Rusty Junk Flower Garden

More Crafts, More Miscellaneous

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” –Henri Matisse

IMG_7490

I’ve been hoarding old faucet handles for awhile now trying to come up with just the right project for them.  I attended an outdoor art festival earlier this summer, and metal flowers were everywhere!  So, I decided to finally get them out and make something fun.

My biggest dilemma was figuring out what to use for the stems.  I visited our local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and started poking around in the scraps, and I hit the jackpot.  A big bucket full of rusty old concrete ties was just what I needed.  They were the right diameter and the “patina” was already there.  I picked up a big 5 gallon bucket full for $3.00.  I love that store!

IMG_7470

I removed one of the circular discs so I could trim the lengths to various sizes.

IMG_7476

Then, I slid the handle on to the “stem” and locked it onto my vice grip.  I used a hammer to pound the end until it flattened enough to keep the handle from sliding off.

IMG_7474

Next, I sweet-talked my husband into tacking the handles into place with his welder.  Before he agreed to help me out, however, I had planned on gluing the flowers into place with a high-quality epoxy like Loctite.  They have a formula for metal that works for outdoor applications.  This probably would have been sufficient.

IMG_7478

Finally, I put the flowers back into the vice, so I could bend them into random flower-like shapes.  I wanted them to have a little “movement.”

IMG_7480

Now, I have a garden full of funky-junk flowers that don’t ever need watering!

IMG_7502

Wishing everyone a wonderful rest of August.  Enjoy your flowers, both real and junky!

Advertisements

Bling and Baubles

More Crafts, More Miscellaneous

“I just want to know. Who got all the jewelry?”  –Joan Rivers

trees22

My friend and I got together over the holiday break to do some crafting.  This is a project we have been planning for over a year!  I remember seeing a jewelry Christmas tree when I was a little girl, and over the years, I have kept thinking about it.  So, I started stashing jewelry and picking up pieces at thrift stores and garage sales.  Between the two of us, we had an enormous treasure chest full of bling and baubles.  It was the ultimate trip down memory lane as I shared the story about a pair of red/pear earrings I wore to a formal dance in college.  (These ended up on her tree, and they look almost as wonderful there as they did on my lobes all those years ago!)

She donated a pair of her mother’s cast-off owl earrings to me, since she knows how much I love owls.  There is one on each of my two trees, and I love them there!

My friend’s tree completely matches her personality.  It is bright, colorful and full of so many different fun things!  She started looking for as many animal inspired pieces and they really add to the eclectic mix. I also found a pendant with the “scales of justice,” and I knew she had to use it on her tree as a nod to her late father who was a judge.  Fittingly, she used it for the base of her tree.

tree11

It’s really very simple:  Find a frame you love and use some spray adhesive to attach a piece of black velvet or other fabric to the cardboard insert.  Trim the edges.  Lay all of your jewels out in a piece of paper the same size as your frame, so you know everything will fit. Remove the backs of pins and earrings with needle-nose pliers.  I snapped a quick picture with my phone, so I could recreate my pattern when I started gluing.  This was really helpful because things start moving as you remove pieces from your template.  We used E-6000 glue to attach everything.  It is my favorite all-purpose crafting glue!  Let everything dry and enjoy your treasure.

This project was so much fun that I am imagining many more trees in my crafting future…. I want to do a diamond inspired tree…. a tree with lots of black accents…. a super pearly tree…. Oh, and maybe one that is mostly pastels… One thing I know for sure, we need to plan for more crafty afternoons in the next year.  It’s good for the soul!

Happy New Year and Happy Crafting!

Snow Day

More Miscellaneous, More Nature

“January brings the snow, makes our feet and fingers glow.”–Sara ColeridgeIMG_4453Is there a teacher or student out there in Northwest Montana today who doesn’t feel like today is a special gift?  I’ve learned to never wish for a snow day, because it has to be REALLY snowy in my neck of the woods for school to be closed, and in twenty years of teaching, I can remember about three such days. That said, there’s nothing as decadent and magical as a free day to sit inside and watch the snow fall.

What Color Means to Me

More Crafts, More Miscellaneous

“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing?  Can one really explain this? No.” ~Pablo Picasso

I am proud to have a short essay and photograph published in the latest issue of Uppercase Magazine.  Issue 22 was entirely devoted to COLOR, and what a beautiful publication it turned out to be!  The Uppercase website  has a beautiful feature of the issue along with a video that you can enjoy.  The prompt:  What Color Means to Me… inspired me to write about learning to crochet as a young girl.  Crochet continues to be one of my favorite artistic mediums and choosing yarn for a project is such a happy, colorful process.

issue22-heldIf you haven’t had the pleasure of savoring an issue of Uppercase, you absolutely must treat yourself to a copy of this creative, and visually stimulating, publication.  Seriously, head over to the website and start your subscription.  It’s a gift to yourself.  Really. (You can even take advantage of the discount code “roygbiv” for $15.00 off the subscription price.)

U22-colourmeans-spread3That’s my piece in the lower left-hand corner.  (I never get tired of seeing my work in print!)

