Sunday, September 26, 2010

We Came, We Saw, We Have Blisters

Today was the last Antique and Flea Market of the season at the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn, WI. So I decided to ignore my overgrown garden and piles of laundry and meet up with my Mom to do what we do best.... junque-ing.

Since two sets of eyes are better than one, together we can do an adequate job of hunting down our treasures. I look for vintage jewelry pieces and old buttons I can repurpose into new wearables and art forms. She looks for silverware and old silver tea serving sets she masterfully gives a new life as wind chimes.

We stopped by a few tried-and-true vendors. We saw Candyce Martens, of -- she used to have a fab little store in our small town and we miss her. But we're glad she's still creating! Click through and take a look at her art and the altered jewelry, which is quite amazing.

Then we ran into Catherine Grunewald, my mother's folk artist friend and -- well, let's just say you get the two of those women in one place, hold onto your hats..... Cathy introduced us to our favorite vendor of the day, Doug the Silverware Guy.

He had LOTS of what we were looking for.

Mom needed a trip to the car to unload after that purchase.

There were lots of odds and ends throughout the afternoon. My favorite: the folk art rooster. Really wanted to bring him home to strut his stuff in my garden -- still mad for talking myself out of it.

But I did settle on a sweet little firefly. Can't you feel the zap of electricity from his rear end? Bzzt.

Elkhorn, you never disappoint.

Monday, September 6, 2010

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Programming For a Message From Your Muse

A few weeks ago..... maybe even months now....... I carried my old trusty craft bins down from the attic, vowing to get a head start on the holidays this year. No more adrenaline filled late nights putting last minute touches on projects the week of a craft show. No more wishing I had just made one more gift. Time to enjoy Christmas without cursing myself for not planning better.

Broke out the paints, the brushes, the old wood forms rescued from craft store clearance racks. Glue. Markers. Fancy papers. Bits of lace. This and that. Covered my dining room table with newsprint to protect it. Started painting and...... nothing. It felt like drudgery. All creative spark was gone.

And so I have to apologize to anyone who lives with me or even stops by to visit. There my hopes sit, for all to see, scattered out over my dining room table until the inspiration returns.

One thing I learned is that the brain's urge to be creative is hindered by the physiology of the body while it's working on other things. I have spent the better part of the last eight months trying to figure out what ailment I had -- followed by a variety of guesses at how to heal me. Symptoms were all over the spectrum, from dizzying nausea and pain to fatigue and headaches. There were tests and medication. There were alternative therapies and homeopathics. All to treat (apparently) the wrong ailment. Silly me.

But I'm on the mend and the creative juices are stampeding through me like a herd of wild horses. So while I usually spend this Labor Day weekend enjoying the beauty and bounty of my garden, this year I decided to craft my own flowers in place of what is in the sad overgrown patch outside my window. The poor weeds have taken over -- they're having a riotous party knowing I've been too ill this year to send them packing.

First, I learned a new skill in jewelry: the wire-wrapped loop. I found some German vintage glass flowers at a little bead shop and decided they must be transformed into dangles for necklaces.

That's a head pin with a yellow crystal bead at the center of the vintage flower. I put a brass end cap on the top just to make it look extra vintage.....

It takes a right angle bend and then you wrap the wire around, then trim the excess.

Okay so I'm not a pro at it yet. More practice.

After I made a few flowers, I felt inspired enough to continue the flower-making trend in paint. Sunflowers in yellow, orange, and red. These may end up on the top of a trinket box or nailed to a harvest sign.

Oh, and while the creative urge is riding the crest, it helps to have a distraction for the five-year-old. At the very least, his own art project at the ready is a good thing and will buy anywhere from 20 minutes to a hour, depending on the task.

(At one point I looked over at him, tongue appearing at the corner of his mouth. Biting the tongue aids in concentration, don't you know. Tee hee.)

Alright craft show season. Bring it.