Monthly Archives: February 2012

Strangely Missing In Action – Strange Stuff Staurdays

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My Original Hand Drawn & Hand Painted Doll Face. Acrylic On Flannel.

Sorry folks for the lack of strangeness this Saturday. Hopefully I’ll be posting double tomorrow, I am busy with a custom doll project for a very special person, and I am trying to get it done as quickly as I can while still doing my very best work. I’ll be posting images of my completed doll on my sister blog Ketsy’s Doll Pieces. So feel free to wander over there to take a look at what I have been up to.

My Hand Painted Doll Parts. All Hand Drawn And Acrylic Painted On Flannel. Stuffed With Poly-Fil. Handbag Is A Custom Design In Flannel With Embroidered Details, OOAK Button, & Ribbon.

I am going to add a few teaser pictures here of what I did yesterday towards completing this very special project. It is for an amazing woman who is going through the most challenging of circumstances and still manages to sparkle like the gem she is. My heart and prayers are with her, and her family, and with all the many friends she has earned, those who cherish her for the wonderfully radiant person she is and will always be.

Ketsy.

Small Art Big Love – Found On A Friday

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“Jake The Tortoise” Hand Sewn Brooch, Felt Badge, Tortoise Pin by Jess Quinn.

 Sometimes in my travels I stumble upon something that is so many wonderful things in one shop that I can’t decide upon which day of the week to feature it. That is why I am thankful for Fridays, where anything goes here on the Fab.  When I cam across the Etsy Shop of Jess Quinn, I knew the only place to do her amazing stash justice was to place it in a Friday feature.  Simply called Small Art, Jess’s shop is full of the most fabulous items, from paper goods, cloth dolls, clay creations, felt accessories, original oil paintings, and so much more. If this is Quinn’s idea of ‘small’, I can’t imagine what she considers to be ‘large’. With almost 150 items in her Etsy Shop, I would say there is nothing small about the work of Jess Quinn at all.

The Woodsman – Art Doll, Soft Sculpture by Jess Quinn.
Alphabet Fairy – Wood Art Doll – Beatrice by Jess Quinn.
“Higgety Pop” Vintage Altered Art Doll by Jess Quinn.

What is really special about Jess’s Shop is the way she presents her fabulous items.  The photos are precious and engaging, and they make you want to look closer.  She will create a whole tableau of items around her dolls, brooches, and other items, often using dollhouse furniture or toys that not only add a sense of playful whimsy, but also indicate the scale of items for sale. 

Easter Bunny Hair Band/Fascinator – Pink Felt Bunny Rabbit by Jess Quinn.
Spring Bib Necklace, Fabric Pink Clown – Blue Pom Poms – Embroidered Textile by Jess Quinn.
Little Indian Head Dress, Dressing Up, Head Band – Native American by Jess Quinn.

The little [ and big ] pops of colour against a white background are perfectly styled. Her accessories are often worn by adorable kiddies with naturally silly smiles or honest pouts, and her paper goods and artwork are presented in the perfect lighting to make them appear as magical as you know that they are.

“Isabelle” Girl In A Yellow Dress – Illustrated Greeting Card by Jess Quinn.
“Girl With Apples” Illustrated Greeting Card, Printed Drawing, Black & White by Jess Quinn.
“Knitting Queen” Illustrated Greetings Card, Printed Drawing by Jess Quinn.

Items in Jess Quinn‘s shop range in price from less than $2.00 USD to just over $200.00 USD. That means there is something  for every budget and every taste.  Shipping from Bristol, England in the UK, shipping cost are excessively reasonable. The cards are frame-able art, the dolls enchanting, the brooches would make brilliant gifts, and the accessories are instant one-of-a-kind treasures.

“Bitsy Boo” Fabric Art Doll, Red Felt, Little Girl, Linen Cloth Doll by Jess Quinn.
“Miko & Molly” Hanging Fabric Decoration, Printed Cotton Sweethearts, Vintage Silk by Jess Quinn.
Cloth Art Doll, Soft Sculpture, Textile, Square Clown Blue by Jess Quinn.

