Sunday, November 29, 2009

And the Mice Rescued My Day!!!

Saturday was the deadline. This was the status of ONE of my work tables after a very late night on Friday. Here I was at the worst part of the job- the labeling, tagging and pricing. How is it that I always forget how very long this part of the process drags on..and on...and ON!!!! I hate this part, I need elves!!!

By 2:30, I was on my way to Liberty Town in fredericksburg for the drop off. I still had to enter all of my wares into the log in book and assign matching numbers to each piece. The bottom line- I was not yet done!
Here are some shots of some of the items that I took for sale.

I recently came up with the idea to use scraps of my fabric paper to create some simple bird pins. They are very light weight and are sealed with many coats of laquer. I hope that people like them. I think that they would make a perfect little gift or even a stocking stuffer.

I modified my basic purse design to include a hand stitched fabric gusset. This makes the purse more usable and versatile. We will see what shoppers think!

I also made three more Pincushions which I am now calling Jewelry Tuffets. They make great pin cushions of course, but they are also wonderful for holding pierced earrings and pins, on ones bureau. I have a large one that holds many of my earrings.

By 4:30 pm I was finally doen and on my way home, heading north on Caroline Street through Old Towne Fredericksburg. When what to my wondering eyes should appear... but the return of the Whittingham MICE!!!!!! Now what, you might ask are the Whittingham Mice and WHY were you so excited??? I will tell you, of course.

Whittingham's is a wonderful Kitchen shoppe/Decor store in Old Towne. Last Christams they had a wonderful window display that was filled with hand felted mice involved in all sorts of kitchen antics. I did not hear about the windows till close to the New Year, so by the time I went down to check them out, the windows had been changed. I have been hoping that the mice would make a command performance and there they were!!

As I drove by, I looked quickly at the window and caught a glimpse of a Christmas scene surrounded by lots of people standing and looking. The MICE HAD RETURNED!!!!!And yes! There ahead of me on the correct side of the road (one way street) there was a parking place with MY name on it!! I dove into the space, grabbed my camera , purse and car keys and I was off to see the Whittingham Mice for my self , for the first time. Needless to say, I took many pictures. I even got down on my knees on the cold brick sidewalk to take shots and then wondered how silly I would look trying to get up off of my knees in the cold!

Well, I did manage to get up without causing too much of a scene and I did get some great pictures. If you live anywhere near Fredericksburg you really must come down to Caroline strret to Whittinghmas to see these marvelous windows. A local artist (I will investigate their name and update here soon) hand felted each wonderful little mouse.

Hence the title for this post! The mice really did top off a long and somewhat tiresome day with a wonderful jolt of Christmas cheer and joy!! One can find wonderful surprises everywhere if you are just willing to slow down and look!!!
Enough chatter! Enjoy the wonderful Whittingham Mice!

Aren't these mice wonderful!!??!

Sorry about the glare on some of these shots!! Plate glass windows and flash attachments often don't play well together!!
I hope that you all have a wonderful and fulfilling week!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The JOY of Creating With Children

Yesterday I spent a wonderfully creative and giigly afternoon with my new little friend Julia! Julia came to Liberty Town Artists Studio's to take a class from me called Snow People Sculptures. For this class I was very lucky to have Julia as my only student and we had such fun together!
This project was first described in the December 08 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. Since that publication I have made many modifications to make this project my own. I save bottles and jars throughout the year and scour Thrift stores and Flea Markets in search of interesting b its of stuff and whatn ot to repurpose into accoutrments for the Snow People.
We fashioned heads from foil balss covered in clay and added polymer clay carrot noses (that I had created ahead of time), smeared on lots of glue and sprinkled lots of glitter. We filled our snow people with sparkly sequins and lustrous pearls that we gathered from discarded jewelry. We added old buttons and silver beads and cut letters from old books to spell wintery names for our Snow People. (Julia didn't realize that she would be having a spelling lesson along with her creative project!)

