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1  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Photography - A happy coincidence on: June 29, 2010 05:51:26 PM

A collision of sunset, rain on a window, foliage and an indoor plant...

2  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Upcycled jewelry racks and displays on: June 02, 2010 07:40:02 AM
These are some of the jewelry displays I've made using upcycled vintage wares.

Vintage accordion hat rack that I took apart, cleaned and painted using leftover house paint. These are so easy to find second-hand and they work great for long necklaces which are hard to display using tabletop racks.

Vintage metal mug holder. I took it apart, sanded lightly and cleaned with alcohol. I also painted it with leftover house paint.

These weren't altered but I still wanted to include them for other ideas on upcycling vintage items:

This brass photo holder works well for hanging earrings

A groovy tiered serving tray which you can use to hold or display all sorts of things. I use it for post earrings.

A now obsolete metal CD rack:) now holding loads of earrings.

Here's a blog post I did on more ideas for eco-friendly and upcycled vintage jewelry displays:
3  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Eco-friendly recycled fabric ring display on: May 18, 2010 05:10:37 PM
Finally got around to making myself a real ring display!!
Made with rolled thin layers of upholstery foam, vintage aubergine colored satin fabric and an empty chocolate tin. I used hot glue on the foam and to wrap the fabric.

Handy tips:

-Depending on the type of foam you're using you might have to actually make more than will seem to fit in the container to make them really snug. Placing the rings in the fold will create a space so the snugger the rolls the less the chance that you will see the bottom of the container.

-Test each roll in the container as you go along to make sure the size is constant and the fit is snug. You might have to trim them a bit once you wrap them with fabric but only trim a little at a time.

-Since hot glue on fabric doesn't come out it's a good idea to keep all the rest of the fabric away from the 'hot glue zone' until needed for wrapping the current foam roll. 

-You might want to sew the ends instead since using hot glue can be hazardous to your finger tips when trying to do little folds! Smiley

-Make sure you have more than enough fabric in case some get ruined by an errant blob of hot glue:)

-Some fabrics have a 'grain' so make sure every 'roll' is covered in fabric using the same grain every time, this is especially true with satin and velvets.
4  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Botanical watercolors - (Lots o' Pics) on: May 08, 2010 09:19:56 AM
I really love natural history illustrations: they were meant to be purely descriptive but before the invention of mechanical photo documentation you HAD to have artists to visually describe the natural world. Through them they ended up being not only descriptive but beautiful works of art. I envy artist/naturalists like Ernst Haeckel or the remarkable Maria Sibylla Merian ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Sibylla_Merian ) who lived in a time when this kind of career was possible!

These are some watercolors of interesting flora I did that were inspired by the love of describing and understanding an organism and the appreciation of its visual aesthetic. Apart from the first they are all plants I grew at home:)

Amorphophallus bulbifer - Fruit - Asia - Aroid/Arum family

Haworthia venosa ssp tesselatta - succulent - South Africa

Passiflora coriaceae - bat wing passion flower - South America
pen and ink, and watercolor

x Miltassia -Orchid hybrid cross between Miltonia and Brassia

Paphiopedilum hybrid - Lady Slipper Orchid
pen and ink, and watercolor

Phalaenopsis hybrid - Moon orchid 
pen and ink, and watercolor
5  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Small gift bags using old book pages! on: May 06, 2010 03:08:34 PM
Make little gift bags using book page sized paper - vintage childrens books are the best! but you can also use magazines or any other rectangular piece of paper. Make sure your folds are crisp by pressing down with the flat side of a butter knife (or any other hard flat thingie:) )

Joint both short ends together with a little overlap. Tape or glue the entire length (more overlap needed if using glue)

Fold over a 1.5 inch tab - this will be the bottom of the bag

Open the tab and fold both edges to form two triangles (make sure creases all align)


Take the bottom and top and fold them over towards the center to meet.

Tape the entire length making sure there are no gaps between the tabs. If you want to use glue you need to fold the tabs a little past the center line. Make sure they pass the center line by the same amount or it will be a bit wonky when you open it:)

Making the folds going up and down the bag. Fold one of the outer edges inwards. Making sure the points align and the width is constant.

Fold it again but towards the flip side of the bag. Repeat with other outer edge.

Gently open it and work the creases with your hands. Center crease should fold in.

For a more detailed, (but probably more confusing) step-by-step:
6  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Recycled vintage frame and fabric necklace display easy! on: April 25, 2010 09:26:52 AM
Made from a vintage frame and fabric.

Fabric is stretched and stapled to the back leaving the top open.

Small finish nails are nailed in at an angle on the top to hang necklaces which will slip over the fabric.

Voila! Smiley

7  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Vegetable Love on: April 25, 2010 09:16:48 AM
Plants are one of my BIG passions and they got me into photography Smiley

Anthurium andreanum

Hoya kentiana

Epidendrum ciliare
8  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Mini gardens under Lucite on: April 09, 2010 06:04:14 PM
Made with recycled gardening catalogs and genuine vintage findings. I especially love the combination of old copper and blue-green foliage. I used a gel medium to glue to cab to the picture and E6000 to glue onto settings.
Blue-green Hosta leaves

Little green leaves

Ferny blue-green leaves of the 'Rue' plant

Little garden rings:

Plumbago ring

Begonia ring

Really small Lucite cabochons look like little jewels:

Little round leaves

Close-up of leaf veins

Added to other cabochons as accents:

Glued to a glass cabochon set in copper (brooch)

On a bird decal cabochon (pendant)

The only hard part is trying to avoid bubbles that sometimes form and are only visible after the gel has dried.

9  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Photography - Spring thaw on: April 07, 2010 08:11:37 AM
Lotus seed pods in the Chinese garden

I love the odd green color with the rust and purple.

I love the interesting shapes of the seed pod holes with the lines of the leaf stalks. You can also see the ghostly shapes of the huge leaves in the water. There's also an interesting pattern reflected on the water from the bare trees.

10  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Blue Patina Jewelry - No special chemicals needed! on: April 05, 2010 09:17:33 AM
Aged vintage brass seagull with vintage topaz faceted glass bead and vintage copper chain

I aged these vintage copper and brass stampings by spraying them with salty water and fuming them with clear ammonia in an air-tight container. Ammonia alone gives a green patina but the added salt makes it blue.

*Important*: The salt seems to weaken the metal so it can be potentially corrosive on thinner or fragile pieces - I lost a few stampings this way.
The pieces have to be SOLID brass or copper. Don't use plated steel or even steel objects during the fuming. They will just turn black and potentially copper plate your stampings. (yeah I did that:)

Aged vintage copper filigree leaf necklace

My setup was basically ammonia in a small plastic dish with a plastic mesh on top with my pieces laying flat, placed in a larger plastic airtight container. It took about 48 hours and I sprayed the salt 2 or 3 times.

Aged brass filigree with vintage gray glass jewel and vintage chains

I rinsed them in water and let them air dry for a day before sealing them.

this little guy has not been 'waxed'

To seal in the color I basically just used wax from a white tea light candle. I scratched off some wax from the candle and pressed it on the metal using the warmth of my skin to spread the wax. I removed the excess wax with a pointed object like a head pin and continued rubbing and scratching until I had just enough wax to give it a subtle shine. I find this looks better than using a liquid wax or a hard sealer which can chip over time.

These are what the stampings looked like before the ammonia fuming:

For more details (link goes to my blog post): http://urbannaturalhistory.blogspot.com/2010/03/eye-candy-of-day-chemistry.html
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