Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The November/December 2008 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine had a little team of delightful snow people on the front cover. Inside, the article by the artist, Sue Pelletier, urged us to have fun by making our own snowmen from found objects. They have been appearing all over blogland and the magazine got so much response that they published a little eletter to show us some. You can see it here. I finally decided to jump in, too! I made and gave away quite a few as gifts (which I have no pictures of), but here's a late gift I finished this morning. This lovely couple, Joy and Hope had a previous life as a Tazo tea bottle (left) and an olive oil bottle (right). The heads are paper clay covered with white glitter and decorated with black rhinestones and a little copper soldering tape for the nose. I partially filled each bottle with a pearl tree rope and then decorated the outside with rhinestones, deconstructed earrings and bracelets, and constructed a little hat for each. The Joy and Hope in the center of each bottle were made by applying silver ground glass glitter with glue to stickers and then gluing them to the bottles. As time goes on, the silver glitter will oxidize and the letters will be darker in color. To match this anticipated change, I finished the bottles with black velvet flowered ribbons. (Yes, Deann, this is ribbon I bought at ARCHIVER'S). I then covered the bottles with spray adhesive and sprinkled them with vintage mica flakes I received as part of my gift in the Christmas Cracker Swap. I am gifting this pair to my friend Mark. I had originally planned to give him the snowman with the cowboy hat (which I shaped myself), but after I had finished this pair, I just couldn't stand to break up the set.
If you have been thinking about making these, I heartily recommend that you get started. I had never used paper clay before, but it was not difficult and the end result is prettier than Styrofoam. I do have one little practice hint: Form the heads and push them onto the bottles. Cover immediately with a generous layer of Golden Gel Medium and cover with white glitter. Then leave the heads for a few days to dry before decorating the rest of the bottles. During the pre-Christmas rush, I made 4 heads without covering with the gel medium and glitter and went out shopping for a couple of hours. When I came back, it was Nightmare before Christmas. The heads had cracks all over them and looked a little spooky. I was able to salvage them, by covering them with a heavy coat of glitter and giving them scarves and hats in strategic places, but I noticed that when I covered them with the gel medium and glitter right away, none of them cracked. Thought I would pass this little tip along to you.
Hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 15, 2008


This last weekend I was fortunate to get together with three girl friends I met in 1979. It was the very first semester of a tough professional school experience and we were 4 of the few women. Our trials and tribulations during those four years, bonded us together. Since that time, we've all been through a lot, but we still get together for our annual Christmas celebration. Three of us now live in the same town (although that hasn't always been so) and one of us lives about 3 hours away. Our celebration is always a joyous time and reminds me just what the holidays are supposed to be about. Last year we made a pact that we would make at least one of the presents we gave the other. While we did not have perfect compliance with that pact(although gifts, not yet completed, are still underway), it was a rewarding challenge and one I urge you to try with your own friends and relatives. We have vowed to continue our new tradition.

I want to share with you a tree topper I completed for one of the friends:

I made a color copy of an vintage confirmation photo of a young girl. I mounted the top half to cardstock and cut it so that there was a long narrow extension to glue inside the cone. Glue the cone together so the the upper torso of the photograph is above the cone stape. I also stamped a star (chinese laundry) for her halo and embossed it over and over with platinum UTEE so that it almost looked like embossed foil. I then glued sections of vintage lace around the doll and made her a belt at her waist with a black ribbon and piece of an old rhinestone necklace. I embellished her further with a 3-D piece of vintage holly in her hair and placed a piece of holly garland in her hand. I added some silver and diamond stickles to her torso to give her a delicate shine and I further accented the berries in the holly with red stickles and edged the holly garland with shiny silver lumiere paint. I hope she will be all sparkly when she graces the top of my friend's holiday tree this year.

How many of you have made Christmas gifts this year?

Friday, December 12, 2008


I signed up for the lovely Carolyn's 2nd Annual Christmas Cracker swap and I was lucky enough to be assigned Rhonda as my swap partner. I knew about Rhonda from reading Carolyn's blog - they are net BFF's. As it turns out, I found out what Carolyn already knew - that Rhonda and I have a lot in common. We love a lot of the same things and we have them in enough abundance to share. Rhonda was so generous and didn't stick to the rules which are: make a Christmas Cracker and fill it with delectable goodies you think your swap partner will like - she went the extra mile and sent me all sorts of goodies too numerous to be contained in her beautiful cracker. Here's the cracker:

It's made of a thick paper, but feels like it is covered in a shiny silver velvet jacquard. She tied it up with festive yellow and red vintage rayon seam binding.

