Sunday, April 29, 2012

You, me, and the Flea

April 28 was the Fancy Flea - the most gorgeous, shabby, grungy, chipped painty, ironworkish, extravaganza of color and texture that you could possibly imagine outside of Paris. Except this brocante of home and garden gloriana resides two times a year in the little town of Lakeland, FL. Which is where I grew up. If they had stuff like this when I was young, I might not have been in such a hurry to leave! 

See the person in the hat taking a photo in the left corner above? That's me...

There's just all manner of bric-a-brac - it's like a flea market on the tastiest concoction of steroids ever seen by womankind.  A truffle extravaganza of  old linen, time-rumpled suitcases, old glass milk jugs with garden flowers...

Dainty leaves nestled in crystal sorbet cups...

Old steel wash tubs filled with Gran's china, old table legs, and a violet or two to make it merry.

Old picture frames, imagery flown away, now resting on hot pink chairs, and stacks of leaves and ironwork.

Crystal drops, and lemondrops. And worn silk ribbons...

Dreamy, isn't it?

Looks like millefiori - actually deep, sweet, earthy scents of exotic soaps! In a wheelbarrow, of course.

BWA - birds with attitude.

I about had a conniption over these wonderful old spice jars. A conniption, I tell you! How in the HECK I didn't spend every penny I own, and then robbed the pockets of anyone walking by is beyond me. Well, except I do have standards, you know.  And I'm saving for a trip to France next summer. That might have something to do with it.

I'm already looking forward to the autumn edition of the Flea - can't come soon enough!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Artfest Charm Swap Tutorial

Hello friends! Finally got caught up on my sleep after the delicious insanity and 3 hour time difference of Artfest, and, if you participated in Annie's charm swap trade, then you saw a little tag on my charms which promised a little tutorial on how I made them.  Finally, here it is! 

Note to self: probably should have done this before I left, but as usual, I ran out of time. Oh well, nobody died of it, world didn't come to end, etc. ;-)

This does require that you know basic crochet first - if you have not learned that yet, I recommend CraftyMinx's Crochet School tutorials - she does a really excellent job of  explaining in GOBS of detail how to make the chain stitch, and the various crochet stitches, etc. etc.  So, my little tute assumes you already know how to do that.

Step one - chain on four - or however many chains you want. Depending on the size of the circle you want to make, the gauge of your yarn,etc. this may vary.

Step two - slip stitch to make a circle.  Then start double crocheting into the middle of the circle. This mystified me when I started crochet - being self taught (and didn't know about CraftyMinx yet) "So you mean you put the hook INTO the middle of the circle? and not around the sides??"


Double crochet about 18 stitches. Your mileage may vary depending on the yarn weight, etc etc. Honestly, as my yarn was variegated, I just kept going until I saw the colors match up - "Whee, my yarn I'm crocheting is lilac! The yarn I've already crocheted is lilac! That means I'm done with this one! Only 72 more to go...."

Note: I haven't actually picked up my crochet hooks SINCE I made this project...As a mixed media artist, it is my privilege to be absolutely bezerkers over sketching, or acrylic paint, or collage, or polymer clay, or freeform crochet...right up until another shiny object beckons!  Mixed media artists can do anything, but sadly, not at the same time.

Yay! You have half the 'oyster' made.  Tie off the yarn, snip snip with the scissors. Now you can practice your crochet-in-the-round skills again and made another one, just like the first.

Whew, now we have both sides of the oyster, and it's time to put them together. How? Sewing them with your yarn needle and more of the same yarn you used for the oysters. I don't know what the stitch is called - basting? Overhand? I'd call it the 'just get them where they are attached together dammit, stitch.'

Sew them together until you are about 3/4 of the way closed, then, tie off your yarn, and snip the tail ends so it all looks neat and tidy.

You now have a pouch, or 'oyster' for your Pearl of Wisdom.  That's the glass pebble with the word on it.  What I did to create these was:

  • Write some poetic words that described my experiences at Artfest and Fort Worden from my previous visits, (I really liked doing this), and typed them up on the computer.
  • Put them in a table, and made it where the bounding lines of the table weren't visible, but they all lined up nicely. This was not for aesthetic reasons, it was to conserve my vintage paper, as they aren't making it anymore...haha.
  • Tore a piece of paper from the endpapers of an old book (an atlas of crop yields in the US circa 1935) so you know, one of those books that you keep around for its collage fodder. And because I want to know where the sorghum production states were...not really.

Fed it through the printer - voila! Instant appropriate words for my project without having to spend hours rummaging through old books, or dictionaries. I'm amazed I haven't thought of this before actually. As I have an inkjet printer, I then sprayed the words with Spray On Matte Sealant. You could probably use Workable Fixatif or any of those sealer sprays for this.  Use whatever you got, but try it on a sheet first to make sure it doesn't stain your paper wierdly.  Otherwise, the ink will run when you try gluing the paper to the pebble.

Cut or tear out your scrap of paper with word on it, and then use gel medium on top of the word to stick it to the back side of the pebble. (No need to reverse the direction of the word or anything like that.)  When dry, I then sealed it with another coat of gel medium. I used Claudine Hellmuth's Studio Multi-Medium in matte finish, but any kind will work I'm sure.

Annie is running an Artfest commemorative charm swap next year too - already cogitating on what I'm going to make for that!  Artfest...sigh....I love you. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Just returned from Artfest!

Hi friends :-) I just got back from Seattle last night (oh very late...) so I will be posting on here this weekend with the tutorial on how I made my Artfest charm swap items as promised.  Just wanted you to know :-) and I have some beautiful photos to share with you too.  What a glorious art adventure it was!