Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Czech It Out

Another one of my favs. I'm not completely sure that there is another soul out there who can love and care for this necklace as well as I can, so I'm not sure if I can really part with it. We shall see. The point is though, this pink piece is a combination of buttons and a charm from the Czech Republic. I bought it from a man with a glass eye. Ask my cousin Mary, she was there. She too bought some loot from the one-eyed Czech. You could kinda tell he had some wild stories to tell, but there was that whole GIGANTIC language barrier. Cousin Mary and I went on a whirlwind tour of the C.R. by visiting Prague, Brno and Olomouc (which is pronounced more like O-lo-moutz). We searched high and low for antiques and wonders the likes of which we'd only seen in catalogs and movie sets. We found Heaven when we found the one eyed man's shop in Olomouc. We loved it so much, we came back and shopped there again. And somehow because of the crazy conversion rate, we each thought we were buying way out of our price range amounts of stuff. But later we realized that we'd each spent somewhere around $20 for arm fulls of former Soviet stuff. That's just a little travel story to bulk up this post. You see I'm finding it harder and harder to come up with new ways of describing these necklaces. I love them all, I made them all, but eventually one's proverbial well runs dry. And thus you hear about the one eyed man.

I don't know why I like this picture so much, but I think the quality is really good. Note the texture of the button! Wee!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

I couldn't pick a more timely day to post this one. I mean, the Sox just clenched the Wild Card through losing five games straight! How's that for go-get-em spirit? And while I am kinda celebrating this event, I'm kinda nervous. I mean, we're not going to win the World Series by losing five straight. You can't back yourself into a World Series ring. But if your name is Hilary and you make jewelry, you can back yourself into this baseball necklace. I made it out of vintage style baseball cards. I love wearing it because it involves some of my favorites -- baseball, crafts, vintage items... I mean, it's kinda like me rolled up in a necklace. And sorry folks, it's a keeper. Not for sale.

Go Sox! Beat LA!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Do I Spy A Wren?

I've never tried my hand at bird watching, so I really don't know. What is that bird? Some kind of wren or sparrow? It's too colorful to be a finch, or so I think and I think its head is too big. Like I said, I don't know what kind of bird this is, but I do know that I like this one a lot. Our dear feathered friend is applied to an old wooden nickel, sealed and on a chain. And for added flair, I attached a piece of old jewelry from my bag of tricks. I'm not sure where I picked up that little cloisonne collection, but it has been given a new life here.

Mexicali Blues

A few of you know that I have a Grateful Dead bear on the back of my little Volkswagen. And a few of you may know I'm a Dead fan, on some "I hate the smell of pot and the look of grizzledy old hippies but this music is groovy" kind of level. But that bear is on my car because my favorite family in the Constitution State put that sticker on my car. It meant I was one of them. And I have always thought that the Angiolillos are my second family. A favorite memory ever was when the whole Angiolillo gang (John Jack included) took me to Playland in Rye, New York (where the amazing Zoltar from Big was filmed). Or the time I asked Mr. Angiolillo to take his speed boat into Manhattan and up the East River. So they remind me of that sticker and it reminds me of the Dead song "Mexicali Blues."
And that reminds me of these necklaces. They are, you see, of Mexican inspiration. Do you know how Mexicans play bingo? Because it's not with numbers and letters but rather with little pictures of objects. Instead of "B12" or "O64," it's "the lamp" or "the well-dressed woman." And I love me some Mexican bingo tiles. They are awesomely kitschy and so technicolored.
A set of Mexican bingo cards I recently bought in Austin was sacrificed to make a few necklaces out of the tiles. They are really bright and shiny. I kinda won't mind if I don't sell them because I really love them a lot, for me. And I kept enough of the pieces from the game set to have a bingo party for 12 amigos.

