Ribbons, beads & a lampshade.

Instead of resuming the 30 day project, I switched gears to creating a project for the nursery (among many others to come, I’m sure).

Last year I stumbled upon a wonderful vintage lamp. The lampshade fabric was in need of an overhaul, but the lamp base was really cool. Unfortunately, the lamp was knocked over and the beautiful base broke! I knew I could find a use for the shade, so I kept it. Low and behold, I’ve found a use for it! I must admit, Pinterest is one website I truly enjoy. Thus, the idea for this project was inspired by a few different things I found while pin surfing.

These are the steps I took to create this whimsical decoration:

  • I spray painted the frame with Rustoleum. After I removed the rust-stained fabric, I cleaned it up with a wire brush and then painted it.      
  • To gather supplies, I found vintage beads at a local antique store. Then I gathered fabric from shirts at a thrift store. Finally, the ribbon I chose came from Michael’s.

          

  • The first step from this point was prepping the fabric. I ripped the shirts into strips. Then, I covered each lamp frame ‘prong’ with the fabric strips by wrapping them. A hot glue gun was used to fasten the hold (and for everything else to0-the ribbon and beads).
  • From here, I began to string and wrap ribbon around the frame. This was a trial and error process. I eventually removed the original ribbon and restrung it around the frame for a better hold and a cleaner look.    
  • Using the vintage bead strands, I restrung combinations of them on stretchy jewelry string I have on hand and tied the strands to the frame.
  • Then, I embellished the corners with buttons and beads and draped some fabric over some of the sides of the frame to alter the look.  
  • Finally, I finished with tying the leftover beads in the center of the frame so that when it hangs like a mobile, it’ll have dangly fun colors and shapes to show off.
  • The very last step is to string the lampshade to the ceiling, which I have yet to do. I’ll post a grand finale picture when the rest of the nursery is set up.
  • There are no pictures of applying the ribbon because that process is entirely up to you and the particular look you’re going for. I didn’t want an entirely ‘shabby chic’ look, so I mixed it up with ripped fabric, but polished ties of ribbon. The colors used create some uniformity, but otherwise, the repetition of the ribbon is primarily random. So are the beads, buttons and draped fabric!   

Thanks for reading! I’m getting my groove back as my puppy becomes more behaved and my body returns to normal (except for a growing middle)!

-Kalli

Whoa, it’s been awhile!

It kills me to not have posted in so long. It’s about time to get back to it.

The last place I left off was beginning to work on project #3. My timeline is off by quite a bit. I projected that by March I would have completed my 30 day project. It’s probably time to push that back. My pace is slower these days, so we’ll just work one project at a time. Maybe I’ll be done by August! Good heavens, I hope before then though!

Project #3 incorporates a snazzy vintage blazer & belt.

Sketch Vintage blazer + belt

Stay tuned for steps on placing everything together.

-Kalli

Jewelry vignette with a twist.

So, project 2 varies a little from the previous vignettes (clothing collages) I’ve made. This one incorporates materials that aren’t strictly clothing or accessories. It’s more like what you see when you think of the word collage.

One big goal I have is to always try to eventually incorporate my digital work into things I make, if they aren’t already digital. With this project, I’ve added some other elements, such as digital aspects and items & pieces that aren’t clothing or accessory related.

This time around, the photographs don’t depict step by step. This is what I did and the items & supplies I used:

Supplies:

  • large doily
  • lace trim
  • vintage, fake costume jewelry*
  • needle & thread
  • thumbtacks
  • drawer pull
  • digital image
  • Modge Podge
  • E6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive
  • frame
  • black acrylic paint
  • paint brush
  • Q-tip
  • canvas backing

Steps:

  1. Fit the doily and lace trim to the frame backing, decide on a layout for every element in the collage
  2. Adhere canvas backing to the frame backing
  3. Paint the frame w/ black paint
  4. Glue down all pieces with E6000
  5. Print and slice up the digital image to fit the collage, adhere & cover w/ Modge Podge
  6. Place thumbtacks and thread, use a Q-tip to fasten thumbtacks with glue if needed
  7. Pop into the frame and wha-lah!

