Archive | October 2009

CluckleHeads: TTM Challenge-Foul Play

cloth dolls


The challenge over at The Three Muses is all about Fowl Play. Well how funny is that going to be? Take a look cause everyone creates something different!

cloth dolls

Cluckle doodle doooo!

Here I have created two sizes of chickens, CluckleHeads are what I call them. They are resting in dried rice and corn, and a few pumpkins here and there.

The standing chickens have legs made from 18 gauge florist wire covered in brown paper. The feet are made from felt covered cardboard with pine cone pieces glued to the feet.

The beaks and head feathers are made from felt, with plastic google eyes that are just tooo funny.

This was a fun project, as always when the Muses are involved.  Thank you ladies!

Enjoy- Christen

Tea on Tuesday: BOOOOOO





Well this may be a little early, but I wanted to keep in the spirit of the season. Today Tea is coffee, and a very good Viennese roast at that. It is still dark out so I was able to take a picture of my haunted tree with the lights on. I have gathered a few old branches, placed them in a vase, and adorned the branches with pumpkin lights and the spooky hands that I got at the thrift store a few weeks ago.

halloween decorations

Haunted Tree

Here is a full view of the tree. I set this on a table that is in the kitchen, which is full of vintage kitchen ware and tools. The table fills a long space at the end of the kitchen, but the area is too small to actually sit at the table. So I use this area as just another space to decorate.

I have included in the picture a cute little witch, which I have had for many years. I have also included the jewelry that I wear this time of year, my bat ring, pumpkin pin and my spiderweb tiara, no celebration is complete if you are not properly attired!

The little cigar box that the coffee cup is on I also got at the thrift store when I got the spooky hands. I have covered it in vintage Burpee and other seed advertisements that I found on the Vintage Moth’s website. These were free downloads, and I copied them and printed them in different sizes. Then I cut them to fit the box, glued them down and painted modpodge over the surface.

Sometimes I think that I have way to much fun….

I have been working on a few challenges this week, again way to much fun and also a few new pins for the Etsy store.

group of pins

Flapper Girls

Hope that you enjoy your tea today, whether it is really tea or coffee. Come join us over at Kimmie’s House and have a great rest of your week!

PS: I received my Tea On Tuesday gift exchange, and it was filled with goodies and a lovely tea cup, but I wanted to wait and make sure that everyone else had received their packages before I took a picture of my treasures and revealed who sent them….. coming soon!


Long Ago and Faraway: The Three Muses

Long Ago and Far Away

Long Ago and Far Away

This is my (very late) entry for The Three Muses challenge this week which was “Long Ago and Far Away”. This is a pen and ink drawing from my imagination.

I think that I ponder on the challenges that I seem to have so many ideas for. I found a picture of the  Brighton Palace at the thrift store and wanted to use this in a digital piece, but I couldn’t figure out how to use a new program that we downloaded from the internet. So I adapted the plan and drew something instead.

Please take a look at the other entries, they are always so creative, and join if you haven’t! Christen

Hank and the Moontones: MMM challenge

Hank and the Moontones

Hank and the Moontones

Over at Mixed Media Monday this week it is all about the moustache. The bigger the better I believe. My entry includes art dolls and their instruments….

Hank was on the run, he was in hiding in fact. His wife had left him, skipped town after draining their joint bank account and running away with the teller. Before she left though, she turned states’ evidence against him and his sordid past. As a disguise, he joined a mariachi band that was looking for a lead singer, he found the ad in the PennySaver. Tijuana turned out to be a pretty good place to hole up; lots of people who had pasts themselves, a less than enthusiastic police force that could be talked into looking the other way, and a seemingly never-ending string of restaurants, birthdays, and Quinceneras to play………they’d never find him here.

art dolls

Hank in the Spotlight

Hank, in the middle, is a paper mache head that I found at the thrift store. I used to hang him in my store, as he looked remarkably like a store owner in the same building. This man would on occasion lurk around the corner and come spy in my window when I wasn’t there. The reason that I know this is because I caught him one day doing just this. So I hung the puppet head as a joke, and all of the girls that worked for me and around the building knew that it was Hank. I don’t get MAD, I get EVEN!

