Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My facination with metal

I don't exactly know what it is I like about metals, maybe something to do with it's industrial feel. I started buying little bits of it here and there; a wire letter holder, a metal curio cabinet, and an end table. I love the grey color and the hard cold texture. I'd really like a little bit in every room. One of my favorite blogs is La Dolfina. She lives somewhere in California and has lovely things that she shares and sells on her site. I had some old wine barrel planters that disintegrated over the years and hadn't the heart to toss out the metal rings. I hung them on the fence in the back yard for awhile, but was at a loss of what to do with them. 

I then saw these clever entry way decorations on La Dolfina, and decided to create my own. (She does sell them if you are interested) I'm embarrassed to say, a clever girl like me doesn't even own a drill. I know it's an outrage. I keep thinking someday, but until then I borrow the neighbors. I have two zinc containers by my front door, and they worked perfectly with them. They are kept together with natural twin until I get a metal drill bit and put proper holes in them. I have plans of growing little climbing vines on them. Alas, the weather has turned and it's not the time for baby plants.  I can imagine how perfect they'll look like next summer. 


I've also tried a few different things with needle nose pliers and wire. Both of these I saw in stores or online and decided to make my own. The bird cage is my second one, the first was given as a gift. Not difficult at all. I sat in front of the TV twisting away. I use chicken feathers that came out of my sofa for the tail, and spray painted the whole thing black. Mr Birdie flips over every once in awhile, but other than that it's been hanging around in my kitchen for years now.

Tweet Tweet

This one is my newest creation. I saw it in a magazine in someones house and wanted my own. I just had to decide what language to write "love" in. 


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My love for all things Potter

I'm a fan of Pintrest. It saves me from ever spending money on another magazine, and I get all I want, anytime I want. I saw a Harry Potter mobile, inspired from the Sorcerers Stone with the flying keys. I of course save old skeleton keys. I also know you can get them at the old fashion locksmith shops that now a days are far and few. So I'm off and running with a new project.... 

Supplies and latte on hand!

Draw wings on velum with colored sharpies and cut them out with an exacto knife. (I only had baby blue velum on hand)

Give them a wash of iridescent gold acrylic paint. Iridester is bester!

Hot glue the wings to the keys. Use nylon invisible string to hang them. 

Attach the winged keys to the ceiling with little white cup hooks. It this case I attached them to the bathroom exhaust fan which makes them move when the fan goes on. 
My boys think I'm the coolest! 

She sells seashells by the seashore.

I'm back!! It's not that I haven't been creating, I just haven't been posting. I started teaching two art classes at Arts Umbrella studio in Bothell. I have young ones, K-6th grade. It's so much fun and really feeds my soul. I also started subbing in the school district mostly working with low function students in the CLC. That being said, I haven't had a lot of time to blog. I do however, have quite the stock pile of photos of work that I have done. 

Seashell Mirror

I love collecting seashells. I'm pretty sure I was a mermaid in a past life. My grandparents loved collecting them too, and I have a good portion of their shells. It's something that you can do for free, or spend a little money on. I like to think of shells as works of art from other creatures that we share this world with. I'm fascinated with the spirals and how they all go in the same direction. I love the colors, textures, and the fact that you collect them all over the world. Iridescent is the best. Grandma Seyler used to say "iridester is bester". See it's in my blood!

My husband grew up in a Marine Corps family and lived in Guam and Cuba for a bit. He brought quite a collection into our family from his childhood. About 8 years ago he was diagnosed with Multiple Myloma, a red blood cell cancer that usually attacked much older adults. Together we went on a journey through the wicked world of radiation, chemo, and stem cell transplants. During that time he would spend many hours in our bedroom recovering. I decided to spruce it up, as it was the last room in the house to be decorated. Along with new bedding and curtains, I came to the idea that I would create a "Cancer" mirror. Something to represent this trying time and to uplift the spirits of the dreary bedroom. We had collected shells as a family for years, beach-combing with our three young children. We also had all those beauties from his childhood, and my sister brought me treasures from the beach by her work.  What I didn't have I purchased at the local craft store for some continuity. I had quite a collection to work with. 

