Monday, December 31, 2012

Champagne Wishes for the New Year -Free Project Download

   I love Christmas week. The time of preparation is done, the holiday is here and to be enjoyed. I am able to set aside my (usual) unrealistic expectations and just embrace the moment. One of my favorite holiday memories is coffee klatching with a couple other young-mother neighbors. We sat around a kitchen table full of  remnants of the previous nights holiday party  sampling Uncle Vinnie's nut roll, and B's spritz cookies. Some of us were in our PJ's and we were all either nursing infants or quite pregnant.  When I say quite I mean hugely, the stage of pregnancy when waddling segues into a Frankenstein monster sort of lumbering. 
   It was a perfect winter day, the sun shone in a sky blue, the air dry and cold, keeping the recent snow light and powdery.We could see and hear the children playing in the yard.
   There was a knock at the back door, and a police officer walked into the kitchen leading a large smiling  black dog. The officer had been passing the house when one of the children opened the back gate and the dog make his escape.  The young officer's expression shifted from stern to nervous to shocked as he scanned  the room taking in the sight of a group of women in pajamas, babies at breast or looking like  labor was eminent. About that time we ladies realized that amid the party clutter on the table were bottles of booze and glasses from what had been a very well stocked bar from the previous nights party.  A moment of silence ensued. Suddenly a young boy burst into the kitchen excited to share the news that an actual police car was parked in front of their house.  B offered the officer coffee and a cookie, he refused graciously and got the heck out of there.  B did the only sensible thing. She followed the officer out, removed the belt from her robe and used it to secure the gate, came back in and refilled coffee cups.  
   As I recall that new year  was full of new life, health and friendship, luxuriant gardens and early morning bicycle rides. Life as sweet and crisp as a cold champagne toast at the stroke of twelve on New Year's Eve.
Champagne Wishes for a Happy New Year!

Pink sparkles and feather hats! What's not to love? I'm making these in a variety of sizes and some with trees some with champagne bottles. I used an empty ribbon spool for the base.

Project Sheet plus some extra trees in smaller and larger sizes.

I used three tree shapes to make a dimensional tree.



These bells look fabulous glittered up.

 Champagne bottles  assorted sizes. How fun are these?

I like the angle and popped cork on this bottle. Think I'll try adding some tinsel  'bubbly'.  

This tree is a favorite. Super versatile. Hope you enjoy it too!
Large tree.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Happy Vignette Christmas

Happiness is some glue, some paper and some glitter!
This ornament vignette was inspired by high school era memories. Our first home as a blended family was in a charming house built in the 40's which was rumoured to have been a Sears Dream Home. It had a white fireplace.
Back in the day driftwood was plentiful and most days included at least a quick trip to look at the ocean and scavenge up enough wood for a fire.

 My beautiful mom had the  impressive but  annoying  knack for guessing every Christmas gift without a hint-something that flabbergasted my Original Stepfather.  One Christmas during their Honeymoon Years he bought her a pretty little gold and amethyst ring. He taped the box to the inside of a cinder block, thoroughly disguised the block and wrapped that.
I still remember the look on his face and how hard we all laughed when she guess what it was.

IF you keep penguins for pets snow blocks for seats make perfect sense...
Frosty approves!

I love the little dog singing with the snowman.

The penguins may be dreaming of a white Christmas but I'm dreaming of a second cuppa coffee. Time for a refill and to get to work.
 Happy Friday!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving - Vintage Thanksgiving Postcard images