Jess takes great care when describing her items, often including little anecdotes about their inspirations, the materials used, and the dimension of the items.  All essential information when you are buying handmade goods online. I have to commend her on her presentation style, her shop feels intimate and you get the distinct impression that you are getting a peek ‘behind the curtain’.

“Miss Bird” Clay Brooch, Circus Pin – Hand Painted Small Sculpture by Jess Quinn.
Clown Art Doll, Clay – Textile, Felt Fabric, Hand Painted by Jess Quinn.
Clay Brooch, Wearable Art, Hand Painted Pin – Green, Lettuce by Jess Quinn.

Jess has divided her shop into specific categories of items, so I decided to present a few of examples of her work that reside under each category heading so you can get a good idea of the range of whimsical items she offers.  As always, I showcase items that tend to appeal to my taste, but there is so much more to be discovered in Jess’s Small Art shop. Jess herself calls her items Unique Artworks and Original Gifts, I would stress the unique, I haven’t seen anything quite so fantastically outside of the box in my recent travels.

“Clown Miko” Felt Brooch, Pillow Pin Portrait, Wearable Art by Jess Quinn.
“Bunnyhoot” Small Art Doll, Purple Felt Brooch, Plush Forest Creature by Jess Quinn.
“Matilda Mouse” Felt Brooch – White Mouse Bow Tie Pin, Printed Drawing by Jess Quinn.

You really must take a closer look at the work of this Art School graduate and mother of three, who says she comes from a family of ‘makers’. I rather like that statement, I can identify with it completely. For more information on her captivating work, you can also swing by her Blog and check out what Jess is currently up to. You might also like to know that Jess is offering a “Free Shipping” code until March 11th, 2012 and that currently she is having a small Spring Clean Sale on selected items in her shop, as if you needed more reason to head over and check it out. It may be Small Art, but I have big love for it. [In particular, that “Jake The Tortoise” Brooch at the top of the post, how incredibly sweet it is!]

Small Oil Painting on Canvas, “Sisters” by Jess Quinn.
“Infanta Margarita in Moonlight”, Small Oil Painting on Canvas by Jess Quinn.
“Mary” Small Oil Painting on Canvas by Jess Quinn.

Links:
Small Art – Etsy Shop
Jess Quinn’s Etsy Profile
Jess Quinn’s Blog

“Tom & Nancy” Wooden Art Dolls, Hand Painted by Jess Quinn.
“Lulu” Wooden Brooch, Wearable Art – Hand Painted Pin by Jess Quinn.
“Eric” Wooden Badge, Hand Painted Pin – Wearable Art by Jess Quinn.

Note: All Designs and Images are the Intellectual Property and Copyright of Jessica Quinn and QUINN. No infringement is intended. Please contact Jess Quinn directly with inquiries about her work. Follow the links provided under each image in this post  for further information about the items featured in the post, including price, payment options, availability, and shipping information. 

Clowns Keeping Us In Stitches – Time Travel Thursdays

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Fabulous Forties Costume Pattern – Clown Around Vintage -Style at Momma Black Sheep on Etsy.

My mother was always a crafty woman, where my dad had a ‘workshop’ in the basement, she had a ‘sewing room’. My dad’s workshop was filled with every imaginable tool, like most men he had multiples of many things that he forgot he already had, hitting Canadian Tire or Lansing Build All was a weekend staple destination for him back in the mid-1970s.  My father, no slouch in the fix-it department, actually build us a full ‘play house’ in the backyard of our North York, Ontario home. It was big enough to have the entire neighborhood’s children all inside it and still have room for a table and chairs.

McCall 2833, 1920s Girl’s Clown Suit Costume at Fripperie on Etsy.
Vintage Advance Clown Pattern 701 – Men’s and Women’s – Size Large 18-20 at Dream Weaver 1954 on Etsy.
Simplicity 4864 Clown Costume 1960s for Children Vintage Sewing Pattern at Mrs. Depew Vintage on Etsy.

My mother was someone who could sew, so it seemed absolutely natural to me that she would have a ‘sewing room’. I though every home had one, just like a kitchen or bathroom, little did I know.  My mother was famous for putting patches inside the knees of our worn-out play jeans, for shortening the cuffs on our hand-me-down pants, and for mending our cloth toys and blankets.  She also made costumes for us, for Halloween, for our endless themed birthday parties [there were four of us kids after all], and for our dance recitals.

