Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Riding the horse in the direction it's going

So. I finally gave in to the nagging encouragement of some family and friends (you know who you are) and signed up with Facebook. I know, I know, everybody is doing it. So I am riding the horse in the direction it is going. There is a link over on the left so you can hop on over and be my friend. I wonder why they don't have acquaintances? Hmm.

So what else is going on around the art room this week... Well, that table didn't stay clean for long after the Where Bloggers Create pictures were taken! This week I finally got hands-on with a little mixed-media book that has been rolling around inside my head for awhile.

When the flu KOed me in April and I graduated from my bed to the recliner chair in the living room I entertained myself with re-reading my old Somerset magazines. The seed was planted by the Summer 2009 issue of SEW Somerset. There were so many amazing fabric and paper journals that I won't even list them all here. Then, about a month ago I picked up the Summer 2010 issue and that sealed the deal. As soon as I finished the big blog-hop I got started. The photo below is a peek at my book in process.
In typical fashion I couldn't keep my first attempt simple, oh no, not me! I bit off 8 pages. And have I learned anything and backed off? Oh heck no! My head is filled with all sorts of little details and handwork and good grief. Say it with me... keep it simple, stupid... keep it simple, stupid... keep it simple, stupid...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A few strange notions

This Sunday wasn't a red-letter junking day but I did score this handful of goodies. I love the colorful foil in the needle book and the brass stencils. If you click to enlarge I think you can make out the details on the wonderful old screw-on earrings. That gray color you can barely see in the background is a box of vintage over-size ledger paper.
I also got another Scrabble game for my friend, Carol's, project (shh, she doesn't know yet) and a 1972 Bookcase Game called "Outdoor Survival". We are going on a group camp out later this summer. Both of our sons will be going along and one of them is an accomplished outdoors man. I figure this game will be a hoot by today's standards. For sure it won't suggest you remember to take along your cell phone and GPS!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sparkly, Chippy White, Tarnished, Pink Hangover

When I signed up for Where Bloggers Create II I knew it would be a party but I wasn't expecting a week-long Greek wedding! I have spent nearly every spare moment since last Saturday morning visiting blogs and discovering amazing artists, studios and craft rooms around the world. I am finally down to about 20 more in the "S"s and YES, I will finish. I am exhausted.

I got my eyes filled with candy and I got a ton of ideas but I also got another take away that seems even more important. As I made my way through the posts a theme emerged. There were different age groups, different decorating styles, different art, different crafts, different income groups and even different countries. Over and over again the words behind the photos revealed the common bond of a need to create something with their hands. There were women, that if you passed them on the street, you would say she is different than me, I have nothing in common with her. And yet, we do. We are the same in asking what can I make from this, how can I create something that is beautiful to my eyes, how could I not?
It was an amazing thing to see.

I sure don't envy Jo Packham. I can't even imagine how she is going to pick the winners with so many wonderful art rooms to pick from. She has YEARS worth of magazine articles just waiting to be written.

Somebody please help me! I can't stop rearranging my stuff!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Where Bloggers Create II - welcome to my art room!

