Sunday, October 31, 2010

A couple more teasers...

I'm still waiting on a few pics of my entire costume before I decide what I'll let you all see..., but here are a couple of close up shots of my accessories, as I used them, courtesy of my lovely Niece.  Thanks, Shondi!

I had to wear my goggles hanging from my belt, due to the afore mentioned superglue fumes.  That was fine, since I wear real glasses, and really didn't want to go around squinting all night at the party.  I made these lovely eye protecters using scrap leather, and grommeted trim I already had on hand, pieces of an old travel alarm clock that was dismantled, and the lens caps from two dollar store flashlights.  I would have prefered brass eye pieces, but this was what was available on short notice (as in, I waited till the last minute to make these)!
My pendant was made using the majority of the alarm clock pieces, another old watch, an old brass key, a single earring, black satin ribbon, and vintage lace.  The clock parts are mounted on a piece of black leather, mainly to protect the wearer (myself) from pokey bits.  Clock parts have many pokey bits.  I added the lace for a more Victorian look.  Here you can also get a better look at "the Corset".  My Sister purchased this lovely piece of feminine attire, second hand at least 25 years ago.  It was vintage then, and it's even more vintage now!  It has been used by my Sister, myself, her Daughters and this year, by my Daughter, for various Halloween costumes including Saloon Girls, Gypsies, and Witches.  A little skirt made from a half slip, sparkly tulle, and a satin rose have been added to it over the years.  Stay tuned to see how I used it this year!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sneak Peek of my Halloween Costume...

Because I left my camera at home when we went to the party, and I had to drop off "the Corset" on our way home, to my darling Daughter.  I'm proud to say my 16 year old and I can both wear it (of course I have to use the outside hooks, but still...)
Gotta have the goggles!  Safety first!!  Oh, and here is a tip- if you use super glue during the construction of said goggles, give them a day or two to breath before wearing them.  Eyeballs do not appreciate super glue fumes!
The pendant is for Where and When, and the Bird is my Navigational Assistant.  Fortunately, I had several folks at the party who took pics of my entire costume, so once they send them to me, you'll get to see the rest!  Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

~Old Sheet Music and Graphics~

I have been having WAY to much fun, playing around with old sheet music, my inkjet printer, and B&W graphics from  "The Graphics Fairy".  If you don't have sheet music, parchment paper or even old dictionary pages would work just as well.  The larger sheets I cut down to the size of ordinary printer paper.  The hymnal pages were carefully taped to a sheet of printer paper.  Be sure your sheet music is laying perfectly flat, so nothing catches inside the printer. 
It's especially fun to look for song titles that work with your images.  I found that stark black and white images with no shading in the background work best, like the big bat.  If the image you want is in color or sepia, you can convert it to black and white in photoshop.  Cranking up the contrast and lightening the image helps to eliminate much of the background shading.

You can find some surprisingly appropriate (or inappropriate, depending on your point of view...) titles on old hymnal pages.  I really wish I'd had a vampire image for this particular page, but the bats are pretty cool!
I really like the way this one turned out.  I tore the edges off to make it the right size, rolled it up and dropped it into an old cider jug.  The paper unfurls itself.  It's hard to read the title in the shot, but it's called "The Hand of You".  Now I'm off to see what other spooky images "The Graphic's Fairy" has to offer!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Few More Vintage Goodies...

I have no idea what I'll do with 'em, but, by golly, I brought 'em home!  Old player piano scrolls... I think.  The scrolls themselves aren't much to look at, but I love the boxes.
I think the graphics are very cool.  They are rather battered on the ends, but I like 'em!  I saw an antique store display that used old rolls of paper to cover a wall, with the paper all ratty and discolored, drooping and wrinkled.  It was a very neat backdrop for antiques. 

Maybe I could do something like that with my old player piano scrolls, but... I'm not sure I can bring myself to that to them.  At least not quite yet.

