All posts by Laura

Politics Brings Haters to Art

Art appreciation is complicated enough. Bring politics into it and… things get really confused and messy.

Could you look at art and appreciate it for the sake of itself? How would your perception change knowing the artist was someone famous, notorious even? How does your art appreciation fare knowing the artist was Hitler?


Of course, that brings up the question – Who is Hitler to you, personally? Were you born before his death? Is your family German, Austrian, Jewish or European at all? What real relevance is there about Hitler for you in a personal way? Is there anything real enough to change the way you look at the art he created at various times in his life?

I admit, other than reading history, Hitler has very little connection to my life. My family are Austrian but I hardly know anyone from that connection and I’ve never travelled to Europe at all, so far. I can remember my Grandmother (on my Father’s side) ranting about “never letting a German into her house”. This was a little shocking to me considering I thought of myself as German (on my Mother’s side of the family). I never forgot her saying that and the conviction she had, or how misled she seemed to me in that moment.

Hitler was an artist, as are/ were many other people who didn’t stand out in history. What matters in art? How much does it matter that the artist was a German politician and later a famous dictator? Is art about politics? Do you still believe in the connection between politics and religion too?

Some questions don’t have easy answers. However, I would not like to see Hitler’s original art defaced or destroyed. It’s part of our history, our culture and something one man left behind of the beauty he found in the world.

A batch of the Führer’s watercolours has just been sold at a controversial auction. But as well as having zero artistic value, most ‘Hitlers’ are probably fake – so why do we continue to collude in this grotesque deception?

Source: Littered with fakes: why the Hitler art trade is such a sick joke

Canadian Vintage Postcards

Old Barrie, OntarioI have been a history fan since the day I first noticed old buildings with the carved and sculpted stonework, the majestic columns and the extras, like gargoyles. My Mother loves antiques. We still have some of the massive pieces of furniture which she told me were called Canadiana, over 100 years old made from trees far older than that even. The wood has become soft to the touch and the colour is lighter than the finished wooden furniture.

Anyway, nothing lasts forever. Isn’t that the sad part of history, architecture and antiques?

This is why I have always enjoyed finding vintage and antique postcards of old Canadian cities, towns and places I have been in the current time. In the old postcards you can see some of what once was and how a building (still standing) looked when it was new. The street views are my favourites. Horses still in the streets, sometimes sharing it with vehicles and sometimes, just horses and buggies. People along the sidewalks, some close enough to see a pattern in their clothes and the trimmings on their hats. Those were real, living people. Not a design someone created to add features to an illustration.

What do you think about when you see an old postcard? Travels? History? Collectibles and antiques? Maybe you see them for the art they are too?

Struggling with Art on Online Stores

I’m trying to make my ASCII art work for the online stores. So far I am sticking with working on Zazzle (recommended by a friend with many names) and CafePress (mostly because it’s been around a long time and I like the name). It is a very uphill battle. Each time I make some progress something else comes along to slow down the progress. Sadly, I only have one image showing on CafePress though I have loaded it with 5 or 6 on products. There is that small difference of loading up images (which was the simple part) and then getting the images on products which is turning out to be the tricky part. With Zazzle there are ever more tricky parts and my patience is pretty thin with them right now.

Of course, this is not where the story began. First, before I could make even this much progress, I had to adapt my art. ASCII art is not high resolution like a photograph, so I had to find a way to change that. A few weeks later I found the solution, thanks to an obscure video on YouTube which I have not been able to find twice. That’s an adventure I will write more about on my ASCII Artist blog for those who really want to know the details. Basically, it worked!

CafePress liked most of my newly resolutioned images. Half of them were not the 600 x 600 standard though. So I went back to the drawing board, sort of literally. I opened up my old, trusty MS FrontPage Image Editor (that’s not the actual, legal name) and I cut and patched something together to make it the right size. That worked. So, except for the fact that only one image is showing up on CafePress, I am happy with CafePress. The store looks nice. However, the lack of products actually showing up is a pretty large issue.

Also, today, I noticed the store index is not really working either. On the main page I can see products for greeting cards but if you click the index it goes into denial. So, even though CafePress was less headaches to load up images and products to sell and I did finally find a widget for my store to add to the blog (not by searching CafePress) I may eventually have to dump CafePress for lack of functionality. In shorter words, it’s not working.

