Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Beautiful Nest of Faux Painted Eggs

My customers often tell me what they plan to do with their purchases from Catnip Studio, and sometimes they send me a photo. My cream and green speckled eggs were used to great effect in this gorgeous decorative bird's nest!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter Birds Bring Holiday Cheer from Mrs. Kwitty's Cottage

One of my favorite fellow paper crafters is Karen of Mrs. Kwitty's Cottage. Her charming fabric accessories and paper goods may be found in her Etsy shop and her Artfire shop. Receiving goodies from Karen is always like Christmas, no matter the time of year!  Above is her beautiful paper box to hold and protect my recent purchases. The layered papers compliment her bird tag perfectly.

The darling gifts above (paper flower magnet and tags) were included with my purchase, and match the theme of the tags I selected, below.

Dear friend, Karen, your special and thoughtful touches show great regard for your customers and great joy in your work. Best wishes, and may the new year bring you health, happiness, and...


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Vintage Christmas Craft Find - Jointed Santa with Bag of Toys

My mom gave this to me after having found it in the Storage of Lost and Forgotten Things. I remembered it, sort of, as something my grandmother had made circa 60's maybe early 70's. My sister and I may have even painted it, but memory fails me. Funny, but handy, that she kept the magazine page stored with her crafty Santa.

I also remember the chalky and colorful paints she often used - I think they were called "poster paints". She would paint the big window with seasonal icons throughout the year, always a welcome sight for two excited grandchildren!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Different Christmas Poem

From e-mail.

A Different Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts

To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said, "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.”
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
“I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

PLEASE, would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as
many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some
credit is due to our U.S service men and women for our being
able to celebrate these festivities. Let's try in this small way
to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of
our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq

In God We Trust

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How to Ruin Your Manicure While Painting Nest Eggs Tutorial...

...but first, some studio news. The hardscape around my new studio is completed, but I'll wait for spring to share photos. I've been busy with crafting for studio orders, Thanksgiving houseguests, and decoupage eggs for the upcoming Easter season. One of my goals for 2009 was to get my Artfire shops in shipshape and filled with listings, and I'm happy with the progress I've made at and  I've also just opened a shop on Zibbet.
Artfire, Etsy, and Zibbet have enabled coupon code tools for sellers, and I have created 10% off coupon codes for my blog readers to use anytime at checkout in my Artfire, Etsy, and Zibbet shops. Your code is CSBLOG, also listed under the "Shop" header in the left column of this blog.
Artfire has an application process to certify sellers shops as containing all handmade-by-the-seller items. It is completely voluntary, and if you work in many mediums as I do, it can be quite time consuming to document your "proof". I want to earn my certification, so I've been photographing my processes as orders permit. Which brings us to the title topic for today.

I paint nest eggs in batches and use a paper plate as my palette. Acrylic paints, plastic spatula, small flat paintbrush for clear sealant, makeup sponges for acrylic paint, fine sandpaper, jagged toothbrush, and satin clear acrylic sealant round out my supplies.

Each egg gets a white base coat of paint. I use very thin, fast-drying coats, painting one half of egg at a time.

After the first color coat, I mix in some cream or white paint for the next two lighter color coats of paint, and lightly sponge dab.

Eggs may a need a very light sanding with fine sandpaper for a smooth finish. If you take off too much paint, dab on some more. Remember, thin fast-drying coats.

My manicurist works hard for the money.

To speckle the eggs, I use my high-tech jagged toothbrush that I cut with scissors. Lightly tap the brush into a couple of brown paints, then tap onto the egg. A little goes a long way.

See the speckles on my fingerpads? I blot the toothbrush dots with my fingers to soften the splotches.

After paint is completely dry, paint on a clear satin, matte, or gloss sealant, half egg at a time. I prefer Ceramcoat Satin.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Studio Reveal (Part 3 - Storage Solutions cont.)

Most of the small storage in my studio is thrifted treasure that I've repaired and painted, like the wood tabletop rack, skinny wall shelf, and spice rack.

The old glass canning jars are married to orphan pottery lids.

The old lidless bean pot holding colored pencils was a junk store find. I love how it has all of the bright colors of my studio!
This glass-paned door was architectural salvage. It makes a great divider at the ending of my beading station - it doesn't block the light, and serves as vertical storage and display on both sides. For safety, Mr. Catnip attached it directly to my beading desk.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Studio Reveal, (Part 3 - Storage Solutions)

Ribbon rolls before.

Ribbon rolls after. This is the front of the stairs to the attic in my studio. The ribbon rolls are strung on skinny wood dowels from Ace Hardware. The dowels are placed into closet rod plastic caps from Walmart.

