Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mother's Little Helper...

Super busy this week making jewelry from my flea market finds, and creating unique pieces for a Holiday show and sale this weekend. But I thought I'd pop in and show you some of my faves. This upcycled Menthol tin I'm calling Mother's Little Helper. Great to store your happy pills or "whatever".

And speaking of mothers, this repurposed Cub Scout scarf holder is perfect for that proud Cub Scout mom! Grrrrrrr.

And you'll be blinded by the tons of recycled vintage costume brooches in this Bling On The Holidaze necklace. Better put on your sunglasses!

That's it for now folks. Back to the worktable for me!

The pieces you see here will be available at Hand Made for Hunger Aid this Saturday. And don't forget my Cyber Monday Discount Special lasts all week.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Cyber Monday! Shop Yesterday's Trash...

After an incredible discount-focused weekend at these big box stores, I have to ask myself, "How can a small art business compete with such low prices on mass-produced goods?" This is how — I don't. I have to look at it like this... they can't compete with me! I'm unique, friendly, real, approachable, honest, flexible... and everything in my shop was made by me... with Love!

So I invite you to shop this Cyber Monday, but also to shop hand made. Shop my shop. Hey, I'm not afraid of shameless self promotion! And, just because I like you... I'm offering 15% everything in my Yesterday's Trash Etsy Shop — now through Friday, December 2nd at 5pm EST. Just enter the code MYTRASH when you check out. You'll find lots of unique items made from vintage, found and everyday items including...

Dolls! Like this easy-peasy, make-your-own Coraline Little Me Pattern!

Uncommon Jewelry! Made from vintage items, interesting finds, and antique pieces and parts... like this Carousel Necklace.

Tons of Carnival & Circus Fun stuff! Including arcade-inspired Knock-Down Dolls and Assemblages.

Mixed Media Art! Including shadowbox-framed collages and some really weird and interesting stuff too!

And then there's the token holiday stuff like Kitschy Ornaments for your wacky relatives and some Holiday Home Décor items too.

So skip the malls, don't fuss over parking, avoid the crowds... and be a Cyber Shopper. Shop loud. Shop proud. Shop in your underwear if you like, because I can't see you! And... Thanks!



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hand Made for Hunger Aid - Saturday, December 3rd

Take the spirit of giving to a whole new level this holiday season! Shop directly from talented local artists for handmade items to benefit Asbury Park’s Need To Feed charity. Stroll the quaint indoor setting of Ocean Grove’s Quaker Inn — our gracious host for this one-of-a-kind event — while you choose from unique and creative gift items. Featuring...

original paintings • unique jewelry • boardwalk-themed art • knitted fashions • crocheted creations • hand woven goods • photography • home décor • accessories • gift items • cards  

I'll be there with tons of new carnival assemblages, Tillie Knock-Down Dolls, unique upcycled jewelry creations, original art, collage and more!

Saturday, December 3rd
10 am until 3 pm
Quaker Inn
39 Main Ave, Ocean Grove, NJ

In the spirit of giving, 15% of your purchases will go toward Need To Feed — providing free meals to local people in need!

Need to Feed is a weekly food service that offers a good free meal to those in need in the West Side neighborhood of Asbury Park and the surrounding community.  Created and run by neighborhood youth under the direction of Interfaith Neighbors, Need to Feed serves no less than 200 people weekly including children, elderly and families.

*Cash & Checks ONLYplease

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: Let's Talk Turkey... or Chicken?

Chicken wire, that is! In my ongoing quest for fun and funky ways to display my jewelry items, I stumbled across some frames that had open mesh wire attached in the center. I thought chicken wire would be even cuter... and that was it. I was in love!

So I decided to repurpose a vintage frame I purchased for $1 (yes, one dollar!) at a rummage sale. Besides its beautiful raised designs, I loved that it was all crunchy and crusty and dirty.

I wanted to make it match my signature color — pink, of course— but also to add interest, so I lightly dusted some highlights onto the raised parts using acrylic paints and a little piece of foam.

Isn't it just delicious? That's the icing on the cake. Yum!

Then I had a contractor (okay, my friend who enjoys doing all this weird construction stuff for me) attach chicken wire to the back, and.... 

Voilà! Instant jewelry display!

