Sunday, February 19, 2012

Holidays - Better Late Than Never!

Hello! Had a nice Valentine's Day, but never got around to blogging about it last week! Unfortunately, I realized too late that I had forgotten to take a picture of our traditional Valentine's Day dinner entree: heart-shaped pizzas (mushroom for my husband and pepperoni for me). I just took pizza dough and after rolling it out, formed it into heart shapes, then topped as usual. They baked up really nice and were delicious!

However, I do have several photos to show off, beginning with the cards I made for my husband and daughter:

The above was for my husband - supplies used: white cardstock, painted-over art paper, heart cut from vintage science textbook, heart cut from painted vintage ledger paper, vintage shank button, dark red ribbon and word cut from mid-1960's era school worksheet. My husband teaches engineering, so the heart from the old textbook was perfect. I told him he should take this card to class to show his students the kind of Valentines he gets from me. They would probably think him lucky! :)

Our daughter got this card:

Supplies used: white cardstock, copy of page from vintage book of children's songs, red art paper piece, heart cut from vintage playing card, vintage fabric yo-yo and word cut from mid-1960's era school worksheet. 

I have mentioned in the past that I have a tabletop-sized reproduction feather tree that I change with the different seasons and holidays. Some of the Valentine-themed decorations on it came from the same group of talented artist friends that made the cards I blogged about in this post.  Their talents are evident in this photo:

Vintage valentine decoupaged onto a wooden heart, and:

 An ATC that spells out love!

My own creative effort is on display below:

This is the same fabric I had used to make the angel shown here. For my heart, I made running stitches with dark red embroidery floss and added a vintage button and a vintage rickrack hanger. I think it turned out very well. 

Of course, some of my decorations were from secondhand sources, like this doll I use as a treetopper:

She's seen better days, but for a quarter at a garage sale, I couldn't complain. I love the hearts and ruffle on her skirt. She's 8" tall, but I don't have any information on her. 

The same thrift store that priced a handmade witch doll at $3.00 put the same price on this 18" doll:

This angel is probably meant for Christmas display, but I thought that all that red and off-white could represent Valentine's Day just as well! Besides, I didn't purchase her until after Christmas was over. As with the witch doll, someone had spent a lot of time and effort on her, and the cost of materials alone was more than the thrift store price. I wonder if she'd been a gift that someone didn't want? Well, their loss was my gain.

And so ends this better-late-than-never post! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Holidays - Vintage Valentines

Hello! Although I like vintage Valentines, I have not been an active collector of them, in part because they can be pricey. But thanks to generosity of friends - and a bit of thrifting on my own - I do have a small collection to show off!

As mentioned recently, a friend's mother had saved valentines from when she was a girl. This mother is now around 76, so her childhood valentines have been around awhile! My friend sent them to me last year - I didn't know she was doing this, so it was quite a pleasure when I opened her package and found those vintages goodies inside. They are cute:

Quite a-peeling, is it not?

The ever-popular Bingo game!

Don't we all want to masquerade as roosters? Not!

Just look at those adorable faces!

Notice the old-style stove behind this young lass.

Who could resist this rabbit?

As I love cats, I had to include this one!

There were many more that I could have shown, but you get the idea as to how cute these older-style Valentines were! Makes the ones produced today look really lame by comparison! By the time our daughter began school, I thought present-day valentines were so blah, she and I used to make her classroom valentines.

I was rewarded with another friend's thoughtfulness this year when I received the following in the mail from her:

My friend's enclosed note mentioned that she'd found this valentine in a local antiques store and was told it dates from sometime between the late 1920's-early 1903's. The red part that you see on top of the lawn tool used to smooth dirt is a folded-up honeycomb tissue section. 

Not only did my friend thrill me with with this vintage gift, but she had taken the trouble to send it to Loveland, CO for a special postage cancellation: "Valentine greetings  From a city with heart,  Loveland, Colorado  Home of fabulous art!" What a unique touch to a unique gift!

