Saturday, April 30, 2011

Art from the Firepit

No, I haven't taken up blacksmithing - I don't think I have the forearms for it!
This is how I patina the altered mint tins I make. I discovered this method when I was using the recycled ones. I was looking for a way to take off the factory paint and found that burning them left behind an interesting patina. I ran out of those tins and found some brand new, unpainted, ones on eBay. I have been fiddling around with those to see if I could get a similar look when they didn't start out with paint.
A tiny fire in my woodstove didn't work very well since there was no paint to burn. Today was DRY for a change so I made a more substantial fire in the backyard firepit and Wa-La! Not quite the same as the painted ones but very satisfactory. I think I might have melted my hairspray a little bit.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Quotes In The Altered Book

I finished up a couple more pages in the altered book project last night. One is a Persian folk saying and other is from song lyrics {love the Joe Cocker version!}. Some might say the folk saying is about adversity but, to me, it speaks to looking for the silver lining much like the quote on a previous post that said "The barn is burnt down, now I can see the moon". It is all in the way you take it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Way We Roll at Our House

I hope you all had a beautiful Easter! We are fortunate that all our "kids" flock back to the nest for holidays. There are just seven of us to sit down to dinner but our house is small so it is a challenge. Last Christmas I was inspired by a post on the talented Karla Nathan's blog. She had more people coming over than her dinning room could accommodate so she pressed her studio into service. Well, duh! Up until then we would haul the big table from my art room, add the leaves and place it in the living room. Then we would walk on top of the chairs to get a seat and the boys and the girls would all try to talk over the top of each other. Yes.
So here you have a picture of the "girls" table in the art room. I don't use my holiday dishes at Easter because they are Johnson Bros. Friendly Village and have a very Fall/Winter look. Just the everyday dishes and a little girlie "foofing". Happy girls. The "boys" table is in the kitchen and they can talk about bicycles and boy topics to their heart's content. They get place mats so they don't make a mess and I don't even make the husband clean up his "nest" that is leaning against the wall. Happy boys.

Our holiday menus don't vary much. Smoked ham, augratin potatoes, fresh asparagus, deviled eggs, french bread and "pink stuff". I made the french bread with ranch dressing mix sprinkled over the butter and browned under the broiler this year.

The "pink stuff" is always in the yellow bowl. It is just how we do it. The pink color didn't come out well in the photo so you'll just have to trust me that it is very pink and VERY good. What is "pink stuff" you might wonder??

  • 1 container of whip topping

  • 1 large can pineapple tidbits, drained

  • 1 can cherry pie filling

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk

Fold it all together and refrigerate a couple hours. It has a mouse-like texture and a heavenly flavor!

Years ago my Grandmother gave me a little plate that read "My house is small, no mansion for a millionaire, but there is room for love and room for friends and that's all I care". Amen.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, my sweet blog friends!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

For the Love of Moss

Portland is called The Rose City but, seriously, it should be called Moss Town. Oregon's State Flower is the Oregon Grape but if a state could have a State Non-Vascular Plant then moss would be it. It is native and grows prolifically with no human intervention - trust me! Most people either hate it or love it but I would guess more hate it based on the amount of discussion over how to get rid of it.

I, on the other hand, LOVE it. Well, not in my lawn and not on my roof but I think it is beautiful everywhere else. And trust me, it is everywhere else. Especially this time of year. There is a multitude of shapes and shades, some loose and woolly, some that looking like little stars or tiny trees and others that create tight little velvety mounds.

Each variety seeks out it's desired growing conditions and makes itself happily at home. I once saw a magazine article about a woman who collected mosses from everywhere she visited. She had lovely pots of moss all identified and labeled. I have had limited success persuading it to relocate although it occasionally "takes". I do use it to cover the soil in my bonsai pots and it generally co-operates with that.

These are some branches on my lilac tree and they are covered in moss and lichen {another favorite of mine!} that remind me of the velvet on an antelope rack.

Click this picture bigger and you might be able to see how this moss looks like little stars. I should have snapped a picture of some of the rocks. I like rocks, too. Go figure! I haul them home from everywhere I go. They are really small boulders and host some interesting mosses and lichens. In the Summer they go dormant from the heat so I always water my rocks to make sure the moss comes back. And to make the neighbors wonder.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weekend Finds and Laundry in a Tree

My weekend finds don't make a very big pile today but I found some great stuff! A sweet little vintage apron and equally vintage shoe organizer. The shoe bag was hanging in the back of a closet and had a price tag so it was obviously for sale but someone had attached it to the wall with both nails and screws. That bag wasn't going anywhere! It took the kind gentleman at the sale a bit of effort to liberate it for me. So glad he did because I LOVE this piece and it will have a home in my art room. I washed them both to get rid of that estate-sale-grandmas-closet smell. I wonder if my own closet will smell like that someday?? Since I don't have a clothesline I sometimes hang things from the lilac tree and hope the bluejays stay away.
This vintage trash can is going to be perfect for storing my overflow of wallpaper rolls.
Plus a nice little pile of smalls. Two FULL boxes of vintage paper poker chips. These are a favorite of mine and I feel lucky when I find just a few so I pounced on these the moment I saw them. The intricate white pin appears to be mother-of-pearl.
We had a lovely SUNNY AND DRY Spring day and it was pure joy to get outdoors!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Flower Frog Collection

