Friday, October 30, 2009

The thrift shop down the road from me hangs clothes out on their fence to let people know when they're open. Usually it's something for kids or some old lady type sweatshirt, but yesterday there was an intriguing black and white floral tee flapping in the wind. I stopped to check. I figured the odds were it wouldn't be in good shape or in my size. But it was. So, in a hurry, I dashed in to pay for it. But, on the way in, I spied this hanging over the entrance railing.

Isn't it BEAUTIFUL! Faery ball material, oh yes! It says it's in my size but I have my doubts. The waist is teeny tiny.

No matter. I can cut and snip and do all sorts of Cinderella things to it. Sans helpful mice and birds of course. It's not really the lavender color of the first photo. And it's not really as pink as in this flash photo. It's more of a very dusty rose.

Here it is hanging straight.

It has three layers of tulle - two of rose and one of this greenish gold.

The seam is split (but not ripped) in the back and the dress had spaghetti straps that have been cut in half. So the price for all this voluptuous girly frou frou? TWO dollars.

Tra la la!!!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I had the most fantabulous mail day today! No bills, only two pieces of junk mail, and three packages for MOI!

One of my favorite new bloggers is Julie of Mermaiden Creations. I met her during Vanessa's Halloween blog party on the 17th. I didn't even notice that she was having a giveaway (or at least, I didn't remember, that was one WILD party!), but I won. This wee little pendant came today, packaged in this wee bag. Isn't it lovely. Tipped green. I love it. I have a feeling I'll be wearing it a lot this coming year.

It's pretty as a silhouette too. I can hang it in the window when I'm not wearing it.

If that wasn't enough of a surprise, my friend Deirdre sent me this adorable little glass bead witch necklace. Why? I dunno. Just because. (Just because she's a sweet friend to think of me and share the fun.) I put her around my neck right away.

Package #3 was a HUGE box from my witchy Mom. Inside was this scruffy witch's broom. Can you see the handle? It's hard against the black of the fireplace. Very cute. But the best part - there's an on/off switch on the bottom. Turn it on and it dances and hops about like the broom out of the Sorcerer's Apprentice and sings and chants - something tweaked from Shakespeare's Scottish play. (You're not suppose to actually say the name, right?) "Double bubble, boil and flubble.... mwahahaha... Happy Halloween from witches three!!! Hee hee heeeeee!" Okay, I made that up mostly. I was laughing so hard I didn't really hear exactly what it said.

Good mail days make me smile!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A few days ago I was on the way to the library when I came across a... well, not an estate sale. Some relatives clearing out an elderly parent's home. They were moving things into three spots - a rental truck for the stuff they wanted to keep, a large walk in dumpster for the stuff they thought wasn't worth anything to anyone (although there was indeed tons of great stuff in there), and the stuff inbetween they just set out on the lawn with a big sign that said "Free Stuff".

You can bet I did a fast u-turn and stopped. Spent quite a bit of time sorting through boxes and testing old furniture for stability and digging through bags of vintage fabrics and.... well, I left when I had no more room in my Subaru.

Here it all is, dragged in and dumped in, around, and behind the loveseat. I'm not going to show you everything, I don't have time to sort it this week, but I thought I'd show you a few different close ups of the treasures. And while we go through the photos, you can also play the feline version of Where's Waldo. Can you find the felines in this photo? There are three of them.

This one is too easy. That's Nut (pronounced "newt") peeking out beneath a set of four retro tv trays. I used to have some, Hubby loved them, but they were wood and bugs got'em. It was weird. So these will be fun. And bugs don't eat metal. And the colors match my living room. They need to be dusted off but they're in perfect shape.

Got an idea for using that old commercial frame on the top. That's a birdseye maple occasional table. And an old soda bottle box.

