Friday, April 26, 2013

For Donna And Teddy

You may have noticed on the sidebar to your right, framed portraits of my "Companions" here at Victorian Studio. They are far more than that though; each one is a much-loved family member. Sadly, Casey our dog passed on just a few weeks ago, so now my lap is only fought over by three female felines: Sheba the grey tabby, Dakotah the black cat and Tawnee the Ragdoll. Each one takes turns for some cuddle time.

Recently, Donna over at Funky Junk lost her dear Teddy who looked like a cross between our Dakotah and Tawnee... a beautiful fluffy black cat who featured prominently on Donna's blog; often posed in amongst her awesome junk decor.  In honour of Teddy, Donna asked us to join her Pet-themed party this weekend by taking some photos of our furry companions. What a wonderful idea.

Sheba, the oldest at 10

8 year old Dakotah - our lucky black cat

Tawnee, the youngest - 5 years old

Even though she's not the oldest or even the biggest, Dakotah rules the roost in our home.

She sleeps each night curled up with me in our waterbed, so she also believes she's in charge and gets to decide when the other two are "allowed" to come in when I am crafting in my Studio. She is often right smack in the middle of whatever I am working on while the other two are napping elsewhere.

When allowed by Dakotah, Tawnee's spot in the Studio is laying on the shelf under the window so she can watch the wildlife in the backyard - unless, in  true Ragdoll fashion, she tumbles off, unhurt, except for her pride of course.  When that happens, she seeks the safety of the floor. But she doesn't complain; heck, even if she did, I'd hardly hear her... she has the softest "squeak!" of a meow... most times you only know she is talking to you by the way her mouth opens; barely a sound comes out.

Every now and then, Sheba will wander into the Studio - when she does, she's a master at waiting patiently  for treats - using her big green eyes to perfection; which always seems to work on me. After all, she is the matriarch and when the mood suits her, she will corral the other two into getting a good tongue bath (much to their chagrin).

Yep. I love my sweet Companions - life wouldn't be the same without them.

Come join the Pet Parade over at Donna's Funky Junk Interiors in memory of her dear Teddy and all our furry family members past and present:

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Unknown

Have you ever picked up something at the thrift store and wondered what the heck it is?

When shopping Value Village (or "The Village" as some bloggers call it!) months ago, I found these three items in a bag for $1.99:

I thought the lioness especially would look good in my printer's tray of small knick knacks.

Were they plastic? Nope.

Were they wood? Nope.

Probably bone ... but perhaps maybe ivory?

To me they look African - obviously the animals depicted - a giraffe, lioness and elephant are of African origin, but that doesn't mean these were MADE there. There are no labels or maker's marks. The rough bottom and hand-carved look suggests perhaps these were trinkets for the tourist trade. African ivory - if these are indeed ivory (elephant tusk) is much harder than Asian, therefore it makes sense that these are more crudely carved than the delicate and intricate carvings you'd see in Chinese ivory pieces, for example.

It has me stumped as I haven't been able to find any similar figurines online... which is usually the first thing I do when I pick up something I don't know much about; Googling images to find sites where I can research an item I have found.

But these? Nothing. Nada.

I was able to find numerous articles such as a Wiki-How article on how to tell ivory from bone which state "Cross hatching (roughly diamond shaped cross hatching) is a good indication that the material is ivory, as are translucent wavy lines." Am I imagining cross-hatching here? What do you think? (Click to enlarge)

The colouring here on the giraffe has me puzzled...

A closer look at the giraffe's base

I still wonder what the story is about where they are from and who could have made them.

And, if they are indeed ivory, how the heck they wound up at "The Village" for a mere $1.99 for all three...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Kooky For Cutters

While decorating my kitchen with a few antiques and vintage items I already had on hand ("shopping my home" as they say), I came across some metal cookie cutters I have picked up over the years at antique and thrift shops. Then I remembered I had even more sitting in my closet... ones I take out when it's time to make the annual Christmas shortbread.

It wasn't until I gathered them all together that I realized what a collection I had of old and new cutters.

I have round ones:

7 Scalloped rounds, 1 smooth round and 1 scalloped oval

Hearts and rectangles:

2 hearts, 3 long scalloped rectangles and 1 small scalloped rectangle

Stars of all sizes:

2 four-point stars, 1 scalloped, a medium and a small five point stars

Of course Christmas shapes:

2 Gingerbread men, holly leaf, bell, candy cane (my only copper cutter), 1 small & 2 large Christmas trees and Santa

And some of my favorites; various animals:

2 Reindeer, a cat, pig, swan, bird, chicken, Scottie dog and horse

Mixed in with the cutters were these...  they're staying in my studio though, as they'll make great push molds using Sculpey. The holiday ones are newer, but the scalloped shapes are older.

And the oldest of the bunch are these delightful animal shapes. Marked Hong Kong, I have a bear, rooster, rabbit, pelican, lamb and cat.

