Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hard To Believe

Hard to believe my daughter turned 21 this week! Because she is a bird lover (she has two), I knew I wanted to make a card with a bird (or two) on it. She also is a third-generation lover of the colour turquoise (inherited from my father and me) so was easy to choose the colour scheme too.

So I got out two bird charms, my Spellbinders, two microscope slides, silver tape, a few gems, paper, ribbon and a Martha Stewart edge punch. I expanded on the "Telescoping Card" tutorial on Splitcoast Stampers, by not only creating the whole card from it, but mounting that as a feature on a larger rectangular card.

The round section, rotated upwards to reveal the sentiment that was stamped and embossed in black:

I also created the square charm from the microscope slides so it could be removed from the card if she wishes.

Yep, hard to believe my baby is a grown woman alright...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Yay! It's Here!!!

Last week I was trolling eBay to spend some "eBay Bucks" I had recently earned. To my surprise and quite by accident I stumbled  upon an antique wooden five drawer "small parts" cabinet!

Now I must confess, since I began decorating my art studio with antiques, I have been pining for a wooden vintage card catalog cabinet, but the large ones far exceed my budget. They are crazy hard to find, and when I do, the price (and shipping!) is exorbitant. This one was the perfect size for my desktop; at 24" wide, would fit beside the antique watchmaker's cabinet I found awhile back. From the images in the auction, I could tell it would require some badly-needed TLC - something I was more than willing to provide.

After nervously watching the auction for a week, I was convinced I would be outbid by a sniper at the last second. To my joy, I ended up being the ONLY bidder and got it for a third of what I was willing to spend! Yahoo!

Not only was it packed perfectly, it arrived in only a week from Wisconsin. Believe me; we Canadians can wait a month or more for a box from the US - Customs can hold up shipments forever, but since I got this so cheap, there was also NO duty or fees (which probably explains the fast service)!

It was in good shape overall, so I decided that I would not give this a full restoration... I only wanted to clean it up and keep the vintage look. Here's a shot before I took a scrub pad and mild soap with hot water to it:

It was sticky and gummy and had a musty odor. As I washed the poor thing, the rinse water poured off in a dark brown sludge.... it was coated in grime; what pickers / junkers call "farm fresh" I believe. After just a few minutes of elbow grease, here's a before and after comparison of two drawers. Yep, those ARE brass pulls alright!

It took only two hours to clean it up; I still have to make new labels for the pulls but I couldn't wait to load it up on my work desk:

Before cleaning, I discovered lettering painted on the front, so I was especially careful around what remained:

So of course I had to Google it, and found out that this was, in fact a cabinet from "The Diem and Wing Paper Company of Cincinnati, Ohio". Cool beans! Google also found a current eBay auction for an invoice from this very same company dated 1894, so I just had to Buy It Now:

When it arrives, I am going to frame it over the cabinet (looks around in vain for a few inches of bare wall)

* Sigh *

Well, I will TRY to find room over the cabinet, that is...

I am linking this to:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mother's Day Gifts

After nearly 32 years of marriage, when hubby now asks me "what do you want for .... {insert every gift-giving occasion here} ?" I never, ever respond with "oh anything" or "I don't need anything" anymore.

Instead, I now make sure to suggest a variety of specific items for him to choose from - that way I still am surprised at his choice and he is delighted with the his greatly-shortened shopping excursions, secure in the knowledge he is getting me something I can really use or want.

It's a win - win.

This past Mother's Day is a fine example. When he again asked what I wanted, I suggested he visit my favorite antique dealer who had a variety of items on my wish list for my studio.

I was so pleased he chose to purchase a map of our fair city dated 1884 that I had been eying for some time now -- a wonderful addition to my Victorian Studio that only requires a great frame to finish it off:

In with said map was a gift certificate so I could have the pleasure of picking out another antique treasure!  So last week I went on my own shopping trip and added this little beauty to my room:

The small cast iron antique toy Singer sewing machine has found a home with my antique pin cushion and glass headed pins. I LOVE it!

It was a win-win alright.

Oh and of course Daughter surprised me with some awesome Tim Holtz goodies to actually CREATE in my studio; his first book along with some great TH supplies to play with.

Am I lucky or what? Yep, I sure am.

Linking up (for the first time!) with Knick of Time Tuesday!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My First Metal Sculpture

If you recall from my last post, I bought the guts of an old clock from my local antique dealer last week.  I got it very cheap in a bundled purchase, as I only wanted the gears (and this particular dealer and I have known each other for about 20 years... which helps. A. Lot.)

Once I got it home and began to disassemble it though, I was dismayed to find that most of the gears were in fact soldered to their metal braces.


