Saturday, November 21, 2009

Egg Doll House

I have fond memories of playing with this house and family of egg dolls (not sure what else to call them!) The front and roof of the house would open up to see all of the rooms inside.

I had fun playing with the macro setting of my camera to get super close to the little people sitting in the living room.

Do you feel like you are being watched?

I did not realize until after I had taken the photos that the eye of one of my dolls was peeking through in the window!

I feel like a peeping Tom spying into another little world....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Up in the Attic

This past spring, I went home to the farm where I grew up, just a mile or so outside of Quill Lake, SK. For an entire weekend, my two brothers and I worked to clean out the attic of the farmhouse.

Our parents were from the generation and the kind of people who never threw anything out. Over the years, my parents slowly piled stuff up into the attic. And after 30 years, it all finally saw the light of day.

I was amazed to find that my mom had saved a lot of my toys from when I was a little girl. I still love my Mr. Bunny, although he is dirty and in pretty rough shape.

I also found a box of shoes from my childhood. It is hard to believe that these used to be my shoes! I kept the red and blue plaid pair of sneakers (bottom left of picture). You may be wondering where I put all of these nostalgic items from my childhood. I store every treasure in a leather brown vintage suitcase that I found up in the attic.

I found this little guy squished and flattened by a huge box. He also came home with me.

Here are a few of the dolls I played with. My worst crime was always cutting their hair!

There were cardboard boxes, carpet samples and tons of miscellaneous crap. What we deemed garbage was thrown into the old blue truck and hauled off to the 'nuisance grounds'.

Good riddance!


Tea Time in Paris

I sneaked a photo of this beautiful fine bone china tea set from the Musee de Decoratifs in Paris (Spring 2007).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Saucer Lady

I had the fortunate luck to visit an antique store called Heirlooms Antiques Calgary. When I saw shelves with stacks and stacks of saucers, I was absolutely in heaven. My eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store!

The store owners, Bill and Bente Picken were so kind to tell me about the lady who used to own them. About 5 years ago, they bought the entire collection of saucers from Mary Nielsen, who had collected more than 18,000 saucers over a 50 year period. They still have about two or three thousand left, with about 600 in the store.

She had always wanted to have her collection featured in a museum, but sadly, this never happened. So, instead, her home in Montgomery (N.W.) of Calgary, became her museum where she displayed her saucers throughout the entire house. The living room was known as the 'Blue Room' for its collection of blue and white fine bone china.

Believe it or not, the cost of admission to view the collection was a saucer; which Mary put the date and name of the person on a piece of tape to the back of the saucer, so she would remember where she got it. Complimentary tea and cookies were also served.

There were so many beautiful saucers to choose from, it was hard to not buy them all! But here are a few pics of the saucers I finally brought home. I will be making and selling ring holders that will be specially marked as from 'The Mary Nielsen Collection'.


A few weeks ago, I had time to kill while I was waiting for an appointment. So, I decided to check out the IODE thrift store on 1st S.W, the new and upcoming area with trendy stores and restaurants. It seems very odd that there is a second-hand store sandwiched between the Chocolate and Colours hi-rise condos.

Walking in, it feels like nobody else knows about this place but you; but I am sure I am not the only one who thinks this place is a little gem. There is the usual racks of vintage clothing and knick knacks. And after paying only a few dollars, I came home with pretty vintage buttons and a bag of used stamps.

I generally do not collect stamps for their inherent value but more for the creative possibility of using them in collages. And just by looking at the stamps through the clear plastic bag, I could tell that they were Canadian stamps of an older vintage; when stamps used to cost pennies!

So when I came home, I sifted through the bag to look at the stamps in closer detail. It was only when I started looking at the postmarks that I realized that they were all from Saskatchewan, and specifically from the towns around the area where I grew up: Wadena, Spalding, Watson, Wynyard, Naicam and on and on....I was in shock when I came across postmarked stamps from Quill Lake, the town I am originally from before moving to Calgary when I was 18. How bizarre that of all things, I would pick up a bag of used stamps from Saskatchewan in Calgary. And they are all dated from the 1960's. I wasn't even born yet! I am so curious as to who collected these stamps and how they ended up being in a second-hand thrift store.

I truly believe that for some inexplicable reason, I was drawn to that store, on that day, to find a true treasure that was meant to come home with me.

I Made It!

This is a much belated big 'thank you' for everyone who came out to support me at the Make It! show last weekend. It was a great experience and a huge success. I met lots of new people, visited with friends and family, and even reconnected with old acquaintances I had not seen for years.

