Stitched and Painted Bird Art

painted and stitched bird portraitI’ve been collecting all sorts of ideas for art gallery vignettes that I want to create in my home before we leave. The idea for this little beauty came from an article in Sew Somerset magazine that I pulled out over 18 months ago. I rip articles out that I like and keep them in binders in clear plastic pockets so that the rest of the magazine can be recycled. I recently confessed this behavior to a woman I chatted with at a bookstore. She said that I’m way too organized, but I think it sounds a little better than the hoarder house full of hundreds of magazines that she lives in. I don’t want to be found two weeks after I died, trapped under 10 year old craft magazines…….that would be so embarrassing.

Sew Somerset Summer 2012This article was written by Colette Copeland  who writes on a blog called a-bird-in-the-hand. I was taken in by the simple shapes, the single word, and the idea of outlining the image with hand stitching.

estate sale findI decided to use this frame that I picked up for 50 cents at an estate sale. The gold painted edges were dinged up and it had no back or glass, just a slot for a really thick image. I fixed the edges really easily with gold acrylic paint.

simple bird portraitSince the slot for the image was so deep I decided to paint it on a piece of an old book cover that was too broken to be used for anything else (Don’t ask me why I keep crap like that and don’t think I don’t know that you’re picturing me right now, dead under a stack of broken book covers, just stop it!). I sketched the outline first and then filled it in with watered down acrylic paint. When it was dry I poked holes with an awl all the way around the outline. I stitched the outline with pink embroidery floss using a backstitch.

trio of handmade artI framed a doodle stitching piece (my first ever) in another gold frame I found at the same estate sale, and hung both of them with vintage pink ribbon. I put eyelets in the ribbon to make them easy to hang. They flank the collage piece that I made at the Spellbound Art retreat in November. I love this piece so much, but I had nothing else in this color scheme in my house, so I decided to make something to coordinate with it and that’s how this little grouping came about. I’m working on a bigger piece that I started at Spellbound for the opposite wall and I’m really excited about finishing it. I like these pieces because they’re so different from anything I’ve done before. I’m loving the freedom I have right now to try new things.

The three of them look great together, especially on the mottled, taupe, Venetian plaster in my guest bath. I did the plaster years ago and until now there hasn’t been any artwork in there. Mostly because Venetian plaster is hard to repair so I didn’t want to hang anything unless I was in love with it. There’s no poking holes, just willy-nilly when it comes to plaster, at least not in my house. The collage is light enough to be hung on a 3M adhesive hook but the two side pieces I hung on Monkey Hooks that only leave pin size holes, which shouldn’t be too hard to touch up………but only because I’m so awesome.

Inventory used: acrylic craft paint

Mixed Media Collage

Terms of EndeermentTwo months ago I attended the Spellbound Event in Pasadena and it was the funnest thing I’ve done in a long time. Spellbound is an art retreat hosted by A Gilded Life and I’m definitely planning on going again this year. The collage above is from the first class I took at the retreat. The class was called “Terms of Endeerment” and was taught by Cathe Holden. I picked this class mostly because of the deer head. It’s awesome.

Rosette corsageCathe was a fantastic teacher and although there were a lot of layers in this project she broke it down and made it seem easy. Cathee has a book out called Rosette Art, so I guess you could call her a rosette expert.

I never did sports growing up so I don’t have any ribbons hanging on my wall or stuffed in boxes. I think this one’s prettier than all the hundreds my sister got for gymnastics. No, I’m not bitter, just lazy and prone to fainting spells when I sweat.

I loved how this piece came out, but when my daughter’s friend saw it in my studio, she really, really loved it. Now normally, I’m generous with my stuff, but like I said, I love how this piece came out, so it’s not leaving my studio anytime soon. I decided to make her something similar. It makes me look generous without having to give up any of my own stuff.

rosette art collageI made the background out of a foam core board that I plastered with a scrap of flocked wallpaper. (I love flocked wallpaper!) I made the rosette from a fabric covered button that I recovered with velvet. I got the pendant at the bottom from Michael’s, but the rest of it came from the stash drawers in my studio.

velvet rosette collageI think it’s a close enough reproduction to make her happy. It definitely says something for Cathe Holden’s ability to teach that I was able to duplicate it without her help two months later. Taking classes opens you up to to new ideas, tools and techniques, and I waited way too long to take one again. I’m so glad I got the chance to take this class, and in turn make something cool for a really deserving girl that could use a little frivolous beauty in her life. Everybody wins.

