Using What You Got


This mixed media project started with a curbside find.  Poor outdated little thing!  In the picture, I have started with a coat of artist white gesso on her

How many times might you have looked at one of these 1980’s cast offs in the thrift store?  Well, I thought I might be able to do something to her to give her a lovely make over.  With Christmas coming, I got to work.  I did a cut out on my scroll saw to accommodate a miniature frame, creating a shadow box effect for a Tim Holtz Idea-ology Birdcage.   I used a mixture of Delta Ceramcoat navy and Gleams 14k gold acrylic paint to create my own version of a colored metallic paint for the base color which created a shimmery teal color which made me happy.

Today, after a mixed media application of a sculptured head that I wasn’t completely happy with,  a variety of materials; Creative Paper Clay used in an Iron Orchid Design casting (on the head piece) and vintage buttons castings, several Artminds laser cut wood scrolls from Michaels, beads, microbeads, rhinestones, a Vintaj brass bird whispering in her ear, and bits from my collection of cast offs, with metallic gold highlighting and Thicketworks DIY rust paste, I’d say she was looking a lot better.

Isn’t that rust paste gorgeous?

So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key

Eagles-Already Gone

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Here’s what I’ve been working on lately. Please disregard the plywood floors but that is what is allowing me to use my dining room as my work space right now, until we get our new floors in!

 
Not really Mixed Media, more decoupage, but I really needed to work on some of the projects cluttering the garage. I don’t love decoupage and now wish I had done a transfer instead.
I used some images from the Graphics Fairy, but the main image is an illustration, which was the inspiration for doing this desk this way, from the late 19th century by Albert Robida called “Leaving the Opera in the Year 2000.” I found it on a site called The Public Domain Review which has some really interesting images. Once I saw it, I knew I had to use it somehow.
This is so not my usual style which is more French Country and Cottage. When I had the top done, my husband came home, and I thought I would get “the look,” you know the one that implies, “God, what is she thinking?” But he surprised me by saying, “You’re not selling this one are you? That’s so cool!” My #1 fan.
So OK, I guess I have to keep it even if it doesn’t go with anything else in my house!
Here’s what it looked like before.

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I’m so excited to have this next piece of art completed!  My first work using paper maché as the primary medium!  The project was inspired by the swan decoys I kept seeing in examples of French Country home decor photos on Pinterest.  I wanted one but didn’t want to pay the high prices.

Then I got to thinking about the pair of nesting swans in the conservation area that is behind my house.  This area, Salem Woods, is such a gift for this city.  It is a slice of wilderness in the middle of an urban area and I get to enjoy it’s benefits every day.  I hike in these woods and go to the pond to watch the ducks, geese and swans.  The pond is a haven for so many types of wildlife.

Because of this, I wanted to pay tribute and make more people aware of this hidden gem through my art. So, I got to work and this is what I accomplished.

I also wanted to create some mixed media surprises in this sculpture so the wings open to expose a little world.

The little accordion books fit into the little spaces inside the wings.

Each book page has some of my favorite things about the woods created with various mixed media techniques.  90% of the entire piece is recycled materials-newspaper, cereal boxes, and even candy wrappers.

This artwork will be entered into the upcoming Salem Art Association show.  I’ll be happy to keep it if it comes back home!

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My latest project was a makeover for a sad little box that I got at the thrift store so long ago and sat in the basement forever.  I think I paid less than $5 for it and it is a good thing because the supplies cost a little more than I would have liked.

But, boy, do I love the results!

ugly-duck-box

Here are some of my inspiration pictures.

picmonkey-image

Here is the before.  Sad little duckies…..

img_0943I took the whole thing apart, removing the hardware and peeling off all the lose paper.

img_2717What a mess!  But in that mess was pure French gold!

I applied plain brown kraft paper to the inside of the chip board pieces using a watered down wood glue.

img_2718And added a French script fabric to the outsides and trimmed with a faux leather fabric.  Both of these fabrics were on the clearance rack at the fabric store.

I reused some of the hardware, which I repainted with a faux rusty effect using black and copper spray paint.

