I was watching Cash & Cari — one of those estate sale reality shows — the other day, when they had come upon a collection of something called... Chatelaines. I never heard the term before, but was totally intrigued by this Victorian-meets-Steampunk-looking adornment that had all these functional items hanging from it!
antique English whistle
By definition, a Chatelaine is a decorative belt hook or clasp worn at the waist with a series of chains suspended from it. Each chain is mounted with a useful household appendage such as scissors, thimble, watch, key, vinaigrette, household seal, etc. And that reminded me of many jewelry pieces I have created using antique objects. So I thought I'd share some of the versions I've made that had a vintage utilitarian twist.
upcycled pill box
It's so exciting to learn something new about this category of adornment that was typically worn by housekeeepers in the 19th century.
repurposed buss fuse tin
And I am so happy to be a part — not only of keeping vintage objects preserved, but also for creating something that serves an additional purpose above and beyond adorning our bodies!
When I first envisioned my original Cotton Candy Pillow, I had more than just pink in mind. But the fabric company I order faux fur from, didn't have a light blue. So, I just stuck with the pink.
But after making the pink version, I thought, Hmmmmm... even if boys (or men) liked cotton candy, I couldn't picture them snuggling up with a pink pillow, or having one hanging from the doorknob of their room! So I searched and searched and searched the internet until I found... gasp!... a light turquoise version of the exact same funky fur I used. Yay for light blue!
So I finally got to create a version of my Sweet Tooth [Fairy] Pillow for boys... and of course for girls who like blue!
I finished the backs with the most adorable multi-colored, polka-dot fabric... so now we're all set! Whether you like pink cotton candy, or prefer your spun sugar treat in blue.... there's now a funky pillow for you! Both are available in the Carnival and Circus Fun section of my Etsy shop. Hope you have a sweet tooth!
So I've been doing a little research on new, innovative and interesting ways to display my mixed media jewelry at craft shows.... and think I've come up with a few ideas I like.
This one here is a hinged wooden frame with wire mesh behind it. Ooooh, maybe chicken wire instead (just thought of that)! I would paint it and distress it and then hang my creations from the wire. This would accommodate lots of jewelry! And it would fold up and store easily... always a plus.
I also liked the idea of using a pretty vintage frame with cork (where the glass would normally be) that I could put pushpins into and hang a few jewelry pieces on. I could use it horizontally or vertically, to showcase a few key pieces. Maybe a few different frames in different finishes and sizes would be fun.
I'm still thinking and drawing out ideas, because I'm still looking for that one stellar idea. Something that looks cool, has that vintage, upcycled feel and that's easy to set up for craft shows. I'm open to suggestions!
In between other creative projects, life and a little relaxation, work slowly continues on my revised and revamped doll-inspired assemblage entitled... Twisted.
In order to keep the creative juices flowing, I did something a little different this time. I parked the entire piece across from where I sit on the couch for evening television watching. I put Giselle on a little shelf in the vintage bank drawer I'll be using... so she could get used to it... and have a little down time before she gets twisted!
This method is working out so well, because I've been thinking of ideas non-stop. I'll look over... while my brain is nice and relaxed from watching mind-numbing TV... and think of some crazy idea that comes out of left field (or maybe it's left brain!).
Like the word TWISTED. I recently acquired two tall and skinny figurines from my local flea market... and thought one of them would make a great substitute for the letter "I".
But I just can't seem to decide if I like the Mary that I got for one dollar...
Or the broken handed Jesus that I got for free with Mary because he had a broken hand (duh, that lady who sold it doesn't know me very well, does she?).
I'm not sure what color the letters will be at this point and I know that will be a factor. But it's hard to decide. Both Jesus and Mary... well... they both have their merits. What do you think? Well... I meant other than the fact that I'm twisted!
I am so very excited to announce the newest addition to my collection of handmade goods... a super-sweet, adorable Cotton Candy Pillow!
You know how you get those brainstorm ideas in your head and you can practically see yourself making it, but of course it always takes so much longer when you actually go to do it? This worked... that didn't... let me tweak this... uh-oh, how am I going to accomplish that?
Well in the process, I came up with a fabulous idea... why make just a cotton candy pillow? Why not make it something special. And the finished product was born... Sweet Tooth [Fairy] - The Cotton Candy Pillow!
With a secret pocket on the back, and a pretty ribbon to hang it by... it became perfect for the tooth fairy, money gifts, even hiding that engagement ring for your carnival-loving sweetheart!
And you know what this means tooth fairy parents? No more rooting around under your kids' pillows while they're asleep trying to find that tooth!
For more information or to purchase your very own Cotton Candy Pillow, visit my Etsy Shop! Have a sweet day!
Need a pointed stick for something but don't have one? I needed a stuffing stuffer and wanted a pointy tip so I could stuff a tapered area. I remembered that I had a wooden dowel in my craft stash. So I stuck it in the pencil sharpener... and voilà! I just love it when my brain works!