A Peaceful Bedroom

grey and lavenderMy daughter chose a color palette of powder grey, lavender and sky blue for her bedroom’s last makeover. As I mentioned earlier, this would be the fourth makeover since she was five. She’s nearly 18 now and wanted to make her surroundings peaceful and serene. The challenge in redoing this room was that the third makeover had made the walls extremely difficult to paint.

the writing on the wallThis was what I had to cover up. I had at least been smart in that only water-based products had been used on the walls. I had even found water-based Sharpie paint markers so that the writing wouldn’t bleed through the next layer. The biggest problem was covering up the paper images. Apparently, I really glued those things down. So rather than try to remove them, I decided to plaster over them. I have several gallons of various plaster products in my Stash and this was a great opportunity to use them. I’m not going to tell you what I used because they can’t be bought by the general public, and I didn’t use them the way they were supposed to be used and I really don’t want to give you people any ideas.

plaster over sheet musicThis is what I call “artistic experimentation.” I troweled on different products until I found one that gave me the look that I wanted. I ended up giving the walls a skip-troweled finish which I love. It took me a week to get the walls plastered and even. Once it was sanded and level we finally got to paint.

Whomping Willow muralMy daughter is still not ready to let go of the Whomping Willow mural I painted two makeovers ago. It originally looked like this:

Hogwarts mural

Then I transformed it to this:

Harry Potter posterThe idea was to make the mural look like an advertising poster for the Harry Potter exhibit opening at Universal Studios in 2010. One mistake I made was stamping those designs in the corners. I didn’t think about what the ink was made of and when I tried to plaster and paint over them, the ink kept bleeding through. It took about 5 coats, no kidding.

trompe l'oeil muralI didn’t like the raw plaster edges around the mural so I ended up cutting wood trim and attaching it to the edges. The bottom piece of trim actually has a small lip like a ledge. I faux finished the trim to match the mural, added some trompe l’oeil details to the top corners and lightened up the color of the frame so that it complements the wall color better. I’m really happy with how it came out.

thrift store fabric curtainsWe really lucked out on the day we went shopping for curtain fabric. We went to our local DAV thrift store and these sheets were just sitting there, along with a lavender sheet that I used as a dust ruffle.The curtains were cut from one twin size sheet and one queen size. I lined them with two plain white sheets to block out more light. I think I spent less than $20 on all the fabric. The rods and rings are from Target. I made the tie backs from lace, ribbon and fabric snaps out of my sewing stash. I absolutely love how these look on the windows.

wood birdhouseMy daughter got rid of a lot of stuff so that the walls would be sparsely decorated and less busy. This is the first room in the entire house that I haven’t added pattern to the walls in one form or another. It’s a new experience, but I think I love it.

Inventory used: 1 gallon faux stone

 

A Gilded Life – Spellbound Event


Welcome Dinner
The Spellbound Event hosted by A Gilded Life Studio was one of the funnest things I’ve ever done. Forgive me for taking so long to post this, but the amount of photos I had to go through was a little overwhelming. I want to take you through the event, but I don’t want this to be a never ending post so I’ve made collages to keep the photos to a minimum length.

Pre-Event SoireeFor people that were able to get to the hotel one day early, they were treated to a Pre-Event Soiree at A Gilded Life studio in Santa Ana. A bus collected all of us for free and took us to a place where my kind of dreams are made of. They really should have handed out napkins at the door because the drool was seriously flowing.

The studio hosts classes and is also a retail shop for the most beautiful things you can imagine. They primed us with an amazing buffet, ridiculously beautiful desserts and of course champagne. Then they taught us a craft with a brand new embossing/cutting machine that’s yet to be on the market. Crafting AND Champagne?! I was giddy. So of course I went shopping.

A Gilded Life purchaseThis was my first night, so I really tried to reign it in because I knew there were going to be many other shopping events throughout the week. I bought this remnant of ruffled fabric that I plan to make a skirt with for Dianna. The two yards of lace are also for Dianna, but the lime green, velvet leaves are for me. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them, but I just had to have them.