I am very grateful to these friends! 

Of course, I look for older Valentines at thrift stores and estate sales. The latter location is where I picked up this:

This one looks old but I'm not sure how old. Loved the cat duo!

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a set of Valentines at a thrift store - I'm guessing they're from the 1970's, so not super old. Still seem more interesting - and better quality - than what is sold today.

Very appropriate for where I live!

Notice the mushroom with hearts on it - that is what led to me to believe that these Valentines might be from the 1970's, as the mushroom was a popular motif then. 

Another bunny:

This one looks as happy as can be hopping around! 

This Valentine was surely inspired by astronauts landing on the moon, so undoubtedly this design was from the very early 1970's. 

By the way, I paid 25c for this set of Valentines, which numbered 40, with about 25 different designs in all. 

Last but not least, here is a handmade valentine from around 1967:

I made this for my mom and it was returned to me last year after her death. It's supposed to be a scene of a school crossing guard and three children walking by holding Valentines. "Stop! Be My Valentine" is what I had printed. 

I guess it's not too bad, but unfortunately I never really did learn to draw much better than this!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Holidays - Valentines For My Family

Hello! After making the valentines shown hereI had plenty of leftover painted paper and vintage paper doilies, so decided to use these scraps to make Valentine's Day cards for my family,

Here's how they turned out:

Supplies used: white cardstock, heart-shaped piece of paper I'd painted a previous year, heart-shaped piece of art paper I painted this year, scrap of vintage paper doily, and "love" stamped on the card with red StazOn ink. 

Simple but pretty, I felt. I hope my family liked them as well!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Holidays - Returning The Favor

Hello! Knowing my love of vintage things, last year a friend sent me some valentines that her mother had received as a child. So I decided it'd only be appropriate to use one of these vintage valentines as part of my crafted card to my friend this year. 

I deliberately kept it simple as to not detract from the vintage valentine. (I'm not sure how old that valentine is; maybe late 30's?) I used white cardstock for the base, the art paper I'd painted earlier in the week, handpainted vintage ledger paper, the valentine, and the word "lovely" from an old school worksheet (from when my husband was in 2nd grade in the mid-1960's).  

I had mailed this card out on Thursday but feared that it might not make it to its destination in the Pacific Northwest in time for Valentine's Day. But my friend informed me that her card had arrived - so many thanks to the USPS!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Holidays - Valentine Exchange #2

Hello! As promised in the previous post, I want to show off the awesome Valentine cards I got from my artist friends:

Intense colors, lots of textures - paints, felts, beads, hand-lettering. This friend has had her art featured in magazines and books - plus has one book of her own to her credit. 

Fiery, glossy reds and golds - very cool card. This friend endeavored to make her cards in spite of the challenge of a huge home renovation project that's been going on for months now.

Sweet, soothing colors to this card, and I love the crocheted heart! This friend is a whiz at crocheting and knitting - and also has sold some watercolor paintings. 

Got a delightful Valentine in the mail from another friend today; maybe that'll be the subject of another Valentine-themed post!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Holidays - Valentine Exchange #1

Hello! Earlier this week I met up with a few friends to exchange handmade Valentine's Day cards, a fitting activity since we'd all met several years ago at an ATC (artist trading card) crafting class. It was a very small class, so it was easy to arrange get-togethers on our own once the class was finished. One of the students moved to CA a few years back, but the rest of us still keep tabs on each other from time to time. 

In this post I'll show off what I made for the exchange:

The three cards are waiting to be placed into handmade envelopes, which I had crafted out of old calendars. 

Individual close-ups follow:

I liked how these turned out. Materials used were: white cardstock, cream-colored felt, flower-shaped fabric piece, heart-shaped yo-yo, vintage button, vintage twill tape stamped with red ink, vintage ledger paper used for stem and heart-shaped leaves and vintage word cut from old school worksheet. 

A little more detail:

The schoolteacher who used the ledger book over 100 years ago would no doubt be surprised that his ledger now has a role of crafting material. The paper is delicate, so it has to be cut and handled carefully, but I enjoy giving it new life in my projects.

