Thursday, April 29, 2010

Exciting News In My Little Corner of Bloglandia

As many of my friends know, I have often reminded you to be proud of yourselves and what you have accomplished. All to often many of us don't take pride in what we have done or created. Heck we even tend to apologize, that we could have, should have, will do better, then maybe we can be proud of "me". You guys all know what I'm talking about, we all have done it.  Well I have to tell you that even though I am quick to tell you to be proud I really have a hard time following my own advice! So for this post I'm going to try to follow that advice. :) Cuz I am a bit proud of this accomplishment. For many of you it's really not all that big of a deal. But for me it falls on the huge side of big deals.

If you take a look on the right side (over there) just below Beatrice Potter's picture and quote you will see my Ginormous news. Yep, a bit of my art has been published in the May/June issue of Stampington's Belle Armoire !!!! Actually it's an interview about the Art of Presentation. It's about tags I created to accompany a couple of pieces of art jewelry I submitted. You know all that info you have to send with each piece identifying it etc.? I thought they deserved (the pieces) a bit more then throwing them in ziplock bags with the info printed on them. :) Little did I know that it would be those little tags, the "exclamation points", that would be published first. Who'da thought???

I'm not sure if I can enlarge (much less how) this page so you can read it. Maybe if you have time the next time you are in the book or craft store you could read the article in the magazine. :)  Luckily the photo I scanned from the magazine is large enough to see without a microscope.

If you look up at the top of the page you can see a bit of the pieces of jewelry I submitted. I guess those are to be publish in later issues. But for now it's my humble little tags. and I have to say it feels good to be able to share this with you my kindred souls, my Bloglandian family. Because without your love, constant encouragement, unconditional support, and acceptance I would not have the courage to put my art out there. In you my dear friends, I have found the acceptance of "me" that I never have before. For that I will always be more thankful then I can ever express. To be accepted as part of this art family is truly something to be proud of!!! 

Have a most audacious day filled with art, no matter where in the world you are.  p;)    

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Magic of Turning Paper & Ink Into Antique Photos

What do you suppose the makes us (not just artist type us) absolutely love and crave old photos??? And for us "artzy" type the older, much loved and dingier the better. No matter what kind of art or medium we work in it seems these old tin type, cabinet card, and early hand held B&W cameras find their way into our work. Maybe it's because as they say "inside every artist lives a story teller"?

Tell the truth who among us doesn't  squeal with excitement, look both directions to make sure no one else has seen that old beat up velvet photo album just barely sticking out of that box of books, under the stack of old shop rags, underneath that table, shoved back in the corner. Then being as nonchalant as you can muster,to move to stealth mode as you work your way across the garage, hoping no one else has noticed that incredible score of the day! Woooooo who knows it could be filled with amazing family pictures. Ohhhhhh the things I would make if it only did!! :)

Sadly for some of us (that means me) running across an old album is about as close to impossible as you can get. Heck I have yet to find even a single cabinet card. :( So tell me what's a art girl suppose to do????? Hmmmmm Well for me that means I have to make my own vintage and antique photos. After a couple of printer cartridges and a ream or so of paper I've gotten to the point where my printed clip art pictures look pretty darn good. Here let me show you.

Here are copies of vintage/antique  photos I printed on to a good medium weight card stock.I don't have a jet printer so I usually use my normal-best ink settings.

Once I get them cut out the first thing I do is scuff up or pull off the very top of the corners. Those are always the first to go, and if they were ever in an album it's almost impossible to keep the corners from ripping off when you take them out of those little gum corner brackets.

I always go around the edges with some brown stamp pad ink it's a quick way to add instant age but it also hides that it's only paper the pictures are printed on.

I do use the printer to "clean up" the photo a bit. So that the picture is as sharp as it can be in it's aged condition. So if part of the picture has darkened or lightened because of the way it was handled or exposed to light I don't try to remove it or lessen the effect.  See where the top half of the bathing beauties is whiten a bit, because it was exposed to sun or strong light for a while??

