Thursday, January 31, 2008

Free Give Away!

Artist Catherine Matthews-Scanlon is generously giving away two copies of her new book: Art from the Heart. If you would like to win one of them click on the link at the left and hop on over to her blog. Leave a comment under the giveaway post to enter the give-away. Also please be sure to tell her that The Tattered Rose told you about it. Good luck to everyone. The give-away date is February 4, 2008.


The great thing about designing your own collage handbags is that you can pick the images, the subject matter and the colors. I made this bag for myself just because I wanted one with navy and various purple papers to carry with jeans. It has several scrapbook papers, purple mulberry paper, some stickers, a vintage photo, old lace and a blue soft plastic flower brooche. I have gotten a lot of use out of it! Just click on the image for an enlarged view.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


This purse has a photo of my grandmother, my mother (seated) and my Aunt Stella. I think my mother must be holding a cousin, but no one left in my family knows who he is. I put the background together from a collage of various scrapbook papers, ink (Ranger sepia) and Golden pearl mica flakes. I also used rub-ons for the first time. You can use the rub-ons directly onto the leather of the bag, but only if you cover it with a thick layer of Golden Gel Medium so that they don't rub off the purse. Do this very neatly or you will get unsightly spots on leather this dark. The opposite side of the purse has a picture of strangers I bought in an antique store. I kind of like combining family photos with photos of strangers on the same bag. Its like a little extra surprise every time you see the family/friend's face on your bag. I'm sorry I don't have a pic of the opposite side on this computer to show you. I seldom pick a handbag that has hardware on the side of the bag because it interferes with the collage and you have to work around it. This bag was such a nice thick navy leather and is actually lined with a thick suede leather - I just couldn't resist restoring it. This bag will still be going strong for another 60 years!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I made this purse for my friend, Sherry. She's an herb gardener, and a lover of herbs, and I found just the right phrase to decorate her purse. This bag was a 1950-60's brown lizard bag with some wear to the leather on one size. I was able to completely cover any defects with scrap book papers, paint, ink, Golden mica flakes, and some vintage lace. I embellished the bag further with a few vintage pieces. I left the reverse side of the bag unadorned which I discovered the hard way is often the better idea. You must be careful not to use embellishments that will tear you clothes. Click on the bag if you want to see it in more detail.

Friday, January 18, 2008


This is a purse I made for my Sister Sharon. It features a picture of our parents on the boardwalk in New York City. My father was drafted during WWII and my mother traveled to NYC to be with him there. She came back to Kentucky to actually give birth and then went back with the new baby. I always loved my mother's stories of adjusting to life in the big city after having been a country farmer in Kentucky all her life. What a big dramatic change in her life that move must have been! I just love this photograph of the two of them and I have used it a lot. Even thought of having a rubber stamp made of it. If anyone has ever done this, please let me know what you thought about the finished product.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My Mother Mary Purse

I call this purse my "Mother Mary" Purse. Mother had always loved the custom of wearing corsages on Mother's Day to honor your mother. For many years, we both wore pink corsages to church each Mother's Day, until her mother passed away and then only I wore a pink corsage and Mother wore a white one "to honor her mother." I never thought then that someday I might wear a white corsage in my mother's honor. And, indeed, by the time my mother passed away in 1984 from cancer, the custom had already fallen away. But on Mother's Day 2006, when I was in the middle of my year long purse project, I spent my Mother's Day making this purse to honor my mother. It has her face on the tiny little postage stamp in the frame, an 'M' for Mary, mother of pearl buttons, a little "Mom" tag and a white flower I distressed with tea and inks. A white flower in her honor. I carry this purse often and it is very special to me. I am always so pleased when people comment on it and I can tell them that it is my mother.

I miss you, Mom. I hope you liked your purse.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I have always loved vintage purses. I bought my first one at a church rummage sale when I was about 14: It was wrapped in tissue paper and stored in a little box. I knew it was special and I wanted it. My mother argued that it was too old-fashioned and I wouldn't use it. Still, I persisted and paid my own 35 cents for it. I carried it as an evening bag throughout high school and college and I have it to this day. I bought a lot more vintage purses after that and I have carried a vintage purse a lot of the days of my life. Vintages purses have been my signature fashion item all my adult life.

When I first learned that Stampington & Company were going to publish a magazine called "Haute Handbags", I was intrigued. In fact, I was moved to take action. I began to buy up scratched and damaged vintage bags with the vague idea that I would learn in Haute Handbags how to collage directly onto the purses so that I could cover any damaged or worn spots. I looked particularly for bags that had sturdy handles and clean linings. No musty smells. Beautiful well-made handbags of the 1940's, 50's, and 60's that deserved to be given a second life. They were the kind of bags I had carried most of my life.