Vintage 1950s Delightful Children ‘s Clown Costume Sewing Pattern – Hat, Neck Ruffle, Pom Poms – Size Medium RARE at Farfalla Design Studio on Etsy.
Kid’s Vintage Clown Costume Pattern Simplicity 6363 Size 12 at Kandiieee on Etsy.
Vintage Clown Costume 1976 Simplicity Sewing Pattern 9051 Medium at Claudette’s Vintage Vault on Etsy.

In the early 1980s, my mother actually stitched up a Care Bear costume for not only my little sister, but one of her dance class-mates. The were unbelievably detailed, and my mother still has the one she made for my sister. A full head-to-toe costume, the child’s face actually peeks out of the mouth of the Care Bear in question. A pastel mint faux-fur body suit with an emblem stitched on the white belly, and a giant ‘head’ that went over the child’s head, the scale was just as the stuffed dolls we had. Can you imagine an entire dance class of 12 six year-old girls trying to dance to “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” in that huge and likely over-heated costume. You have to love it.

Vintage 1984 Butterick Pattern 6814 Care Bears Costume Size 2-6x at Gran’s Treasures on Etsy.
McCall’s 1940s Clown or Jester Pattern at Retro Recycle on Etsy.
Vintage 1965 Simplicity Sewing Pattern – Clown Costume Boy’s Girl’s Size 4-6 at Oh Vintage Threads on Etsy.

My mom also made us costumes for Purim, the Jewish holiday where dress-up is part of the fun. This year it falls on Thursday, March 8th/2012, so there is still time to get your costumes ready. Clown costumes are one option for Purim, as are the characters from the story the holiday is based on, including a princess of course. One year my mother made clown costumes for each of us kids, I must have been around 9 or 10 years old at the time, because I know she made them for myself and my twin sister, my brother, who was likely 7, and my youngest sister who was maybe 5 in her kindergarten class.

Kids Clown Costume Butterick Sewing Pattern 3169 – Size 8 at Garden In The City on Etsy.
Costume Clown Simplicity 0664 Size BB 2-12 Children’s Sewing Pattern at NANCE’S NOSTALGIA on Etsy.
1972 McCall’s Sewing Pattern 3353 – Clown Costume Children’s Size 10-12 at Full Circle Studios on Etsy.

The costumes were amazing. She made these huge ruffled neck pieces that went with them, a startling white compared to the colorful two print combo of the suit, trimmed with a lovely bright rickrack.  We also had matching hats, yarn pom poms accents and all. Too adorable for words. My mother went on to make a couple for adults, and then for many friends of the family, they became famous. My mother somehow found time for this with four young children of grade-school age, going to a school with no busing, cooking every meal we ate, and being a full-time homemaker.

Vintage UNCUT Simplicity Sewing Pattern – Size Large 40-42 Adult’s Clown Costume and Hats – Dated 1980 at In Grandma’s Attic on Etsy.
Clown Costume Pattern Size Adult Medium – McCall’s 4944 – Circa 1990 at Miss32Act on Etsy.
McCall’s Crafts Boy and Girl Clown Costume Pattern 2623 UNCUT Size 2,4 at Lingonberries And Moss on Etsy.

People would call to ask to borrow them for all sorts of events, and they were generously sized so we got a good few years use out of them. I think it was quite an ingenious strategical move on the part of my mom to make the two oldest children’s costumes, mine and my twin sister’s, out of fairly gender neutral colors and prints, they lasted my siblings a long time in the years to follow. They pulled duty on trick or treat nights, Purim carnivals, and a themed birthday party where every child in attendance wore a similar costume.

Clown Halloween Costumes Pattern for Children Adults at Regency Cottage on Etsy.
1980 McCall’s Pattern 7230 for an Adult’s Clown Costume – Size Large at Lakeview Arts on Etsy.
Sewing Pattern Simplicity, Clown – Jester – Hobo Halloween Costume: Adult Medium UNCUT at Sew Alike on Etsy.

