"an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mixed media tags

Recently, I've started to make some mixed media tags. Took me a while to get my creativity gene going, but the more you play, the more you create.
The top photo shows an afternoon's work, the pink one is mine, and the green one is that of a friend, Kathryn. The lower photo shows the tags I've made so far. I thought I'd explain a bit how I went about making them. First off, I have a nice little collection of flowers, buttons, embellishments, tapes, acrylics, glitter, papers, stickers and stamps. I picked them up from ebay, etsy, Lincraft, craftonline.com.au, Dusty Attic, Kaisercraft etc. Warning: this is not a cheap hobby!
I had a number of different tags to experiment with, but found that some are too flimsy, or too small. I quite like the small ones I'm using. They're about 12cm long, and made of solid cardboard. I found them at Lincraft. One reason I like them, apart from their size, is that they won't curl very much. The larger tag (dark steampunky one) is also a good size, but they will curl and need to be flattened. I actually ended up glueing two together once I'd finished painting them. I want to try one of the Ranger tags next, to see how they behave.
The first thing I did with these was to cover them in Gesso. Gesso acts as a primer for other paints and sprays you want to add. Once dry, I added acrylic paints. I had some of Finnabair's opalescent acrylics. and really love them. They give a beautiful shine to the background. Then I went wild with embellishments. The pink card just needed this OTT flower, and lots of bling. I added the white dots to match those in the feather. The steampunk tag was a bit challenging, and it was also the first one I attempted. I quite like the end product, but I had to glue it together a couple of times, because heating/drying appears to lift the glue off the double sided adhesive tape. One lives and learns. For the butterfly tag, I used Tim Holtz washi tape at the bottom, and a bit of tinted hessian , plus the flowers. I tried using Bobunny's paints with a stencil, but was not too happy with the result, although it gave a nice brightness to the card. I'll have to play a little more with those.
The card on the right, with the bird, was again done with Finnabair's acrylic, plus a darker one with glitter, that I blended in. I used some Kaisercraft ephemera and a postal sticker from a box of goodies. The little dots on the side are Pearls, a kind of opalescent texture paint.
So, what do I do with these? Well, they can be used to tie to presents, or to give as presents, e.g. for Kriskringle. Next, I want to do some Christmas tags.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Good bye, Pretzel!

Our little friend went across the Rainbow Bridge the other day. He'd been sleeping in his favourite chair, all covered up against the cold, when I noticed him having a fit. Afterwards, he was disoriented and dragged his rear leg, so he may have had a stroke. Given his age and poor health due to kidney disease, we decided it was time to send him to kitty heaven. A little later, he passed away while I was cuddling him.
Pretzel had been with us for just over five years. I was heading to our Sunday market to buy a couple of pretzels for my dinner, when I saw something creeping around the bushes next to the road into town. Curious, I stopped and called. There he was, coming running towards me, complaining loudly about being hungry, lonely, and probably cold. Of course, I had to take him home, much to the disgust of our other cat, Mitzi. I took him to the vet, who declared him a girl (I hadn't looked, just a bit too intrusive on first acquaintance, I thought), and I called her Pretzel. We waited anxiously for a week to see if anyone claimed her, and then he was ours! I took Pretzel to our usual vet to have 'her' checked out, where it turned out that our Miss Pretzel was actually a Mr. Pretzel! He had settled in quite well with us, we both loved him to bits. He wasn't too impressed with Mitzi, or with any other cats for that matter. He tolerated Claude, who did his best to keep them from fighting, but occasionally, there was a hissy fit going on. He was very vocal, too, with a very distinctive, plaintive Siamese-type voice. We re-christened him Pretzel Pavarotti at one stage, whereby he would wander up to the bathroom, and start 'singing', loudly and for quite some time, before ending his 'performance' with a brief "meow". Not sure if he was lamenting his lost freedom, or how hard done by he was, but it sure amused us. Once Mitzi was no longer with us, the singing suddenly stopped.
I felt sorry for him not being an outdoor cat anymore, but we took him out on a lead several times a day (and night...), which he seemed to be used to and tolerated well. He loved wandering around the trees and shrubs, and I enjoyed letting him take me for a walk. He also had a large crate outside, where he could snooze in summer. In winter, he preferred to stay inside, even though he had a very swish velvet coat to go out in. He followed the sun, sleeping in one of his sun lounges, which we obligingly moved into the sun when it had moved. Pretzel loved nothing more than being cuddled, and sleeping on my legs. I had many episodes of "COLP" syndrome (Cat on Lap Paralysis). He had quite a few visiting cats look in, but snubbed them consistently. Even during his last days, he would greet the stalker cat with a halfhearted sniff and spit. While in good health, he had the appetite of a horse. That cat could EAT! But he was always on the lean side, for such a large cat. He took very good care of himself, cleaning himself all the time, and never really smelled 'catty'. He was very friendly to visitors, coming along to greet them and graciously let them pet him. Pretzel was also the best study buddy, helping me write my PhD while he gave some insightful comments from under the desk.
Pretzel was diagnosed with kidney disease earlier this year. He was pretty old, frail and arthritic by then, so when he didn't eat the special kidney diet, we decided not to push it, and let him enjoy his final months as much as possible. We gave him all his favourite foods, and pampered him as much as we could. He had a close call a couple of weeks ago, when he stopped eating, but he must have heard the vet talking about euthanasia, because once we were home, he rallied - ate, drank, and wanted to go outside! Sadly, it didn't last, but it gave us a little more time together.
Now I hope he's chasing clouds with all the other dogs and cats. Vale, Pretzel!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Odd bits

 I'm somewhat addicted to the Antiques Roadshow program on TV, and when I heard that there was an antiques fair in Geelong, I just had to do my own roadshow. So we headed down there on Friday, in reasonable weather, and found the venue, the Geelong West Town Hall, quite easily. It's in the middle of a rather nice shopping area too, might need to explore that sometime - sans hubby!
So the exbibition consisted of about a dozen stands, not very big, but excellent quality. At the very first stand I inspected, I came across this German sock mushroom. It comes from Mariazell, and is wood burned and painted. The inscription reads "Jedes Loch, ob gross, ob klein, moechte gern verstopfet sein", or "Every hole, be it big or small, would like to be darned". Well, that had to come home.
Then I discovered this amazing spool holder, Victorian I think, with a little man holding a candle, so ladies could sew in the evening. It's glorious - and well outside my price range. I could just stand and admire...
Several of the stands had items I would have liked (sewing paraphernalia), but were to some degree overpriced. There was also vintage clothing with                                                                                      gorgeous lucite handbags, fur collars, hats and
gloves. And a chap who sold furniture, all very high quality, including a 1850's Davenport from India, with leather and gold tooling, and beautiful wood.
Lots of old jewellery too, but that's not really my thing.
After that, it was nearly time for lunch and we headed to the Little Creatures Brewery. We like the place, it's very relaxed, and has nice food. Wayne had a burger, and I tried zucchini and corn fritters with herb yoghurt, and a salad. And of course a small glass of the IPA. Yum.
Then we drove southeast, to visit the Mill vintage and antique market. It was humongous, and I spent at least a couple of hours there, rummaging. In the end, I only came out with this pretty little Bo Peep needle booklet, which folds out to a 3D scene. Cute.
For a change, Wayne found something to take home, a Qantas first-day-cover, and an Anzac cookie tin with a scene from the war. Oh well, he was happy. Didn't see much else that grabbed me, it was rather like an enormous Op Shop, and the Mills at Daylesford and Ballarat seem to have better quality goods. Still, a good day out.