Zazzle’s two main problems are that it screws up the images in between the process of loading them and placing them on products. I don’t know if it does this with photos being placed on products, it may just be a text art problem. It is a pretty big problem as it means all the time I spend uploading the image and fussing over getting it all working on the product was time I could have spent having a hot shower, making fresh coffee, or just about anything else which could have been even slightly productive.

The other Zazzle problem is being forced to decide and categorize everything. Not just the image but each individual product. How do I know what occasion someone might want to send someone else a coffee mug with an ASCII art lighthouse?… Also, just finding a category for lighthouse took far more time and patience than I was enjoying.

So, chances are I will be off and adventuring into other online stores like ArtFire and the odd other which I have found in my wandering. I just want something that works, it doesn’t have to be rich and famous.

Bed Dolls Will be Seen but not Heard

This bed doll with her poodle skirt comes from Td Creations Crochet on Etsy. I’ve also seen these dolls called boudoir dolls, a fancier sounding name for sure.

The doll is not meant to be a child’s toy. She was a fancy girl, dressed up with her hair in a complicated style and her clothing immaculate. She was a glamour girl.

Once you had made your bed the doll was posed on the bed, likely in the middle of your pillows – a place of honour.

Have you ever had a bed doll? Would you like one?

The nice thing would be creating new fashions for the doll. Though not all of them were meant to be undressed and re-dressed. If you buy or refurbish a doll to become a doll fashionista, make sure her arms and legs bend enough to be redressed in new outfits.

Many bed dolls I have seen online are wearing crocheted outfits. But, the doll my Mother bought me was all dressed in white satin and lace with ribbon flowers.

Repurposed Beanie Babies

Beanie Babies may have lost value as a collectible but they do make nice art. It helps that you can pick up a dozen of them for a quarter these days. I find them in the thrift shop and second hand toy stores. At times they are overstocked and bagged up, 25 cents for the lot of them.

So, what can you do with a lot of Beanie Babies taking up space in your closet, under your bed, or trapped in the attic?

Have some fun with Beanie Baby rogue taxidermy. Take apart the Beanie Babies and recreate them as different, unique creatures.  What a unicorn body looks like with the head of… a lion, a mouse, or a teddy bear and leave it at that. Or, you can turn them into morbid, weird and grotesque creations. Give them four different limbs and half the body of something with wings and the head of something else.

Remake them as something a little practical. Pluck all the stitches out, remove the stuffing then attach all the flat bodies together as a piece of fabric. Create Beanie Baby blankets, pillow cases, purses and hats. Anything you could make from fabric can be made with Beanie Baby pelts. You may decide to stitch the pelts to a fabric backing rather than trying to work at fitting them all together like a jigsaw puzzle.

You can turn individual Beanie Babies into change purses, any sort of small container (even something to hold water if you work out the right liner).  Leave the head, arms and legs attached or take them off and sew the holes shut – either way you can have a colourful small purse. Just attach something to work as a strap. (A lot of Beanie Baby arms and legs could be sewn into a long strap if you can get over the mangling factor).

There are options if you don’t want to unstuff them. Think upholstery. Martha Stewart has made a chair out of upcycled Beanie Babies.

Turn your Beanie Babies into a seasonal wreath decoration. Add some extras like cotton for white beards, little Christmas hats and other bits you can get at craft stores then sew the decorated Beanie Babies to a big metal ring, add lights, some fake pine boughs, etc. Use darker coloured Beanie Babies and add decorations like skulls, witch hats, gravestones to make a Halloween wreath for your front door or a big window. Pick all the red and pink Beanie Babies, add some hearts you can cut out from coloured paper or find cheap at the thrift store and you have a Valentine wreath.

Need to make some extra money? Host a street fair and run games with your Beanie Babies as small prizes. Simple kid games like Pull-the-String are a great way to make a few dollars and give yourself some extra space once the Beanie Babies are gone.

Of course, you can also give them away to children still young enough to enjoy stuffed animals. Take a look at SAFE, Stuffed Animals for Emergencies as another way to donate them. They also work well for people with pets.

Let me know if you find a great way to recycle Beanie Babies.

If you have read (or watched) The Hunger Games, you will enjoy The Beanie Baby Hunger Games.