There's only one cookie cutter that has me stumped though:

I've been staring at it. I've been flipping it over, moving it around every which way and I still can't figure it out...

Anyone have an idea what this could be?  It's driving me Kooky!

Sharing over at Funky Junk's!

And with Angie at Knick of Time!

Monday, April 8, 2013

From Good(will) To Better

A few weeks back I spotted this wreath at Goodwill... since it was only $4, I thought I could "spruce" it up a bit to make a nice front door decoration for Spring. Sorry original designers, but those badly-painted, uber-sharp flat metal leaves just won't cut it - well, other than my hands when I try to handle you, that is.

Once I got it home, I found a heavy white plastic box tucked into a brown felt bag sewn onto the wreath behind the nest... it was a battery box - at one time this was motion-activated; the sound of chirping birds probably irritating er, greeting passers-by.

I bought the wreath because the birds and flowers were nice; there were no chips or breaks and the colours not too gaudy. I just needed to make the whole thing more 'natural' somehow.

Then I remembered I already had a bag of moss I got at Michael's for 50% off to do my Easter bunny place settings. Since I barely used any of it for those tiny pots, I had nearly the whole the bag left. I also had some other moss in another bag downstairs, so this project only cost $4 with the rest found items I already had.

I began by snipping off all those nasty leaves and removed the sound box, wires and bag from behind the nest.

Next, I wrapped long strands of Spanish moss around the frame.

Then I simply tore the small Sphagnum moss into pieces and glued them into place.

I added a few branches I had on hand from a mantel display (previously taken from a tree in our yard last Fall).

This was a messy, but quick project.

A piece of rough thick twine is going to be added to the top for hanging once I leave it overnight for the glue to dry.

So what do you think?

Before and After (click to biggify):

I'm joining in on the DIY Moss Projects over at Funky Junk's!

And with Diann over at:

The Thrifty Groove

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Card Creations

The past month not only kept me busy with Easter preparations, but I was also able to crank out a few homemade cards for various occasions.

This first one was a get well card for my Aunt. The cloisonne bird was embossed on vellum and then coloured with Copics on the reverse. I love the translucent effect that gives, especially when it's popped up on foam dimensionals. 

The next two cards were made for two co-workers who are leaving our Department. The first was distressed using some Tim Holtz ink, a Spellbinder die popped up and the bird stamp added on top. I rarely make specially-shaped cards; this one was done with a large Spellbinder die - easy peasy.

The second going-away card for the office features a Magnolia Tilda stamp, as the recipient loves Maggies. I added some Wild Orchid roses over top inked patterned paper that was black and white only, so the purple really added a nice softness.

Two other ladies on our floor are leaving on maternity LOAs in April (they are both due on the same day and both are having girls!) so I made these for them using a new set of Spellbinders dies:

I melted three layers UTEE to make the duck stamp glossy; kind of like a rubber ducky!

The second card I wanted to make in a totally different style, with lace and pearls:

I also made a dress form card for a swap group I belong to. I used my Stampin' Up stamp, and popped it up on a Spellbinder die cut. The background of the card was made by mod-podging real dress pattern tissue using watered down glue. I added a few other stamps from the SU set, a ruler image from Tim Holtz and a seam binding bow at the bottom.

Speaking of cards, of course I HAD to create some Easter cards for the family. I made three the same - one for daughter, my parents and my hubby. I used a new drawing I did of a bunny rabbit (that I have added to my DigiDrawn digital stamp site).

I had fun sponging the background in Tim Holtz Distress Inks, using a torn piece of paper to create the ragged horizon. If you look closely, you'll see a teenie tiny sparkly butterfly on top of one of the flowers.

Hopefully I'll have more time this month to do some new digi stamps - since snow still covers our yard and deck, it'll still be awhile before yard work beckons!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Last Easter Projects

Well, for THIS year, that is!

Not only was Good Friday a holiday, but so was Easter Monday for us hospital workers - a four day weekend that I needed to prepare for hosting the family Sunday dinner.

Since I didn't have time to decorate Easter eggs beforehand, I spent Monday and tonight finishing up a few last projects. I especially wanted to decorate Meeka's eggs - my daughter's lovebird who laid five eggs in February. To read more about her, click HERE for the story.

They are so tiny! Here are two of hers compared to the size of a regular chicken egg:

I drew Meeka on one egg, using Copic markers - on the reverse I glued on a feather of hers, along with her name and the date. The other one I simply covered in gold using a vintage package of "Excelsior Gold Enamel" I found at an antique store last year.

I also wanted to try my hand at making the chicken egg Victorian - looking... perhaps with some lace and a pearl? First I coloured the egg gold, then measured out the lace and gathered the top using some old linen thread I had.

Then I used a second style of lace to wrap all around the sides from top to bottom. I added some vintage jewelry pieces; a gold disc on the top where I ran seam binding through to hang the egg by, and a faux pearl at the bottom with a seam binding bow to finish it off.

So that's it for this year - finally finishing off 2013's Easter crafts and decor!

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