, ten thousand) of furniture, junk, garden wire, salvage, cottage, victorian, primitive, jewelry and more.

Owner Ann Burton Wootten Furnivall and I had some great chats in person and via email about altered art, steampunk jewelry, favorite sites and more. She has some great sites: her blog Magpie Cottage, Gypsy Market on Etsy and the shop site, Green Oak Antiques.

I highly recommend a drive to Rochester from wherever you are. Out-of-state visitors are very common. You'll need several hours and probably a truck. They are open 10-5 every day but Thursday.

The Making of A Marie

Here is an approximate 22" Marie Antoinette dress form I made for a swap with Stephanie Watt. I covered two paper boxes and attached them together and then attached a paper mache dress form which I had covered with tissue paper, lace, sheet music, tulle, ribbon and to which I lashed a decorative feather corset-style. I've been saving this feather I got from Dale McLain for almost two years! Some of the luxurious beaded trims came from Hobby Lobby.
For the absent head I used a white porcelain rose drawer pull, with part of an old earring and green micro beads. The skirt is made from a rose-print fabric wrapped in irridescent chiffon and trimmed with several different laces and velvet ribbon. There is no sewing anywhere on the form. Can't wait to see the peach form I am getting in exchange!
You can see more of my Marie Antoinette dress forms in my Flickr set here.