Here's what it and her package contained:

Who wouldn't be over the moon to receive this package? Vintage buttons, little paper reindeer, vintage beaded flower, old mica glitter, an assortment of vintage tickets (!!!), old Christmas cards, and more. As the song goes, these are some of my favorite things. See the little blue tissue paper - its a little hat. I have read that the original crackers contained little treats and toys and a little tissue paper hat for each of the guests to wear at dinner. How authentic of her to have includee that hat (I wish I had thought to include one in hers!) She even sent me a "real" Christmas cracker - so named because when you pull the end they have a little charge of gun powder that goes "Crack!" I've never had a real one before so I am anxious to try it out with my friends this weekend. I just love everything. Thank you so much Rhonda! And thank you Carolyn for hosting. This was such a fun swap.

Today I received an email from Rhonda that my package had arrived safely at her place so I can share with you what I sent to her. Here's the outside of the cracker I sent her:

Here's an assortment of other stuff I sent her in her box that wouldn't fit in her cracker:

I forgot to take a pic of stuff I actually stuffed inside her cracker. It was a challenge to get it all in. If you want to see, hop on over to RhondaMum and see if she's posted a pic of it yet. And while you're there, take a good luck around Rhonda's blog. She's got a really great blog where she creates all manner of great vintage style items and her own etsy shop where she offers some of them for sale. Be sure and say Hi! to Rhonda for me.
I'm having my first Christmas Party of the season this weekend and I'm really excited to be getting together with some girlfriends I've known for almost 30 years. We agreed last year to each make each other at least one of the presents so I may have some great pics to share with you next week! Now I can't wait to see what they made!
Happy Holidays to all and may all your own celebrations and preparations be merry!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Wanda is having a giveaway for her 100th post. Go take a look at the lovely foofed up wreath you could win. You can register for her giveaway by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Lookie, lookie what $3.50 bought me today! A whole 2 bags of broken jewelry and buttons. You may not be able to tell from my pic, but a couple of those strands are from an old rhinestone necklace and the old broken bracelet near the upper right hand corner has green rhinestones for the leaves and purple rhinestone flowers. The big, big, big broken necklace (which is not as old) is decorated with silver pearls, black, clear and amber rhinestones. Considering that I was only looking for some old strands of pearls (which were also enclosed), it was a great haul. At a splendid price!!!
You might think that my love of "junk" (broken) jewelry stems from my crafting obsessions and that I love it because I can make things from it. You would (alas) be wrong. I believe that I actually took up making things with it so that I could justify my need to collect it. I love it because it is beautiful, vintage and (God love my Scottish ancestry) cheap! These are three of the qualities I hold nearest and dearest in my heart.
All of my grandparents were born in the 19th century - yes, that's right, in the 1800's. (Don't infer too much about my age from that because I am the next to the youngest grandchild on both sides of a family that does not turn over a generation very often. All of my great grandfather's fought in the Civil War.) I associate my love of old things with my maternal grandmother's "junk" drawer. I used to love to go through every inch of her bureau drawers (for my sister, the white one in the kitchen on the right of the bathroom door). They contained broken jewelry, old campaign buttons, milk caps, bottle openers, note pads, discarded perfume bottles and old cracker jack toys. When I was lucky she would give me something from those drawers. And those are still some of my favorite treasures to find when I go knicky-knack hunting. After all, aren't we all trying to buy back our lost childholds?
And today was a good day!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Greetings, friends, followers, readers and lurkers! I am very happy to announce I am hosting a charm swap in honor of St. Valentine's Day! For those of you (like me) who may not currently have a significant other, or would just like to ensure a special little treat for the most romantic of days, here's your opportunity to get something extra sweet! for the special day. Sign up by leaving me a post here and an email address so I can contact you.
Here's how the swap will work: Make a charm for every member in the group (which will be no more than 30) with a romantic theme - I leave the interpretation to you of what's a romantic charm: a little string of beads with a heart, a bead with a romantic word, a romantic symbol, a romantic scene, whatever you think fits the theme of romancing the charm. The charms should be not longer than 1-1/2 inches and should have a silver colored jump ring attached to connect to a bracelet (or necklace or whatever else you can dream up to use your charms). The charms should be predominantly silver colored if they are metal, but may contain other metals in moderation. The charms can be from any medium: clay, metal, cloth, treated paper, shrink plastic, glass, china, etc.; they can be etched, stamped, soldered, stuffed, felted or any other method that meets the specifications. Return them to me in an envelope by January 23, 2009 and enclose enough U.S. POSTAGE for their return. Make sure your name and complete address is either legible on the outside of your envelope or enclose a legible card inside. You do not have to send a padded envelope (though it will be appreciated if you do) but be sure to enclose U.S. POSTAGE not the bar strip you get from post office as these cannot be used to mail the item to you (I know that sounds crazy, but it's the rule now. They will put the little strip on your package but when I take it to the post office to mail it back to the swapper, it cannot be used because it was made more than 24 hours ago. So this bears repeating. ENCLOSE ACTUAL U.S. POSTAGE STAMPS NOT A POSTAGE METER STRIP. (I was educated in my last swap when I had to pay postage for several of the packages because I did not warn the players of this problem.)
Here's what you will receive: a special handmade charm from everybody in the group! Just in time so you can assemble your own bracelet or necklace in time for the holiday!

