Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Learning Treehouse

If I remain a stay at home mom, my entire house will surely be replaced by cardboard. Where there was once a vintage side chair and marble side table, here is another corner of my dining room that is now occupied by a cardboard structure. I created "The Learning Treehouse" so my kids could have a special place to play with their Melissa & Doug educational puzzles, their Alphie Robot and a world map.

Underneath the window, on the inside of the treehouse I placed two cardboard boxes (stuffed with Styrofoam packing peanuts for strength) for the kids to stand on and feel like they're "really high up".

As with "The Reading Castle" I involved my children in the creative process by letting them help me paint the trees and leaves and gluing them on.

On the corner wall inside the treehouse, I taped a world map that I use to teach Delilah and Justin where their favorite cartoon characters live and come from. I also included a picture of the kids so they know where they live in relation to everyone else. You can write the answers on the backs of the pictures.

To make the pictures stay on the wall, I placed tape on the backs so the kids could place them right onto the map where they belong. (Tip: to prevent the tape from ripping the paper of the map I placed the tape onto a piece of clothing first. This makes the tape "less sticky" and not so permanent.) When I get a chance, I'll transfer the whole thing to magnetic sheeting.

Here are some of the cartoon characters I used if you'd like to re-create the same project for your kids or as a gift to one. (BTW: Not sure of all the origins so I guessed at some of them like Dora, who I put in Mexico). I also printed out some polar bears for the North Pole but I'm still missing someone who comes from Canada. Do you know of any?

Ariel - Off the coast of Europe
Belle - France
Bubble Guppies - Atlantic Ocean
Diego - South America
Dora - Mexico
Max and Ruby - Mid West, USA
Mulan - Eastern China
Nemo - The Great Barrier Reef
Olivia - Western, USA
Peppa Pig - England
Feifel - Moscow
Happy Feet - South Pole
Kai Lan - Western China
Lilo and Stitch - Hawaii
Madagascar - this is a hard one
Prince of Egypt - guess?
Simba - Australia

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cupcake Toppers and Slimey Worms

Last weekends Craft Fair at the New York School for the Deaf came and went without much "hoopla". I sold more than half of my old stock of greeting cards!, so that was good, but I didn't sell much of anything else. It seemed to be the same story for all the other one-of-a-kind artists so I didn't take it personal. I just don't think the crowd was the right audience for our kind of merchandise. But I must admit, the organizers were amazing and it was one of the best vending experiences I've ever had. With that said, if you sell items like greeting cards, felted wallets, knit scarves, ornaments or anything else priced $10-$40, I'd suggest you look into it next year. It's a very small venue but worth the entry fee. Plus they have great raffles every hour with proceeds that go to the school.

Whatever I didn't sell at the show has just been added/replaced on my ETSY shops. This includes some new cupcake toppers at my Watermelon Party Shop, and the last of my Slimey Worms at my M Ann M Creations shop.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Art Doll ~ Amelia

Never one to pass up a good sale, Amelia, left her house at the crack of dawn on Black Friday to head to the Woodbury Commons Outlets. She was one of the first persons on the (soon to be five hour long!) lines. Twelve exhausting hours later, she was finally headed home. Talk about "shop 'till you drop"!

Amelia comes to you with a few of her purchases including a scarf, an ornamental snowman and a glittered "Dream" banner. Her zippered dark gray coat is lined in a bright green satin and has a light brown fur trimmed hood. Her hand-knit cable sweater is cinched at the waist with a wide orange belt. She wears comfortable black boots and her favorite black pants.

Amelia stands 12 1/2" tall and is made of paper including her body, clothing, hair and accessories. Visit my Art Dolls page for more information on construction.

If you would like to dress in an outfit similar to Amelia's, you can shop at through the following links to 3 different shops: Hooded Coat, Hand-Knit Sweater and Orange Belt. I support handmade!

Amelia and some other new additions to the shop (not posted on Etsy) will be available for sale at next weekends Holiday Craft Fair at the New York School for the Deaf. Stop by if you are in the area as the event promises to have a great selection of activities and shopping!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cupcake Carousel

Here is something I've had in the works for a while and I finally completed it. It's been added to my Watermelon Party Etsy page.

