Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Favorite #11--Artesa

I am completely blown away by this shop, Artesa, and the work of Flavia Lovatelli.  Perhaps because I have done a couple of projects with coiled magazine pages, and I UNDERSTAND the tedious and time-consuming nature of her work.  It takes HOURS AND HOURS to roll enough strips of magazine pages into enough coils to make anything.  So, hats off to Flavia and her lovely work! 

I find her work very interesting because she makes things you would never dream could be made from paper.  Granted, not many people would or could wear a dress made from paper coils, but tell me the truth.  Are you not impressed by this wonderful work of art?

ANGeLIQUE my recycled paper dress
Ok, really, probably not practical and a bit beyond your budget, but amazing detail, no doubt.  So if the dress isn't something you could pull off, how about a lovely little handbag?  I can't decide which one I like better, this one:
SIMONE - hand coiled rolled recycled paper clutch purse
Or this one:
DOMI my recycled paper unique purse CLUTCH

Or how about a belt:
MIRABEL - Coiled Paper hip BELT
Not interested in wearing paper accessories.  No problem.  Flavia also makes wonderful art for your home. 

QUEENS CHALICE - Coiled recycled magazine paper and brown recycled paper pulp
CAPTURED - Original mix media painting with large recyled paper coils
MY TOGGLES Coiled paper BASKET from recycled Paper Large n. 17
I love this coiled paper work so much.  I've tried it, and I will share with you some of my projects at another time.  I am inspired by the work in this shop, Artesa.  I hope you will go have a look around.
So, another week has flown by.  I hope it was a good one!  Have a super holiday weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paper Pleasures

"All you need in life is a friend who has chocolate."
I think that quote is so true!  Oddly enough, my best friend Marian is NOT a chocolate lover! The one flaw in an otherwise perfect friend!  How could I become best friends with a woman who doesn't love chocolate as much as I do?  NO IDEA!  Life is funny sometimes.

Anyway.  I ran across a darling rubber stamp with that quote and had to have it.  I wanted to make a really cute project incorporating real chocolate, and this is what I came up with:

I started with a hinged metal CD case I purchased online here.  I searched through my extensive stash of scrapbooking papers until I found some cute prints that incorporated the color brown.  I chose some coordinating solid colored cardstock and covered the entire tin, inside and out, with paper. 

I stamped the quote on cardstock and matted it with a matching color, then glued it on to the front of the tin.  I trimmed one with some satin ribbon and a button, and the other with just a button. 

Two full-sized Hershey bars fit perfectly inside this tin!  One to keep, one to share with your friend.  (And since my friend doesn't like chocolate......I guess I get them both!)
This cute project would make a great little gift for a friend.  You could even tuck a gift card inside for an additional surprise. 
Happy Thursday!
I have these available for purchase, but not in my etsy shop.  Contact me if you are interested!
Supplies used in this project:
Hinged metal CD tin (SKS Bottle & Packaging)
Various printed scrapbooking paper (Hobby Lobby)
Various colored cardstock (Hobby Lobby)
Rubber Stamp (Inkadinkadoo)
Brown ink pad (Stampin' Up)
Buttons and satin ribbon
3M Glue Dot Tape Runner
Hershey bars

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vessel #2

A while back I showed you a wonderful clay vessel I made for my friend Marian.  You can see it here.  A couple weeks ago I needed a gift for my favorite niece, Hilary, so I decided to try the same idea, but this time I used black. 

I started with a triangular base, and used the same random technique of adding bits and pieces of black clay.  Again, I let the clay tell me what it wanted to be.  I let the vessel take shape beneath my hands.
I love how every angle of a piece like this is unique, and tells a different story.  While I may repeat a shape, it never looks the same.
It's interesting how the shape of the piece changes as it grows.  I intended to make this one a bit taller, but as I created it, the opening began to shrink.  I needed to be able to prop it with a tall glass in the oven so it would keep its form, so I had to stop at just about four or five inches.
I really enjoy making these intricate vessels.  I can't decide which one I like better, the black or the white.  What do you think?
I hope you have a great day!  Thanks again for stopping by!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Favorite #10--Felting Dreams

I stumbled across this lovely little shop in my activity feed on etsy the other day.  Instantly, it went into my favorites folder so I could share it all with you in one of my Friday Favorites features.