For inspiration, read A CHARMING EXCHANGE by Kelly Snelling and Ruth Rae (North Light Books, 2008)

PRETTY LITTLE THINGS by Sally Jean Alexander or SEMIPRECIOUS SALVAGE by Stephanie Lee or any of the many, many other jewelry making books at your local libraries or book stores. No doubt, you may have some inspirational books, blogs or website of your own you can leave in the comment section to inspire us all.
Please sign up here for the Romancing the Charm swap by leaving your name and your email address if you have a no-reply blogger account. If you are worried about privacy, I will erase your email addresses before my next post. If you do not have a "no-reply blogger account" I believe I can get your email address from your comment and it is not necessary for you to leave it here. I need an email address so I can send group messages without having to contact your individual blogs or waiting for you to respond to my posts here.

Well, I think that's all the details, though no doubt I have left out something important. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them here and to leave me any comments whether you are able to join in the swap or not!

I hope you will join in the fun! It's 7 weeks to make the charms and get them in the mail to me. I'm sorry I don't have a swap button, but please feel free to pass around this info. I'm looking forward to romancing the charms with you this Valentine's Day.


Trish G.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I participated in a Thanksgiving Paper doll/ATC swap over at Debra's. Her blog has been a source of holiday inspiration for me since before I started my own blog so I was so excited to participate in one of her swaps. The requirements were to make a paper doll and an ATC and send them to your swap partner. I can't show you my paper doll because I didn't look at my pics until after I had mailed the doll and they were blurry. (My apology for all the pics: I am not a good picture taker.) Above is the sweet ATC I received in the swap. I love that she made a pink Thanksgiving card. And here's what else I got from my swap partner, Sharon:

Isn't her 3-D paper doll wonderful. I love that she has that little rope belt of pearls. The background is just a pillow we had the office, but I thought it looked very rustic with the doll.

Sharon also very generously enclosed these other little treats for me. Just the kind of trinkets that a vintage girl like me adores. There's even a little tractor stamp and I am coincidentally working on a little tractor project! How serendipitous! I love, love, love, love the old purse with the celluloid closing. The leather has a little dry rot so it can't be carried as a purse anymore, but I'm thinking that the front of the purse could be a good journal cover embellishment or maybe the whole purse could be used in a shadowbox. I'll keep it until just the right project presents itself.

Its so lovely I thought you should see a close-up of the design on the leather. Thanks so much Sharon for being such an awesome swap partner. I hope we get to meet in person.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I am so grateful for my family and friends, on and off the net. You all mean so much to me. I know more of you read my blog than leave me comments. Please know I appreciate you all very much and I love to read your comments, too.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Carolyn is hosting her 2nd annual Christmas Cracker Swap. Yours don't have to p-o-p, but they are decorated on the outside and contain some Christmas Surprises within. You can read about the specific details here. Sign-ups until the 21st so get on over there and sign up if you're interested! (uh, oh, I think I threw away that paper towel tube last night.....)