After studying every single page of volume 1 of that magazine, I was inspired to begin what I can only call my year long vintage purse project. Without the courage to risk destroying a vintage purse, I first experimented on a damaged bag I bought at the fashion shop for $4. Bolstered by that success, I spent the next year experimenting restoring my vintage bags with glues, papers, fabric, and other embellishments. I even came to love the bags so much that I was able to use some of the bags that were not damaged, decorating them, I felt, rather than destroying them. I made purses with special meaning for myself and others by incorporating family photos and items suggested by those photos. I made some "story" purses of families and friends adopted in local flea markets and antique stores. I love these purses and I am glad to be able to share some of them with you.

In the midst of this purse project, I learned that there were Yahoo! altered art groups and I joined a few. This opened up a whole world for me that I had had no idea existed. Although I've struggled with my marked computer handicap, and have rarely posted any art of my own in those groups, I have been blessed and inspired by the many and varied works of the members of those groups. Eventually, I had enough confidence to send in some Halloween pieces in response to Somerset Studio's challenge. One of those pieces was chosen for their new magazine Somerset Holidays & Celebrations. I was surprised and over the moon! I told the guy who waited on me at Starbucks and several other strangers. It seemed too good to be true. I had to wait for four l-o-n-g months for the publication date and I had trouble thinking that it would really happen. It was really thrilling to see my little shadow box in that magazine.

In the meantime, I sent some of my purses to Altered Couture and I am lucky to have one of them in an article by the editor in the current Winter edition. It is my Princess Bag with the little girl and her father. I am going to post it here and a few others. (No doubt they will be the wrong size and in the wrong place, but if you read my previous post, you understand)

In all this I learned a very important thing which I want to share with you: Come closer to the screen so that you do not miss a word: It is unlikely that you can be a published artist if you do not submit your work to be considered for publication. So, every single one of you out there, who would like to be published, send something in, not just once, but as many times as it takes. If you don't get published the first time, it doesn't mean your work is not good, just that they don't have a place for it. Persevere: One of your fondest dreams could come true. Isn't that worth the cost of a little postage?


O.K. I think I'm flunking blogging. Sure, I like to write and I'm friendly enough and two of the main reasons I wanted a blog in the first place was to have a place to share my thoughts (mostly the arty ones) and connect with you similarly minded folk out there in blogland. But, I just can't get the darn photos and posts where I want them. This is a little frustrating! I picked up the new issue of CPS today and there's an article about how easy starting a blog is! Where are these easy instructional videos she speaks of in that article! I haven't seen any of them - I tried to look up my problems in the Help section and the answer sounded truly worse than my problem.

So, here's the thing. I'm a little competitive. Always have been. I think I was born that way. When I was in first grade I was the only kid in my reading group at school who had not gone to a private Kindergarten and everyone, but me, could read and write and count. I was so chagrined I remember making a secret list of all those who were "better" than me and (secretly) changing the list as I steadily climbed up it. Surely, if I was encouraged by my parents to be competitive, they must have done it with mirrors. Their parental teachings were appropriate instructions about using my God given abilities and doing my personal best. Still, there it is, my competitive nature, a blessing and a curse. But I am almost sure that I will eventually work out these technical blog difficulties because I have been visiting around here in Blogland and I am making a secret list and it is very, very long because you folks out there have seriously impressive blogs. I want one, too.

But until I work out these technical kinks, I am going to continue to blog, despite my embarassment, because I am a practical gal and I like having this platform and I love having company and I know that someday in the future, just like I learned to read, write and do arthimetic like my parents told me I would, that I too, can figure out how to post, do a layout, make a banner and size my photos. But rest assured that until that day arrives, I will making my secret list of the things you do better than me and trying to move (secretly) up my list. Because here's the thing: I'm competitive. I just can't help it. It's a blessing .... and a curse.

Friday, January 11, 2008


One thing my friends all know about me: I love tea. I don't just find it a refreshing beverage. I love tea like some people love a fine wine. I am always in search of quality tea: Tazo, Republic of China, Twinnings...all fine teas, but the finest tea in my opinion has always been Taylors of Harrogate (Tea Room Blend). I haven't been able to find it anywhere so if someone out there find's what's happened to this tea, please leave a comment or send me any email and let me know. (Hint: not Imperial Tea Room)

I also love hot chocolate. I have many happy memories of my mother cooking it up on the stove with Hershey's cocoa and milk after I had a hard day outside sledding. But the finest hot chocolate I have ever had is Godiva Hot Cocoa (Dark Chocolate Truffle). If you aren't lucky enough to have a Godiva store near you, they also carry it at every Barnes & Noble I've visited. Its a little pricey at $10 a container but it makes 12 servings and its a nice treat at the end of a hard day. Must go heat up the milk now....