I punched holes, and cut a slit up to the hole in order to hang the cute little ticket stubs I made for my earrings... and I'm all set! Now to just figure out a funky way to showcase my upcycled vintage necklace creations. I'm working on it...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Having Fun With My Little Monster...

No... not that little monster! Romeo kitty is a good boy (mostly). I was actually referring to this little monster... from my sketchbook...

Inspired by the work of Jesse Reno, I wanted to create a collage where the main subject stood out from the background, but in a reverse-masked-out kind of way. I love the circus and thought a funky primitive elephant was a good place to start.

I recently bought a vintage mirror — that I disassembled to make an earring display —and the backing was an old piece of cardboard from an air conditioner box. It was so thick and full of fun graphics, that I wanted to use it as a base for the collage.

I started with one of my favorite techniques... creating circles with different sized bottle caps and jar lids.

Then I continued with acrylic paints, pencil, sketching, adding vintage papers and such.

Then more layering with more paint, more drawing, masking, vintage photos, tissue papers, ephemera and the like. When I got to where I liked it, I stopped messing with it!

I enlarged my elephant sketch — who by now has evolved to take on the name Monster of Love — and made a transfer of it.

On to "masking off" the image with acrylic paint. I decided to stay in the pink family, but go a little lighter. I did many, many, many coats of paint... starting with a watery mix at first and then slowly graduating to a dry brush technique.

Then the scary part! The outline. I wanted it to look sketchy like a charcoal pencil, but I didn't want it to smear. So I put a call out to all my little social media monsters and got some great ideas back, but eventually went with black acrylic paint... watered down at first, and then using a very dry brush to add that sketchy look.

I loved my little Monster so much, but could not stop at the original design. I added some feet... and he was just begging for a curly tongue... which then begged for something to drink. And that was that.

I think I'll be making a whole cavalcade of crazy circus creatures in this style! And maybe I could even teach this as a class. Because I had way too much fun!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: I See Stars!

For me, inspiration can come from anywhere at anytime and from anything. And since I watch TV, listen to the radio, and love going to see plays and movies... sometimes it comes from the stars of stage, screen and sound! Many times it's influential in a teeny-tiny way, like the stars on this woodburned piece here. This particular (and literal) addition of stars was influenced by Kat Von D of LA Ink. Kat has a collection of small stars tattooed on her left temple.

This tree-like assemblage was influenced by the band They Might Be Giants and their song Build A Little Birdhouse. In it, they have a line that says, "make a little birdhouse in your soul".... so I did!

And, well... you may recognize this little troublemaker if you saw the movie Coraline! She's my very own Little Me — inspired by the movie character's scary little doll she found in her own likeness. I practically ran home and started making this after seeing the film. I think Coraline is going to be one of those Cult Movie favorites, for sure.

So there you have it... a little bit of star-inspired inspiration. Are there any stars that have influenced your art or creativity in big ways or small? I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Just Hanging Around...

So after I made a couple pairs of earrings as a birthday present, I said I was going to make a few pairs to sell and... Wowie! Even I was impressed! I gave myself 2 days to make as many earrings as I could, in every color possible. Getting all my supplies out was the hardest part... beads in every color, silver stuff, gold stuff, the tools, the hardware, the findings and such.

The preparation took so long, but on the first day I made 10 pairs of earrings and was thrilled!

So imagine my surprise when, by the end of the second day... I had actually completed 32 pair! I had a lot of fun creating interesting combinations with only a few components...

And even went outside the box with this fish and jellyfish duo!

And even got a chance to re-purpose some flea market finds and craft components. But getting to go through all my beads was a great exercise in rediscovering what I had (and what I need more of)!

And of course, in keeping with my new theory on fun, funky tags and hand stamped prices... I carried that through with these as well. And, I even thought to create blank tickets to give customers if they're buying earrings as a gift (so as not to give away the price!). All and all, an excellent haul for some extra jewelry stuff that was just... hanging around.

Monday, November 14, 2011

And The Winner Is....

First, I'd like to thank everyone who took part in my Tim Holtz Giveaway. I think this was one of the best questions I've ever asked, and it was great to read all your wonderful answers! Hands down, getting these lovely extensions of our arms inky, dirty and painty were the most popular responses — and I would totally agree!

Since my blog is networked on several social media sites, I did things the old fashioned way... printed out all your names and randomly drew one out of a hat. And the lucky winner is...

