Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Since January I have been involved in a "scrap crow" round robin with some Internet friends. The rules are that each person make and stuff a crow and add one embellishment to it and send it on to the next person on the list once per month. Each person adds one more embellishment and eventually the crow comes back to the original artist all gussied up from his/her travels. Well, my original crow, Odeana Raven, was a casualty and the person I forwarded her to never sent her on and was subsequently removed from the game...and I was out one crow. Well, I had a little problem with my motivation and I got bogged down in the decorating and making myself a new crow. I had finished my own crow and the one I was supposed to be decorating and the one for the next month arrived before I got them in the mail so.... I recently forwarded a murder (defined as a flock of crows) to Terry to work on. I didn't get a pic of the three before they flew off, but Terry was kind enough to send me the wonderful pics when they arrived at their destination. The one above is my replacement crow, Homer and you can read about him here and about his true love, Odeana Raven, here.
Cheri's crow was already superbly embellished when she arrived and I had to work harder to find something new. I added the yellow and orange rick rack to her tail feathers and hat.
I also dyed a piece of vintage trim with bright orange dynaflow and added it to the end of her tail feathers.

I had the most fun working on Felicia's bright crow! I made her orange hat by dying and shaping a little piece of straw from the hobby lobby doll section and adding the yellow rick rack and vintage flowers to the hat with glue. I sewed it to her head with green embroidery thread and gave it more stability with the green thread chin strap.
I think the real fun of this exercise is to see just how creative all the folks involved can be with a simple scrap crow! It's also a great way to use up your own left overs - a little bit of this or that. Don't you just love the different interpretations on the same theme?

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I was so inspired with all the purse making that I decided to try and glue a scrap piece of cut velvet (polyester) onto a purse. The purse I choose was a vintage '40's tan lizard bag that had some discoloration on the leather. It was otherwise sturdy and in good shape - no dry rot. If you are going to try this yourself, make sure the leather connected to the metal around the handles is in good shape. I like the handles to be in good shape and the insides to be like new before I send money on a vintage bag.

To give this bag new life, I applied an even coat of Golden acrylic gel medium to the side of the purse and fitted a piece of the cut velvet material to it. I cut the fabric long enough to extend into the sides a bit and then finished each side (after it is thoroughly dry - 24 hours at least) with double-sided tape (Terrifically Tacky Tape) and aubergine velvet ribbon that is tightly fitted across top of the bag, down that side and across the bottom and up that side. I also used the velvet ribbon to cover the little metal design feature at the top of the bag. The result is a brand new pocketbook! Knowing that this type of fabric works so well opens up a lot of possibilities for more purses.
I was carrying this bag this week and someone remarked that I had a new purse and "I wasn't carrying one of own bags". They were surprised to learn how I "remodeled" this one.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I have always loved the color green and the flavor of lime. I don't know which love came first, but as a child I was always vying for the green lollipop or the green snowcone. I used to have an herb bed and grew my own lavender, but am sadly without ground for the herbs right now. This year I have revived an old favorite from my herb garden days: Lavender Limeade. I can't think why I ever stopped making it. It is so-o-o-o good! Much better than lemonade. Recently I found a bottle of organic reconstituted lime juice at a local health food store and it was all I needed to spark my memory.

I found they also had organic hibiscus and organic lavender and I was off! Here's how to make it:

Brew a strong tea of lavender and a small amount of hibiscus. It will be rosy in color. I do this by boiling water in a glass mixing cup in the microwave and when it comes to a boil then add about 1 part hibiscus to 3 parts lavender. Let it cool and then filter out the bits of lavender and hibiscus. While you are waiting for it to cool, heat a bit of water and make a strong mixture of limeade, water and sweetener. Mix the two together, serve over ice and, wallah! a very refreshing summer drink!

Sorry I don't have an exact recipe for you, but if you are still reading at this point, you will be able to mix to taste!

If anyone else out there loves lavender (or any herbs for that matter) for cooking, I would appreciate your sharing your favorite recipes. I used to have a good one for lavender shortbread, but I've lost it.