Can you find Miranda? The chair is one of the finds. It's sturdy, newly reupholstered, just needs the seat cleaned. I've got a little bookshelf corner that it will fit into perfectly as a reading chair. Those old drawers are painted all sorts of fun chippy colors - gonna use them for making altars/framed assemblage pieces. The yellow bag is full of old frames. The rest is miscellaneous bits and bobs and vintage fabric.

Find Charlie Weasley? More bits and bobs - an covered cake pan, some old metal hardware, lots more vintage clothing and fabric, and lots of things... I can't even remember it all.

An old chippy green children's chair and an old globe. Might make a couple more hanging globe lamps out of it. Or, who knows.

I think that's Nut again. Or maybe Yoda. And Charlie Weasley's ear. A sturdy wooden chair with a carved back, some old shutters that are all connected - I totally wanted to find some of these to use as a bulletin board, more fabric and odd miscellaneous, and a chandelier to spray paint (white or black - hmmmm?) and hang for decorative purposes.

But first things first. 1. Sort. 2. Find someplace to stick it all until I get back from yet another adventure this week. 3. Return and start making stuff!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Today, some dolls.

One of my purchases at Halloween and Vine was this adorable wee goth girl balancing atop an "L" block. "L" for Laume of course! She's got a little skelly doll and a pumpkin, striped stockings, dressed in black, looks like she hasn't bothered with a comb in awhile. I think she's perfect, just like me. Heehehee. Overnight my hair can look like that.

She was created by Kerry Howard-Schmidt of Paper Moon Gallery. She used to have a website but it looks like it's down. Here is her Etsy site.

Don't know if these really qualify as art. Kitsch maybe. I've had Johnny up there on the bookshelf for awhile and so I was excited to find a crew member for him at the thrift shop last week.

This guy in the middle is Ice Bat. He's an Ugly Doll. I love Ugly dolls. Look here, I didn't know they had such a cool website. Ice Bat sleeps with me every night. I've thought of getting more Ugly dolls but I was a bit worried that Ice Bat wouldn't appreciate a sibling. He's seemed like an only child sort of guy. Sure, he shares the bed with Hubby, Hubby's monkeys, the cats, obviously Rosie, and an occasional grandchild. But I didn't want another ugly doll.

Until I saw Fang. For some reason I thought Ice Bat and Fang would get along. Fang isn't an Ugly Doll. He was handmade by my friend Mermie. She has more dolls up on her etsy shop, Mermaid Laughing.

Then, on this last trip, we stumbled upon Poe, a tiny Ugly Doll. He came home with us too. He was going to be my "travel doll", but I couldn't bare the thought of him having to sleep alone in my suitcase between trips so he's in bed with us now too.

As you can see, Ice Bat has taken both the little newcomers under his wing. Turns out he's made a very good big brother.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I just finished reading Bram Stoker's Dracula. Shudder. Scary! What a great book. It always amazes me how we think we know references to cultural stories and references, but we really don't, until we go to the source. (uhm, don't even get me started on how often I am startled to find I know more about Biblical references than most Christians who quote it to me - but that's another post for another time. Or not.) So, what was I ... oh yes, Dracula. I'd never even watched any of the Dracula movies from start to finish. So I read the book expecting... nothing. I always forget, between dips into the past literature, how much I enjoy a good gothic read. Or a new gothic read (Have any of you read The Thirteenth Tale?)

One of the surprises in the book, to me anyway, is how little of the story actually takes place at Dracula's castle. Most of the time the plot unfolds in England!

Unlike most literary or film vampires of contemporary times, who seem to be misunderstood and are often "Bite me!" sexy, Dracula was evil, scary, NOT someone you'd ever want to invite over the threshold. Unlike Edward or Spike or Eric or (insert vampire of your choice), Dracula was not a potential boyfriend or even someone you'd consider having a one-bite-stand with some impulsive evening.

But if the vamp himself was unappealing, the whole Gothic presentation of the book was very appealing indeed. Made me want to remake my living room into a Victorian library or sitting room and start wearing corsets and consider taking up fainting as a seduction technique. Well, maybe not the fainting.