Now, normally, I don't like mice.  They are icky and dirty and have beady eyes and they startle me to pieces when they come darting out of a hiding place in the garage.  Nothing cute about THAT!  But these mice, made by Johana of Felting Dreams are delightful!  Nothing startling about them, except how startlingly lovely they are!

These adorable little hand-felted wool critters are so wonderfully done.  Each has a very unique personality, and I love the details she adds, like books and backpacks.  There are so many lovely little mice (and other darling creatures) in this shop.  I'm going to share just a few, and I hope you will follow the links to Felting Dreams and check out the rest of her exquisite work.

Little Reader Mouse - unique - needle felted ornament animal, felting dreams by johana molina
Little Traveler Mouse - unique - needle felted ornament animal, felting dreams made to order
Little Traveler Collector Mouse - unique - needle felted ornament animal, felting dreams made to order
Little Reader Mouse - unique - needle felted ornament animal, felting dreams made to order
Cocket Little Mouse - unique - needle felted ornament animal, felting dreams made to order
THE LAST ONE Little Traveler Mouse - unique - needle felted ornament animal, felting dreams made to order
Wasn't I right?  Aren't these mice just precious?  I love them!  I hope you will go check out Felting Dreams. 
Have a wonderful weekend!  Next week I'm back at home, and back to work, so I will be here a bit more often!
Thanks for joining me for another Friday Favorite!
And just to show you that Johana does more than just mice, here is a wonderful red fox:
 Red Foxy - Needle felted animal, red fox animal, figure of collection

Monday, August 20, 2012

Jackson Giraffe

My friend Barb's daughter just had a little baby boy.  Jackson.  I haven't seen him yet, but I'm sure he's as sweet as can be.  His mommy had requested a giraffe for his nursery, and Grandma Barb was quick to make that happen.  She asked me if I could come up with something.  I did. 

Meet Jackson Giraffe:

I had never made a giraffe before, so this was a new challenge I was happy to take on. 

As always, I began with a wire and foil armature.  I had to create a long neck, but still make it fairly sturdy, which was a trick.  In the end, the neck is slightly thicker than I would have liked, and I had to redo his legs because they were too spindly in proportion, but overall, I think it ended up fine. 

I covered the armature with a pretty tan color, then set about the task of adding his spots.  They are pieces of caramel brown clay I flattened out with my fingers and placed on his body.  Each one individually.  It was a long process, but a successful one.  His little tail is reinforced with wire. 

I think Jackson has a really cute expression on his face.  His little horns are made from painted toothpicks and little balls of clay. 

Since this adorable giraffe is for a little boy, I didn't want to frill him up too much.  A simple but cute bow of blue grosgrain ribbon with a little white stitch was tied around his neck.  But it needed just a little 'something' to make it special.  So I dug around in my stash of embellishments and found a cute little wooden tag with the letter J on it.  Perfect, but not enough.  A little silver bell.  Yep.  How about a darling white frosted star button?  Nice.  But how to attach all these cute little doo-dads?  I tried using a safety pin, but it just didn't look right.  So back into the stash I went.  I found this perfect spiral paperclip, already the perfect shade of light blue!  I grabbed some silver jump rings and twisted all the charms on to the clip, then slid the end of the clip through the knot of the bow.  It worked! 

The finishing touch of my signature glass glitter on his blue clay base and Jackson Giraffe was done! Grandma Barb was quite pleased.  I haven't heard from Mommy, but I sure hope she likes it, too!

I like this giraffe so much I am considering adding him to my line of whimsical characters available in my etsy shop.  What do you think?  Is he a keeper?

I hope you all have had a great weekend!  I'm on a little mini-vacation, so no work for me this week!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Favorite #9--River Valley Design

After last week's brief hiatus from Friday Favorites, it's back, as promised.

Today I am taking you River Valley Design.  Christi does wonderful cane work with polymer clay.  I've been working with polymer clay for over 20 years, and I've never quite gotten the hang of making millefiori canes.  I keep thinking someday I will give it another go.  Until then, I love to marvel at the work of those who have mastered the technique, and Christi certainly qualifies as a master.

