Apr 30, 2013

Yard Sale Season Begins!

I'd given up yard sales for two years, but after my "sabbatical" I'm back with a vengeance! I've done some trespassing for a good cause to rescue old bottles. I've brought home absolute trash (like a box of crumbling newspapers for the late 60s). I helped my hoarding neighbor with her sale, which inspired me to have my own. We played 60s tunes on the record player and grilled pizza for the neighborhood kids. It was kind of a yard sale/block party.  I've been back in the yard sale saddle for just a few weeks and I'm looking forward to plenty more adventures.

Pictured above are wooden animals from the 60s. They're clearly luring me back down the road to a cluttered house but how can I resist? They are so cute!

Blast From the Past

Someone gave me a pile of newspapers and LIFE magazines from 1969. I took them for collage material but ended up reading them first. Yes, there were lots of cool fashions and funny ads. But the 60s were also a time when people were exploring issues like race, gender, war, freedom and space. The status quo had to go! 

I started a collage journal based on this treasure trove of trash. Its very autobiographical because I grew up in this era. I was the girl at the slumber party totally cracking up with a tape recorder. The pictures from The Beatles White Album were on my wall too. The text below states "YOU could be a HAIRDRESSER! It's the now career for now people!" I never wanted to be a hairdresser. I knew I wanted to be an artist, and decades later I still working on that. 

Apr 23, 2013

Vintage Illustrations

I'm a Little Golden Book fan. I grew up with The Pokey Little Puppy, Scuffy the Tugboat, The Bunny Book and also shared them with my son. (Another favorite is "What Happened to Piggie?") Seeing the illustrations brings back so many happy memories. I found a title I was unfamiliar with at a rummage sale -- "I Can Fly", illustrated by Mary Blair. It was published in 1950 but looks completely fresh and the color palette is really inspirational. I'm happy to report that this book is included in a selection of Little Golden Book classics available on Amazon. I found a Pinterest board featuring Mary Blair's work. She's my new illustration crush. Some of her work is really sweet (like the illustration above). The work she did for Peter Pan is darker and makes me think of a scene from Samuri Jack.

The Dirty Bottle Caper

Last weekend a friend and I went to a yard sale at the estate of a 90 year old bottle digger & hoarder. I bought a few bottles and after I brought them home I arranged and photographed them. They began to cast a spell on both of us. We drove to the garage sale again to see if we could buy more. The property was abandoned but the crates of bottles were still outside.

None of these bottles were valuable (they weren't even especially old) but they were so alluring that they caused two law abiding women to temporarily take the law into our own hands.  We decided that it was a reasonable idea to drive back "under the cover of darkness" to rescue the crates of bottles from the dumpster looming nearby. Technically trespassing -- but it seemed the "right" thing to do. Why should they end up in the landfill again after they were so lovingly dug and saved by the deceased -- Mr. O. They had "possibilities".

My friend drove the getaway car and I assumed the role of cat burglar. I considered wearing all black but decided that it would make me look even more suspicious if caught. She nonchalantly circled the block while it was my job to carry the crates of bottles to the end of the driveway. The lights were on in the house but it was clearly long abandoned so that didn't deter us. I picked up a crate -- the lights went off & I got really scared. What if someone was in the house and was peering out the window with a shotgun? I froze. Then the lights went back on again. I put down my crate and raced back down the long driveway. After I got to the end of the driveway the lights went on again.

I'm sure there are logical explanations for the lights going on and off in coordination with my movements: there was faulty wiring, there a timer with a mind of its own, there was someone in the house. Or there is the illogical explanation: the ghost of Mr. O. just didn't want me sneaking into his yard taking his precious bottles. It was silly scary childish fun. It reminded me of the perfect Halloween -- going trick or treating at the creepiest house in the neighborhood. To top off the adventure a large meteor streaked across the sky when we drove home.

Apr 21, 2013

iHanna DIY Postcard Swap

I joined the iHanna international postcard swap with an idea to make recycled postcards from contemporary materials ... but I got magnetically drawn to my collection of vintage National Geographics for inspiration. These images came from 1928. I have a large collection of vintage ephemera and I usually use the original images. I scanned these because I couldn't bear to part with them. In spite of scanning them I still could barely part with them! I used to make and send cards to my mom who passed away many years ago. Although its impossible to mail postcards to the "hereafter" I think I really made them for my mom. Her family came from Poland but she loved to dress in the latest American fashions. The rowboat is a reference to the house she lived in along the river. You can see more of my postcards on Flickr.

Clam Shell Necklace

I tend to collect things that other people pass by. I'll walk by the perfect shells to pick up the interesting broken pieces. This is the broken edge of a large clam shell smoothed in the ocean. I loved the organic curve of the shell and it seemed to fit the curve of my neck perfectly -- but it needed a little jazzing up. First I used a hand drill to drill the holes. Then I applied gold leaf and a sealer. I used sterling jump rings and chain because once it got the gold leaf treatment it was looking first class. I think its a more modern take on the souvenir shop seashell necklace idea. 

Apr 19, 2013

DIY Recycled Plastic Flowers

Nature certainly does a great job this time of year. My yard is full of daffodils and narcissus. My kitchen is full of things in the recycling bin on their way out the door. I put these two ideas together and made my own homage to plastic flowers using paper coffee cups and lids, green straws from Starbucks,  a brown paper bag (and a little hot glue). The outer petals are made from the lids, the inner petals from the cups, the leaves from the straws and the pot from another cup and a brown paper bag. I'm old enough to remember plastic flowers -- the fake flowers people used before silk flowers were invented. Boy were they ugly ... and not very realistic. Not surprisingly they're selling on Etsy these days because they're also wonderfully tacky.