I could go on and on, but what today’s Time Travel Thursday post is really about is those envelopes of patterns that you could buy at the fabric store, along with all your fabric and findings. It’s about the days when people made their own clothing and costumes as the norm, and not the exception.  It is about those homes that included such things as ‘sewing rooms’, where magic happened in the hands of everyday people.  When your mother or grandmother would make you a costume that had never been worn by anyone else, that looked absolutely professional and fabulous, that no one else had, that was a treasured thing.  I have just gotten my first sewing machine, a very basic Singer model, just for making a few time saving stitches now and then.  My mother still has her first Singer too, it still works and she still uses it occasionally, and I know it is likely 40 years old, maybe more.

McCall’s 9212 Vintage Sewing Pattern Child’s Boy’s Girl’s CLOWN COSTUMES Size 6-8 at KatyBugVintage on Etsy.
Butterick 5073, Vintage 1990 Baby Jumpsuit Pattern UNCUT – Newborm – M at Vintage Vice on Etsy.
Halloween Costume Pattern Clowns Simplicity 7120 Size Small at AuntPittyPats2 on Etsy.

I would love to know how to use a pattern, to know how to use fabric so that the threads run the right way for stretch or fit, to know what seam technique to use, to  be able to create professional looking garments and costumes, just like my mother did. So few of us have the time or inclination to make things by hand, but I have found just the little bit of doll making I have been doing lately to be so therapeutic. To see a finished result, something tangible, something you can hold in your hands or give to a child to cuddle, it is a totally WOW moment. It’s nice to see something through to the end, there is so much in our world that has become conceptual or intangible.  Whether you sew, knit, crochet, scrapbook, cook, or have some other hand-made hobby, you know exactly what I mean. The ability to create something is just as satisfying as it ever was.

Vintage 1961 Girls or Boys Clown, Devil, Little Prince Costume Halloween McCall’s Pattern 2459 Size 6-8 at Lakeview Arts on Etsy.
VERY RARE 1960s Vintage Pattern UNCUT McCall’s 7912 Size Medium Girl’s Boy’s Clown – Bullfighter – Devil – Bandit Costumes at GREAT SCOTT on Etsy.
McCall’s Costumes Clown Pattern 6719 at KidLee on Etsy.

Today’s post features a bounty of amazing vintage sewing patterns, almost entirely Clown Costumes all for sale on Etsy, along with hundreds of other patterns for every look you can image.  They are fun to look at, collect, even stitch up for yourself or a friend. Take the links under the images to reach the shops and listings, and have a look around.  Even if you don’t have a dedicated sewing room, crafting room, or studio, any room can become one if you use it for that purpose.  This is a celebration of an nearly lost art, fabric stores are harder and harder to find, patterns for modern styles just don’t exist the way they did in the past, it is so much easier just to go to the mall when you need new clothing. Just because something is easier, doesn’t mean it is better.  As for these clowns, maybe one will be your first sewing project from a pattern. They are very easy to make and they are great for play and holidays alike. You can even get all your fabric and finishing elements on Etsy. Give it a think, and for now, sew long.

Butterick Kid’s Clown Costume Pattern 4154 at Gothabilly 13 on Etsy.
Vintage Costume Sewing Pattern 1982 Boy’s and Girl’s Clown Costumes and Hats, Simplicity 5740 Sizes 2-4 at The Half House on Etsy.

A Rainbow In A Box – Wacky & Wonderful Wednesdays

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ECO Kids Handmade ll Natural SOY CRAYONS – Love Hearts by Earth Grown Crayons on Etsy.

Think back to when you were a child, do you remember the first time someone placed a chubby wax stick into your little fist and gave you a scrap of paper. Do you remember someone taking your hand, and placing that waxy stick down against the paper, moving your wee arm so that suddenly, like magic, there were marks on that paper, and they seemed to come from the end of that wax stick. Maybe it was red, perhaps blue, or even green. but a crayon was likely the first writing instrument you held in your hand and put to paper. It is a powerful moment, whether you remember it or not, the moment you discover that you can create scribbles and dashes of colour with your own hand.

