It’s fall here in Brazil, we’re getting colder at night and still I just can’t accept it. With Easter just a week or so ago I can’t seem to reconcile myself to this side of the Equator. So in my home it’s spring and we’re making little pastel houses and decorating eggs with vintage trim.
The little houses are upcycled cardboard with vintage lace. I’m still at work on the birds who will live in these sweet little homes.
I loved that song when I was a child at Halloween, we had a old cassette tape of songs and I was thinking of what my plans were going to be for Halloween this year. I’ve got some ideas for my girls and a few funny ideas for my husband and I, funny how he never seems to go for my ideas… hee! hee!
Anyway, I was working on some items for my shop for Halloween and came up with this little guy, sure he looks shy and retiring, but you should see the size of his teeth when he opens his mouth.
This little guy was made from a the sleeve of a wool sweater, be sure to shrink and felt the sweater and then cut about 6 inches of the sleeve. Cut a short split up the middle of the front and back, stitch closed into legs. Close up the feet and then stuff and close up the head. Horns were made from triangles of a wool suit, use suit buttons or what ever cute little eyes you can.
I’ve finally started to feel settled a bit, and I’ve returned to one of my life-lines from our days in Bogota, joining an Art Swap. I joined an ATC group after the first year away from the states as a way to feel connected to other artists, especially english-speaking artists. I wish my language skills were sufficient to find artsy friends in the wonderful places we’ve lived but life seems to find a way of getting between me and language classes.
I like thinking about the theme and then trying new things out to get my swap submissions ready to go. With the mail situation, I’ve also learned that waiting til the last minute is a sure-fire way to loose potential friends. I love getting things in the mail and I am excited for weeks waiting to see my trades… Overall I’ve always been surprised and very rarely disappointed.
I’ve done doll swaps and ATCs and now I’ve added chunkies to my list. I try not to overcommit, but sign up for one or two a month, then I check in to the forums to see if others have posted pics of their finished work. I love when a swap has a lot of lively interaction, it’s great to see the instant commraderie…
So, with a little work this weekend, and the use of a few magazines, cereal boxes and the scraps from my last forray into purse making… here is a few pics of the chunkie trades.
Our mail has finally found us, and unfortunately there was a little confusion with one of my subscriptions, I ended up with one of my mom’s magazines. Well, to send it back to here I decided to recycle the envelope with some of her favorite people, my little girls of course.
We went home to my parents house just long enough to get them hooked on the girls and now we’ve gone 5,200 miles away… so things are a little strange, and anyway I got a little exuberant about mailing my mom’s magazine back to her.
Next time you forward mail, I hope you are recycling the envelope, or use a cereal box. Frankly the most fun I’ve had mailing recycled packaging was when I mailed some of my jewelry to a boutique using a lego box… it’s probably the first time I’ve had fun in line at the Post office.
I picked up a great little magazine at the stand the other day. I’ve found that there are a lot of little indy magazines I am totally in love with here in Brasilia. My new favorite is a work by Benê Paulo: Garrafas Pet.
It’s a magazine about making plants from a little paint and a few 2 liter bottles. He uses scissors, a few staples, wire, and a lighter to shape the blossoms and stems of some really fun little plants. I’m gonna be able to keep these guys alive – wink -
I’m so very impressed!! Check out the web page for the magazine here: Garrafas Pet
For a step-by-step of how he created the Violets from the image start here and follow the directions, which are in portuguese, but the photos are pretty easy to follow.
Please reply with photos of your plastic flowers, I’d love to post them!
When I’m working on something new I sit at my sewing machine snickering to myself, which causes my little family no small amount of concern. I snicker because many of the little projects I try out are a pretty funny joke to me. When I first started this blog I began with a couple of rugs made from t-shirts and jeans, it was a funny little play on the typical mommy nag of picking clothing up off the floor. I thought it was pretty funny to spread these rugs out on the floor, besides being economical and much needed warmth in our Bogota apartment.
Well I’ve gone back to the shirt and jeans idea again – this time I’ve taken a man’s flannel shirt and a couple of dark pairs of jean fabric and made them into a girly purse. I also tacked on some pretty blue satin scraps from making my daughter’s Christmas/Easter dress. Story Break: it was supposed to be for Christmas Sunday and since we spent the whole holiday sick then we didn’t go to church then she didn’t wear it. Well we got her in it this past Sunday and so it is a Christmas/Easter dress.
