Sunday, March 28, 2010

Collage crazy, once again...

After sitting at my computer for hours this week, writing and copy-editing, I was ready for some tactical creativity. Out came all my art supplies...and the results are creations that I'm putting on my new etsy shop to sell. (coming soon)

This first piece took me hours, but I absolutely love the result. I added and subtracted things until I had to make myself stop. Every time I found something lilac, pink or purple, it would have to go on the collage! What inspired me? This wonderful text, from The Velveteen Rabbit: "She was the quite the loveliest fairy in the whole world. Her dress was of pearl and dewdrops, and there were flowers round her head and in her hair..."

I just can imagine some sweet little girl hanging it in her room, knowing that she's the loveliest fairy.

I hand drew the fairy, adapting an illustration I saw in another book. The wings didn't turn out as well as I liked, so I ended up cutting new wings from purple tissue and then adding a white metallic embossing powder to them. The text says that she has flowers in her hair, pearls and dewdrops on her dress, so I found some tiny metal flower beads for her head, added a skirt of tulle and bedecked it with pearls and "dewdrop" rhinestones. The clouds were created from an old piano book. The piece of vintage jewelry was so pretty that I had to incorporate it, too. Can you tell that I had fun?

This next photo is another fun piece that was inspired by an old book. (Can you tell that I'm a writer?) This was from a 1963  middle school science textbook. The "modern" laundry room (picture in right hand corner of the collage) was the photo that inspired me to create "It's laundry day." Now, I don't know about you, but with three boys playing sports, I do laundry every day. However, I remember growing up with "laundry day." My mom would do laundry, set up her ironing board and watch her "stories" (soap operas) while working through the day. The house would smell so fresh and clean. How many of you still have laundry day?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Getting Ready for Spring

I finally peeled off my snowflakes from the kitchen window. I guess that’s the last I’ll see of anything resembling snow this year. My snowman collection is packed away, too and I’m replacing everything with spring! Yep, it’s time to clear the clutter, plant flowers and add some “springy” touches to the home. 
Here’s how I do it: I change out my fireplace mantle every season; I hang something new on my front door, and I try to always have fresh flowers on my kitchen table and windowsill. It’s taken years, but now I can get flowers from my garden almost year round (in the winter, I just use pine branches). My garden is now dancing with daffodils, littered with lilac buds, frolicking with forsythia and crawling with crocuses. (How’s that for alliteration?)

I’m also getting ready to open a brand new online shop --Where the Grass is Greener on! If you never heard of Etsy, you're in for a treat; it's an online artist mecca where thousands of artisans sell their creations. I’ve been working hard to create inventory for that shop and for my existing website; staying inside on these beautiful Maryland days (something native Pittsburghers seldom do…if you live there, you know what I mean).  I will let you know when the shop will launch, but right now I better get back to work! Enjoy spring wherever you are!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wine and Design

We had our first “Friday Night Wine and Design” at my friend Cassie’s home (and what a lovely home it is) last night. It’s a little group that she and I started, inspired by sister’s craft group that meets once a month in Frederick. The premise: gather a group of crafty gals like us, serve wine and treats and make it an artistically productive night by creating a little something for our homes. This night we re-created flower pots (see the results in these photos). Cassie and I designed house number pots and others included pretty pots with chalkboard paint (so you can write what you are growing on the pot – such as basil), stencil pots and polka dot-fingerprint pots (artistically painted by Cassie’s adorable children).

We had so much fun sharing ideas that if we could we would make it a weekly event, but we do have kids and lives and jobs, so once a month it is! We are open for ideas on what to make for our next get-together (although we are brimming with ideas right now, we would love input from all you creative types out there).

I'm now working hard on finishing some furniture and will post on my website soon. I’m almost finished with a sweet shabby, but chic vanity…I just can’t find my pink paint to touch it up! And I think I’m so organized…

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A slow start...