This carousel is a cute and fun way to display and serve cupcakes at a children's party or any other festive event. The carousel holds 8-12 cupcakes (depending on their size). It measures about 15"h x 15"w x 40"c and turns very smoothly on an attached lazy-susan. The carousel can also be used to decorate a child's room with plastic zoo animals or other toys and dolls. It will also look great as a display piece in your studio or family room with small picture frames or small collectibles riding on it.

With the exception of the plastic lazy-susan and glass mirrors, the entire carousel is made using sturdy cardboard and paper. The platform has been painted in a faux wood technique with gold dresden accents. The drop rods were wrapped with handmade paper string and painted with gold acrylic paint. The cresting is painted and decorated with dresden, doily's and vintage images of buildings, people and scenery. The center pole is decorated in orange, white and yellow striped paper with rounded glittery red paper borders. There are three dresden edged mirrors around the center pole. The canopy is painted white and blue with a coordinating flag on top. The carousel comes with the five (vintage carousel animal) cupcake toppers shown, including: a bear, giraffe, tiger, lion and zebra.

This carousel was so much fun to make and in hopes of sharing its construction with you, I plan to post a tutorial on how to make it. One thing I wanted to share with you now was a tip on a new product (at least new to me) called Paverpol. Several layers of the transparant Paverpol were applied to the dresden and especially the very fragile doily's. With the help of the Paverpol, the doily's are now very resilient. They are almost like bendable plastic now! Thank you to Sandy Little and Christa Light for sharing this amazing product with me!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cardboard Castle

When I was about 5 years old my sister and I had a cardboard Holly Hobbie house. We used to spend hours and hours in it. Eventually, one of the sides broke open. This was okay though, if not better, because when placed up against a wall or chair it doubled the space! I remember once my mom let my friend and I sleep in it all night with some sleeping bags; we felt so adventurous!

With my neck injury, it's kind of hard to go outside with both children by myself, especially in the winter. So needless to say, we're stuck inside the house most of the days. I always feel so bad for my kids and I imagine that they must be bored out of their minds. When I first had the kids I said I would never let their toys take over the house. But in all practicality, I ended up giving in. I try to make their time couped up with me less unbearable by making their surroundings more fun. I turn mattresses & cardboard into slides, tables & chairs into caves and swivel office chairs into merry go rounds.

I was reminded of my Holly Hobbie house when watching an episode of Max and Ruby (on Nick Jr.) who had a homemade cardboard castle. Last winter, I created a similar castle for my children and placed it in a corner of the dining room. To make it extra special, I made it "The Reading Castle". I placed all their books in it (using a diaper box as a shelf) and told them that books were only to be read in the castle. I taught them that books are special and should not be removed from their special place and thrown all over the house. This surprisingly worked! even though they're just 2 and 1 year old. The reading castle is their little hideaway for fun and has motivated them to go off by themselves to read more than before. I do however, have to occasionally squeeze my rear into the door to read with them. They love it! And so do I.

Opposite the castle is a treehouse. (I'll tell you about that one in another post).

Monday, October 31, 2011

Workshop with Vintage by Crystal at Tinsel Trading Company

I've had so much fun coordinating the workshops at Tinsel Trading Company this year! I've met fabulous art instructors, had the pleasure of working with Marcia and her employees and I made great new acquaintances. To those of you who already registered and took a class, I would like to say THANK YOU!

So here's the good news and the bad news...I'll lay out the bad news first....
Registration is now closed for all workshops. To those of you who didn't get a chance to register, I will have to say, sorry. I am especially sorry because this will, unfortunately, be Tinsel Trading Company's last season offering workshops....But the good news is that you can still visit the shop and witness a great selection of Demonstrations. These will be announced in the near future so stay tuned.

Here are a few pictures from one of my favorite workshops taken at Tinsel Trading Company. This workshop with Crystal Hanehan from Vintage by Crystal, was loads of fun and inspirational. Crystal is an awesome instructor and full of generosity with tips on her art and techniques. Please visit her blog for more photos from the workshop and on what we created.

Here are pictures of what I and fellow student, Cara made. We both creatively made use of "Halloween themed" materials and made them "Un-Halloween". Now they are perfect for display for more than just one month!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Art is...You 2011 Event

Ellen Legare and Sallianne McCleeland hosted yet another fantastic event at the annual Art is...You Event in Danbury, CT earlier this month. Everyone had a good time making things in their great selection of workshops and we all met new friends and ran into old ones.