Once I get the edges and corners aged I can really start to have fun. Old photos always have a life or a history all their own. And lots of times it doesn't have much bearing on what has been photographed. Maybe this little guy's photo was safely kept in the Grandma's family bible, after she saw how the older brothers were teasing their little brother with it. And that's how the tear and creases ended up on it. Are those 2 water spots where ma went to swat then with the wooden spoon while she was doing the dishes.

This one looks like it was taken with one of the first hand held massed produced cameras. The picture paper was thinner and as it aged it takes on a kinda old celluloid look. The edges are  fragile because the paper becomes brittle. The prints also have a tendency to fade or wash out and yellow.

What about this one?? If you look really close down on this little sweetie's knee sock you can see a lovely R printed. Look really close and you can make out the PET(R)E of the rest of her name :) Now just how do you suppose that got there, and did she get scolded by Mama for practicing her writing?? And since  it's pretty much ruin maybe Auntie Eunice used it to practice her photo tinting.


The last thing I do after creating the wear and tear to match the photo's history is give it a good buffing with my secret patina formula. Yep that good old Kiwi shoe wax. :) Only for this I use the natural or neutral color. This give the pictures that soft subtle sheen of old photographs. Other wise it still looks and feels like clip art copied onto card stock :(

I have to tell you that I have come to enjoy the whole experimenting, aging, layering processes used in creating my own patina,well worn/loved "antiques. I really love the whole challenge of convincingly making whatever material I'm using look and feel like it has naturally aged and has it's own history and story to tell. Hmmmmm must be that old story teller in me any :)

I hope that I didn't bore you guys to much and maybe even gave you an idea or two. If not at least you got to see some pretty cute old photos! I'm off to bed, you kids remember that NOW is always a perfect time to make a bit of art   p;)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Case of Too Many or None At All

This is certainly not the first time nor will it be the last time I'm stuck in one of those discombobulated vortex . You know where your doing a lot of spinning and getting no where??

No that's not exactly true. I have managed to lay my work bench to waste. I have turquoise beads with rosary wire wraps sitting in one spot. A string of tiny light brown glass beads sitting in another spot. The tub of turquoise beads open over here, the garnet tub open over there, the red bead tub open. A patina heart with possible companion beads sitting in the center of the mess. The copper wire, no the bronze wire, maybe the copper wire with patina, oh gads what about cool patina brass chain!!!! Are you getting an idea of my dilemma ???? Let me spell it out. I am INDECISIVE!!!!! I can't make up my mind. I don't know what my problem is. It could be I'm working with a case of "divine vision" overload or it could be a "divine vision vacuum".

 Thus leaving me sitting in the dreaded artistic black hole. I feel like I'm standing in front of full refrigerator, with the door hanging open and can't find a darn thing to make a meal with!! 

 Oh man I hate when this happens. Thank God I don't have a deadline looming. It's been like this for 2 days and I'm getting a mite on the testy side. I finally just laid my pliers, wire and beads down and walked away from the work bench. When I'm done posting I'll start another vestlette. Maybe working in a different medium will help me to get focused???

I know I'm not the only one this happens to, I'm sure all of you kindred artists have experience this at least once, yes??? So what do you do when you are spinning out of control in a good ol case of creative indecision???? HELP any and all advice is more then welcomed!! 

The only thing I have managed to do was add a bit of patina to a Mexican Heart in Hand tin focal. You might have noticed it at the beginning of my post?? It was a focal from another necklace made with suede cord and beads. I had intended to use the necklace for Erin's blog challenge to remake a piece of jewelry, you know the ugly duckling into a swan. Great this will be perfect I said to myself as I was taking it apart and sharing part of the beads with Miguel. Oh Noooooooooo (yep they don't call me a blond dizz for nothing) I forgot to get the freaking before pictures! @#$+&*! 
Okay then I'll just be making this anyway It'll be a great new summer piece :) Luckily I did get a couple of after patina pictures. 