Christi makes lovely intricate canes and then applies them to everyday useful objects to make something ordinary into something extraordinary.  I am very taken with the business card cases......hhmmmm......might have to get one.  Here are a few of my favorites things from her lovely shop:

Pill container, Polymer clay covered pill box, holds three different items, purple, pink and white brain cane

Ice cream scoop, 3 oz ice cream scoop with decorative polymer clay covered handle
Ice Cream Scoop (how fun is THAT?)

Compact mirror, polymer clay covered, Big spiral cane design, resin coating, double mirror, orange, purple, red

Polymer clay covered crochet hook set of 8, New Boye brand, Sizes D/3 through K/10.5, Free US shipping

I don't crochet, but if I did these Crochet Hooks would be mine!

And finally, ONE of the wonderful business card cases I have in my favorites folder...

Business card holder, Polymer clay covered business card holder, deluxe metal wallet, beautiful pattern top

I think River Valley Design is a delightful shop, and Christi is a very talented artist.  She is also a fellow member of the Polymer Clay Enthusiasts Team, and I am honored to show her work here.  I hope you enjoy it, and it intrigues you enough to follow the links to her etsy shop!

Have a terrific weekend!  I'm going to, because I'm going to spend several days with my BFF Marian!  WOOHOO!

OK, OK, just one more.....

 Business card holder, Polymer clay covered business card holder, deluxe metal wallet, beautiful pattern top

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

OMG! An Award! For me!!

I've been nominated for a blogging award!  ME!!  How wonderful!  I nearly cried when I read the nomination.  OK, granted.  The one who nominated me is my niece.  But still, it's an award, and I'm very honored to accept it.  Here it is:

In order to accept this award I must do three things:

1) Give a shout out to the blogger who nominated me

2) Tell you all seven random things about me that you might not already know

3)  Pay it forward by nominating one of my favorite blogs (and contact them to let them know they have won)

So, here goes:

I was nominated by Hilary, of Simply Eclectic.  Hilary is quite honestly one of my favorite people.  She is funny and smart and just the right amount of weird.  I love her, and I love her blog.  She writes about all sorts of, gardening, keeping house, creative projects, DIY.  Simply Eclectic is just that, eclectic.  I think you will love it, so please drop in and say hello!  Tell her I sent you! 

I thank Hilary for this nomination, and truth be told, for getting me to finally start blogging in the first place!  I had been TALKING about blogging for over a year.  She started hers and was like "What's all the fuss about?  Just go for it.", and I finally did.  So, thanks for that, too, Hilary!

OK, part two, 7 random things about me:

1)  I enjoy bass fishing with my husband.  In 1997, after being married for 11 years and seeing him go off fishing on the weekends without me, I decided if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, and learned how to fish.  I once caught a largemouth bass that weighed 5.9lbs and was 23 inches long.  I about peed my pants! 

2)  Over the course of our 25 year marriage, David and I have had four Brittany spaniels.  #1, Sam; #2, Daisy; #3, Buck; #4, Jack.  #2, Daisy, has outlived them all, and is now 14! (and a very spoiled house dog after living her first 10 years outside).

3)  My very favorite thing to drink is an ice-cold REAL Coca-cola from a tiny 8oz glass bottle.  Nothing better!  What is it about those little glass bottles that makes it taste so much better?

4)  I am lethal when it comes to a pan of brownies or freshly baked cookies (my favorite are peanut butter).  You better get 'em while they're hot if I'm around!

5)  I love shoes!  (I know being a woman this is probably not a big surprise!)  I love shoes because while your jeans size may fluctuate with how many brownies you eat, your shoes, God love 'em, will always be the same size!  I currently have 50 pairs of shoes.  Yes, 5-0!  And if I am being honest here, I am down several pairs.  I mean, who really needs over 60 pairs of shoes! 

6)  About a year ago, my oldest sister and I entered into a partnership on a FABULOUS 1915 Arts and Crafts bungalow in the little tiny town where our mother lives.  We, along with our wonderfully talented brother, are in the process of restoring it.  TONS of work, but LOTS of fun.  It's the house I always have dreamed of.....I just never thought it would be in that little town! 

7)  Given what I do for a living--sculpting whimsical figurines and art dolls--this last tidbit might come as a big surprise.  It's certainly ironic.   Sculpture was my least favorite medium in art school.  I was rubbish at it, honestly.  Funny how life works, isn't it?