Julia dug through my box of bits and jewelry to find wonderful "hats" for her jolly snow people. For Twinkle, on the left she choose a vintage black button with a sparkling rhinestone jewel in the center and added a sprig of silvery eucalyptus to finish the elegant look. Then she create d a wonderful pearl and jingle bell necklace and wound a silvery scarf around Twinkles neck. To complete Storm's look, Julia decided that the top of an old salt shaker would be the perfect hat with an added red berry pom pom. Coppery garland held in place with a dashing scrapbooking brad completed the outfit!
Isn't this stylish couple delightful!!?!!? I was very impressed with Julia's creative and adventurous spirit and her" What if ...."artistic attitude!!
We had a bit of time left over to create one more Snow Person. "Icicle" had her name spelled out using letters from a reclaimed vintage book. Julia also decided that a colorful scarf repurposed from a discarded cotton sweater, would be the perfect touch to complement the vintage white and rhinestone encrusted button hat that Icicle shows off.

We had amarvelous fun even when we were struggling to get the pesky glue out of the bottle and chasing tiny letters flying pearls and runaway sequins around the work table!
Hopefully, next year , I will have more parents sign up with their children, so we can all experience one of the true joys of the season, creating magical moments with creative kids!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

A FABULOUS Mail Day !!!!!!

Well it all started on Wednesday at about noon. Tom was just home from his trip to Florida, where he had been teaching for the Coast Guard. He walked in the door with the days mail. I asked if there was any mail for me, fully expecting his answer to be: No, just junk. Instead he said You got two things." HTe first was a lab report from the Dr.- big deal. But the second was The New Issue of Art Quilting Studio Magazine!!!!!
As soon as I saw what it was I started jumping up and down and hooting and hollering. Tom just stood there thinking ,"Well this is it, She has Finally lost it."
Do you know what it means when you get an advance copy of a magazine??? I am sure that many of you do as many of you have also been published. It means that some of your very own work has been published in that issue!!! I had almost completely forgotten what this piece looked like as I has submitted it back in January!!!!
Well here it is!!!

( A right click on all photos will give you a close up view!)
This piece is approximately 9 inches wide and 14 inches long and fits nicely in the middle of a door. I began by sunprinting some of my garden flowers ( Brown Eyed Susan's )and grasses onto a piece of cotton and then stitched around the bleached areas. (all except the images left by the dill seed head and the dill weed foliage. I beaded the seed head with sparkly silver beads and just left the foliage as is.)

After stitching I painted the flowers and grasses using Twinkling H2O Watercolor paints. I then added beads to the flower centers and in specail places along the grasses. I did the border with sari silk ribbon that I stitched around the center using Toho Matte finish seed beads.

I am thrilled with the job that the folks at Stampington did with my piece! It got a page of It's very Own. Getting a piece published is so much more awesome than selling work, not that I don't really appreciate when people like my work enough to spend money for it. But there is something really inspiring and UBER VALIDATING about getting work published!!!

This second issue of this new Magazine is wonderful and I strongly reccommend that all interested in Art Quilts check it out!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An Amazing Gift

I wish that I could say that I had taken this picture, but I DID not! This is what I saw flying directly at, and slightly above, the windshield of my minivan yesterday morning as I drove along the back roads of Virginia!!! We were in Stafford Conty on our way to Dulles Airport ( going the "back way", I will do just about anything to avoid driving on I-95 ) to get my Mom to her plane home after a lovely visit with her grandchildren and granddoggies. It was about 8 am and I noticed,, out of the corner of my eye some movement ahead on the left of the car. Then some Turkey Buzzards took to the air and I figured that there was probably a dead animal off to the side of the road. As soon as this registered, I saw a huge bird flying right at my car. He had a beautiful white head and a golden yellow beek and he was looking right at me. It was a Bald Eagle!! The first that I have ever seen in the wild. What a thrill.!!!! What an incredibly beautiful bird!!! I did have my camera with me, as always, but I could hardly take a picture as I was driving.!! Instantly he adjusted his flight path and sailed up and over the top of the van and I was left almost hyperventilating with excitement.
Recently I had heard that there were several hundred Bald Eagle Nests counted along the Chesapeake Bay from Maryland to Virginia and down to North Carolina. I can remember a time, not long ago, when we were not sure whether we could bring the Bald Eagle back form the brink of extinction. Seeing this magnificant bird living and thriving in my rural, suburban part of Virginia gives me incredible hope that we can indeed help our planet recover form the ravages that we humans have subjected it to!!
Please take this opportunity to call your Congress People and Senators and implore them to support the Energy Bill that will soon be coming to the floor in Congress. This is not a partisan issue it is a PLANET ISSUE!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And The Winners Are.........

