Sunday, April 6, 2014

Bar Cart Makeover

I am hosting a birthday brunch today and thought my bar cart could use a makeover.  My good friends and neighbors gave it me me years ago when they did some remodeling. It has been a utilitarian place to put liquor but never got much attention until today!
This is the "before".  Dark and messy with a lot of crap on the bottom shelf. Decor mags and blogs are filled with cute bar cart images, so I thought I deserve one too!
First stop Cost Plus World Market for some purchases. I picked up some interesting sodas and waters in my colour scheme.  My friend Karen gifted me the cute pink aluminum ice bucket. I recently acquired the vintage soda bottle in an awesome aqua blue. There is even a touch of pink on the handle.   A collection of paper straws in pretty colours in a cylinder vase adds another vintage touch. 
I moved all the booze to the lower shelf and added some fun party napkins in the blue green colour palette. 
I covered the top tray and lower shelf with some green patterned napkins to add even more colour. 
I am so pleased with how it turned out! Mint julep soda anyone?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Canvas and Dresses Play Date

 My friend K invited us to her lovely home for a day of arts and crafts and yummy food.  She had seen some images online of baby dresses on canvas and was anxious to try it out.  She had prepared "samples" using various techniques so that she could advise us on the best recipe for success!
Here is a doll dress she dipped in plaster and mounted on canvas, which she then painted and added a vintage looking key.  Not quite done - but you can see how cool this is!  It looks like a priceless heirloom, when in fact it was a cheesy synthetic doll dress!
 Here is a different variation - this time using Alene's fabric stiffener.  the dress and hat look soft and fluffy - but are in fact hard as rocks.
 For this cute overall, she tried liquid nails - a construction adhesive.  it can change the colour of your item - but looks great with the texture of this fabric.
 Here's a little dress in progress.
 My friend D decided to make her dress out of textured paper.  she created a colorful background and added some scrabble letters.  She plans to further embellish her canvas with golf tees and possibly pez heads.  But that's just D's signature style!
Here is Z's lace covered box.  she is perking up all the ruffles after dipping it in fabric stiffener.
 Z had this sweet little leather baby shoe and created the beautiful fabric and lace covered box for it to sit on.  She was not quite done - still to add laces and other adornments.
 S had two pieces to place on her collaged canvas - little overalls and a pink dress.  She added some painterly touches and brought out the texture of the papers.
 A play date at K's means a delicious lunch (breakfast and snacks too!).  We had a two yummy salads and blt lobster burgers.
For dessert we had a choice of key lime pie or  individual lemon meringue tarts - how cute!

 I did not bring a baby or doll dress for my project.  I brought instead two scraps of fabric.  The first one is a embroidered textured cotton with a few age marks. i got it in a swap a few years ago - you can see HERE.  We thought it was very funny - "ooh look at my piece of old stained fabric - i got it in a swap!"  Only us crazy artsy people think this is valuable!
 I trimmed it into a dress shape and ran a few stitches along the sleeves.
 Then i gathered the skirt.
 A bit of smocking trim and a couple of buttons - and voila!  We have a dress!
 For the background i used a pretty piece of Cavallini paper - with a couple of scrap cigar lables added.
 I put the dress into a ziplock bag K had prepared.  It was filled with liquid nails.  I smooshed it around and then pulled out the fabric and removed the excess.  Then i laid it on the prepared canvas.  It sticks!  I used a skewer to arrange the folds of the skirt.
 After about 2 hours it was dry enough to paint or embellish.  I just added some white gesso brush strokes to highlight the fabric.  Might add some more "stuff".
 For my second dress i used a scrap of blue silk from a discarded cushion.
 I cut out a rectangle and gathered it up for a skirt.  Then i created a little bodice with lace trim.  Some vintage seam binding ribbon for straps.
For the background i collaged wall paper scraps onto a 12 x 12 canvas.  then added some text and sheet music.  I left the center blank - thinking it would not show anyway..!
 I placed the dress in a ziplock bag of fabric stiffener and laid it on the canvas.
 It took about 2 hours to dry and it turned green!  It was also pretty transparent - like the texture of sea weed or deep fried spinach.
I added a bit of blue glaze to the dress which puddled in the texture of the fabric.  I am not sure if i am "finished" - i might tone down the white lace with tea stain and add more embellishment to the canvas.
But all in all a really fun play date with my art peeps!

Altered Book Purple!