Welcome to my art room and the party! I have always had some sort of art space, sometimes in the living room, sometimes in the kitchen and sometimes stashed here and there all around the house, including a dresser parked in the hallway that I'm sure constituted a fire hazard. Four or five years ago I was finally able to claim this room as my own. My little piece of peace where I can putter, tinker and make something out of nothing. Welcome!
This is a tidied-up-company-is-coming view from the door. Normally the drop leaves are up on this old table and it is covered with various projects in progress. Well, it is right now in fact. It didn't stay cleared off for long!
I can't resist old suitcases. Genealogy is another one of my hobbies and this is where I store several generations of "family artifacts".
The rolling red tool chest was a Christmas gift from my husband several years ago and holds most of my tools as well as watercolor paints and rubber stamps. I like to remind him that my tool box is bigger than his - 8+)
Little birdies guarding a very small portion of my button collection.
This bookcase stores my magazines for inspiration, ephemera and many, many little treasures waiting for their 15 minutes of fame. My own little Island of Lost Junk.
And eventually everything becomes junk.
Sparkly things. Some folks would probably organize them but I just love the way they look all jumbled up together like a pirates treasure of jewels.
If you look closely you can spot glass doorknobs, a huge lens and some chandelier prisms mixed in among the sparkly glass buttons.
Now we are moving around the room to my workbench - a huge old oak sideboard that was a gift to myself a couple of years ago. It is counter top height so I can work at it without stooping and so sturdy I can hammer away on top.
I made this mobile a couple of years ago to display ATCs.
Lack of money is no obstacle, lack of an idea is an obstacle. All of the ATCs on this mobile are made from those fake credit cards that come in the mail and each one has a thrift theme. I call the mobile "Extra Credit".
This is the front of the workbench. The veneer was peeling off the drawers so I covered them with scrapbook paper. What in the world did we ever do before there was Mod Podge.
The drawers house more supplies, fodder for tinkering, my Etsy inventory and a great deal of my fabric stash.
This is the top of the bench. There are three large shelves above. I keep things I want handy on the bottom shelf and use the ones above that for less frequently used supplies and things that just make my eyes happy.
Yikes! I might just have one of everything and two of some because I can't find the one I already have. Funny, it doesn't seem that messy when I'm making something....
Another little suitcase - this one filled with millinery - old and new.
A spice rack above the workbench stores my Golden paints, glitter, embossing powders and jars of brads and other tiny items.
Moving on around the room to my sewing table and another dresser for more storage.
The top of the dresser. A saltbox shrine and some soldered necklaces - a skill I am still learning. They are sitting on top of my scanner/printer.
This dresser stores sewing notion, lace and other trims, wrapping paper and ribbons. This was my very well-worn baby dresser. I revived it by painting it black and Mod Podging tiger-print fabric on the fronts of the drawers.
Now we are turning the corner toward my desk area. Yes, I have a little TV in my art room so I can listen to my favorite programs - Antiques Roadshow, Pawn Stars and American Pickers.
Oops, back to the sewing table! I made these ribbon towers from the un-used parts that were left over from the pendant lights in this corner of the room. I just unwind the ribbon from the spool with no need to remove the spool from the tower.
Sweet vintage Occupied Japan birdies top one of the towers. The other tower is topped with feathers.
My art room has an odd shape and my son, Andy, custom built this corner desk for me. I LOVE it! The room has 9 foot ceilings so he made the desk 8 feet high and made the work surface sturdy enough that I can stand on it to reach the top.
A close-up of the desk hutch. I have a "thing" for old boxes so there are many throughout my art space.
Another close-up of the desk. This is where I store all of my pens and markers. You can barely make out a clear Lucite drawer unit. This is where I currently store the "good" pens that need to lay flat. This is something I am still trying to find a good solution for so hoping I might get some ideas when I visit the other Bloggers in the party.
The narrow wall next to the entrance.
These are the closet doors. One side has my bulletin board and the other side is painted with chalkboard paint. The shelf above is new and I just added it last week.
This is another small closet next to the big closet. I attached curtain rods to the door use it to hand vintage linens that I use in my inspiration kits. The vintage knitting bag was my Grandmothers and I still use it to store my crochet things.
The blouse is hanging there just because it's too pretty not to!
This little wall hanging is made from strips torn from old dresses and a coat hanger. It covers the electrical panel.
And there you have it - 360 degrees around my art room. I hope you enjoyed the tour!
Big shout-out to Karen Valentine of My Desert Cottage for organizing this event and many thanks to my son Andy who came over and took the "big" photos for me. They were more than my little point and shoot could capture so I couldn't have done it without him.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Final project in the art room fix-up (I think)

You saw the new desk installed and heard all about the new lighting and now I am just about finished with the last project.
Genealogy is another one of my hobbies and I had a big sheet of butcher paper tacked up on one door as a quick reference. I re-painted the door with two coats of black chalkboard paint then quickly discovered a chalkboard makes a BIG MESS. I abandoned the chalk idea and used Sharpie Poster Paint pens instead. They wipe away with rubbing alcohol without removing any of the chalkboard paint. Gosh I wish Sharpie wasn't discontinuing those! They are fabulous because they behave like paint and don't soak through paper. I could swear I received an ad in my email that said they were replacing them with something new they call water based paint pens but so far I haven't found them anywhere.
Yikes, I got way off the subject.
Okay, the other door was a bulletin board before only everything was attached with scotch tape so I couldn't move things around without tearing something. I covered the door with those squares of cork board that you hang with double-sided tape. Now I can layer without damaging things. Love it!
The shelf above the door is new, too. It was wasted space before and, well, we can't be wasting space. That is wrong. I am slowly working on the re-arranging to move some things up there and make room elsewhere. And then not be able to find things for awhile - ha!
Oh, I forgot to take a picture of the door next to the closet doors. I used to have one of those travel toiletry bags with the clear pockets dangling from the moulding above the door. It was packed full of vintage linens and frequently slipped off the moulding and landed in a heap on the floor. I replaced it with rods that are mounted directly on the door and then layered the linens over the rods.
That's it - DONE!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rain be GONE