A close up, with the watermelon.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Super Green Garden

I'm rather proud of this artsy kind of shot. It's from above and it shows a collection of glass bottles, chopped off and finished with a crusty rim of gold paint. Together with some glass marbles and stones, potting soil and a plant, it's a little garden. The glass echoes terrarium but it's also like a planter. I spend time and anxiety worrying about the variety of glass colors, heights, thicknesses just to make sure that the bottles are all slightly different; that each brings its own piece to the overall puzzle. I'm liking how this collection is going. (I have my own little garden of bottles on my window sill.)

And here's me holding the smallest of jars. It's tiny. I'm hard-pressed finding a plant that will fit inside this little guy, but I'm working on it! And in the background you can see the plastic container of marbles, stones, and sea glass pieces that I've collected to be the water-draining portion of the planter. Oh and you can see the mixing bowl that has been repurposed to house plants as they await their final planting in a jar. And, for kicks, you can see that this whole operation is currently going down atop my stove. Like I said a week ago, there are little projects everywhere! As long as I stay sane, I'm happy to let the crafts take over. It's not like I could put the plants under a cabinet or anything anyway.

Finally, the plants in all their glory, with some glitteratti frogs chillin' in the open space. I don't know exactly why I decided that I needed to glitterize a set of plastic frogs, but I enjoy them living among the plants.

Postcards from Switzerland

If I had to classify myself as one type of crafter, I'd call myself a jack of all trades. I mean, I like to paint, sew, draw, write, cut, build, embroider, color, glue and string. And those are just the verbs I thought of off the top of my head.

And so when I thought of the merchandise I'd want to sell if it was all handmade and home designed, I thought it needed to represent my jack-of-all-trades-ness. So in addition to the necklaces, I have a couple of other ventures on display (i.e., for sale). A while back I bought a set of vintage printed linen place mats with scenes from Zurich, Switzerland. They reminded me of many a fantasy European cityscape (echoes of Paris in there, right?) and I loved the color scheme. Plus the mid-century sketches capture so many details from their era, the cars, the fashion. When I got home with these place mats, I realized that they are a bit small to actually use for meals. And then the poor cloths got shelved because I didn't know what to do with them. I finally decided on pillows and I'm excited to use them in my own home if I don't sell them.

They were easy as can be to pin and sew. Actually, snaps for my Marmadoo (mom) for pinning them for me. She's helping where she can. I think actually that she's more excited about the craft fair than I am, as we have always dreamed of running a mother/daughter store called, and I coined this name when I was in the fourth grade, "Ye Olde Cute Shoppe." So whenever we have any opportunity to work together and hawk we call it a chance to "Ye Olde Cute." That term can also be applied to items that we agree should be sold in our dream venue. But getting back to the original sentence of this paragraph, the sewing was super easy, but I discovered that pillow stuffing is its own separate ball of wax. If you don't treat the stuffing just right, you'll end up with sad, lumpy looking pillows, like mashed potatoes that need several more mashings. It's a frightening affair. I think I got them kneaded properly at this point and I'm ready to send them as merchandise to "Ye Olde Cute."

Today you'll see a couple of my "non jewelry" items because I'd hate for you to think that I'm a one-trick pony.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Secondary Colors, Interesting Shapes

And yet another glamor shot of my neck. I have a really hard time envisioning a piece of clothing that would actually involve any of these three modern buttons. I mean, who would wear a shirt? coat? skirt? dress? with that huge purple and gold thing on it? No one! I suspect that's why I was able to track down that button and purchase it for use in a craft project. It looks pretty cool in its current arrangement.
What I dig about this one is the secondary colors and the shapes. It all reminds me of preschool art class when you learn that red and yellow together make orange and there are cartoon posters on the wall with the shapes telling you "triangle" and "square."

Green Re-Do: Chandelier to Jewelry

Reduce, reuse, recycle. Go green. Think about the Earth. Use a tote instead of plastic. Shop locally. Unplug appliances when you aren't using them. Carpool. Use mass transit. Ride a bike.