Best wishes for a colorful day!

Club Little House

More Crafts, More Miscellaneous

“For the person for whom small things do not exist, the great is not great.”     -Jose Ortega y Gasset

clublittlehouse
When I was in elementary school, I became quite enamored by dollhouse miniatures.  There was something about the tiny little items that enchanted me.  Of course, I had quite a stint with my Barbies, yet it seemed I spent more time designing their houses than actually playing with them.  That compulsion to decorate somehow evolved into creating little dollhouses inside cardboard boxes.  Then I received a REAL dollhouse kit for Christmas, and my mom let me spread out all of the supplies on the kitchen table, and I glued and painted to my heart’s content.  I still have those minis tucked away, and I absolutely must get them out, dust them off, and enjoy them once again!  My love of miniatures has been dormant for quite some time, yet I recently rekindled my obsession by participating in “Club Little House” which was organized by the wonderfully crafty Amy Powers.
IMG_1647-904x500

“Club Little House” littles created by Amy Powers

“Club Little House” participants agreed to construct twelve 1:12 miniature items and ship them to Amy by the deadline.  For a small fee, she graciously packaged up twelve items and sent them to all of us in return.  As a result, we each received a lovely assortment of clever, and lovingly-crafted “littles.”  I am quite in love with everything I received.  You can take a look at all of the items, including mine, here.
I spent quite awhile trying to come up with just the right thing to create for “Club Little House.”  In the end, I decided to make something that relates to my job as a teacher.  Here’s what I came up with….
IMG_1660-904x500

“Club Little House” miniature school charts by Kerrie More

They are pretty simple, but to tell you the truth, they were very time consuming.  I love how they turned out, and I hope the recipients who received my “littles” enjoy them as much as I did making them.  (Just a note:  I did not make any money from the creation of these items.  If you like these images, you should go to this site and purchase them, much bigger of course, from – Paper Source.)

I was so impressed by the items in my “Club Little House” box, but imagine my delight when I discovered a sweet “little” from one of my favorite artists, Mary Engelbreit!  Don’t you love them?
IMG_1542-904x500

“Club Little House” littles created by Mary Engelbreit

Participating in “Club Little House” was really a lot of fun.  I want to thank Amy Powers for organizing such an enjoyable artistic opportunity and for sparking my love of miniatures once again. I loved it so much, I am already thinking of what I might create for the next “Club Little House!”

Happy Summer and Happy Crafting!

In Case of Fire

More Decorating, More Miscellaneous, More Treasures

“Riches do not consist in the possessions of treasures, but in the use made of them.”  -Napoleon Bonaparte

My friend and I often discuss: “What would you grab first if your house was on fire?” We both have favorite pictures worth saving, and of course, my wedding ring is at the top of the list.  She has a memory book that is very important to her, and everyone in her family knows where it is and that they must “GRAB IT BEFORE ESCAPING!”  Then we say, “Well, if there’s more time, then I would probably try to save…”  I know that ultimately these things are just possessions, and in the end it’s not things that matter.  Some people (other people) can be so free of things.  Their houses are sparse and sleek.  Well, that’s not me because, dang it, I like things!  I gain pleasure from pretty pieces of pottery and lovely books.  My heart sings when someone makes me a gift, or I find pretty vintage figurines or pieces of art at the thrift store.  I seriously hope I never have a fire, but the good news is that most of the items I own, while probably irreplaceable, didn’t cost very much money. One “thing” that would definitely be hard to save in a hurry, but means an awful lot to me, is my collection of Mary Engelbreit Home Companion magazines.

indexYears and years ago, still in the phase of my life where I moved from apartment to apartment, I started subscribing to the magazine. It was such a thrill to find it in my mailbox – like a special gift. I would wait until I had a good long time to sit down and savor it from cover to cover.  Well known for her colorful and light-hearted artwork, Mary lent her special touch to each beautiful issue.  Each one was bursting with art and pictures of rooms and homes like the one I wanted to create.  These people had collections, and books, and art and things!  I pored over the pictures admiring the eclectic and whimsical decorating styles.  I used sticky-notes to mark my favorite ideas, because I wouldn’t think of tearing out pages like I did with all of my other magazines.
 MEpicThen I decided to get online and try to find copies of all of the issues I didn’t own – the ones from the first few years of publication.  It was like a treasure hunt, and it took me awhile, but I eventually completed my collection.  Finding a copy of the first issue was especially hard, but I felt like I had won a marathon (obviously I don’t run) when I won the auction on Ebay.

