Friday, February 12, 2010

"Find The Seed At The Bottom Of Your Heart and Bring Forth A Flower" ~ Shigenori Kameoka

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!  May you ALL find a seed from our own heart that will sow something wonderful for you....

Rebecca Sower has been having a wonderful time making hearts, and at the same time, showing other artist's creations on her blog.  I thought I might play along and show you my own creation.  So, for Heart Session {no. 06}, this is my creation.

I would be delighted to tell you how I created this sweet pink and creme heart. 

I began going to the thrift store.  Yes, that is a spot to find all kinds of "affordable" supplies.  I bought 3 pure wool sweaters (one being pink).  Of course the pink is what I used for this project.  I bought all 3 for $9.  Bring the sweater home, put it in the washer with a little detergent and wash on HOT water!  The water must be HOT.  I did not use fabric softener.  Run it through a normal wash cycle.  Next, put it in the dryer and dry it on a normal temperature untl dried.  It will shrink up.  A lady's sweater will now look like it will fit on a 6 year old! LOL! LOL!  I'm not sure, but I believe they call this "wool felting".  Maybe someone out there in blogland can confirm the name of this process, and any extra tips would be very much appreciated.

Next, take a heart template (I used a heart paper doily) and fold it in half.  Cut enough fabric from the sweater for an entire heart.  Fold the fabric in half and place the heart template on top, pin down, and cut out the heart.  Un-pin,and un-fold the fabric heart ~ Wa-la, a nicely, perfectly shaped heart.

Find some lace that you would like to use. I used some vintage eyelet cut from an old curtain and some very fine, thin lace that has some discoloration (which I love).  The different shades in the lace bring the piece a bit of definition, I think.  Cut it to length across the heart.  Get your fabric glue and glue down the eyelet first and then finish the top and bottom with the fine lace.  After drying a bit, I carefully strung 5 seed beads together in a row on a knotted thread and sewed in the middle of each eyelet flower.  They dangle a bit.  I then sewed 4 silver beads, scattering across the top, on the fine lace and 4 more along the bottom.

I had purchased the seam binding and crepe paper ruffle from Karen at Second Hand Rose.  I'm sure she would love to sell you some, and besides, she has various colors, if that is your preference.  But, someone who sews could make their own ruffled length ~ enough to go around the heart.  I hot glued this onto the circumfrence of the heart. 

Once that was completed, I used clear tacky glue to glue on additional silver beads to the crepe paper, here and there.

I hot-glued a length of pink seam binding (for hanging) onto the back of the heart and covered with one bone button and one shell button.

After allowing it to completely dry (probably over night), I added a 4 loop bow, and a vintage rhinestone pin.

Now you have your own pink and creme heart.  

Thanks for stopping by.  I love seeing all of you and will be around to pop in soon....



UPDATE:  I have listed a few new things on Etsy.  Please pop over and check them out... 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Beautiful Life Art Journal ~ Done!

I am so excited to do this post. It's taken, well, let's see, Heather, Pretty Petals, posted the workshop in September of last year? (gasp!) As they say, better late, than never. And, OH AM I GLAD I FINISHED THIS! This "labor of love" was frustrating, at times, but taught me so much about collaging, and layering, and stretching your mind/imagination. I highly recommend it to those of you who were a bit intimidated. It also taught me to part with "my pretties" for a bigger purpose! You know, they are not all piled up or stored away in boxes. We all have a bit of the "hoarding instinct" when it comes to pretties. :) :) :)  The very best part for those of you who missed it back in September, Heather has decided to offer this on-line class, once again.  So all you, who missed it, come join the fun.
I messed up my page order, from the beginning :) :), but, alas, it is MY journal, so I guess that is just fine. Freedom of expression, as they say. The picture above is the cover, and I used all of my best laces for this, girls, as well as gorgeous millinery flowers. I wanted something to treasure, and using really "good stuff" makes your heart pitter-patter!
Below is a picture of the thickness of the book, after binding! Scrumptious, isn't it? For those of you who have completed the class, you know what I'm talking about! (~sigh~)
Now here is where "I messed up". For some crazy reason, I put one of the "Beautiful Ladies" on the back cover, which left the first page open. I decided to do somewhat of an index page. It lists the categories found in the journal, topped off with ribbon roses. A vintage lace sleeve is stretched over the vintage wallpaper to create a pocket. Inside the pocket, I have a copy of my favorite postcard,"Love's Messenger", and a little author paper (Me!). This pocket will allow me to store future "treasures", as I find them. Of course, old millinery glittered up with old German glass glitter tops off the page.

Now here is the first of the "Beautiful Ladies". She is the "Corset Girl", and I had fun glittering her up! I used a bit of ribbon I purchased from Andrea at Everyday Beauty and old millinery. In the bottom right corner, I added two little cherubs and corsets that were copied from an old advertising card. I thought it was just the right "surprise" for this page. (Please excuse the shadows, I tried to photograph on a sunny day.)  Underlying papers are vintage wallpaper and pages from an old victorian magazine.

Here is the second "Beautiful Lady". She has the most beautiful smile, and her face just glows with excitement! It gives you such a warm feeling to look at her.  She's topped off with (what else?) more millinery.  Layers of pages, journal, wallpaper, etc., lie underneath.  Gorgeous old lace edges the page.