The French General StoreThe next day a local store called The French General hosted a free crafting/luncheon for those attendees who could drop by. I have loved French General products for years so to have a chance to craft in the store was so exciting. The store did not disappoint. They have an incredible assortment of fabric, beads, buttons, ribbon and paper ephemera. I ate my lunch, made a couple bracelets and scanned the store for what was going to have to go home with me.

French General NotionsMy restraint had started to weaken, obviously. So, so many pretty things.

We rushed back to the hotel with all our goodies and got ready for the Welcome Dinner in the ballroom of the Pasadena Langham Hotel.

Gift Tote bagThe first thing I noticed was that every chair had a really beautiful tote bag hanging on the back. We took our seats and tried to be grown ups and not the little kid inside who wanted to dump out the bags on the floor and check out all the candy. It took a couple glasses of wine to quiet that desperate impulse. I was able to keep a handle on it, which was difficult considering that this is what the inside looked like:

gift bag treasuresThe hosts and sponsors of this event were extremely generous with their products. There were so many cool new products in this bag that I think I’ve returned to  square one on my destashing efforts. But wait………there’s more……….

Spellbound embossing machineAfter dessert they surprised us by giving every single attendee a brand new, not on the market yet, Spellbound Artisan machine and a ton of dies and plates to go with it. I thought Oprah was going to come out and hand out car keys next. If you haven’t heard a room full of grown women squeal before, you’re definitely missing out. It absolutely made my heart race.

embossed bookThere are lots of embossing and die cutting machines on the market. This new machine’s advantage is that it can do both at the same time. The little book above is what we made the night before. We inked the plate before running the linen covered paper through the machine so not only was it embossed, it was stained in the low areas as well. So beautiful and so easy. It works on paper, fabric and leather. You have to get one.

When I got to my room with my new machine and bag full of awesome crap I totally dumped it all on my bed like a little girl and looked at every little treasure one at a time. It was awesome.

mixed media classesThe four classes I took over the next two days were amazing. I would love to show you all the finished products but I’m going to give a couple as gifts, so they have to remain a secret. The teachers were great and I learned so many new techniques that I’m still pumped up with ideas.

mercantile displayFriday night was the Dreamland Mercantile, and with a lot of help from my roommate I got my display set up with enough time to shop the other vendor tables.

Dreamland Mercantile vendorsThey had about 30 vendors, all real different, but all so beautiful. I sold enough to pay for my table and make a little profit. The feedback I got was very valuable so I’m definitely glad I did it.

Saturday night they hosted an Up All Night Craft Party that was a total blast. The vendors set up about six different craft stations with a different project at each of them. More free stuff!

They also provided late night munchies like sliders and mac n cheese, which was followed by an amazing display of desserts. I should have taken a picture but I was in a chocolate coma.

Craft party projectsThese are the things I made. They taught us how to make flowers with our new machines and we cut flowers out of a bunch of different fabrics and glued them all on an apron. It’s adorable. I made a mixed media tag book that’s so cute. I also stenciled a canvas bag to hold all my new stuff. The long necklace laying on top was the name tag every one wore. They made 150 of these, and each metal bezzle has our name floated in the resin inside. It’s stunning and actually one of my favorite things from the event.The Rose Bowl Flea MarketThe event was topped off with a Sunday morning trip to the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena. I had always wanted to go, and it was definitely worth the drive. They have a huge number of very good vendors with a vast array of antique and vintage finds. I loved the fabric stall at the top which specialized in vintage fabrics and trim. Very good prices and a large selection.

I have to say sorry to my good friend Jerry for not picking up the clown painting. I know it would go great over your bed, but I just didn’t have any more room in my car.

Rose Bowl purchasesThis is what came home with me. I’m going to use the vintage runners on my Thanksgiving tables this year and they’ll be so cute.

From there I drove home with a car full of treasures and a brain buzzing with ideas. The event was more than I could have dreamed of and I will definitely be returning next year. The generosity of the hosts and sponsors was overwhelming, but it was their attention to every detail that really pushed it over the top. It was obvious that they understood what makes a woman’s heart sing, and they were just so willing to make it happen.

A big Thank You to the women at A Gilded Life and the people at Spellbound. You gave me more than you’ll ever know.