Just recently someone on my Twitter feed posted this link for coffin couches. I liked this one, as well as the black one with green trim in the site's gallery of images. Classic black. Or do you prefer one of the more cheerful colored ones?

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Of course, feeling sort of under the weather (like Lucy or Mina were, although mine was caused not by blood loss but by a nasty little cold bug), I had time to surf the net for all manner of coffin inspired decor. Coffin cabinets, coffin coffee tables, coffin beds, even coffin pool tables!

And then branch out and search "goth decor", or "gothic decor", or "vampire design", and so on, until your eyes turn red with staring at the computer screen. There's so much out there it's practically become mainstream!

Friday, October 23, 2009

I totally lied about not getting any studio time in yesterday. Sorta. Although it's true I didn't get into the studio (except to grab a scarf for my night time walk), I did find time to work on a long abandoned knitting project. I finished off the first of a pair and started on the second. Yay me. If I can whip out the rest of the project then I can use my needles to start on a new project that I'm going to have to create a pattern to make.

I keep forgetting to show you the little faery Hubby surprised me with on our Faerieworlds trip in August. It's a storage box inside the tree stump. It's one of Jasmine Becket-Griffith's faery Gothlings. Love these wee moody creatures. I have Gothling bank checks and I always get so many compliments on them. This one is mass produced but it's well crafted and painted with fine detail that doesn't show well in this photo. I think she needs a name. Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I tried to put this up earlier but Blogger was throwing a bit of a tantrum. I banged on the door for a bit and pleaded with it to come out and play but it just kept tossing error codes at me and refused to talk. Sigh.

When it was finally so late (it's actually am of the next morning) that I was only going to turn off the computer and go to bed, suddenly Blogger is pretending we didn't even have a fight. So, less witty, only slightly coherent, but at least I can get the post up, as I'll be too busy tomorrow.

Today was going to be another studio day, or maybe a decorate the house day, but I had to run a couple of errands and once I was out, my focus was scattered. I got my errands done, had lunch with the Hubby, dinner with a friend, and I did a quick in and out at several different thrift shops after discovering that the skirt I went back for at one thrift shop had been sold since I'd seen it a few days ago.

I wanted to buy the skirt then but couldn't remember why, so in a fit of being reasonable I left it. Then I got home and had an inspiration - it was perfect to finish transforming this summer's Will-o-the-Wisp outfit into a regal Ice Queen gown for this winter's faery ball. I would go back the next day. I forgot to go back the next day. I would go back the NEXT day. Ditto on the forgetting thing. Finally today - rats. Gone. So I went to ALL the local thrift stores (3) with no luck and resigned myself to be on the lookout for another one over the next few months. In my size. Did I mention - rats.

BUT, even rushing in and out (Hubby was with me and we had lots to do), I still found some awesome stuff. So that's the good news. Some books, a metal milk pitcher, a beautiful coffee table to eventually use in the breezeway (already put it in the garage, no photo). And...

This little celery green display shelf. It's nice and sturdy. I plan to repaint it something more fun.

Another little shelf - retro looking. Spray painted white it will work in the front bathroom, match the shabby white shelving in there, and towels will stack nicely on it.

Some nice clothes in earthy winter tones. Well, so maybe the pink isn't an earth tone. In case you're interested, from L to R: pink bandana, green jacket, brown skirt, gray waffle weave long sleeved tee, orange scarf, green khaki pants. All ready to wear except the pants which need to be hemmed and I need to add an applique over a worn spot on one leg. They were worth the trouble as I love that color green and they were brand new except for that one spot - maybe someone snagged it the first and only time they tried them on? And they were $1.

I bought this for the frame, not the print, although it's sort of a cool print in a spooky Yule sort of way. That's supposed to be either Bob Cratchett or Scrooge lifting Tiny Tim up on his shoulder. What's cool about the frame is that middle area is black velvet. Also, spooky spider web elbow length gloves.

