Archive | March 2010

T on Tuesday: Bunny Love

tea and bunnies

Bunny Love

“T” on Tuesday has returned to Kimmie as our hostess, with an open theme. Today I am drinking coffee, cause I need a bit of a wake-up!

I just happen to love bunnies, and have placed a few here for your enjoyment. The background is a vintage tablecloth that I found at the thrift store with lovely embroidered flowers, and the cup is one that I gave my hubby on one of our first anniversaries.

silk ribbon embroidery with ribbon work flowers

Easter Basket

This is a pillow that I made a few years ago. The base is made from pieced silk fabric and vintage Jacquard ribbon. The basket is made from vintage lace with a silk bias ribbon handle. The flowers and leaves were created with both ribbon work and silk ribbon embroidery.

Have a great week, enjoy your holidays! And please join all of the Tea Group (list on Kimmie’s blog) for a cup!


Friday’s Favorites: shell adornments

shell adornments

shell adornments

I think that it is fair to say that shells have been used as a status symbol in personal adornment throughout the centuries. Shells were used whole or a portion of the shell and attached to clothing; strung as necklaces or bracelets for jewelry; or even used in headdresses or hair ornaments. Shells were especially prized in cultures that traded for these precious items such as middle eastern cultures where the vintage mother of pearl button and the inlaid shell with sterling silver came from.

vintage shell necklaces

vintage shell necklaces

These two necklaces were made during the Victorian England era where shells were used extensively for adornment and household items, see Friday’s Favorites Mother of Pearl part 1 for more information. These are made from small snail shells that have a single hole drilled through shell in order to string them into a necklace. The earrings are made from shells that are glued to a metal base.

vintage shell earrings

vintage shell earrings

This is a sampling of the types of earrings that were made as souvenirs for the tourist trade during the 1940’s through the 1970’s. I especially love the parrots which are made entirely from shells except for the rhinestones glued around the collar.

vintage greeting cards with small shells

vintage greeting cards with small shells

Shells were also used for adornment by sailors who decorated small boxes or picture frames for their sweethearts back home, long before they became an established item for the tourist trade. These vintage greeting cards are painted with water-color then decorated with small shells.

vintage shell jewelry

vintage shell jewelry

This unusual group of jewelry is made from a combination of shells and garfish (a flat fish that dried hard and could be painted). In the first pair of earrings the fish have been painted white and adorned with rhinestones. The pin and earring have combined painted shells for flowers and garfish that are painted green to resemble the leaves.

shell purses

shell purses

These small coin purses are made from a variety of shells. The Mother of Pearl coin purse is the oldest, probably 1940’s or so, where as the scallop and cowrie shell ones are newer. These items are usually found at a sea port shop or shell store.

Thanks for stopping by, enjoy- Christen

Dress Up March

spring tea dressHere is Lizbeth’s dress for March, it is her Spring Tea dress. Please join the rest of the Dress Up group over at Alice and Camilla’s for their March productions!

close-up view of the ribbon workded flowersThe ladies that live in Lizbeth’s apartment building get together once a year and host a fundraiser for the local public gardens. Lizbeth loves to walk by the gardens on her way to work or for a weekend stroll, as do all of the other ladies that live around her.

Each has her own favorite, for instance Constance loves the roses, and Deborah loves the lily section, but Lizbeth is particularly fond of the pansy and petunia display. ribbon reticule

Lizbeth made her dress from vintage lace and vintage and new ribbon worked flowers. She dyed the lace and some of the ribbons for her gown.

She had seen a new shop in the village that had extraordinary accessories and thought she might find a purse to match her gown. She found the sweet little reticule on display with the parasol and the magnificent chapeau. Well there was no turning back when she saw the set displayed together. When she tried on the hat she felt a little bit like Eliza Doolittle on her way to the races, but she didn’t think that she would have a chance to say “Come on Dover, move your bloomin’ arse”!

She is a girl after my own heart, bold and beautiful, and she is definitely no shrinking violet!