Hank’s body is a wooden handled melon baller; his arms are wrapped in an old tie, and his hands (not shown) are made from bone. Both of the faces of the “Moontones” are made from clay. The faces are glued to a smashed soda can, and both were painted with bronze paint. The faces are glued to a painted wooden clothes pin; their arms are wrapped in old ties and both are wearing thimbles for shoes.

The stage is a cardboard ribbon spool that I painted and adorned with trims and sequin stars. The instruments are fun too: there are two old walnut-shell and abalone pieces, one a guitar and the other a mandolin; vintage castanets; a plastic harmonica and maracas.

I say it is all about creating with fun, how about you? Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Harvest Time

Harvest Wreath

Harvest Wreath

Fridays Favorites is all about the Harvest Time. I decorate for fall at the end of September, even though here in San Diego (city) we have no turning of the leaves, and only the occasional crisp cold weather mornings, and no frost in the air yet. I still appreciate this turning of the season. I absolutely love all of the rich autumn colors, the browns: from chestnut to sienna; golden umber and warm maple; firy reds like crimson and  cinnamon; pumpkin and carnelian.

As  a kid I used to love to dress up for Halloween, it wasn’t so much about the candy, but the fact that you could turn into something else, if only for the day. We used to help mom decorate the house so that we were appropriately spooky for the “trick or treater’s”. When my daughter was young, she couldn’t wait for Halloween, and I loved dressing her up as a princess or heroine of some sort. I had a co-worker ask me why it was always a princess not a peasant, and I said why not reach for the stars?

I have a few decorations set up specifically for Halloween, such as my 3 ft. black spider and 2 ft. spider and web. I have a spooky ghost tree made from found branches, and I have adorned this with a pumpkin garland that lights up, I added glow in the dark bats, but they don’t do there job quite as well as they should, but they are spooky enough without glowing I guess.

Halloween's Queen

Halloween's Queen

This is a cute little witch that I purchased at a cloth doll show. I added the pumpkin that was purchased at a thrift store. I set her on a tray amongst tiny paper mache pumpkins, acorns and creepy hands. She is really a very cute witch, not scary, so I keep her up through Thanksgiving, I just take the hands away and pack them up for next year. I also have a pumpkin that holds a votive candle, and two ghosts that sit in the flower pot.

Harvest Table Center Piece

Harvest Table Center Piece

This is the center piece that rests on my table from the end of September through the weekend of Thanksgiving. The pumpkin is just so cool, and the setting that it rests in is actually a frame full of berries and nuts. I added a few autumn leaves and ribbons for the finishing touches.

During this time of year, we usually take a drive up to our friends house in Morongo Valley, which is just before Joshua Tree state park. We all pack into the car and tramp and hike and climb around the boulders. Most of the roads are paved, but of course the trails are not. On the way back home we drive through the backroads of Idlewyld and Hemmit, and think of days that are gone but not forgotten.

Dirt roads lined with
brown dusted bushes
and autumn colored trees
Leaves falling with even prettier colors
than last year.
Crackle air smells
of snow and cooked
turkeys and pumpkin pie.
Family days spent with
distant relatives, loved ones
and Thanksgiving.

Christen, 10-15-79

Well I hope that you are enjoying this time of year, Christen

Tea on Tuesday: Apples and Hearts

Apples and Hearts

Apples and Hearts

Red and yellow and retro is my theme today. I just love this little tea pot, just enough for a few cups, and not a drop is wasted! I am drinking from my Johnson Brothers “Chintz” cup today, it seems also to be a favorite. The wonderful crochet heart pincushion was found at a thrift store, and the marvelous “art heart” was a gift from our daughter. teacan

The tea that I chose for today comes from this lovely set that I found at Cost Plus. I chose the Raspberry Earl Gray and it is delish! My friend can recommend the Ambrosia Plum, which she tried the other day. The other choices are Egyptian Mint and Italian Chamomile. The blend of scents that come from all of the tea bags is enchanting!