So those are green suggestions that you've no doubt heard a million billion times by now. If not, please tell me what rock you are living under and if there's room for another person down there. But here's a creative solution to going green -- tons of my jewelry are made from "found objects" meaning that I'm giving a new life to something that was otherwise considered junk or potentially bound for a landfill. You're looking at a great example of this. This was a piece from a chandelier, but it's life in lighting fixtures came to a close and I've retooled it as neckware. And I am in love. The red, the elegance, the contrast between the chain and the the gems... it's just awesome. And what's cool about this necklace is that I have a few copies of it. And three copies feature a goldish brown color instead of bright red.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Continuing With The Dime Store Theme

I don't remember where in my life I first heard the term "two-a-days" because I never played a sport seriously enough that it necessitated me to train more than once a week, much less twice a day. I suspect it was somewhere during the four years I spent in a sorority full of athletes. Or maybe it comes from an ardent following of baseball, including Spring Training. I don't know, but that's sort of my story around the blog here these days. I have too too many projects to debut before the October Market on October 3. So I'm doing them "two-a-days" style.

I absolutely admit that this is a completely strange necklace. It's just that I kinda liked the idea of pinkish purple goose as a necklace. I bought this goose at a trippy toy store a few blocks off the drag in Austin, so really, don't hate. I was down there pretending I'm still 21, and if I can pretend I'm still 21, I can pretend I'm 12 and that I need lots of necklaces with toys on them.

At least it's a genuinely attractive goose. Also, for note, there's matching pig and chicken necklaces. Just think about the statement you're making: goose, pig or chicken. Oh and the donkey. I'm pretty sure that all of us boil down to one of those animals. Frankly, I'm wishing I was "goose" but I probably need "pig."

Like Some Old Western Movie

Yeah so this three dime store plastic figurines on a copper chain. What are you going to do about it? Buy it (pretty please). I think its whimsical and childish, colorful and fun, a wee bit ironic and generally just a cool thing to own. I think it would be super cheeky to wear it with a white button down and a wool skirt, you know, to show the world that you're a fun person with a spunky sense of fashion trapped in a boring working world. I dig the deluge of primary colors. If this was some old western movie, long tall Gary Cooper or John Wayne would be the blue one in the middle, the sheriff standing straight with his Winchester. He better watch out buddy -- there's an Indian with a bow and arrow on one side and a tomahawk on the other. I'm not a betting kind of gal, but my money's on the scalpers and not the scalpee. Of course, that's the thrill of the western movie, Gary Cooper is always so wise and lucky, he just might make it, provided he survives some lengthy horse chase scene.

And the whole thing reminds me (for no truly obvious reason) of Jerry Jeff Walker's Desperado's Waiting for a Train. Google it, jam to it... it's such a great piece of Texas Country Music. And yes, I know, the original version was by Guy Clark. I just like Jerry Jeff better.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What's Black And White and Red All Over?

This necklace.
It's a button collage! On a chain! And I made it all by myself.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!

Here's where the fun begins folks. Presenting the finished projects, the stuff that's for sale. What I've been working on all summer long. The deal with these two (well three because I'm keeping one for myself) necklaces is that I've already sold them. I guess that means I can now say I'm a professional jewelry maker -- because, hey, I've been paid for my creations. I made these necklaces and sold them to my coworkers out of vintage buttons. I don't have too terribly much to say about all these necklaces I've been making. And if I did write a full profile of each, I'd have a lot of writing to do. You're going to see a lot. Like a lot a lot.

P.S. Muchas gracias to my neck models (a.k.a., the purchasers). All the rest of the necks (unless otherwise noted) are, well, my own neck. You'll get used to freckles soon!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Little Stacks Everywhere

All around my apartment are little arrangements. Preparing for this craft show or, more accurately, my booth at a shopping market, has turned my little crafting life upsidedown. And I'm not kidding when I say there are little collections of projects sitting out everywhere. Above you see a collection of Mexican bingo tiles with fresh coats of a kind of plastic lacquer that will make them hard enough to stand alone on necklaces. More details on that to come.

