Friday, August 28, 2009

An Update and "A Little Tour of My Brain, Part 7 – The Circus"

My studio has been turned into a bedroom of sorts. When I go in to try to get something to work on or to find something it is a little frustrating. I would rather be frustrated though and see our wonderful daughter and her future husband; he is a great guy. She has the studio/bedroom and he has a tent outside! We have a small home.

I will be listing stuff on ebay. It has been about 6 years since I have used ebay so I am checking to see what has changed. I also don't want to miss spending time with our guests so I will post when the items are up. In the meantime here is another brain tour.

I love the imagery of the circus. The following five images are from a vintage board game that I have hanging in my studio.

The costumes and the colour are what make them so appealing to me. The woman sitting sidesaddle on her horse dressed in a pink ruffled tutu inspired dress with floral horse harnesses is ultra feminine.

When I was a child I found clowns very scary. The clowns that I prefer are the European ones but I do like this clown image it is quite lovely.

Everything in the circus is larger than life and this illustration of the uber - masculine man taming the wild and ferocious lion - "King of the Jungle" is proof. Who wants to see what we see in everyday life? I do not generally like animal acts. Cirque du Soleil has proven that animal acts are not important to have a truly marvelous circus.

Here is another colourful image of a clown. I wonder if the child behind the first two is a little uncertain about the safety of this strange character.

Elephants and clowns clearly say circus. All of these images are signed "HR", unusual for a board game.

This illustration is from a 1930's "Pip and Squeak Annual" that belonged to my Dad. Pip and Squeak was a popular comic strip in British newspapers.

Tumbles is the young fellow in shorts and true to all English children's stories, including the "Harry Potter" books, he saves the day.

The following four pictures are from an October 1931 edition of "The National Geographic Magazine". They show a much more realistic view of the circus.

The ladies costume and the draperies on the camel all speak of exotic far off places. The costumes add to the excitement but even if they didn't have them most people hadn't seen a camel.

These young ladies are wearing an assortment of costumes worn in the circus parade.

North American clowns for the most part have always appeared to me as sad, this fellow included. The pattern on his trousers is very interesting.

In the old circuses they had a sideshow. The actual exhibits were always less than "The Greatest Show on Earth".

In Europe and in Quebec circus has a long and respected tradition. When we were in Switzerland I picked up two flyers advertising the circus that was coming to town. This flyer is for the "Circus Knok".

This flyer is for the "Circus Knie". If you look at the brochure you will see the clown that I like the best. He generally has a conical hat with a rounded top. His costume is covered in spangles. The costumes are really beautiful.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Engagement Party

What a week we've had. The house was finally tidied for the party once we got that giant lunch box out of the living room/dining room. I did a small bit of decorating because I won't be able to do anything in Toronto. I used to decorate halls for wedding receptions. Most people want romantic traditional but I love doing the unexpected. My kids like my take on the decorations so that is fine with me.

We don't have a very big back yard so I only decorated a small area. Later on, people would be playing bocci so I didn't want the decorations to get in the way of the game. It was just as well that I didn't do much more decorating because there was no light at all when people decided to play "extreme" bocci.

The colour scheme for the decorations came from the lanterns that I had bought late last summer. I decided to paint the columns colours to go with the lanterns.

Here is a close-up of one of the arrangements on top of the silver column. The urn was a very tasteful burgundy with a wash of creme to antique it. I bought these at Homesense in the clearance section a few years ago and have wanted to paint them. The flowers may look familiar, they are the crepe papier ones that I used originally for our oldest sons wedding party and then for the baby shower and now on to this party. I am glad that I kept them.

The pink column has a black wire basket filled with hearts, my nod to romanticism. In the background you can see part of a purple beaded crepe sari that I bought at Salvation Army for $12.99. The purple of the sari unified and heightened all of the other colours.

This is the other urn filled with yellow crepe papier roses. I like to add in natural foliage as a counter point to all of the crazy drama of the colour.