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Here's some more the trick-or-treat Zany dolls and the paperdolls made from Character Constructions rubber stamps.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


After my original project with Zany dolls, I taught myself to use rubber stamps and embossing inks. I found that inks varied greatly - in wetness, in intensity and in formulation. Some inks could not be used for some purposes and some inks could be used with more success on a particular project. I like a "dry" ink and I use a lot of the Ranger Distress Inks because they are quite dry and do not spread much after they are stamped and I do not lose a lot of the fine detail on the kind of stamps I like to use. I do not mean this as a particular endorsement of these inks, but rather, as an invitation to experience to find what works. I also found that not all embossing powders are created equally. I use a fine detail black, clear, and old paper distress embossing powders the most. I am also partial to really shiny metallic embossing powders and I like Ranger's Queen's Gold the best as it is the shiniest lovely gold color. I bought a heat gun and discovered that if you melt the top of children's foam you can rubber stamp into and then dry brush on paint and make lovely little embellishments for card making, etc. All this experimenting took a lot of time, but I will never regret it because I acquired knowledge I would never have gotten in any class. Examining things for yourself is never time wasted.

All this experimenting eventually led me back to more paper dolls, stamped, embossed and decorated. By this time, I had begun to study the fine print in the back of Somerset Studio Magazines which tells how the particular items are made. Time and time again I was attracted to stamps from Character Constructions. They turned out to be made from the drawings of a lovely artist, Catherine Moore, from Georgia. I put these stamps on my Christmas wish list in 2006 and my wonderful sister Sharon called up Catherine and talked to her personally about what she should order for me. Sis found out that she could get a lot more bang for her buck if she ordered the stamps unmounted and she bought me some stamps for Christmas and my birthday in January and I loved them so much I have bought some more for myself. I had never bought unmounted stamps before that date, but Catherine told my Sis it would be really easy and it was! Since that time, Catherine has changed her stamps over to the clearly constructed stamps that cling to an acrylic block and are very popular right now. If you have the old red rubber unmounted kind, you just cut them apart and either use a block of wood or an acrylic block to temporarily mount them. I put the stamp on with double sided tape. The rest of the time I keep the plates stored separately in little zip lock bags. There is nothing difficult about it and they take up very little space compared to wood mounted stamps. If you are not familiar Catherine's stamps you can see them at and certain ones are now being sold online by the Somerset Studio store at They come in body parts, clothes and accessories and most of the different lines are interchangeable, particularly if you work with them a little. I have experimented with stamping and embossing on colored card stock and printed scrapbook papers. I usually make the dolls by stamping body parts on manila file folders and gluing them with a glue stick to heavier white card stock or poster board. Catherine's newest line was just released this month and they are based on Marie Antoinette. I can't wait to get my hands on those! What lovely costumes in that line! Following are a few projects I made with those stamps during 2007. I don't think I had this much fun with paperdolls when I was a little girl.

Monday, January 7, 2008


Its a new day! Its a new life for me and I'm feeling good!

Hello, everyone! This is my maiden post for a blog I never thought I would start! Who knew that the last 5 years would lead me to my current path! As one who can barely turn on a computer, I am surprised to be writing a weblog. It is indeed a new dawn for me.

I hope to make lots of new friends and reconnect with some old here. Most of all I hope to share my art and provide inspiration for others who may have similar interests.

The love of old things is not new for me. I had a step-grandmother, Edna, God love her, who had a little antique store in the back of her house. Even as a pre-schooler, I would fondle each of her little trinkets and those she bestowed on me were taken home and given a place of honor on my dresser. I am convinced that I was born to love vintage things. When I handle them it is as though I can feel the history of all the persons who have handled them before - as though I love them not just for the item, but for our shared connection. Surely this is born, not made.

Through the years I came to love vintage clothes, particularly vintage purses and lingerie and even briefly ran a vintage clothing store in the '80's with my Sister: The Cat's Pajamas. This brought me into contact with others who also loved vintage clothes. A few years I was sitting in a courtroom next to a friend and she was wearing a black vintage coat from the '50's. Suddenly, an alarm sounded in my head and I knew I had handled that coat before. She saw me staring at it and I mouthed, "Did I sell you that coat?" and she nodded yes. She told me later that she was a customer in my store, but we didn't know each other then and she had never mentioned it. Maybe the connection I have to these inanimate objects is real!

I have always been a little "crafty." A college roommate convinced me to take a ceramic class with her, which led to 10 more years of lessons. Then there was a couple of years of paper molding with my friend, Nancy, and many more years of emulating Martha. I had the help and assistance of many fine crafters, but my own work took a serious new direction when I saw my first copy of Somerset Studio. I think it was about 2001 and I would read the magazine from time-time and several of its sister publications until I finally had the courage to make something of my own. I made Zany Dolls from a pattern in Art Doll Quarterly. The Girls are some of my most recent ones. I made the original ones from old file folders and xeroxed pages from Alice in Wonderland that I aged with tea. It was my first distressing journey.....