OK, now that you've learned a bit more about me, it's time for my nomination.  This was hard, because I read lots of really nice blogs.  I would love to turn it around and give it back to Hilary, because she really does inspire this blog, but that's not how it works.  So, instead, I'm going to direct you to a blog called Wit & Whistle

I discovered Wit & Whistle on etsy, where Amada sells her delightful paper goods.  She is a very talented artist and her blog is beautiful.  She blogs about her life in a lovely way---her home, her work, her food, her family.  Her photography is amazing.  I enjoy finding a post from her in my inbox because I know it will be visually beautiful.  Please go check it out! 

I'm always on the lookout for lovely and interesting new blogs to read. What are some of your favorites?

Whew!  That was rather long-winded!  I hope you are still with me!
Have a great day!  I am!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Another Halloween Witch

When Spells Go Wrong...
Oh, sometimes things can go horribly wrong. This little witch has accidentally turned herself into a frog! What to do? What to do? 

She turns to her trusty book "When Spells Go Wrong" to see how to undo this little disaster.  Here is what she found:

Has a spell backfired?  Have things gone awry?
Pick up your wand and give this a try--
Blink three times and tug on your ear,
Recite these words, loud and clear:
"Oopsy daisy, set me free.
Turn this frog back into me.
I'm not a FROG.  I am a WITCH.
Hocus Pocus make the switch.
Eye of rabbit, hair of dog,
I do not wish to be a frog.
Counting backwards: three, two one....
Now the spell should be undone."

I sculpted this adorable little frog witch from polymer clay.  She wears a cute little black wool felt cape and collar, with a matching hat.  The hat is trimmed with cute little purple and green felt flowers and a little Swavroski crystal.  The spell book is a tiny hand-made book, with the incantation handwritten inside. 

You can find this cute little witch in my etsy shop, along with many other Halloween characters. 

Hope you have a great day!

Friday, August 10, 2012

For my Dad

My regular readers have probably come here today expecting to find another wonderful artist in my Friday Favorites series.  I'm sorry to disappoint you, but today I'm going to share a different favorite with you instead:  My Dad.

This was taken about a year before he died.  The last picture I have of us together.

My Dad was a fourth generation carpenter, and he could build anything from wood.  He made his living most of his life from building things---houses, travel trailers and campers, kitchen cabinets, furniture, home accessories, and heirloom doll furniture.  He was a craftsman in the very best sense of the word.  He enjoyed creating something from nothing or transforming an ugly-duckling of a kitchen into a beautiful swan.  It was through his encouragement that I began my creative business over 20 years ago.  He has passed his talents on to my brother, Mark, who carries on the family trade.

Sadly, Dad is no longer with us.  He died one year ago today--hence this departure from my usual schedule.  I wanted to share a few of the things he made.  I apologize for the pictures, but I hope you can see the beauty of his craftsmanship despite the poor photography.

These two are of the armoire he built for me.  My favorite piece of furniture in my house.

This Barrister Bookcase is in my family room.

Some of the model vintage cars he built.  Not from kits, but from his own patterns.

A very bad photo of my parents' craft show display, many years ago.

Dad left behind countless handmade treasures and dozens of beautiful kitchens, but his greatest legacy is his family, who loves him dearly and misses him deeply.

On my parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary.  And this isn't even all of us! 
Five children, two sons-in-law, one daughter in law
Six grandchildren, one (now two and soon to be three) spouses
Two step-grandchildren
Six great-grandchildren

Dear Dad--
There isn't a day that passes that I don't think of you.  I miss you so much, and I carry you with me in my heart each and every day.  I am so blessed to have had such a wonderful, caring father who encouraged me in all of my dreams.

With much love,
Your "favorite youngest daughter"

If you really need an etsy fix, follow this link to my favorite shops folder.  There is lots to look at there.  I will be back next Friday with my usual Friday Favorite. <3

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Halloween is Coming

Fall is fast approaching, and quite frankly, I'm ready.  At least I'm ready to put this horrendous heat we've been stuck in behind me. 

I actually love fall.  I love the cool, crisp mornings that give way to warm, sunshiny afternoons.  I love how beautiful the trees become.  I love knowing Halloween is just around the corner.