Her comment was: I LOVE working with my hands. I find it deeply satisfying to have inky, paint-covered hands! I'm so thankful that I can create art, type, bake, shake hands, wave, and do a million other things with my hands. Even the ability to scratch an itch is a blessing. :o)

Congratulations Melody! Send your home address to me here and I'll get your trio of musical goodies  in the mail right away.

I hope you all have a wonderful week. And I invite you to stick around... I have a new post every Tuesday and a Thoughtful Thursday feature, where I talk about some of the inspirations behind my creativity. And who knows what other surprises I'll have in the future!

Thanks again!
Michelle xoxox

Friday, November 11, 2011

You've Been Served...

Just a shout out to all those who have served our country, to all those who are currently serving our country, and to all who may one day serve our country. Thank you!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: What Was She Thinking?

Last weekend, I took a trip to our local Flea Market to find some wooden thread spools for my next project. Unfortunately, I did not find any... but of course I never leave empty handed! I always get lots of disparate, weird and unique items... and so I thought I'd tell you what was going on in my head when I came across each of them! So, let's see what the heck I was thinking...

Eeeeek! Glittery candy garland! I could totally use this for a candy inspired assemblage! Maybe peppermint swirls hanging vertically... or maybe nailed to the side. So sweet for only $1.

Elephannnnnts! Need more elephants for all of my circus-themed dimensional dioramas. I always picture them — perhaps one on either side of the main element of my art — majestically guarding it. I'll never forget this buy at a mere 25¢.

Ooooooh, used vintage bulbs. Sweeeeeet! And I just heard the dealer give that guy a good price on something else! I could use them for a steampunk-themed art doll... as a funky cool hat! Hey mister, how much for the jar of bulbs? A great idea for only 50¢.

Gold teeeeeeth??? Hmmmmm... Gold. Metal. Freaky! Yeah... definitely some kind of jewelry thing. Only $3 for this extraction!

Gasp! Girl scout stuff! Even though it's new, I can make it look old... those patches haven't changed much over the years. Could totally see them on a funky green mailbag purse. Or maybe a skirt! Now that would be fun. And the badges are a bonus! Earned this stash for a mere $2.

Ohmigosh! A dirty, scary, albino bunny (all by itself on an empty table)! Must have! Love cute and scary. Not sure what I'll use it for but.... it's free! You know, I almost find as much free junk on the ground as I actually purchase at this place! Gotta love that.

So thanks for coming along on my flea market trip! I'd love to hear about some of your strange and unusual purchases and how you intend to use them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Music to My... Hands? A Giveaway!

Just my way of saying how much I appreciate all of you, my lovely blog followers! I'm giving away this trio of Tim Holtz goodies to one lucky winner! A little something to keep your hands busy as fall turns into winter.

You'll get...
• an Idea-ology Mask — Concerto
• a Stamper's Anonymous mounted rubber stamp — Sheet Music
• an entire pack of Idea-ology metal Word Sticks

Simply leave a comment telling me what you love most about working with your hands. It can be as simple as, "I love it when they get messy!" to the more in depth "I think they are an extension of my brain!"

You have until midnight this Sunday, November 13th. I'll choose a winner and announce it in a blog post Monday, November 14th! Good luck!

P.S. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New In The Shop... Tillie Knock Down Dolls!

While it may seem like these vintage-looking, arcade-style dolls came from a carnival museum, they're actually straight from my imagination. Inspired by old-fashioned boardwalk games and a lifetime spent at the shore, I created these Knock-Down Dolls with the likeness of my favorite Asbury Park icon - Tillie.

Available in new, unused-looking styles as well as well-loved and time-worn versions, each Knock-Down Doll is hand made by me and features my own illustrations.

Showcased in a multitude of bright, circus-inspired colors... each doll is outfitted with wild and crazy faux fur.

They're decked out with individual, coordinating ribbon trim in all types of colors and styles.... and finished with vintage steel tacks.

Each one sits on a sturdy 1" thick wooden base that's been silksreened with the Knock-Down Doll logo... and they're numbered, dated, and signed by me!

These one-of-a-kind modern throwbacks are the perfect addition to your boardwalk, carnival or circus collection... and they make the perfect holiday gift for your amusement-loving friends! Available in the Carnival and Circus Fun section of my Etsy shop or pick one up in person at Flying Saucers in Asbury Park, NJ.