It started by ordering a door from Home Depot that already had a mirror attached. I then laid it out on our dining room table and proceeded to layout the shells around it, focusing designs on the lower and upper bits. Everything was then permanently attached with Liquid Nails until it was completely covered. (toxic mind you). It took me four days, with lots of fresh air breaks. Luckily the room is surrounded by windows, but still, I may of lost some brain cells in the process. We had oyster shells that I turned sideways and used as candle holders. I bought some little mother of pearl hearts to randomly place along the sides, and also decided to put in a creature of the mirror for luck.

Creature of the mirror. Can you see him?

Detail on the bottom of the mirror
Detail on the top. The blue limpets are all color on the inside so I showed that side. 

Curio Cabinet

My very good friend and second mother, gave me this lovely curio cabinet this summer. It belonged to her mother for 25 years and then she owned it for 15 more. She thought I could do something wonderful with it, and suggested seashells. I pondered painting the whole thing ultra glossy turquoise and modernizing it,  but decided to take her advise and do another seashell project.  

This time my shell collection was considerably smaller. I did use shells collected from each of my three boys, and I used a few of my Grandfathers that he found in the Pacific during WWII. I purchased the majority of shells from Hobby Lobby. This time I couldn't lay the cabinet flat, so I used a hot glue gun. Next summer I'm going to take it outside and weave Liquid Nails around the shells for extra hold. I should of used both first time around. The hot glue is study and very difficult remove, but none the less I want it to last and be as strong as possible. 

Key detail

Leg detail. It's my favorite part of the cabinet. They look like octopus to me and are my creatures of the cabinet. 

Bottom detail
Top detail, which is just beautiful!

Looks stunning in my entry hallway.

 Added bonus...It gave me a spot to display all my bird nests, seashells, rocks, and other natural treasures.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Traditions

Christmas is by far my favorite holiday. It's filled with traditions, some old and carried on, and some completely new. One of the wonderful things about starting your own family is that you get to share traditions from when you grew up, and you get to tweak them and make new ones. 
I wanted to share a few of ours, and maybe inspire you to add a few to yours. 

The first is my Surprise Balls....

When I was little, occasionally, we got this wonderful ball to unwrap. As you unrolled the colorful crepe paper, toy surprises and jokes were revealed. 
They were so much fun, even if you just got a bad joke and a cheap plastic ring. 

 Now I make my own for my kids. I buy rolls of colorful crepe paper streamers from the party section at the grocery store. I print off Shakespeare quotes and bad Christmas jokes from the internet, and one good prize for the center. The wrappings work best with small flattish prizes like fake mustaches and chocolate coins. I then sit in front of the TV, one night after the kids have gone to bed, and get rolling. I'm sure you can still buy these somewhere, but it's much more fun to personalize them, and easy to make your own, so why bother with searching for them.

The kids love them and open them with a frenzy. We then spend time wrapping each other up like mummies and taking photos. 

Next is The Count Down....

Now this tends to cause me some anxiety every time I look at it, but the kids love it and get so excited. It's an idea I got off of Pintrest. It's just an old frame that I use a dry erase marker on. 

 I have three boys, so we have two advent calendars that are going. The first is a Playmobil calendar that has little boxes that you open each day and then the characters get placed in a winter scene. I have bought 4 or 5 of then and carefully save them for the next year. Now I rotate them instead of purchasing more. I'm thinking I will carry this tradition on even when I have grandchildren someday. The second is a garland made of little knitted hats and gloves. I believe I bought it from the Sundance catalog. I buy chocolate truffles and fill these. The boys then rotate who gets to do what, with one of them taking the day off. 

Then the stockings hung by the chimney with care..... 

When I made these, I did not know how to knit or crochet. I just had an idea from my mom trying to teach me when I was little. They are wonky and out of proportion, but that's what makes them charming. I made one for each of my boys. One is crocheted, one is knitted, and one is sewn. There is no pattern, sorry, and I couldn't even begin to recreate them, but I encourage you to try your own. Now a days you can look up a tutorial on the internet, but when I made these I wasn't internet savvy. 