I spent the better part of a day detaching them with pliers, saws, wire cutters, a few choice words and anything else I could find on hubby's bench that would do the trick. Once the last one was successfully liberated, I had swollen and tender hands, but amazingly I failed to actually slice off any digits.

This was a first.

I fully expected to have shed blood hacking away at the silly thing; just so I could create a metal sculpture to hang in my Victorian Studio.

Now that I had all the pieces, next came the hard part -- deciding how the heck I was going to actually design and build it! I have never done anything like this before and since these brass gears had some weight to them, I either needed to mount it on some kind of base, or attach the gears to each other somehow so it would hang solitary on the wall. I thought the latter would have much more impact.

So I went on the hunt for the necessary glue; I had watched some YouTube videos previously on how to create steampunk jewelry. The only glue they recommended was E-6000. It took a few trips to many stores to finally find it at Home Depot (I was so frustrated that our Michael's had none in stock every time I was there).

After many attempts at different configurations, I finally wrapped that piece of wood with wax paper so I wouldn't accidentally glue my creation to it (believe me, I WOULD have...) and dove in. I had to build it in many steps to create a stable base as I added more and more to it. So I would glue two or three gears and let them dry... then the next day add a few more, let dry, and repeated until I was done. I also went back and forth on whether to keep it just to clock and watch gears or to add watch faces and perhaps some other embellishments like metal wings or chain.

I decided to keep it true to just clock and watch gears and springs... so here it is! It's not huge; I wanted to fill in the space above my couch in the Studio, centered underneath my new shelf (that I built using two antique Victorian shelf supports BTW...)

Here's a closeup of my final piece (click to biggify):

So waddya think of my first wall sculpture?  I'm amazed it actually turned out...

and even more amazed I still have all my fingers.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Good Hunting

This week was a good week. Not only did I score that beautiful stapler for next to nothing when I got those three sewing table drawers (see the post below if you haven't read about THAT), I found some great items at both Goodwill and antique stores recently (click to biggify as always):

I scored the following from Goodwill:  a dark wicker basket, the silver coffee pot I'm going to store my paintbrushes in, a nicely aged silver sugar bowl, a round-covered silver bowl, a set of crystal salt and pepper shakers, playing cards to use in crafts, an old metal hour glass minute timer, the silver pedestal tray and that vintage Scrabble set I found for $2 which is in perfect condition. The box is pristine; and inside I found out that it is the 1953 copyright version. I bought it for the tiles, but since I already have 200, I think I will keep this set complete. I also found the cream and sugar bowl set from the Titanic exhibition... they were 99 cents each; a far cry from the $20 I paid for my set last year at the show!

Here's a closer look at the left side of my stash. Items seen here from an antique store include that Victorian brass door knob, 10 vintage post cards and a set of great old keys. I also got that 1925 children's book that I won't feel bad about tearing up and using in projects; it already has a few torn pages inside.

Also from the local antique store - the guts of an old clock. I got it super cheap as I just want the gears for a project or two...

Yep, it was a great week... now I can hardly wait to start using and displaying some of these new treasures!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Patience IS a Virtue

As I have mentioned before, just blocks away from my office at the hospital are both a thrift store and an antique store. So when I feel the burning need to spend some money, stretch my legs and get some fresh air, I take a walk over to shop during my lunch hour; a routine I've run for months. Last fall whilst in the antique shop, I spied a small funky black and gold colour stapler sitting BEHIND the cash desk.  It was beautiful and I thought it would look great in my new vintage studio so I asked and was informed it wasn't for sale.


Over the next six months, every time I went in, I saw that stapler.... still sitting there calling my name. I inquired every single time if it was for sale yet (as it always seemed to be someone different working that day). Each time, the same answer. No. I even left my business card in case the owner ever decided to sell it.

I never got a call.

Because it was such a glorious Spring day today, I again tore my blurry eyes from my computer screen and walked over to the antique store. Again, I was greeted by yet another person working there. I found three antique wooden sewing table drawers, but they weren't priced. So I asked her how much, and she said to just make an offer. I offered and she accepted, $ 15 for all three. Awesome!

While she rang me up, again I spotted that same black stapler; still sitting in the same protected spot behind the till. I asked my question yet again, expecting the same old response. Except this time, I realized SHE was the owner! She said it could be for sale, and to make an offer.

"I'll give you $20 for it!" I couldn't believe my luck when she responded with, "Well, it's been a really slow day and I am in a good mood. SOLD!"

Yipee!!! It was FINALLY MINE! After months and months (and months) of yearning for that beautiful piece, I finally had it. Isn't it cool???

When I got back to the office, I still had a few minutes, so I decided to check online to see how old it was. I thought it was a vintage piece... but no, it was modern. Oh well, I thought. I hope I didn't pay too much for it! So I checked eBay.