This month i worked in K's altered book entitled The Order of the Purple Rose - the third book i have done this year as part of our 2014 altered book round robin swap.  Our books this year have no theme - except colour.  See the other books HERE.
How cool is the eye that K made on her cover!
For my first spread i chose to celebrate wisteria.  I used a background picture of a park and overlaid it with a stunning wisteria tree.  It is raised up on glue dots so it really POPS off the page.  I cut it out using mini stamp edge scissors to get a petal sized edge!  the wisteria word is grey foam sticker letters, coloured with felt markers.  a scallopped border has a few stones - 'cus our friend K likes her bling!
Next i was stumped for ideas - so i googled "purple" - just to see what came up.  Well purple haze is apparently a type of plant with certain medicinal um...well...  i think this spread speaks for itself!  I used some of the techniques i learned in a Zentangle workshop i took with a friend last year.  I doodled in dark green sharpie and then added purple and violet pens.  A few more gemstones add some sparkle.
To see the books i have already gone click PINK or GREEN.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Beeswax and Acrylic

 Our friend S. went to a workshop last year with the artist Crystal Neubauer - where they created collage on the back of acrylic panels, using melted encuastic wax.  We tried to recreate the process with plain old melted beeswax.  I purchased a dozen acrylic panels at TAP plastics - a west coast retailer for all things plastic.  They were so nice. We chose mainly 1/8 inch thick - which is quite reasonable - but you can get thicker if you want.
The piece above was 11 x 14" on 3/8".
 We started by peeling off the white backing from paper napkins.  I then cut out a bunch of birds.  I created a collage withy birds, nests, cages and flowers.  then layered on some sheet music (from a napkin).  then one large dinner napkin fit perfectly as the background for this 12" square panel.
 Same process here - i worked very symmetrical.  You have to work backwards - ie on the BACK of the acrylic.  So you lay down first want to want to show the most.  Kind of the opposite of traditional collage.  You use melted wax to apply the napkins, and a heat gun or quilt iron to smooth it out and remove the excess.
Here are some of the art created by my friends:
 Here is a riot of pink flowers.
 More pink flowers with a sheet music background.
And here are some yellow flowers with a bamboo patterned background.  The pieces look lovely in front of a window - where the light can shine through.  But you don't want to put them in too sunny an exposure - or they might melt!

Altered Book Swap 2014 - Green

This month i had Z's beautiful altered book to work in for our 2014 round robin swap. The title of the book is Nature and Other Green Things.  She cut a whole in the front of a 1920's era children's book with a Dremel tool, to insert a wood, clay and resin piece she made at a Create workshop last year.  She used a gold bracelet to create an arc around the sun, with rays of light and green beads, all encased in more resin.
 For my first spread i was inspired by the graphics at the Sochi winter olympics.  I kept seeing the diamond shaped patterns at the different events, that look very "scrapbooky", and decided to create my own quilt-like collage in Z's book.  I used greens and blues - a piece of just about every piece of paper i could find in my stash.
Aren't they pretty!
 For my next spread i chose a different shade of green - verdigris.  I found some images online - here an angel statue and a gate, and placed them on a background of a forest.  I added copper trim and the word verdigris with foam stick on letters. 
FYI - wide copper tape can be found in the garden section in a hardware store.  It is sold as "snail tape" used to deter snails from getting into your flower beds.  Those slimy things don't like the chemical reaction with the copper as they slither over it - so avoid it altogether.
 I cut an opening in the gate and trimmed it with narrow copper tape. 
The bird was just for the photograph.
 The gate actually peaks through to the Chateau Frontenac, a magnificent hotel with an oxidized copper roof in Quebec City, Canada.  My friend Z and I are planning a trip there this summer.
 Our sign in pages had some collage done by Z but we were encouraged to add our own touches.  The actual sign in tags are historical versions of colour wheels, slid into green vellum envelopes.
On the back of the tag i added a magazine gal, and my name, and scalloped the edges.
Next month - PURPLE!
See a sneak preview of all the books HERE.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Paper Hearts

 I decided to make some Valentine cards for my ladies group. 
You know how when you go to Michaels and you have a 40% off coupon
 and you don't know what to buy?  Well i bought a heart shaped paper punch! 
I punched out over a 100 hearts from assorted papers in pinks and blues. 
 I sewed them together on a sewing maching and made 10 strings with 14 hearts each. 
You know, like for the FOURTEENTH of February?
 For the cards i used nice Fabriano water colour paper postcards.
 I splatter painted them with pink spray paint my friend K made from a simple recipe.
 I glued silver hears to the cards using a glue runner.  And no i did not cut those out! - they were purchased at Paper Source.
 I sewed a little loop to the top of each string of hearts, made out of pastel pink vintage seam binding.  Oh you know i love you if i use my vintage seam binding on your card!
 I punched a hole in the top of the card and slipped the loop through. 
That way the string of hearts can be easily removed and hung somewhere
where it can catch the breeze and flitter about. I added a little bit of bling with a pink stone, but kept it pretty simple.  I wrote my sentiment on the back.
Look how cute the hearts look all packed inside the envelope! 
It is like getting a little bundle of love in the mail. 
I used my pretty new address stamp on the envelopes.  Not to get all sappy, but after i lost my husband, it was a big step to order an address stamp with just my name on it.  I chose something pretty with the square shape and the cherry blossom design.
This one got a glitter "stamp" heart, since i hand delivered it.
The rest got one of these.  Thanks USPS for an interesting graphic design.
  I hope the ladies in my grief group, who all lost a close relative this year,
appreciate my little gift of 14 hearts and hugs delivered to their homes.