The Weekly Fluff

While I was at Faded Elegance today, I rearranged my space, brought in some new things, took other items out...and all in all, ended up with a lovely display of treasures for Mother's Day...its just ten days away...have you remembered your mom?

lone pillowcases recycled into laundry bags

charming vintage creamer & sugar bowl
English ironstone teacup & saucer

vintage sewing scissors and
letter charms made from scrabble tiles

one sweet bird pillow

Faded Elegance
Historic Downtown Snohomish


Consider the possibilities

I saw this photo on Ki Nassauer's blog, Junk Camp and I was in love.  That table is to die for!  That table, and more fabulous items, are part of a home decor collection that Ki has designed for Bachman's in Minneapolis.  Right now I wished I lived closer to Minneapolis - that table could be mine.
(photo credit -
Ki Nassauer, Junk Camp)

But wait, I have a mattress spring just like that, rusting in my backyard.

I picked this up from the side of the road last summer for free.  I've used springs like this in the past to make great chandeliers (one of the projects in my Salvage Studio book!)  And so I thought that this mattress spring would be cut up and made into several chandeliers.  Not so fast...these springs are now screaming to be made into this table...but its going to have to wait just a moment.  I've always wanted to learn how to do arc-welding - but I'm not there yet.  In the meantime, I'm going to investigate other metal options (maybe there's a frame meant for another use that could work as a table base that the mattress springs could just drop into...)

And as you can see, I also have half of an orchard ladder hanging on the fence, awaiting its turn...any ideas here?  If so, leave your idea as a comment...might be a prize for the best inspiration!

And check out the Facebook fan page of Faded Elegance - Kimberly is having a contest for the best idea of using a great vintage find in a fabulous way - contest runs until April 30.  All the details are on the fan page - check it out.


An Earth Day message for Artists

I recently checked out
this book,
The Green Guide for Artists
by Karen Michel,
from my public library.
an aside - I love the public library!  No matter what town I am living in, I locate the public library as soon as possible and get my library card.  There is a wealth of information there - free for the taking - and just wandering around the stacks exposes me to books/authors/ideas that I might not experience any other way.  I love the Main Library in Everett and commend the staff for all they do.  And what could be more eco-friendly than a library - a community sharing resources for the benefit of all!

As Karen notes on her blog:
The Green Guide for Artists will inspire artists of all types to make better eco-concious choices within their work and studios. Informative and fun, this unique book is perfect for seasoned and beginning artists, teachers and anyone looking to make a difference through their creative life.

★ DIY recipes for mixing a variety of your own non-toxic paints, mediums and adhesives
★ Tips on keeping a green studio or workspace and using safe and eco-friendly work practices
★ Fresh Ideas for using recycled materials through creative step by step projects
★ A gallery featuring exciting contemporary artists whose work and methods reflect a green sensibility
★ A handy resource guide for eco-friendly materials, information and communities

Granted, I already embrace the green concept of using recycled materials in my work - but I don't give enough thought to the supplies I use - the paint, the glue, the finishes.  This book has given me pause...and on this 40th anniversary of Earth Day 2010, I hope you will join me in thinking about not only what we create, but how we create. 
Happy Earth Day!


Even more metal madness

Sometimes you hold onto something and you really don't know why...you figure that if you hold on long enough, you will finally find a use for it...and then one day...

A couple of years ago I scored an old baby crib.  Old baby cribs are a junker's dream - nobody wants them because they are a safety hazard so they are usually free for the taking.  As a whole, they are useless - but the parts individually are wonderful.  Often the footboard and the headboard on the old cribs were made of wood - saw off the legs, clean up any flaking paint, paint the center panel with chalkboard paint - and you have a great vintage chalkboard for your kitchen or office.  Next the metal mattress spring - since it is a smaller size, it is ideal as either a kitchen pot rack (hung horizontally) or as an office organizer (hung vertically).  The wooden slatted sides can either organize your wrapping paper (draping the sheets over the rungs) or your magazines or even your towels in the bathroom.

So after I cannibalized the crib, I was left with the metal hardware that enables one to raise and lower the sides of the crib.  There were 4 metal rods that were bent at the end with a hole...it seemed that there should be an alternative use for them...I figured it would eventually dawn on me...and last week, I finally had that eureka moment.  I collected up the rods and a couple of fan blades that I had in the metal stash pile.

With spring in the air, I thought that I would fashion some posies while waiting for the rest of the garden to come to life.  I rummaged around and collected other metal parts.  I don't know what these galvanized cages are, but with twist here and a bend there, they looked like flower centers to me.

