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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Making Mannequin Heads or 8 Heads in a Duffle Bag

 Hi guys! It is a bit "8 Heads in a Duffle Bag" around my house lately...although they are not in a duffle bag..they are overtaking my studio..also known as my dining room! I have been working on a new batch of mannequin heads. I know some people get creeped out by dolls  (pediophobia..fear of dolls..who knew? I would have guessed that was a fear of pedophiles) There is also automatonophobia..fear of human like figures such as mannequins, wax figures and one that actually creeps me to type..ventriloquist dummies (EEEK!) There is also coulrophobia..fear of clowns.  I must admit while I don't have a fear of clowns per say..I do have an intense dislike. I do find some dolls to be creepy and while mannequins don't generally creep me, I would not want to find myself locked in a store room full of creepy ones!

So with all those fears, here I go making manni heads. They really do not creepy me out in the least..well..except when I have the whites of their eyes painted and not the irises yet..that is a bit zombie creepy! My kids have gotten used to them over the years...whether they liked it or not!

I had a request for some male mannequins heads so these will be a first for me.

The plasterwork is done except for a bit of sanding.

I prefer them to have a rustic, primitive ,vintage finish.

I am inspired by old mannequin heads like these..I want to experiment with more "antique" finishes on some of these new ones.

I like the serene faces...

I am also inspired by antique santos figures.. they were religious statues used in churches. They were usually painted gesso over carved wood.

I like antique store mannequin heads, ships figureheads, and folk art carvings too. There is so much inspiration out there if you look!

The santos have such peaceful faces  (ok..the glass eyes even creep me a bit!)

These were usually dressed with ornate gowns and their bottom halves were mostly wood "cages" as they were covered by the gowns and never seen.

This one is actually an antique doll..another beautiful inspiration..she reminds me a bit of my sister Jess.

These are a few that I have sold previously. This style was more like a antique store manni..she had a bun and minimal "make-up".

This one was a flapper era gal with heavy make-up.. and a beauty mark!

This one was a red head..

This one has an old fashioned swim cap. 

This girl was a fav of mine. I named her Josephine. She had a base of an old wooden lamp bottom.


I give them multi tonal, textural hair. I was surprised how long ago I sold these..I really need to get back to crackin'!

This one is one of my (sold)collaged mannequin heads. She was collaged with antique book pages, not plasterwork. The hat sold too to a fellow blogger Carol  from It was a pretty one! So my week looks to be spent painting heads..what an odd life I live..but never a dull moment! I'll post them when I get them painted. My your week be productive and your problems few! 'Til next time! Julia

Friday, July 26, 2013

We are Engaged!

Well..not ME but my daughter Hope! She hopes to get married next summer if she can get it scheduled with her optometry internship weeks (which she should). SO off we go into the bridal fray! My husband graciously offered her $5000 to elope, but no such luck for him. We are not rolling in the dough, so we will be making a lot of budget minded choices where we can. I told her she will have a handmade wedding, but a pretty one! Stay tuned for I shall be sharing what we make! I think those big, high dollar weddings are ridiculous, but I know there are expenses no matter what you do! So off we go..with a "promise ringed" daughter number 2 waiting in the wings and our oldest son who just asked his girlfriend's father for his blessing to marry her too! (Whew)

Here is what I was up to this week. I made a dozen of these small pillows for my Etsy shop.

The pillows were pre made, but I raided my vintage stash of lace, buttons and ribbons.

I added rosettes and large vintage mother of pearl buttons and vintage and antique lace. I sometimes cringe to use up my "good stuff", but I read a story by a fellow artist/crafter once who said basically, when you use your "good stuff" that is when you GET "good stuff". And honestly, I have more "good stuff" than I can probably use!

These were some of the vintage film reels listed this week in my husband's shop. These are already on their way to California!

I listed some vintage pottery pieces this week in my shop. I looooove aqua pottery, so selling this is a bit miraculous for me! I have decided to purge a bit from my collections though. I want to remodel my living room and get rid of a couple of my big cabinets, so something has to go!

 These are cool makers mark and I doubt they are McCoy (wrong bottoms) but maybe Hull or one of the California potteries. These have a beachy, wave look to them!

I listed a few pieces of vintage doll clothes that I repossessed from my local booth. I already sold one shabby, faded Raggedy Andy style suit. I still have this one which I think is homemade..sometimes it is hard to tell. I usually look for serged seams as most home sewers did not have sergers back then!

