Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Welcome to Where (and how) I create...

Welcome to my 'Little House in the Big Woods'! 
(Yes, I grew up loving all things Laura Ingalls Wilder!)
Have a cup of coffee/tea and join me as I show you where (and what and how) I create!
Hopefull, you'll be inspired, and maybe you'll be interested in a few of the links I've shared.
I share my little cottage/cabin in the Santa Cruz Coastal Redwoods (we have 25 redwoods on our property) with my wonderful husband, and these two helpers. This is Molly and her little Buddy.
We really are in the deep woods! Here you can see the lovely lake 
Loch Lomond, just 1/2 mile from our cabin.

So, come on in, follow the path. My angel welcomes you as you meander past our little  Zen pond.
Just a bit further.... (soak in the prayers from the Tibetan Prayer Flags)
You're almost there.... You can see my little pink studio.
So, come on in. At the door you'll see my creative corner.
Looks nice and neat... but rarely is!
And here is the work table just to my right hand side... 
This table often is so over-flowing, that my actual work space is only about 15x12 inches! Usually piled high with laces, fabrics, and trims!
Like A LOT more of this!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE vintage laces! 
I try to keep them organized in these see-through plastic containers. I know! Plastic, ugh!  I used to be inspired by crafters who use beautiful vintage boxes, dressers, and sweet containers. After many frustrating years of trying to remember where I stored what, I tried out a couple of see-through containers. Tadaa! Now I'm (almost) organized and I've cut my search time by 80%!! The hanging thingy on the left is an antique towel rack. Ok, next to it is a hat box. But I know that it holds all my gimp trims.
There are many more clear containers here... these include my feathers, stones, and Spirit Doll supplies. The larger containers came from the dollar store! They work too!
Here is just one project. I made a Memory Bag for my niece. My sister passed away way too early in life. This pouch is about 14x8", just the right size to store little momentos. All the laces are vintage, heirloom pieces. My sister was very Catholic, so you can see the vintage Mother Mary medal in the bottom right corner.  Sis loved a little bling, so the heart will remind her daughter of all the fun they had, especially dressing for my niece's wedding! The roses on the upper left corner are Mulberry paper flowers I buy from Wild Orchid Crafts. (Look at their catalog here!) Sometimes I change the flower colors, either with some watercolor or spray inks.

Here is another project underway... I created a Wedding Book for my cousin when she retired as Captain of a local Sheriffs department. The couple is her grandma and grandpa. Here, I'm just auditioning layers and layers of vintage laces. The process for the photo is interesting...
 Well, if you really want to know... First I print the photo on fine linen paper. Then I use an ordinary glue stick to adhere the photo to a piece of cereal box! yes... After cutting to size, I ink the edges to give the photo an aged look. In the mean time, my little crock pot is heating up some bees wax, fresh from my girlfriends bee hives.
 I brush on the encaustic (hot, molten wax), using a cheap $2 natural fiber paint brush. I learned the hard way, not to use a synthetic brush, it melts! Photo looks messy, but interesting, right?
In this closeup you can see the inked edges and the fine linen quality paper. To get this smooth, velvety finish, I burnish the encaustic layered photo, until the layer is smooth and shiny. I just love the look this give my vintage-like lace books. (Oh, I just have to mention, aren't they a beautiful couple? This is circa 1938ish. My aunt was 5'11" and my uncle was 6'5"!!)
I'm kinda on a roll here, showing off a bit. Hopefully, you'll be inspired...
So, here's the cover of the lace album... the little pink roses are over 100 years old!
 Here's part of the process to make the sweet doily flowers...
And, here is one of the inside pages. I always include pockets to stash sweet memories.
 Just one last show-and-tell... this picture is of my cousin's wedding in the late 1950's. The laces on this page came from her wedding dress! Believe me, it caught my breath, when she blithely cut off the lacy sleeve! Said sleeve became the pocket on this spread. I later tucked in a photocopy of their wedding certificate.

More show and tell....
Here are two more lace books. This one is titled 'My Dolly'. I loved cleaning up and restoring the little Frozen Charlotte doll, plus making her dress and blankie. 
 And a few of the inside pages....
 This book, 'Wise Women,' is all about our ancestors who paved the way for the world we live in today.
 On each page, I try to emulate the clothing style of that woman. It's hard to see, but the foundation for Anne Frank's page is vintage wool, much like the coat she's wearing.
I created one of these books to give Ellen DeGeneres when I attended her filming last March. Sadly, she never acknowledged receiving the book. I even created a page with Ellen's quote:' just be kind to one another' with her photo facing Mother Teresa. Here you can also see the representation of Ellen's style, shirt sleeve cuff, a scrap from a memory quilt I made my friend when she lost her husband.

For a diversion... I sometimes make prayer flags. 
And, for a number of years, I've also been creating Spirit Dolls.
This one is 'Baba Yaga, Young Crone of Too-Muchness.'

Smaller dolls I call 'Zen Dolls'...

 Was selling these on Etsy for quite a while, so I finally pulled together a how-to book. Create Space is a fabulous resource for actually getting your ideas in print. (Find them here.)  I encourage you to get your ideas and photos organized and create your own book! It's also a fun passive money resource. This is available on Amazon and my Etsy Site.  I'm hoping to pull together another how-to book on what to do with heirloom laces.
 Well now... this has been a lot more about what and how I create in my studio. I just wanted to share a few resources with you. Oh, and please check out my muse Suzy Quaife! Here is her blog. Suzy has inspired me for years. Check out her class on making lace books! HERE Tell her Chris says hi!

