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Friday, December 12, 2014

Handmade Cavalcade tomorrow!


I am honored to have had my artwork chosen for this year's banner at the Etsy NY Handmade Cavalcade.  And with it being at the famous Chelsea Market, it promises to be the best Cavalcade yet!



Stop by my table on Saturday, December 13th 10-8 pm to see some new artwork and to receive a free gift from M Ann M Creations!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Nostalgic Toys ~ Silly Putty and Slinkys

Silly Putty is a toy based on silicone polymers which display unusual physical properties. It bounces, but breaks when given a sharp blow and can also flow like a liquid.  It was originally created by accident during research into potential rubber substitutes for use by the United States in World War II.
After its success as a toy, other uses were found. In the home, it can be used to remove substances such as dirt, lint, pet hair, or ink from various surfaces.
 The material's unique properties have found niche use in medical and scientific applications. Physical therapists use it for rehabilitative therapy of hand injuries.
Slinky.jpg
Slinkys from the Swedish word meaning "a serpentine or undulating form," are springs with zero compression or tension.  
It was discovered in 1943 by Richard James, who was working to design a spring for the U.S. Navy that would keep sensitive ship-board insturments steady while at sea; James was amused by the way the spring "walked" down elevations and invented toys from these springs which were first sold in 1945.   
Slinkys can perform a number of tricks, including travelling down a flight of steps end-over-end as it stretches and re-forms itself with the aid of gravity and its own momentum, or appear to levitate for a period of time after it has been dropped.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Castle in the Air ~ Ironcraft Challenge

The stationery and art supply shop, Castle in the Air in Berkeley, CA recently hosted an "Ironcraft" event that I was glad to participate in.   The store invited all who were willing to pick up, or be mailed a free "mystery" crafting supply item which you would then transform into something amazing and unique.  After submitting pictures of the final art, everyone who participated in Ironcraft was rewarded with a special prize.  

The mystery item we all received was a bulbous spun-cotton (watte) shape.  


After opening the package, my first thought was "What on earth am I supposed to do with this??!!" After staring at it for a few minutes I realized that it is most likely supposed to be a snowman.  But I wanted to get away from the obvious and turn it into something else.  I turned it upside down and it was clear what I had to make it into - a hot air balloon ornament!  I already make hot air balloons using paper mache so it was a fun challenge figuring out how to work with this new medium.  Here is a tutorial with steps on how to make one yourself.

Step 1 -Cut away the middle of the "neck" area of the shape with a blade.  This will create the bottom (basket) and the top (balloon) of your hot air balloon.  Seal and flatten down the rough cut edges with glue.

Step 2 - Using a sharp object, push in four holes in both the top and bottom.  Dab glue into the holes and insert tooth picks.


Step 3 - Draw the basic design with a pencil.


Step 5 - Paint the hot air balloon using acrylic paints. Finish off with paper flags and/or bunting.  Glue a ribbon into a hole in the top for hanging.



If you'd like to read more about the Ironcraft challenge, here is the link to the Castle in the Air blog.




Saturday, November 1, 2014

Nostalgic Toys ~ Jacob's Ladder

A Jacob's ladder is a folk toy consisting of blocks of wood held together by strings or ribbons. The Jacob's Ladder folk toy, also known as 'tumbling blocks' dates back to the Pilgrim times in America.

 When the ladder is held at one end, blocks appear to cascade down the strings. However, this effect is a visual illusion which is the result of one block after another flipping over.



Monday, October 20, 2014

Joseph Cornell Inspired Workshop at Parcel

I am still reminiscing over the time I had at Parcel last week at a Joseph Cornell Inspired Workshop. Joseph Cornell was a celebrated and influential assemblage and collage artist from the Victorian era. For decades, his work has inspired and encouraged altered book and sculptural artists, shadowboxers and scrapbookers.  The style of his pieces have stood the test of time, and the look is very current in the paper arts world.



The workshop gave students an opportunity to become Joseph Cornell for a day.  The overall theme for the shadowbox was flora and fauna but we were free to create whatever we wanted.  Cutting scraps of birds, bugs and botanicals from Parcels collection of papers, and layering them with bits of other vintage trims and ephemera, we each created our own unique scene.  Nancy, the owner, provided each of us a real butterfly to add to our piece.  I was initially creeped out but I eventually gave into it's beautiful wings and couldn't pass up using it.

Here is what I, and fellow students created at the workshop.







Monday, September 29, 2014

Nostalgic Toys - Ride Ons

A child's first experience with ride-on toys is and was probably a rocking horse.  After the rocking horse, we probably experienced the Radio Flyer Red Wagon and then our tricycles.  Ride on toys are one of the most memorable and exciting parts of growing up.

At this September's Brimfield Antique and Collectibles Show, there was no shortage of classic ride on toys.  Here are just a few pictures of the vast amount of kinds they had available for purchase.




The toys of old look real cool to collectors nowadays but safety and quality control has definitely improved.   The rocking horse/chair below was cute but not at all safe. 

My first ride-on toy in 1979
 Ride-on Toys have come a long way....




This article was written as part of an ongoing contribution for The Etsy NY Team Blog.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

In the Studio: Tiffany Blue Circus Hot Air Balloon

In the Studio...A custom order hot air balloon made for a very thoughtful gentleman as a gift for his wife on their one year (paper) anniversary.  Measures about 15" high.