I can’t wait for all of the bags to be used so I can have the tin for the craft room. (Truthfully knowing me, I will probably not wait at all!)


Perky Pincushions

Last week I spent a few hours here and there making some pincushions for my Etsy store.

The first group on the blue plate were cut from an old quilt from the “4o’s which was made from feed sacks and cotton floral prints.  I call these Perky Pincushions.

These were so much fun to make, and the fabrics are just too cute! I stitched sections with pearl cotton and added a button to the top. The bottom is stabilized with a bit of cardboard and covered with felt.

These are a good size, about 3″ wide and 1-1/2″ tall. I have stuck mine full of needles and I love it!

Bon Bons

Bon Bons

The second set of pincushions were made from rayon velvet ribbon adorned with silk ribbon flowers and leaves. I call these Bon Bons.

I have made these for the store for many years, but they always seem to be a favorite. They look good enough to eat on this dainty china plate.

The rayon velvet ribbon is so rich, and really shows off the lucious colors of the Hanah silk so nicely. These are small pincushions, just enough for a few needles. These are about 1-5/8″round by 1-1/2″ tall.

I hope that all is well with you and that you are enjoying your day. Please join Kimmie and the rest of the ladies for Tea, you are most welcome!


Blue Pockets: MMM Challenge

Blue Pockets

Blue Pockets

This is my entry for the Mixed Media Monday challenge this week which is Mothers and Daughters. I included bits and pieces from four generations of mothers and daughters here.

This pocket was removed from a well loved, and worn-out pair of jeans that belonged to my daughter. The tatted butterfly and the crochet flowers in the top corners and the bottom edge were stitched by my mom. The ribbon flowers and leaves were made by me with various types of ribbon. The blue buttons came from a garment that my grandmother wore.

The roses, which are my daughter’s favorite flower, are made from a vintage French ombre ribbon; the sweet peas are made from 1/4″ variegated ribbon, these and the daffodils (made from a 1/4″ satin ribbon) were my grandmother’s favorite flowers; the blue posies and the buttons were added because blue is one of my mom’s favorite colors; the morning glories are made from 5/8″ silk bias ribbon and are one of my favorite flowers.


Gwen, Me, Nanny

Here is a picture of us taken this summer at Gwen’s 27 birthday party. We love her so much, and if I do say so myself she is so pretty, and even was when she first arrived at 2 lbs. 13 oz.!

My mom will be turning 29 again this year in November, a bit of a magical numerical conundrum…. but she doesn’t like to talk about numbers relative to her age. She is though a math wiz in her own rights studying calculus for fun in her free time! Well I feel however she wants to referto her age is her prerogative and certainly she can do whatever she wishes!

Me, I’m in the middle and will celebrating #53 this year in December. I don’t think that a number defines me, and am quite glad to own up to all of the years spent on this journey called life.

This picture was taken on a great day, with great food and good company. A good time was had by all indeed. And I am sure that great-grandma was celebrating with us too, in her own special way.

Happy day to you, give your mom, great grandma, nanny, granny, grammy, or kid a hug. Perhaps the order of the day should be hugs all around! Enjoy- Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Thimbles and Thimble Holders

vintage thimbles and thimble holders

vintage thimbles and thimble holders

Friday’s Favorites today is focussed on my collection of thimbles and thimble holders. I really never used a thimble in my hand sewing until I started to embroider jeans and work shirts which are thicker than the muslin or cotton that I was used to. Wikipedia has a long history on thimbles which is quite interesting.

