Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dodgy emails and Yahoo issues!

Oh dear oh dear - it seems my Yahoo account has been compromised so many of you who are in my Contacts list may have received a bogus email purporting to be sent from me. Rest assured, I am NOT stranded, penniless in the UK! I am not having much luck sorting this out so if anyone has any ideas, hints or tips to help me resolve the problem I would be very grateful. In the meantime, I am sorry I cannot access and therefore answer my email! Gggrrr! Apologies to those of you who received the dodgy email.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Big ol' generous bloggers!

 I have that tune by Kylie Minogue  buzzing in my head " I should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky ..." hee hee it is in your head NOW!
A little while ago, I was lucky enough to be the winner of a giveaway on Find, Make, Do - a fun crafty blog by Betty Jo of  Lino Forest. The prize was a fabo journal crafted from a Little Golden Book, made by Megan over at The Byron Life.
  There are pages from the original book dotted throughout the blank pages - cute surprises!

  I was really chuffed because I love journals and I love recycling and here you have both in the one package! Megan wondered what plans I had for my prize and I told her I planned to use it as an art journal for an up-coming exhibition - provided of course I got to the mailbox before my daughter because I knew if she spied it first it would never be mine ...
On Friday, after a massively long day and a fairly tiring week, I came home to find a parcel waiting for me - that lifted my spirits in itself and when I opened it - well I am fairly certain I did in fact squeal! A pretty high-pitched porcine kinda noise to be more precise! For there inside, was not one but TWO Little Golden Book Journals - Megan had sent one for me and one for my daughter - just so there wouldn't be any arguments she said!

How generous is that? I am tickled pink with both the journal and the thoughtfulness - just gotta love Blogland - crafters are seriously cool people! So, a big thanks to Betty Jo for being the hostie and a massive thanks to Megan for her generous prize. Now that you have seen mine, you are no doubt dying to procure a journal for you very ownself - well, you can head over to Megans shop and do just that!

Flea Market Finds

This week has been so full of  Uni work and preparations for my daughters 21st that I haven't had time to Op-Shop - sad but true. I am planning a remedial trip tomorrow as a little reward - once I have baked 3 dozen mini-quiches! Over the last few weeks I have gathered up a few tea-pots and those funny Troll dolls for a project so today I thought I would share the transformation from Flea Market Find to 21st- Birthday- party- table- decos!

Firstly you take a few tea-pots - the rule here was that they could cost no more than one dollar!


 Now, if you are squeamish or have a particular fondness for Toll dolls you should look away .... 

There was some dismembering involved I am afraid.

But I have to say this chap doesn't seem too concerned ...


Then the footsies are added to the pot/s -

And painted white.

Then it was time to decorate them with a few red hearts and voila! Perfect teapots to hold some flowers for an Alice in Wonderland tea-party methinks!

And the finished article full of paper blooms - there are very few flowers in my garden at the best of times and with the weather we have had over the past few months I just knew paper was a better option! Besides, they are kinda kooky!
So there you have it - a step by step transformation which entirely justifies all those sojourns to the thrift store and bodes well for future trips I believe! It is always fun to join in Sophie's meme, so head over to Flea market Finds and check out what the traesure hunters have found this week!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Steampunk here we come!

I just had to make a pair of ear-rings today - and no, I wasn't procrastinating about the Art History essay that was due a few weeks ago ( I was kindly granted an extension but this essay is proving illusive) - more just a need to physically manifest the idea that has been rattling around in my brain taking up space. Truly. I have made them for a young friend and was going for a steampunk look. Strictly speaking, these fall well short of "real"steampunk but I think my friend will like them none the less. The genre is explained here. Sort of. I pulled apart a clock with the intention of using all the nifty cogs but alas - they were all plastic! I have improvised and made my own cog lookalikes from bits and pieces I had. Yay for lateral thinking because today was the day to make these or they may never have materialised!
I used copper and brass that I bashed about a bit and some sterling rings and a wee bit of recycled tray. I don't have any wire at the moment so I cheated and used ready-made hooks. I fashioned the cog-like bits by rivetting some bits together and the ring they hang from was made using a technique I learned from Stephanie Lees' book "Semi-Precious Salvage".
We are mad "Firefly" fans in this household and for some reason I was thinking of Captain Mal when I made these ... that is probably a bit sad for a woman my age (sigh)

I am adding these pics despite their poor quality to try and show the 3 dimensional effect I was trying to create.
Hope you can get the idea from that!
And here is a close-up of my cog look-alike.