ECO SOY CRAYONS Farmer’s Market – Handmade, All Natural, Biodegradable, Scent Free (Set of 8) by Earth Grown Crayons on Etsy.
ECO SOY CRAYONS People Skin Color – Handmade, All Natural, Biodegradable, Scent Free (Set of 4) by Earth Grown Crayons on Etsy.
Recycled Rainbow Crayons – Jumbo Heart Rainbow Crayons (Set of 3) by Art 2 The Extreme on Etsy.

Some of us had this experience at home with a family member, maybe it was mom or dad, or an older sibling… perhaps your aunt or uncle, a grandparent. Sometimes, we were given our first wax crayon by a nanny, daycare worker, or teacher.  Whoever gave it to you, gave you a gift, the gift of learning that you could create something that was ‘art’, something that could be hung on the front of the fridge, or framed, or tucked into an album or scrapbook and kept for years to come.  Our crayon creations were the cleanest and fastest way of not only being entertained, but of learning fine motor control and hand eye coordination.

FORTUNE COOKIE CRAYONS – Set of Six with Gift Box by Ivy Lane Designs on Etsy.
Handmade Colorful Autumn Crayons by Central Treehouse Studios on Etsy.
Pastel Hello Kitty Mix – MuckyPup Recycled Crayons, Favors, Eco Friendly by MuckyPup Crayons on Etsy.

Do you remember the joy of getting a new box of crayons? I do, I loved that smell, that clean waxy odor, and the sharp tips ready to go. Not a broken or unwrapped crayon in the box, and they were all mine.  Sure we had plenty of crayons in my house. There were four of us kids born within five years, and all those crayons literally required a plastic dish basin to hold all the broken bits and pieces, the peeled paper bits.   At some point along the way, companies like Crayola introduced toddler sized crayons, larger diameter sticks made for smaller hands.  There was also that mega-box that I adored, it had something like 64 colours in it, and a sharpener built right into the back of the box.  That was joy in a box.

24 Cupcake Crayons (12 Sets) with Personalized Labels and Coloring Sheet or Ribbon Cello Bags or Easter Eggs by Lil Creative Creations on Etsy.
1 KIDS Bling Crayon Ring – ONE Ring – Size 4 by Oh My Lucky Star on Etsy.
LEGO Men Style Crayons Party Favor, Party Bag Filler, 20 Sets of 5 by Ashgate Crafts on Etsy.

Since it is Wacky & Wonderful day, a day for all those geeky fun and fabulous things, the collectables and the vintage childhood fun, I decided to dedicate today’s post to the humble and hardworking crayon, an item I still adore, by the way.  I love sitting with my nieces or nephew and revisiting the fun of colouring books full of cartoon characters or games,  I still colour the same way that I did as an older child, I do a dark line of the colour inside the shape I am about to colour, then I gently shade in the whole area with the same colour. Habits are hard to break.The smell of that wax always brings me right back to being a kid.

Ponytail Holder, Orange with Green Crayons Ends by Fancy Things and Such on Etsy.
Crayon Colors Loopy Hair Bow – Back To School – Primary Colors by Hair Bows by Marsha on Etsy.
7 Embroidered Crayons – Craft Felt Embellishments For Scrapbooking, Hair Bows, Etc. by Lovmy3grlz on Etsy.

I love teaching kids my favorite crayon magic tricks. The one where you fill an entire sheet of paper with random color scribbles, edge to edge, then cover the entire sheet again with thick black crayon.  A random coin in hand, and you can then scratch out a picture, removing the black wax from the page with the coin to produce a really magical effect. Yes I know they sell something similar, and that it is much less labor intensive.

CRAYON BOX RECYCLED NOTEBOOK/Upcycled Journal – Eco Friendly by Ivy Lane Designs on Etsy.
Recycled Crayons – Rainbow Crayon Travel Tube (1 Recycled Crayon Travel Tube) by Art 2 The Extreme on Etsy.
Altered Colors Art Crayons – 100% Non-Toxic Recycled Wax by 6Blue6 on Etsy.

What really is wonderful about crayons these days, is that they are very much the same deal as they always were, they are still the first writing instrument many of us use, they still come in tons of amazing colours, you can still create amazing ‘art’ with them, and they are a cheap anytime activity that is fun for anyone at any age. What is even better about crayons lately, is just how different they can be.