Enjoy what you do, Christen

Tea on Tuesday: Signs of Spring

vintage tea cup and fresh flowersTea on Tuesday is hosted by Dianne this week and she has chosen the theme “What signifies the coming of spring for you?” The answer to that is our wisteria growing back and flowers and more flowers. I am no good with the whole “spring forward” thing, I am always so messed up with the time change because all of the clocks seem to have a will of their own, and it takes a week or so to get back into the groove!

I have taken a picture of one of my favorite vintage cups that I found at the thrift store, and today I am drinking a black cherry tea by Celestial Seasonings. I have always loved flowers and gardens but never considered myself a gardener. I have grouped a few of the flowers we have growing in our yard around my cup, and when I see the picture up close, I have to admit that perhaps I am a gardener!

flowers around the fenceWhen we first moved in to our house, there were only a few plants, and no grass whatsoever. We planted along the brick wall just to give it some color. One evening we had all of our wind chimes stolen, and they were hanging just outside the door (hidden here by the bougainvillea). Sooooo, we had the fence put up, and the flowers had to be on the outside, which actually looks very pretty.

wisteriaThis is a picture of our wisteria bush. The delicate blossoms are so enchanting, and they smell pretty good too!

amaryllisThis is a picture of the amaryllis that was here when we moved in. However we moved in during November and had no idea what was planted there. Can you imagine the surprise we had our first spring to see these blooming! The seeds have blown and traveled to other parts of the yard, but they really seem to love this area the best!

wheel barrow flower potThis is one of two-wheel barrows that were bequeathed to me by friends. I love to use non-traditional planters such as these and an old toilet that is in our backyard. I think that this odd trait came from the summers we spent at our cottage in Canada, where many of our neighbors had rock gardens, old boat gardens, and you guessed it porcelain thrones stuffed full of petunias!

weedsThis view is of the backyard which we have entirely bricked. My husband and I hauled every one of those bricks as well as 3 old telephone posts, (I believe that I was much younger then). Can see a small section of the potato vine that yields that lovely purple flower from the first photo?

The bright yellow flowers are actually a weed called “stink weed” (I believe), and they have volunteered to grow throughout the garden, which is quite nice indeed as they do add a nice touch of color. My friend Betty once said that weeds were merely unplanned guests, no need to fret, make room for them and they will be delighted!

Please join Kimmie our tea master, and the rest of the ladies for a cup of spring!

enjoy- Christen

Sweet Little Girl: MMM challenge

mixed media collage

This is my entry for Mixed Media Monday’s challenge this week which is: Vintage Children. Take a moment to check out the other entries, there are a lot of really talented people who enter!

I started with a card that actually was a reproduction of a Victorian Greeting card. I added in bits of art paper, vintage lace, vintage Jacquard fabric, new paper lace, and a darling little birds next. I hand-made the ribbon worked flowers and leaves from vintage and new ribbons.

Enjoy, Christen

Tea on Tuesday: Where you Live

tea cup

Southern California

Kimmie’s “T”ea on Tuesday is hosted by Penny’s The Hen House this week, and she has chosen the theme: “Where You Live”. I live in California, which is the third largest state in area of the United States.

We have beaches such as Manhattan where I was born, Huntington where the Beach Boys hung out, and Black’s Beach where the brave bathe nude. We have Forests such as the Redwoods, Yosemite, and Cleveland National Forest. We have deserts such as Palm Springs and Borego Springs. We have mountains to ski on such as Big Bear and Mammoth. We have farm country such as Salinas the lettuce capitol of the world and Gilroy the garlic capitol of the world; and we have the Wine Country which actually spans most of the length of the state.

map of California

Wine Country

We have the down-towns, up-towns, old towns, mid-towns, boom towns and ghost towns. We have famous towns such as Los Angeles known as the City of Angels; and Pasadena where the Rose Bowl Parade is held (and I have marched in). We have quaint little towns such as Carmel, Julian, and Solvang, as well as sections in towns called China Town, Little Italy, Little Germany, Olivera Street and Little Korea, all full of culture, shopping and good cuisine.

