Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On the 6th, and the 7th, and the 8th, and the 9th, and the 10th, and the 11th Day of Christmas!

They say time flies when you're having fun, well I know it sure does when I have to work all week! Suddenly we are on the 11th day of Christmas and I haven't had a chance to blog since day 5.
I'm not complaining too much, this is the way I get to start each day~
On the 6th day of Christmas Kelly Snelling gave to me....
This beautifully wrapped present.
I swear some are just too beautifully wrapped to open, but somehow I find myself ripping into the paper anyway!
And glad I am, that I did, because this handpainted ornament was waiting for me inside! There are so many layers, this picture just does not do it justice. The colors are rich and vibrant and just a bit mysterious as you look you are drawn deeper and deeper. There is antique hymnal sheet music and so much detail went into each one of these ornaments, you really have to pay Kelly's blog a visit and read her generous tutorial.
Kelly, I will cherish this ornament. Thank-you so much for putting so much of yourself into it~I love it!

And speaking of love.....It was love at first site between this little guy and me. Before the package was even opened his eyes found mine.

How could I resist? I knew they were made just for me!

On the 7th day of Christmas I had the great pleasure of opening this vintage paper mache-like ornament by Lou McCulloch. I have been a long time fan of Lou's assemblage's and altered art. Her work has been published in many books and other publications. I couldn't believe my luck at winding up in this group with Lou!

I have a feeling this is one ornament that won't be put away with the Christmas tree this year. Thank-you Lou!

On the 8th day of Christmas I woke to find this fabulous fabric ornament by Pilar Pollock. This is another ornament that I had to look and look at, finding all the layers and techniques used simply mesmerizing.

First of all Pilar got my attention with the handpainted detailed and delicious paper used to wrap the gift. You just know when so much care goes into the outside, something wonderful is waiting on the inside!
And then there was Pilar's use of the Mary and baby Jesus image on her ornament. The reason for the season.
Richly textured and detailed, and yet quietly moving. Thank-you Pilar, this ornament thrills me!

On the 9th day of Christmas...a vintage angel assembled by sweet Sally Turlington.

Sally has a way about her and her work that just makes me feel cared for. This piece was no exception. Sally took the origin of the song "The 12 days of Christmas" and found that the "9 ladies dancing" were supposed to represent the 9 qualities of the fruit of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Each one of the ornaments Sally made represent one of those qualities, mine is Kindness, a good reminder to me to remember to be kind through the Christmas season and all year long.

Thank-you Sally for this sweet angel. I will think of you each time I see her!

On the 10th day of Christmas, Jackie Allison gave to me....

The coolest mix of found objects on my tree! Jackie, you are a woman after my own heart! I love found objects, especially the kind that were objects of ordinary daily life from days gone by. Included in the menagerie are a vintage brass laundry tag, an old key, and a little spoon. Inside the spoon are the words "all hearts come home for Christmas". So true!

Thank-you for pulling my heart towards home with this wonderful ornament Jackie!

And finally I'm caught up to today, the 11th day. And another package that is just too scrumptious to open.

JoAnna Pierotti has a knack for pulling simple items together just so. I look at this photo and I can smell cookies baking in the oven, feel the warmth from the fireplace, and see the love in each little sparkle of the snowflake. And I know that it was a heart of love that was put into this, because that is just the way JoAnna is.

Once I was able to, oh so very carefully, open this gift up and set all the little treasures used to wrap it with aside, I was delighted to find this altered baby doll ornament inside! JoAnna is famous for her altered dolls, especially for the technique that she developed for the face.

Be sure to visit JoAnna's blog as she gives a tutorial on the doll face and has some great pictures of all the ornaments before she sent them out. Very generous!

Thank-you JoAnna, I've wanted one of your dolls but could never afford them, now I have one that will always hold special memories!

Another treat showed up in the mail. This one was an ornament I made for the group swap in the middle of summer and sent off with the rest of the group for publication in Somerset Studio. I was blessed to find that not only this ornament, but the box I wrapped it in AND my ornament from last years swap were all included in the article by Jenny Doh.

Well I'm off to bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. Can't wait to see what is in store on the 12th day of Christmas!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

On The Fifth Day of Christmas My True Love Gave To Me...

A red & white polka dot delight of a present from Jennifer Rowland! Also known as Jrow to her friends.
And what a delight it was to open the pretty polka dot present and find this yummy gingerbread man hidden inside!

It is such a treasure!

The gingerbread man looks like an authentic vintage cookie cutter and Jennifer has filled him up with all kinds of treasures from his handwritten ephemera in the background, to his little snap buttons, to his rick rack embellished legs!

A tiny vintage key dangles from the bottom and if I hadn't read it on Jennifers blog, I wouldn't have known that the little ornament hook at the top was new. Jennifer has aged it with liver of sulfer.

Great job jennifer! I love this vintage style and will treasure this always!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Give the Gift of Art This Year!

Just in time for Christmas, I'm listing these great art kits in my Etsy Shop!

Give the gift of inspiration. Your artist friends will love it!

Sold! - Altered Doll or Angel Kit

Sold! - Stocking Stuffer Assemblage Found Object Kit

The ever popular collage pack. Great gift for the collage and mixed media lover! So prettily packaged they won't want to open it, but they won't be able to resist!

Visit my Etsy Shop today!

A peek around the studio

Hubby and I have moved into a beautiful new home, actually about 2 months ago, but I'm just settling in to my new studio space.

Trying to organize all of my trinkets

Art to finish and hang.