Sharks in Art

Sharks in art.  I am a Shark Collector in the way of collecting shark art online. I used to have a shark art book. Now I don’t. But, each great shark image or shark post (including the cause of shark conversation) I post to Sharks. Above is a shark done in text art. It’s not the only text or ASCII art shark I’ve seen. Tonight I’m creating a post to display a whole gallery of ASCII art sharks.

This pixel art shark comes from Sixteen Colors.

This was in an email from my Mother.

Like-Like Baby Dolls: Cute or Creepy?

Have you ever seen a reborn baby doll? They are dolls that look like real babies and are created/ bought by women and treated like real babies. Dressed up, taken for walks in the park, have birthday parties, given a car seat of their own and so on. I’m sure not every woman who keeps a reborn doll is going as far as taking them out in public. But, it’s those who do who have stirred up controversy or at least gotten people talking.

If you had always wanted a baby but didn’t have one (or had lost one) would you consider a reborn doll? On the plus side the doll won’t need diaper changes, it won’t wake up for a midnight feeding, no squirming around while you dress the doll up, and it won’t ever grow up and become a teenager (if you count that as a good thing).

I have my own Raggedy Ann rag doll, made by my Mother when I was a kid. I still dress up Raggedy Ann a few times. I like to keep her around, give her a spot in my bedroom where she can see and be seen. But that’s where she stays. I don’t take her to bed with me – even when I was a kid I wasn’t bringing dolls into bed with me.  It is nice to keep her though. I do like giving her something new to wear. It’s pretty easy, and cheap enough, to find second hand clothes at the thrift shop. Just about anything in the baby sizes will fit her. But, she does have a thick neck for the length of her body. Of course, she’s all doll, not a baby (reborn) doll.

Is is weird for a grown woman to keep dolls? In general I would say no. It could be a bit much if the dolls are taking over, like an obsession.  However, anything which becomes an obsession isn’t good.

Are the reborn dolls creepy? I’ve looked at lots of photos of reborn dolls since deciding to write about them. Some are a bit creepy, the skin is a bit too real – like a baby just born, still on the purple/ blue side. A bit too much reality, especially when they only look like that such a short time.  Some of the dolls have really adorable faces, cute and soft, a very romantic version of a baby. No doubt there must be some percentage of people who will find that creepy. I don’t.

In the end it is up to the beholder. Would you make a reborn doll? The process is interesting. The designing of the clothes is fun, if you want to make them yourself.

Repurpose Old Books

Maybe your books were damaged beyond repair. Maybe the second hand book store wasn’t interested in books you took to trade because they already have a lot of the same book. Maybe you’ve got a lot of  books with outdated information. However you come across books which no longer have a real use as books, like old phone books, there’s a way to repurpose them and turn them into book art.

Artists and crafts people and all round generally creative and thrifty people have turned old books into everything from chairs, shelving, birdhouses, sculptures and fashion accessories.  The book art sculpture is appealing to me. I love the ideas for folding pages into new shapes. I also like how the whole book can be use in a new way. Not just repurposed, but completely re-imagined.  In all, an old book can be given a new purpose.

At times it is a bit sad to see the title of an old hard cover book, now repurposed into someone’s handbag, all the pages scooped out like a Halloween jack-o-lantern. But, I cheer myself up by looking for another copy of the same book for sale on eBay or at the book stores I can see what else the author wrote and if they are still around writing new books to come.  So even though that one book is no longer available for a good read, there are more out there for the finding.

Sometimes I see a lot of book art and I like to look at it, I’m glad to have seen it… once. What happens to it beyond that? What purpose was it given beyond the one time interest in seeing it? I think this is the mistake a lot of people make with book art. It’s not really upcycling or repurposing in a real way if it isn’t practical as well as creative. A lot of book art doesn’t seem to have a real future ahead of it. If you consider buying something wouldn’t you want to still need it a week, a year, or longer? It’s too sad to see book art which may be fascinating or beautiful in the moment but will just become clutter to be gotten rid of  somewhere down the road.

What to do with Broken Books | Bookish Things

Coffee Pot Cozies Can Be Practical and Pretty Too

We’re coming up for another Earth Day/ Earth Week. I’m glad to see the awareness for the environment and our planet continued. When it began I wondered if the whole thing would just be one more fad, soon forgotten. So far it seems to be something people are giving importance to and listening, even thinking about still.