And here are some vintage/random buttons gathered together. Also awaiting their turn at the chopping block, or so to speak, when they'll be turned into projects. All of them have polished, flat backsides so they are ready for use. Sanding a hundred buttons is like a dream come true. (I've never gotten into sanding; if it could be skipped, it would be.)

And, yep, some more future projects. It's amazing to think that I've made any progress at all, since looking at these pictures reminds me that all I've done is set up more work for myself to do later. Yikes. Two weeks and a trip to Chicago thrown in... I better get busy!

And finally, here's a completed project. Woohoo! But like all the others, perhaps a bit difficult to explain. I'm just happy that there's one thing that I'm done with. I guess I do still have to worry about the packaging... I doubt this post has shed much light on my current bevy of projects, but it should let you know ... colorful, found objects...

Friday, September 18, 2009


Here is said father holding said father's day gift.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Waaaay Old, But It's New To You

I tell you what, this one was hard to photograph. That's why you get half the project above and a super faded out pic below. I apologize my dears. I'm prepared to blame a lot of it on my summer's worth of computer issues.
This was my Father's Day gift this year. Yep, another thing I did in June and am posting about in September. Like I said, there's lots of baseball games to watch. I suppose you're lucky to be reading about this before November.
I've always thought of myself as the baby bear of our Goldy Locks family. I've got a Papa Bear and a Mama Bear and I'm the baby, the onliest one. So when in McKinney I spied this torn out page from a children's story book, I knew that I needed to buy it and craft it into something for my bear-obsessed father. He had a bear experience once in Estes Park, Colorado and has been inspired for life to devote time and energy to bears. And not in the Stephen Colbert blame all the evils of the world on bears vein. More like, love them, respect them, realize how fascinating they are.
And I wanted the frame to be extra special. And for the better part of a decade, my dad has dutifully kept the caps to his beers (when they aren't bent beyond possible use) and gave them to me whenever he remembered to so that I could use them for craft purposes. It all sprang from a project I did in college... I wonder whatever happened to that beer-cap table top? Oh well. So I've got a vase of beer caps and I thought that this would go together well for my father's sort of mountain lodge themed man cave. (Note that most Sam Adams' caps come from Red Sox watching experiences. You gotta go with the Boston lager if you're going to watch the BoSox!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Oh and one more desk item...

Last but not least in this desk upgrade: the ink blotter. My friends, there comes a time when something that you love, something that you find very pretty and perfectly appropriate, something that someone you love gave you must go. It is old, it is dirty, it looks tired, it is worn out.
That's the story of this ink blotter. Stained from years of both use and storage -- poor thing was even used as a makeup tray (ultimate death to all white-fabric-based products) at one point and endured moving trucks, storage units and one accidental Modge Podge spill.

You see, the trouble is, I still wanted an ink blotter. I still liked the overall size and dimensions of ye olde ink blotter and, well, I'm cheap. So I decided to upgrade. I have a small stash of fabric (Have you ever heard the slogan, "She who dies with the most fabric wins?" because I try to avoid that) and I dug around for the right pieces to help me. I found the pink quickly and decided that was a great frame piece but i wanted something extra special for the center panel. At one point in my mother's industrious career as a fabric collector -- she is going for a hoarding title -- she worked at one of Dallas' high-end furniture and interior decorating stores. And she asked the designers if she could have the outdated, unused or leftover fabric sample books. They are a treasure-trove of fabulous pieces of fabric. The trick is finding projects that can accommodate upholstery-thick fabric that is less than two square feet.

My friends I'd been eyeballing this sample for years before this project came about and I finally had a chance to use these whimsical frogs and Lilly-pad fabric for something.

