Sunday, February 4, 2018

Champagne Cork Mushroom Necklace!

I was looking at a champagne cork I had popped on New Year's Eve (and hadn't disposed of yet) when I thought, hey, it kinda looks like a mushroom. Hmmmm...

I got out the paints and next thing you know, I had a little amanita ornament!

I went and got some 1/2" screw eyes from the hardware store and put one on the top of my new mushroom:

I tied some red raffia to the top so I could hang the mushroom as an ornament---then later, I realized I could also make a necklace out of it. The red and white spotted amanita muscaria is considered a lucky symbol, and its image can often be found on Christmas and New Year's cards in Europe, but I thought it would make a great lucky mori girl necklace as well. 

CRAFTY TIP: When I got the screw eyes I was unsatisfied with how shiny they were. If you are anything like me, you like things a little aged and worn looking. The bright, zinc-plated eyes did not fit my aesthetic. So, I got a glass dish (ceramic would be good, too) mixed a couple tablespoons of vinegar (white or cider works well) with a teaspoon of salt and let the screw eyes sit in it overnight, Waaaalaaaa, a nice muted patina appeared on the eyes. This will work on most metals, but results will vary according to the metal you use. Sometimes you get a nice verdigris look or even rust. Thanks, random lady in the finishes isle of the craft store, who told me about this trick!!!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Science Fantasy Costumes

I came across an installation of Barbara MacCallum's science paper costumes/dresses/sculptures while on a trip to see an entirely different exhibit. Barbara's installation turned out to be my favorite display in the entire museum. She uses her physicist husband's science papers to make ethereal, floating "dresses". The juxtaposition between the papers concerned with "hard science" and the fantastical nature of the costumes she has created out of those papers is very thought provoking..

This one is motorized and turns so you can see every angle:

I've long been fascinated by paper and it's use in clothing. There was a brief period in the 60s where disposable paper dresses were popular. These days you can buy summer "straw" hats in a variety of stores that are made mostly of paper, and there are a lot of paper jewelry artists out there. I myself made a dress entirely out of paper and rose petals for a spring festival and plan to make a series of paper dresses in the future. It was a great treat to come across this exhibit and see how this particular artist used paper to her advantage.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thrift Store Therapy----Leaf Plates and Thanksgiving with the Squirrels and Others

I decided this year I wanted to make a Thanksgiving feast for the squirrels that come up on my porch. I found these cute plastic leaf plates at the local Salvation Army thrift (50 cents!) and thought they would be perfect. I filled them with pistachios, walnuts, acorns, pumpkin seeds and a few cheese puffs I had leftover from the snack tray.

I didn't get the stuff out until 4pm. Later, I decided to check on the plates and see if I had any takers and....

This guy showed up! He seemed super happy with the feast, and I am not prejudiced against possums, so I let him eat his fill. It was Thanksgiving, after all. This morning I set out some more nuts in the dishes, then just as I was leaving, the squirrel started coming up on the porch. I didn't get a picture, though, because I screamed "the squirrel is here!!!" and he ran off. When I got back from doing some errands, though, all the nuts were gone.

Here is the squirrel at Halloween---he carved my pumpkins for me, I'm not kidding. It's why I put out a feast for him :)

There have been some concerns that I am going to attract the attentions of raccoons and rats as well. I am not prejudiced against those guys either and would happily serve them Thanksgiving dinner too,  but the other more sensible people who live in this house are less enthusiastic about it, so the buffet will be ending here---until Christmas when I plan a more extensive feast including traditional bird seed treats for the feathered denizens of the 'hood.