The Hotel Del

The Hotel Del

We have famous hotels such as The Del where Marylin Monroe sizzled in “Some Like it Hot”; and The Beverly Hills Hotel where Eddie Murphy stayed in “Beverly Hills Cop”. We have famous streets such as Lombard in San Francisco that curves so much that it makes me sea sick to drive down,  and the Sunset Strip where the unknowns became known in the movie industry both famously and infamously. We have the California Missions along the Historic El Camino Real “The King’s Highway” that were founded by Franciscan Friars, every kid in California has recreated a mission for a school project (usually out of sugar cubes).

postcard of California Missions

California Missions

We have famous places such as Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, Cannery Row in Monterrey, and the Santa Monica Pier. We have parks such as Joshua Tree National Park, Griffith Observatory Park and Balboa Park (in San Diego). We have amusement parks such as Disneyland, Sea World, Knot’s Berry Farm and Magic Mountain. We have museums such as The Huntington Library, The Museum of Tolerance, and the Getty Museums, and we have beautiful aquariums such as the ones in Monterrey Bay and La Jolla.

I have had black tea in a restaurant in San Francisco’s China Town district, jasmine tea in a little Indian restaurant in Santa Monica, passion tea in a Thai restaurant in Santa Barbara, herbal tea in a quaint little sandwich shop in Del Mar, spicy orange tea in a little dessert shop in Idilllwid, chamomile tea for breakfast at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite and Lady Grey at high tea at the Horten Grand Hotel also here in San Diego. But the best tea is definitely shared with friends!

We have railway systems, subway systems, airports, sea ports, freeways, toll roads, two way roads, one way roads, country roads and dirt roads. We have plains, trains, automobiles, motor cycles, recreational vehicles, motor bikes, mountain bikes, beach cruisers, skate boards and skates. We have houses, condos, apartments, duplexes, bungalows, mobile homes and tree houses. and the best place in California is where my husband and daughter are.

Enjoy- Christen

Newsies: TTM challenge

mixed media

Newsies: Monday's Child...

The challenge this week over at The Three Muses was Newspaper. Please stop by and see all of the entries, they will be bound to amaze you!

My piece started with a lovely stamp of a cherubic child’s face. I stamped the face several times on an article in the LA Times on health care, (fitting). I then cut and glued the faces onto a heavy stock paper, then this to cardboard. I painted the papers with acrylic paints, and matte Mod Podge. I added in the text and doodles with ink pens.

Monday’s Child is fair of face.
Tuesday’s Child is full of grace.
Wednesday’s Child is full of woe.
Thursday’s Child has far to go.
Friday’s Child is loving and giving.
Saturday’s Child has to work for its living.
Sunday’s Child is fair and wise and good and gay.
(I paraphrased the last line so that it would fit onto the paper!)

Have fun with what you do, make it count, and enjoy- Christen

“T” on Tuesday: Life

digital image

Life is not all fun and games...

Today the theme for “T” on Tuesday is Life, chosen by Pat; for the rest of the list of participants see Kimmie’s place at Art in Red Wagons. I wasn’t sure what to do for this theme, but as I was sitting here drinking my coffee, I thought that I would start with a few quotes that seemed appropriate:

“Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live.” – Charles R. Swindoll
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”– Howard Thurman
“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” – James Dean

Then I started thinking about events in my life, and I thought that I would tell you about one of “Life’s precious moments” that I shared with a friend.


Sandwich making is a culinary art we learn very young.
In fact I am sure that each of us has deep convictions where this issue is concerned.
For instance I prefer toasted to plain and mayonnaise over butter, except where PBJ is concerned then only PBJ.
I like to cut my sandwich vertically from top to bottom leaving two rectangular pieces that fit easily into your hand.
I knew someone who cut his sandwich diagonally, a heretic according to my mother, but his mother told him it kept the flavor fresh, who am I to judge?
I have eaten tiny sandwiches at High Tea with the crusts cut off and huge torpedo sandwiches that seemed to be made from all crust.
But I have only eaten a three-piece sandwich once in my entire life.
My friend Betty invited me over for some girl talk and a “good old fashioned special treat”, her own recipe she smiled.
She made devilled ham salad sandwiches on rye with pickles on the side, a delicacy I thought for sure, but she didn’t stop there.
She cut the sandwich diagonally (I kept the heresy theory to myself), then one side in half again, a three-pieced sandwich novelty!
She explained that the meal lasted longer this way making room for good conversation with a good friend. She was right.
Special treat indeed, Bravo Betty, Bravo!