I also found some more old bottles.  I'm discovering all kinds of cool crafts I can use these old lovelies in, using old photos, hand-crafted lace, vintage jewelry and natural elements.  I'll reveal some of those at a later date.  I haven't decided which I will use for Christmas gifts yet, and I don't want to spill the beans!
I also acquired this vintage Avon perfume.  Now Avon is not something I've ever gotten excited about, even when it is vintage.  This particular bottle, however, is the same scent as a tin of talc that I have had forever.  It was a gift from a friend that I haven't seen in well over 30 years, and have totally lost track of.  It will look pretty, sitting on a shelf, reminding me of my long ago friendship.  Isn't that what we love about vintage and antique items?  The memories, or historical attachedments that they represent?  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Wonderful Old Wine Barrel!

I was standing in the checkout line at... you guessed it, Goodwill, when one of the employees wheeled this item up on a dolly, and plopped it down right next to me!   My heart rate immediately skyrocketed.   Did I dare look at the price tag?  It had to be out of my price range, right?  Remember, I'm a tightwad, by necessity of course... Oh alright, it's genetic.  I've got Scottish blood that simply won't allow me to throw my money around, regardless of the weight of my purse.  I had to do it.  I left my cart to hold my place in line, and scurried over to check out the price tag.  $9.99.  Oh dear.  Had it been $20 or $30, like I expected, it would have broken my racing heart, but I'd have left it there for someone else.  But $10?? 
Look at that wonderful aged wood and those esquisite rusty metal hoops!  Who could say no to that??  I was certain, with a bit of re-arranging, that I could fit it in my car.  If not, it wouldn't be the first time I had called my Hubby to come with the trailer...
Look at that bung!  And the split branch that was once wrapped around the center, to protect this barrel when it was rolled from one corner of the warehouse, to another.  It's loose now, but still...  When you remove the bung, you can see that the inside of the barrel is stained a deep burgundy.  Oh, how I wish I could taste the wine that it once held.  Well, this wonderful old wine barrel is now mine!  It easily fit into my back seat, once I removed several less exciting items and stashed those in the trunk.  What will I do with it, you wonder?  I'm still working on that...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Old treasure and New Chicken~

I've been a bit distracted of late.  Job interviews and Halloween prep have been keeping me busy.  Then a telephone call from one of my Hubby's friends set me to scrambling in a totally different direction.  Could I take another hen into my flock?  He had a small flock of chickens that had, one by one, been picked off by local predators.  He had one remaining hen that was not a happy camper, to be all alone.  Chickens are flock animals.  They are not comfortable as loners, and this poor girl was distraught, calling in vain for her flockmates that were no more.  I told him to bring her over, then proceded to cobble together a temporary shelter for her.
This is my new Girl.  She is a Rhode Island Red, just like my Girl, Isabelle.  When I asked her name, I was told "she's Lucky".  Hmmmm, she may be lucky, but that isn't a very dignified name for such a beautiful chicken.  After a bit of consideration, I decided that her new name will be Hazel.

Here is a shot of Hazel, with her new big Sister, Isabelle, checking her out.  Hazel is just 6 months old, a year younger than my other Girls.  You can see the difference in their leg color.  As she gets older, her bright yellow legs will gradually fade to white.  She is a bit smaller than Isabelle too, but I think she will catch up in size eventually.  Now we need to make it through the "Pecking Order Gauntlet".  Being the new bird in a flock is not easy.  The other Girls chase and peck at her, and try to keep her away from the food and water.  Luckily, Hazel is very quick and agile (being younger helps...) and is able to skitter away when they pick on her.  Hopefully things will settle down within a few days, and they will let her bunk with them in the coop at night.  Until then, she has her own little place.
I also wanted to show you all this lovely, that I found at Goodwill the other day!

Nothing makes my heart go pitty pat, like something from an old barn.  This old cast iron and wood pulley still has barn debris clinging to it! 
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this old pulley! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More stuff for my Steampunk Library...