I have a weak spot for vintage doll clothes. I always think they would look so cute on a clothesline "garland" in a laundry room or a little girl's room!

Or even just a few pinned up on vintage wooden hangers like this one..

Here is one thing we will probably be using at Hope's wedding... lots of vintage aqua ball jars for vases or candleholders, and lots of my paper peonies! I make these with coffee filters and will eventually be doing a tutorial here.

I also worked on these this week. These are Victorian style nosegays or posies I made with vintage style millinery velvet flowers and antique paper and vintage ribbons.

I edged them with vintage mica flakes from the stash I found/bought last week for a bit of glimmer.

This was a quickie I made for my booth. I should have taken a "before"! It was a shabby  grunge-y metal tool box with permanent marker on it. I scrubbed it with Comet and Dawn to get rid of the grease, and spray painted it inside and out a lovely aqua. I E6000 glued on a vintage patina-ed brass house number. I covered the screw holes with bling-y rhinestones. Much better!

These are something else I am making for my shop. They are vintage style "German" sheep that I covered with more of the vintage mica..too cute! My photos weren't the best so I need to do a re-shoot before I list them.

I found this little gal today. I felt she was too cool to leave behind. She is a 40's-50's handmade sawdust stuffed cloth doll. She has faded yarn braids and a rustic stitched face. Her body and head are stuffed with cotton or wool. She has seam jointed arms and legs. She even has a slip (she's a nice girl) and panties hiked up under her armpits. She didn't tell me her name but she looks like fun!

I listed 2 of these in my handmade shop. I made these from new old stock pillow ticking and vintage patchwork quilt stars. I like how these have a modern farmhouse feel!

Today was also my grandson Hunter's 5th birthday. I can't believe how fast the time has gone! He and his momma live with us while she finishes college. When they eventually move out, I don't know what I'll do! Sarge here is my grand-dog. He is Hope's "baby". He thinks he is a people. He is visiting us for the summer with his momma while she is on break from optometry school. He is so smart and I spoil him terribly. When she said she got a pit bull puppy I was concerned, but he is a laid back pretty boy and so goofy he makes me laugh every day! Well..I think there maaaay be a couple of mini Snickers and some cake left soooooo... until next time! I hope your week is filled with good news, productivity, goofiness, and cake!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Scott's Flea Market and Americasmart in Atlanta