My collection grew when I inherited an old sewing chest that had belonged to my grandmother. It was curiously filled with all sorts of wonderful sewing supplies and tools. Curious only by the fact that she did not sew, embroider or knit. She did however mend, which was obvious by the bits and pieces of stuff inside the chest. There were about 12 thimbles and at one point I had very irreverently made several into earrings (as you can see by the hole in the top of one of the four in the top row to the right).

I normally use the silver thimble resting idly at the bottom of the picture to the right. I have collected a few plastic advertising thimbles, a few more metal thimbles, and a colorful wooden thimble painted with a little girl. The porcelain thimble was a gift from my father in-law, and the sterling thimble a gift from my daughter. I do have a leather thimble which feels a little funny on my finger, so I don’t use it much, but it is sitting patiently in the sewing chest just in case.

The thimble holders are as varied as the thimbles themselves. The crochet hat is quite darling, with the thimble resting in the cap, and the lid opens up to reveal a piece of felt to insert your needles into, I found this at an antique store. The crochet pocket is attached to a huge wishbone, which is covered in crochet with tiny balls dangling below, this was given to me by a friend.

There are a few metal thimble holders, and one that is made from metal and celluloid. These all hold individual thimbles, some also include a needle or two. A few have self tops of the same material they are made of like the yellow one, the gold embossed one and the colorful celluloid one. The green and the light blue one are capped by the thimbles themselves, with a spool of thread inserted into the green one. Most of these were given to me by my mother in-law and they belonged to her mother. The gold and silver cases were purchased on Ebay, and they came from England.

What is your favorite thimble? Can you find it?

Enjoy, Christen

Tea on Tuesday: Changing the Paradigm


Orange Zinger

Tea on Tuesday is Tangerine Orange Zinger from Celestial Seasonings. Yummmmmmy with a raspberry bar and a few dried apricots (or applecots as my daughter used to call them). My cup runneth amok with grapes so I started with a fruit theme. I added in a few fun bracelets and a pair of earrings made from  glass and paper mache fruit and a darling porcelain piece with little children holding up an impossibly large plum.

So from last week’s  “A Little on the Grumpy Side”  to “Changing the Paradigm”. My computer sadly will not be fixed or remain the way I know it. We couldn’t afford the repairs that would cost around $800.00 so we opted to take the hard-drive out and put it into a separate unit so that it is now an external hard-drive.

It is funny how attached we become to our stuff. George Carlin had a routine on “Stuff” that was quite funny, unless you can’t get to your stuff or have access to it as was my case for over a week. I felt at a loss, what will I do if I can’t get to those files. I floundered…

Then I started to think about what I did when I wasn’t taking pictures and updating my website and creating posts for blogs.  OH right, I worked on making things for sale, worked on my art and oh yeah cleaned the studio so that I could see what was actually in there.  Frankly all of those things needed to be done, so that is what I did.  Changing the Paradigm…

This weekend we installed what programs we could onto the laptop (a PC)  that I am working on now, and when I started working with the Kodak Easy Share for today’s image, I found some cool options for editing that did not show up on my MAC. Changing the Paradigm…

Earlier this week two tools pooped out on me in addition to the computer woes. One was my Thread Zap which I use to seal the ends of the ribbon flowers and my Hot Glue Gun which I use in many ways. I must admit that I was feeling a little singled out here. What was the Great Goddess of Creativity telling me, what clue was I to have gleaned from these cruel circumstances?

Well luckily I had a sale in my Etsy store, so I could afford to buy another Thread Zap. The owner of the store that I purchased it from asked me to have a trunk show later on this year, good fortune smiled on me here. Then I had a 40% coupon from Michael’s and got a new glue gun that is smaller and easier to hold, better choices came from this.  I also got to thinking that this would not be a bad place to work, so I am submitting my application on line this week.

So I listened, adapted and Changed the Paradigm to fit into the grand scheme of it all.

Happy tea to you and please join Kimmie and the rest of the ladies for tea. Always a lovely time, lovely pictures and pleasant company. Enjoy your day, don’t fight it all, adapt and survive! Christen