Flea Market Finds

I ventured into a couple of Antique Stores this week and had a ferret about in their "odds and sods" boxes and came up with some things that I hope to use in some jewellery.

Okay, so it might not be immediately evident that this stuff could become jewellery, but I have faith that I can do something with it! The screwdriver definitely will not become jewellery but will make some great marks on metal with the aid of a hefty hammer!
Keys are easy - they always look good in vintage style necklaces and these ones are either brass so they can be patinaed or already have some nice rusty patina!
This white thing is apparently part of a Victorian era thingy that held back curtain cords. I will probably remove the cabachon and use the brass bit as a bezel. The vintage buckle is gonna look great in a long, brightly colured necklace and the buttons - well buttons are just cool!
I really don't know what will happen to this photo because it is so moth-eaten - but that is exactly why it appealed to me! Wouldn't it be great to know the story behind all these blokes eating together in a tent?
Well of course if you are going to make jewellery it is a splendid idea to have something groovy to display it in and so to my next find ...

I plant to revamp the inside - (although it seems a shame as it is in perfect nick ) and use this to display vintagy bits and pieces. It is a lovely cutlery tray - so solid!

Even the latch is just lovely and solid brass, as are the hinges.

I hope the owner is still using the cutlery because it must have been very good quality to be encased in such a well made box.
If you are a thrifter and treasure hunter head over to Sophies to join her meme Flea Market Finds or just have a look at the stuff people are digging up in thrift stores and op-shops all around the place! It's fun!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Birthday Invites

My daughters have been home for a couple of days and we finally got stuck into making some invites to the eldests 21st birthday party. We are having an afternoon tea with an Alice in Wonderland/Vintage High Tea theme so we are hoping people will dress up!

We designed the front using some stamps, photocopied them and then coloured them with watercolours.

Then we cut them to size ...

... and stuck them onto a bi-fold card ( actually we used up some old art journals and sketch pads!)

A while ago I bought some beautiful dyed doiley bits from Megan at FreshVintageCrafts and they were so pretty I thought we could use them for the cards. Sadly I had bought mostly large ones and they were just too big to fit! No time to get more so I decided to have a crack myself !  I think it is best left to the experts - I only had food colouring which is probably ok for cards - lets just hope none of them get wet! The colours of the ones Megan  makes are really crisp and gorgeous - mine are a bit motley!

After stitching on the buttons we glued them to the cards.

All done! Yay!

Of course we had to design and print the words for the inside - thankfully the local library has Publisher so that was pretty easy. It was neat to spend time with girls crafting and I am glad we went this way instead of getting something printed - it would have been less time consuming but no-where near as good for my spirit or my wallet! Now it is off to the Post Office!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gone to a good home.

Today I wanted to share some pics of a necklace that has recently gone to a new home. Quite some time ago, the lovely Elizabeth broke her lurker status to leave a comment on my blog and won this piece - it has taken me a few extra minutes to get it made and posted but I am happy to tell you that it has reached its destination and its new owner sounds dead pleased with it! That in turn makes me feel great and I like to imagine Elizabeth wearing and enjoying her new piece of jewellery. Meantime, the sun is shining, my house is full of family for a few days, my son passed his drivers test, I have been able to spend a whole day with my dearest pals and pretty much all is right with the world this week!

I decided on something with a vintage feel and wanted to include at least one handmade feature.

In order to achieve a vintage look I decided on pastel colours and bronzy wire to create a beaded chain. I used some cream ceramic beads, a couple of pretty pale blue lampwork beads, some crystals and a couple of minty blue/green vintage beads that were resurrected from an op-shop necklace.