Crayon Art by Clarissa Webb on Etsy.
Monogram Crayon Art – Great Teacher Gift by Handmade by Leah on Etsy.
Vertical Rainbow, 16″ x 20″ by JK Create – Melted Crayon Art on Etsy.

If you are browsing Etsy, you will see just how amazing crayons can be. There are handmade crayons, recycled crayons, crayon art, crayon caddies, crayons in all sorts of wonderful shapes and sizes, and more.  This entire post is full of these lovely rainbow hued items, and there is just so much to love about them.  Even just a photograph of crayons or the image of that old familiar yellow and green box makes for happy memories. Why not grab yourself a box, or bag, or frame full of wonderful rainbow memories today. Share a little time scribbling, you might be surprised how much you have missed it.

Mini Me Owls in Pink – 8 Crayola Crayons Included – Great Gift by Kate Williams Designs on Etsy.
Whispered Dreams – Crayon Apron [Holds 32 Crayons – Included] by Childish Thoughts on Etsy.
Hand-Made Crayon Roll for 24 Crayons with 24 Crayons by Mrs. Dressup on Etsy.

Note: All Images and Products In This Post are the Intellectual Property and Copyright of their respective creators and the Etsy shop in question. No Infringement is intended.  Please follow the links beneath the image for more information, including price, availability, and custom orders if available.

Wooden Crayon Train – Crayon Holder [Holds 38 Crayons] by Grampa’s Workshop on Etsy.
A Digital Photograph of Crayons in All of The Colors of the Rainbow – 5×7 by Tara, A Pocketful Of Photos on Etsy.
Crayon Box Handplied Bulky Yarn by Jennifer, Otter Moon Patterns on Etsy.

Pop Quiz: Spot The Tiny Treasures – Teeny Tiny Tuesdays

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 As part of my daily routine, particularly since starting up this blog, I browse through the newly listed items on Etsy to see what new treasures catch my eye and may end up in a future blog post.  Normally, I respond to the images I see immediately, and am pretty sure what I am looking at. But today, I got ‘taken’ so to speak. I thought I was looking at a shabby chic cottage style desk, but when I actually read further into the listing, I realized I was in fact looking at a miniature. I admit it, I was totally fooled, this miniature desk looked so perfect and so real, it was hard to believe it could fit in the palm of my hand. Since today is ‘Teeny Tiny‘ day on the Fab, I thought it would be the perfect day to spring a little pop-quiz on all my fellow tiny fans.

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Throughout this post, you will find 12 images of great Shabby Chic Furniture. The kicker — wait for it — only some of them are doll house miniatures, others are full size people home decor.  You get to give it your best shot, get out a post-it note or piece of scrap paper, and make your guesses. The images are all numbered, 1-12, so scribble down which are “SO TINY” and which items are “NO TINY“.  Then head to the end of the post for full item credits and links to these fabulous Etsy shops, and the list of answers. Challenge your friends, see if they can spot the itty bitty treasures that are so great, they look just as ‘real’ as their full sized counterparts. Ready, steady, GO!

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Here are the fabulous details about all of these items, the truly tiny for your doll house and the truly Shabby Chic for your home. If you want to see how you did on the quiz, the answer code is tucked just below this list.  If you want to share your scores, feel free to do so in the comments, I would love to know if anyone else got ‘taken’ by something tiny today. Happy Tuesday!

  1. Distressed Wood Shelves – Shabby Chic by Paula, Pollygots on Etsy
  2. Dollhouse Shabby Chic Painted Wooden SIDE TABLE Miniature Furniture 12th Scale by Ladies Mile Miniatures on Etsy.
  3. Chicken Wire Kitchen Cabinet – Rustic Miniature by House of Artistique on Etsy.
  4. White Washed Cabinet by Dienke Cazemier, Bell Jar Mini on Etsy.
  5. One Inch Scale Narrow Chest of Drawers by Storybook Miniatures on Etsy.
  6. Shabby Chic 32 Inch Bench – Furniture by Dale, Dales Wood and More on Etsy.
  7. Dollhouse Miniature Coffee Table – Shabby Chic by Denise, Deesware Miniatures on Etsy.
  8. Cabinet 1:12 Scale Shabby Chic Style by Marta, MartaPellise on Etsy.
  9. Lazy Couch, To Go With The Lazy Chair by Dienke Cazemier, Bell Jar Mini on Etsy.
  10. Doll Dining Table and 4 Chairs Set in 1/6 Scale, Shabby Chic (Blythe, Barbie, Bratz, Momoko) by buildingIDEA on Etsy.
  11. Wood Wall Vase Shelf Key Hook Shabby Chic Distressed Wood by Michael Hutton, Twigs2Whirligigs on Etsy.
  12. Shabby Chic White Wood Wall Shelf With Peg Hooks by ShabbyNChic on Etsy.