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I signed up for a wild woman pin swap. After I signed up, I felt a little intimidated by all the great textiley(is that even a word - anyway, the girls are good with yarns and fibers) works by my fellow artists - I work mostly in paper. In the end I decided to cut the back of the head off a little rubber baby doll and paint her little white baby doll pony tail into a silver bee hive on the top of her head. She still wasn't looking wild enough so I painted her face gold. I thought it would cover all her features, but they still shown through so I wiped the paint off her eyes and mouth. I then made her a little cocoon made from a time card and attached a zipper to help with her emergence. I gave her wings made from silver tree leaves and stamped the word "FLY" on a little lingerie strap. The purple and green thing perched on her head is a dragon fly for good luck. I added a little bling and sparkly and sent her on her way. I named her Miss Meta for metamorphosis. What will I be after the change???? She's a little big and heavy to be a brooch, but I hoping whoever gets her will forgive me and will use her as a journal embellishment or some other good use. Good luck to Miss Meta in her travels.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I love the holidays, specifically all the old vintage graphics. Now there's a new opportunity to use them. Debra over at HopHopJingleBoo is having a Thanksgiving Paperdoll swap and I'm playing, too. Debra's keeping it simple, you only need to make a holiday themed paperdoll, an ATC and maybe a recipe and get them in the mail by November 15th. Sign-ups are open only until November 8th so get on over there and follow the directions in this post to sign up. It should be a lot of fun! Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 3, 2008


Strathmore Artist Papers is hosting a global artist trading card swap, where every participant is a winner and receives an original artist trading card. First, visit a participating art materials retailer for an entry form. Create your own holiday or winter-themed card. ATC and entry material must be postmarked by Nov. 26. You will recieve another artisit's card around the middle of December. I know Preston Art Supply in my area has entry forms, but you should be able to find them at other locations. I looked, but could not find them available on line.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Shari participated in our latest ATC swap (see below) and she sent me this beautiful charm as a hostess gift. I was so thrilled. I have barely taken it off. Thank you, Shari. It is such a charming Halloween image.

Shari is a fabulous artist and jewelry maker who work has appeared in Somerset Holidays & Celebrations (issues 1 and 2) and Somerset Studio. She has more publication in the works.

She has a lovely Internet shop - Staffordshire Garden "where antique and vintage treasures abound." Check out her lovely offerings.

You could even WIN one of her pretty treasures. Shari has made some lovely holiday kits she is sending to Silva Bella and she is giving one of them away in honor of her 50th blog post. Get on over to her blog and put your name in the hat! Her drawing is next Friday, November 7. Good luck to you all!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Nancy made these cards with a combination of fabric, paper, and glitter. Aren't the results spookily fabulous. On card #6 she even snuck in a little ghostly image of her precious puppy in the upper right hand corner.

SHARI used these vintage images, old sheet music, and glass glitter to create these beautiful cards.

Sharon used her creative license to make cards that open cut from discarded overhead projector transparencies (for those of you who don't know what an overhead projector is, you are showing your age and I am hating you right now - they were pre computer). She stained the sheets with alcohol inks and created ghostly images of spider webs you can view from all angles. Forgive me for the shiny pics - they are so shiny they were difficult to get a photo that did them justice.

Sharon also made these three cards from various vintage images reproduced on transpancies and layered with other embellishments.

Marianne made these great ATC's from halloween die cuts and handrawn images accented with tulle.

Pat created her own vision of a Halloween Nighmare on her ATC's.

I made this witchy ATC from a vintage photo, rubber stamped image of a house, colored with crayons and covered in diamond glaze and a black dresden for a fence. The little black cat is plastic confetti.

My sister Sharon made me this fabulous paperbag book to display the ATC's from the swap in.
This is the spooky cover with one of Nancy's ATC's in the clear acetate pocket. Sharon made drips of diamond glaze down the acetate pockets to simulate some drippy Halloween gunk.

Here's page 2 with my little witchy card in the pocket. Yes, Sharon, I couldn't resist adding those smallest eyes in the lower right hand corner. I had the eyes in one smaller size and I thought they looked just right. See if you can spot any other additions I have made to your beautiful book.

Marianne's little hand drawn ghost covered in tulle looked just right for this page.

Shari's little witch looked right at home in this pocket of the book.

Here are one of my own cards waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive.

Pat's Halloween Nightmare fit in perfect on this page.

Here's one of Sharon's spooky transparencies in this pocket.

The back cover of the book showcases my little pumpkin patch card.

The pockets of the book were also filled with Halloween luggage tags. Thanks so much for the book, Sissy. I love it and its the perfect keepsake for our swap.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Do you ever find that when your muse finds you, she keeps on AND ON AND ON long after your NEED for her has passed? I think some of you must know what I'm talking about because Albert Brooks made a movie about it (sort of) called THE MUSE. Sure, in the movie, the muse was an actual person who demanded that Albert wait upon her hand and foot, eventually to the detriment of his family and career, but some of you will know what I mean when I say that when my muse comes to call, its sort of the same thing. SHE MUST BE SERVED!!!