One Earth issue which I’ve been thinking about lately are all those disposable coffee and tea paper cups we use. Most people writing about this will jump on the bandwagon for the “paper cups are evil” campaign. I’m looking at it from a different point of view.

I know paper comes from trees which (in my opinion) should be classified as a non-renewable resource because we need more trees giving us oxygen rather than more trees giving us paper products. If possible the trees should be left alone to grow in the wild and we should only use trees from tree farms – even harvesting farm trees should be scheduled.

Anyway, I’m also looking at the paper cup issue as someone who does not drive a car to work and around town. This means, anything I need to use during my day has to be carried around by me all day long. A china mug is not practical, they break. A plastic mug I would not feel safe trusting for more than one use before I run it through a good wash at home. (Some people might work in a place with a kitchen available to them, I don’t). In this way the paper cups are the practical option. Unless someone has a better plan which I haven’t found yet.

So what does all this have to do with art and/ or collectibles? Everything. Change brings new art forms, new appreciation for old art forms too. Think about coffee pot and mug cozies and paper cup sleeves. Yes, we had tea pot cozies for a few generations. Not many people did much for their coffee mugs. Now there are so many arty, cute and beautiful coffee mug cozies. Then there are the sleeves to fit over your paper cup. The paper sleeves offered at coffee shops are just the beginning. I may buy a fresh paper cup each time but I do bring along my own coffee cup sleeve. I bought one last year. At the time it was the first I had seen of them and I bought it for practical reasons, it’s not pretty but it works.

Most of the coffee I drink during the day is coffee I make myself, at home. I use a French press and a very large china mug. Too often I get busy and forget to actually get my coffee. When you use a French press you first wait for your water to boil and then you pour the water over  your coffee and wait for it to brew. That’s two steps of just waiting. I almost never just sit and babysit my coffee during that time. The kettle I use to boil the water keeps it hot for a pretty long time. But, my French press doesn’t have anything to insulate the hot water. It can get lukewarm in half an hour and I have been known to forget I made coffee until more than an hour later even. Well, once it’s cold it just isn’t the same. I usually drink some of it anyway. It’s never the best cup of the day.

The coffee pot warmer in this photo comes from Sunny Decor on Etsy. This particular item is no longer available in the shop. I bought it! So I’m doing my part for Earth Day and supporting a (fairly new) art form.

Old Fashioned Pressed Flowers as Art

These pressed flowers come from a shop on Etsy: Forever Flowers by Amy. They’re gorgeous, with vibrant colours. My Mother and I pressed flowers when I was a kid. I haven’t done much of it since then. Usually, it’s for a special occasion and I’m using flowers someone sent me, or those I collected at the time.

Right now it’s still Winter, not the time of year to gather flowers and leaves for pressing flowers. But, maybe the weather out there today has put flowers on my mind.

Use a very heavy book (my personal favourite is an old dictionary) and wax paper to squish your flowers flat. The book pages can get stained if you don’t protect them. Wax paper works but you shouldn’t use it again for the flowers you press with the warm iron.

Drying the flowers in the book first helps preserve them longer in the wax paper. Moisture is what will cause them to rot after all.  My Mother used to place flowers between sheets of wax paper and then iron them. Don’t use steam.

Make sure the wax side is on the flowers to seal them inside. I did see double sided wax paper but usually it seems to be waxed on one side and not the other. The iron does not need to be at a very hot setting. Try touching it to the wax paper and see how it looks. A setting too hot can make the wax look white when it dries.

Pose your flowers as you want them to be preserved, before you iron them. You might decorate with wax crayons, just draw something on a layer of the wax paper before you iron it. Try adding glitter, feathers, finely ground coffee, a bit of sand – anything that lies flat enough to not cause the wax paper to rip when you iron over it all.

You can turn your wax pressed flowers into something useful, like a bookmark. Add a cardboard backing or something else stiff that will give them a bit of durability.

I’ve found a few links with some variation in the idea and extra tips I haven’t heard or thought of before:

Keyboard Art

I’ve been working with ASCII Art again this year. It’s been awhile since I was active in the old ASCII art groups or wrote about it for as a newsletter. I can’t even find a mention of my ASCII art section with the Wayback for Anyway, too long ago to keep track of I guess. ASCII art itself is considered pretty old fashioned in the evolving world of online art/ digital illustration. I miss it. Those days before HTML email and Flash on websites. ASCII art gave the Internet images without clogging up the loading speed for email or web pages. It was nice. The irony is that we have so much faster speeds now but it really doesn’t load much faster than I remember from 10 years ago with a 14K modem. The bloated files slow it down.

