Friday, September 26, 2008

Teatime at Catnip Studio

It's teatime at Catnip Studio, as I am experimenting with staging and props for Lollishops photos of one of my vintage broken china mosaic trays. This is my first real foray into multiple photo props, staging, and setting a theme, and I am certain that the staff at (InsertFamousName) Magazine have got it easy! After all, they have shelves and shelves and shelves (a warehouse, I'm sure) of marvelously good, and organized, treasures in every color, texture, and shape under the sun. I home with a decades-blended, eclectic mix of countrypersianformaltraditionalenglishfrenchcottageretro stuff!

The pale blue and white brocade-looking background is new wrapping paper, ever-so-artfully hanging by shoving the roll behind a wall mirror and draping the paper down the wall and over the table below. I like it, I think, but it did have a shiny finish that was awkward to photograph, so I don't recommend it.

I used my old teapot, a sentimental favorite that I have never used for tea. Along with the matching sugar and creamer (not shown), I display them because they are pretty. Once in a great while I polish them, as I did for these photos. Really, I did.

I married the Hazel Chintz demi-cup and saucer from antique stores. The pinky lavender floral teacup set below was my grandmother's. I prefer the photos with the Hazel Chintz, but I suspect some would prefer the lighter cup. The tea in the cups is watered-down soda pop, as I wasn't motivated to make tea I wasn't going to drink.

I added a silver spoon, a vintage doily masquerading as a lace napkin, and tea cookies.

I put everything away after I snapped the photos, and before I had loaded them up to get a better look. And, of course, I noticed things that I would have done differently, like the arrangement of the cookies resting below on the teacup's saucer. And not using the crocheted potholder under the teapot (can't put my finger on why, just wish I taken some shots without it, for comparison). I would love to know what you think!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Catnip Equinox

I do a once-monthly feature for the Design Style Guide Blog in which I select handmade home decor by fellow Etsy artisans around a theme of my choosing. My DSG blog post for September is excerpted below, as it led me to examine the catnip forest more closely today. Do check out the complete post, but only after you've finished today's bit of catnip intrigue, trepidation, realization, and relief :-)

"Summer is sending out the last obstinate hours
of heat.....and the catnip forest has started to
yellow from the ground up. Soon enough.....
Autumn is around the bend,
and the grateful soil will rest."
Autumn isn't around the bend, it's knocking at the door! The autumn equinox, around September 22nd or 23rd in the Northern Hemisphere, ushers in the fall season, which brings me to the catnip forest - it's looking pretty peaked, lately. Almost completely gone to seed, and propped up with bungee cord by Mr. Catnip. Soon, he'll cut it back almost to the ground (sniff).
A couple of months ago, the tiny lavender catnip blooms were covered with big, beautiful bumblebees for weeks on end. I didn't get a photo (drat), but I'll be on the lookout for them next year. All that is left (or so I thought, more on that shortly) are some straggling honey bees that I can see from the window overlooking the kitty courtyard. Armed with my trusty digital camera and a flyswatter, I went in for a closer look.
The bees ignored me completely. Obviously not of the infamous killer bee strain, I dropped my flyswatter, and safely hand-swished the air near them to direct bee traffic (more on that shortly) so that I could snap a few pics.
I'm standing almost within the forest, and I notice another catnip citizen, wings just as tattered as the honey bees.
And then, something not quite right, in a stems-and-leaves-not-quite-right sort of way.
Isn't she a beautiful Praying Mantis? She's about ready to make her egg case, as her abdomen is plumply distended, and the timing, autumn equinox, is about right. I could see her spiracle flaps (openings to insect breathing tubes) gently flutter as she waited. She was very agreeable about posing for the camera,
and to a more advantageous catnip GPS adjustment.
I tried to get the money shot, truly I did, swishing bees and butterflies in her direction, doing my best to accelerate the inevitable conclusion. Perhaps it's best that my camera battery wasn't up to the task. You didn't really want to see dinner in the catnip, did you?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dreams of Fairy Dust

My newest creation with vintage ruby, gold, and violet glass opals, brass filigree earrings dangling lacquered brass swallows and ethereal violet opal Swarovski crystals. Available this winter with the debut of Lollishops. Also my submission for the Etsy United Filigree Artisans Guild Dream Challenge; check out my fellow artisans' gorgeous Dream jewelry here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monkey Mania (Monkey in the Middle Monday)

It's Monkey in the Middle Monday (again, already, sigh) and I have several monkeys clamoring for completion today! This brass filigree bracelet with a vintage reproduction button from La Mode looks finished, but I'm going to be adding more pearls to the chain areas, and complete a matching necklace.
This mosaic birdhouse for Ms. Lynn's Tea House in Montague, CA is almost ready for grouting, just the back and part of one side are still unfinished. You can see a glimpse of some of my sandblasting work on the rims of the terra cotta pots behind the birdhouse, also a monkey, as I haven't decided whether to stain the rim to make the design pop or leave as is. Opinions welcome!
I've purchased cabinet pulls for last Monday's monkey, and I think I might use the brass stampings as frames for the pulls. Both will be painted and distressed to blend with the cabinet's future paint finish.
Be sure to visit our MIMM hostess, Steph at Sunshine&Ravioli, for more Monday goodness. Her works in progress are always a joy to behold! To learn more about MIMM, click here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat

Another favorite collection of mine, much smaller than the fu dogs, and much harder to find (so far). I think we all remember at least the first couple of lines:

The Duel
by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t' other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I was n't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went "Bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "Mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I 'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw---
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate---
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Vintage Victrola (Monkey in the Middle Monday)

A vintage, damaged victrola cabinet, now repaired and sanded for painting. I'm leaving the undamaged inside as found, especially because the original label is still in place and in good condition. The shelves are for my scrapbook paper storage, and the space where the long-gone crank record player went will hold a basket of punches and other supplies. The small doors and the deeply coved top both access the basket space. I think I'm going to paint it blue with some faux treatments for that distressed shabby look. And some metallic highlights. And some pretty door knobs. And maybe some carved wood progress may take up a few MIMMs!

All of the hardware appears to be original, though the door knobs were long gone. The wood wheels are in great condition and roll freely. I paid $35.00 for this wonderful, soon-to-be-repurposed storage cabinet!
Be sure to visit our MIMM hostess, Sunshine&Ravioli, to see what she's been up to this Monday! Her beautiful gift tags are divine, and her hand drawn and colored artworks speak of happiness and home...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Heirloom Rose

My newest creation with vintage broken china, a wrapped brass filigree necklace dangling pink vanilla creme glass pearls that perfectly compliment this beautiful old tea rose pattern. Available this winter with the debut of Lollishops.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Catnip Gift Tags (Monkey in the Middle Monday)

First introduced here for a Monkey in the Middle Monday, I've been fine-tuning my kitty gift/storage/hanging tags, and having a bunch of fun selecting and combining weighty scrapbooking papers and button eyes for them. Here are my new favorites, cut out, inked, punched, and waiting for embellishment:

Monet Cat Tags
Marmalade Cat Tags
Tuxedo Cat Tags
Be sure to visit our MIMM hostess, Sunshine&Ravioli, to see what she's been up to this Monday! Her beautiful gift tags are divine, and her hand drawn and colored artworks speak of happiness and home!

New version of my Dog Tags. To be continued...
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