The assembly was super easy. I painted the old blotter with white primer a few times, For the flat parts, I stretched the fabric and used duck tape to secure it in place. I cut a few small pieces of bunting for the padded part, wrapped that in fabric and glued the whole thing together with hot glue. It's not a piece that can withstand being used as a Frisbee or anything like that, but in its place, it's just fine.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lilly Explosion: Watch for Falling Pink & Green

I mentioned in my post from last May (just before I went to Denmark and the Czech Republic) that I had a new look ready to come right out at ya... And here it is. I decided that the red and gold were lovely and warm, but I was ready to express the Lilly side of life. One day early on in the Spring, I was feeling a little down and I decided to go to my favorite place ever to cheer myself up -- the paper store! This time it was Swoozie's in Preston Center and I found out there that Lilly P now does wrapping paper, paper plates, napkins and plastic cups! Pens and letterhead and picture frames and post it notes. I perhaps went overboard and bought it all, but as the Lilly ad posted on my office wall says, "Too much is never enough."

I got home with my Lilly treasures and decided to give this area of my home a makeover, pink and green and girly. I started with the backdrop. That's definitely wrapping paper on foam board and it makes a great place to pin up treasured post cards. The one of the airplane was sent to me by my most frequent pen pal, a well-traveled Naval Officer. Every time I see that plane I think of where it's going today and how much I'd like to hop on board, assuming that its flying me to Paris or Tahiti or Switzerland or Brazil. Plus the blue sky looks so crisp and inviting.

Next I decided that the lamp needed some doing over to look extra spunky. I spent a while getting the dimensions correct, but I finally was able to cut the right sized paper to cover the original design. And since I'm not sure if this Lilly theme will last forever (come January I might be awfully tired of all the pinks and greens), I decided to make sure that all the updating could eventually be removed without leaving a trace. I used a two-sided tape to attach the paper to the lamp, which, in case you didn't notice, has all kinds of corners and crevices. And from my old bag of tricks, I found the dingle balls to hang from the lamp shade. I feel like Lilly would approve. So useless, so cute, so ridiculous, so Lilly.

And just as a useless hint/trick -- The cord couldn't be hidden with this lamp, you can clearly see where the plug is and there's just no room for it to hide. I used the box that the frame came in with two slits cut in the back as makeshift cord storage. I carefully wound the unneeded bit and curled it into the box, which sits at the bottom of the books stack.

I surrounded the rest of the area with various other Lilly accessories and traded out the doodads so that they'd match, too.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Excuses, excuses

See above, my dad's speckledy salt and pepper hair, a Red Sox hat and the backdrop of a ballpark. That's my first excuse for why I've been a ridiculously awful blogger this summer. And well, it's not the only excuse I've got.

My poor little computer died, well, that's me being dramatic, but it had to have its little hard drive reformatted and all kinds of extensive computer surgery, which I am neither qualified to nor interested in discussing with my readers. And now that baseball season is winding down (on a somewhat positive note for my beloved Boston Beaneaters), I'm prepared to deal with the inevitable -- life in the off season.

Of somewhat thrilling note is my upcoming presence as a craft vendor at a local market. It's pretty fun. I did the calligraphy for my first ever wedding. Well, not MY wedding, but you know what I mean, the first wedding that I ever did the calligraphy for. It was really enjoyable and I'm anxious to take on another penmanship assignment. And, finally friends, I'm dabbling as a video editor -- I recently went to Arkansas to learn from a true master of culinary arts, provided that culinary artists always start with crisco and then add butter, to learn from my precious Granny the secret to the Granny Roll. When I finish editing that video, I'll post it on this site for those who want to learn how to make a very authentic from-scratch roll. We're talking lots of time, talent, elbow grease, and love. You gotta love your potential roll eaters A LOT to put in the time to make these things. Especially when the Pillsbury dough boy sells a decent version of the dinner roll that requires eight minutes and no talent.