It’s been a busy 2 months for Val and me. We greatly neglected posting so I wanted to share a quick little handmade gift bag idea that I conjured up this holiday season. I have a collection of old shopping bags with fun colors and patterns, so I thought why not repurpose them into my own custom gift bags. I just cut them and sewed them back together in a unique way that was appropriate in size for the gift enclosed. Easy!
-Sarah in CA

It’s been a busy 2 months for Val and me. We greatly neglected posting so I wanted to share a quick little handmade gift bag idea that I conjured up this holiday season. I have a collection of old shopping bags with fun colors and patterns, so I thought why not repurpose them into my own custom gift bags. I just cut them and sewed them back together in a unique way that was appropriate in size for the gift enclosed. Easy!

-Sarah in CA

I’m on my way to my sister’s wedding in Northern Ireland! And since I didn’t post last week and likely will not post next week, here’s a little last minute craft segment. 
A short time ago, my sister requested that I create for her a small hair accessory that was not over-the-top but still had the bridal flair since she will not be wearing a veil. After a quick search of bridal hair ideas on Pinterest, I decided on a little netting with white ostrich feathers which I purchased for just under $5. But the piece was missing some bling, so I attached a vintage button from my prized button collection. I love the way the ostrich feathers lightly sway - so delicate and pretty - and the button provides just the right amount of sparkle. I’ll try to get a pic of the piece clipped on her hair. Until then, I’m unplugged for the next 8 days. Hopefully, I’ll return with a bounty of ideas and inspiration!
-Sarah from the West

I’m on my way to my sister’s wedding in Northern Ireland! And since I didn’t post last week and likely will not post next week, here’s a little last minute craft segment. 

A short time ago, my sister requested that I create for her a small hair accessory that was not over-the-top but still had the bridal flair since she will not be wearing a veil. After a quick search of bridal hair ideas on Pinterest, I decided on a little netting with white ostrich feathers which I purchased for just under $5. But the piece was missing some bling, so I attached a vintage button from my prized button collection. I love the way the ostrich feathers lightly sway - so delicate and pretty - and the button provides just the right amount of sparkle. I’ll try to get a pic of the piece clipped on her hair. Until then, I’m unplugged for the next 8 days. Hopefully, I’ll return with a bounty of ideas and inspiration!

-Sarah from the West

Stitching Pennies has got me in stitches, literally. Ever since the start of this blog, my creative focus has shifted to embroidery. I’ve never been much of an embroiderer—my interests have always leaned toward weaving, surface painting/collage, and 3-D art. However, in the past couple of weeks, I’ve desired to sit still on my sofa and stitch. I’ve found it to be quite calming amidst my otherwise hectic schedule for October. There is no set pattern or outcome for my stitching. My surface is an old white linen table runner that a friend gave me a couple of years ago, and I’m using my random collection of embroidery thread that has piled up over the years. I have an embroidery encyclopedia that I’m referencing, and my only goal is to at least sample every stitch in the book.  I guess you could say I’m in the process of creating a stitch sampler, although I have a feeling my end result will be somewhat different from traditional stitch samplers.
-Sarah from Cali

Stitching Pennies has got me in stitches, literally. Ever since the start of this blog, my creative focus has shifted to embroidery. I’ve never been much of an embroiderer—my interests have always leaned toward weaving, surface painting/collage, and 3-D art. However, in the past couple of weeks, I’ve desired to sit still on my sofa and stitch. I’ve found it to be quite calming amidst my otherwise hectic schedule for October. There is no set pattern or outcome for my stitching. My surface is an old white linen table runner that a friend gave me a couple of years ago, and I’m using my random collection of embroidery thread that has piled up over the years. I have an embroidery encyclopedia that I’m referencing, and my only goal is to at least sample every stitch in the book.  I guess you could say I’m in the process of creating a stitch sampler, although I have a feeling my end result will be somewhat different from traditional stitch samplers.