I made a hanger for the tassel using copper wire that I flattened and bent (a few times!) and then wire wrapped.
To the hanger I added a chandelier crystal,ceramic beads, an aged rhinestone rondell and one richly coloured Swarovski crystal. Capped of with a sweet little bird charm. All of these were strung onto copper headpins that I made too.
I received a lovely email from Elizabeth - "Thank you so very much for making my necklace, it was as if you knew exactly what I like and what colours I wear, blue being my favourite." - how cool is that?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Flea Market Finds

This week I actually hit the op-shops with intent! Oh yes indeedy I had a specific goal in mind - you see I was hunting for some of these ...

So that I could make some more of these ...

I made one of these in Susan Lenart Kazmers workshop a few weeks ago and now want to make a few more for a project I am working on. Now, the op-shops are usually full to overflowing with teaspoons right? Huh! Not at the moment apparently - I didn't find ONE - not one! I was severely disappointed, bordering on morose after the third op-shop and no spoons ( not one - nada, nothing, nix!) when my eye fell upon something distinctly cheerful ...

These gorgeous paint tins are so colourful - well I couldn't resist could I? Especially when you consider the pangs of agony I had suffered on my fruitless spoon search! Besides I already have one paint tin - now I have three and I believe that could be construed as a collection and therefore my purchase is completely justified. (oh yeah, I can rationalize ANYTHING!). These two have been made in England and I am guessing they are from the 50's or 60's.

The smaller one is in great nick but the larger one has been "well loved" ...

I must say though that I do feel whoever drew the Gnomes was not necessarily showing them in the best light
The guy with the hammer looks a bit Phycho, his mate in red is clearly not the sharpest tool in the shed and as for that last chap - well, he doesn't look very trustworthy - a tad malevolent even?!
And who would trust this bloke with a pick-axe? Pretty sure the illustrator had some kind of subversive realationship with Gnomes - or perhaps this is a feminist version of Snow Whites mob?!

At least this gnome had talent!

Despite (or maybe because of ...) the funny pictures, I am completely enamoured and well over my disappointment at being spoonless. These are little boxes of happiness afterall!
If you were hunting up thrifty treasure this week I hope you had some fun and fantastic finds. To see what everyone has been collecting this week, head over to Sophies and check out her meme, Flea Market Finds.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

European Travels

Jay over at Finki has put up pics from everyone joining in the Monthly Design Challenge. The theme for March was "European Travels". I decided to make a reliquary of sorts - but one that could be worn. I hunted up some bits and pieces in my stash and this is what I came up with ...

It is a longish necklace  with plenty of elements for interest!

It comprises a beaded chain using amozonite, crystal, vintage chandelier crystals and souvenir coins from Venice and a real coin from France. It is finished with some buff colored rayon fabric. An altered watch case  holds the "memories" and I included a tassle with beads and charms.

The reliquary has a collaged background - I used stamps from the UK, Italy and France. These were three of my favourite countries when I went to Europe as a young woman. I also included an English coin to remind me of the family I met in the UK and a little key because having the opportunity to travel as I did when I was 20 really did give me the key to the door of a brand new way of seeing things. I also made a little brass  piece that has the word "home" on it because I certainly came to appreciate my home and my country when I returned from Europe.

 Some of the detail in the beaded chain - a 10 centime piece - I added a patina to it!

 I etched a piece of copper with a Parisian address to make a connecting charm.
To make the tassel I scrounged up an Eiffel Tower charm - such an icon - added some briolettes and a medallion of Our Lady of Loreto - patroness of aviators and air travelers - thought that was kinda appropriate - after all, I made it back in one piece! (You can see it better in one of the pics above)

It was great thinking back on my "Europe days" and all those memories! This is the great thing about the Monthly Challenge - it sets the wheels in motion and gives me a little push to get creative! If you would like to join in or see what other creative types thought of the challenge then head over to Finki and have a gander!