In my studio in the last few weeks, I've been preparing for this upcoming season, making adorable Halloween characters.  The popularity of Halloween has surged in the last several years, and that makes me happy.  I enjoy making Halloween pieces.  There are so many different characters you can do!  One of my favorites is witches.  Here are a couple new ones I've just finished:

This is Ginger.  She is a chubby little thing, because she LOVES her Halloween candy!  She is wearing a cute little orange and white striped bodysuit under a black dress with a lace skirt.  Her collar is made from crepe paper and her tall witch hat is made from paper covered in black velvet.  I love the joyful expression on her face, but my favorite thing about her is her wild orange hair!

And this is Dottie, Ginger's cousin.  She's wearing a fun orange bodysuit with white polka dots and she has pretty little gems on her shoes.  Her pleated skirt, cape and hat are all made from black mini-dotted paper.  She's got a fluffy white crepe paper collar and a zig-zaggy stitched ribbon belt.  I love her sweet little face!  Her hair is not quite as wild, and a lovely blond. 

So which witch is your favorite?

These two darling girls will be appearing soon in my etsy shop.  You can go there now and find lots of other adorable Halloween characters.

Thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Queen Bee

One of my favorite whimsical characters is Buzzy Bee.  I introduced you to him here in my very first blog post.  I love the expression on his face.  I love the cheery little flowers at his feet.  I love how colorful he is.  Plain and simple....I love Buzzy Bee.  He has since flown off to live elsewhere, which is a good thing, right? (I have mentioned I have attachment issues to my characters.)

Long before he left I had an idea for another bee.  Ideas come to me at the oddest times and in the strangest places.  This time I was in the shower one morning, and I had several ideas buzzing around my head, but one of them struck me hard.  Queen Bee! 

I have always loved puns and a play on words, so this idea of a Queen Bee went beyond being the biggest bee in the hive.  No, I saw pageantry.  A beauty queen.  I saw this:

I saw a bee much like Buzzy, sculpted from black and yellow clay, with a black crepe paper collar, and wings made from tissue and wire.  (After making Buzzy, my husband informed me that bees have double wings, so I felt I needed to make them double this time.)

Beyond the basic bee things, I wondered what I could do to make her into a beauty queen.  Well, of course, that meant she must have a crown or a tiara of sorts.  So I fashioned her one out of silver clay, eye pins, and Swavroski crystal gems. 

And she needed a sash as well.  I think purple is a very royal color, so I used a piece of purple glittered velvet ribbon and hand painted "QUEEN" on it with white paint. (The photo does not do this little detail justice--it's tricky taking pictures of glittered ribbon!).

What beauty queen walks the aisle without a bouquet of red roses?  Well, none of them!  These are delicate little paper roses, twisted together and wrapped with green satin ribbon. 

One more little detail on her sash---purple and red felt flowers with a clear crystal brad in the center.  That along with some glue holds her sash in place.

Queen Bee is ready to reign over the hive.  Isn't she just adorable?

Thanks for buzzing by again!

Queen Bee is available here in my etsy shop.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Favorite #8--ZipPinning

Today I am taking you to ZipPinning, a wonderful little shop full of charming flowers made from zippers.

I love these colorful flowers!  How fun are they?  These are actually brooches, but I can think of other things you could do with them as well.  Attach one to a purse.  Pin them to a pillow.  Adorn a gift.  Use them in a unique floral arrangement.  I could go on.  They are just so darling! 

I had a hard time narrowing down my choices to just five or six, because there are so many wonderful color combinations.  Go have a look for yourself.  I'm sure you will find one you love.

Red and Apricot Abstract Floral Brooch / Zipper Pin by ZipPinning - 2217

Magenta and Teal Floral Brooch / Zipper Pin by ZipPinning 2134

Turquoise Spiral Floral Brooch / Zipper Pin by ZipPinning 2151

Bright Orange and Hot Pink Floral Brooch / Zipper Pin by ZipPinning 2159

Purple and Lavender Floral Brooch / Zipper Pin by ZipPinning 2175

Old Gold / Mustard and Bright Turquoise Floral Brooch / Zipper Pin by ZipPinning 2098

Don't you think these are really unique?  I do!  I hope you will go and check out ZipPinning.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist!)