*I did some research about costume jewelry to try to place the necklace in this piece to an era. I gathered that it was most likely made in the 60s as part of a revival of Victorian style (most likely revived from the 1910s). The Victorian Revival jewelry is typically in the form of plastic, resin or engraved & antiqued metalwork and other hardware. Now, when I mention fake costume jewelry this is what I mean. You’ve got cream of the crop jewelry such as diamonds, gold and silver. Then you’ve got costume jewelry, very upscale-looking replicas that are highly collectible. However, many costume jewelry movements stemmed from other jewelry types such as plastics, color, cameos & figures. Lastly, there is jewelry made very cheaply and falls below the class of real costume jewelry. This jewelry is probably the most common kind, found in department stores (outside of the glass case) or mall shops.

Some information about costume jewelry courtesy of a book titled, “vintage jewelry design: classics to collect & wear,” by Caroline Cox (2010).

Doily & lace trim Stapled canvas to frame backing Digital imageJewelry vignette/ collage

-Kalli

Retro tie on the wall.

The retro tie piece is finished.

Although, I’m not as pleased with the execution of this piece compared to the others I’ve done. This is the result:

Retro tie on the wall

The issues with this piece include:

  • the fabric backing isn’t taut enough
  • the frame didn’t take well to the staple gun & staples

I tacked the fabric backing to the frame itself. I have done this before with the very first clothing collage I made, but the frame it’s in is rock solid. The frame for this snazzy retro tie is smaller, thinner and not as hefty (cheaper). The staples sort of bit through the frame. I have a feeling that had I stapled the fabric to the very outer edge of the frame instead of the inner edge (where the glass sits), it would have taken better. We’ll try it different next time, after all, I’ve got 29 more to go!

I borrowed one of my husbands vintage tie clips to complete the look.

Retro tie & vintage tie clip

After all is said and done, this piece doesn’t have many elements to it, is simple, the colors pop, but it’s not quite ready for display because of the problems encountered during the process.

Psst, this is a picture of my favorite piece yet.

Belt & tie

Take a peek at some of the research I’ve done. A goal of mine during this project is to accurately represent vintage pieces with other elements from the same time period & trend period. I know fashion, but not really anything this deep yet!

Pieces & parts Vogue

-Kalli

Retro tie.

Project 1 of the 30 day project had commenced. I’m not yet finished with it, but here is what I’ve got up to this point.

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Primary list of supplies:

  • retro, clip-on tie
  • neutral background fabric
  • frame
  • black paint
  • other supplies used, but not pictured include a staple gun and needle & thread

First steps:

  1. take the backing and glass out of the frame, paint it (there is no need to sand the wood, just be sure to use acrylic paint)
  2. cut a swatch of fabric to fit the dimensions of the frame (with a 1/2″ to spare on either side)
  3. iron fabric to eliminate wrinkles and creases
  4. adhere tie to fabric with needle & thread (you could use glue if you wanted)
  5. staple fabric to inner part of frame

We’ll complete the process when I finish. Apologizes for being slow, I promise I’m working on it though!

-Kalli

30 day project.

Set a goal. Accomplish it.

I’ve begun to realize lately that I’m struggling a bit with the blog. Not because the holidays rolled by and everything became ten times as busy as normal, but because there are so many things to cover and discuss, that I’m lost as how to narrow it down. When the subject of creativity is concerned, deciding how to channel my thoughts in the best way possible to inspire others is sometimes challenging.

So far on these boots, this is what I’ve dealt out:

  • ways to discover what you like & what defines you, in hopes that this will help formulate your creativity, your something good
  • exploring the idea of collage-perhaps one of the easier ways to exercise artistic creativity (as opposed to painting, drawing, etc…collage is forgiving and exploratory)
  • writing exercises to work both sides of the brain
  • unique places & things that inspire me, hopefully they can inspire you too
  • steps to a boot makeover; yep, a boot makeover
  • Halloween costume ideas
  • ways to look at things differently
  • deconstructed how I made certain pieces of artwork (the idea generation, the process & reason for making each piece)
  • ideas for a Thanksgiving table centerpiece
  • caulking baseboards, let me just say this-my husband and I purchased a fixer upper last year; there are many projects to be finished!
  • images of a storm on Lake Superior
  • my process for making ‘clothing collages,’ or as I like to call them, ‘vignettes’
  • how to apply your skill sets in the real world
  • great websites worth looking at
  • Dottie the Doodle & a brief description of how to start a website
  • the importance of organization

Every item in this list has the intent of helping creativity; drawing out the creative senses. Granted, most posts thus far have been geared towards artistic creativity, there are many other uses for creativity, no matter what you do or what you like. Some topics discussed are directly related to delving in and making things while others focus on the opposite, focus your thoughts and energy on something not directly related to a stereotypical ‘creative’ task. This will help open your mind to be more accepting of new, different things and to change in general. This can be integral if you’re trying to be more creative.