I had a lot of fun making my first recycled clothing purse, I used the plackards from a flannel shirt as the purse straps and made the body of the purse from one of the sleeves, I inserted a secret pocket into the wrist opening on the other side. I pulled the lace here off some bloomers and tea stained them – they have a great terra cotta color which goes really well with the purse.
The part that made me snicker - is a little story in my head as I was putting the purse together – what if you had something of your husbands or boyfriends that you didn’t like or that he left lying around too often, and then well… what if you cut it up and made it into your new purse? I’m still snickering.
I don’t think I’m much different than the average woman. I like my shoes and on average we have about 50 pair right??? Then great, I’m just about average. To support this NEED I have for new shoes, something new and sexy for my feet I’ve also taken to buying some shoes from the thrift store.
I hasten to add that I purchase shoes that are in good shape, there are some very generous women out there who have donated some beautiful shoes. The first step is to have a look at the sole of the shoe to see if it’s been worn a lot, for a heel – how much has the heel been chewed up. The sole also doesn’t tell you everything, you’ve got to see if all of the cushioning on the inside has been squished as well. By looking in the shoe and feeling into the ball you can get an idea of how much a shoe has been worn and whether it has any wear left in it for you.
Try them on in the store, wear socks when you shop or little knee high nylons and try out the shoes as you walk and shop. If you can’t stand to wear them for 5 minutes, put them back and keep shopping. Also, notice where the shoe is going to wear on you, is the heel to tight, straps… make sure that you’ve put some thought into whether it’s a good buy – spending even $5 on a pair of shoes that are going to leave blisters or you aren’t going to wear is a waste even if it’s only $5.
I’ve found that most times it’s the fancy evening shoes for women and the cute Sunday shoes for children that still have some wear in them. Now comes the fun part.
Don’t pass by a pair of good shoes as you shop just because they are a weird color or not exactly your style. Find a shoe with some life in them and imagine a few crafty possibilities. Imagine whether a new ribbon or something sparkly would make you feel different about the shoe. If that doesn’t do it – could you paint some new life into them?
I’ve painted a few shoes and at the top of this entry is a pair of Naturalizers that were $6 at the local Goodwill – this is what I did with them.
Tips for Painting Recycled Shoes
Don’t try to paint the whole shoe, they will naturally have some wrinkles and this is where the paint starts to chip and disintegrate first
When you paint a good way of making a white canvas is using a little bit of Gesso, blob out the areas you are interested in and then apply acrylic paints over them
Sometimes you can’t replicate a design – unless you are willing to use stencils, two shoes don’t have to look the same to go together
Little or Simple designs can look great, don’t underestimate what a little painting will do to make something old into something special
Don’t be afraid of mistakes, Acrylic will wipe off with water if you move quickly, when you make a mistake have a damp towel next to you to clean up
Please send in pics of your shoe projects, I’d love to see them. Mail me at email@example.com
I had a little fun at the thrift store the other day, I bought a few cheap little necklaces and broke them down for the raw materials. I made up a couple of little tarnished charm bracelets with the pieces and a few other little bits and pieces.
Using the chains as a basis for the charm bracelet I added some of the upholstery charms, a couple of mother of pearl buttons, and some of the fun little metallic beads from a really bad graduated bead necklace. I like the tarnished look, it would work well for an everyday piece of jewelry.
One of the best things about this project, the cost of the necklaces was a few bucks, not nearly what it would have cost to purchase materials from the craft store…
So the other day I was walking with my daughter past some of our neighbor’s doors, and she is very focused on the displays of Christmas going on around us. She loves the doors with the beautiful wreaths on them and my neighbors do have some very pretty things up on the doors – very welcoming etc. Well the other day sans babies I went on a little trip to stock up on some necessities and found myself wandering the Christmas aisles looking for something bright and cheery to put on our own door. I saw some beautiful things, I saw some things that were very tempting and would have made me very popular with my daughter. They would also cost me way more than I am ready to spend…
So here is my funny little photo documentary of what I put on our door… one day my daughter will be old enough to do the ‘Oh mommmy…. (sigh of exasperation)’ but she isn’t yet – so she still thinks I’m way cool. I am cool – in a really weird and ‘special’ way. Enjoy – and if you happen to wander by my door give us a knock…