In another post, I'll show off what cards I received in return!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Holidays - Valentines For Veterans

Hello! Being a crafter of greeting cards, Valentine's Day is a busy holiday for me, and my annual contribution to the Valentines For Veterans program is one reason why. I first learned of this program in the Annie's Mailbox advice column, which is the renamed version of the Ann Landers column. Every year the call goes out in Annie's Mailbox for people to bring or mail valentines to veterans in VA hospitals around the country. Because of the distance involved, I opt to mail my valentines to the closest VA hospital in my area, but it would be fun to deliver them in person some year and meet the recipients!

I make two dozen every year, so by necessity I want something simple.  A couple of weeks ago I found a package of vintage paper doilies at a thrift store and thought it'd be nice to cut heart shapes from them to mount on a red background. I wasn't sure what to use for that background, but then I remembered that I had some bland off-white art paper that could be dressed up with paint (I wouldn't have bought this paper on its own, but it came as part of a grab bag-type purchase that was a terrific bargain). 

I used red and dark pink acrylic paints on this boring paper, which you can see below, drying before being cut up:

Not quite so boring now!

And here's the finished card:

Supplies used: white cardstock, painted art paper piece, vintage paper doily edged with red marker, stamped saying on vintage notepad paper with red StazOn ink.

And here's a close-up:

I liked how the painted paper turned out. Adding paint and brushing it across the paper roughened up the surface and gave it a canvas-like look. I don't know why I didn't think of dressing up this bland paper with paint earlier (I've had it for several years by now), but better late than never, I suppose. 

As I don't normally purchase paper doilies, I don't know if these vintage ones were better made than brand-new versions, but they were certainly cheaper. The lace-like effect is certainly pretty enough, but I learned that bits and pieces of the doilies would come off while being cut. I would glue these back into place as needed, which was a bit of a pain, but I persevered and got my two dozen done. 

I then wrote a short note inside each card, placed the cards in envelopes and mailed them out in one box earlier today. In years past I've gotten thank you notes notes stating that the veterans enjoyed their cards. I appreciate the thanks mostly as proof that my cards arrived at their destination, but it always gives me a good feeling to do this. Our service men and women gave of themselves to keep us safe here and abroad, so I feel this is a small payback on my part.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Thrifty Acres - The Winter That Hasn't Been

Hello! Winter weather has been quite unusual thus far in these parts. For example, on Sunday we got at least 8" snow - only to see most of it melt away yesterday when we got up into the 50's - a full 23 degrees warmer than our normal high for the date. This is how it's been the whole winter - a snowstorm comes in, followed by a prolonged period of milder and often sunny weather. 

Not dreaming that January was going to be so mild, I put up my winter decor at the beginning of that month. Now that it's February and time to put up Valentine's Day decorations, I figured I'd show off my indoor winter scene before I put them away. 

A friend in Wisconsin made this jolly trio for me. 

I mentioned finding this snowman container in this postHe was a good find!

Above are shown some of the ornaments on my winter-themed feather tree. I made the sequined skate ornament years ago from a yard sale craft kit. My late mother-in-law created the crocheted snowflakes. The metal snowflake and the snowman on skates were thrift store finds. 

My husband gave me the blue and gold ornament in my Christmas stocking one year; purchased at a fair trade store. The wooden snowman ornament is from Steinbach, a German company, and was purchased, along with the wooden snowman seen on the table behind it, in the same bag described here.

I think that the above is a pretty scene! The larger snowflakes were purchased at a thrift store in late December; I think I paid 50c for the set of six. The smaller snowflakes hanging below them are more from the set my mother-in-law gave me one Christmas over 20 years ago. I hung these snowflakes from the dining room chandelier.

I'll end with a close-up of one of the crocheted snowflakes. Isn't it beautiful? Although real snowflakes are beautiful as well, I'm glad they have currently been more scarce than usual!