The hand is about 3 inches long and the heart is etched and raised. The flames from the sacred heart, fingers and nails are stamped. I annealed it with the torch flame to get some really pretty rainbow colors!! Then rusted the heart and added just a bit of verdigris on the flames and cuff stamps.


The Queen Of Patina Lives!!!!! ;)

Soooooo while I try patiently to wait for this art vacuum, to crack open

I hope you remember that now is always a perfect time to make a bit of art  p;)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The 2010 Spring Collection :)

I think because I don't have to make my clothes creating&sewing them has become a wonderful way for me to let my spirit play. With fabric and sewing notions so inexpensive the only thing that prevents me from having an entirely new wardrobe every year is when I don't create it. So about twice a year I go through my closet and donate a large chunk of my clothes, and then have a great time sewing up a new and different wardrobe. You know sleeveless for summer and short sleeve for winter :) Martha and I have a group of women we donate our clothes to. It's a perfect relationship. Things don't hang around in the dark corners of our closet going unworn for very long because we pass them along to the next group of women that can get a bit of wear from them. Then they in tern pass them along to another group of women. As Miss M says it's the Mexican way, nothing ever goes to waste, things are used,reused,and passed down until there is nothing left to pass on.

Since I was grounded from playing with wire while my wrist healed I decided I'd spend the time sewing this years "Spring-Summer Collection" Would you like to see a bit of it???? Well if you don't no worries I'll catch up with your news when I "come a callin" on your blog. 

SO let the fashion show begin. Okay but I have to warn you things are a might on the simple, casual, unfussy side here at La Casa Paradise ;) That being said the executive decision was made that skirts this season will be short,


Noooooo not that short, just above the knee short. There is no sense in scaring small children and pets with the site of these "yams" Well at one time they could have been call "gams" but that was many miles of hospital floors ago!!! Now they sorta do resemble (except for the color) yams!

After a while plain tees and tank tops get to be a bit boring. Sometimes they just need a shot of personality to wake them up

Don't you agree if you add a bit of zip to the coming you should add just a bit to the going???

This little skirt is a recycle from last year. I was in my long skirt period and this puppy decided to shrink sooooo for this year it received a bit of reconstructive surgery. :) Also someone must not have worn their art apron while playing with coffee&tea dye :( No worries add a pocket is my motto. Course one needed to be added to the bottom side to sorta balance things.

This skirt was also long last year, and I made it to go with one of my all time favorite tops. This is a vintage hand painted top that will live at mi casa until it disintegrates. I figure when I can no longer wear it I'll hang it on the wall as art!

I am totally smitten with making my little "vestlettes" You know it's not a vest, and it really isn't a shrug, or a crop top it's it's a...vestlette :) Yep I invented a word. Anyway, this top has made it through 2 winters and I was never sure why cuz it just never fit. The sleeves never fit this monkey armed girl, and it always hung like an ever so becoming sack!

Off came the sleeves, and the bottom half of the top. Then a bit of vintage lace, fabric, a couple of vintage chandelier prisms and waaalaaa a vestlette :)

Ohhhh but my favorite part is the amazing vintage rhinestone pin that my dear little sister Renate sent me!!

This is the vestlette I made to replace the one that ran away from home to live in Texas with Deryn. I didn't have anymore (and neither did the fabric store) of the beautiful tulle with the embroidered violets. But I did find the same pattern with blue,red and yellow flowers.
Warning: Annalise decided to play the primadonna today so her understudy was forced to step in.

