Category Archives: Projects

My Love for Buttons

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When I read a post by one of my WordPress friends,  “you hand-made me happy,” it triggered a memory of my grandmother who implanted in me a love for buttons, and fabric.  When I was eleven years old, my grandma started teaching me how to sew, and of course if you sew, you need buttons.  I quickly learned to adore fabric, and the buttons that went with it.

As time wore on, I not only made fabulous knockoffs from the high-end department stores for myself, I began making clothes for some of my mothers friends who had trouble finding clothes to fit.  I don’t ever remember getting paid for this service, but I’m sure I was.

Today I have a large stash of fabric, and I rarely sew, but every time I see a fabric I can’t live without, I must have it.   Not sewing any longer is in part due to my machine being an old Viking that I inherited from my mother after her passing, it has a short in it that apparently can’t be fixed,  and in part due to lack of really decent fabrics being available.  I’m sure there must be fabric shops that carry really nice fabrics, but I have yet to find one locally.

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Buttons….well what can I say about buttons.  I love putting them in my art, and on my clothes.  Not too far from where I live we have a high-end yarn shop that has a fairly good assortment of custom buttons, and most of them  are to die for.  Those buttons can range from a few dollars to over twenty dollars a button, and they are fabulous.  To be honest their yarn is so fabulous, I have gone in to look, and left with close to $100. in yarn.  Not skeins of yarn, small amounts of different specialty yarns to put into my art.

You guessed it…we artists are just a little crazy, off kilter, and unique!

True everyone has their own style, but I get my inspiration from the most unexpected places.  Am I off kilter…..you bet, and how can I complain about that when that’s exactly what makes me who I am.   My mind is always turning, thinking about creating something.   Maybe it could be a painting, a collage, assemblage, or a story.

How about you?  What triggers you to do things a little crazy, and unique?  Tell us, we’d all love to hear about it.

Thank you for taking time to read my post,  have a great day, and tell me about the things that you love!

So….Mom Wasn’t Perfect After All!

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In our house the words, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle are common place.  Don’t get me wrong,  we both love to spend money, and buy new things, who doesn’t?  Actually,  I think I’m the best at spending.  My husband thinks he’s the best at it!  Ok,  both of us have to keep check on each other!

When I was small, mother and myself would go out junking, or antiquing, depending on the store.  If it was called an antique store, everything in it would be higher in price.  If it was called a junk store, prices would reflect that.  Today even junky Junk stores are pricy, and antique stores are out of the ballpark!  When it comes to reusing something, I’m the one in our household who loves taking something old, and repurposing it.

Many years ago, when I first got married, we didn’t have a lot of money, so Mom and I would look everywhere for furniture that we could both fix up for my new home.  Mom could sniff out the best bargains of anyone I have ever met, and she really knew how to negotiate the best price for those bargains  too!  I remember finding an oblong pine drop leaf table that was in great condition.  Just the table, not the chairs.  I really needed that table, so after bargaining with the shop owner,  the price was dropped to a doable amount, and home we went with our new purchase.

The thing is, I never really liked that table!

It was maple, and looked too Early American for me, but since I needed one, and the price was right, I bought it!  Mom loved Early American, and she secretly wanted me to love it also, but my style was more country.  I liked that worn look of history!

Several months later I found a different table at the same shop, and this time it was the table of my dreams!  This  table was an old, oak, oval, kitchen table with two drop leafs, and a square pedestal.    It had really been beaten up, and you could tell it had lived a colorful life just by sliding your hand over the top.  Character, and personality, oozed out  the grain of the wood, and  it had a charm that the other table would never have!  As I proceeded to negotiate with the shop owner, I could feel my stomach churning with excitement.  It wasn’t long before he agreed to take the other table in exchange for my beautiful new farm table.  Even in those days, these tables were rare, and to this day, I’ve never seen one exactly like it.  Even reproductions aren’t close!

That same afternoon, Mother, and myself loaded the maple table into the back of her wagon, and off we went to return it to the shop, and exchange it for my new farm table.  We worked quickly before the owner of the store changed his mind.  He most likely could get more money from the first table, it certainly was in better condition, but I only wanted to make sure the oak table didn’t find itself in another home by mistake!  As everyone knows, one man’s junk, is another man’s treasure!

The real fun began when Mom and I delivered  the oak table to my apartment, and spent the rest of the afternoon deciding how to clean it up without damaging it even more! I think we used Murphy’s Oil Soap on it, followed by a robust application of steel wool to smooth out the surface.  Today, I use  Murphy’s for cleaning my make up brushes, and my art brushes…it is the best, most gentle thing you could ever use on brushes!  When we were finished cleaning up the table it had a beautiful patina, and the grain of the wood was fabulous!    Let me tell you that table gave us many years of wonderful service, it always looked so beautiful when it was dressed up with fancy skirts, fine  china, and my best  silver.   I can still see it, and long for a table just like it, maybe a place to put it while I’m sitting here longing would be nice also!