-Sarah from Cali

Going about the business of saving money has helped bring more clarity into my life lately. Crisp and vibrant compositions jump out at me on daily walks around my hood. Here’s a few captures from one of these recent jaunts. Extraordinary ordinary.

-Sarah from the west coast 

Lamp Remodel - I had this brown lamp with a busted shade. Instead of trying to replace the shade, I decided to save some money and give the lamp a remodel. 

Here’s how:

1. Painted the lamp base a fun yellow with acrylic paint. Let dry.

2. Cut up one large brown paper bag into 1inch - 1.5inch pieces for the overall shade and 2-3inch pieces for the rim of shade. (note*** I did not use the bottom of the bag with the creases)

3. Coated the lamp shade with a matte medium.

4. Starting applying the paper bag pieces to the shade with a paint brush. Coating again with the matte medium.

5. Allow longer pieces for the rim of the shade to be tucked up underneath. The rim pieces are tricky if they aren’t cut long enough and will pop-up. I used paper clips to hold my shorter pieces down until they dried. 

6. Apply a coat of watered down wood glue and gloss medium to entire shade. Let dry.

7. Apply a coat of gloss medium. Let Dry.

8. Attach shade to lamp, add bulb and you have a new lamp. Pennies spent and pennies saved.

Hope you enjoyed this little project as much as I did. Please note that the shade ages well just like leather:)

xo,

Valerie from the east coast.

Untitled Studio Exercise #1, playing around with materials like mini plastic bags, fabric remnants, piece of leather from a glove, old atlas pages and acrylic paint. It is a sewing machine assemblage. 

Untitled Studio Exercise #1, playing around with materials like mini plastic bags, fabric remnants, piece of leather from a glove, old atlas pages and acrylic paint. It is a sewing machine assemblage. 

DIY Artful Note Cards -  I love absolutely love stationery and really enjoy making my own. For this project I was inspired by the USPS Abstract Expressionists stamps I purchased this summer featuring Hans Hofmann, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollack, Joan Mitchell, Adolph Gottlieb, Arshile Gorky, William de Kooning, Clyfford Still and Barnett Newman.

The abstract expressionists revolutionized art and moved the US to the center of the art scene during the 1940’s and 50’s. This group of artists were primarily based in New York City and had radically different styles that created a new visual language based on color, motion and expression. Some say that “they transformed the act of painting into a means of self-discovery, which was both uniquely American and utterly new.”

Abstract expressionist paintings are among my favorites from art history because I believe that the paintings are still current and relevant today. I recently found an old newspaper article where I said this…”The 1930’s through the 1950’s happen to be my favorites because the lack of art supplies and world politics forced the great artists of the time to be resourceful and creative. Also, the world at the time needed to be inspired and distracted from the world affairs. The artists at the time became the voices of the people which throughout today, have become consistent.” So, when I saw these stamps I was more than excited.

These little pieces of art manufactured into stamps was a brilliant idea.  However, I was feeling it would be wasteful to have these tiny beauties end up in a mail recipients trash can somewhere. Though I couldn’t control their fate completely, I did have an opportunity to use them on my wedding rsvp envelopes so I knew those would be returned and safe from the garbage pail.

When they came back to me I loved them even more with their additional ink marks from being processed. I wanted to do something cool with them and thought they would be perfect on thank you cards. 

Here is how it happened:

1. I purchased very inexpensive white cards and envelopes at my local craft store that I found in the dollar bin.

2. Hand tore each stamp from the envelope to create an interesting edge

3. Used a glue stick to adhere them to the white cards.

4. You have yourself an amazing little piece of mail art!

My idea was that maybe someone would like the card enough to keep it from the fate of the landfill. If not, at least I did what I wanted to accomplish with this project - by creating something entirely new and my own, something that was cool and affordable, and paying homage to artist that I admire greatly. It’s always great to be reminded just how simple it is to create something fabulous for mere pennies.

Xo,

Valerie from the east coast

"The function of the artist is to express reality as felt." - Robert Motherwell