A very big special thanks goes out to my dear friend Joan for helping me set up on Friday. She kept me sane and grounded (while I was so close to losing it!) when we had technical difficulties getting up my sign. And a very big, big thanks also goes out to my new special love Craig, who was the muscle behind loading and unloading everything.

If you were not able to 'make it' out to the show, here are a few pics (this is for Dennis, serving over in Afghanistan).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stringing Magazine

A few months ago, I received a wonderful email from Danielle Fox, the editor of Stringing Magazine — a how-to jewelry publication. She found my work on etsy and thought my ring stands were 'exquisite'. She asked if she could feature one of my ring holders for an article on jewelry storage/organization — and of course I had to say 'yes'!

And so below is a detail from the magazine layout. I love how fresh and bright it is! What a great job they did ('they' meaning Danielle) styling the shot and displaying the ring holder. I am so thrilled that my work is getting out there!

Make It!

I am getting very excited about doing the upcoming show called Make It! It is only my second show since doing Portobello West last September. So, I am busy in the studio making new work and adding new touches to the design of my display. It is being held at the Chinese Cultural Centre (197 1st Street S.W.) from Friday, November 6 (4 PM - 8 PM), on Saturday, November 7 (11 AM - 6 PM) to Sunday, November 8 (11 AM - 5PM). Oh, and there is a $5 dollar admission at the door. Hope to see you there!

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Etsy Look

I am trying out a new look for my etsy shop.

I have always felt that it looked so busy with all of the ring holders positioned at different angles for the main feature image. So now, I have simplified the views by featuring all of the ring holders at a birds eye view straight down. I like the graphic repetitive shapes of the round saucers — and plus, now you can see the entire design and detail of each china pattern.

Check it out here!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Vintage Bottles

On my travels to the flea market last weekend, I found a lovely old vintage bottle; its lid still intact for added character and charm. And priced at only $1 it was even more sweet!

It made me think of the work of Anna Corba, an artist I have always admired from afar. She is the queen of collecting vintage ephemera and transforming simple things such as vintage bottles, lined notebooks, gift tags and candle jars into miniature works of art.

So, with my collection of vintage ephemera such as silk ribbon, decorative cord, playing card, and letter medalion, I set out to create my own version of an 'Anna Corba inspired' vintage bottle. It was so simple to make but I think the result is amazing. So pretty!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

In the Studio

I have always been inspired by looking into the studios of other artists. There is a great magazine called 'Where Women Create: Inspiring Work Spaces of Extraordinary Women'. Although it is a magazine, it feels more like a book because of the size of the issue and quality of the printing. Not sure if my studio is worthy to grace the pages of this magazine at the moment. But I tell myself that it is a work in progress; just like my art.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Button Brooches

I have tons of buttons and I was inspired to make brooches with them. Large buttons work the best and I paired them with plastic belt loops for the base. I just added a brooch pin in the back and voila! Instant vintage fabulous for my coat.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Spread the Love

For the latest issue of Uppercase magazine (number 2!), I sent Janine a paper maché heart wrapped like a parcel with stamps and twine string. She was thrilled to receive it and it made her stressful day "much nicer". So now she has made my day by including it in the Postal Service page of the magazine.

Interesting tidbit behind my heart; I made this piece almost fifteen years ago and it was the first and last time I ever used paper maché. I am so happy it has finally found the perfect home.

One of the great many things about Uppercase magazine is that there is always a call to artists and writers to participate in each issue. Lots of fun stuff to do. Check it out!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Saucer Heaven

A few weeks ago at the flea market, I was inquiring with a vendor if they had any single saucers to sell. Unknown to me at the time, a lady overheard my conversation and her ears perked up. She came over to me later to say that she had a huge collection of saucers which she was wishing to sell. Turns out that her mother, now 86, had collected saucers as a hobby for many years of her life. I bought her entire collection — a total of 480 saucers. I was on cloud nine!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Christmas in July

This past spring, I went through some things (um, I mean, lots of junk!) in my mom's basement. I found this really ratty box of old christmas ornaments. A label on the box states that they were 'Made in Japan'. They are probably not worth a dime but I can still see their beauty reflecting back to me.

And yes, you can see me in some of the ornaments!

Pretty Little Things

For awhile now I have been collecting vintage earrings at the flea market. I realize that turning them into magnets is not a new idea. But what an easy and quick way to transform them into something useful again. I think they are even more beautiful the second time around!