Sunday, December 19, 2010

Glitter is Forever!

There are two materials that I love the use at Christmas time -- felt and glitter. Felt is one of the first materials that I remember using as a child. My mom and I would make felt christmas ornaments and tiny little dolls. You could glue or sew right onto the felt and it wouldn't fray. It has to be the most child-friendly art supply out there. I was allowed to cut and glue to my heart's content.

Glitter was another story. Glitter made everything sparkly and really, really, Christmas-y. Glitter made crusty, crunchy little piles of shiny goodness on top of an ordinary drop of Elmer's white glue. Glitter looked the way your tummy felt on Christmas Eve.

But glitter made a mess. Mom would say: "Be very careful!" "Don't use too much!" "You're getting it everywhere!" And she was right. Glitter would sift down into the cracks of our parquet floors, waiting to be discovered months later bathed in a summer sunbeam. Glitter was magical, but glitter was forever.

I still love to get out glitter at christmastime, and I was thrilled to find this wreath project at Enchanted Rose Studio has a great tutorial that shows exactly how to make the wreath. My daughter and I made it together, and we had a great time doing it.

I only changed two thing from the Enchanted Rose directions. I used a slightly smaller paper circle, and I put a drop of hot glue right in the place where I pinched the circle together. I also went back in with tiny straight pins, and pinned the circles to the wreath after they were glued. I knew this was going to be mailed to Ohio, and I wasn't sure how the hot glue would hold up to the cold temperatures. (You can double-click the second photo to get a better view.)

We mailed the wreath last week. And guess what? We are still finding tiny bits of sparkly glitter all over the place. Glitter is still magical for me, but glitter is forever!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fire and Ice Resin

I decided that for the months of November and December, I would only put my work in galleries, and not do any craft shows or home shows. For the first time in ten years, I've had my weekends free during the holiday season. And you know what? I'm as busy as ever. I feel like these two little fire truck guys - not sure if I'm coming or going.  It's amazing how many other activities have filled in our calendar. I'm having lots of fun, but I'm really craving a long winter's nap!

I made some more jewelry using Susan Lenart Kazmer's Ice Resin and I was very pleased with the results. Jen Cushman was kind enough to drop by the blog, and told me that the ice resin is self-healing. I was able to fix the little bubble in the ring I showed in the last post and smooth over the little scuffies on the necklace. (I'm still keeping the necklace, though!) The piece shown above is at the Emporium at LibertyTown.

 For this piece, I put a vintage costume jewelry flower inside an antique tart tin. Then I added a sterling chain and put lots of beads and crystals on it. This piece is at FCCA in the Members Gallery.

After I made the necklace, I found this quote and decided it fit the necklace perfectly.
"The day will come when, after harnessing space,
the winds, the tides and gravitation,
we shall harness the energies of love.
And on that day, for the second time
in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire."
- Pierre Teillhard de Chardin

I used the quote as an inspiration to make as assemblage piece that the necklace hangs on when it's not being worn. I really like this concept, and I'm planning to do a whole series of these. The resin allows me the freedom to create a mini-artwork inside the framework of the necklace. And the assemblage piece allows me a larger canvas to expand on the idea.

  I took this picture outside of FCCA before I delivered my piece. It's not the greatest picture, but I  liked the way the sun cast a shadow of the gears.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ice, Ice, Baby

 I finally got a chance to play with Susan Lenart Kazmer's new product, Ice Resin. I hadn't used resin in about fifteen years. This new formulation has come a long way. It mixes easily and dries clear and rock hard.
 This is the necklace that I made. I accidentally scuffed the edge of the pendant with one of my tools, so it isn't perfect enough to sell. But it is perfectly wearable. I guess I'll have to keep this one!

This is a ring that I made.  I didn't babysit it long enough and got a single bubble right in the center of the gear. I have to say that I kind of like the way it turned out. 'Guess I'll have to keep this one, too! I have all kinds of ideas in my head. I'm going to try to do another pouring on Friday if the weather is nice and dry. I'll let you know how it turns out.

'Tis the Season

The gorgeous weather we had this weekend is over and today is a dreary, chilly, rainy day. Merlot and Bordeaux are cuddled up together on the couch, and I'd love to go join them.

 Or maybe go have some gingerbread and tea. This little gingerbread lady is on the tree I decorated for this year's Hope House Festival of Trees.

