Monday, September 28, 2009

Excuse Her Nakedness - She's A Work In Progress

For some time now I have been searching for a good display for my necklaces, for my photos in the shop. I have found all the usual suspects. The velvet bib-shaped ones are too generic for my taste. The mannequins are pretty cool, but a bit of a stretch on my budget. I thought for a long time that it would be really cool to make my own. Well I finally did it this weekend!

I found a tutorial here that helped me a lot:
This is your basic foam-core papier mache bust. It was wonderfully messy! It was wonderfully cheap. I used all materials that I already had in my possession! Didn't have to buy a thing!

So here she is! I call her M'Lady. That's the name I give to all my critters and creations if they are too shy to tell me their real names. Well, the girls anyway!
Please excuse her nakedness. She's a work in progress!! I am either going to paint her or cover her with some kind of fabric. I haven't decided which yet. And of course after that "undercoating" I will be dressing her in lovely laces and fabrics for all her photo shoots, not to mention the jewelry of course!!

I also constructed a photo studio. I took a good heavy cardboard box, and cut away the flaps and one side, leaving a three-fold "chamber" with a floor. I covered it all with a white sheet, stapling it on. That way I won't have any ugly brown cardboard showing through my lacy backgrounds. I then attached my clamp lights to the sides and voila!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Little Experiment

Good morning bloggers! I decided to run a little experiment this morning. I wanted to see which would be better, renewing an item on Etsy, or tweeting the item on Twitter. So I renewed the item first. I counted the views in the next 10 minutes. I got 1 view. I waited awhile to be sure that was all, and it was. Then I tweeted the same item on Twitter. Within 10 minutes I had 20 views and it's still going up!
Now, I know this is not very scientifically sound. But it is interesting nonetheless.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Testing A New Gadget

I just downloaded this nifty little gadget that gives me a place to write a blog entry on my sidebar. This is a test to see how this thing works!
I've been very distracted this week and have not even come close to making anything new for days and days. But I have a couple of ideas floating around in my head and I am hoping with all my might that I will be able to get to making some of them in the next few days!
In the meantime, I've been working on my rearranging of the family room and my craft area. The furniture is all in place. I just have a little more tweaking to do as far as where all the little things go. I wonder how long this arragement will last. I try out many different arrangements and usually end up changing it around many times before I settle on just one that really works. Well, I'm going to post this and see if this thing really works!! Catch you later!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How To Rearrange A Room Without Hurting Your Back -or- Fun With Paper Cut-outs!

I love to change things around, like rearranging the furniture for a whole new look and feel in a room. I used to rearrange my house so often that friends who came over once a week were always seeing something different.

Well those days have passed as I have moved into a little more wisdom in my "older age". My aches and pains from all those years of indiscriminately moving furniture have caught up with my body! I had to come up with a better way to change a room, without injuring myself.

I decided to make a map of each room in the house. I use graph paper and make each square count as 1 square foot. I measured each wall, window, doorway, and any other built-in details that outlined the rooms, and drew them onto my graph paper. Then I measured each piece of furniture to make scale "models" of them. I "laminated" each piece of furniture with shipping tape by taping both sides and then trimming around the edges. They are much easier to handle this way.

Now I know there are nifty computer programs out there that do basically the same thing. I used to have a Mac and I made all the furniture in my Draw program, and I was able to do all of this on the screen. It worked great, until that computer died.

I went back to my paper and I found that I really enjoy the paper more. It takes me back to the days of spending hours of wonderful creativity, playing with my paper dolls and all their clothes, and with my Colorforms!

Whether you use paper or a computer program, the great thing is, you can try out an endless number of different arrangements in your rooms without moving a stitch of furniture. This saves your back, it saves time, and it makes no mess while you are trying out ideas. You end up only moving the actual furniture once, after you find the perfect arrangement on your paper. And of course the real key to saving your back here is to have a man or a strong young person in your life do the actual moving of the furniture! Just have them follow your plan.

Here's how I set mine up:

First measure each wall. Make one square on the graph paper equal one foot. It's easiest that way and is plenty big as long as you have 5 quadrille graph paper, which is 5 squares per inch. When it comes to the inches, I just round my feet to the nearest fraction of a foot. So if a wall measures 14 ft., 6 inches, of course that's 14-1/2 feet or 14-1/2 squares. 3 inches would be a quarter of a foot, or a quarter of a square, and so on. Gee, I guess all that math really did come in handy someday!

Next you'll measure each piece of furniture and make their outlines on the graph paper. Cut them out and label them. You can laminate them by putting either shipping or scotch tape on both sides, and trimming the edges. Here's all my family room furniture:

Now you can make your arrangements!

I have a set of furniture for each room in the house.

I keep them in photo pockets from a wallet photo insert.

Happy rearranging!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Good Morning!

A good Tuesday morning to you all!! Well I got great news yesterday. My dear sister, who has been out of work since January, is once again gainfully employed!! Thank God! She will be working so much closer to home than she was in her previous job. It is just turning out to be a huge blessing all the way around!