One of the many highlights of my whole experience was receiving the gifts from their Ornament Swap where you give 9 and get back 8. Using Dr. Seuss poetry as inspiration, we were to create 9 ornaments; 8 were swapped and the 9th one went towards a wonderful cause for Marlene Haveron and her Honeycomb Cottage Project, ensuring that her foster daughters will be surrounded by art and inspiration.

Here are my nine Cat in the Hat ornament swap mini Hot Air Balloons before shipping them off.

My 8 swapped ornaments in return were so much fun. Thanks for participating too! RoseMarie Davio, Nancy Lefko, Mary Hurlburt, Dianne Quinlan, Angela Huggins, Kathleen Nesi, Collen Peck and Aleta.

I had such fun being a vendor at the Art Trunk this year and I look forward to returning next year again as both a vendor and a student.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Art Doll ~ Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, was one of the most influential figures in fashion during the 1770s and 1780s, especially when it came to hairstyles.

In the 18th century hairstyles became ludicrously elaborate and complex. Hair was combed, curled, greased with pomade, and dusted with powder. The elevation of these hairstyles could sometimes reach up to three feet! Their own hair was not enough to make such a piece of art so they used the hair of their servants and even the horse’s mane to add length. Cushions or pads were inserted to give height. Decorative objects were often incorporated including flowers, fruit, fabric, feathers and even live birds in cages. The articles placed in the hair were sometimes symbolic, as in the case of the famous engraving depicting a lady wearing a large ship in her hair with masts and sails—called the "Coiffure à l'Indépendance ou le Triomphe de la liberté"—to celebrate naval victory in the American war of independence. To preserve the hair designs intact, women slept with a wooden block under their necks so that their hair was not touched.

Marie Antoinette’s body, hair, clothing and accessories are made using 10 different kinds of paper. Her period costume is complete down to her white pantaloons with blue bow ties and paniers. She wears pink slippers with glistening gold rosette accents. Her underskirts have ruffled hems and the second layer is light pink with a gold trellis design and gold trim. The dark pink dress is trimmed all over with a pink flowered green vine and white pearl centers. Four gold bows adorn her bodice and white lace is tucked into the low neckline and short sleeve ends. A short strand natural pearl necklace compliments her slender neck. Atop her pale gray coiffure sits a ship with masts, sails and flags. Two rare white bird feathers finish her hairdo. She measures about 13 ½” tall up to the top of the boat.

Marie Antoinette is accompanied with coordinating stand (to be placed under her underskirts). She also comes with a self-portrait framed in a 2" square gold painted picture frame which hangs from a black velvet ribbon.

Marie Antoinette will be available for viewing at my vendor table at the Art Is...You event this weekend in Danbury, CT. Please stop by my table if you plan on attending the event to see Marie Antoinette and all my other Art Dolls available for sale. Their beauty and detail does not shine in pictures as much as it does in person.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Art Doll ~ Naomi

Naomi was sooo excited to score a couple of passes to this year's Mercedes-Benz Fashion week. And she was so proud of the outfit she wore to the event because she practically made it herself! Inspiration struck when Naomi visited the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the MET last month. She was so taken by one particular outfit at the exhibit that she just had to re-create it for herself!

She made the skirt using some vintage ruffled lace curtains she found in her mother's attic years ago. Sewing the panels on an angle was quite a challenge but in the end it came out perfect! Then, using an inexpensive pair of comfy black boots (and some super strong fabric glue) she added clusters of leather flowers purchased on Etsy. It ended up being way too hot to wear a leather vest (which she's had since 7 years ago!) so she wore a simple black 3/4 sleeve light cotton turtle neck with a black belt. She finished off her outfit with gold circle themed accessories including a gold leather hobo - her only splurge!

Naomi stands 12 14" tall and is made almost completely of paper including her body, clothing, hair and accessories. Her hair is made from dozens of individually painted strands of paper twists. Visit my Art Dolls page for more information on construction.

If you would like to dress in an outfit similar to Naomi's, almost everything can be purchased on ETSY through the following links to 6 different shops.