Holy crap.

23 Kt GOLD????? No way. But even if this guy had already sold three... it COULDN'T be worth $100 more than I paid for it. Could it?

I checked Amazon.

Holy crap again. 

Checked some more.

Holy crapoly... 

I sourced the company... yep. 23 Kt GOLD alright. A Spanish stapler that is considered to be the finest in the world.

I have a freakin' GOLD stapler.

For 20 bucks.

I even loaded it up with standard staples and it worked perfectly! I could hardly wait to get it home in my studio.

Daughter wants to melt it down for jewelry.

No way. I've waited way too long for this baby; I am going to treasure it forever and staple VERY, VERY CAREFULLY....

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cards Galore!

May is a busy month for card making. With a few birthdays, Mother's Day and an anniversary in early June, I've been busy in the studio creating. Here is my Mother's Day card for my mom using a beautiful image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy:

Dad's Birthday is coming up in a few days too, so I made him a card using some Tim Holtz papers in his favorite colours. I found a few dark green buttons and sewed them on:

Another Mother's Day card - this one is for hubby's mom:

And here is a dragonfly card for a card swap using background paper that I created with Tim Holtz Distress Inks and some water for a water colour effect:

Here is the second card I made for this month's card swap. I was to make a "Card for a man". I know this is hard for many... me included. But recently I got some great masculine / steampunk papers that I could use! I also stamped a clock face from Tim Holtz and added a button from my stash.

Whew! Next I have to do a special card for daughter who will be turning 21 (AHHHH!!!) in two weeks...

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Productive Lunch Hour

Last week while at work, I decided to stretch my legs at lunchtime and walk over to the nearby Goodwill and Antique stores. Luckily, they are right around the corner from the hospital and when the weather is nice I love to get some exercise and fresh air whilst hunting down something for my studio.

It was a good day alright... at Goodwill, I found a small green wooden box sitting by itself on a table at the back of the store. I unclasped the $7.99 item and found it was an oil painting kit! Inside was a very nice set including mineral spirits and most of the tubes of oil paint never even opened. The box seemed rather heavy and the tubes set high inside, so I lifted off the tray they were sitting in to find an instruction book, an unused palette and a whole set, save 1 of UNUSED brushes in a second tray underneath! Not a bad find for $7.99!!!

I still had some time left so I went over to the Antique store. I don't usually find too many things there, but that day they were just packed with newly acquired items. On the floor near the door, propped up on a chair leg, was a large 16" X 13" photo album with black paper pages:

With that beaver on the front, it must be a Canadian album... I love the title: "Snaps and Scraps". I thought it was empty, but after a quick peruse (I had to get back to work), I found there were a couple of photos still in it! So I laid down the $15 for the album and got back to the office.

It was only when I got home and had time to really look at it, that I realized it probably was a Canadian's memory album from either a trip or when they lived in England. It had 112 photos and postcards still in it, most from around England and Scotland!

I had intended on using the album for my vintage postcards; so I think I shall reorganize it to keep the existing filled pages all together and use the many blank pages for my own vintage post card collection.

Now THAT was a great way to spend a lunch hour!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Four ATCs And A Card

I was in the mood to do some more ATCs this past weekend so I got four done; all made twice as each of these will be sent out to my ATC Swap Group.

This first one started out with Tim Holtz' Distress Inks (Rusty Hinge and Walnut Stain) with some edging in Walnut Stain as well. I used his stamps on this one too - an old architectural design that reminds me of a ledge, so I perched a family of crows on the ledge and added some grommets for interest. The word "Family" is stenciled on using black paint. 

The second one was created using all acrylics; this time I just finger-painted green and yellow in swipes across the card. Then I used a stencil (made from a punched plastic ribbon) to create the white layer of circles. I stamped the swirls with another Tim Holtz stamp and used a piece of ribbon from my stash to add some bling - hard to see here, but the ribbon has some glitter in it. I then stenciled on the word using black paint. This card has so much texture; it is fun to touch!

All that painting gave me an idea to simply paint a card... so I used Tim's Broken China and Pine Needles Distress Inks to paint a background first. Then I stamped an image of a seascape over top. I went over the stamp with a black pen and added white acrylic paint for the clouds and whitecaps. This was so much fun; I know I am going to do this again...

The last card I created was a simple stamp and ink card; I used Tim's Spun Sugar and Worn Lipstick then stamped his images over top. I love watching the way the inks interact with a water spritz; you get a different effect every time!

My last project was to create another birthday card for a co-worker. I enjoy this technique; embossing with white on a grey card then colouring in with a black pen. Effective and she loved it!

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