Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Altered Book Pages - Good Medicine

I have been sick and tired or maybe it's tired and sick for the past several days. A touch of flu a mere three days before my scheduled flu shot - you know what they say about those best laid plans. I hit the VOA on Sunday but was just so out of it that I couldn't make a decision and came home empty handed. When I finally managed to haul myself out of the recliner chair I ended up spending some time working in the altered quote book - always therapeutic!
I love these words and thanks to the surprise package from Cathy, these images were perfect and perfectly fun!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rescue Me - Take Me In Your Arms

I had a few comments about this photo on my Where Bloggers Create III post so I thought I would share the inspiration for it.  I actually sent a picture and little story to Somerset Studio a LONG time ago but never heard a word.  I didn't submit the actual artwork and I think what they say is true - the artwork often sells the article.  I made this piece right after a trip to the thrift store that yielded a particularly intriguing poke sack.
My affinity for "poke boxes" goes back as long as I can remember. Poke sacks, poke boxes, poke bags, bags o' unknown crap, call them what you will... I CANNOT resist one. All I need to see is one tiny trinket that catches my eye and it's all over. I have to find out what else is in there! Mysterious loveliness.  A tangled and intriguing mess just waiting for me to sort and smooth and ooh and aah as I bring order to the chaos and respect to the possibilities.
I won't bore you by cataloging everything that came home with me that day but it included many bundles and spools of acetate ribbon, the kind used for floral work; many, many colors and widths of satin ribbon; lace, both old and older; colorful rick-rack and braid trims; seam binding; some thread and a thimble; salvaged and new zippers, many sizes and types of elastic and a large spool of pink curling ribbon.  Plus a vintage piece of ephemera offering an apron pattern for 25 cents and a faded and stained piece of red satin blanket binding with a note pinned to it that said “Barbie blouse”.
I have heard it said that you should bring nothing into your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. I try. Really I do. But some things cry out in a way that is almost audible - RESCUE ME!
Through the years I think I've seen just about everything at the thrift store, from bronzed baby shoes to a burial urn. Yes, really. A burial urn. As I was unscrewing the lid my brain was processing that I was UNSCREWING the lid and I realized what I was opening at about the same moment that I peeked inside. Lucky for me there was no occupant but the metal toe tag at the bottom confirmed my conclusion and sent me and the urn straight to the front counter to suggest this might not be appropriate.  I really have seen it all, cradle to grave so to speak.

My favorite rescues are the bags, boxes and tins of buttons and sewing notions. As I poke through them I begin to get an impression of the former owner. You can tell a lot about a woman from her sewing box. Many utilitarian buttons, removed from the garments and saved for mending, punctuated by random glass or rhinestone buttons saved from a few "special" dresses or a good winter coat. Uniform buttons strung together on a piece of darning thread, perhaps all that is left of a loved one's uniform. A few marbles and bullets (yes, I have found bullets) retrieved from pockets on the way to the washer because boys will be boys and so will men. A precious baby tooth.  A felt needle case with "MOM" crudely embroidered on the front, surely a gift from a young daughter. A thimble stamped with S&H for the green stamps. Hand-tatted lace cut from the edge of a worn out pillowcase so it could be re-purposed as trim for a baby dress. Orphaned earrings. A bra extender because she put on a little weight over the years. Yes, you can tell a lot about a woman from her sewing box.
It tugs at my heart when I find these poke boxes in the thrift store. Someone, somewhere, picked up a box or a bag and up-ended the drawers of the sewing cabinet to "get rid of all that junk". Big sigh. It makes my heart glad to rescue them and respect that they are the artifacts of a creative life.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's Only Words and Words Are All I Have To Steal Your Heart Away

 I finished up this piece for the Somerset Studio "The Power of Words" call this week.  I'm not even sure if I'm submitting it in time since they said  September 15 in one issue and October 15 in another issue. 
When I first saw the call I knew which quote I wanted to use but, in my usual MO, I didn't get around to doing anything with it until the last minute.  I may be too late but  I will submit it anyway and just see what happens.  This is my favorite quote because it kind of sums up how I look at things.  It is by Earnest Hemingway.  "Now is no time to think of what you do not have.  Think of what you can do with what there is."  As relevant today as it was when he said it. 
 This is the first time I decorated the package for  a submission and not much decoration, but seemed like enough.  I kept auditioning additional papers but the Scrabble logo seemed to stand alone.
It's only words and words are all I have to steal your heart away.  A little Bee Gees observation!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sneak Peek At The Button Floozies Swap