A couple of years later I received a call from my Mother one afternoon, late in the day.  She told be she had found four bent wood chairs, and she asked if I would I like to have them?  Of course, “ I’d love to have them!”  I’d been dreaming of having bent wood chairs, and had never found anything close to a chair like that  on my  junking days, so yes!  Pretty soon, I was pulling the ugly chairs I’d been using out of my dinning room , and replacing them with four cleaned up, and polished bent wood chairs.  That really made my day!

I found out later that Mother had lifted (literally lifted),  the chairs from the back of a Thrift Store where someone had donated them.  I guess Mom wasn’t perfect after all!

Mom, and I went on like this for years until Dad decided to retire, and sell their home to live aboard a  boat in Long Beach Harbor.  That turned out to be fun too, but the antiquing days as we knew them, would now be only a memory, and  we never kicked around like that again.  Occasionally, while one of us would visit the other, we  would  do a little garage sailing, and thrift store shopping, but it never was the same.

Those days were so much fun, we were able to do so much as mother and daughter, and those memories are  something I will always cherish!

Day 15: Will My Voice Find Me?

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Day 15:  Will My Voice Find Me?

For years now I have been my happiest when I hold a paint brush in my hand.  It really doesn’t matter if it’s a teeny-weeny paint brush, or a big honker house brush, I love to paint!  Watercolor paper can be laying right in front of me, and I can manage to find something creative to do with it. Or it could be a canvas, a board, or even a wall, I can find a way.

My voice is found in paint, and my artwork!

So when I hit a wall, and my inspiration dries up, I panic.  Pure and simple, it terrifies me that I will no longer be able to create with paint.  This is one of those times. If I have a project going, as I do now, I seem to fight it!  My deadline for this current project is the first of July.  It’s a doozy too!  I have three pieces that need to be finished.  I could eek out a week more, but vacation looming, I really don’t have much more time to spend.  There is another two projects that have to be completed by the first of next week, and I’m really lagging on those.  They haven’t even been started, and that’s a real problem!!!

So What Now?

I think my writing is taking over my love of painting in a way.  I’ve always wanted to write, and now I have the opportunity to learn and grow.  These little month long classes are wonderful to help do just that, but at the same time, my growing has almost come to a complete halt in the creating area.  Weekends have got to be creative especially since I’m so far behind in these projects.  I even sleep better when I’m busy rushing around painting, and pulling ideas together!

Where is your voice anyway?

Do I have two voices…my art, and my writing?  I certainly love them both, but are they my true voice, maybe.  By the way, and this might be the key,  I am a Gemini!  The twins, two sides, two loves, two voices…..  I’m saddened to think one of them might not come back, but it also excites me to think there may be something new, and interesting on it’s way!

Will my voice find me?

It’s been my experience that if you don’t agonized over things, they have a way of working themselves out.  I’m betting that…….

My Voice will find me!

Just Around The Corner

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Just when I thought I was out of the woods, it hit me…

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Every year I make special Valentine cards, or ATC’s for my four grandkids and send them.  They are made with much love, and each one  is different.  The kids love getting them in the mail, and they are  always saved in a special place when Valentine’s Day is over.  I thought about this project maybe three weeks ago, just about the time I was crashing from exhaustion due to the holidays. I thought I had plenty of time!  And that was the last time I thought about Valentines!  Until now!

Now I’m thinking – “Why did I wait so long, it’s just around the corner?”  Not one thought until today!  So today is sketching, and thinking of exactly what I want to create.  After sketching a few simple Valentines, and what I might want to do, the ideas started rolling through my mind.  I think something different might be appreciated, so the hearts will hang three together, one below the other.  Maybe my pasta machine will magically appear!  I could roll some clay, cut out hearts of all sizes, and bake them.  Or, maybe I could make them out of felt , or wax paper with something pressed  between two heart-shaped  pieces.  The last two choices are pretty simple and take practically zero time to make.  But if the pasta machine comes willingly from its hiding place, that might be more fun.  Decorating the edges, writing messages in the centers of the hearts, it could be fun!  I have included some pictures of past valentines for you to see.  Maybe they will kick-start your ideas, or email me your valentines, and I’ll put them up on the next post!

Sometimes the simple things get me going…

These are all simple solutions for creating a Valentine surprise, but it’s funny how something so simple can awaken your muse, and start everything flowing again.  Especially since I feel frozen in time this winter!  I’m not going to lie, every winter I feel the cold, and dampness, and all I really want to do is curl up, and watch a movie – or in this case watch Season 1 and 2 of Downton Abby!  I am officially addicted to this series, and aside from it being really good, I couldn’t even tell you what pulls me in!

So Here It is…

If anyone out there plans to create something for Valentine’s Day, it’s a great time to start!   My sketch is made, but my ideas continue rolling in, and all that has to happen now is the pasta machine needs to find its way to my art table….

Dear Pasta Machine,  I promise to spit shine you when you get here!