I now know how to crochet very well, thanks to the internet, and have made Christmas pillows. 
( Feeling rather clever now. )

I also have a thing for terrariums. 
This is my Christmas scene in a vase. Kosher salt for snow, a tree from holiday decor in a craft store, and one of my sons toy animals. 

And then there's the food....

Sushi Christmas Eve
(there's a story behind this one)

(cheese and chocolate for desert)

Crepes Christmas morning


Stunning deserts!

 and always Christmas Crackers...

If you haven't tried these, pick up a set. They are an after Christmas or New Years dinner treat with a paper crown, a joke, and a trinket. Two people take hold of an end and pull. It has a small firework that makes a loud pop or "crack" sound. Sometimes you can find one's with Christmas games or nicer trinkets. It really depends on how much you pay for them and where you shop for them. I thought of stuffing my own, but I haven't run across a kit. These I bought at Pier One Imports, but I have seen them at Williams Sonoma and other specialty stores. 

 Happy Tradition making!

The Nest

I love collecting objects of art from nature. Seashells, pine cones, and nests of all sorts. I dream of finding one of those huge wasp nests, unoccupied, and bringing it home. Did you ever stop to ponder how these things are created and the labor that goes into them?

I have quite a large bird nest collection. It shifts around the house depending on the season and what inspires me. They actually are difficult for me to display. They are made of dried mud and grasses, bits of paper and twigs. I even have one that has a strip of ace bandage or something. They are delicate and are constantly shedding bits when I move them. I really should have a permanent display, but unfortunately don't have the space for one. 

At Christmas time, I decorate my house with a nature theme and a few of the nests make the Christmas tree. Just looking at them blows my mind how much labor went into making them. A bird has no hands, everything has to be carried by mouth. All that mud! They represent so much love from a primal place. They truly are works of art.  

This time of year we focus on our own nests and making them warm, welcoming, and beautiful for our loved one's. We spend hours decorating and planing out holiday meals. We open our homes and hearts to others. Despite all the terrible things we do to each other in this world, we also have such wonderful, inspiring hearts. 

Happy Nesting!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cocktails Anyone?

I'd like to share my Cocktail Cabinet with you. 

Lets open it up...

We bought this cabinet when my first child was very small. Originally it was intended as a TV cabinet. It's very large, and the TV was high enough so little fingers wouldn't be tempted to explore. It has four large drawers, big enough for all our Cd's and movies. Well times changed and so did our furniture, and this was emptied and moved to our great room. It was ignored for awhile, until I got the brilliant idea to turn it into a bar for my husband for father's day. 

The first thing I did, was to by a cheap $5 roll of wall paper from the sale bin at the local Fred Meyer. The inside was painted black and needed lightening up. (I like that it says Rose-buds as that's one of my nick names.) I then carefully measured and ordered a mirror for the back and two 1/2" thick glass shelves from my local glass shop. (Measure carefully, and then remeasure twice after that.) I drilled a hole in the top for a power cord and then one through the back of the cabinet. This is for the blender. 

You can buy rolls of cork that are fairly inexpensive, so I corked the top. I figured this would be a non skid surface and look cool. 

I bought a halogen light for the inside top of the cabinet, and ran the power cord through the roof and down the backside of the cabinet. There's a switch on the cord to turn it on and off. It sounds impressive, but it was really quite easy.

It lights it all up beautifully!

It's has been so fun filling it up with accessories. 

This is a leather flask holder handmade and tooled by my grandfather David Seyler. It holds an old bottle of Bourbon from 1944 and is some of the smoothest I've ever tasted. 

The large thimble reads "Only A Thimble Full". (a gift from my Grandmother who was a quilter)

The top drawer holds the essentials.

The next drawer holds soda cans. 

And somethings don't change, because the bottom two drawers still hold hundreds of Cd's. 

The whole thing then closes up, waiting for the next time a cocktail is needed. 

Cocktails anyone?