Monday, January 31, 2011

One World One Heart

Here is an event I've really been looking forward to for awhile.  It's the 2011 One World, One Heart Blog Tour.  In order to participate, you have to have an active blog.  This is wonderful fun, a chance to meet other bloggers and enter lots of fabulous prize contests.

I'm supposed to introduce myself so, here goes.  I'm a mother, grandmother, wife and avid collector of vintage things, including the 1920's house I restored and live in.  I love to create art out of vintage items.

The soft heart door hanger I'm offering in this drawing was created completely out of vintage sewing supplies, old costume jewelry, millinery flowers and beads.  It is about 5" wide by 6" long and hangs well from a door knob or small hook. 

Comment below for a chance to win.  The winner will be announced February 17th.  I hope it's YOU.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

America Loves Scrabble

If Alfred Butts were alive today he'd be amazed to see all the uses people have found for his little wooden alphabet tiles. Mr. Butts was a depression era, out of work architect who decided to try his luck at inventing a board game that had the look and feel of a crossword puzzle. His original title "Criss and Cross" was soon changed to the now very familiar term "Scrabble".  Over 120 million sets of "Scrabble" have been manufactured since 1948.

Today, the familiar little "Scrabble" tile has found itself incorporated into lots of different applications from jewelry to card making and scrapbooking, as structural components in model making and art elements in collage and assemblage.

Here in our house, we rarely get the old game board out and prefer to gather around the table playing a cut-throat game of "Speed Scrabble" with the little wooden tiles.  The kids would rather play electronically. No matter how you decide to play... it's clear we Americans have had a long term fascination with the little wooden alphabet tiles Mr. Butts design in the 1930's.

You could even spend a little time today doing a little something you know you love. Play Scrabble.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Gloved One

Before Michael Jackson was even out of diapers, any sight of a gloved Jackie Kennedy was enough to send the paparazzi flying for their flash bulbs.

Here was a woman of such style and grace who just made us all think wearing gloves in the heat of a summer morning was as normal as breathing.  Never mind the sweaty palms the smudges on our white cotton fingertips, having to take one glove off to have a smoke (probably in the grocery store) and inevitably loosing one of a precious pair in the process.  We all wore gloves anyway.

Our mothers wore gloves to church, to go shopping in the city, to tea parties with friends, hey, they probably wore them to carry their little American Tourister compact bags to the labor room to give birth to their little glove wearing daughters, like me.

Then one day, not quite sure when, we just stopped seeing gloves.  Fashion folks, who chronicle things like this, say it was around 1970.  High society women had been wearing gloves since before Marie Antoinette.  Perhaps, when it got down to Aunt Bea showing up at the Mayberry jail wearing a hat and gloves, the fad was really over. The masses were just less germy if you know what I mean. Who needed gloves when we had antibiotics and vaccines?  Who needs gloves today, when we have hand sanitizer pumps right next to the grocery carts?  I miss gloves.  But, if they come back into fashion in another form like this...

I probably won't start wearing them to the grocery store anytime real soon. Fashionistas are predicting a return of the glove, so... if you want to get a jump on the trend, I've got some good ones here .

I'm also happy to report I'm now a sponsor at Sweet November and was featured there today.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Disappearing Ink

Back in the early days of computers, the technology community predicted we would someday be a "paperless society".  I don't think I'll see that in my lifetime...but  I am ready to concede there have been some significant decreases in the amount of paperwork I personally handle in my life.

I used to leave my doctor's office with a handful of scripts for diagnostic procedures, regularly recurring prescriptions, forms to file with the insurance company and a validated parking ticket. It was a fistful of tree debris.

Last time I went... nada, nothing, zero, zilch.  The prescriptions were faxed, the HSA health card covered the cyber transaction, my medical records were dictated into a recorder and downloaded to some files which then authorized me to show up for my mammogram. When I drove over the bridge to go home, the transponder on my windshield automatically deducted the toll from my bank account electronically. I hardly even need to carry any paper money anymore.

This was not the world of November 11, 1951 when Mr. ??? received this prescription from Dr. Elliot for the ???? which would surely solve his health problems for good.  Our mystery man, took this mystery vintage script right down to Goodwin's Pharmacy in Apex, NC where it was filled and then filed in a huge wall of aged oak drawers until they closed the old place down and stacks of drawers were carted off to a far away antique store.

In the old days I was never able to spend more than the paper I had in my pocket .  I had to get up off my duff and walk down the isle in the drug store to turn the prescription in, which, by the way, only burned the calories I got drinking a coke at the soda fountain while the druggist filled the script. Today, someone will at least be able to read the Doc's keystrokes better than his handwriting , but, then again,  I don't have access to the files to be sure.