So thank you for sharing this time and space with me. It's been a pleasure!
Please, if you would like any info or encouragement, feel free to email me, or leave a comment.
Namaste and Sweet Blessings to you...

 PS, one more thing. While I use primarily vintage laces and fabrics, I find MANY amazing Designer Fabric Samples at FABMO, in Mountain View California. If you're in the area, check them out! Such a wonderful way to rescue FABULOUS fabric samples that would otherwise end up in a landfill! Check out FABMO HERE!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

'FAMILY' A Family Weddings Lace Book

This week my dear cousin is retiring from years with the Sheriff's  Department. With the help of her mom, I was able to photocopy her family wedding photos. This has been my MOST FAVORITE lace book project ever! Probably because it was inspired and motivated by LOVE!

Enjoy the eye-candy!
Mostly created with vintage wedding laces and trims. The pink rolled roses here are circa 1920.
 More 1920 flowers, plus a vintage rosary. You can see here, the foundation made with a beautiful set of vintage linen napkins. You'll see the beautiful crochet borders peeking out on most the pages.
 All the photos were photocopied onto Linen Paper, then I applied an encaustic glaze (hot wax).
Behind this vintage glove is a pocket. The 1920's 'lily' flower reflects the bride's beautiful lily bouquet.
 Closeup of a rolled rose made with vintage bridal satin, layers of laces, and some Mulberry paper roses. Also a vintage pearl necklace.
 I love all these buttons, each covered with satin and veil netting.
 The laces on this two page layout came from my cousin's wedding dress! The beautiful button sleeve forms a pocket.

 Many doilies and bits of lace make up this flower, topped with a vintage broach.
(Tip: if you want to create a doily flower, consider cutting out the centers of the lower doilies! The centers wouldn't show, plus, you have more doilies to work with on other projects!)

 Bits of wedding laces, collaged to what felt 'right'.

 Tucking in those lace snippets.
 The little Mulberry flower bouquet on the bottom of this page reflects the pink roses and baby's breath this bride carried.
 Closeup of the layers on the front cover. The beaded flower is a newer trip, but kept with the vintage theme. And, I just love those rolled roses from the 1920s. Found these, years ago, at the estate of a retired milliner. Her  supplies were cataloged and dated 1910-1930s! I'm now down to my last dozen flowers. Didn't mind using them here since this has been a work of love.
 The thick spine...
 View from the top. I love, love,love the layers of laces peeking out!
As I said, this was a labor of LOVE! I'm so excited to give it to her later this week.
Thanks for viewing, Sweet Blessings, Chris

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Going to attend the Ellen Show!

Wow! I'm over the top excited about being in the audience of the Ellen Show next week. A big thank you to my cousins Angie and Betsy for gifting me two of their tickets.

So, of course, I had to make a special gift for Ellen. She is truly one of the most precious gifts that bless us today. Always a positive note!

Here's my 'Wise Women' book, dedicated to the fabulous Ellen Degeneres.

How this book was created… Most of the embellishments are made from vintage laces and fabrics. Doilies, millinery netting, vintage pieces of jewelry embellish each of the pages, somewhat keeping with the style of that era.  The photos were reproduced onto a lovely linen paper.
 Inside the front cover we are reminded of the ancient Wisdom of our African and Native American Fore-Mothers. The delicate vintage lace forms a symbolic rainbow, suggesting love that surrounds us from our Matriarchal Lineage.
 Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) was an abolitionist and women’s rights activist. The foundation of her page is a log-cabin quilt square circa 1880’s. The red center represents the center/heart of the log cabin home. The collar tie is also vintage and very closely resembles the collar she is wearing in the picture.

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) the foundation of this page is created from rescued designer fabrics from FABMO, .  a non-profit organization that saves these fabrics from the landfills. These two plaids are keeping with the style of her dress, as the pieces of Victorian lace replicate her collar.
 Marie Curie…(1867-1934) The foundation of this page is also created with rescued fabrics. The delicate millinery netting is circa 1910. The piece of black lace is from a vintage mantilla. Both the glass button and the vintage jewelry are typical of the fashion of her era.
 Alice Paul…(1885-1977) The foundation of the page is similar to the fabrics of the early 1900’s. The buttons are vintage, age unknown, as is the milliner’s flower.  The tiny piece of lace is from the bodice of a vintage dress.
 Isadora Duncan (1887-1927) reminds us to be in touch with our wild and free nature. The foundation of this page is a beautiful piece of cotton with Victorian women. The flower is handmade with a vintage clip earring embellishing the center.
 Amelia Earhart  (1897-1937?) reminds us that ‘Adventure is worthwhile in itself.’ She wasn’t one to wear frills and laces, however, the stiff cuff is typical of something she might have worn.
 Anne Frank… (1929-1945) The foundation of her page is a piece of vintage wool, similar to the wool coat she is wearing in this picture. The lace trim on her page are from vintage Christening dresses. The flowers are reproductions, mindful of the beauty she saw everywhere.
 Mother Theresa (1910-1997) …Foundation is from a vintage Christening dress, similar to the fabric she might have worn. Plain and simple, no frills, her message is clean and sweet.
Ellen DeGeneres… The foundation fabric (rescued via FABMO) is in the blue and cream tones you seem to enjoy.  The tie, buttons and shirt fabrics are from a memory quilt I’m making for a dear friend.

It was truly a joy to create this book. So thankful for those women who paved the way for the world we enjoy today!