The First Days of Autumn ~ Time in Gig Harbor

Earlier this month I packed my bags...

filled my carry on luggage...

...and headed to the cool and refreshing and sunny Pacific Northwest {Gig Harbor, WA} for a visit with my parents.

My little guy was my companion for the week and was a perfect non-stop talking travel partner the entire time.

After all the fun activities planned for their grandson ~ fishing for sharks with my Dad on a boat in the Puget Sound with a captain named Doc; the wild Olympic Game Farm in northern Washington where buffalo and bison came to our car window and grabbed some food while the llamas stuck their wet noses in and wanted some of the action too; then heading to the zoo at Point Defiance where he took a ride on a camel and had budgies eating from his hands; and the last day spending some time at the small private community beach playing with the dogs and looking for sea glass... was time for my Mom and I to do a little antique shopping in
Historic Gig Harbor.

We knocked on some doors...

and found some pretty things ~ new and old. I purchased four of the flax coloured monogrammed linen tea towels and am going to use them in my dining room this fall. The lady in the foreground reminded me of my friend Jennifer.

This chandelier did not even have to be illuminated to make this pretty old glass fixture sparkle.

I loved how the crocheted doilies were displayed haphazardly in the glass urn. And of course, the rose coloured velvet hat is so stylish.

These rustic silver votives are not old, but their patina is lovely with the vintage clock and shabby frame.

What a wonderful way to display random crystal beads and chandelier pendants. Just tossed in a tarnished silver bowl. So effortless on the part of the designer, yet a deliberate and an intentional juxtaposition of elegant elements.

I found these vintage pearl and rhinestone chandelier pendants for my ears and took them home with me.

Pretty cotton coverlets hanging on a simple curtain rod. The layers created such an interesting pattern with the light coming through the window.

More of these doilies tossed in a tiered wire basket. I have so many of my own put away in a drawer, that I am going to have to do something creative with them like this. Maybe I'll save that idea for my Christmas table or mantle.

I do not know why I did not purchase some of these wood block rubber stamps. The patterns would have been great to use on notes and in my booklets or something.

The clock was ticking...we were with the short one and I had run out of Tootsie Rolls so it was time to go. It was fun to do this with my Mom ~ she's the one who got me started in my love of antiques in the first place years ago when I was a young girl. Now whenever I go to their home, I ask her if she "is tired" of anything yet...hint, hint.

Bye for now. Thank you for your visit.

Ciao amici,

Pillow Talk ~ Angel Kisses & A Booty Call

Charming, romantic, simple elegance ~ boudoir pillows, gift totes, and wine bags. Here’s a peek at some new products that are available in my shops and made to order.

I started by making some giclee prints of my black and white angel photographs on cold press watercolour paper. For those of you who may not be quite sure of what a giclee print is, the definition is simple ~ a giclee print is an ink-jet print on fine art paper or canvas. It may be a print of a photograph or a painting.

Then I had my way with those chubby cherub cheeks and machine stitched the images onto 100% white cotton twill, sewing up some boudoir pillows, soft gift totes, and of course a pretty gift bag for champagne or any bottle of decadence.

The details include black organza ribbon bows hand stitched with mother of pearl buttons, grosgrain black and white ribbon handles and ties on the gift totes and bags, ACEO hang tags with black organza ribbons, and soft torn edges of the fabric.

Now you ask, “What would I do with these?" I'll tell you...

Don’t you think that the little pillows would be unique ring bearer’s pillows in a wedding or even a charming decorative baby pillow in a nursery? So sweet.

The small totes are perfect for gifts of perfume ~ my favorite would be Chanel No. 5 ~ or soaps, jewelry, gift cards, just about anything.

The wine bag of course made to hold a bottle of bubbly, but also terrific for a hostess gift of fresh French baguettes or a bouquet of flowers.

Each piece is made to order and each is signed in pencil by me. I have attached a coordinating ACEO tag to the gift bags for a sentiment or message.

These are now available in my shops and I can do any angel or cherub you wish to customize it just for you. Look for your favorites on my Flickr photostream or from my Melancholy Angels blog post I wrote last year. My ACEO angel tags are back in my Etsy and Art Fire shops too, in for a limited time.

Angel kisses to all of you!

Ciao amici,

Gilded Frames & Canvas Millinery

The other night when I could not sleep, I had an epiphany. I wanted to figure out a way to use my photography, art, and design in a different way. Why not used my neglected work in my portfolio, to create "clip art" rather than using stock and public domain images? It started with my booklets that I showed you earlier this month and I am working on some more fun ideas and will show them to you as they progress.

For now, however, I am preparing to exhibit my work at an outdoor art show in conjunction with a jazz festival in October. I have been invited to participate in The Arts on Riverdale before, but the timing was never quite right. This year I decided to do it.