ASCII art is basically keyboard art, text art, created with the characters on the standard computer keyboard. The letters, numbers and range of punctuation available at the touch of your fingertips. Some people use more characters and create ANSI art. I’ve always felt that was a bit of a cheat, adding more characters takes away the challenge of sticking to the limits set by the keyboard.

Back when IRC (Internet Relay Chat) was popular people used the ASCII Art to add images to their lines of chat. Using some Java and some HTML they created ASCII pictures in colour. The downside was that they used ASCII art, coloured it and then claimed it as their own work. This caused friction between the original artists and the colourists. The artists didn’t want their work reclaimed, with the artist initials removed (forgotten). The colourists said they just wanted to make pretty pictures. Of course, I’m a bit biased.

ASCII art began with typewriters, before the computer age. If you search online you can find some examples for typewriter art.

I’ve been using my own ASCII Art (old and new) as well as the art of others on my blog, Word Grrls.

Recycle Your Dolls into Cakes

Did anyone ever make you a cake with a doll in it? I never did get one, so far. I was at a birthday party where someone else had one. Her Mother had made it for her. My Mom and I made cakes, pies, preserves, puddings, cheesecakes, muffins, pizzas, cabbage rolls, strudel, we even took a crack at old fashioned pirogies. But, we did not make a doll cake.

As a kid I wondered if they made a hole in the cake first or just used the doll’s pointy toes to stuff her inside the cake. It’s not like she could complain. Now I know they must have cut the hole first. Otherwise the cake would need to be fixed smooth again before they could begin to add the first layer of icing.

Maybe, I will get inspired to make one for my nieces. Their birthdays are in the same month, kind of convenient for someone like myself who is not a great, or very patient, cake decorating type.

I found a pretty dolly cake recipe on the Philadelphia Cream Cheese site. This one is made with gelatin and cream cheese, not the typical cake.

Cake Fun’s Cake Magic has directions with photos that show how the dolly cake is constructed.

Cakeadelic has made her cakes with Barbie dolls in princess dresses. The bride is my favourite of these. Seen Fully Sedap also uses Barbie dolls.

The Kitchy Kitchen has the simplest design, not all the bows and flowers of the others and yet her cake is the prettiest, in my opinion. Not overly decorated, just pretty. She makes couture dolly cakes based on fashion looks.

Reader submitted photos of dolly cakes at Coolest Birthday Cakes. Doll in a cupcake on Easy Cupcakes.

The Old Doll Cover on the Toilet Roll Trick

Not so long ago I made a note for myself to write about those dolls they put inside the toilet paper rolls and then fancy up with a crocheted skirt. Have you seen any of those lately? I can remember seeing one at a Christmas bazaar a few years ago. I think they have lost something in popularity. The question is… what took their place? I don’t know. Maybe all those rolls are just left naked now. Seems a shame.

I know my Grandmother had one. Not the Grandmother I usually enjoyed visiting, except she did play Scrabble. It wasn’t easy to find Scrabble players when I was the oldest of my brother and sisters. I do remember she had a fancy crocheted doll with the legs stuck through the roll and the skirt pulled over the thick roll of paper around her legs. I thought it was clever. I didn’t know there were more of them out there. I’m quite sure it was white and yellow, a brunette doll.

Now, such a long time later, it would be kind of nice to see one of those dolls again. I might even crochet the pattern myself. I can easily pick up a dozen dolls cheap, recycled from the bin at the local thrift shop. It would be nice to give those poor dolls something to do, a job – rather than leaving them homeless.

Crochet N More – A pattern free for personal use.

Craft Bits – A pattern contributed in memory of Irene.

Crochet Pattern Central – A variety of patterns linked to. Covers for various items.

The lovely angel toilet roll cover doll comes from an Etsy shop, JacBerKitcsh.

SturmDM has an doll with an Irish dress, quite fancy.

Lankfords2designs has a doll with a very lovely full skirt.

Drawing People on your Fingers

Lately I keep finding these photos of characters people have drawn on their fingers. They are cute, some are even very clever.

I posted  two on my personal blog, Finger People and Finger Dancers.