Hmmm! I am thinking this would be good with some Walker's shortbread. I must try that out soon.


Over the 4th of July holiday my muse came to visit and I made 3 purses in three days - which may just be a new record for me. I enjoyed the long blocks of time to create and one day I looked up and it was already 2 o'clock in the afternoon and I had been working since early morning. I love when that happens! Here's the second of the ones I made. I made a pattern from newspaper to cover the sides of the purse and then used that pattern to cut precise pieces from a scrapbook paper. I then decoupage the scrapbook paper to the front and collage some torn bits of sheet music, old letters and patterned pieces to the base. I used some sepia ink to shadow those editions and cut a couple of applicable phrases from an old novel.
I covered the whole side with a fairly thick layer of Golden acrylic gel medium and then covered the entire side with a piece of polyester tan netting - making sure to press the piece firmly into the gel medium without leaving any wrinkles. Then I cut around the vintage photo of the mother and daughters and affixed it into the gel medium and covered it over the top. When the side is dry, the netting behind the picture lends a nice texture and tint. I was very happy with the technique, but you have to move quickly so that your gel does not begin to dry while you are still working - it makes for nasty little lumps in your glue which are not easy to remove with the netting in place. Here's a close-up of the old photograph. I love this pic which I bought a few years ago in an antique mall. I got my friend at the local copier to experiment with the color of the original photograph. I have used this pic before, but it is the first time I have ever used them on a purse. A couple of years ago I made this trio into a Witches Shrine called the Power of Three.

For the back I used the original scrapbook paper base (which is best described as a paper on which someone cleaned their brush with gray and a little red) and sealed it with the netting in gel medium. Sometimes I add photos to both sides, but this purse did not call to me to do so. (Yes, sometimes the purses actually speak to me.)

I finished with a trim of aubergine velvet ribbon around the edges and in the little decorative groove at the top of the purse which I applied with double-sided tape. I couldn't get a good pic so you could really see the velvet ribbon, but it was just the right size to fit in that groove and I think gives the purse a more finished look.

I trimmed the netting after the purse was completely dry and applied extra glue to any edges of paper that seem loose. The more fused the paper is to the purse, the less the wear and tear on the papers. When they are properly fused, then they really wear as though the purse is fabric. The Gel Medium so changes the texture of the paper that most people are surprised when I tell them that I have used papers to cover the purse.

I am anxious to try this technque again to see if I can improve on my time.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Last week I found this material at the Hancock's Super 4th of July sale. It is a dark pink polyester netting with the different ribbons connecting the netting. I thought it would be fun to experiment with gluing this fabric to a purse! So I bought 1/2 yard for $1.00 and took it home. By the time I figured out that it would work, and went back to the store to buy a bit more, it was all gone. (sob!)
But I did find it in this pretty lavender and the yummy salmon pink.

Here's a closeup of what I did with the hot pink. I decoupaged some scrapbook papers with roses and some text from an old novel onto the side of the purse. When that was dry I covered the whole side with a a thick coating of Golden Gel Medium and pushed the netting into the gel medium and let it thoroughly dry. I have used this technique before with success with pieces of old lace. After it is dry, it is very strong, except that you may want to go around the edges of the bag and make sure that it is well glued in those areas.
Here's the purse that resulted in that technique. I used a vintage pink purse and I liked the combo of the paper and the textures of the netting and ribbons.

Then I think I may have gone too far when I added this vintage photo to the front of the purse. I affixed the photo first to some sturdy chipboard and glued it on with pop dots to the front of the purse. I was unhappy with that look, so I covered the pic in plain tan netting and then used Jacquard Gold Lumiere paint to put the bright gold border on the pic. (I originally had made a border by embossing the original photo print with bright gold embossing powder (Ranger Queen's Gold), but that did not show up well through the netting.)

Here's a closeup of the vintage photo. I have one charm I think I am going to add to the outside of the photo.
Here's where I would love to have your opinion. Do you like the purse better with or without the photo?