A Brown Betty tea pot. Actually, it's a brown Brown Betty tea pot. A little glass display case, a bunch of mismatched, old, silver plated silverware (all pretty and different handles!), a tiny frame with a shadow box style glass, an oval glass frame, a giant metal key, and hiding in the bottom righthand corner a little leather headband that might use as a headband or it might be a neck choker when I'm done with it.

That's it, no studio time. And tomorrow is all about football. So no studio time tomorrow either. Maybe this weekend. Knock on wood.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

IMG_9879 by you.

More spooky, I found this long slip of paper on the sidewalk on a walk the other day. I thought it was very strange - what possible purpose could it have ever served? It's got a coating, almost a laminate, on it. I thought it helped spookify up this photo - Still Life with Cat and Quince.

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Or how 'bout this one - sans black cat?

If you'd like to see more garden produce (not all of it spooky), I posted about a bit of autumn harvesting over on Beach Treasure.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

You've heard of the Black Hat Society, yes? No? Well, think about it - who wears a black hat? A black pointy hat?

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There ya go.

Well, apparently there's another, lesser known group called.....

IMG_9885 by you.

The Black Cat Society.

There's an entire chapter of the group living here in our home. Here are just a few of the members posing to help me show off the orange, black cat tutu I made for a certain someone who wants to be a black cat for Halloween.

She loves to dress up and is still young enough that a tutu adds flair to just about anything she wants to wear - whether it be a Halloween costume, a pair of jeans and a frilly t-shirt, or just a pair of snuggly pajamas. Now that I think about it, a tutu should add flair to anyone's outfit, no matter your age.

IMG_1275 by you.

"Hey, what about the rest of us black cats!"

Yes, I know, we have a few more black cats at this house that did not get in this particular picture. They probably deserve a post all their own... some other day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Not art related. Been so busy, still haven't gotten in the studio all week. I did sort all the new fabric and other bits and bobs that I've brought home in the last few weeks, piled it all into a box, and tossed it into the studio earlier, so I could clear the table off for the witches' tea I'm hosting over on my other blog today. It's one of the many stops in Vanessa's Hauntingly Magical Halloween Party. Make sure you pop on over to Beach Treasure for a witchy cuppa, and then continue on to Vanessa's link to visit all the other party bloggers. As soon as I'm finished posting here, I'm off to the party myself! (well, not really, I'm really off to bed and then, the minute I wake up, off to the party!)

So, only peripherally art related - but tea related is good. And since the last tea cozy I made was a Halloween tea cozy, this is connected to that - six degrees to Halloween, yes?

IMG_9791 by you.

Last night I made a pot of tea for Hubby and I. I found this English tea pot on a sale table at an antique shop in La Mesa, CA. It was a lovely day rambling with my family. I love when there's a story connected to the things we have in our home. Anyway.... moving on with the story -

I stopped at a new thrift shop in town a few days ago and found something they had labeled a "toaster cover". It was 75 cents. I didn't think it was a toaster cover. I bought it, brought it home, tried to fit it over my very tiny toaster - nope. I knew it.

IMG_9793 by you.

It was a tea cozy! A very fancy one! One of those that fits over the top and must be removed in order to pour the tea. I've been curious about this kind of cozy for ages. Do they keep the tea warm even though they don't have a bottom? Do they get steam up inside them? Well, I'm happy to report that the steam didn't seem to be a problem and it kept the tea incredibly hot for a very long time. I might be sold on this style. At least, this particular cozy, which is VERY heavily padded.

Slightly more art related, I stumbled upon these adorable art posters online, advertising regularly scheduled tea parties.

TeapartysmallJune07.jpg image by Absinth_Fuelled_Adventures

Not a witches' tea, but a Gothic Tea. I love this one, wish I could have a copy of it to hang.