Here is a picture of the whole tree. My theme is Gingerbread Memories, and the tree is decorated with Gingerbread-themed ornaments and red lights. The Festival of Trees is early this year. It is running from Nov 10-20 in a new location at the Fredericksburg Area Museum.

Instead of a silent auction, there will be a gala held this weekend. Each ticket for two entitles the bearer to take home a decorated tree. You can find out more about the event at

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sweet Treats!

Aren't they gorgeous? My daughter and I joined Claudine Hellmuth and Amy Powers for a class taught by Patricia Wehmeier in Tyson's Corner last weekend. We'd all made miniatures before, for Club Littlehouse, but with Patricia's instruction, we took it to a whole new level. She is a fantastic teacher, and two of our classmates were seasoned miniaturists as well. We had so much fun, and even at the end of the day, the novelty hadn't worn off. They were sooo tiny!
How tiny? A cupcake, petit four and swiss cake roll all fit onto a dime! We learned about the importance of scale, and how to get the colors, textures and finishes just right.
We even learned how to do placemats, napkins and napkin rings. Pat made domestic goddesses out of all of us. Here is a look at our "kitchen".

Our classmates convinced us that we should make the trip back to Tyson's Corner the next day for the miniatures show, and I'm so glad that we did. The  variety of items was amazing, and every booth was packed to the gills with tiny little delights.
 These fascinated me more than any others. I guess because they have the steampunk vibe that I love, but in miniature! All these creations are the work of Fred Cobbs of Georgia. You can see even more of his work here. If I could live inside a dollhouse, I'd want it to be furnished with all of these wonderful creations. You can click on any of the photos to see them in more detail.

Making all of these tiny little goodies reminded me of my own crystal cupcakes line of jewelry. I am going to do a blog giveaway of one of my crystal cupcakes items. Just leave me a comment before November 15,  and I will choose one person to win a necklace or a pair of earrings - the winner gets to decide.
In the meantime, I am also going to put all of my crystal cupcakes jewelry on sale for $20 each (plus shipping) from now until November 15.  To see all of the cupcakes jewelry go to

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Domestic Goddess!

The idea of my name and the title Domestic Goddess being on  the same page makes me laugh! Most of the time if I'm working in the kitchen, it's because I'm drying acrylic paint with a heat gun. Luckily, my husband is a great cook, and he doesn't mind preparing dinners for us. Despite my domestic shortcomings, I decided that my latest piece would have a kitchen theme. 
She has an oven timer for a head, and a tiara, of course.

Her upper body is made from a tart pan and the top of an old mixer. As you can see, she is built like a brick house.
 Her body rests on top of a mouli shredder. The handle moves and has wings on it. When the handle is in the forward postion, the wings sit right against her shoulders. The mouli shredder also has her motto on it: "When in doubt, bake at 350." It's always worked for me! I learned this rule from my dad when I went away to college.
After I was finished with my domestic goddess, I felt like I had met her before. I think she is related to Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons.  I found this picture on

Monday, October 11, 2010

My First Etsy Item and Some Girly Stuff

 After years of threatening to actually put items in my etsy shop, I did it! Okay, I put one item in my shop, but at least it's a start. I had about a million reasons why this particular task never made it to the top of my to-do list.
It was mostly a matter of getting organized. First, I had to gather all of my items, then photograph them, then crop the photos, and then figure out the shipping and the postage and... you get the idea. I finally got everything together in one place and took the plunge. My goal is to get one more item listed tomorrow.

I think it will be these earrings and the necklace that goes with them. See, I already have the photo ready to go, so I'm halfway there, right?

In the meantime I took a detour around the table in my studio today. I went in there to make some more punkmen, and decided to clear off some space on the table. This was in the space where I wanted to work. I had set it aside waiting for the right piece to come along to tie it together. 

I bought this little rectangular metal pan at a doll show this weekend. I think it will be perfect over her head. I'm not sure what it'll say yet, but I do think the doll's name is Sweet Pea, so maybe it'll have something to do with that.

 This pin was super-shiny and full of colored rhinestones and porcelain flowers. It looked way too new to go with the little metal pan at the top. So I dulled it way down with some brown and yellow, and then dry brushed it with a little pink. Of course, now all of the doilies look too new, so they are soaking in a coffee bath as we speak. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Felted Punkmen

When my newphew was little, he called pumpkins "punkmen". I was thinking about that this weekend when I stitched together these little creatures. Their bodies are felted balls. They're embellished with stitching, ribbons, beads and other little doo-dads that I had in my Halloween box.
 They make me smile when I look at them. These are going to be mailed to some special people this week. I think I'm going to have to make some more, though. They were so much fun to do!