First of all, I'm going to show you a few of the items I've got stashed in my "Steampunk Inspiration" folder.  These are things I've found online, that I'd like to replicate.  Keep in mind that my budget is extremely low, so I'll have to get creative!
I'm in love with this genuine Victorian era brass clock and mirror combo that I found on ebay... at a price that I can't even think about!  I'm more likely to be able to afford something more like this-

That is, if I purchase one that doesn't work.  I saw them on ebay for as low as $20.
Something like this would be pretty awesome too, but once again, it is way out of my price range.
Now I'm going to show you what I have managed to find, that I think will work. 

This lamp is vintage and brass, two crucial criteria.  It is also very functional, as this will be my Library corner, where I'll want to curl up with my books.  I especially like the heavy brown base.  It sort of grounds the bright brass, don't you think?

 I was really excited to find this old brass barometer yesterday.  It definitely fits the bill!  I don't think it works very well, though.  Today is threatening rain, and my lovely old barometer still says the weather is fair.  That's O.K., I love it anyway!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Steampunk stool?

When I'm thirfting, I like to have a project in the back of my mind.  Lately, that project has been my "steampunk" library corner, so everything I look at goes through that filter...  Will this work?
It most certainly will! Obviously it needs some polishing, but how could I not grab this awesome brass stool?  It could hold one of my globes...
or be a little side table, next the the comfy reading chair I hope to procure.

Or, I could flip in over, line it with some victorian-esque fabric, and use it for a waste basket!  I shall indeed find a use for this wonderful brass item in my steampunk library. 

I've had this pieces kicking around for awhile, not quite sure how to use it.  It's a bit too battered to use as an actual suitcase, but it makes a great storage container.  I'm thinking it has the right look for my corner, and it would be a good way to store things like old sheet music and such.

This is the corner I intend to transform, currently occupied by my Son's computer.  Shhhhh, he's not yet aware of my plans...  The faux finish on the walls will stay.  I think it lends an "old world" feel.

I'm thinking of moving this corner cupboard into my library corner, minus all the miscellaneous stuff it is currently loaded down with, of course.  Yes, that is dust you see on the shelves.  I'm considering lightening up the interior with  old sheet music decopauged on the inner back walls.  The cupboard will, hopefully, be flanked by shelving on either side, longer on the left side.  I'd like to find victorian style brackets for my shelves, something like these:

I found these on ebay, but have not yet purchased them.  I think with cool brackets like these, I can get away with simple stained boards for the shelves.   I've got lots of lace dresser scarves and such that will give them a more victorian feel, and awesome old books...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The beginning of my Steampunk Library dream...

I spent a couple of hours wandering around our local antique megamall yesterday.  It's rather sad that almost every booth was sporting a % off sign, some of them as high as 75%.  I guess business hasn't been too hot this year.  As a shopper though, I was able to get a few awesome deals! 
I'm sure you've heard of the new design trend called "Steampunk" by now.  If you haven't heard of it, you've still probably seen it, mostly in movies.  Steampunk is the marriage of Victorian Romance and steam powered technology... think Wild, Wild West, or The Golden Compass.  I've always loved the way that Hollywood has managed to achieve this look, with lots of romantic Victorian touches and mysterious brass mechanisims, usually in a library or laboratory setting.  I've decided I want to attempt the "Steampunk" look in a corner of my living room.  Since I adore old books, it will be my "Steampunk Library" corner.  With this notion in mind, these are the treasures I picked up yesterday.
Globes were the first items on my list to look for, and I was lucky enough to find two!  Now, I'm not in a postion to go for actual Victorian items for this look, but I should be able to do a reasonable Vintage version, don't you think?

 I found a 12" and an 8" globe.  Neither is terribly old, or special, but they are just old and shabby enough to satisfy my need for vintage! 
I just love the colors and graphics on them, and the soft gleam of metal, not real brass, but close enough.  I figure I can always upgrade to something fancier, if I ever get rich!

Old bottles are pretty easy to come by, and the price was right on these beauties.  I especially like the one with the old, partial label still attached!

This old Woodco mirror has a nice Victorian look, with it's ruffled edges and soft gold paint.  It's got a free standing back on it, like a picture frame, making it even more versatile.  This is just a start, and I plan on taking this project nice and slow.  My biggest challenge right now, is finding the right shelving for my Steampunk Library Corner.  Wish me luck, and I'll keep you all posted on my progress!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Taters, taters! I love me some taters!