I found this lace tucked  behind a bunch of lace and fabric in the back of a dirty shelf. It stared out in life as white, most likely for wedding gowns. But by the time I found it, it was a nasty color of grey. :(  Gave it a bath in some tea&coffee, Actually all the fabric took a swim in the "coffee cup"  I love the way the different threads took up the dye in differing degrees!! I added a few garnets for buttons just cuz they really make me think"vintage"

And  that my dear Bloglandians concludes this year's collection!! Besides my patience has worn completely through. Blogger has been so slooooooooow this evening that I think I've been working on this post for hours!!! No kidding what is up with it sometimes?? At this rate it will be time to do the winter collection before I get this one posted!!
 I bid you all a lovely goodnight and remember, NOW is always a perfect time to make a bit of art, no matter where in the world you are.  p;)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In The Spring A Young Man's Fancy Turns To ...A Parrot????

Well that is if you are a boy Parrot :) Conrehabit has a permanent resident at the aviary. Paco is a young male Military Macaw. He is a confiscated parrot that for now can't be released into the wild. Paco's sole diet before he came to live with us consisted of  yummy sunflower seeds. He absolutely refuses to eat anything but sunflower seeds, In fact he would starve to death if he were released. We have tried to explain to him that there are no sunflower seeds in the subtropic areas he calls home. Heck he doesn't care he just spits at you while trying to shorten your finger and goes back to eating his seeds.

Even on a good day Paco can be a might cantankerous!!! Sometimes cleaning his cage can turn into a real test of wills, which he knows he can win. I don't know about you but he is a lot faster then I am at biting fingers (off) !! His beak is plenty big and more then powerful enough to easily shorten my finger by a joint or two :(
Okay back to his mood swings. When we had all the juvenile parrots in the aviary they kept Paco company and gave him plenty to do. Since he was sure he was the only one who could train them to "fly free"!! :) Well since we released all the kids a couple of months ago, Paco has become more surly with each passing day. I have to tell you there is nothing worse then a cranky depressed Military Macaw!!

We knew we had to do something when he lost interest in his beloved sunflower seeds and never stopped squawking the whole time anyone was there. I sure hope the bad guys never figure out that if a human is left with a large parrot squawking PACO PACO PACO at the top of his lungs without ever coming up for air for more then a few minutes they will confess to anything just to shut him up. Martha our trusty leader decided we needed to find a friend for Paco. And as luck would have it, there was a young fellow in town who had a military macaw he was caring for that had completely out grown his cage. He wanted to know if Conrehabit could take the bird into our aviary with a possibility of release. Perfect we said because this parrot ate real parrot food not sunflower seeds, and acted like a parrot should. Maybe Paco would get the idea that eating his greens is good for him, and that biting peoples fingers was socially not acceptable :)

So we set up a meet and play date for the two macaws. That morning Paco was beside himself he had bathed, groomed, and slicked back his head feathers. All the while practicing his introduction to his new buddy, pal, friend. "Paco Hi Paco Hi Paco Paco Paco" Well ya never know the guy might be a bit forgetful. 


We humans took all the precautions we could think of. As cranky as Paco had gotten we weren't real sure how polite he was going to be to his company. We left Paco in his cage, and brought Jaime into the aviary in "his" cage. Well the minute Jaime arrived it was as if the sky lighted up with fireworks. Paco took one look at Jaime and Jaime took a good long look at Paco and suddenly they both were completely smitten, madly in lust, Love at first sight!!! :) Yep you guessed it Jaime was not a boy bird. SO we quickly changed her name to Jamie and got on with the introductions.

By the time we were ready to leave that first "date" all you could hear either bird saying was Paco Paco Paco :) I'm happy to report that our fears were groundless, our cranky cantankerous, depressed boy is constantly walking around with a smile on his face whistling "Oh Sweet Mystery of Life" They both have their own cages but they flit back and forth as the mood strikes. In fact Paco has taken to eating a bit of orange or tomato, and Jamie has discovered a craving for, yep, sunflower seeds :)

It seems Jamie has found her military macaw in shining armor and Paco couldn't be prouder!! :) Meanwhile Martha is drawing up plans for the addition of a nursery to the aviary!!!!!


