Friday, August 31, 2012

No Moss Grows Here, But the Dust is Piling Up

Yes, it has been a busy and challenging summer so far.  Hard at work getting a small rental home ready to place for sale, I have been team director, painting and cleaning up a storm on every weekend.  Now that the end of this labor is only a few hours away, my body and spirit are clamoring for more creative pursuits.  I have never been so sore and exhausted in my life!  Pushing forward with smaller projects has been the plan all summer.  The sewing machine has been out for the duration and turning out a few things that I am very pleased with.  Because my bohemian style has been with me since college days, my friends and acquaintances have told me they can easily pick me out of a crowd.  Imagine my surprise when I was "forced" to shop a few days ago and I saw many wonderful garments that were of the Boho bent and on the racks at large chain stores like TJMAXX, Kohl's, Ross and Marshalls.  WOW!!!

Naturally, this bursting Boho assortment of goodies has me puzzled.  What is going on in the world that so many artful garments are appearing not only on the ready-to-wear racks but are also being featured on Haute Couture runways by Rodart, Jean Paul Gaultier, Kenzo, Emilio Pucci, Anna Sui, and many others?  There is a bursting emergence of designers that are selling through Etsy that are more moderately priced too.  After mentally pursuing this for a few minutes, it suddenly occurred to me that it's the economy!  Just as the pioneers made use of what was on hand, re-crafting and up-cycling, and the wonderful crazy quilts that eventually resulted in Victorian times, We The People are dictating fashion to the designers and manufacturers!  I find it very interesting that they are trying hard to imitate what is being done so artfully by women artisans all over who are using their brains to come up with amazing garments, jewelry, etc., that are one of a kind masterpieces.  I could also see that the sloppy cheesy assembly of a few years past has given way to better skill.  ...Really, how can a factory worker who does the same piecework hour after hour and day after day turn out terrible work?  (answer:  They have to try real hard!)

During the Art Nouveau Era, we had the same inspirational sense that is prevailing now.  Artisans were exploring in various mediums that were used together in very creative ways.  It was not unusual to find mixed media in the same piece.  Rules were broken and as a result, Art Nouveau became the most widely celebrated and favorited Era in fashion.  I came across a lovely statement by Kecia, author of Lemoncholy's blog, in my web browsing:
By removing perfectionism, I free my imagination to play and ultimately, this freedom results in whimsical pieces of grace and beauty.
I love this way of expressing creativity, as by removing perfectionism, we give ourselves permission to fail.  Why is this important?  ...Because it means that we are free to try ideas and techniques that may not work out, or that may result in a new way to approach and express ourselves artfully.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Making Progress Slowly

I absolutely hate housework, but sometimes it just can't be avoided.  At those times, we can all appreciate some helpful advice, and lately I am interested in teh "no effort" kind.  Here is a tip found on a blog a few days ago, that works really well.  I brought some stove pans home from a rental house and they were nasty, let me tell you.  Or rather, I can show you....  
Now, all you need to do is get a ziplock baggie for each pan.  I used gallon size bags.  Add maybe a tablespoon of household ammonia, and zip up.  Let them sit overnight, and voila!  The next day, it only takes a little rub off and they are nearly new looking, and I can't ask for more than that.  Here is the result...

I have also done a few crafty things, but neglected to do the photo documentation because I was running about the house trying to be clever.  It isn't always easy to be creative on a shoestring, and I was determined not to spend a penny on staging accessories for this little house for sale.  The idea was to create a spa feeling in the bathroom.  Candles, French milled soaps, flowers, and bubble bath all seemed to suggest that to me.  This is what I came up with...

Oooh, not the shabby old pitcher, but the wine bottle which now has a label for bubble bath, and the back yard branch transformed with some old paper rose buds.  This may have to grow out of the bottle, and that remains to be seen.  The fine soaps are fraudulent, merely empty boxes made form a template that I found here.  Using colored and patterned paper and a few vintage soap labels, I created a nice assortment of "soaps."  That little basket can sit at the sink.  The box, that is bare discernible, is a small box bottom that was recovered with two pages I printed off the net that had a floral design.  I altered the color and saturation to make them pale, and then dabbed them all over with a used tea bag.  This stained the paper and gave it an aged look.  When the paper was nearly dry, I pasted them to the box with tacky glue.  I had another label that I glued on the side front edge.  Next, I stole some river rocks from the back yard, and filled the box bottom.  I found an old votive holder with a new candle in it, and added that to complete the look.  It will sit on the back edge of the bathtub.  Not bad work for "0" dollars!

Lastly, I had the idea to complete eh kitchen look by making a valance for the window  over the sink.  I got some burlap and some fabric that matched kitchen colors.  I cut 3 rectangles of the burlap and fringed three sides.  I made a stencil of a heart shape and cut the fabric appliques using this.  I quickly zig-zagged the hearts onto the burlap with my sewing machine.  Next, I turned the top edges over a length of twine, leaving the length long enough to swag the top of the window.  That is already hanging...

 ...And thank goodness we are nearly done!