Or this one. Love it too. And notice that these are offered year round, not just in October. This last one is in February. I want to go to a Gothic Tea Party! We never have anything cool like this here in town. I'm definitely going to have to get organized enough to hostess one myself. Right after I have a Witches' Tea and a Faery Tea and a Gypsy Tea and... I've got a long list of parties I want to have. Hmmmm, maybe I should start a tea club first, so I'll have people to attend the teas.

One more. Clever, clever posters.

Now, I'm off to bed. And hopefully you're off to visit more Halloween party links. I'm hoping to spend the day (after I wake back up over here) alternating visiting party folk and FINALLY playing in the studio. Knock on wood.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's frustrating to keep coming back here and having no new art to share. Especially since I've been itching to play in the studio. But I've been swamped with Other Life and I can't even complain, it's all been good. I've been doing some creative technique reading, I'm carrying my camera around everywhere after a few weeks of being in a photographic slump. It's not that I'm not feeling creative, I'm just not able to translate that into studio time.

But I do, finally, have some photos to share of some of the art I bought at Halloween and Vine. I'm just now unpacking my bag of goodies.

I loved most of the pieces brought by Nancy's Metal Art. I grabbed up this simple metal crown. She also had some fancier crowns. I wish I'd brought home one of those as well now, but at the time I was trying to spread out my spending so I could get at least a little something of my favorite affordable things. Many things were, realistically, out of my price range but I'm happy to report that there were others who were happily willing to spend lots of money on real art. Yay for supporting artists! I'm just happy I can afford my small contributions.

I tried the crown on this week's birthday boy. It's very heavy. If it fell and landed upside down on someone's bare feet, trust me, we're talking impalement.

I'm not sure where it will finally end up, I'm thinking the garden, but for now it seems happy atop one of my many balls.

I also brought home this metal raven. At first I was going to buy one that was on a garden stake, but I liked the flexibility of being able to place him atop a flat surface inside or out. Sorry about the fuzzy silhouette. I always end up taking my photos in less than perfect lighting.

IMG_9800 by you.

Here's another shot of him, the flash isn't flattering, but you can sort of see the great metal surface detail. Plus, I know that at least half my readers will spend time trying to read all those titles. Who am I to deprive you of the opportunity.


The last thing I bought at the show was this bracelet from one of my favorite booths - Edgar and Edgar. It was down to three possibilities and this one came home with me. It's really too bulky to use as a bracelet. I'm planning on turning it into a necklace and simply displaying it between opportunities to wear it. The images are glued, sealed, and lazer cut on some heavy backing. There's a lot of work in the making. Perfect for cemetery lover me! The artist, Kimberlee Edgar, also gifted both Hubby and I with big spooky bars of dark chocolate. Clearly a woman after my own heart.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I participate, as regularly as I can, in a Flickr creative group called Shades of Inspiration. It's a fun bunch of photography friends and we all jump in with ideas to use for each week's theme. We started out with shades - brown, turquoise, plum... and moved on to color combinations - red, white and blue, or pink and brown. We also dabble with noncolor themes - like "reflections", "wet", "time", "vintage paper". Sometimes themes can be interpreted as a color OR not - for instance we did "rust" - either the color or something rusty.

This week's theme is black and white photography. It's been really interesting to see what images translate well into b&w. Both sharp contrast and subtle differences seem to work. Some photos need color, others that work well in color still work well in b&w. Most interesting, finding images where removing the color gets rid of unnecessary distraction and helps you focus on the subject matter or composition. It's been one of the better themes for really helping me see my images in new ways. It's been more work, but I feel as if I've learned a lot this week.

Of course I've been using lots of spooky images and they seem to be particularly amenable to being drained of color. Sort of like photographic vampirism. Mwahahaha.

Here are four images I've used this week. I like each of these both as color and as b&w images and I share both to show you how each presentation makes a difference. I'm not going to share my perceptions, instead I'll leave it to you to come up with your own and hopefully to share them with me to see if, or how, they differ from my own.




To see more photos from the group, both mine and others, here's a link to the group photo pool.