Oh, I've been so unproductive lately. Feeling kind of blah and looking out at the pouring rain was no inspiration. However, Sunday (today) proved to be very, very productive and I am just bursting with ideas!

First, I did have a semi-productive Saturday, even though I ended the day with one heck of a headache. I was out early to get my haircut and stopped by one of my favorite charity consignment shops ( a place that supports a local hospice) on my way home. And what to my wondering eyes did I spy? A table full of 25 cent frames! That's right...antique, vintage and solid wood frames all for a mere 25 cents! I ended up with 12 that were either beautiful as is or would look fantastic with a coat of paint. They will frame my collages that I had so much fun making today. The one above features a cutout from one of my very favorite books, The Velveteen Rabbit. Of course, I didn't cut our copy of the book, but an older version that I found at a flea market. You can't see it on the photo, but I dusted the flower with a glittery, metallic powder to make it look magical. I plan on framing it in an antique frame. The other collage is a rework of one that I already had framed, but every time I looked at it, it seemed as if something was missing. I added the flower silhouette and metal tag and glued it to a new background.

On the furniture side, I am working on two bookcases for a friend's beach house and finally finished my darling little pale pink table. I'm now working on a vanity, too (pale pink, of course). Just to let you know, painting furniture lets me live a girl's life vicariously. There is not one thing PINK decor item in my would probably end up tossed out (along with me)...boys!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

College and Collage Crazy

I did it! I survived having my son's college lacrosse team at my house for dinner...those boys (or should I say, men) can eat! I went through 138 pierogies, two pans of lasagna, and 45 bratwurst sandwiches! Two other mom's were gracious enough to offer up an assortment of fruits, veggies and a salad, a delicious coffee punch, and of course, an array of desserts! By the end of the night, I was exhausted, but they were all so nice and was great fun. The best part of the day was being able to watch my son play in goal against Goucher College, right in his home state.

From college to collage...I'm going a little crazy on collages lately. Above is one I made for our entrance way. I really wanted one with our family name so I went to work on a dollar store find...a little sign that said "Boat House." Since we don't own a boat, or a boat house for that matter, I just decoupaged over the words, slapped some wall paint around the edges and went to work. I had to strategically place the tree to cover a seam in the paper, and then I had to improvise after I placed the letters...I love how it turned out.

Another collage I made was inspired by this little poem I found in an antique book..."Mornings on the Beach." I tried to capture the colors of the morning sun just by layering papers over one another. The last collage I made was for my friend's fundraiser (on the right). It's called "Believe" and I believe it works! I painted the canvas background with acrylics and then went to work, antiquing the music sheets, cutting, and pasting. More on the way....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Winter on the Beach

I love winter on the beach. No crowds, no bugs and plenty of treasures to find. Yesterday, Kellen (my youngest) and I went on an adventure to the Eastern shore. We took a long walk along the Chesapeake Bay looking for treasures. We found beauty in the brown of winter ... the blue sky, pieces of sea glass, perfectly shaped skipping stones and even a rock that looked like a car (above).
I brought my camera and looked around as if I were a child again - observing everything, just looking for an artistic shot - guess what? They were everywhere! I found so many beautiful things that Kellen had to keep reminding me that we needed to move on (I'm usually the one coaxing him along). It was a picture perfect day as was today.
Fun on the Beach!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sometimes Life Just Gets in the Way...

Yep, sometimes life gets in the way of art. All I really want to do all day is create fun art, but then there's the work that pays (not the work that might pay), there's volunteering at both schools, and then the dreaded "cleaning of the house." Next Tuesday, my son's entire college lacrosse team is coming to dinner, plus the coaches and some parents. He told them all that I make great home-made pierogies and now they want them! I've been cleaning, making pierogies, doing some touch up painting (and you know how that goes -- one touch-up leads to another and another...). As I sit here writing this, because I promised two posts a week, I'm still not showered; I have paint in my hair; and I'm starving (I haven't eaten today) and have to make it to the elementary school in 30 minutes.