Dreaming of an Art Retreat

Spellbinders EventOne year ago I saw an ad for this art retreat and I was dying to go. I’ve wanted to go to a mixed-media event for years, but they’ve always involved airfare and I just couldn’t justify it. This Spellbound Event was just two hours drive from my house, but since I didn’t have any extra cash, I didn’t go last year. I promised myself I would go this year so I set aside money ahead of time. I signed up for it the day registration opened in April and I’ve been counting the days ever since.

embellished bookThe retreat consists of a formal welcome dinner, followed by late night crafting, two days of classes, a mixed-media market, an up all night craft party and a field trip to the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena. I’ve died and gone to Heaven!

mixed media necklaceI’ve signed up for 5 classes, three of which I’ve posted photos of the finished products here. I picked classes that were either teaching techniques I’m not familiar with or products that I haven’t used.

embellished panelI didn’t want to post all five photos because you would be sobbing with jealousy. I’m sure by now you’re a little weepy and I’m sorry, but I just had to show you why I’m so excited. The group has also added a pre-event Soiree at A Gilded Life Studio, and a field trip to The French General in LA, both of which have been on my must-see list for years.

Because I wasn’t worked up enough, I decided at the last minute (no joke, like two weeks ago) to rent a table at their market and bring all my Salvaged Sanity products to sell. One of the major sponsors of the event is “Where Women Create” magazine, which is my all-time favorite magazine, and I would love to get my products in front of their editor who is attending the event. I think my stuff is right up her alley.

So the past few days I’ve been putting a table together and getting my stuff ready to sell. It would be nice to sell a few things, but more than anything I’m just trying to be seen.

Langham Hotel PasadenaThe retreat takes place at the Langham Hotel which looks stunning from the pictures. I’m going to be sharing a room with a woman I have only spoken to on the phone and through email. We actually have a lot in common and I’m really looking forward to meeting her.

So that’s what my life is revolving around this week. I leave November 6th which is just a few days away. I’ve practically got my table finished and I’m going to make a few more things to sell. The big challenge will be getting all of this into my Prius. Wish me luck!

All photography, except the hotel shot, are by I See the Moon photography.

Marburger Farm’s Antique Show

(this is part of a series that began September 27th)

cream and brown design schemeThanks to my cousin letting us take her car first thing, (Thanks, Cheri!) Dianna and I got our Starbucks and headed out to the Marburger Farm’s Antique Show as fast as our loaner car could take us. Not as fast as the speed limit, however, which is 80mph in some places…….crazy Texans. You can see by the very first photo that it was totally worth going. Yummmmmmmmm.

dark and lovely displayI have been to a fair share of shows, but I’ve never seen one this big or with such a high caliber of display and merchandising all in one place. I’m used to going to big shows and seeing a handful of vendors who go all out with eye catching booths. This show didn’t have one display that was boring or uninteresting.

vintage crates and boxesEven the vendors who specialized in a certain thing made an effort to grab your attention. I loved these crates. The vendor adds the handles and varnishes them to really bring out their color. Love that.

vintage books and tinsThis was the first booth we saw, in the first tent we went to . They had a little bit of everything, so we took our time. My goal was to see as much as we could but not rush. It was hot so I didn’t want us perspiring anymore than necessary.  A sweaty shopper is an unhappy shopper.

antique chandeliersThey have several old houses and shacks on the property that were shared by a small number of vendors whose stuff complimented eachother. This one had lighting, coral and metal bins. Works for me.

columns and butterfliesThis booth made me want to cry it was so beautiful. I mean, come on! If you aren’t crying right now it’s because you have no soul and you might want to do something about that.

antlers, branches and busts, oh myThe way they displayed their wares also gave me new ideas for the stuff I already have. I love how this vendor used natural materials to enhance their architectural pieces.

mmmmmmmm...egg saladNow for an intermission: The heat outside made us steer clear of the bbq stands. We settled on egg salad on homemade bread with pickles, Lays potato chips and sweet tea. Scrumtious. The egg salad was cold and yummy and fortified us for the rest of the day.

deer head artI’m just now realizing that I probably shouldn’t put this photo of deer heads so close to the lunch picture……..too late.