We had our first orchestra rehearsal of the season last night. I play violin, in case you didn't know. It was a very good rehearsal and it was so good to see everyone again! We are starting off the season playing one of the "biggest" pieces there is for orchestra - Beethoven's 5th Symphony. I have played it once before in the Civic Orchestra in Chicago when I was young, but that was about 100 years ago. Ok, more like 30 years ago. Yeah, that sounds so much better!

Well it is a wonderful piece to play! If you have never heard it, I highly recommend you go find it on YouTube and give it a listen. Better yet, I'll find it for you!

If you have heard it before I know you will want to hear it again! It truly is one of the most uplifting pieces of music ever written. I will be cranking up the stereo and practicing along with this recording!
You might notice something interesting in the film. There are no women! This recording was made in 1966 and at that time there were very few women in the world of professional music. How times have changed!! In this case for the better!

My dear daughter is a professional dog groomer. She did a wonderful job on my Cocker Spaniel Ike. This is him in his "Suburban" cut. Isn't he handsome? And the best part is that his "skirt" is shorter now so there will be much less leaves and burrs coming into the house this fall!!

Today I will be mowing the lawn, and steam-ceaning the carpet. I hope to get done with those and still have enough energy to work on a chain for my steampunk spider!
Is it possible to be addicted to wire? I think I am.
Have a great day!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Out of the Wings of Bats.....

Today I set out to make a bat skeleton out of wire. Well, I've been at this all day now and still have no bat to show for all my efforts. However, I did manage to produce something rather halloweeny anyway!
Here's what happened:

I started out by getting a picture of a bat skeleton off the internet. Wow, this is a good one!

Then I drew the skeleton on my graph paper. Hmm...Well, close enough!

Then I made some first attempts at making the wings out of wire. I was fairly happy with these, and each one I did got better than the last.

I still couldn't figure out how to do the entire skeleton. Next I attempted to make the pair of wings out of one piece of wire. That came out great. Unfortunately, I did not snap a picture of it at that point! But that's ok because it is in the finished product, which turns out is not a bat at all, but a lovely steampunk spider!! Now all I have to do is make a chain for it!

I'm trying something new today...

I've got my graph paper out and I'm going to try to draw my designs on it. LOL! This is new for me. I need graph paper because I cannot for the life of me draw a straight line without it!
I woke up with designs in my head and this time I want to get them OUT of my head so I can use them! Wish me luck!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tools For My Time Machine!

I was very fortunate to be able to do a little antiquing this weekend. I found a cigar box full, yes FULL of watch maker's tools!!! Now mind you, I really don't know anything about making watches, but I do know a little teeny bit about trying to take them apart! Not that I bought this collection to use anyway. It's just a fascinating little bunch of tools for a steampunk lover to find!
There are several calipers of some sort, and several vices, and tiny punch tools. There are even two small rulers to measure the round jewels!! There is a tiny plastic box that contains about 100 tiny watch hands, many of them very ornate.
I may not be able to make use of some of these tools but I know I will enjoy looking at them as much as anything. Here's a look for you to enjoy.

Before and After

I found this wonderful old lock plate in an antique shop several months ago. I just now had the time and the head space to try to clean it up a bit and see what I might be able to do with it. It's even more beautiful than I had hoped!!
I don't know yet what this will become. It's too big for jewelry so I'm thinking I may be doing a mixed media collage type of work in the near future. Oh I love this wonderful world of art!!!
The lock plate is about 4 inches wide and I believe it is brass. It has two sides with the same design and is about 1/2 inch thick. I loosened the screw and separated the two plates and polished one. Before I polished the second one I thought I'd take a picture of the before and after. I just love these transformations! It's what working "among the ruins" is all about!



Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Beautiful Place!

I have a shop over at 1000markets and I am very fortunate to be a part of a beautiful market called Victorian Crossroads. Here is our description on our front page:

"Victorian & Edwardian Era - Cottage Style & Steampunk - Times of Etiquette, Glamor, and Romance

Victorian Crossroads is a market to incorporate the arts and crafts of the time period from 1832 to 1918; called Victorian and Edwardian including Cottage Style and Limited Steampunk.

The Victorian period was an age of opulence for the rich, a prim and proper way of life, the emergence of the strong middle class, industrial revolution, the Gilded Age in United States, Belle Epoque in Europe, lush gardens, a year of mourning the dead, where high morality reigned, mixing of cultures in art and home decor, a time of peace, where architecture varied from single story cottage to a three story mansion, and where scientific advancements ruled.

Our shopkeepers bring the best of the Victorian/Edwardian Era to you.

Travel through Victorian Crossroads is a step into a Time Machine which takes you to a span of history beyond compare. Enjoy the journey!"

I invite you to come and see this market and the very beautiful products here!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Some New "Toys" To Play With!

Ok, I know that many of you out there have already discovered the joys of aluminum wire. But remember I'm pretty new at all of this so I only just discovered it this week! And boy do I love it!!!!
It's super lightweight and easy to work, yet it is strong and has plenty of "holding power". It is beautiful and shiny and bright. When you hammer it, it is just beautiful!!
I found it in the floral section of the hobby store, in this really fat 12 gauge! I got a roll of silver color and one of gold color. I haven't done anything with the gold color yet so I don't know how that will be. But here are some pieces I made with the silver.