Sunday, August 31, 2014

Nostalgic Toys - Carnival Games

This post isn't really about a specific toy or something we may have owned; nonetheless, it reminds us of games we would have played when spending a fun filled day at the carnival with friends and family.  
Games of chance are favorite carnival games. A random outcome gives all players the chance of winning a prize. An example of a carnival game of chance is the "Pingpong Ball and Fish Bowl", . A game like the "Duck Pond", which is geared for young children, may offer a winner every time. 
Games of skill are another favorite carnival game. These games may test a players aim at hitting a target with either a ball or a weapon. Some games of this type are the "Cross Bow Shoot", the "Milk Bottle" game, or the "Balloon and Dart" game.
Other skill testing games challenge the physical abilities of the player. Examples of this type of game is the "Rope Ladder Climb" and "Ring the Bell". 
The following pictures are of vintage games that were provided for play at FĂȘte Paradiso, a festival of vintage French carnival rides, carousels and games.  They will appear in New York City again next summer on Governors Island in New York City.  For more information, visit FeteParadiso.com.
This game was operated by human powered wheels that when ridden on, like a bike, the mouths and arms of the puppet targets would move.  Players had the choice of playing ring toss or ball toss.
This game was operated by human powered wheels that when ridden on, like a bike, the mouths and arms of the puppet targets would move.  Players had the choice of playing ring toss or ball toss.
Another french vintage ring toss game at Fete Paradiso on Governors Island in New York City.
Another french vintage ring toss game at Fete Paradiso on Governors Island in New York City.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Nostalgic Toys - Marionettes

  Opening in 1967, the Bil Baird Marionette Theater at 59 Barrow Street in Greenwich Village presented plays for more than a decade. 
Marionettes were used in performance theatre in Egypt as early as 2000 BC when string-operated figures of wood were manipulated to perform the action of kneading bread, and other string controlled objects. Wire controlled, articulated puppets made of clay and ivory have been found in Egyptian tombs.

Ancient Egyptian Marionettes

With the rise in popularity of television and film, marionettes found a rise in popularity especially in children's programming. The story of Pinocchio and its Disney adaptation (Pinocchio), which was released in 1940, is a story about a marionette. In 1947, Howdy Doody introduced marionettes to children's television, with Howdy Doody (the main character) being a marionette, as well as some other characters.

Children of New York City watching a Marionette Show in the 1930'

Popular Howdy Doody Marionette

One of the hidden treasures in Central Park is the Swedish Cottage MarionetteTheater.   For more information go here http://www.cityparksfoundation.org/arts/swedish-cottage-marionette-theatre/


The Swedish Cottage is home to one of the last public marionette companies in the United States. Puppeteers have worked there since 1947. The cottage was originally constructed as a model pre-fabricated schoolhouse, and became Sweden's entry in the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. After the exhibit, Park co-designer Frederick Law Olmsted chose the rustic building for Central Park. After a string of diverse uses, the nature study center for children and an entomological lab, for examples, the cottage became headquarters in 1939 for the Parks Department's Marionette Theater. The marionette company has long been known for its whimsical productions of classics like Peter Pan and Cinderella.
The Swedish Cottage is home to one of the last public marionette companies in the United States. Puppeteers have worked there since 1947. The cottage was originally constructed as a model pre-fabricated schoolhouse, and became Sweden's entry in the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. After the exhibit, Park co-designer Frederick Law Olmsted chose the rustic building for Central Park. After a string of diverse uses, the nature study center for children and an entomological lab, for examples, the cottage became headquarters in 1939 for the Parks Department's Marionette Theater. The marionette company has long been known for its whimsical productions of classics like Peter Pan and Cinderella.




Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mad Tea Party and Where Bloggers Create


If you are looking for my post for 
Where Bloggers Create for 2016 click here.  

(I somehow made a mistake when entering and placed the link for the 2014 post...sorry for the confusion).


2014 post is below..................


Today is finally the day for two annual online party events!  
First is my post for the 7th Annual Mad Tea Party hosted by Vanessa Valencia.  
Second is my post for Where Bloggers Create hosted by  Karen Valentine.
Read further for my posts in participation.

These sweet siblings and best friends share a delicious cup of tea.  The tiny pair measure just 2 1/4" tall and the teacup measures 1 3/4" tall.  Everything (except the glass cloche) is made of paper.  A removable banner hangs from the top of the cloche that reads "You, me and a cup of tea."  With care, the dolls can be posed and re-positioned.  The "tea" and two sugar cubes can be removed as well.











And here is where I create....



Not much has changed since last year except that I've taken over empty spaces on the walls and ceiling.  I use chunky frames as shelves and a drawer organizer as a place to display a collection of little things.  Paper dolls are taped or nailed to the wall and one hook holds more than one thing.


A garbage find magazine rack holds jars of buttons and sea shells and artwork from favorite artists and a vintage suitcase keeps sheets of crepe paper flat and safe.


My apron serves more often as a a pretty chair cover than as clothing protection...I never want to bother putting it on...besides, I wear junk clothes when I create anyway.


I removed a broken drawer from a vintage chest and use it to store crates of paper.


Wow!...now that I look at this picture, it looks like a lot of cluttered junk, but it's not.  I have everything I need and use most at hand.  And when I am stumped for ideas I can ponder over this "junk" for inspiration.


Thanks for taking the tour of my small workspace!