img010Once I had them all, I lined up all of my Mary Engelbreit Home Companion magazines on my shelf in chronological order and marveled in the completeness of it.  Then something awful happened.  No, my house didn’t actually start on fire.  To my dismay, the publishers decided to quit publishing the magazine, and for awhile, I mourned the loss of my special quarterly visitor in the mail.  Yet, as each season rolls around, I pull the magazines out and look them over once again.  Around Thanksgiving, I gather all of the Christmas issues and have a mini-vacation going over them again.  In the coldness of January, I find warmth in snuggling up with all of the issues filled with Valentine’s Day loveliness.  In fact, I just took out the summer issues to enjoy, which gave me the inspiration for this post. It’s a little ritual that gives me comfort.  (The fall issues, with all of their Halloween pictures are always my favorite!)
mlulm1Vx4xDKDy10ImZ8l6gI have gotten many an idea, and created some of my most special artistic creations, with inspiration from these pages.  I realize that Mary Engelbreit has moved on from publishing her magazine.  Undoubtedly, the ones I have are such a special treasure. In case of fire, I will do my best to save them from the flames.  However, Mary, if you read this, just let me say, if you decide to start rolling the Home Companion off the presses again, I will be one of the first subscribers, and it will be my mission to write something for its pages.Of course, you can see what Mary is creating now on her lovely website.  I stop by from time-to-time to see her latest art work, and I always love it!

One Resolution

More Crafts, More Miscellaneous

“Happiness is a place between too little and too much.” –Finnish Proverb

I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions.  I’ve never had much luck with them, and it seems that all of them are centered around doing more, or less, of something.  More exercise, more vegetables, more fun time, less sugar, less television, less stress… Sound familiar?  My favorite resolution each year is simply to focus on “Balance.”  Some weeks are better than others, but when I focus on trying to include a little of “this”, and a little of “that,” in my life things just seem to feel right.  Too much of anything just messes with my equilibrium.  So, I made a little reminder of my focus for 2014.

balanceHappy New Year and Best Wishes for balanced 2014!

Oh Christmas Tree….

More Books, More Decorating, More Miscellaneous

“The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!”
-Charles N. Barnard

Inspired by all of the wonderful book trees on Pinterest, we decided to try our own at school this year.  We think it turned out wonderfully!  (Yes, that’s a taxidermy wolf in the background– a donation to our school whose mascot is the Wolfpack.)

May your Christmas holiday be filled with hours of uninterrupted reading time and LOTS of good books!

IMG_0401Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!

Book Review: “Rosette Art” by Cathe Holden

More Books, More Crafts, More Miscellaneous

“It is deeply satisfying to win a prize in front of a lot of people.”
― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

I wholeheartedly agree with the above quote by E.B. White.  Each of us should have a chance to win the big prize, shouldn’t we?  Well, there’s no better way to give a fantastic “prize” to someone you love than to make something from Cathe Holden’s recent book, Rosette Art (Chronicle Books).

Rosette-Art-Cover-470We’ve all got them… stashes, boxes, bags and drawers overflowing with simple treasures we can’t bear to part with.  Vintage fabric, ribbon and buttons; lovely papers, pretty pictures and tiny trinkets.  Well, Cathe Holden presents the perfect project for using up some of our beloved scraps…. Rosettes!  Such a simple, but versatile idea! This one-of-a-kind book is more than an assortment of unique rosette crafts; it’s also a collection of lovely papers to incorporate into the designs. For many, the traditional rosette reminds us of the elusive first-place ribbon.  However, with inspiration from this book, you can make a loved-one, or even yourself, feel like the grand-prize winner! The endless list of suggestions will start your own creative juices flowing, and soon you will be hooked-on dreaming up your own clever rosette patterns.   Try a garland, mobile, ornament or wreath.  Whatever you choose, you likely won’t be able to stop with just one!

Head on over to Cathe’s website, Just Something I Made to get started on one of my favorite projects from the book — the Money Rosette.  Wouldn’t this be a perfect “prize” for someone’s special birthday?

cathe_holden_dollar_rosetteShe also shares the directions to make these amazing shelf-paper rosettes.  Can’t you just imagine all of the possibilities?!

CatheHolden-shelfpaper-rosettes-01Pick up a copy of Cathe’s amazing book– complete with papers to get started.  You’re sure to win first place with all of your friends when you whip-up some unique, and thoughtful, gifts!

(This review was originally published in the Spring 2013 issue of Amy Powers’ Inspired Ideas.  For one of Cathe’s projects, as well as some other “prize-winning” crafts, be sure to check out this fantastic issue!)

Office Work

More Miscellaneous

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.  ~Confucius

Seriously, have you gotten your subscription to Uppercase! Magazine, yet?  It’s one of my favorite things to discover in my mailbox!  This graphically rich, whimsical, and all-around cornucopia of all things art-related never fails to make me smile.  I’ve had such a blast responding to their calls for submission.  In issue #18, I was lucky enough to have a piece published in their Handsome Ransom feature. That one was so much fun to create!

This time, the challenge was a call for letterforms and alphabets made with office supplies.  I went out onto my back deck and took some photos of my three vintage staplers in configurations no one had ever imagined before!  The result was unique, and my submission was printed right up-front in the feature.  I love the challenges – they give me an excuse to flex my creative skills.  Thanks Uppercase!

notion004This recent issue is another visual feast. I love the artist profiles, the interesting feature stories, and of course, the snippets of creative and curious things to look at.

#19 cover previewHappy Reading and Happy Working!