Sunday, October 16, 2011

Paris in Georgia

My summer was bookended by trips to Savannah, Georgia to move one of my college students back and forth. There are a lot of great places in Savannah, but my favorite has to be The Paris Market. It's in a beautiful old building on Broughton Street and is filled with a mix of old and new. Upstairs fine soaps, jewelry, paper goods and novelty candy tempt, while down the wide, wood stairs (with antique books stacked up against the walls), acrylic chairs mingle with old cameras and many other intiguing items. I always spend a lot of time upstairs in area with small items perfect for crafters: bags of broken jewelry, milagros, old French medals and tiny porcelain figures. I chose these two little female figures and one of the shop owners explained in her lovely French accent that they were placed in cakes for a specific celebration, somewhat like the baby in the King cake. I also could not resist this French deed dated 1883. The penmanship and stamps on it are stunning. If you've been to The Paris Market, please leave me a comment and let me know what you found.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chandelier love

I used to think chandeliers were too formal for my home, but then I began seeing them used in cottage-style decorating. Suddenly, I wanted one. I had my heart set on an old brass one, with the arms that look like tree branches but I had a small budget. After years of searching, this one turned up at an antique mall at an incredibly low price. Amazingly, it didn't need rewiring and only 3 crystals were missing. It hangs in my craft room and is impossible to walk under if you're over 5" 4". Impractical, I know, but it's my craft room and I love it and I fit under it. Two of my other favorite things, tole painted floral trays, and toile also have pride of place here. It's a space that's mine, all mine!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Small Transformation

I am working on a page in an altered book. The book has a story, set in the mid 1800's, and a dance is an important part of the story. I liked the idea of using the pink Martha Stewart paper strip as an announcement of the dance. The pale pink wasn't working with the patina of the old book pages that will form the background so I dipped the paper in coffee. This aged the pink, especially around the edges, but still wasn't right. Since purple is a color used throughout the book, I decided to dip the paper in Tazo Passion tea, which a lovely deep ruby color. I let the strip dry for awhile and still wasn't content.I took the damp tea bag and pounced it over the paper strip and then blotted with a paper towel. I really liked the mottled color, like the purple had faded with time. I found a font very close to the old page of penmanship and printed out the words A New Year's Eve Ball, using the mirror image mode on my printer. I used a solvent pen to transfer the words to the paper strip. This transfer method gives a faded, aged look perfect for this page. I'll share the entire page spread when I finish it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Lost Skill

When I was purchasing this wooden darning egg at the retirement community thrift store this weekend, my cashier commented that he hadn't seen one of these in years. It's true that the art of darning has largely been lost. When our fabric was homegrown, homespun and hand stitched it was very valuable and darning samplers like this one prepared girls to mend the household linens and clothing. My mother was a child of the Depression (as well as a New Englander of Scottish descent), so I remember moments of frugality in our household. She would stretch the heel of my father's socks over a lightbulb (same shape but much less charming than this darning egg) and attempt to darn them. She must not have mastered this skill because I remember my father complaining that they felt lumpy to walk on. I don't darn or even stitch very much, but I can't resist collecting vintage needlework tools like this one that remind me of a time when women shaped their lives with a needle.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Heartfelt Return

Most images of cherubs and cupids don't appeal to me, but I loved this old one with all its delicate details, from the flower garlands in her hair to her beribboned ballet flats. She became the inspiration for a Valentine's Day gift cone. I used a paper mache cone and painted the inside gold. The outside was covered with a decorative paper (this one was actually a Christmas gift wrap). I had the vintage braid and lacy flowers in my stash. I gilded a small wood ball with Rub 'N Buff to finish the bottom of the cone. I like the way this echoes the shape of the quiver she carries. Some Valentine's edition Lindor truffles would be the perfect way to fill this!

On a personal note, thanks for stopping by. I know it has been ages since I last posted. It was a busy year with two children graduating from high school and starting college and their older brother, who is a college junior, moving into his first apartment. I logged a lot of hours criss-crossing the country in a packed SUV. I'm happy to say everyone has settled in nicely, and I now have more time to create and blog about it. With three times the tuition, I also have much less money to spend, but that's okay since craft store clearance racks and thift stores are some of my favorite places. I hope you'll join me again and invite me to visit you.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Little French Fashion Book Progresses...A Bit

Finally...the time and the sunlight to get some photographs of the slow progress I've made on the little French fashion book. I added some beads that are aqua-lined-with-copper to the velvet trim on the cover. The ribbons that tie the book together are vintage seam binding from Beth's Etsy shop and a brown ribbon with teal undertones from an amazing shop in Parkville, Missouri called Florilegium.

I finally finished the first page, which is a celebration of my one of my favorite motifs...the paisley. Antique store finds include tiny jet buttons, a lace applique and what seems to be a homemade French thread card. I tried a new technique for this page, using my printer/copier and freezer paper to transfer an antique embroidery pattern from a book on to a strip of muslin. There are four more pages of this book in progress and I am about to start an altered book project that I'll also share as I go. You can always click on the photographs to see the details.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Masked Ball Swap

Stacey of Flotsam & Jetsam sent out an invitation to join her Masked Ball Swap. I loved the idea of putting a fashionable spin on the Halloween theme so I joined in. My partner was Amy who lives in California. She doesn't have a blog but you can see some of her paper creations here. Her package was full of fun things: jars of Halloween candy whose lids were topped with a toad and a rat, painted party horns and a pumpkin pie candle, a fancy little coffin box topped with my monogram and filled with treats and an orange striped billard ball--unlucky number 13! All wonderful, but I was really wowed by the cigar box ballroom she created for me. That's the cover above and below you get a peek inside. Amy added beautiful glitter details to the belles' costumes and surrounded them with tiny pumpkins, a bat and a cat. Don't you just love the girl on the swing?

For Amy, I covered a box with flocked damask for the body and black and silver stripes for the lid. I embellished a butterfly mask to decorate the top.

I created a couple of tags in the ball theme and wrapped fancy trims around them to use in future projects. A vintage box discovered in Minnesota did hold a dark secret...a vintage heart-shaped perfume bottle with a keyhole design. I filled it with black glitter and tied a silver ribbon and a little black key just under the cap. A rhinestone shoe pin from Victorian Trading Company was added as a keepsake of that imaginary night of dancing and intrigue.

The swap was a lot of fun and I'd like to thank Stacey for proposing it and Amy for being such a generous and creative partner.