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 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.

Creating a Craft Fair Display from Scratch

salvaged sanity displayThis past week I’ve been working furiously on the display I’ll be taking to A Gilded Life art retreat this coming Wednesday. I say furiously because anyone getting in my way or slowing me down has definitely experienced my wrath (sincerest apologies to my family). I finished it yesterday and I’m pretty happy with the results. I’ll take photos at the actual event….this is just what it looks like in my dining room.

mail organizer displaySalvaged Sanity mail organizers should ideally be displayed on walls, but since this venue doesn’t provide any, and I can’t fit those in a Prius, I had to come up with something else. The most important factor the display had to work around was that it had to break down into parts small enough to fit in my car, and be easy enough to put together by myself.

My husband came up with the designs for the table racks and I came up with the idea for using an IKEA $10 clothes rack for hanging the Design-Your-Own message center components. Other than the IKEA purchase all the other parts were salvaged either from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore or my studio.

standing display rackThe hanging table racks are made from two 1″ x 4″s and two 30″ sections of 1/2″ x 1″molding to fit a standard 30″ x 72″ banquet table. You could actually fit three of these racks on this size table, but I needed only two. I added hooks at the top of the 1″x 4″s for my boards to hang on. The rack fits right over the edges of the table and the weight of the hanging boards balances each other. They fit snug enough that if you remove one of them, the other side stays in place.

IKEA clothes rack display

To display the pieces that are for sale a’ la carte I used chandelier chain, s-hooks and gutter screens to hang everything from the clothes rack. All that stuff folds down to practically nothing and yesI had all that stuff in my studio.

craft show display tableFor the table top holders I got lucky at the ReStore when I found an old wooden sliding door track. I cut it into four equal pieces and my boards slide right on to them. I formed triangles out of two organizers tied together at the top and their bottoms stabilized in the wood tracks.

I had the fabric for the tablecloth (a thrift store find) and all the material for the signs in various corners of my home. So this whole thing came together for less than $20 and a lot of imagination.

Today I’m doing the hard part – figuring out how to get it all in my car and still be able to see out the windows. I’ve always loved a good puzzle. Wish me luck!

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.