This weekend was Ocean Grove's yearly Giant Flea Market with over 300 vendors! And while there are lots of pretty, pretty things I love... I stick to buying things that I can re-purpose into art, dolls, jewelry, or whatever else I can think of. So let's have fun and take a look at some of my favorite finds...
Right out of the gate, I found these vintage wooden bowling pins. There's a tall set and a shorter set. You'll be seeing these as doll arms and legs in the future. Strike!
I almost passed out when I saw these old celluloid circus-themed candle holders for 50¢. I love it when people think it's total trash and it's something that I absolutely adore. Cha-ching!
Found these gorgeously patina'd wooden rulers and... well, what are those scallop-edged thingys? Are they for pie-making or something? Anyway... LOVE old wood. These will definitely go to good use!
Loved this little set of silver salt shakers from occupied Japan. They will totally be turned into nesty bird-themed jewelry pieces similar to ones I've made in the past!
Reminds me of... the one I love... deep in the heart of Texas! This 4" souvenir compact that I just had a hankerin' to buy... will become a Texas-sized necklace. Yee-haw!
I bought a few more items and was very happy with my purchases overall. Lots of stuff that I don't normally see, and I was really careful about what I spent. But... regardless of what I bought... it's really the thrill of the hunt that gives me the biggest satisfaction... oh yeah!
Today is the 10th anniversary of 9-11 — one of the most horrific events in American history. In recognition of the 2974 lost souls that day, an Empty Shoe Memorial has been set up in Ocean Grove's Auditorium Park. It is quite overwhelming and very heart wrenching.... especially seeing the tiny pairs of children's shoes.
I did not know anyone who suffered in this tragedy but many of my friends and colleagues lost loved ones. Although for me — living so close to NYC — it still really did hit home. Whether we knew someone or not, we all began to change the way we lived our lives.
So on the anniversary of this life-changing event, I send out Love to everyone who's life was affected by the events of that day. And to let you know that I Will Remember. I will remember to concentrate on peace rather than fear. I will remember to cherish those in my life today. I will remember to work in harmony with others. I will remember to help my neighbor. And I will remember that we are all in this together. Because we are.
If you're interested, there is a September 11th Remembrance Service tonight at 7:30pm in the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove. Rev. Dr. Deforest Soaries will deliver the message and the program includes a 40-piece orchestra, a 100-voice choir and the Newark Boys Choir. There is no charge and all are welcome.
So how cool would these stampings look, all torn up and added to a journal page or collage? This is just one more way that I recycle everything! I was actually stamping onto my carnival assemblage boxes last week, but wanted an impression that resembled a timeworn look. So I glanced around for a spare piece of paper so I could stamp on it first, then stamp the box. I found a bunch of (losing) chance tickets on the fridge... and the rest is history (or a new journal element)!
The other thing I do, is when I clean off my stamps at the end, I'll wipe them with cleaner then stamp them out onto paper as well... creating a nice ghosted element. I'll do this until the ink from the stamp disappears. I have pages and pages of "cleaning off my stamps" images at the ready for journal pages and collages. They're fun to make... and they're free!
Whew! Worked all week and into the weekend on my carnival-inspired assemblages... and am very pleased with the results. I had fun testing out some of my new ideas... and of course I came up with even more ideas for next time (I really should write these things down, you know?). So let's see what else is new with this batch...
New words! Sometimes things are so obvious that they're not obvious at all. For instance, I fashioned these particular clown assemblages around one of my favorite boardwalk games... but had not thought of using that word until I ran out of all the F U N and P L A Y Scrabble tiles and game pieces. Duh!
Trying out some new ribbons. Loving the red polka dots juxtaposed with the coordinating circus stripes!
And speaking of ribbon... I almost died when I saw this red and white striped shimmery ribbon, that's totally wired! I attached it as an awning using vintage steel tacks. Squeal!
This time I tried my hand at fashioning a Paper Clay duck using a simple plastic candy mold from the craft store. It worked out perfectly!
And my absolute favorite I'm-totally-making-more-of-these ode to cotton candy! I really want to eat it!
And, well... ummmmm.... does anyone else see that pink elephant in the room?
So that's what I've been up to, day and night... for the past week or so. I have to admit that it's a fun process, but I'm happy to move on to the next creative project. All the carnival assemblages you see here (and more) are available on my Etsy shop if you are interested. I hope you had fun coming along for the journey!
A couple of years ago, I attended the Squam Art Workshop in New Hampshire. Throughout the weekend, I would often hear squeals of joy as people found randomly placed rocks painted with thoughtful sayings. I discovered that the "Rock Fairy" a.k.a. Kim Mailhot, had created these stones and lovingly placed them throughout the camp for others to find. Now... how thoughtful is that?
On the very last day, while on the path to our Dining Hall, there it was... all pink and smooth and just waiting for me... my courage! And it turned up just in time, because it was something I'd been looking to find... for a very long time. I never forgot Kim and her effervescent, caring, sharing personality. And I still have the rock... right in my dressing room... where I can see it every morning.
Who says there aren't thoughtful people out there? Has anyone ever done something selfless for you? I'd love to hear about it!