Taxidermy is big right now. This will make my friend, Amy G., never speak to me again, but I am going to say that I really liked this display. I’m not saying I’m going to go kill one of my own, but if someone gave me one, I would probably hang it in a similar fashion, and I’d probably name it, and put hats on it.

taxidermy artSorry again, Amy. I really loved these, and if I had $450 burning a hole in my pocket I probably would have come home with one. She also had skunks that were really cute. Dead…….but cute. That doesn’t make sense, does it? Sorry.

dreamy bed displayOkay, sorry again, Amy. They’re friggin’ everywhere. This one’s pretty creative. Who would have thought that a deer head, old film reels, metal siding and branches would make such an awesome headboard. Obviously Amy wouldn’t think it’s awesome, but some people would. Someone like me, unfortunately. (I can almost feel her deleting me from her Contacts)

glamourous birdcageThis should make everyone feel a little better; the birds in this fantastic aviary are alive. But now that I’m thinking about it, caged birds make me sad. Dang it, I was so close.

Anyway, the lengths that some of these vendors went to was awe-inspiring. These people brought live birds all the way from somewhere. Sheesh. That’s committment. Bravo. I’m going to pretend they released the doves back into the wild after the show. Come join me in Fantasyland, will you?antique basket rackThis is one of those things that I truly wish I needed because it’s so dang cool. They had it filled with upholstery trim and metal junk.  I’m sure I could find a use for it, right after I find the $2000 I would need to make it mine.

antique letteringI hate to close with another deer head, but it was pretty hard to find displays with out them. This was outside one of the tents. There was so much good stuff that they couldn’t contain it on the inside.

Although we sweated a lot and were overwhelmed by this size of the show, we had a really good time. We didn’t buy hardly anything because everything was a lot more expensive than most shows we go to. I saw a lot of designers with clients, so I think the vendors were aiming for that lot. I don’t blame them. The cost of their booth, as well as shipping costs and lodging during the show had to be astronomical. I’m still really glad we went and loved looking at all the creativity. If you’re ever in Round Top around this time of year, definitely make time to attend. It’s totally worth it.

Stuff that kept me busy last week

After my daughter’s bathroom renovation was finished, I had a lot of work to catch up on, namely, I closed the Destashio Etsy shop.  I moved any items related to storage and organization into the Salvaged Sanity shop. It’s been too hard to run two shops and I want to focus where my passion is……..organization and storage.

I made two new items for the shop last week:

DIY mail organizerThis is a Message Center Board as it comes…..no accessories. This board has two 3-ring binder spines, so it can hold two mail holders, frames, or notepads in a number of combinations. There are two magnet boards at the bottom covered in a beige/blue/green floral patterned fabric. The board comes with four magnets made out of decorative bottle caps. Flanked on either side is a set of clothespins stamped with the words, “save” “date” and “remember”, to help hold on to important notes.

DIY board with accessoriesThis is what it can look like with a few additions. This is just one example but there are other options available in the shop.

I also made this little beauty:

mail-organizerbee pendantAdorable, Ay?! It’s a mail holder for the DIY Message Center Boards. I had a ball making this one. Totally cool!

flea market findsWe made it to an estate sale on Friday. Really interesting sale. Let’s just say there were raw animal pelts hanging in the closets, slowly disintegrating, completely nasty. They also had a whole room of dolls, the creepy kind. I almost brought home one of those stuffed monkeys that freak me out in horror movies, but I couldn’t bring myself to touch it. I brought home the few treasures above. A couple cool frames and some neat illustrations that I can include in a new art wall I’m putting together. The little pieces of brass and the drawer pulls will end up on a board some day I’m sure.

But the best thing I found was this…..

Priscilla and FionaThis was a painting done by the former homeowner, Betty Sagan. She may have had a doll fetish and a few too many animal remains to host a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but she was also an artist.

This beauty was hanging over her fireplace and I just fell in love with her. I know there is a bit of a creepy factor in her, but that’s why I grabbed her. Her daughter was so glad to see her mom’s work go to a home that appreciated her. I have her hanging right in front of me when I watch tv. Her eyes definitely follow me when I leave the room, but I appreciate the company. I have named her Priscilla and I call her cat, Fiona, and I love them completely. Don’t come over if you can’t take it. They’re precious.

So that’s what I’ve been doing………what’s been keeping you busy?