January 26, 2011

My New Muse...

Olliebird. He has decided to "help" me with my projects. Indeed he is helpful with picking up odd threads, bits of fabric trimmings and as I am typing, he is here as well. So please forgive the odd spelling errors, if they should appear. Generally, he doesn't prefer my company. It is Mr. B. whom he really loves. Mr. B. is away at the moment so...well, any port in a storm. Ollie is quite fond of coffee in the morning and is partial to my homemade granola. He does not like banana bread. This little bird was a birthday request from Mr. B. and certainly was not on my list at all. Not a big indoor bird lover. However Ollie has a certain charm and I can deal with caring for him on such a temporary basis. He is growing on me, slowly. The last several days, he has allowed me to scratch his neck and pet his beak, apparently they like this. Do any of you have a bird?
I have been working on an Etsy store update my first in a very long time. Little mixed media treasures with some vintage add ins. I will let you know when the update is complete. 
You know, he looks all the rage in his gray, white and taupe self. A little vintage lace, a silver candlestick and grain sack pillow...hmmmmm.

January 17, 2011

The weekend...

ere is what I spent most of the weekend doing. Yep, putting together a dollhouse. Usually, if I have something on my mind or I am upset, I bake, and bake, and bake. Not this weekend, I was determined to be distracted and it was time to tackle the dollhouse project. Mr B. (tired of seeing it in pieces in a corner of the dining room, I'm sure) volunteered to help me with some of the construction, I concentrated on the details. It did take nine hands to get this thing resembling a structure of any kind. Fortunately, Mr. B. has some of the best tools, um, clamps on the planet. I was motivated so much more, once it began to look like a house. Lots of sanding, painting and putting together little pieces to create window, casings, doors and trim. I even painted and wallpapered the walls before it went together. Much easier, that way. I also made a wonderful discovery, probably a duh, to most of you out there. Doll house wallpaper paste, otherwise know as mucilage. Remember that old timers, the stuff we had in elementary school in the sixties. I'll jog your memory, caramel colored, curvy bottle, with a red rubber head that had a slit in it. (Oh boy, that sounds a little risque). Anyhow, this stuff is available at Hobby Lobby (in the miniatures/ dollhouse area) and is called, Mini Graphics Wallpaper Mucilage. It dries clear and cleans up with water, and oh, the point of this ramble, it is the best paper glue I have ever worked with!! No bubbles, wrinkles or funky behavior of any sort, and it smoothes on easily (the label says it has silicone in it). I cannot wait to try a decoupage project with it (like this one perhaps). Forget about the Mod Podge folks, except for top coating and sealing. Use the mucilage for attaching the paper, you won't believe how well it behaves. End commercial.

Now, I have this huge dollhouse sitting on my kitchen island, and all the construction doodads everywhere. Here is what is left to finish, porch painting, construction, installation, gingerbread molding, trim and about a million little shake tiles glued to the roof. Uh huh, right.
I need my kitchen back, so I have to get going.

So, are you wondering why I wanted a dollhouse, last Christmas, I might add? Just thought it would be fun to decorate it seasonally and for the holidays. I do have two granddaughters also, and they will love it (give me some credibility) I'm sure. In the meantime, my friends and I will enjoy it in our second childhoods, not unlike the doll bed project of last year!

Button Garland (see dollhouse photo above)

I do have a fun little craft for you, I love this button and wire garland I made at Lauren's last weekend. I incorporated my vintage and new heart buttons, all shell or MOP.
Get yourself some 27 or 30 g. wire. I was using a roll of surgical steel wire, that Lauren had on hand.
Cut the wire to your desired length, I used 8 feet.
String on one button and secure it to the end of the wire, with a few twists.
Continue stringing on buttons, alternating over and under the button holes (refer to pic), leaving 2-3 inches of space between them.
Secure the last button like the first, and drape, hang or wrap.
Repeat, you will want more of these and your friends will too! Beautiful.

January 14, 2011

No. 7 Protect and Perfect...

By Boots, a British company, sold at Target. Stop what you are doing and go immediately to Target and buy this product (unless you have been snowed in like we have). In fact, any of the No. 7 line of products. I have used the department store (read, expensive) lotions and potions since I was in my early thirties. Day cream, night cremes, eye serums, you name it, I had it. They were very nice, but these products are better, and less expensive. (I admit it, I am a sucker for an E channel, Entertainment tonight, Dermatologist touting the newest celeb miracle product.) First, I tried the Protect and Perfect Beauty Serum ($19.99). Amazing, disappears completely into the skin and leaves a softer than soft feel. I love this stuff. My skin is sensitive, dry, and prone to winter bouts of dermatitis. Not anymore. There is a reason this has been a top seller in the U.K.  It is in a generously sized bottle with a nice pump applicator. I use it in the morning under my makeup and in the evening, along with the toner, and night creme I received for Christmas. Usually Mr. B. gets run over at the Lancome /Estee Lauder counters before he holiday and they load him up, sometimes with irritatingly, redundant products. So this year I steered him to Target and told him about my new found love. I highly recommend the Protect and Perfect Beauty Serum (there is an "intense" version, for a little more $22.99) to start with. See if you agree with me and if you do, try some of the other products. I also liked the day creme (with an SPF), night creme and the eye creme. The rose scented toner is wonderful. They have a line of natural cosmetics, also. Has anyone else tried this brand?

January 12, 2011

Beautiful Illustrative Initial Caps...

For your blog or artwork (non-commercial only), scoot over to this site  and choose a gorgeous capital letter. Jessica Hische has been working on a series of twelve alphabets, and she is graciously sharing with us.  Aren't they amazing? What is more amazing is how easy they are to add. Just click on the letter you would like and to replace a letter in your blog, simply edit the text in html mode and replace the letter with copied code provided by Jessica. See, my fancy H, in the side bar welcome?  To learn more about Jessica and how you can purchase her lovely letterpress designs, check out her site here. Thank you, Jessica!

Antique Cake Plate...

Hi,  I am just popping in with a picture from K., of her gorgeous cake plate (mentioned here). Love, love, love.  What a great find.
Her new granite countertops aren't bad either!
Thanks, K.

January 6, 2011

Yesterday's thrifty finds...

K. and I decided to go to our favorite "they call it an antique shop", we call it "an archeological dig".  It is cluttered, chaotic and dirty. Yep, we love it. We have always found something to go home with. I think next time I will take some pictures, you really have to see it, to believe it.
Anyway, K found a gorgeous 1880's pressed glass pedestal cake server. It was square, about twelve inches, and so heavy that when she picked it up, she nearly dropped it. Of course, it was covered in grime, but it cleaned up nicely. She also found a large round globe bowl, possibly a fish bowl, that she will use for seasonal dioramas, like this one. I picked up mine at an antique shop while visiting my daughter, five dollars! Her last find was an amber depression era glass pitcher. I will ask her to take pictures in their new environs.

Here is what I found: large silver plated, footed tray; four elaborately decorated, linen napkins; four piece embroidered linen dresser scarves;  wool sweater for fulling; large handwoven wool blanket for fulling; buckles and buttons; two vintage wool yarn skeins; a metal folding ruler (great pewter patina); 1900's letter press, embossed, colored, card.

Aren't these napkins beautiful? They are quite large at twenty inches. What have you been collecting lately? I know, I know I am supposed to be purging in January. It is on the must do list!

One last thing, I wanted to show you the large version of my grain sack tree. It fit perfectly on my urn in the kitchen. I am leaving this one and the smaller one on my mantel up for the winter. I just love them and think they look very seasonal. What do you think?