So I've been working on my displays and having some fun. I found some old gilded frames in the attic that I had saved from this old house and am adding chicken wire to them so that I can display little art works on them.

The pastel portrait, circa 1939, is of my husband's mother when she was four years old. The frame is of that era too ~ I think some of it made of plaster.

Then I found an ugly frame that I had no idea what to do with until...I thought that I would also add chicken wire to it and flowers around the frame. Because I am working with a tight budget here, I decided to make some of my own "millinery" flowers out of natural cotton canvas, needle and thread, and mother of pearl buttons.

~ couldn't stop, I was having so much fun ~

~ finito ~

~ perfect for my limited edition ACEOs ~

When I had some left over flowers ~ my "Canvas Gardenias" ~ I added one to a clip board so I'll look cute and stylish taking all those orders {I hope!}.

Then I glued some to wooden clothes pins and clipped to some tags I made with sentiments I rubber stamped with copper ink such as, "thank you," "love you," "miss you," and "get well."

The tags I cut from gently used manila folders ~ so I guess you could call them "up-cycled" ~ and then I burnished the edges with more copper ink and added a twine tie. I just gave one to a friend of mine with a "thank you" tag when I returned a magazine she had loaned me. It was a pretty way to return the journal. Personally, I love the contrast between the rough twine and the pearl buttons and the soft folds in the natural canvas. The contradiction in textures and materials makes these appealing for any occasion or for any use.

I'd love to know what you think...just for display, or should I get these on Etsy and Art Fire?

Thanks for stopping by.

Ciao amici,

I Promised I Would Tell You...

But first...I've got to confess, in this house we are addicted to books. When I met my husband and we were dating, he would give me good books as random gifts and we'd hang out on Sunday afternoons reading. Oh, to have that lazy leisure time again...some of those books that I truly enjoyed are listed on the side bar under favorite books on my shelf and here are just a few that I love to pick up for artistic inspiration. I have them sitting on a pretty cake plate so that they are not lost on the shelves.

Lucky for me, my mother saved many of my books that I had as a child (my husband family saved a few of his, too) and now I get to read the old stories to our son. I think that I may have to do a separate post about those beauties. So tattered and precious and magnificently illustrated.

I've also got a passion for collecting blank books, just as I do pretty paper and stationery (that's another story, too) ~ and it began long before I studied book making and book binding in graduate school.

Here's one tiny book that I made in school ~

I covered it with silk...

...used some rice paper,

and made my bright white cotton paper from rags.

Before I pressed the pages, I added some bits of lace and then when dry, painted on some gold leaf. I use this book for some of my special photographs of Cortona, Italy.

I have always loved blank books ~ for the possibilities available on the blank pages, for the lovely art and design of the cover, the quality of the paper, the way in which it is bound. I never kept a diary as a child or teenager, but when I first traveled to Italy I brought with me a plain black sketch book.

Little did I know that I would fill it not only with sketches I would make, but also all the adventures I would take, people I would meet, train ticket stubs, bottle water labels, wine labels, and so much more ~ after all I was in Italy!

This oversized scrap book made in England, adorned with cherubs, and tied with a ribbon and an old key holds more of my photographs and memories of Italy.

The old key was the key to the room in the monastery that shared with four other girls in Cortona.

I brought Italy home when I returned to the States, and created small, pocket sized sketch books and travel journals using my pen and ink illustrations.

I had the illustrations printed on cold press watercolour paper, bound up over 100 sheets of recycled paper, then I water coloured the front and back covers. Each one is unique because each one is hand painted ~ by yours truly.

The illustrations were some of my personal visions while living and studying in Italy. I was a student of art history and architecture and many of our assignments involved doing on-site sketches. At times we were told to sketch twenty or thirty windows one day, and the next day we would be instructed to draw a single Renaissance cathedral in detail and proper perspective – and spend hours on it. My preference as you can see from this collection was to sketch quickly with pen and ink.

These little books, are available in my Etsy and Art Fire shops, are just the right size to fit into your pocket or handbag. Great for jotting down notes or doodling. Terrific as travel gifts for anyone.
I want to thank all of you who left such great comments about my one-of-a-kind pretty booklets on my Blogoversary and Give Away post. I have made a few more, which I will be listing in my Etsy and Art Fire shops soon. Here's a preview peek at them...

~ Summer Bouquet ~

~ Vineyard Haven ~

~ Blossom Buddies ~

Now, I would like to announce the winner of my photographs and gifts. For all of you who left comments on my blog posts from my Blogoversary date of August 11th through the end of the month, your names are here...

The winner is...

Congratulations Julie and thank you ALL!

~ ~ ~