I’m going to take this idea with me next time I visit my nieces. They will have a lot of fun, glad to have an excuse to draw on themselves. We will get out all the coloured markers, the construction paper too. I can make hats for them to cover the tip of each finger they draw a face on.

Here are some more. Mainly links to groups on Flickr where people have posted their own creations.


I Love a Good House

If my life had gone differently in my earlier years I think I would have become an architect. I love buildings and all the trimmings. I’m still trying to teach myself all the right names for the parts of buildings. I go out and take photos of old buildings, mainly derelict farm houses here in Ontario. I also like going to the main street of a small town or city and looking up. That’s where you see the fancy parts of old stores, homes and banks. Most of the old parts below have been renovated away.

Maybe I never would have been a great architect. I like the old stuff too much to make the modern looking type of building with more right angles than curves and more sensible and practical elements than elegant columns, gargoyles and gingerbread trim. It would be hard to design something just to stand there rather than to pose there.

I am still very attracted to anything building/ house related. Art with houses draws my eye. Even fiction about a house stops me long enough to at least skim it. The old woman living in a shoe caught my imagination from a young age. How did she live in that shoe? Did she use the laces to cool the house off in winter and then tie them up tight again to keep warm in winter? How did she put a roof on the shoe, was the sock still around to be stuffed over head? Did she make the eyelets for the laces into windows? Did she put the door back at the heel where it would have been strong but had that higher step down or somewhere else? So many questions. Living in a shoe didn’t seem that appealing all things considered.

I’d rather live in a castle, except I’d like a much smaller and cosier version of a castle than a real castle. A castle like Dr. Who’s Tardis, bigger on the inside than the outside could work well. Like the Tardis, no one ever seems to need to clean it either.

I have drawn my perfect house. It was harder to pick the location than the decide on what I wanted inside the house. But the harder part still was to limit myself to less rather than more when it comes to how the outside of the house will look. There are so many great old things that could be added. Small like old iron doorknobs to huge like a dragon sculpture taking up a large part of the garden.

I enjoy drawing unusual houses. I’ve drawn the shoe house. I’ve drawn a house made in a teacup. I’ve drawn a plan for how very small people would live in the standard sized world. I’ve drawn magical houses for elves, fairies and of course dragons too.

There is something special about a house, any building really. People make them, plan them, live and work in them. Keep them. Repair them. It’s saddest of all when a place is abandoned and left to the elements. There is a mystery to the abandoned places. Something time and people forgot. I never feel they are creepy or haunted. just sad and yet still dignified and majestic in some way. We give a house a power by it’s creation and everything we put into it beyond that point. You can’t just lose that when the house is empty. It’s there, right in the very design.

I think I would have been an amazing architect.

My Strange Love of Jewelry

I have a strange relationship to jewelry. I really like it but I don’t actually wear it. I collect some, but I don’t have it displayed. My jewelry box is located on the top shelf of my messy closet. Right now I would have to move other things out of the way to be able to reach it and bring it down to see.

It’s ironic that I really do like jewelry. No one would guess of anyone who knows me. Maybe it has something to do with my self image, my weight and the way I feel about that. I don’t enjoy dressing up the way I used to. My idea of jewels I would actually wear are limited to things I can pin on my clothes rather than things I can wrap around my neck or wrists or have close to my face in any way.

I like to look at jewelry online. I look and window shop until I find something I love and then I keep the image of it and store it away on my computer hard drive. I have even begun a blog which lets me look at jewelry and post it for others who might actually have the money and self image to buy it (and then wear it!). I call the blog Divorce Darling. The name came from thinking of those glamorous ladies like the Gabor sisters, Mae West and the others who were known to go through men and divorces with flair, elegance and a good laugh at it all. So darling, that’s my story.

I’ve been finding a few jewelry designers as I look at jewelry online. There is some really nice work and some really average stuff. I noticed that a lot of the jewelry made for Etsy stores is all very much alike each other. They must all get the same kind of supplies and then are limited in what they can create different from each other. I’ve learned that you need to go farther than Etsy to find something really unique, glamorous and gorgeous. I don’t know which is the best I have found so far. Besides, everyone has their own taste and style so my favourite might leave someone else wondering what I liked about it so much. That’s how it goes.