I'm not what you'd call a "seasoned" vegetable gardener, but I have managed to grow a few things this year.  Tomatoes, of course.  A few pumpkins.  Rhubarb and Kale.  But the crops that excite me the most are my taters...
These are my German Butterball potatoes.  They aren't huge, only one or two were "baking" size, but my oh my, are they tasty! 
Now, these beauties are my Sweet Potatoes.  I must say, they are my favorite crop to grow.  Did you know that you can get dozens of plant starts (or slips) from just one average sized sweet potato?  Just stick it in a glass of water in early Spring, and snap the sprouts off when they get a few inches long.  Place the sprouts in another glass of water, and they will grow roots.  Your sweet potato will continue to produce sprouts long after you've started your garden.  Once all danger of frost is past, stick you starts in the dirt and watch 'em grow!  I like to grow my sweet potatoes in a raised bed that is about two feet deep.  The foliage cascades over the sides and is very pretty, and it is so easy to find your crop in the fall.  The picture above is just half the sweet potatoes I harvested from my 2' x 2' raised bed.  Next year, I think I need a couple more...  

Monday, October 4, 2010

What did I do today?

Nothing terribly exciting... but it was lovely outside, bright sunshine and 62 degrees.  So I grabbed my camera and took a walk.  There was a pleasant breeze, that blurred most of the shots I took, but I liked this one-
This is my neighbor's crab apple tree.  I just love the bright red fruit this time of year.  I stopped at the library and checked out three books and two magazines.  Inside the Better Homes and Gardens magazine there was a recipe for oven roasted veggies that inspired me.
Here's my version, using German Butterball potatoes (from my garden), carrots, cabbage wedges, salt and pepper, garlic powder, thyme (from my garden) and rosemary (from my garden), olive oil and a splash of chicken broth, roasted in a shallow pan at 350 degrees for a little over a half hour.  The results were wonderful, if I do say so myself!  Lovely color, texture, smell and flavor, and best of all... easy!!

I've been saving seed pods from my orange Butterflyweed Asclepias tuberosa,  for my niece who raises Monarch butterflies.  When I saw a pod that was starting to split, I'd pluck it, and toss it into a brown paper bag.  After collecting several pods for her, I set the bag aside.  Today I peeked inside, and this is what I found-
I'm glad all I have to do is deliver the bag to her!  She's going to have a fun time seperating the seeds from the fluff.  I do love the look of that gossamer stuff, though.  Mother Nature is so clever!  So those were the highlights of my Monday.  I'll probably spend the rest of the day with my nose in one of those new library books, after checking out some of my favorite blogs, of course.

Friday, October 1, 2010

WooHoo! I found a "new" thrift store!!

Just when I thought I'd discovered all the good thrifting spots in my area, I found a treasure trove in the next town over.  An entire basement filled to over-flowing with just the kind of stuff I love!  Here are a few of the goodies I uncovered yesterday...
Can you believe I procured this gorgeous aquamarine Doric and Pansy depressionware teacup and saucer for 75 cents??  It's in pristine condition.  How cool is that?

I was looking for old sheet music, and I hit the motherlode!  They had an entire rack of it, and for only 50 cents each.  The old medicine bottle with a ground glass stopper was $1.50, a good price, but twice what I paid for the depression teacup and saucer... go figure.  The lonely little glove didn't have a mate, so I got it for a quarter.  It will look great in a shadow box.

I found another old handbag for a frame/wall pocket, two hooks for the halltree I'm determined to build one day.  Still looking for the perfect door for it's base, though.

I just couldn't resist these old patterns, and at 50 cents each, I had no reason too.  And last, but certainly not least, I found this...

The original box is in pretty rough shape, and held together with clear tape, but the game itself is in wonderful condition.  How much did I pay, you ask?  I had to take a deep breath to fork over the asking price... .80 cents!  All in all, it was a wonderful day for thrifting.  I wish you all the best of luck on your own thrifting ventures.  Just stay out of my territory...