Okay girls and boys I promise to pass on any gossip er news of our two love birds. I did hear Paco say he sure hopes Jamie hurries up and decides when he can move his slippers on that side of her perch cuz his legs and wings are getting a might tired with all the prancing around and wing spreading he's been doing ;)

On that note I'm off to read my new Flea Market Style magazine my kindred sister Laurie sent me, after chasing all over town looking for it!!! Thank you!!!! so much!!!! little sister!!!! Okay kids remember NOW is a perfect time to make a bit of art no matter where in the world you are  p;)

Friday, April 09, 2010

While Waiting to Heal

I gotta tell you this has been one long rather boring week. I have been a very good girl patient and have put all projects on hold. My wrist is on the mend but way to slow for this girly!!! Even typing sessions that go beyond 75 words have to be done in sections will lengthy rests in between. :( This ol nurse knows that by exacerbating the injury I will prolong the healing time and may cause long term joint damage, but my fingers are sooooooo itching to play!

With a week without projects there isn't much to post about. so I'll warn you this post is going to be a bit low on the interest meter, heavy on pictures(hurts less to post pictures then to type), and poor subject flow.

Did ya notice the dragonfly in the title picture?? LW and I decided to go down to our friend Toni's shop for a bit of a hair trim. A fresh hair bob always perk me up :) Toni has this "tree" he made from a big branch that he decorates with the seasons. He always make the "ornaments" and they are never the same. This past late winter tree he created these way way cool dragonflies!!!

He made the wings from 20 gage craft wire he sprayed painted black. You don't think we get any color wire here do you?? :) Then he stretched a stocking over the wings and stuffed the body with a bit of batting. He finished up by painting the body and wings. This one is one of the smaller ones and it's about 8+ inches long and 6+wing span. I thought they were soooooo beautiful I asked him if I could have one when he redecorated the tree. He is such a generous, gifted artist (and he gets it! Yea a kindred spirit!!) he sent me home with this one!!! I have it placed so that the breeze from my fan (thank you menopause!) makes the delicate wings flutter.

I've decide that this one is a girl dragonfly so I should come up with a name for her. How about some suggestions you guys??? I also think I heard her say when I was taking her pictures that she would love to have just a dash of iridescent glitter on her wings. I agree so tomorrow I think we'll do a bit of glittering. :)

Since our bead store has closed and we don't have any traveling bead shows I have been ordering beads on eBay and depending on ever faithful, gracious, and loving "mules" (thank you Deryn) to bring them down. yesterday Miguel's parents came down to visit and muled a few strings for Miguel and I.

As much as I would love to buy all my beads from the etsy stores, the economics just don't allow for it. SO I found this seller on ebay who makes a good fit with my demands. I wanted someone in the States, with a good selection, excellent prices, photos and descriptions matched the delivered product, 100% positive feedback and most importantly superb customer service.

I really love the earthy rustic feeling when I use stones that have a few inclusion, or veins of minerals, and just are not perfect. This order we focused on nice large 15-20mm rough cut garnets, and the warm earth tone tourmalines. To my mind you can never have to many of either!! :)


We also pick up a few strings of turquoise. I had a few from the order Deryn brought down so I just added a couple of different sizes. I can't say it's one of my favorite stones but I'm thinking with the right piece of green patina focal and it could look really awesome. Besides turquoise seems to be selling quite well this year, and I think it would be fun to play with some of it with copper. I know Helena doesn't have any pieces at the shop so it would be fun to see if it would sell.

At times there are rather plain crudely strung necklaces featured. Some times there are beads that I looking for in the mix, and it's cheaper to bid and buy the necklace then it would be a string Such is the case of this Amazonite, citrine and keshi pearl necklace. I wanted the pearls and Miguel took the other stones. Worked out perfect for both of us! :)

Okie Dokie kids my wrist has had about all the typing it wants tonight so I think it's time to go cuddle up next to LW and do a bit of reading. Meanwhile remember Now is always a perfect time to make a bit of art no matter where in the world you are  p;)
Blog Widget by LinkWithin