 I finished up my altered Altoids tin and selected my buttons for the swap Laurie is hosting over at Button Floozies.  Click the link or the one over on my sidebar.  There is still time to enter!
This is an Autumn-inspired swap so I decorated my tin with fall leaves.  I drilled a hole in the center of the top and inserted the button shank so I could attach it with a button cotter pin without damaging it.  The huge button reminds me of a sunflower or black-eyed Susan.  I won't spill out the buttons so I can preserve the mystery in case my swap partner turns out to be someone who follows my blog.  Join in the fun and it might just be you!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rainy Day Puttering

Unexpected rain changed my plans for the day.  I soldiered through my housework last night so I could spend today outdoors, pulling weeds in the front yard and sealing the front porch floor.  Somebody forgot to tell Mother Nature she was supposed to rain on Sunday, not Saturday.  Ah well.  So what to do with my indoor day?  Putter around in the art room, of course!  Even then, I didn't do a single thing on my to-do list.  Nope.  I sorted buttons.  I have a lot of "ordinary" buttons so I sorted out 1000 white ones to make this little pretty.  Little salvaged treasures coming together just right.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wanna See the Latest Junk?

 A hobo sack from The Bins.  The Husband is still hopeful so I am still along for the ride 8+)  Yes, this is how I carried it out.  Pretty "green" I thought.  These pictures were taken as I unpacked so nothing is washed or cleaned up yet.  Raw junk.
 Let's see what's inside.  Some kind of ornaments printed on something that feels like heavy interfacing.  No clue if I can get it clean or do something with it but it weighs about an ounce so why not try?  One sweet paper rose and a couple yards of beaded lace and an old dollhouse hutch.
 This was my favorite find at The Bins.  Most of the autographs and inscriptions are dated 4/4/44.
 It looks like a kind and artistic friend decorated the inside cover for Madeleva.  1944.  Wow.
 Vintage linen bits and pieces and a large piece of Christmas fabric.  That one that says KNIVES is a handmade knife roll.  I wonder how special those knives were to need their own little cozy.
 Beautiful vintage embroidery and crochet edges.  Where did all the "homemakers" go?? 
 The pale blue in the back is a vintage negligee, the kind with double sheer layers and soft lace trim.  If I was one of those brave artsy-types I would wrap a funky belt around the middle and blouse it up and wear it over my jeans.  A girl can dream.  In my dream I'm 29 and look like Barbie.  It's my dream and I can if I want to.
 As if all of that wasn't enough I headed off to the VOA when we got back home.  I needed something to carry my loot in and liked it so much it had to come home, too.  When I pick up sturdy handled baskets at the thrift I place them around the yard and use them to deposit the random weeds I pull when I doing my walk-abouts.  It's much easier to keep up with the weeding when there is a handy spot to toss a handful.
 I couldn't resist the pattern and roosters on this metal plate.  The back says Made in Brazil.  It is going to be a lid for that huge apothecary jar I picked up a few weeks ago.
Another lid-less sugar bowl for the growing collection that never gets made into SugarCushions.  Ah well, a Winter project.  The Lucite lipstick holder is going straight into my brown and pink bathroom to replace the gold one I call my "Jimmy Hendrix" lipstick holder because there is a left-handed guitar player sitting on the edge.  I'm pretty sure it isn't him. I don't think fans had golden lipstick holders.
A calligraphy set just like the one I already have because it was only 99 cents, paper doilies and a neat old metal candlestick.  Too bad it didn't come with plastic flowers!
 Little metal frames.  I have matching ones already and SOMEDAY I'm going to do something with them.  They don't take up much room.  I swear I'm not a hoarder. 
 Totally wonderful original box of vintage crochet thread.  Can you just see the "dry goods" store?  Someday I will have to tell the story of The Golden Rule store in the little farm town where I went to high school.  It was right out of the turn of the century until they decided to remodel and modernize it.  So sad.  It had creaking hardwood floors and shelves behind the counter with boxes of women's gloves and hankies and a dressing room behind a bark cloth curtain and the scent of history.
A poke sack of loot of the finest kind.  Check out that flower trim.  I have never seen anything quite like it.  Wooden spools and lace wrapped around an old potato chip box.  It doesn't get much better.
A good day of junk.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wise Words in the Altered Book

