Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Best of Intentions

I have been meaning to put up a new post for a little while now. The best of intentions don’t amount to much, do they?

I am sculpting a new group of Hallowe’en ornaments. These will then be made into moulds and cast in composition. Each ornament cast from the same mould will be unique as to colouration and any added accessories.

I am also getting the decorations ready for a baby shower. We will be Grandparents!

Here is a sample of some of the vases that I will be putting crepe paper flowers in for decoration on the food table and else where in the room. The vase in the centre is 19 cm. tall or about 7 1/2" tall. The mother hens on either side of the giraffe are not vases but milk jugs.

This group of vases I think are from the 1940's. The blue lamb is 18 cm. tall or about 7" tall. The stork is poised at the back of a cradle.

This set of three vases are from the 1960's. The centre vase 13 1/2 cm. tall or about 5 1/2" tall.

The first two vases are 1960's and the baby carriage is probably 1950's. The carriage is 11 cm. tall or about 4 1/2" tall.

A few years ago I made props for parties for a wonderful client. She was a joy to work for. This is a giant stork container that I produced for one of her baby showers,it stands about 8 feet tall. The wing is hinged and lifts up to reveal 5” cabbage candy containers. I made 80 cabbages and had to put some of them at the feet of the stork. Each cabbage was filled with hand made chocolates. There were many other items that went on the food tables and around her home, but this was my favourite piece from the shower.

Last Friday and Saturday I was getting ready to sell at a flea market on Sunday. I am paring down some of my collectibles. Most of my salt and pepper collection and my ash tray collection went. I kept anything that I especially liked or went with any of the holiday collections. I don’t smoke but the old “Made in Japan” ashtrays are colourful and very well sculpted.

I have kept these two ashtrays. The clown has always been a favourite of mine but that owl has personality as well.

Well I had best be off. Have fun.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May in Canada and the U.S. Julia Ward Howe was the first woman to propose a "mother's day" in the US. It was Anna Jarvis in 1907 who came up independently with the idea of a holiday to honour her dead mother. Seven years, later in 1914, she was finally successful in getting it recognized as a national holiday in the US.

I believe this Art Deco card is from the 1920's

Nine years after the first official Mother's Day Anna Jarvis became a major opponent to the holiday because of the amount of commercialism related to the day of honouring ones mother. She spent the rest of her life fighting the holiday depleting her inheritance. She was arrested in 1948 for disturbing the peace during a protest against the commercialization of the holiday. She wished that she had never started the day.

This card may also be from the 1920's

“According to IBISWorld, a publisher of business research, Americans will spend approximately $2.6 billion on Mother's Day flowers, $1.53 billion on pampering Mother's Day gifts—like spa treatments—and another $68 million on greeting cards. Mother's Day will generate about 7.8% of the U.S. jewelry industry's annual revenue in 2008, with custom gifts like mother's rings.”

This picture is from the top of a chocolate box.

Anna you are probably spinning like a top by now some 60 years later.

This blue satin cushion is 8" square. The white lettering for the poem is silk screened.

This deeply embossed brass foil plaque measures 8 1/2" high and 5 1/2" wide. The wall plaque was made in England and has a loop on the back for hanging on the wall.

This little group has two tins from Britain that would have contained toffees, a silver foil covered chocolate box, a lavender sachet, a brass pin with the word Mother inside a heart and a small travelling sewing kit. All of these items were considered suitable Mother's Day gifts.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Thrift Stores, Dollar Stores, And Flea Markets, Oh My!

I have shopped at thrift stores, dollar stores, garage sales, and flea markets, for as long as I can remember. There is always something there that I can turn into something else. I have never thought in terms of recycling, but I suppose that is what I do. I like the idea of getting something cheap as well. I also like to shop the clearance area at design stores.

Most of the time I don’t design an item and then make it. Usually I see an item that sparks an idea and then the work progresses from there. Once in a while I may make a small sketch as a reminder but that is all. I generally find drawing limits my designing. I will start making the item and then let it tell me what it wants to become. I will step in and make certain that the design is balanced, the colours are working, and the details all work together as a whole. It is like a dance, first I lead then the item leads and so forth. It is a lot more fun working this way and I also get more interesting finished pieces. I have come up with pieces that I would never have thought of if I had sat down and designed it on paper. I have also come up with some things that should never have seen the light of day! Those are the pieces that are more fun to talk about though.

The church down the road had their annual garage sale today. Every year I make certain to go to it. Last year all I found was a 1940’s green sprinkler for 50 cents. It doesn’t work very well but it looks great. Today I picked up three necklaces of glass and stone beads - $1.50, 2 bouquets of vintage milliner’s flowers - 50 cents, a very ugly chandelier that will be cannibalized for parts - $2.00, and three vintage plants from China made out of glass - $5.00. So for a grand total of $9.00 I have some great finds that will inspire some interesting ideas.

A few years ago I had to provide a backdrop at a wedding where people could be photographed. The wedding was on January 3. We decided against doing a Christmas tree and instead I opted for lit topiaries, rosemary wreathes, and a profusion of fruits, vegetables, bread, and beautiful full blown red roses. All of this cascaded out of wire baskets and around a candelabrum. The trees, wire baskets and candelabra were clearance items bought at a fraction of the retail price. Hooray for post-Christmas sales. I forgot to mention that I had a 2 week time period to shop design and build all of this.

Here is a close-up of the fruit and veggies.

Our oldest son married a very charming and beautiful Swiss girl. When they came to Canada 3 days after the wedding we had a big party here for everyone that didn't make it to the wedding. I was going to do traditional flowers for the party but when we went to Paboom, one of our favourite dollar stores. I saw a garland of floral minilights. That is where the idea for giant electric roses came from.
Here is a close-up of the electric roses.

Each of the tables had a small version of the giant urn.

Here is Paboom, not your traditional dollar store but more of a designer dollar store.

They always have interesting displays in their windows.

They sell all sorts of neat stuff.

Another interior shot of Paboom. They have everything needed for the well presented home at great prices. When you come to Victoria visit them. Paboom Home Imports Limited – 641 Fort Street, telephone 380-0020.