I haven't done a post about something I collect for a while and a comment from Terri over at Chocolates4Breakfast prompted me to gather up my flower frogs for a picture. Hers are just beautiful and I love how she uses them for storing some of her art supplies. Be sure to pop over there and check them out. Mine are mostly stored on a shelf and occasionally used for, well, flowers! Two are displayed on my kitchen windowsill in a portion of my collection of Forest Green and Royal Ruby depression glass. I need to do a post about that someday! I do use one pin frog to display the sad little picture in the cloche. The wire "cages" are my favorite and after Terri's inspiration I'm definitely going to be on the lookout to add to this collection! I haven't participated in Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground before and I'm coming to the party a little late but still hooking up and looking forward to visiting some new blogs. Many thanks to Debra for hosting!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Few More Altered Tins

I finished up a few more mint tins for the Etsy shop this week. They are like potato chips. Once you get started it's hard to stop. I went through my stash of old Altoids tins but I found brand new (unpainted) ones on eBay. I am still playing around with getting the patina the way I want it on these new tins but it is coming along. The center one is the first time I have added color collage and I love the way it pops!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Saturday Estate Sale Finds

The weather on Saturday was mild and DRY and my garden is in desperate need of attention so I only took time I out for one estate sale. I have a small collection of flower frogs so I scooped this one right up. My favorite find was this little box of metal baskets. They look like miniature door stops and they have some weight to them so I suspect they are tablecloth weights. If someone has a different idea please let me know. I think they are just perfectly chippy!
I got quite a pile of hand-embroidered linens. Most are pretty stained so I have them soaking as I write this. If I cannot salvage them whole then I should still be able to use them as cutters. I have this strange notion that someday I will sew a coverlet pieced together from hand-embroidered cutters. Maybe when I retire - LOL!
There are three sets of pillowcases. The embroidery is finished but the end is not sewn shut and there is no edging on the opening. Since these are brand new I plan to finish them up. LOVE the black swans!

I hope your week is off to a good start!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Crafting a Smile

We craft and create for lots of reasons. Sometimes it is to make money, sometimes it is to make do, sometimes it is for our sanity and sometimes it is to give a friend a smile. This little baby shoe looks like a pincushion but I'm hoping it is a smile.

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Altered Book Pages

Harry Truman was known for saying "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" but Benjamin Franklin said it first: "If your head is wax, don't walk in the sun". You can interpret this as a suggestion to stay on the porch if you're not prepared to run with the big dogs but I prefer to think of it as advice to know yourself. Irving Berlin said "Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it". I have shared before that I work in this book randomly and don't necessarily think about how the quotes relate to each other, although I did put those two Janis Joplin pages facing. Mostly I think about trying to use complementary colors. These two were random but now that they are finished {for now!}, it is kind of interesting how the quotes relate to each other. I got a nice note from Beth Livesay today confirming my little fabric journal will FINALLY be included in the spring copy of SEW Somerset. The photos I used were taken exactly one year ago. I found myself staring at the pictures thinking, really, that's what I did?? - LOL! When it comes home it will be all new again! It has been a daunting week in the office and the weatherman is promising a nice day on Saturday so I'm looking forward to some outdoor time. Sunday we will be back to rain so wish me some junking luck! Enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More Things I Don't Collect But If TheTin Man Comes Calling I'm Ready

I promised another reveal of things I don't collect so here we go... When I spot an oil can at a sale I don't even stop to think it over, I just pick it up. I seriously never started out to collect oil cans but you know how it is, you get one and then you get another one and then you buy the third one and then, well, you know. If I had one of those lovely hand-hewn mantles (or any mantle!) with a stark white wall above I think these would really be striking. As it is, they sit on a high shelf in my art room and wait for me to give them some dignity. Now moving on to a few more things keeping them company on that high shelf.
Kind of freaky things to bring home, huh? But if I ever need one I'm set. Oh-oh, are there three of those funnels? Wait, that big thing looks like a funnel, too. How did that happen? If The Tin Man comes knocking on the door I'll be ready with a paper heart and spare parts!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

More Tin Cans and a Little Experiment

I visited one estate sale and the VofA this morning but no great scores to write about. Mostly old books and hymnals and not too interesting to the camera's eye. I did pick up another one of those things I don't collect so will have to do a "things I don't collect" post this week. I haven't done one of those in a while. That's probably a GOOD thing! I finished up a couple more tins for the Etsy shop this week. Love making these!
This is a little experiment, an idea I have been toying with. I have a lot of those wooden letter holders from Scrabble games and a pretty good stash of brass stencils. I guess they are another one of those things I don't collect since I buy them for no good reason. Anyway, I messed around with it a little to see if I could make it work and this is what I came up with so far. I used the stencils "as found" and sandwiched them between the wood trays. Somehow it isn't doing it for me yet so I have to let it steep a while. No clue why I wasted two vowels on an experiment. Could I not have used Q, X and Z?? Now ART and HEART are both gone. Sheesh.

Friday, April 1, 2011

And the Clouds Parted...

And the rain stopped and we ALMOST made 70 degrees for the first time this year! It felt like a miracle after the relentless March rain. I went outside in a SWEATER.
The daffodils lifted up their faces in relief. So did I. The up side is they are lasting a very long time since it has been like they are stored in a refrigerator.
The camellias have been struggling under the weight of the wet blooms. Today was a welcome reminder that the long, wet Winter and Spring do {eventually!} offer the reward of mild days and beautiful Spring flowers.

I hope there is some sunshine in your weekend!