The next 2 pages are "Oh How I Love".  These are the pages you put "your pretties" on.  It was hard deciding, not only what to put on them, but placement of the items.  This is where the task of collaging comes in.  How do you place them and make it all look like it works together?  I started with vintage wallpaper.  The silhouettes I received from Lili at LiliM in a swap.  Heather made me the "You are Treasured" that I used on the corner of the picture, quite awhile ago.  Old buttons,  jewelry, and velvet strawberries add to the page.  One of my Inspiration pins (in green) happily joins the grouping.

Page 2 is the other side of the page above that had the victorian lace sleeve stretched over it.  This, once again, allowed me to use it as "a pocket".  I have a letter that Heather wrote me as a little girl, in the pocket.  I also added to the pocket a page from "The Secret Garden" (one of my very favorite children's stories).  I received this in a swap from my dear friend, Madai of Wren Cottage. 

The next 2 pages are "Sweet Friendshp".  Heather gave us all of the images and copies of sheet music and wallpaper.  Everything you need to finish this beautiful journal.  I adore this sheet music used here.  Layered, once again, wallpaper, sheet music, and a title page from "Let Us Be Friends".  How appropriate is that? 

I didn't stray very far from her instructions on these pages.  Adding just the right amount of ribbon, millinery, and lace does the trick.  The image of these 2 girls is just beautiful and says it all.  Friendship is such a valuable commodity in today's world.  I treasure all of you, my dear friends.  It's been wonderful getting to  know you in the last few years.  What commonalities we have, in spite of our backgrounds, distance, careers, families.  I treasure you all.

"Blessed Family".  Two small words with such a big big meaning.  A page from an old Victorian magazine entitled "The Happy Home" starts it off right, don't you think?  The beautiful poem about standing together.  Yes, that is how I feel about my dear family.

And antoher gorgeous image of a mother pushing a baby carriage, with her two little ones playing happily.  I glittered up the page a bit and added a few millinery flowers.  Added the sweet calling card that Heather supplied in her images.   Wa-la!  A gorgeous page.  Simplicity at its best.

So, now, here was the test.  A page of my very own.  No instructions, no images to use.  Just my own mind and creativity.  Birds are one of God's creatures that I am in total amazement of.  These sweet little bundles bring such joy by not only their song, but just of their sweet appearance.  You'll remember this postcard from my first page.  It is entitled "Love's Messenger".  The background page is an image from Karen at The Graphics Fairy.  I immediately loved it when I saw it and knew I would be using it for something very soon.  It is actually an album cover. A few feathers, a jewelry dangle with a heart, and some nice old buttons.  That did the trick for me.

So, that is the end of the journal post.  I still have the "Keepsake Box" to make to store it in.  That is a post for another day, as I have yet to begin making it! LOL! 

I derived much satisfaction from making this journal.  So you ladies that are holding back, go for it.  You'll be so happy you created your very own "A Beautiful Life" Art Journal....


Monday, February 1, 2010

"Just As The Bird Sings or The Butterfly Soars, Because It Is His Natural Characteristic, So The Artist Works...

I've noticed in recent weeks, there seems to be a lingering of frustration, restlessness, maybe. One might say a feeling of "being held down", if you will. I've noticed this a great deal since the earthquake in Haiti, and the feeling of frustration over what the average person is able to do to help beyond monetary donations. This is not to say that money is not significant. It absolutely is; and without it, work cannot be done or rebuilding accomplished.

This "feeling" I am speaking of, seems to be cast over bloggers that I frequent, and even family. Maybe it is the "winter doldrums", or just a lack of inspiration. Lack of enough sunlight, maybe, you know Vitamin D?

I have had the pleasure of seeing deer in my yard (or should I say woods, as I live in the country). These sweet masterpieces of nature just amaze me at their beauty and their resilience. A little nibble of some fallen corn, a few nips of hemlock, a lick or two of green moss. Their quest is to get enough food, enough sustenance, to get them through the day and the long night. It is their "natural characteristic".

Are we content with just the right amount of sustenance or inspiration? Do we have to have the big rush of adrenaline, that huge influx of food for our souls? Is this in our nature as artists, creators, crafters, or whatever name one might be called? Can we not be happy with a "little inspiration"? What level is "Natural"?

These are the questions that have come up in my mind recently. Trying so hard to see the glass as half full, so to speak.

Are we like caged birds this time of year? Do we feel our creative wings are clipped? Do we have no purpose for creating, experiencing that rush, that joy, that "making one's heart beat faster" feeling? What makes us lose inspiration?
I feel, as I get older, that time is flying. I know alot of you probably feel the same. But I am determined to find inspiration in every day life. I am trying to be "content", "sustained" with what I find in my path.

I love my life. Am I rich ~ no, not monetarily. Do I have fame ~ no, only to those that love me. But I find richness all around me. A God who takes care of my needs, the love of my family, a job, a home; what else do I need?

As for inspiration? Just look around. Yes, even in the "winter doldrums", we can find inspiration. Beauty does abound ~ and so, the artist must work.

Blessings to all,

Title Quote by Alma Gluck.
Images from The Graphics Fairy