I attached the "flower" parts by threading a machine screw from the back hole of the metal rod, through the fan center and up through the centers of the other small metal findings, capping off the end of the machine screw with a drawer knob.  I staked my finished flowers in the garden - they add a flash of fun while I wait for my summer blooms.


The Weekly Fluff




I got into the groove this week while I was at Faded Elegance fluffing my space.  There's a great Spring Fling sale this weekend at Faded Elegance - 20% off all vintage and antique items - stop in Saturday and/or Sunday to find that special item that will get you in the spring groove...


The wonders of wallpaper

I love vintage wallpaper...and even wallpaper that is not so vintage.  You can tell the age of wallpaper by how its rolled - if the pattern is to the inside of the roll, its old - if the pattern is on the outside - its newer.  Whether new or old, there are a million uses for it.  You can use this sturdy paper to wrap up presents, make festive placemats for a dinner party or create unique envelopes to send a special greeting.  Single rolls of wallpaper abound at the thrift stores since one usually buys more than needed for a project.  It is a safe bet that if you don't buy enough, you will surely run out just when you are trying to match the last corner...and the pattern you want will be discontinued...I swear, its some sort of Murphy's Law of decorating!  And so explains all those lone rolls you find at yard sales.

I created these colorful lampshades with vintage wallpaper.  In this instance, vintage wall paper was easier to manipulate since it didn't have a vinyl coating (an attribute of more current wallpaper).  First I drew a template of the shade to cut out the pattern shape from the wallpaper.  Then I moistened the paper with some water to make it more pliable.  I lightly sanded the outside of the lampshade to give it some "tooth" to take to the glue.  I used a mixture of diluted Elmer's glue to adhere the paper to the shade, making sure to smooth out any air bubbles.

The "before" picture...
the "after" picture...
Here's a close-up shot of the shade in the back - since the shape of this shade was more flared, I had to seam two pattern pieces to encircle the entire shade.  After the shades were completely dry and I finished the edges, I sprayed a light coat of clear satin sealer on each shade.
The two matching drum shades on the gray metal lamps are for sale at my space at Faded Elegance.  Plus I always have a ample supply of individual wallpaper rolls for sale so you can get a roll and design your own wallpaper wonders!


Collage is not just paper & paint

col·lage : kə-ˈläzhl
1:  a creative work that resembles such a composition in incorporating various materials or elements.   
Merriam-Webster online definition

I have an artistic exercise that I practice on a regular basis.  Instead of generating an idea of what I want to create and then search for the materials, I look to the top of my studio table (or desk top) and create a collage from only the materials at hand.  It is amazing the combinations that occur when choice is limited. 
An aside - though I am organized in so many aspects of my life, my desk top (and by relation, my studio table top) is always a mess and I organize by piles of stuff.  I can always find, for the most part, what I need because I remember which "pile" it is in.  Years ago when I was a training director for a national non-profit, I always told my assistant to never clean-up my desk - though it was a mess, I always knew where everything was!

Likewise, I apply this same creative principle, at times, to dinner preparation.  I take inventory of what's in the refrigerator and the pantry and then make a meal from what I have without running out to the store - its kinda like a collage with food!

Thus were the options one night -

broccoli, spinach, red onion and red pepper...I chopped them up and added a little lime juice, rice vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper.    Then I panfried two tilapia filets...

warmed up a couple of tortillas, sliced up a fresh tomato and there you have it-
fish tacos - collage style!


It's all in the details

Oftentimes, the beauty is in the details...
or so I thought when I was changing my space at Faded Elegance today...

Faded Elegance
Historic Downtown Snohomish


Could be at a store near you!

I recently launched my collage card line on a great website called Wholesalecrafts.comIt is a wonderful idea - a place where artisans can display their work and retailers can purchase unique art for sale in their stores.  If you are a retailer, there is an easy application process before you can place orders online.  Unfortunately, if you are not a retailer, you can't visit the site beyond the homepage - but you can encourage your favorite home/garden/antique/book/any sort of retailer to visit the site - and then they can carry my greeting card line in their store.  Feel free to contact me (retailer or not!) if you have any questions about ordering.  I appreciate your support.


The Weekly Fluff

I love that the tulips are starting to bloom - one of my favorite flowers - simple and classic - like the vignettes I photographed at Faded Elegance this week...



Faded Elegance
Historic Downtown Snohomish

worth a look...

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