Tuesday, February 21/2012 – Pop Quiz: Answer Key, Foraging For Fab.

Behind The Mask – Motley Mode Mondays

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Victoriana Mask in Gold Leather by Tom and Jill Banwell, Tom Banwell Designs on Etsy.

 Are you ready for the party? Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, otherwise known as Mardi Gras, and revelers are ready to celebrate. Worldwide, Carnival celebrations typically begin at any point after the religious observance known as Epiphany and carry on up until the Ash Wednesday, but most people really see it as a time to to celebrate. From wearing masks and costumes, dancing, and parades, it is celebrated differently around the world, but no matter how outrageous the party gets, it is the last chance to go big or go home, so to speak, before Shrove Tuesday, which isassociated with the religious requirement for confession before Lent begins. After a night of partying Mardi Gras style, I imagine some have more to confess than others, if you know what I mean.

Mardi Gras Special — Swirly, Victoriana, and Muse by Tom and Jill Banwell, Tom Banwell Designs on Etsy.
Turquoise and Silver Feather Masquerade Carnival Mardi Gras Fancy Dress Mask by Hilarys Bazaar on Etsy.
Elegant Peacock Teal & Green Masquerade Mask with Feathers by Vanessa Rockey Del Bono, AloraLocks on Etsy.
Purple, Green, and Gold Feather Mardi Gras Mask by Jessica, The Crafty Chemist on Etsy.
Mardi Gras Masks Special — Totem, Electro, Decaflor Leather by Tom and Jill Banwell, Tom Banwell Designs on Etsy.

Since Monday is about fashion, style, and accessories here on the Fab, I am glad to take advantage of the Mardi Gras fever as an excuse to showcase some absolutely fabulous masks.  Each and every one of these masks I have hand selected to feature in this post, all found on Etsy, was chosen because they are so visually striking, they would make a great wall sculpture even if you don’t plan on wearing them. When you think about it, there are precious few opportunities to wear masks once we become adults. I was going to say “grown up”, but does anyone really ever grow up? You may get the chance at Halloween, maybe there is a New Year’s Eve party that calls for masks, but rarely do we find engraved invitations to masked balls in our in-box.

Flame Leather Mask by Rebecca Dixon, Up From The Ashes on Etsy.
Mardi Gras Mask Forest Nymph by Aph Custom Leather on Etsy.
Big Cat Jaquar Venetian Mardi Gras Carnival Masquerade Leather Mask Sculpture by Wendy Martin Art, Lyon’s Menagerie on Etsy.
Lady of the Glade Venetian Mardi Gras Carnival Masquerade Leather Mask Sculpture by Wendy Martin Art, Lyon’s Menagerie on Etsy.
MADE TO ORDER – Leather Greenman Mask, Wearable Art, Display, Labyrinth Mardi Gras Renfest Wiccan by Parkers and Quinn on Etsy.

Wearing a mask can be a liberating thing, if it is made well, it almost becomes a part of you, and while your eyes are visible, it may take people a few looks to sort out who is really behind the mask, if they can at all.  But it is rather romantic to partially conceal your identity, to dress up and play at being someone, or something else. Venetian style masks are extremely popular, particularly during Mardi Gras, and have historically been used on many other occasions in the past, usually as a device for hiding the wearer’s identity and social status.

Butterfly Venetian Masks – Customizable by Stephanie, Bridal Bijou & Bebe Bijou on Etsy.
Peacock Feather Venetian Mask by Stephanie, Bridal Bijou & Bebe Bijou on Etsy.
Turquoise, White and Gold Venetian Feather Mask by Jessica, The Crafty Chemist on Etsy.
Old Orleans Dame Mask for Mardi Gras/Costume/Masquerade/Halloween/Prom by Elisha Miller, Effigy Masks on Etsy.
Pink Butterfly and Flower Venetian Mask by Stephanie, Bridal Bijou & Bebe Bijou on Etsy.