Thanksgiving. Like most of us my earliest Thanksgiving memory is of family crowded around our  table. It is too warm in the room and the voices are loud. The babble of adults talking  flows over  the heads of us children.  Sudden raucous laughter flares like a  struck match. In memory the sound is like music and I strain my ears recalling the timber of my uncles voices and  my grandmother's laugh.   They are sweet sounds that live in memory and the rare cameo appearance in an old home movie.
A few years later Thanksgiving meant a four day weekend of horseplay and leaf piles, a long striped scarf in school colors, cold cheeks and the Homecoming game.
 I don't recall when we started the Thanksgiving tradition of making paper chains to mark off the days until Christmas, but the why probably had something to do with keeping three children occupied for an hour. 
A few years later our family expanded by two. In time our much younger sisters were old enough to eat paste and rip up our efforts. My brothers were always so patient, and I so frustrated and impatient.  I don't know why I couldn't see that nuturing the girls was more important than finishing the paper chains. Too goal oriented I guess.  I'd take back the scolding and frowning rejection if I could, but the truth is the memory of my efforts ripped up and chewed still gives me a bit of a twinge.
Looking back I can see that my role at Thanksgiving  is usually a supporting role - which, given the jokes about my cooking must be a good thing.
Setting the table included decorating the chandelier.

 My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner this year was setting the table and doing the dishes. Fine by me! I used the image from the vintage Thanksgiving card above to make place cards.

I brightened it up a bit as you can see here

 Click on the picture to save.

This second image is a postcard that I snapped up on on eBay.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Inka Heaton at Altered Artifacts has some great images she has made available for sharing too.  My favourite is a turkey driving a corncob car.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Harvest Table

The project started with a magazine picture and was inspired by one of my favorite HDTV shows - The High Low Project.   A fabulous harvest table trimmed with wrought iron. You know - that Paris Flea Market vibe, rustic yet elegant

Two legs, a stringer and a plank top. Sounded simple enough to me.A piece of foam core was used to figure out just how big a harvest table the room could hold. After studying DIY plans at This Old House , and a visit to the mill we had a plan! The custom table top was assembled at the mill.

 Iron legs from vintage sewing machine stands became the decorative cast iron metal work. Thanks to this advice from a pro the finish came out beautifully. Use a foam roller to apply thin coats of ureathane. Apply and let dry 2 coats before sanding with a 180 or higher sandpaper.  Use the sanding to remove any imperfections - don't try to 'fix' anything while applying the ureathane with the roller.

 C'est magnifique!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Early Morning Shorebird

I am a shorebird and the ocean pulls me like a tide, like the ocean pulls back the wave rushing up the shore. 

 A block away or six hundred miles away the ocean pulls at me and I yearn to see it the way I yearn to see my children and parents and one day in Heaven, my beloved grandmother.

 If you are at heart a shorebird you feel that pull too, whether your family lived in the area for generations, or you spent one magical day at the beach.

Early morning, cup of coffee in hand I find a quiet bench. 
  And think of some lines from a favorite poem.

. . .  with a step I stand 
On the firm-packed sand, 
By a world of marsh that borders a world of sea. 
  Sinuous southward and sinuous northward the shimmering band 
  Of the sand-beach fastens the fringe of the marsh to the folds of the land. 
Inward and outward to northward and southward the beach-lines linger and curl 
As a silver-wrought garment that clings to and follows 
    the firm sweet limbs of a girl. 
Vanishing, swerving, evermore curving again into sight, 
Softly the sand-beach wavers away to a dim gray looping of light.  - Sydney  Lanier,  The Marshes of Glynn.

Bay Head, New Jersey 2012. Before superstorm Sandy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

