Sunday, June 24, 2012

It's Tea Time!! I am very fond of tea and tea-related things. I love vintage tea cups and creative tea-themed items. Here I share some wonderful finds in what will become a regular feature of this blog:
MTwear via here. I love this because my husband and I say this all the time :)

Layla Amber via  here. So cute! And her own artwork.

thistleandjug  to light the parlour

couldn't be cuter!  littlecasaroo

sugarandvicedesigns beautiful blue acrylic hair pins

for all you geminis out there, heehee  BurkeHareCo

vintage silhouette cup here

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rambling the Hobbit Trail

 I recently took a 3 day trip down the Oregon coast. This lovely path winds through the coastal forest and connects to the beach. I spent a couple of days making my way down the coast and stopping wherever I felt like it. Such a sense of freedom! So many great places to explore!
lovely moss-laden trees in the picnic area

 It really IS called "The Hobbit Trail"! This picture is from an information kiosk in a wayside park. For decades there was a large wooden sign just off the highway that said "Hobbit Trail"  but around the time that the Lord of the Rings movies came out, some jackass stole the sign. The state never did replace it (actually they replaced it with a sign that now says "Valley Trail:). They probably figured it would get stolen again if they put "Hobbit" on it.
This is the grand Proposal Rock in Neskowin, Oregon.  It is quite large, has a little forest on top, and is accessible at lower tides. I am completely enchanted by it. There is a trail leading to the top and I attempted to climb it but it was very steep and slippery (my Converse shoes were not the right choice for the attempt) so I only made it half way.

Side "window" on Proposal Rock.

                                  These fascinating rocks are actually the remains of a petrified forest.

a whole bunch of tiny jellyfish that washed up in the tide line

  This fellow swooped down to hunt for food in the surf. He modeled for quite some time for me and two other people who happened to be there. A heron, I believe. It was funny to see the three of us with our cameras snapping away, as if we were all in some official photo shoot. These pics came out pretty good considering it was misty and he kept running around :)

                                      Being the thrift store fanatic that I am, I stopped at
                                      several along my way.  This jolly fellow came
                                      from the Humane Society thrift in Florence:
My new gnome, modeling at Bob Creek Wayside

                                                     All in all a very satisfying trip!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tiny mother of pearl button earrings
I've been getting into tiny stud earrings lately. There is something about the smallness and simplicity, a reaction perhaps to all the big boho hoops and super-gauged ears, that is attractive right now. While removing the little shell buttons from a worn blouse, I realized they would make cute earrings. Great new idea, I thought! Well, a search of the internet showed that a lot of people have had that idea---nothing like the 'net to humble you when you think you have a new idea :)  Anyways, I thought I'd share the super simple process that I used to make mine.

You'll need:
 *Earring posts and backs. Ideally, the pad on the post will be a bit smaller than the buttons you will be using.   I used 6mm backs here and the buttons are about 8 mm

  I acquired some high quality stainless steel posts from shopgeorgiamiss here.

  I joined the buttons to the posts with some excellent craft glue (Bob Smith Industries Insta-Cure Cyanocrylic) that I purchased from a local hobby shop that specializes in models and toy trains. You can search for dealers of this glue in your area here. Or you can get it on Amazon here.

Now, you don't need to glop this glue on. It dries fairly quickly and you'll risk getting unsightly lumps of it on parts of the earring that you don't want it on. A small amount will do. Plus, don't get this on your clothes 'cause its not coming out. And, naturally, be careful of getting it on your hands or in your eyes. 

Waaalaaa!! Couldn't be simpler. I always let stuff dry overnight for maximum curing before I use it.

 Now, just think of all the different pairs of cute earrings you can make raiding your sewing stash ( or your mom or grandma's, heehee) .Also, if you are the thrifting type, be aware of the buttons that are on clothes. If the garment doesn't fit or isn't your style, are the buttons good? Strip the buttons and pass the garment on to one of your seamstress friends (or, repurpose the garment yourself, if you are into that). I don't generally recommend stripping buttons off of precious vintage garments unless the piece is beyond repair. But you can find many modern thrift store clothes with suitable buttons on them. And many thrifts and flea markets will sell bags or jars of buttons. If you want to use new buttons, well, there are a ton of cute ones out there. A recent trip to a JoAnn's fabric store revealed racks of great buttons in all kinds of materials. With buttons in hand,  you will see how easy it is to make an entire wardrobe of earrings in an afternoon!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

sparkles courtesy pixlr-o-matic :)

Cat + Gnome----the subject of fairy tales in my previous post inspired me to take a couple of pictures of my cat with one of her favorite toys, Mr Gnome. She wrestles him a lot. She usually gets the upper paw :) You can see how chewed the top of his hat is!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dear viewers, if you are a fan of fairy tales and the illustrations thereof, then you are surely aware of Arthur Rackham, one of the most famous illustrators of fairy tales of all time. This Victorian/Edwardian era (and beyond) artist illustrated many fine fairy books and his drawings, paintings and silhouettes have influenced artists up to this day.  Recently, as I was going through some of my belongings in a box, I came across a Rackham fairy book that I had picked up at a thrift store and had forgotten about. This particular book was published in the 70s and is called "Fairy Tales from Many Lands".  It was originally published in 1913 as "The Allies' Fairy Book" which I assume meant allied countries from WWI. It contains many charming black and white drawings and color plates. But most interesting to me was the biographical synopsis on the back cover. In this synopsis I learned that Rackham had married an Irish woman from Galway by the name of Edyth Starkie in 1903, and that she, too, was an artist.

As often happens in artistic couples one artist can end up eclipsing the other, and the shadowed artist is subsequently lost in the pages of history. It seems to have happened more often to female artists whose work was sometimes buried under the weight of the fame of their better known male lovers/spouses who were more valued simply because they were men. At any rate,  I immediately went searching for some information on Edyth Starkie and there is little to be found. However, I came across an excellent article by James Hamilton in the Irish Arts Review which you can access here.  His article gives us a picture of a woman who, despite the fact that she was often in ill health, was charming, vivacious and talented and was an accomplished portrait painter who was trained in Paris and was often invited to exhibit her work.. She apparently had a great sense of humor and sometimes, an impish sensibility.  Very few of her paintings seemed to have survived and the whereabouts of some of them seems to be unknown. But those works that survive are quite beautiful and have a dreamy,  thoughtful quality about them.  
Detail from "Pippa Passes" by Edyth Starkie, exhibited 1899

"The Three Bears" Arthur Rackham. "The Grebe Hat" by Edyth Starkie Rackham appears in the picture to the right of Papa Bear.
In his Irish Arts Review article, Mr Hamilton tells us that Arthur Rackham was very supportive of his wife's artistic pursuits and through the Rackham's household accounts records we can see that models and art supplies for Edyth were regularly acquired. A charming show of Arthur's affection and respect was the inclusion of one of Edyth's paintings, "The Grebe Hat", in the background of his painting "The Three Bears". A sweet acknowledgement of his wife's work, but perhaps also a manifestation (unconscious or not) of the realization that Edyth's art would always be in the "background" of his.

Detail of "The Grebe Hat" by Edyth Starkie exhibited 1907
Like many of her paintings, Edyth Starkie has faded into a dreamy past, but she is well worth remembering. Not only was she an interesting artist in her own right, she surely had some influence on Arthur's work..  I encourage you, dear viewers, to read James Hamilton's article and see for yourselves.