Happy Mail

It’s a lovely thing to get unexpected gifts –  and my life is rich in them at the moment.

Just prior to Christmas I received an email from another blogging friend Katyoparty over at ArtOutWithYourHeArtOut telling me she had a few spare gelatos and they were winging their way to me, along with ‘a few other bits’ she thought I might quite like.

If you aren’t an arty-crafty type, gelatos are a newish product somewhere between a pastel, a crayon and a paint.  They come in something resembling a lip gloss tube, are richly pigmented, easily moved about with your finger and are water soluble.  You can use them like a crayon, an oil pastel or watercolour paint.  They are a lot of fun and in my part of the world anyway, exorbitantly expensive.

I was very excited – I didn’t have any gelatos and had never received ‘Happy Mail’ before.

The courier delivered a box to my door a few days ago.  It was battered and beaten and torn  open at the top – it looked as if it had been round the world twice and through a few storms along the way.

The first thing I saw was a beautiful wooden box – a cigar box, just perfect for altering.

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And here is what was inside the box or packaged alongside it, all piled on the little table for my delighted eyes to feast in.

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There is an array of flowers large and small, pretty papers, sundry embellishments, templates and masks……… and of course the gelatos.

Here is the pretty hand made card Katie sent and just peeking out from beside it is – I’m guessing – some of her own delightfully hand painted paper.

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And here are more embellishments and masks and some die cut flowers and sundry bits and bobs:

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It quite made my day!  I sift through them as I go about my daily art task of recording a word a day – I’ll show you some of those in another day or two.

So, many happy thank yous to katieoparty – it was a real treat!  Do check out her blog and her videos if you get a chance.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did 🙂

You’ve Got Mail!

I wasn’t going to write a post today – I’m still nursing this lap top gently along – but this was all too funny and cute for words and I just had to share it.

A wee packet arrived with the courier this morning and as I cut open the plastic delivery bag a scattering and tinkling windfall ran across the table …. in their careful handling of our post the deliverers had inadvertently caused the tissue paper wrap to tear and all the little extras my fabulous supplier had put into my parcel were released……

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which caused this to happen:

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“Hullo Mama – whatja got there then?”

I’ve got this:

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This pretty package contains my ordered supplies – those gorgeous flowers and the beaded ribbon and the pile of pretties on the table are all the little extras that Louise from Retail Girl  – my supplier also found on the kiwi website Trademe –  puts in.  This is my third order from her and every time her parcel arrives it is like Christmas morning!

These are the goodies I ordered – mostly coloured half pearls and blingy ribbon sliders [the pearls fit in the sliders] for all the gift bags and other secret things I am making for Christmas presents.  🙂

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I was sitting admiring all my little extras – those pretty flowers have clips attached so you can wear them in your hair………..

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….when I heard a thunk, which sounded to my finely tuned ears suspiciously like a cat arriving on a table top.

“Ooops, really I don’t know what happened – I was there  …..”

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“…..and now I’m here …..”

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“But now I’m here, I’ll just have a wee look shall I?”

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“Very interesting….”

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“But what’s this?”

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“I’ve got it ……..”

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“Ooops!”

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“Did I kill it?”

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“I’ll just sit here and look out the window for a bit…..”

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“……….and you can admire your pretties ………”

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“……….and admire how very handsome I am too!”

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Ain’t he though!

Thanks for stopping by today, I love that you did!

PS If you hit the link to retail Girl and get an error message, just hit the ‘home’ button and that will take you to Louise’s site.

Creating ‘Antique’ Buttons

I decided I may need some antique buttons for the infamous ‘Box to Book’ project………… I’m not absolutely sure, but might need to embellish a page or two with some.

I happen to have three Victorian buttons, one is from a beautiful antique night gown I used to wear when I was young and romantic – the night gown is long gone [along with my youthful romanticism – but that’s another story ….] and all I have left are the buttons, which I am a bit reluctant to actually use, as I just like having them lying about in my button box – smiling wistfully to myself whenever I stumble upon them…… which sounds a bit Miss Haversham-ish when said out loud…….

Two of them have such a beautiful hand made look to them ~ the one at the bottom left of the photo is off the night gown and the button on the right may be pre-Victorian and came from a ladies glove.  It is very delicate and bendy – that’s a technical term –  apparently just a bit of leather covered with some fabric:

Victorian Buttons

I’d recently seen a You Tube video from the remarkable Jennibellie, a talented young English artist who recycles everything and I took inspiration from her and decided I too could make my own buttons!

I wanted to achieve a similar hand made look, but knew I would never have the patience to make something quite so small and would need to be satisfied with a slightly bigger version and mine also needed to be coloured to complement their supposed destination………

However, in true Contented Crafter fashion I completely forgot to take photos until the project was almost complete, so I staged a couple of steps – like this first one

All you need to start

All you need to start

I used half a food wrap inner tube – about the same size as a toilet paper cardboard inner, just slightly weightier.  I opened it out and cut it into strips then squares, then rounded most of them up to make something resembling circles.  I cut bigger circles and an equal number of smaller circles and had enough to make nine buttons.

I glued one big and one small circle together, nine times.  When the glue was dry I punched two holes in each ‘button’ with my trusty WRMK  crop-a-dile.

Using the multi-media glue I took squares of white tissue and wrapped each button 3 or 4 times with layers of wet paper.  I used black tissue paper on two of the buttons and left them all overnight to set.

This morning they greeted me looking remarkably button like – I was most pleased with them and remembered to get the camera out!

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The next step was to add layers of colour and a little patterning for interest:

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I achieved this with a base of ‘Aged Mahogany’ and then randomly stamped a little floret stamp in ‘Blazing Red’ over the top.

When the inks were dry I embossed with clear powder to get a glazed appearance for the coloured buttons and made up a mixture of black, gold and green embossing powders to give an aged worn-gold appearance to the two black buttons:

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And now I have to apologise for the quality of photos [yes, again!] any light coming into my play-room had been stolen by the black thunder clouds that had moved in and begun to hurl hail stones the size of golf balls at my tiny house………… poor Orlando retired to the bedroom and burrowed under the duvet ….. where I was tempted to join him despite it being 1:00 in the p.m.!!

I soldiered on and kept on embossing until I was satisfied with the results.  Here is a close up of two buttons, on the left is un-glazed and the one on the right has been completed:

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And here are all nine, finished and ready to go:

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One pink button has been treated to a wee scatter of the worn gold mixture and has a satisfyingly well worn appearance, which my unfortunate photography skills have entirely missed capturing ….

Now it will be interesting to see if they make it into the current project – or maybe turn up somewhere else altogether!

Thanks for dropping by – always lovely to see you’ve been!  🙂