 Hi guys! I finally got my photos off my cellphone. I am sooo technically challenged! I am amazed I even figured out HOW to take pics with my phone. My phone is very low tech and can only hold about a dozen photos at a time time I take my camera!  I am a Midwestern farm girl, so to me, Atlanta is Big City. Traffic gives me fits and I gop out the windows at the tall buildings like..well.. someone who grew up with 3 story buildings being the tallest thing in town besides the grain elevator!( I believe the correct term may be a "yokel"!) We were spending the weekend going to Americasmart and Scotts Flea Market and checking out an estate sale.
 Americasmart is a wholesale marketplace. There are 3 tall buildings connected by bridges. It is floors and floors of wholesale merchandise..each floor is sort of like a mini mall. There are elevators which are hard to catch and usually packed so we usually take one of  the many escalators which are always somehow "handily" located on the furthest corner from wherever you are or whatever showroom you want to see!
You aren't supposed to take photos inside as the vendors don't want people making knock offs of their merchandise. I didn't take any merchandise photos but wanted to show a tiny bit of the inside. This gives you a bit of an idea. This is the central atrium of the building that holds mostly clothes,food, jewelry and some temporaries. Temporaries are vendors spaces of companies that are new or do not have a permanent showroom. For me, that is where you can see some of the newest, most exciting merchandise. We were mostly looking for hardware and items to sell in our Ebay shop. It is always interesting to just LOOK. I have learned to wear my most comfortable shoes, but still after a few hours my hip sockets start aching..I must be getting old! (age denial) We had a fun weekend..we celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary a few days before. We ate at the restaurant at the top of the hotel we stayed at. It was nice and there was live music in the form of an acoustic rock guitarist who was very chatty with the few of us in there. He asked who was married and when I raised my hand he said, "How long?" I replied 31 years and he gave us guff the rest of our meal..and dedicated a couple songs to us. It was nice to be dressed up a bit and out of the house!
Saturday morning we got up early and went to an estate sale where we got this lovely piece. It is a large, basketball sized vintage crystal ceiling light fixture. It is gorgeous and I will probably regret selling it! It will go on Ebay this week. I'd probably just leave it on a table top with an electric candle inside and admire its crystal pumpkin fabulousity! We got a few other goodies too. I scored a bunch of boxes of vintage mica..I will be in glittery flakey heaven for quite awhile! We were there on half price day..I hate to think what we missed..there was still a lot left... although glassware and china are usually not what I look for anymore.
 After the estate sale we went to Scott's Flea Market. It is 2 big buildings full plus outdoor vendors. Inside is pretty much retail prices for me but I did buy some vintage brass jewelry charms. The outside has better prices. I got several small zinc cups/planters that I plan to upcycled into candleholders. We also got a batch of vintage hardware. The 2 main buildings are separated by a highway. You pay $5 per person to get in and you get a ticket good for both buildings. There is a shuttle or you can drive over to the other parking lot and park but SOMEBODY lost our tickets while he was paying for lunch or buying something so we never made it over to building 2..time was also running out as we wanted to get back to Americasmart and catch some more vendors we had missed the day before. I did get a few pics.. These first are of Balinese boatwood furniture. They are made of old boatwood. If you are an Etsy person, there was a huuuuge stink last year when one of the featured sellers was selling this furniture as HER "handmade". It comes in from Bali on a boat in a box and you assemble it. She'd had a story that inferred she made it herself complete with large price mark up and when outed by those who knew better (Including Regretsy) well..the poo hit the fan.
 She is still referred to as Baliwood Barbie in some Etsy "smoothed" it over by having her reclassify herself as a collective..a group of people making the end product. just struck me funny seeing it for sale at the fleamarket. (It was also for sale at Americasmart!)
 I only got a few pics..
There is a lot to see and it is much better than my photos! If you are in Atlanta on market weekends, (Google for specifics) it would be a fun way to spend your morning or afternoon. We also had some excellent BBQ  for lunch there!

I liked this booth..cute vintage clothes and girly things. There is everything there from higher end, European imported furniture to primitives, to Mid Century, to industrial and architectural salvage ..clothes, ephemera, smalls to jewelry galore.

 I liked this locker..
These chairs were cool too.
 A funky lamp made from an old doll body!
 A nice primitive cupboard..
 and just lots of cool color and "smalls". A nice weekend! I hit another estate sale this Friday in a warehouse in Knoxville. I got a few pieces there including a shabby mannequin to be upcycled, an industrial cart and casters,  old film reels to upcycle or sell, some vintage glassware, a jadeite coffee mug, a few more pieces and this cool sign (below)
It is heavy metal..Texas Joe & Marian Australian Whip Manipulators..too cool! I am envisioning one of those acts where Texas Joe whip smacked lit ciagettes out of Marian's lips while blindfolded ala the 80's Devo music video..crrrack that whip! Whip it..whip it good...I think that song is a soundtrack for a commercial now..I'm getting old! (yet again!)
Friday was also my firstborn son who is in heaven's 30th birthday. He was born with a heart condition and died during surgery a day and a half later.We were so shocked and grief stricken..not what a young couple envisions as even a possibility with their first child! So I was sitting in front of the warehouse waiting for the sale to begin, thinking about it being his birthday and I saw this heart on the bumper of a crusty old beater pickup parked next to the building right next to me. I seem to get "heart signs" especially on Tyler's birthdays.I have gotten a lot of heart shaped stones, a pink glass heart charm and a large red handmade glass bead that I found on his birthday a couple years ago. You can see that one in the nest of eggs in my "About Me" area above one the right "menu" area.One mother's day I was thinking about him and put my hand in my pocket and found a vintage mother of pearl pin that said "Mother". I was cleaning in my old store at the time and truly do not remember putting it there! Maybe coincidence, maybe a sign from above! Now that my store is closed, I spend my mother's days not at work, but at home being if not spoiled, at least left relatively undisturbed by my family! My upcoming week will be spent creating and taking photos for my Etsy shops and listing on Etsy and Ebay. I'm trying to get my Etsy shops back up to at least 100 items each! I'll have more photos to share of what I've been making soon! Until then! Julia