Well here it is Tuesday and I am not quite sure what happened to Sunday and Monday!!!!
I did finally get my 18 year old to put the comment numbers from the Give Away Post into the Random Number selector that is his brain!!
Thank you to all of you for all of your kind words, wonderful comments and inspirational support!!!
The winners, picked at Random, are Jeanne Turner McBrayer, Heather Goheen and Susan of Port Orchard Florida. I am so happy to have been introduced to so many new visitors. Thank you all for your kind words!
Jeanne and Susan , please send me your snail mail addresses so I may get your goodies in the mail!!!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Old Paper Treasured Here !!

It is treasured and sold at Whitings Old Paper in Hanover Virginia, to be exact!! I am not affiliated with this wonderful business but I have just returned from a fabulous day of exploring the stacks and drawers of this wonderful treasure trove of Paper Ephemera!!! I had first become aware of Mr. Whiting and his awesome collection, at Art and Soul Vendors Night in Hampton Va, when I attended the artists conference three years ago. Now I have actually been to the shop itself. The expereince was all that I might have expected and so much more. The reason for the trip at this time was the annual shop wide sale. Everything was from 20-50% off!! ( The Sale continues thru November 16!!) I also had an experienced Treasure shopper who knew her way around this part of rural VA, to serve as a guide. We had planned on an hour and a half at this location but as I wandered around in a daze taking it all in, we extended our stay for an additional hour. Even then it was extrememly difficult to leave.
Mr. Whiting was extremely helpful, welcoming and informative. I would have enjoyed staying to have a longer more leisurely chat and I feel that I have made a new friend in the world of collecting and treasuring all things old. I will be returning to this wonderful Antique destination and bringing others with me, of that I am sure. Along with all of the old paper ephemera from the 1800's-1980, there is a wonderful antique mall boasting all sorts of wonderful finds. I did manage to get quite a bit of Christmas shopping done for several of the very hard to buy for people on my list! BONUS!!!

Here are some of the treasures that I came across! The majority of these pieces sold for 1-2$ with the small snapshots going for as low as 25 cents.

I am always on the look out for old snaps of children and I was thrilled to find these adorable shots!

I tried to take some pictures of the shop to share with you but it is hard to get good pictures to give a good idea of the amazing scope of Mr. Whitings collection!!! There are boxes everywhere labeled with all sorts of categories and a whole room full of sorted old magazines . There are bureaus and type drawers filled to over flowing and boxes and boxes everywhere of old Cabinet Cards and snapshots. Truely amazing and overwhelming. !

If you are ver driving south on I 95 thru southern VA (just North Of Richmond) be sure to stop by and check out Hanover and Whitings Old Paper!

Before you leave my blog be sure to stop by here and leave a comment to be entered in my Giveaway to commemorate my 350th post!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

350 Posts Approaching- Time For Thank You's!!!!!

Mini art quilt with monoprinted fabric and Fabric Paper Embellishments.
Six inch tall Christmas tree made from monoprinted fabric and embellished with vintage beads.

Fabric paper bird ornament.
As I am closing in on my 350th post I ahve three hand crafted gifties to sned as Than you's to all who come to visit my blog!!! All that is required is a comment left at this post and on the 15th on November, I will draw names of the winners. I would not be reaching this goal without all of the wonderful words of encouragement that you all leave for me. i know that there are several who visit who do nbot leave comments. Maybe these little gifts will entice some of you out of the shadows of lurkdom!! I hope so!!
Back soon!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Roses In November!!

This morning I am picking roses!! Today's date is November 5 !!!! Sweet Belinda is just NOT ready to go to bed for the winter. Do you see the pile of fallen leaves on the drive behind this bloom? All of the leaves are pretty much off the trees thanks to the last rain and wind that blew through. Now we must rake and mulch and apply the chopped leaves to the garden beds ( no noisey obnoxious leaf blowers for me!!)