I really needed to take a break and relax a little this week so I turned to my usual indoor solution - the altered book project.  Click the picture to make it larger.  I don't really understand why but making art just for the sake of making art - "playing" if you will - is really difficult for me. I suppose it is the upbringing of my very practical parents.  If it doesn't serve a purpose of make money then why would you spend time doing it.  Capturing my favorite words and quotes in the altered book seems to be the only place I can really just play.  Apparently my twisted reasoning sees collecting these words as a justifiable "purpose".  Go figure!
I really did find the Paper Towel Wisdom on a paper towel.  There is some kind of lesson about paying attention to what we encounter in our day to day lives in that.  The words of wisdom are definately my outdoor source of relaxing!
I don't know who to attribute the quote about perfection to but I read it on Judy Wise's blog and it really struck a chord with me.  I can't count the number of times something has been going along just fine and then I decide I need to make it better or more perfect and the whole thing just runs off the road.  The stamped letters are not spaced just right and that bothered me at first and I considered doing it over and then I READ THE WORDS.  Well, duh.
Did you notice I used some of the sparkly embelishments Cathy sent me?  Loved using with those!
Plenty of lessons in this relaxing, if I just pay attention.  Can you play?  Do you make things and just put them in a drawer?  Please share. I would love to hear what you do when you don't have a reason!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor(s) Of The Day(s)

 The picking this weekend came in the form of tiny bursts since I was acting as thrift store tour guide to The Husband's great bicycle quest.  He did not find his next great thing so the couple's picking may be coming to a close but it has been a fun ride while it lasted!  I did find a few neat things plus the assorted junk that always tags along in poke sacks.
 Vintage rayon seam binding in a big rainbow of colors, two big lots of corsage pins and some buttons. That octagon box in the back is very vintage. The inside and bottom are covered in something similar to what is inside the covers on old books and the outside is either leather or something that looks like leather.  The edges are laced with leather.  I have never seen one quite like it.
 Naturally, I couldn't pass up the blue jewelry box.  The only other blue one I have found turned out to be broken so back to the GW it went.  This one is in wonderful condition and I didn't even need to clean up the velvet on the inside.  Three rosaries and those green things on the left are Girl Scout bookends.  I plan to wear the earrings that are dangling from the jewelry box shelf. Isn't that little girl watching the squirl a cutie!
A simply SWEET handmade child's slip.  It is too far gone to be worn but looks so pretty for display.  I was disappointed when I got that ivory colored plastic box home and realized one of the legs was broken.  It was very inexpensive so maybe I can still figure out a use for it.  I wonder if I could just cut off the legs??  Hmmm...

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Little Pile Of Buttons

 Last Friday, yes, a whole week ago, I was lucky to find a jar of buttons at GW.  That doesn't happen often so I was in the right place at the right time.  Double lucky is it was a real button box with all the lovely randomness of a lifetime of accumulation.  These at the top are my favorites. Love that clear Lucite one with the white flowers inside and that unusual rectangular one.
 Here is a wider shot that shows a few glass, all black except one orange. Two of those buttons in the middle right side are made from some kind of nut shells.  You can click the pictures to make them larger. There are a few interesting metals in the upper left and I missed taking a picture of the uniform buttons.  That anchor is the first picture is metal with a clear plastic coating over the top. I don't think it's a uniform button but maybe.  There are couple pieces of random bling at the top of the picture.  I think it is what's left of a rhinestone buckle.  It's sparkly and that's good enough for me!
This is the rest of the story on the plastics.  The "leftovers" got me started sorting some buttons by color to put into inspiration kits.  Any excuse to sort buttons - LOL!