Sunday, May 31, 2009

Not Your Grandmother's Lilac

While the French Lilac blooms are already spent, our Dwarf Korean Lilac is just getting started. If you find one in your garden center, snatch it up! The aroma is heavenly, and they are remarkably sturdy. Not to mention the bell-flower-on-a-stem lavender pink flowers. And that it's a rebloomer later in the summer...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Vintage Thrift Treasure

I suppressed squeals of delight upon discovering these vintage beauties at our local Humane Society Thrift Store.
Paper drink umbrellas, all but two unopened!
Homemade Christmas brooches, I think. Only one still had the glass-headed pin.
Colorful glass bead rosaries.


I've long admired the website, blog, and photography of Blondheart. The owner makes OOAK fine collectible mohair bears and other animals for grownups, and I am now the proud owner of one of her handmade creations - a beaded and painted mohair starfish! Here it is, at home above in my decorative bowl of smooth rocks. My photo doesn't do it justice, so be sure to visit the artist's blog, Yesterday's Glitter, and website for more photos and info.

Purple and Blue Mohair Starfish

This sister starfish is handcolored in shades of purple and sea blue, with shimmery matte turquoise glass beads. See what I mean about the photography?

A Bird in the Hand

A collection isn't a collection, I'm told, until you have at least three, and I already know which one is destined to be my #2! Tweet, tweet :-)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Farm Fresh, and Pretty, Too!

My parents have a big hen house for all kinds of chickens, even a couple of araucanas, and one (figurehead, only) rooster. My dad converted the interior walls of an old travel trailer into their roosting places, and surrounded it with a sturdy fenced and roofed chicken yard to deter freeloaders like bears, cougars, and other rural inconveniences. My mom goes through the trailer door to gather eggs, refresh feed and water, and shovel, errmmm, plant food. The chickens have a chicken-sized door at the back which accesses their yard. Mr. Catnip and I save all of our garden produce scraps to assist in feeding the princesses - I mean chickens.

Farm fresh eggs taste soooo much better than chemically treated commercially produced eggs! My mom recently brought us a 24 pack, and they were so pretty I had to share them with you.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Dogwood Blooms in Siskiyou County

I've been told that though our local commercial garden centers will stock dogwoods, the plant tends not to bloom here in Siskiyou County. Well, my little dogwood has proved the naysayers all wrong. Though it did not bloom last spring (one year after planting), look at it now! All I can account for is: used coffee grounds, water, shady to partial sun lawn placement, and hope.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

If I Can't Take Them With Me When I Go...

...will there be crafting supplies in Heaven?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spring Lambs

My newest animal tags - cute little lambs! These were made from hand punches - large and medium scalloped rounds, and a plain oval cut in half for ears.

Willow Ware and a Wanted Poster

My love for broken china mosaics and plate patterns occasionally influences other areas of my crafting. I came across some willow ware rubber stamps, recently, (teacup, pitcher, plate) and just had to have them!

Blue Willow transferware, or willow ware in any color, is perfect for broken china mosaics. The romantic back story combined with the appealing design and color against a white background make for enduring, and versatile, cottage style.

I've seen willow ware in blue, green, and red (really a dark pink), mostly. Dark brown and caramel brown less frequently. Pale pink, lavender, and palest blue are even more rare, in my experience. Once, on eBay, I saw a yellow willow plate (it was a long time ago; it may not have been willow, but it was an unusual color for transferware in any case). I'll take them all, in any color, please!

Worn and chipped are the best, as I have no remorse for breaking them into mosaic tiles. Well, truth be told, I have no real remorse for breaking a perfect plate of any age or condition. There's an APB (All Plates Bulletin) out for me from the Plate Police Department. I'm Public Plate Enemy #1...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

First Love

Victorian Rose

Though I work in many arts and crafts mediums, broken china mosaics are my first love. I tend to work on them the most through the spring and summer months, and I just finished these thrifted silverplate trays featuring vintage broken china rose focals. The large lazy susan pedestal tray above consists of antique and vintage chinas in sage greens, burgundy reds, and golds grouted with antique white grout, and still needs a fresh polishing.

Pink Chintz

My favorite pink rose is this vintage china pattern focal from Cunningham and Pickett. I love the pink combined with the spring green and aqua leaves. The pink basketweave and buttercream chintz tiles are from newer plates, and blend very well with older patterns, don't you think?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Woodpecker and First Crop

First pickings from the vegetable garden - hot and spicy radishes!

A female acorn woodpecker, at journey's end, found a place to rest at the edge of the water bowl.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Crafting Outside the Box (Updated!)

May 09 - It's certainly been some time since I updated Crafting Outside the Box! Here's my most recent gift box and tag, made to match Lilac Earrings.
Aug 08 - Now that I've discovered stamping inks, I got to thinking...what a great way to add some decorative interest to my collaged jewelry boxes! Then I took it one step further - 3D embellishments! Six recent jewelry sales from my Etsy shop, Catnip Studio, gave me the perfect opportunity to craft "outside the box," and adding buttons and metal findings seemed the perfect finishing touch.
Songbird, a vintage broken china brass filigree necklace with a vintage goldenrod yellow melon glass bead and Swarovski pacific opal crystals. Jewelry box is embellished with scrapbook and wrapping paper, and a real feather secured with a small brass finding.
Blue Moonglow broken china brass filigree necklace dangles vintage light and medium blue moonglow beads. The matching earrings are the light blue moonglows and vintage glass florettes. Jewelry box has scrapbook paper and a piece of very vintage wallpaper, and a decorated brass filigree. The wallpaper is a beautiful, richly colored pastoral-type pattern, and is available at Etsy's Twig and Berries , a wonderful shop of vintage treasures and handmade wool goodies!
Persian Tweed, a broken china brass filigree necklace with an unusual vintage early twentieth century fine china, paired with a vintage Swarovski olive green aurora borealis crystal bead in the tapered round shape (no longer manufactured). Very Taj Mahal! Persian Tweed's jewelry box with an acrylic tulip bead dangle. I know, I know, tulips don't have tendrils - Artistic License! That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Omega Man was a bit of a challenge as it was the unisex version of my Black Oak necklace and earrings, and I wanted a heavier, more masculine look. This heftier chain was the ticket! Omega Man's jewelry box, with edged and inked scrapbook paper, and a stack of metal findings.

Broken china brass filigree necklace, Cottage Garden, is accented with a gorgeous Malaysian jade bead in lemonade pink and yellow, a perfect compliment to this china pattern from Sebring. Broken china necklace, The Sweetest Gift, with early 20th century handpainted Crown Ducal china and Swarovski crystal pearls and beads.
Jewelry boxes for Cottage Garden and The Sweetest Gift - Shabbylicious!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Spring Has Sprung A Leak

Pak Choi Violetta

Our new cinderblock vegetable garden of raised beds is thriving, and 24 hours of spring rain made everything look especially lush and dewy. We made our annual trip to the garden store for hanging fuchsias and petunias, and violet volunteers (self-seeded from last year's annuals) are popping up here and there. Yay, Spring!



Bright Lights Swiss Chard

Snowbird Sugar Peas

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Touched By An Angel

I received a lovely surprise in the mail this week - a handcrafted card from a very special customer. She used one of my cat tags, given as a gift with her purchase. I am so touched that she took the time and effort to craft something personal for me. She included a lovely, handwritten message that was just what I needed, right when I needed it. Isn't it funny how a random act of kindness can often be so timely?
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