MARUYAMA - Repairing Porcelain Figurine

The figurine lay broken on the floor. The carriage and 18th
century couple are intact, but the jaunty white horses are
shattered and my heart is broken.
I love the story the figurine tells. John Coachman has the air of one who is trying to be invisible. He sits on the box, eyes forward, holding the restive horses.  The pair looks ready to be off, but one horse ear is turned back, listening. Standing next to the carriage is an 18th Century couple. The courtly gentleman leans slightly forward, one hand held out palm up.  In supplication? What is he offering? Excuses?  Apologies?  Tea? Is he begging Her Ladyship to stay, or to allow him to go with her?  Has her Ladyship just arrived or is she about to depart?
 Consider her, the confidence in the perfect posture, the charm of her swaying skirt, and the tilt of her head. My Sensible Voice says, ‘That’s not a carriage dress. She isn’t dressed for travel; this is just a social call. And shouldn’t you being folding towels, or washing your car, or, I don’t know… earning a living instead of standing here inventing drama???’ And the answer is yes I should, and I do, but thoughts of Georgian romance and intrigue go with me and later I’ll dig out one of my favorite Georgette Heyer books. These Old Shades, Powder and Patch, A Convenient Marriage .
The figurine sat on a shelf in my moms’ garage for years, occasionally unwrapped, admired, then carefully rewrapped while I silently promised myself that I’d unwrap it for good when I had a safe place for it and for me. I’ve lived long enough to have a few bruises where it doesn’t show. I’ve keep a lot of things wrapped up sitting on a shelf waiting for a safe place.
The figurine lay broken on the floor. The carriage and 18th century couple are intact, but the jaunty white horses were shattered and my heart was broken. It seemed like a bad omen to find it broken twice less than a week after being unpacked.  It was reasonable to assume that this time one of the Three Little Kittens had knocked over the figurine, and nothing and no one was to blame except me for not considering the route taken by a pot bellied cat traveling at high speed from window sill to door.
 I placed the broken china bits in a box but couldn’t bring myself to toss the box in the trash.  An online search confirmed what I suspected. A replacement was going to be costly - when I could find one. The loss felt bigger than just a pretty trinket and looking at the bits of china I felt more than a little sad. 
Sighing I set the box aside and turned back to the paperwork on my desk. A kitten twined its' chubby self around my ankles and settled on my feet as I sat at my desk. She looked up at me with wide eyes and blinked slowly. I felt my heart expand.  That silly kitten makes my heart full in a way a pretty trinket never could, or should.
That afternoon Someone Else begins reconstructing the china horses.  It is painstaking. Tedious. Large fragments first, then small shards, but Someone Else doesn’t seemed to mind  and I start thinking a little moss here and there might help camouflage some of the damage.  I am grateful to realize there is someone who, without being asked, is willing to help me pick up the pieces.
The figurine still has a story to tell.  In fact its' value has increased in my eyes. Patched up and imperfect like me, like most of us, it survives and I am glad.

 Repairing a figurine using Super glue tips:

Use the glue sparingly. Dab a small amount on each side of the join.

Gently hold the pieces of your ceramic figurine in place for a few minute to give the glue time to set up.

Use masking tape to hold the piece together while the glue cures. Carefully tape across the glued portion of the figurine. Let it set for at least three hours.

 Clean your hands or any surfaces of glue before it dries.

Wipe any glue in excess on the ceramic figurine away with a cotton swab - you can dip it in nail polish remover.
Repair Tutorials -Suggested Link:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Another Blustery Day!

Another Blustery Day!

The garden looks cold and wet and the sky is dull as tarnished pewter. Not at all inviting, so I decide to take my coffee up to my office/ craft room.

The next couple days will be devoted to craft projects so I begin my settling in ritual, topping off my cup of coffee, choosing an audio book. Elizabeth Peters seems perfect company. I love the stiff upper lip humor and the melodrama as heroine Amelia Peabody, to her husbands’ chagrin, foils Criminal Masterminds, engages in matchmaking, and finds a nice tomb for serving tea.

I recently embarrassed myself by asking my daughter who had
 just passed her ipod on to me,
 ' Does this play books-on-tape?' 

I am presently working on some Hallloween projects using  purchased downloads from Altered Artifacts, some of my own work, and free downloads from My Fanciful Muse, and the Graphics Fairy. These are some of my favourite resources and I am a devoted fan of all three artists.

side 1

side 2

 A closer look at the Counts Castle .

Thank you to My Fanciful Muse for the Regency Fashion Plate Ladies and the Ballerina.

Halloween ballerina - My Fanciful Muse 
The Graphics Fairy moon is my favorite to date. Moon Man Vintage Graphic .