So much what I want our home to be.

I have so much stuff. There is probably a better way to store and organize, but I have to see it all! It inspires me just walking in here.

Poochies. And a cat.

Wish I had more of these antique cigar boxes. They are so graphic. Eye Candy!


On The Fourth Day of Christmas My True Love Gave To Me...

A Victorian Santa ornament by Maija Lepore! Maija got this right on the money. Every detail so authentic that I thought she cheated and bought ornaments this year.
This is by far my all time favorite style of Christmas decor. I love the vintage Santa's. I love the crepe paper medallions and the bits of antique sheet music. I love the shiney tin.
Love Love Love!
And on top of all that love, my favorite color is red!
Did Maija know?
I know that Red is a traditional color for the season, but I'm telling you, Maija is so warm and friendly and thoughtful if she had known my favorite color she would have done it on purpose!
Thank-you Maija. It is going to be cherished for all my Christmases to come!

On the Third Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me....

Deryn Mentock is a truly talented artist. I got goosebumps all over when her package arrived in the mail and getting to open her gift felt much like Christmas morning when I was 5. I jumped out of bed and ran to grab the present from the pile!

The clip on glass bird ornament sits perched upon Deryn's wire nest. I don't even have the words to describe how it made me feel when I first laid eyes on it.

Mutual friend and group member, JoAnnA, wrote about Deryn's ornament "her work always makes me think of God.

And indeed it does.

Deryn has a heart for the Lord that is reflected in her work whether she is making a piece about Him or not. His light just shines through her work no matter what the subject is.

Be sure to visit JoAnnA's blog to read about how much Deryn's ornament moved her.

Deryn has wrapped antique Bible text around the tiny eggs in the nest and has used a resin technique on the antique text leaf.

Thank-you Deryn! This will be cherished forever!

On The Second Day of Christmas

On the second day of the swap it was my turn to present my gift to the group.

This caused no small amount of headaches...sweat...grief...tears of frustration...and finally resignation to the fact that the ornament I had envisioned (when I was finally able to envision one!) was not the ornament that I was going to produce.

First of all, that WAY COOL graffiti like background effect? A complete accident.

I painstakingly clipped each of the bird images from an antique dictionary and attached them to the glass. Then glued the glass down to an antique sheet music cover.

Gorgeous colors on that cover and the effect with the bird was so pretty, until the colors began to run all over the place from the glue!

I hurridly peeled the first piece off, but part of the cover came with it!

The result was this way cool graffiti like effect.


Now I do have to confess that I wanted to play this off as intentional.

Yeah, I meant to do that.

So totally intended for that to happen.

I even came up with a name for the "technique".

"Color Lifting"

But in the spirit of Christmas (and all that is moral and right), I couldn't bring myself to do it.


It was an accident.

One I like to call a happy accident, or accident #1.

Which brings me to happy accident (or maybe just, okay I can live with it accident) #2.

The group has been oohing and ahhing (I think they are just being nice) over the faux rusty vintage copper patina of the sides and back of the piece that so nicely matches the chain.

But it was not supposed to be RUSTY COPPER!

It was supposed to be SHINEY AND BRIGHT!

But for the life of me I could not find my soldering skills! As a matter of fact I haven't been able to find them for a long long while. But that's a story for another post.

After ruining 2 ornaments (and the tip of my soldering iron with them) I was very nearly in tears.

It was a Sunday night, 2 days AFTER the final mailing date and here I sat with a bunch of unfinished ornaments and an uncooperative soldering iron!

After pacing the house, crying and, er, praying out loud, my eyes finally landed on the bottle of copper paint and green patina sitting in my studio.

Was that a choir of angels I heard?

I swear a beam of light shone down from the ceiling to illuminate the inconspicous little bottles of faux finish, barely used because I am not a fan of patina in a can (or plastic bottle). I just prefer the beauty of naturally aged pieces.
But there was no time for Natural Beauty! I had a deadline I'd already missed!

Finally the pieces are finished, and I've wrapped them all up with buttons and mica flakes inside for good measure.
The buttons represent the marbles I lost over this project, and the mica flakes represent the tears!

Now, I know I had stashed something around the house to use for my number on my tags. Where did I put them?
Argh! Accident #3 was not so happy.
I must have lost one too many marbles that day and could not remember what I was planning on using for my number on the tag so I had to hurridly write a #2 on the box and get them out in the mail.
But all is well, the group seems to like them.
Next year I won't wait so long. As a matter of fact I've seriously been considering making next years ornaments this year on Christmas Day....

On The First Day of Christmas....

Well it's that time of year again. I can hardly believe it's true! This year I am participating in 2 different "12 Days of Christmas" art swaps. The first group began opening gifts on December 1st and will continue through the 12th day of December. Lucky me, only a few days later the second group begins opening, meaning I will have a gift for nearly every day this month!
First from a wonderful group called "Adorn" on December 1st I received this beautiful (and I mean beautiful!) Partridge in a Pear Tree from the talented Ruth Rae.
Ruth's attention to detail just never ceases to amaze me. From the intricate and thoughtful way the gift was packaged, to the many layers of the gift itself. There is so much to look at that I discover something new each time I look.
Included with Ruth's gift was this explanation of the song "The 12 Days Of Christmas". (Which I am pasting directly from Ruth's blog, but be sure to pay it a visit personally because it is a virtual feast in itself!)
"The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in 15th century England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith. The songs gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem:"Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..." (Luke 13:34)