Added black upholstery tacks  found at the hardware store to the faux leather strips and Voila!  Ugly duck to French swan!

ugly-duck-collage

 

 

Doesn’t every kitchen need more storage?  I have this alley way of a galley kitchen that is sorely lacking in the storage department.  So what to do?

I ‘inherited’ this extremely ugly but utilitarian storage cabinet.  Oh, no! There was no place in my renovation plans for something like this!  Here is a cabinet that is exactly the same as the one I had.  No, just no.

old-pantry

So, in shopping for a replacement, this was on  my pin board:

And this one:

No, can’t justify paying those prices for a pantry cupboard, not while we are still in renovation mode.  And we scrounged the thrift/antique places with no luck in finding a suitable replacement, at the right price, without having to do some work on it.  If I had to paint it, might as well paint the one I have.

So, after some chalk paint, some graphics magic from the Graphics Fairy, and some added molding,  voila!  Old store sign fancy pantry!

Old Store Sign Pantry

Old Store Sign Pantry

 

Before and After

Before and After

Still have to add some handles, but so happy with it!

#GraphicsFairy

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My daughter didn’t think I’d want it back.  In her defense, it was a mess. One of the drawer fronts was fallen off, the back was in pieces, it was dark, dirty and scratched up.

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It just had not fared well with a house of kids and cats.

So it took the four hour ride home with me and sat in the dining room for a couple of months before I got to it. And naturally, I didn’t take ‘before’ photos.  Just cuz.

But here are some in progress shots.  After I removed about a hundred nails. And filled in the scratches on the top with wood filler. And sanded the h+++ out of the whole thing.  And replaced two of the drawer bottoms.  And put the whole thing back together with new glue and nails.

IMG_2600We had a whole pile of old maps from National Geographic Magazines.  I glued (mixture of wood glue and water) some inside the drawers to add some character. I guess I have been in a traveling state of mind lately.

IMG_2601I also had removed the brass hardware off the drawers and gave them a cleaning.  I used an internet tip about using mayonnaise to clean the brass.  It sounds weird, but it really worked.  Put it on, let it set for a bit and scrub off.  I left a little of the patina on because I didn’t want it too brassy, shiny.

IMG_2602.JPGPainted the sides of the drawers to match the top using my home made chalk paint recipe with a sample jar of Behr color called Harbor, although I didn’t want a nautical look, I liked that the color matched the maps. (click the link to find my recipe on that post)

IMG_2605I used a compass image from the net and enlarged it using Block Posters, a free site that allows you to enlarge a photo. The image must be in a format that they accept.

I used carbon/transfer paper to trace the design onto the dresser top and then painted in the design.  After the paint was dry, I sanded it lightly to give it a faded look and then added stain because the paint was a little too bright for the look I was going for.  I just put a little stain on a paper towel, rubbed a little on and buffed it in until I got the effect I was looking for.

IMG_2606.JPGLeaving the wood natural, I added a couple of coats of Minwax Polycrylic to the whole thing, and a couple extra coats to the top.

So with the compass, I decided to use the popular saying from Lord of the Rings, but when I looked up the poem for the proper wording, I found the actual first line, and thought it appropriate for the piece. “All that is gold does not glitter.”  It seemed to fit.

IMG_2694I guess my advice is don’t be afraid to put some elbow grease into something that looks like it might be worth the effort.

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(I do not have affiliates.  I provide links so you can see what products I used)

Thanks for reading,

Lisa

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We have shells. Lots of shells. I collect shells, Jeff collected shells on his world travels and we were given his aunt’s collection when she passed away.

I wanted to display some of the sea fans we had received.  I created some shadow boxes with scrap pieces and some weathered pieces of sand fence from Cape Cod.

With ephemera I’ve been collecting (yes, sadly, I have a lot of ‘stuff’ collected)  I created several shadow boxes to hang.  Items I used include Scrabble tiles, vintage stamps, shells and sea glass i collected, and various decorative papers, along with the sea fans.

sand-sea-salt

Jeff stitched them together in photoshop so they look like they are all one, but are actually three separate 6 x 12 inch pictures.

I love the way they turned out.

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