Two months of record breaking rain up here in Portland. We had a brief respite last weekend that coaxed some of the soggy flora into bloom so I dashed out Tuesday night and snapped a few pictures before the next round of rain moved in.
One perfect oriental poppy. So beautiful it doesn't look real! Tall, leggy peonies reaching for the sun. So sad to see the rain make them hang their heads - kind of like most of Portland after this relentless string of storms.
They are predicting we will achieve our first 80 degree day this weekend so we're all hoping the tide (!) is turning at last. I, for one, will be spending my day outdoors.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Before and After

Everybody knows how I love the hunt and the rescue! I found these little boxes at the Volunteers last Sunday morning. I have no idea what I am going to put in them but I know they will find a place somewhere in my art room.
They were a little worse for wear and then the Volunteers had wrapped tape around them, like they do, to keep the drawers from falling out and getting lost - Grrrr. I don't have to tell you what happens when you pull off the tape. A roll of wrapping paper I had laying around and a little Mod Podge and they are good to go!
Now all I have to do is figure out WHERE they will go.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Channeling Rebecca Sower

Rebecca Sower posted a fascinating tutorial on her blog last week as part of her Red Thread Sessions. Where does that woman find the time while making her own art and running Haiti By Hand, and how lucky are we that she does!
The tutorial was about crochet and bead necklaces. Her instructions were great and she made it sound so easy. Of course I had to try it.

I am not a beader but I have accumulated a stash over the years. Those things happen. This was the perfect opportunity to finally find a use for them. I also had a little #10 ecru thread on hand so that is what I used for the blue necklace in the foreground. I just sorted through my stash and pulled out a pile in various shades of blue. I worked really hard at being random and not over thinking the sequence of the beads. Random is very difficult for me so I put all the beads in a saucer and did my best to just grab the next one.

I was pleased enough with the results to try another one. I had to purchase more crochet thread so I got #3 this time and used it for the blue and green necklace. Both sizes of thread have their pros and cons so, for future, I likely just base my choice on the size of the hole in the beads.

Since the necklaces are so long I didn't use a clasp at all. I just knoted the ends and woven in the tails with a needle. These are pretty long so they can loop two or even three times. Since I'm de-stashing I haven't spent any time so far on counting the beads and figuring out how to make them come out a specific length. Just using what I have.

The one in the wooden box is in progress and it is made from red and purple beads. I have pretty much exhausted the usable color combinations in my little stash and this is so much fun I might have to go out and buy more. Oh, oh. I wonder if that makes me a beader. No, I don't think so. Real beaders know what they are doing. 8+)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Magic of Mod Podge

I was playing around with the camera tonight, trying to learn how take pictures at more interesting angles and getting the knack of taking pictures without a tripod. Oh. my. gosh. what a challenge for me! It is a good thing I don't make my living as a photographer or I would starve to death. I do love that we have digital now so at least I don't have to wait a week and spend a fortune to find out I need a LOT more practice! Delete, delete, delete.

Anyway, I picked this little Altoids tin that I made several years ago to practice with and it made me think of a story. A story about the magic of Mod Podge.

The photograph and text were both adhered to the box with Mod Podge and the entire thing was sealed with more Mod Podge after the paint was applied. I had this little box sitting on a shelf above my workbench. One day I noticed it was missing. Well, I thought and thought and I couldn't remember moving it. Hmm, sometimes I forget things but, but... So I called my daughter-in-law and I asked her if she had been over and moved things around. No problem with that, just trying to figure out where my little box went. No luck. Tried the husband next. You can imagine how that conversation went...
[Me] Did you go in my art room and take my little box?
[Him] Huh?

Okay, now I'm getting freaked out. Robbers came into my art room while I was gone and they left the computer and the TV and they took my little mermaid box. Yes, that must be it. Some creepy cult that steals altered Altoids boxes.
Now I'm getting frantic. Are we safe in our own home? Is it Alzheimer's?
So I start searching again. Then it dawns on me that the water jar I use to swish my paintbrushes in is directly below the shelf where the box was standing. The water was cloudy gray because I rarely rinse it out until I'm starting something new. By now I'm sure you know where this is going.....
Sure enough, the little box was soaking in the bottom of the water jar. I think it had been in there about 3 days based on the last time I painted. I pulled it out and it was a cloudy white and kind of soft. I figured it was a goner. But not being quick to throw in the towel, I rinsed it off and propped it open on a paper towel. The next morning everything had dried and it was good as new except for a few rust stains that made it look better than before.
When the bottle says there is nothing that will remove Mod Podge once it dries - they MEAN it! I'm surprised the government doesn't use this stuff. Well, maybe they do. Good stuff.