I wish for all of you a “friend for Life”, such as I had with my friend Betty. enjoy- Christen

Pink Warrior: MMM challenge

mixed media

Pink Warrior

This is my entry for Mixed Media Monday’s challenge this week, “It’s Not All Black and White”. There are always wonderful entries, take time to check them out!

This is a picture of my kid, when she was around 5. I tried to keep her in pink and girly colors but she wore me down; finally when she was about 8 she got her first pair of black jeans, wow! This is a photocopied picture of her, a little fuzzy but we didn’t have digital cameras way back when. I painted a cardboard wrapper with acrylic paints and detailed these with ink pen. I added in a few cool geegaws cause I thought they were fun. I added in a little ribbon that was left over from the bracelet I made her that is shown below.

bracelet made from ribbon flowers

Pink Warrior Bracelet

My kid is a Pink Warrior because she is walking for me and people like me who have seen the dark side of cancer, and come back with the help of loved ones. She will be participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure in November, if you would like to donate money towards her entry fee click here.

We are so very proud of her, can you tell? Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Measuring UP

rulers and measuring tapesFriday’s Favorites is all about the measuring devices we have. I just love rulers for some reason, I must because this is just a small representation of what I have around the studio. It is as if I am afraid I will not have one on hand when I need it!

The top 12″ ruler is actually triangular in shape, it belonged to my dad and is one of the coolest rulers I have. Every one of the six edges is set up for a specific measurement and divided into multiples of this measurement. This is a really great ruler for ribbon work because I use RW measurement, meaning every flower I make is multiplied by the width of the ribbon.

  • 1″ and 1/2″ marks; then below this it is broken down to 1/4″ and 1/8″
  • 16- meaning every 1/16″ is listed; then below this it is broken down to 3/32″ and 3/16″
  • 1-1/2″ and 3″ marks; then below this it is broken down to 3/8″ and 3/4″ marks

The second row shows a “Sewing Gauge” with each edge a different increment of the inch, it is great just to measure the ribbon. The second ruler is a little more unusual it is used to create pleats; it is a vintage ruler that I found in an old sewing kit at the thrift store. The top tape measure is metal and belonged to my dad, the lower fabric tape measure belonged to my grandmother.

The third row is my fabric tape measure that I used when I went to design school, and I still use it today.

The fourth row was my first wooden ruler, one that was purchased when I was in grade school. The metal ruler on top is a for hemming pants or skirts and had belonged to my mom.

The fifth row starts with a metal ruler that is for Jewelry Maker’s Scale. It gives sheet gauge measurements as well as ring shank and bracelet gauge guides. The ruler below this is my handy little 6″ ruler I keep in my sewing box by my work table, I love the big black circles that have the full inch measurements in them.

The ruler next to these two is really cool! It is full of all kinds of interesting information: it has a Circ-L-Scale; a Celsius and Fahrenheit conversion table; a decimal to inches conversion table: at the round end angled degree  measurements; one side with 1/8″ measurements and the other with 1/4″ and 1/2″ measurements; and the other side with metric measurements.

The fourth row is a wooden ruler with both inches and centimeters, it is a great help when I need to convert a measurement. The metal ruler on top is another one that is used for hemming pants or skirts, which I got with the tape measure when I was in design school.

The vertical measuring device is also used in dressmaking and was in the old sewing kit that I found at the thrift store.

Not shown is a button gauge guide with both the metric and Lines measurements of  buttons; a knitting needle gauge; and fabric width to yardage conversion chart. I also use my calculator to convert inch measurements into decimal form.

Probably the most humorous note of all is that I was really bad at math in school, I flunked Geometry twice; well actually the second time I took it the teacher took pity on me and gave me a D-, but I really did flunk it. It was not until I worked at a yardage store that I understood measurements, I learned so much with that practical application of math!

Math is still a mystery to me, something to be treated with care, and I never take measuring anything for granted!

I hope that your day “measures up” to your expectations! Christen