This is the back of the stairs. These photos were taken before I attached a length of clear plastic sheeting to the back of the stairs behind the ribbon rolls to protect them from dirty boots.

String, twine, and yarn before.

String after. The tension rods are from Ace Hardware, and their screw-set locks made them easy to secure to the right length.

Twine after. I am a constant recycler/reuser of food containers and jars, and my mom and friends contribute to my cause. From left to right, the coffee, cheese sprinkle, and peanut butter jars house rolls of unruly twine. Mr. Catnip drilled holes in the jar lids for easy access. The cheese sprinkle jar lid's many large holes were perfect for the larger diameter twine.

I rarely use my yarns in crafting, so they were relegated to these empty round teaset boxes. I love how the polka dot lids repeat the polka dots found throughout my studio. I made the handstamped labels as I have several more of these boxes waiting for use, and I'm certain to forget what's in them. Below the boxes is the shelf where the ribbon rolls used to be stacked and crowded - now holding just miscellaneous and specialty ribbon.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Studio Reveal (Part 2 - Custom Curtains)

My studio curtains were custom made for my windows by Etsy shop Tallulah Sophie. Robin, the shop owner, perfectly captured the bright polka dots and florals with black that I was envisioning for my new digs, and she adjusted her standard curtain pattern to fit the details of my windows and mounted hardware. They fit beautifully and the black pompom trim is so fun!

Each curtain has different pattern combos within the black floral panels.

Robin included a delightful surprise in my curtain package - a darling miniature clothesline!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Studio Reveal, At Last! (Part 1- Overview)

It's been a long four months since my last post about moving to my new studio! In that time, between shop orders and summer vacation, Mr. Catnip and I got my studio interior mostly finished and moved in furniture and supplies. I'm still working on organization and storage, but I think it's as photo-ready as it will ever be, as I always have several projects in progress.                   
 This corner is my beading station, still messy.

This corner is my workbench, a solid steel steal at $50.00 plus paint, new wheels, and plexiglass top and shelves.

This area is for paper crafting.

This area is the studio entrance. The desk and cabinet top were married to hold miscellaneous supplies and crafting books.

The baseboards (actually the cement foundation) and trims are painted in matte black to disguise as much of the old barn's flaws as possible. The cement floor was covered with a product for garage floors. We picked a neutral beige and sprinkled tiny black and white speckles. It has a clear topcoat and is very durable. My old persian carpets warm up and soften the cement floor.
Part 2 is about my custom made curtains from TallulahSophie.
Part 3 will focus on my storage ideas and repurposed vintage.
Part 4 will show the outside of my studio, a rustic patio work-in-progress.

Friday, April 30, 2010

I've Outgrown My Studio, So I'm Moving

But I'm not moving far! My studio is an upcycled shed which is now too small for all of my crafty obsessions and supplies. Things have been spilling over into our home's dining room and living room, so Mr. Catnip suggested (ever so thoughtfully) that it might be a good idea to swap out my studio and our "pantry" (read: old millend barn that houses the freezers and household/holiday storage) - that way I would have more room, and could keep all of my crafting messes projects out of the house. Much to his surprise, I agreed! The old barn had already received some interior work a few years back, so painting was first on the studio agenda.

Emptied out and ready to paint.

The floor and baseboards are next!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

First Time I Saw My Work on Etsy's Front Page!

I've had more than my share of Etsy front page time, but today is the very first time I've actually seen one of my items on the front page, and it was a totally random click to Etsy's home page! My thanks to Tracey Garcia Designs, and the gorgeous work of my fellow front pagers!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vintage Catnip on Etsy

My love for digital collage art continues unabated, and I've recently opened Vintage Catnip at Etsy to offer my digital creations for sale, as well as continuing to offer quality freebies at my Vintage Catnip blog. I have to admit, I love clicking into my online shops and seeing all of my hours of creativity represented in each listing (don't be shaking your heads, you know you do it, too!). 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Robin's Egg Blue

Wee, wooden eggs handpainted with three layered shades of aqua blue acrylic paint, flecked brown with a toothbrush, and sealed with Ceramcoat satin varnish. The little bird's nest is a found treasure from my backyard.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Transforming Turquoise

The easel display is one of my decoupaged digital collage prints, Peony Birds.

This little desktop dresser was a junk store find. Painted a hideous, glossy, lumpy black with warped and sprung sides, it had little appeal. With glue, a few tiny screws, and a distressed turquoise paint job (those ugly lumps  peeking artfully through the surface), it now holds my household sewing supplies.

The pincushion is from Tiny Bear.

The painted papier mache box is from my collection.
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