Have you tried making jewelry? There are so many ways you can make a necklace: macrame, beading, just stringing something from a strip of leather turns it into a necklace. Necklaces are simple in that way. Chances are every woman has made a necklace at some point in her life. If I ever pull out my jewelry box I have several necklaces I have made over the years. I should give them to my nieces, someday, not quite yet… I’m hanging onto them for myself awhile still.

Recycle Pop Cans into Tin Art

I started reading about using pop cans to make pretty tin boxes at Mag Ruffman’s Tool Girl site. I wonder if someone has used this technique to make a tin ceiling. That would be pretty thrifty, crafty and pretty smart recycling too.

I wanted to see other ideas for working with beer and pop/ soda cans. Some were pretty basic, just using them as a can to store things in. Decorating them with things like scraps of fabric, wallpaper, and so on. Squishing them up, adding stuffed animal parts and making them look like road kill, that seemed a little drastic in some way. I was looking for more interesting and unique ideas. Things people really can use and want to have.

I found some links to ideas for re-purposing tin cans in a post on Squidoo. eHow had a post about using recycled soda cans too. Of course, Flickr was where I found the art made with tin cans of all sorts: Altered Tin Can Altered Art in a Tin JimShoresArt has Can-do Fan Tab ulous Aluminum and Tin Can Art

Helen Harle has a book showing how to create jewelry with upcycling pop cans. Create Colorful Aluminum Jewelry: Upcycle cans into vibrant necklaces, rings, earrings, pins, & bracelets.

Daisy and Dandelion Chains

My Mother taught me how to pop off the head of a dandelion and use the stem to make a chain link. One summer we made endless dandelion chain necklaces, bracelets too, all while weeding the lawn. I think she found a win-win situation to keep the kids busy and get her dandelions dug out of the grass. But, we did stick at it for a long time and (of course) my ultra competitive sister turned it into a contest to see who could have the longest chain that would not snap or slip apart when we stood up to parade around with them. It was fun as those little outdoor things are, especially when you are a kid.

At some point I learned how to make the daisy and dandelion chains which kept the flowerhead on. I did attempt to make them when I got home but by that time I had forgotten some of the steps so I never did get very successful in making flower jewelry.

Is this a lost art now? Do people still sit in a park or out on the front lawn and teach their kids how to make flower chains, crowns and necklaces? I thought it would be interesting to find the directions again. I think it would be part of wildcrafting sites and blogs online.

Our Big Earth: Nature Crafts – Flower Chains How to make a dandelion chain for Weed Appreciation Day

Active Kids Club: Dandelion Secrets

The Crafty Crow: Dandelion Daisy Chain Tutorial

WikiHow: How to Tie a Clover Flower Chain

Flickr: Dandelion Divine

Flickr: Obsessive Dandelion Photographers

Flickr: The Dandelions

Flickr: Dandelion

Doodle Week, March 6 – 7th: Cityscapes

This week it’s cityscapes. You can do some extra work, a little research and draw your own cityscape. Or make one up. Kind of nice to think of a unique way to present it. I drew this one on a big blue marble, representing the planet. Not quite to scale. 🙂

Want to know what Doodle Week is about? Read all about it.


What is it about lighthouses that draws people? People collect lighthouses figurines. People paint and draw lighthouses. People will stop to photograph a lighthouse even when there could be something else more interesting which they did not even notice in the shadow of that mystical, lonely, stark looking building poking the sky.

I think it is the romance, mystery, history and the feeling of adventure – surviving storms at sea and pounding waves. The idea of steadfast lighthouse keepers, daring rescues and pirates hiding their treasure exposed in the roving splash of a beam of light.

They are kind of fun to draw. Even more fun to be down at the water, hearing it, smelling it.

Photo Galleries of Lighthouses:

Lighthouses as Art:

Lighthouses Visited/ Documented:

Doodle Week, February 27 – 28th – Toadstools

Welcome to Doodle Week. You have a week to try the doodle challenge. This week it’s a toadstool, a fairy mushroom. Highly suggest you draw them and do not ever snack on them. Add a fairy, a gnome or just some every garden insects to your toadstool. Colour them, the traditional look is red with white spots. Just remember, bad things tend to happen to those who nibble on toadstools and just because those fairies are all magical and sparkly does not mean they are sweet, little angels.

From Wikipedia: The term “toadstool” was often, but not exclusively, applied to poisonous mushrooms or to those that have the classic umbrella-like cap-and-stem form.