Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Little Gray Houses

Being born 3 days before Halloween, you can bet your waxed lips that as a kid, I had the best birthday parties on the block. Everyone would come in costume, and we'd ooh and ahh over the finer details of each as we played games, and stuck our fingers into bowls of eyeballs, brains and guts, thanks to my mom.

So it's no wonder that Halloween has always been a fun time of year for me. I do a little decorating, have my family over for a spaghetti feed, dress up in costume, and hand out candy. This year, after painting the entire exterior of my house (yes, I really do live in that little house) a dull gray, I used a translucent fiber cloth and gutter mesh to cover the windows. There are only a few beat-up shingles left on the roof, as the moss has overtaken the high peaks as well as the yard. The trees have dried and blackened, and the condition of the fence is horrible, as you can see. I'm getting estimates on having those missing boards replaced.

But, it's warm and cozy inside, and there's always room for those I love, who love my spaghetti. The pumpkin has been carved and set outside the battered door. Its glow signals the trick-or-treaters that we still have some candy and time left before we blow out the candle on another Halloween. Hope you and your family have a happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Queen For At Least One Day

How do you tell someone how special they are on their birthday? I have started making crowns for the birthday girls in my life. No body can ignore a lady with a crown on her head; it's an obvious and outwardly symbol of how special she is, not only when she wears it, but always!

Here is the one I did recently for my friend Rosann in “her” colors of yellow and green. It had to be extra special because she appreciates the details that go into things that are handmade. I chose the diamond pattern paper because it reminded me of the floor she just designed and painted in her house. The silver do-dads were something we went ga-ga over when she spied them on a shopping trip together. The silver embossed trim is from a huge roll I got at the last Addison Studio sale in Oakland. The crimped cloth is from a vintage lampshade, because she lights up my life!

I get a lot of inspiration from the fabulous book Crowns and Tiaras by Kerri Judd. There are a dozen or so different artists who have contributed to it’s fanciful entries, and I can’t wait to make more with the jumbles and baubles I’ve been collecting. I always add a poem that I wrote on the inside and leave room to note "to & from", the celebration and the date I presented someone with a distinguishable display for the world to see that they are special on this day.

Here's the very first crown I made called "Birthday Queen". I made it for my own sweet Queen Mum's 80th birthday. She loves pink (almost as much as I do) and roses, so there is a heady bunch on it. I made sure the sheet music I tore out of the vintage book and then used was page 80!

Here's one I made for Audrey. She's a sweet little thing, so she got a 3D calorie-free cupcake medallion on her birthday crown, backed by a doily with crystals, and done in her colors. The banner on the side says "Happy Birthday to you" and on the other side "May your wishes come true".

One word of warning if you plan on making your own crowns: a head wrapped up in a glorious array of glint and glitter tends to swell a little bigger! I made mine with a fancy laced-up ribbon so they are all adjustable!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Forecast: Warm and Hairy

I managed to sneak this picture of Russ-Russ as he enjoyed the warmth of the day from his favorite spot on the porch swing. Hope you enjoyed it as much as he did!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pinch Me!

Have you ever seen a piece of furniture so cute that if it were a child you’d pinch its cheeks? That’s how I feel when I look at the latest project I just finished. How adorable is this? It’s a child-sized roll top desk. Can you see the little cubby holes inside? I had to fill the original holes that held the 1 ¾ sized original drawer handles, because I knew I’d never find replacements. I didn’t know they even made them that small! I drilled center holes and replaced the pulls with a simple, small knob instead.
The rolling mechanism was a little wonky, so that was all repaired and squared away. The bottom drawer (as you can see in this picture) was looking like a shy turtle pulled into its shell because it was missing the drawer stop, so I went down to the helpful folks at Olde World Furniture on Adobe St. in downtown Concord and bought a one, plus a few more to have on hand. And then I painted it. Just look at it! It’s a truly forgasmic* moment for me!
It's being loaded on the truck and taken into the shop for tomorrow's sale, where I hope someone will give it a good home (as I tearfully wave goodbye!).
*Forgasm(for gaz em)n. a serendipitous period when all existing positive creative forces in the universe have joined, and completed in attaining the perfect potential or purpose of what an inanimate object is truly FOR and is brought into being.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Crib Notes

Have you ever started out on a project with hearty gusto only to be half way into it when you pose the dreaded question to yourself “Is this weird?” You begin to doubt yourself and head down into that creative cavern of despair because the project you see laid out before you is not what you saw in your mind’s eye. Or in person.

I was out with my friend Rosann, and I’ll be darned if I can remember where I saw it, but I turned to her in amazement to show her what I was seeing when I realized what it was: it was an old, OLD wire mattress frame that had been cleverly transformed into a memo board of sorts, with old clippings and photos attached to it. It was beautiful and I wanted one! I knew I had one similar to it from my (17 year old) son’s crib in the garage, and thought the marriage of something so intimate from his childhood combined with pictures of relatives hanging in my hallway would be a positive way to ease into the first phases of empty-nestism .

So I struggled it out of the garage, painted it black, and hit it with a little rust (did you know aluminum stays very well preserved if stored properly?) to make it look old. And put it in the hallway. Where it leans against the wall. After two weeks. (Next to another project in the same stage of undevelopement.)

And I now I ask myself “Is this weird?” The next downward question on the ladder is “Can this be saved?”, followed by “Is this garbage?”. I’ll keep you posted.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

For The Love of Old

When I was young, I took a whenever-I-needed-it break in an old storage shed on my parent’s property. With four siblings in the house, it was my private refuge. I would sit in a high-backed desk chair at my grandmother’s petite mahogany drop-front desk, and draw or write with the pencils I had stored in its cubbyholes. Maybe that’s when it started, this love for old furniture. Well, all things old, actually. (Just don’t tell my husband that I love OLD things—he might take it the wrong way!) But the love doesn’t stop there—I also love to hunt out vintage items, and after getting them in my hot little hands, I love to transform them to suit my own style or needs, and then obsess over the fact that I have no room in my house to keep most of them! I love to do a variety of crafts too, most of them inspired by a vintage look.

And so with this blog, I hope to share some of the things that make my heart beat faster, and the projects that make me feel as if I’ve been through a time warp, where I feel no cold, heat, hunger or passing of time as I work. And because it’s such a big part of my life, maybe a peek now and then at what’s going on at the shop. Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments or just to let me know when I’ve had too much to think!

And what was the fate of that drop-front desk I used to daydream upon? It traveled east to central Louisiana, where it now sits in my oldest sister’s house. (Don’t tell her I said she was OLD either!)