I also created some more of the large pumpkins that were featured in my article, "Paper or Plaster? A Very Vintage Halloween Makeover" in the September/October issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors. Some will be going into my etsy shop, and others will be going to local stores for sale.

I made a bunch of little ones that are currently for sale at the emporium in LibertyTown in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

This was my original display idea, but my family vetoed it. They said it was too creepy. Imagine that!

This is how the final display looked. More cute. Less creepy.

 And, I finished off my robot that I posted a week or two ago. He is a little more streamlined than he was originally. He also has a spiffy new paint job. (I didn't cover up all of the peeling paint, though. I liked it.) My daughter named him Waldo. He is currently on display at LibertyTown's 6x6x6 Show. When I went to see him at the opening last night, he had a red dot on his tag, and had won third place in the show. Good job Waldo!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Published! Plus Some Button-y Goodness.

Welcome Somerset Studio readers! I was thrilled to see that my altered Halloween picture frame is publilshed in Somerset Studio's Vintage Halloween Issue (September/October 2010). I did a blog post about it last year. Click here to go to  the instructions. You can click the button in my sidebar to go to Somerset Studio.

 Last Friday, my friend Elizabeth and I managed to find a few hours to do some sun printing. I'd been wanting to learn for a long time and we never seemed to be able to fit it in. We finally got a chance to do it, and I can't wait to do it again. It is such a fun process! Elizabeth has photos on her blog.

Before we started, we even managed to sneak in a quick trip to an estate sale. Elizabeth got an amazing assortment of antique doilies, and I got a nice tin full of old buttons. When I got home, I decided to go outside to sort them. Miss Bordeaux was happy to come outside and "help".

Here is a closer view of the button-y goodness. There were two beaded initials in the box - an "S" and an "R". I need to think of something wonderful to do with them.

If you click on the photo below you can also see the big coat button that is right in the center and some wooden buttons at the bottom. The bright green ones and the bright blue ones with the gold border are pressed glass.

Off to the left are some rhinestone encrusted buttons. I think they would make beautiful centers for some of Elizabeth's sweater flowers. Do you think I should share some of my new toys?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cleaning and Tossing and Sorting - Oh My!

I've been busy cleaning out my studio. I started by cleaning out my downstairs office, and realized I had to sort through fabric. Some of my fabric was upstairs in my studio. After I went through the studio looking for fabric, I decided to go through all the beads, papers and rusty things that were all over the table. Once I cleared the table off, I realized that I needed to sort through my bins in order to put everything away know the rest. I ended up spending three days on my office and studio.Some may be shocked to know that this is the "after" picture. I'll leave the "before" nightmare up to your imagination! You can click on the photo for a closer view of all my stuff.

 The studio looks pretty good, although I've already started playing again, so I have some little messes started that will no doubt grow into a great big mess within a few weeks' time. I guess I have a rusty thumb!

 This little guy was the first thing I made after the big cleanup. LibertyTown is having an art show called 6x6x6. All the art submitted must be no larger than six inches in any direction. This guy is about 5 1/2 inches tall, so he made the cut.

His pal will have to stay home because he is too tall for the upcoming show. They are posing in front of an antique doll piano that I got at an auction recently. The guy on the right reminds me of a piano player in a saloon. Both of them need some adjusting and final attaching. I'll get right on that as soon as I go through the stack of papers on my desk.

Monday, August 30, 2010

What Lies Beneath

Leslie Brier, Brier Design Studio

I go to the Old Town area of Fredericksburg several times a year to take photographs. Usually, I am there to get beautiful shots of Old Town, such as the church spires, the Rappahannock River, Civil War-era graveyards, or one of the beautifully restored historic sites. The items that invariably draw my attention away from those things are the rusty, grungy underpinnings of the town  that I see on the side streets, or in alleyways.

Most people associate cities with sleek modernity, but when you get down to it, cities are really, really old. And when their ancient roots are showing, I have to stop and marvel. And sometimes, I even take a little piece of it home with me.

This is an assemblage that started with photographs that I've taken of bits and pieces of Fredericksburg that I love. I printed the images on canvas and attached them to a wooden base. Then, I attached some of the treasures that I've aquired on my walks through the 'burg. For me, this is the graphic equivalent of comfort food. It sums up the things I love about my adopted home town.