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!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Free Vintage Christmas Card Ornament Download

I was inspired by a recent blog at Creative Breathing to make some ornaments using Whitman candy boxes.  Creative Breathing features a tutorial that I found very helpful.

I particularly liked the carolers ornament and  it's an image  I have digitally. Perfect place to start!

I have a cache of cream cheese boxes which I'd been using  to create ornaments before I saw the Creative Breathing tutorial. They work well, but the Whitman's boxes are just perfect.  I layered some of the objects and Santa is double sided so there is no 'bad' side.

The trimmings  were all purchased at the Dollar Tree. They had some wonderful plastic 'greens'.  Santa cruises by with a sack full of toys.
 Back of the ornament. Enlarged image to cover outer sides of box.
Remember to click on image to save largest image possible. 

                         I hope you enjoy the download. I'm going to refill my coffee cup and go see what Creative Breathing is doing today!   

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nativity Project - Shh! It's a Christmas present!

Crafters hate to let a good box go unused. The replacement hard drive for my Cassie's laptop came in a box about the size and shape of a hardcover book. It had been dutifully placed in the household recycling bin, but two minutes later I fished it out and added it to the small stack of boxes that were just waiting for the right project.

The right project turned out to be this Nativity vignette.

 The chipboard figures were a small splurge at Michael's. The wonderfully crinkly paper garland was found on Etsy.

Click one image and save full size.

I've had the sheet music so long I don't remember where it came from. I believe Graphics Fairy has some. It may be Vintage Feedsacks.  I've also 'liked' some on Pinterest. I can't honestly remember who to credit - but it is widely available so I don't think sharing this should upset anyone.
Some scapbooking paper, a few silver pipe cleaners and a couple snippets of verse...
And I was done. I hope my sister enjoys receiving it as much as I enjoyed making it.
Back View

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!


Flea Market Finds - Relpo Turkey

In the  60's and 70's Lane's Drug Store in Point Pleasant Beach carried a large selection of Relpo figurines. Occasionally one found it's way in to our home or we kids were allowed to pick one out for our grandmother's birthday or Christmas gift. It was always so hard to choose just one!

This little Relpo turkey was found at Meadowlands Flea Market. 

The carton under the table was marked HOLIDAY in shakey red lettersand held mostly plastic canvas and yarn ornaments similar to the ones the Ladies made for the congregation made for the congregation at Waretown Methodist Church. I was smiling, thinking of the fun loving circle of older women who were the backbone of the church during the years I attended Waretown Methodist, when I found this Relpo turkey roosting at the bottom of the box. Fifty cents and some newspaper wrapping later, he was nestled in my tote and on his way to his new home.

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.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The One That Got Away
 He who hesitates is lost.  The aphorism is a twist on  a line from a 18th Century play - "The woman that deliberates is lost." In this case I was the woman and the loss was an Oshkosh for Macy's steamer trunk.  In very good condition and with no musty smell I should have snatched it up for the two hundred dollar asking price.  
The gentleman selling it had used it to store his vintage flag collection and it would have made a great storage /display piece for vintage linens.

Love the red leather drawers!

Some minor scuffs.   


Hangers and velvet drape for left side included. 
In my defense the trunk did not pass my Look-Before-You-Leap -Can-I-Buy-It? test.
  1. Is this  an impulse buy ?
  2. Do I have a place to put it?
  3. How will I use it and how soon?
Since the answers  were yes, no, and, God only knows, I decided to Think About It.  After all, not every great thing is meant come home with us.  Down the row and around the corner I walked.  The first flush of steamer trunk desire ebbed and I considered  the following a.) dedicated craft space was on the horizon, b) if  things just didn't work out between the trunk and me, the fact that it was in very good condition and available at a good a price meant that I shouldn't have too much trouble finding it a new home. c) Someone Else was willing to carry the trunk back to the car. I hurried back to purchase the trunk but was too late. I tried to be philosophical... I didn't actually know where or when I would be able to use it but a few weeks later the perfect spot  opened up and I spent a few days gnashing my teeth in regret. Especially after checking out  Inka Heaton's redo @ Altered Artifacts.

Fabulous Right?
The 'perfect spot for the steamer trunk'  is now occupied by these sweet little ladders. They work well for displaying linens and cost less than ten dollars apiece.  Who knows, someday another great steamer trunk  may come my way, and if it does I hope I'm ready to grab it.

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