I'll be honest; this is a cheater photo. I had wanted to take picture when you could still see some colour but also see the lanterns glowing. That was the last thing on my mind. It was very dark outside when I took the pictures, but hooray for Paint Shop Pro. At least it gives you an idea of what it looked like. All of this was yesterday. It has been taken down, taken apart and is in the house ready to be put away. That is my next step. We just got in from blackberry picking. We have 4 big buckets of berries ready to wash and put into the freezer to munch on in the winter.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Lunch Box

I picked up our daughter and her fiancée at the airport today. The lunch box was delivered to the Hillside Shopping Centre and set up.

This is the lunch box that I have been working on in the last week. It will be used to collect non-perishable food items for children's lunches.

Last year I made the left and right side of a school bus for the mall. This year I built the back end of the bus. The mall has been collecting school supplies for quite a few years now. They are distributed to families that cannot afford to buy the supplies. One year a school close to where we live burnt down. All of the children had their school supplies donated by the mall. Last year they had a very successful year. I hope they do even better this year.

It will be fairly busy around here for the next few weeks. I will continue with the tour of my brain. I hope it will help you to see where my ideas come from.

I am now a member of EHAG. Thank-you fellow EHAG-gers for allowing me to become a member.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Very Quick Update

Things are very busy and chaotic around here at the moment. I am just about finished building a giant lunch box for Hillside Shopping Centre. We are cleaning carpets and getting the house tidy. On Friday our daughter and her fiancée are arriving from Toronto. We are having an engagement party for them on Sunday. Have you noticed in all of this that there is no mention about listing Hallowe’en candy container ornaments or making any new work. I don’t even have a picture to post to entertain you with. Oh well, I must get going.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Little Tour of My Brain, Part 6 - Humour

Wow! I have had some very positive response from new friends in cyberland. Thank-you very much for the very encouraging words, you have no idea how much I appreciate the comments.

I wanted to show you how important humour is in my life and couldn't think of how to put the point across. I remembered a book that I own called "Jane Asher's Costume Book". All of the pictures in this posting are from that book. It was first published in England under the title "Jane Asher's Fancy Dress" by Pelham Books Ltd. in 1983. The copy I have was published by Open Chain Publishing Inc. in 1991. The book is well worth hunting for. The directions are easy to follow. It is a great springboard for ideas.

Jane Asher is a British actress and all of the models are British actors and actresses. The fellow modeling the "Lady Jumping Out of a Cake" is Terry Jones.
Gemma Craven models this bird costume. Her costume is the "Swallow".

Frazer Hines is the "Grouse". Have you noticed there is a passion for bad puns as an offshoot for ideas? Are there any good puns? Yes there are, the ones that you make yourself. Be strong and stand your ground.

Vernon Smythe models the "Mature Butterfly".

Jane Ashers brother-in-law is "Florence Nightingale-The Lady of the Lamp".

Martin Shaw is dressed as a "Sandwich". The following photos are a variation on the basic costume. Prepare yourself - BAD PUNS AHEAD.

The first one is an "Open Sandwich". Wear a big cheesy grin and you have a "Cheese Sandwich".

 A "Chicken" sandwich, did you guess it?

This next Costume is a "Sandwich Spread". Oh my, it doesn't stop.

Think actor and you know that this sandwich is "Ham". A "Club Sandwich" and a "Toasted Sandwich" round out this selection of costumes magnificently portrayed by Martin Shaw.

There are a series of zodiac costumes this one is "Aries". It isn't that comical but I like the costume. Alan Price is the actor wearing the costume.

I had to include this costume. Joanna Lumley models "Knickerbocker Glory". A Knickerbocker Glory is a British sundae. This costume is mainly made from paper plates and toilet paper!

