July 29, 2013

from the Countess

Ha! With all the royal baby stuff taking the center stage, having a website to generate your own royal title is the timely thing to do.

Give it a whirl, just for chuckles, or as we say in the UK - sniggers (somehow that seems so inappropriately racist)


You're welcome!

truly yours,
Countess Magnolia of the Night

July 28, 2013

Repurposed Baby Shoes

Another Pinterest inspired craft that came to life yesterday. We are always on the lookout for awesome repurposing ideas, especially those that look vintagey (vintagish?) and shabby chic-ish. Yeah, I make up words... cuz I can.

We have been stocking up on old baby shoes we have found at thrift stores and antique malls. This is the box of stash we had to work with. Some are from my granddaughter's discarded, outgrown shoe wardrobe. One pair is from Jan's oldest son when he was a baby, the leather white high top shoes. I call them Zippy shoes, because they look like the kind that circus chimps wore as they rode their bikes around a stage. And there was always one chimp named Zippy. Do you remember those acts? Ed Sullivan would occasionally have them on his show. Yes, I am old as dirt and know who Ed Sullivan was. There is a black pair of shoes in there too that I want to turn in to Halloween sump'n sump'ns.

We gathered up some of our stash of lace and bling and ribbons and went to work to turn these adorable little shoes into adorable little pin cushions. We started by placing fish tank pebbles in the bottom of the shoes for stability. After researching a few how-tos about making the pin cushion part, we went with filling a circle of tight woven material with bird grit. That's the stuff you put in a cup for caged birds to help with digestion, and you can find it in any pet supply store. Draw up the cloth into a ball with a needle and thread, secure tightly and then cover that with a more decorative material like vintage velvet.

Then came the bling part. We added some old lace, old rhinestone jewelry pieces, vintagey tinsel (I'm sticking with that version of my made up word), flowers, pearls, and replaced the shoe laces with satin ribbons. We hot glued all of the components to the shoes.
Every single one is stunning! and very easy to make. We'll be selling them in the fall.

This is one of Kinsley's shoes. Baby pink sneakers that I think she might have worn once. Isn't that the way it goes with newborns? Their little feet grow so fast. It has a beautiful pin made of clay roses attached to a piece of an antique crochet doily. Pearls were glued around the edge of the shoe, and a little bird charm hangs from the doily. The pin cushion is made with pink velvet that has been embossed with stars.

 This one looks similar to a Zippy shoe. It has that incredible aged look and was well worn.

Off white flowers, satin ribbon and a rhinestone piece decorate the front of the shoe, while a tea stained crocheted lace encircles the top of the shoe. It has a white velvet pin cushion.

All the ingredients for a sweet shabby chic pin cushion.
This one is a little Mary Jane shoe, which is hard to tell because the straps have been covered with embellishments. It too has vintage lace, a vintage rhinestone pin, satin ribbon and pearls for decorations.

It was also a well worn shoe. I guess babies wore them longer back in the day. It seems like now, people don't put sweet shoes on tiny babies like they used to. And the trend is more towards something a rock star might wear. Lots of bling, lots of sparkle, or gold lame´ type material. The new shoes aren't very sweet... they're gutsy. And too grown-uppy.

I suppose that makes our repurposed shoes all that more special. Something gone by the wayside like good manners and respect and Ed Sullivan.

Look how cute they are on Jan's chippy shelf. And the antique turquoise Mason jars add to the ambiance.  So cute! 

July 25, 2013

Gator Chomp, or Nole Chop?

Living in Gainesville, Florida, you'd think there's only one choice of school colors, wouldn't you? Well, guess again. We have a large Seminole following here too. So, today I made 2 bracelets for my daughter's fund raising event benefitting Breast Cancer Research.

We'll see which bracelet brings in more money for her silent auction.

July 20, 2013

Recycled Treasures

We are the queens of junk yard art. This year we have extended our repertoire to include some Christmas dioramas using vintage clocks for the bases. These are gone-by-the-wayside clocks that have become obsolete with the advances of technology. Hell, even watches are becoming obsolete. Most people younger than us (the rest of the world) don't wear watches. Why would they? They have their cell phones attached to their hips and since they look at their phones about 5000 times a day, they are much more aware of what time it is than us geezers. Ooooo, I feel a soapbox approaching, so let me put myself in check. I'd much rather talk about crafting stuff.

Old clocks aren't nearly as accessible as you would think, but we found some and after gutting them like fishies, we put together some adorable dioramas. We had a ton of stuff already on hand, but scored some more vintage decorations from thrift stores to bling them up.

This one was a white plastic case clock, perfect for a vintage feel with the red and white color scheme. The little chippy angel in the middle is holding her own little tree and is surrounded by a snowy bottom and glittery sides. She has a sparkly snowflake in her background which is a piece of vintage packaging from old Christmas lights.

This one is about 6 inches tall.

This one is made from an old brass Big Ben style clock.

The vintage soldier looks like he is guarding the tree and its treasures below. We kept the glass front intact on this one.

 Really, cute!

This is the rear view. A piece of vintage style background paper was added to cover up the openings in the back, and gold braid was added all around the front and back rims for a little glitzy flair.

So far we have made 30 of these and they are all adorable.

Some are made from crystal clocks and those are awesome too. Very shabby chic, and hopefully well received by our customers.

July 08, 2013

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

I posted two years ago that Jan and I were through with bottle snowmen. I lied like a rug. We thought we were, then we caught our breath and got inspired to keep going. I don't know how many we have made over the years, but it is at least 600. OMG, six hundred! (thank you Sue Pelletier for your original inspiration) We have this year's batch ready for our fall show in October and are considering a second show in November if we can score a good venue. We honestly have a huge following, and people come looking for our booth at the show we do in October. True validation. And much appreciated.

My house is covered in glitter, and crates of finished snowmen line my guestroom walls. I can't even begin to tell you how much fun we have making them all. Each and every one is a creation of love from the first step of picking out a bottle, to the end step of glittering them all.

Our early techniques were much more crude, and scattered. We made a lot of "themed" snowmen... anything from University colors, to beach themed, nautical, patriotic, and everything in between. They were all very well received, but I think the theme-style wore us out. We've settled into making adorable, sweet faced regular snowmen (and women). Here are some in the "drying" stage. After we have completed assembling each one, they go onto my kitchen shelf unit for about 3 days of drying time. It takes that long for their clay heads to dry. Next will come gluing all the parts in place with a strong adhesive, followed by a blushed cheek, then glitter.

How lucky am I to get to see all these smiling faces pretty much year round! Here are some after getting their glitz on.

 This one is made from a crystal salt shaker and has a top hat made from a VW knob that has been glued to a large black button. He has a neck full of jingle bells and a satin ribbon that catches more sparkle from the glitter.

So cute! We make handmade tags for each one and include their name. Yes, of course... we name each one. I like to use old fashioned names like Walter or Sarah. Sometimes, a customer will pick one up and say "OMG, my grandmother's name was Sarah. I'm getting this one." Makes us smile.

 Here's a partial look at this year's bunch, all gathered up and having a snowman conference on my dining room table.

Here is another group, waiting to be tagged and stored away. Notice the billiard ball bodies on some of them. Jan's idea! She is best at thinking outside the box.

We've also added some tiny ones that can be used on a Christmas tree like an ornament. They fit in the palm of a hand and are also adorable.

 Here is a grouping of them hanging from one of my display pieces. They are too sweet.

... and a close up view of that face.

Yup, it's Christmas in July at my house. And April, May, June, August, September, October, and November.

Ho Ho Ho!