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.