You may not recognize any of the actors and actresses that was 25 years ago and in Britain. I wanted to include their names because they were a major part of the book presentation.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Little Tour of My Brain, Part 5 - The Rain

I love the rain. This is a fortunate thing because it does rain a fair bit on the West Coast. After all of the record breaking heat that we have had it has now turned unseasonably cooler and for a few days wetter. The sun is back. The other day when there was a mild drizzle outside I grabbed the camera and took some pictures of the garden. Here they are, enjoy them.

This is our 1960's faux bois birdbath.

We love hollyhocks and gather seeds from any new colours that we come across.

Every year we fill about 15 or more pots with flowers for the back patio. This is a close-up of some of them.

More pots of flowers sprawling in a very haphazard manner. I bought the black iron plant stand at a Salvation Army Store years ago.

More hollyhocks, the day was very grey and at this moment not raining too hard. By the time I got back in the house I was a little damp, but it was worth it.

Every year we get all kinds of volunteer plants. Some of them are flowers that we have no idea where they have come from and some are vegetables that have sprouted from the compost. Our habit of gathering seeds wherever we go and then broadcasting them around the garden accounts for most of the flowers. Last year I threw out some gourds that had been around for several years. We now have lots of gourds and squash or pumpkins growing in the garden and the compost. We will see what has grown when they ripen later on in the early autumn.

Last but not least our dahlias that grew at the base of a flowering cherry that we took out two years ago. We planted a fig tree that a neighbour gave us in the same spot as the cherry tree but the harsh winter killed it. This year all that is growing in the lawn in that very same spot are these dahlias and a few other small flowers. We didn't have the heart to get rid of them. They will come out later and in their place will probably be grass, but for now we have lovely soft pink dahlias.

I must get back to work. I am in the midst of building a giant lunch box for Hillside Shopping Centre.

I haven't listed the Hallowe'en candy container ornaments yet but hope too soon.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Little Tour of My Brain, Part 4 - Candy

My goodness, it has been a week since I last posted anything on my blog. It has been a little crazy around here. I am tidying my studio. That always takes a little while because I work on quite a few things at once, so in place of a small mess I end up with a rather larger one. Cleaning is coming along quite well.

I am going to start making a giant lunch box for a mall in town. Last year I built the two sides of a school bus for them out of coreplast plastic. They were attached to an 8' x 8' section of fence. The public was asked to donate school supplies for needy families. The mall has done this for years and last year was the best response that they had for this event. This year the lunch box that I am going to make will be used to collect non-perishable food for lunch boxes. The giant yellow lunch box will measure 6' x 3' x 5', all made from coreplast plastic.

That is the update from around here and now on to the brain tour. I love candy, not so much to eat, but to look at. The shapes, the colours and the smells are so wonderful.

This illustration is from "The Unsophisticated Arts", drawn and described by Barbara Jones, and published in 1951.

The "Holiday Candy Book" by Virginia Pasley was published in 1952. These delightful endpapers are the only colour in the book.

This is a sample of the black and white illustrations inside the book.

I picked this candy tin up about 5 months ago. I love the brilliant colour against the black background.

When we were in Thun, Switzerland, I picked up three postcards with images of candy. This postcard shows many of the different varieties of licorice available in Europe.

This postcard captures the iridescence of hard candies.

The last postcard is a photograph of nougat and chocolates, is your mouth watering yet, mine is.

I bought this tin advertisement for chocolates about ten years ago. They are so delicious that even a bee desires them.

I picked this tin two months ago on my birthday. The colours are very interesting and compared to the English tin are very elegant and understated.

Back in the 1980's there was a company in Vancouver, BC called "Edibaubles". The woman that originated the line was German. She made food for dollhouses out of a new product from Germany. This plastic modeling clay was baked in the oven. Fimo and Sculpey are so common place now. She was invited to a party and decided to make some toe rings. That as they say is history. She ended up selling all over the world. This necklace is one of her larger pieces. I found it in a second hand store about ten or more years ago.

This is a candy wrapper from a 1960's Israeli hard candy. Yes, I did keep it. I loved the colours and the overall design then and I still do.