Looking for an interesting conversation piece, wander over to Mamamotherlode, I've got just the thing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

That's Just Ingenious

I love to wander cyberspace in search of interesting handmade goods .  Stuff where you can tell the artists take pride in what they do, put heart and soul into making  it is as good as it can possibly be. Once in a while, not everyday, not even every week, what I see makes me stop dead in my tracks.

How in the world did Shelly Mac of Motherbored come up with that brilliant idea, it's just ingenious in the truest sense of the word.

The folks at Webster's Online Dictionary say ingenuity is:

1. The power of creative imagination
2. The property of being ingenious; "a plot of great ingenuity".
3. The quality or power of ready invention; quickness or acuteness in forming new combinations; ingeniousness; skill in devising or combining.
4. Curiousness, or cleverness in design or contrivance; as, the ingenuity of a plan, or of mechanism.
5. Openness of heart; ingenuousness

Yes, ingenuity is all that, but I think it is a bit more.  Ingenuity takes a bad situation and handles it better, or brings a discarded item to new life like Ellen at NotYoMommasHandbag does.

Times like these require human ingenuity when it comes to learning how to live with less consumption and more responsibility for stewardship of the earth. If you can take something which has lost it's commercial value and make it beautiful and re-valuable like these wonderful spent gift card bracelets by RadicalRecycks

Well, you're not only creative, you're ingenious as well. My new friends in the Etsy Upcycler's Team are doing this, beautifully.   I'm twirling around through all your links and will post some more of the great stuff here as I find it. For now, just know... It's wonderful to meet all of you ingenious people.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Mending Basket

The other day, I was trying to explain to my daughter what a mending basket was.  You see, she lives in a world where clothing has become much less expensive and more readily available.  She hardly has to iron, never mind mending and darning. That wasn't the world my grandmother lived in. She had a mending basket right next to her easy chair.

When a bed sheet began to fray she tore it into rag squares for cleaning and dusting. If she outgrew a dress, she carefully removed the lace collar and detached each button so it could be used as a replacement or in the construction of a new garment. I can still hear her saying "waste not, want not".

When she was a girl, every resource was valuable and every resource was used to the fullest extent possible. A few yards of fabric might spend their life in 4 different forms, beginning as a dress, then becoming a quilt top, then a pot holder and finally a cleaning rag. 

With each transition, the fabrics take on a new kind of acquired beauty as they soften and fade.  I think that's why artists are so attracted to them as art elements.  These old vintage fabrics have a quality only time can produce.  Visit Mamamotherlode this week to see the vintage fabrics and sewing supplies we have for sale and consider giving them just one more beautiful life as part of your art work.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Glove Mold Jewelry Holder

In the back of a dusty antique shop, tucked under a shelf, I saw what looked like fingers poking out of the corner of a tattered cardboard box.  When I pulled the box out, it was full of these funny looking flat hand-shaped objects. I bought 12.

A couple of coats of paint, some distressing, a drawer pull finger ring.....

some fru-fru lace, buttons and junk jewelry and you've got a nice little jewelry holder for.....

the pretty little Roman glass and shell button necklace I made for my step-daughter.

Pretty good find, don't you think?  I've got more.  Eight are raw and ready for whatever comes to mind and three have had bases attached, are painted ,distressed and ready to dress up.  To purchase, visit my Etsy shop, Mamamotherlode.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jumble Jumper

Some of us, given the choice, would prefer to spend a day at a tranquil day spa where the calm, uncluttered atmosphere rids our minds of distractions and soothes away the stresses of daily life.  Not me. A little creative excitement is just the thing to relieve my jangled nerves. When I jump into a jumble of discarded vintage items, it just gets my creative juices pumping.

All I see are art supplies waiting to be upcycled to new beauty and functionality. Consequently, every item I purchase has to "speak" to me before I buy it.  I make my decisions by using the pick-up/pause method. If a creative use comes to mind while I am holding an object, then it goes into the basket, if not, it's back on the shelf.  I search for multiples, that way I can design kits and tutorials knowing I can offer others the chance to make them without having to search for months to find the elements they need.  My kits, tutorials and vintage supplies will all be available in my Etsy shop.

Needless to say, after years of shopping towards this goal,  I'm stocked up with a "motherlode" of creative art elements.  I'm finally ready to jump into the jumble and start creating .  I plan to blog about vintage art elements, post product photos, nurture creative community in the comments sections, and meet and introduce other artists who share the same kinds of creative impulses.  I'm looking forward to a fun year ahead, join me and jump on in.