Awhile back some friends and I decided to have a little Halloween ATC exchange. I designed a card and made more of the same card in a kind of assembly line fashion. Everybody mailed or delivered their cards to me, then I packaged them up and mailed or delivered them to all the players. Bing, bang, boom!

But then my sister (one of the ATC players) came to visit on Monday night and gifted me a lovely little Halloween book she hand-crafted for me to display my ATC's from the swap in. Each page has a little clear acetate pocket for me to slide an ATC into on a page pre-decorated in the spirit of the season. (I'll post it tomorrow, along with the cards from the swap, I'm just giving the out-of-towners time to get their cards. ) The book had 8 pages and 2 little pockets between the pages so I would need more ATC's to completely fill the book than I was getting in the swap. Then my muse demanded that we make more cards to fill some of those pockets. It was 10:00 p.m., but does my muse care! NO! Time means nothing to her. I was up half the night, but I made four new cards. The little clear acetate window in the costume shop was a little challenging, but after a few do-overs, I think it looks o.k. although it does not photograph well. Anyway, there they are, for your Halloween amusement. I would never blame my Muse for this forced labor. I would be too afraid that she might desert me sometime when I need her most. I blame my sister. If you like the ATC's, please leave me a comment. If you don't like the ATC's, you can blame my sister, too.





Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween Greetings!

I've been looking about at all the great Halloween swaps I missed out on here and here and a super Halloween party over at A Fanciful Twist. You should look at these posts only at your own risk because I guarantee they will work you up into a Halloween decorating nightmare. I just had to post this pic. (Because I don't have a camera today and it is the only pic I have saved in my computer.) Anyway, I made this last year from an old book back, vintage photo and other clipped images, fibers, and ribbons. Some friends and I have been having a little unpublicized Halloween ATC swap and those cards are coming in and making me feel even more Halloweeny. I'll be posting images of those cards as soon as the participants have time to get their cards. So stay tuned.....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I went to a craft class this last weekend put on at a local independently owned craft store by a Fiskars representative. The great thing about demos by company representatives is that they really understand their merchandise and they bring a lot of free samples and door prizes. This demo was no exception. I am not really a gadget kind of person, but in my art stash I confess to owning quite a few. No Cricut, but I do own an older State of the Art Fiskars paper cutter and a Fiskars Drill. I use them all the time and they make my job a lot easier. I also love paper presses which can be a great time saver. I have never owned any border or circle or corner punches (which are bigger and take away more space from my endless collections of antique flowers, dolls parts, etc - you get the picture), but I have found the extra large single paper punches to be especially helpful with shrink plastic and altered books (you can cut a perfect window to the next page) and I own a modest number of these. I went to the Fiskars demo to see what other tools might be helpful - or I thought I might get another pair of scissors - what paper artist doesn't love scissors!

What I did discover that I could no longer live without was the nifty shape cutter pictured above and below. It is called the Fiskars Ultra ShapeXpress. I recognized it as a tool my sister owns, but has never used. I generally retails for about $20 (or at Hobby Lobby for the low, low price of $14.99 MINUS this week's 40% off coupon -sorry, independently owned craft store).
The ShapeXpress is surprisingly easy to operate, once you have figured out what it does. You use it with a hard plastic template. I bought this set of templates at the Fiskars class. They can be used with the ShapeXpress to cut perfect circles from 4.5" in diameter up to 8.25" in diameter. Just follow the easy steps in the enclosed picture instructions to load the blade and then put the safety lock back in place. Then snap off the plastic cover on the bottom and twist the orange freehand spacer to remove it. Then position the blade at the top of the template with your fingers on the sides (not the top!) and move it around the inside or outside of your template. It's that easy! It really works!
This size package of templates will cut circles between 4.5" - 8.25" in diameter. This package retailed for $13.75 and is guaranteed for life of the original purchaser - as are all Fiskars products - another useful fact I learned. Just call an easy 800 number if you need to repair or replace a product. Its like the Tupperware guarantee!
Here I am cutting my easy peasy circle! My Christmas cards may just be round this year!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Here at the office, it's beginning to look a lot like Halloween. Forget Christmas, we love decorating for the spooky holiday. Here's some paper witches I made last year from Character Construction stamps, Daisy D's paper, rub-ons, and dyed bits of lace and doilies.
Click on any pic to see a larger version.
Last year Robin and I swapped witch dolls made from wine glasses. This is the one I got from Robin. Isn't she beautiful? I don't have a pic of the one I sent her, but believe me, it did not live up to her fine creation.

Here she is close-up. Can you believe the detailing???
What are all of you working on for Halloween????