A logo for 'creativity'

A logo for ‘creativity’

It boils down to the fact that creativity is a broad thing. Anything and everything can be applied in a creative sense. Because blogging is new for me and I’m learning every step of the way, I’ve come up with this: instead of attempting to teach you how to find your creativity through various activities (& odd, but good ones at that), I’ll focus on things that I do daily as a creative individual. This will still foster the growth of creativity, but in a more concise, less broad, way.

To do this, I’m kicking off with a 30 day project. Here’s how it will work:

  • 3 days 1 day each week I will make one clothing collage (vignette), as seen in this post
  • I will create a post for each of the 30 pieces I make
  • This project will span over a few months, it will take me into March (trust me, I wish I had enough time to complete one a day)

Full disclosure: for the remaining 4 days of the week, I work Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. When I come home I usually make dinner, sometimes go to the gym and then relax. That leaves Tuesdays and Thursdays (plus weekends) for blogging. Now, we’ve got Dottie too. I can get things done when she naps. Otherwise, she goes outside about 20 times per day and we work on training for probably about an hour or two each day. I know some days will be tougher than others, but I’m determined! I challenge you to do something similar. If it isn’t artistically involved, that’s perfectly ok. Try something new each day for 30 days. Or, try picking up a book such as ‘The Trickster’s Hat,’ by Nick Bantock or ‘Creative Block,’ by Danielle Krysa ( & her blog) for exercises and projects to try.

Here’s to a new year with big goals!

-Kalli

The figurine project.

I’ll admit, this one is a tad experimental; I let myself have free reign.

This project does a few things. These are my perceptions & ideations formed while making this piece:

  • to display items in a new light
  • why do we make knick knacks?
  • can time & money be better spent on manufacturing other things?
  • to poke fun at something (knick knacks, figurines) that serves no important purpose
  • what is important in life, how have we changed as a culture over time?
  • the mock environment, although kitschy, imitates a sense of realism with green hills, foliage and the relative size and positioning of the figurines; the simple shapes and hue structure create a sort of ‘contemporary realism;’ the hardware and wire contribute to the sense of the figurines being ‘tacked up’ or ‘bluntly fastened down’ and speak to the fact that they are puropsely placed on the wood, much like they are purposely placed as display pieces on bookshelfs and countertops, etc…
  • what kind of environmental impact is there to manufacture products like these figurines?
  • as humans, this is a representation of our habits–we feel the need to produce in a certain manner, as we also have the need to be mindlessly entertained with the comfort of having knick knacks
  • to explore the ironic beauty of ‘junk’ Americana
  • this particular junk Americana speaks to wildlife and rustic environments
  • if the talent and skill used to create figurines was channeled elsewhere, could you imagine the possibilities?
  • clutter is clutter, let’s face it, knick knacks fall under this category–clutter creates unnecessary chaos

In any case, if the above list doesn’t register with you, at least this is something odd to look at. Develop your own opinion of what this piece says to you. Just in case you’re wondering how to make this, here’s what I did:

  1. gather supplies needed :
    1. wood backing (plywood) with dimensions of a frame
    2. a frame (found object) to display the piece when finished
    3. foam board
    4. paint (acrylic or craft paint)
    5. brushes for painting
    6. figurines–I chose animals that could be found in a real environment of relative size from various thrift and antique shops (this exhibits how readily available these figurines are from many years ago until the present; these are also found objects)
    7. glue or ModPodge
    8. other materials for attaching the figurines such as wire and nails
    9. paper and pencil, pen and/ markers for sketching
    10. tools to chisel figurines, if needed
    11. manipulated photographs of ground material (trees, plants, sky, etc.); this is something specific to my medium of choice, add a touch of what makes you unique as an artist
  2. paint figurines
  3. sketch layout of figurines and where to place foam board
  4. cut foam board layers to create the ‘ground’ for the figurines as well as to add depth (do this how you prefer, if you would like to portray an abstract environment, do so as you see fit)
  5. adhere foam board to wood backing
  6. fasten figurines with glue, add other embellishments such as wire and nails if you’d like
  7. lastly, put on the remaining elements, such as photographs or drawings and anything else you see fit
  8. my final piece is very heavy, so I’m not going to hang it on the wall, but if you’d like, hang it and then place the frame you have around it
  9. title your piece, mine is: ‘Americana Unearthed: Trophies of Our Time’

Finally, I leave with this. Exercise your mind and unleash what you’ve got. Who cares if it doesn’t turn out? If anything, you will have learned what NOT to do. Then you can go forth and keep improving your process.

-Kalli

Old collared shirts and neck accessories.

This is the result of the project from Tuesday.

I’ve framed an old collared button-up shirt and vintage tie in an embroidery hoop. The idea of the overall product is something you can display on the wall or place on a bookshelf, as wall art or a unique piece of decor that tells a story. The process of making it is ongoing. Tweaks will need to be made to really make it seamless. Right now, experimentation is the name of the game.

Collared button-up and vintage tie in an embroidery hoop  Collared button-up and vintage tie in an embroidery hoop

Collared button-up and vintage tie with window

Normally, I refrain from using the flash on my camera. The lighting in my good ol’ house is just terrible though. Sometimes, to get the most accurate picture, using the flash is necessary. On another note, I’m pondering the idea of completely removing the outer ring of the embroidery hoop. However, I have yet to master the execution of doing just that while making it look good. Project execution has never been my strongest suit. I do have to say though that over the years I have improved a bit. The most important part of executing an idea and actually making it is patience. Among this, doing it the right way, or the correct way, is equally as important.

Here is another piece I completed awhile back.

Collared button-up and bowtie  Collared button-up and bowtie in a picture frame

Collared button-up and bowtie with window

-Kalli

Framing clothing & accessories.

I like to call this a clothing collage or an accessory collage. To go a step further, I like to call this a vignette. My husband thinks I’m crazy to call it that, but hey, it’s fitting in my mind!

Firstly, let’s clarify. The word vignette associates with the following:

  • a brief evocative description, account or episode
  • a small ornamental design (or graphic) filling a space in a book or carving
  • portray (someone)
  • a short descriptive literary sketch
  • a brief incident or scene

The way I think can be explained like this:

Throughout the years, I have focused my artistic efforts on collage techniques and incorporating these techniques into my pieces in numerous ways. With the vignette, I have the opportunity to combine my love of fashion with collage. In this instance, the ‘collage’ aspect is three dimensional. I’m not pasting and gluing pieces together. I am pairing different articles of clothing and accessories to a canvas. The end result becomes a collage of textures, color, patterns and form.

For this project, I’m using:

  • a men’s collared button-down shirt
  • a vintage neck tie
  • a large, wooden embroidery hoop

The construction of this piece is going to take a little finesse. I’ll check back with you when I have it complete!

-Kalli

Easy & ultra quick Thanksgiving table decor.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Need a last minute table decoration or centerpiece? Check this out!

Table centerpieces Table centerpieces Table centerpieces

Scouring my house for vases and knick knacks, this is what I found:

  • a few glass containers
  • a pitcher
  • two vases
  • a mid-century owl figurine
  • some tiny topiary trees
  • wine corks
  • pinecones and other bits of nature
  • some orange ribbon
  • an orange colored container
  • oatmeal
  • lentils
  • sunflower seeds
  • popcorn kernels
  • oh, and a funky Pyrex bowl filled with caramel pieces (to eat!)

Table centerpieces Table centerpieces Table centerpieces Table centerpieces

Directions for making your centerpiece:

  1. Grab your stuff and put it together you like; there are no rules!!

Table centerpieces Table centerpieces Table centerpieces Table centerpieces Table centerpieces Table centerpieces Table centerpieces

Now go enjoy your holiday! Need more ideas? Check out MidwestLiving for more inspiration.

-Kalli