In my next post (probably tomoorow, the 6th) I will be announcing a Give Away to commemorate my 350th Post. I think that it is haigh time to thank you all for dropping by and leaving all of your wonderfully supportive and inspiring comments.!!
So be sure to drop by again to see hwhat I have cooked up for a giftie!!
Smiles to you all!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It is Beginning To Look a Bit Like Christmas.....

on my work tables anyway!!! I am in full Christmas production mode. I took several boxes of wares down to the Gallery at Liberty Town in Fredericksburg, yesterday. Displays are being arrainged today. Now I am in theprocess of restocking my Etsy shop. I will let you know what is there and when as soon as the Elves are finished!!!
I have been working on Trees like the ones that you see above. I am using my hand printed gelatin monoprint fabrics for the trees and I am quite pleased with how they are turning out. They are definately one of a kind , Artsy and Unusual!!
My dear friend Trina Lucida, proprietess of the Paper Flea Market and artist extroirdinaire, was recently published in the current issue of Somerset Life. The concept and design of these trees is her brilliance and I give her full credit and asked for her permission before I started creating trees very similar to hers!! Her fabulous trees are made with rich tapesty fabrics and have a decidedly vintage feel. In reality, mine are polar opposites, but if you get a chance please check out her wonderful article on page 79 of the current issue of Somerset Life!! You must also go and visit her wonderful on-line shop, The Paper Flea Market, for wonderful ephemera at fabulous prices! (see the link above).

In this shot , the trees lined up along the back are awaiting their tree stands.

These three trees wil lbe staying in our family Christmas collection. I created these using vintage family relics from my grandmothers house. These trees began life as a wonderful Swedish Linen Dish Towel. When my Mom asked me if I had a desire for the dish towels that were used everyday for many many years and were now sporting good sized holes from wear and use, I jumped at the offer and implored her not to discard a single one!! I have quite a bit of dish towel remaining and I plan to make more to share with my brothers familyand my Mom, of course!!
THe most forward tree is decorated with vintage red buttons, the next with vintage mother of pearl buttons and the back tree has vintage white beads. For the tree stands I used small vintage wooden thread spools with the thread still wound and then added bits of sheet music and glitter. (This style is much more in line with Trina's design).
This year I designed a different style of bird ornament using my favorite Fabric Paper. My goal was to make a simpler design that who be quicker to produce in quantity and therefore have a lower price. This is what I came up with.

These little birds are decorated on both sides. The front is the fabric paper with a sheet music wing and a sequin and bead eye. The back is upholstry fabric in colors of the season with a stitched eye. The legs are wire wound around a real twig with a added bead embelishment. these birds will be available in my Etsy Shop very soon!

I also created these fabric collage house ornaments. The house itself is my Fabric Paper with a white Upholestry Roof and vintage lace for icicle drippings. the shrubs in the front are also vintage pillow case edging. I placed stiffener inside th fabric sandwich and backed the piece with more upholstry scraps. Again each ornament is unique depending ont he Fabric paper used and the trims added!

I am also making small Art Quilts using the dried Baby Wipes that we used for cleaning paint off of our hands during my Gelatin Monoprinting class. (NEVER throw anything AWAY!!!) I added a stamping of my own creation and wrote the quote using a fine tipped sharpie marker. The quote reads: "Find the seed at the bottom of your heart and bring forth a flower".
Then, using scraps that had piled up around my sewing machine, I added borders and a backing. Then I embelished the piece with s afew beads and added a hanging cord. The border scraps and backing are form my gelatin monoprinted fabric stash.

In the past, I have created scrap fabric pieces that I have then proceeded to use for purses and other fabric creations. Recently I created a piece that is predominantly red, with Christmas ornaments in mind. I have been collecting mens silk ties when I see them in thrift stores and they have appealing patterns. I used many of the deconstructed ties in this fabric reconstruction. I then cut heart shapes out of the scrap and stitch embellished fabric and embellished the hearts further with embroidery and beads! (Of course!!)

I added vintage silk for the backing and stiffened the whole piece with interfacing.

Finally here is a picture of the collection of items that I delivered to Liberty Town, to kick off the Holiday Shopping Season. Keep your fingers crossed for me!!

Happy Creating everyone, I am off to make a batch of bread for this week's bag lunches!


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