A mask allows it’s wearer to act more freely in a circumstance where he or she wants the opportunity to interact with others outside the bounds of identity and everyday convention. Even today a mask is useful for a variety of purposes, some of them illicit, others just personal, such as romantic encounters.  It is delightfully fun to enjoy the perceived anonymity that a mask can provide. No wonder they are so popular at Mardi Gras, where any number of mildly scandalous event might occur.

Mardi Gras Harlequin by Nikki Stone, Dreaming Utopia Designs on Etsy.
Handmade Masquerade Mask Carnival Mardi Gras Halloween Costume 9Mardi Gras Madness) by Levy Wallace, Turntable 2 Treasure on Etsy.
Mardi Gras Fleur Mask by Nikki Stone, Dreaming Utopia Designs on Etsy.
Peacock Mask – Paper Mache – Masquerade – Absolutely Beautiful – Hand Painted by Pirates Quarters on Etsy.
Rhinestone Mask – Venetian Style – “Temptress” by Nora, Bejeweled Masquerade on Etsy.

I have never been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras celebrations, but many of my family members have gone, and of course traveled home again with stories of the sheer number of people jammed into the streets of the French Quarter, the noise, the celebrations, the beads, and the strong coffee and beignets the following morning.  My mother has a particular talent for getting beads, bringing home huge shopping bags full of the baubles that have become favorite dress-up staples for her grandchildren.

Papillon – Rhinestone Masquerade Mask by Nora, Bejeweled Masquerade on Etsy.
Pearl Shard Mirror Gaga Mask by maskup.net, on Etsy.
Spiral Masquerade – OOAK Purple and White Leather Mask by Jyn Donham, The Mummers Cat on Etsy.
Venice Pink Lace Butterfly Glitter Mask by maskup.net, on Etsy
Antennae Feather Mask by Regina T, Aveanart Feathered Masks on Etsy.

The three colours designated for New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations, Purple, Gold, and Green, besides looking deliciously decadent actually have been said to have significant meaning.  Purple is said to signify justice, gold stands for power, and green means faith.  Whether you subscribe to that notion or not, these are the colors most often seen during the Mardi Gras season, and particularly in the last five days leading up to Ash Wednesday.

Purple and Green Harlequin Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask by Alia Yasen, Society Carnivale on Etsy.
Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask by Misty W., The Masked Zone on Etsy.
Jester Leather Mask by Mr. Hyde’s Custom Leather, New Orleans on Etsy.
Gold and Blue Masquerade Mask by Misty W., The Masked Zone on Etsy.
Momus Leather Mask by Mr. Hyde’s Custom Leather, New Orleans on Etsy.

While these colours are often seen in masks worn on the day, there is no limit to the design or coloration of masks for Mardi Gras or any other occasion.  While I may not be celebrating Mardi Gras, in the traditional sense, I would likely choose a mask that features more traditional Venetian elements, or perhaps a Harlequin style.  And if you are like me and have never been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras season, or have young children and can’t travel easily, there is no reason not to start your very own family tradition of having a mini-masked ball in your home. Invite your friends and family, decorate the house in the traditional colours of green, purple, and gold, and make your own King Cake. Make a list of fun party games and hand out some throws [traditionally beaded necklaces].  What a fun memory you will be creating, and a great photo opportunity too.

Gold and Black Lace Masquerade Mask by Alia Yasen, Society Carnivale on Etsy.
Mayqueen Masquerade Mask, Handmade by Karen, Grin, Grimace & Squeak! on Etsy,
Venetian Feather Carnival Mask in Gold with Purple Ostrich Feathers, Mauve by Lady In The Tower on Etsy.
Lace Adult Mask Design For Mardi Gras New Years by Lanette, Lanette’s Designs on Etsy.
Gold Fairy Mask by Elaine, A Sight to Behold Masks on Etsy.

Today’s selection of masks are all available on Etsy, and while they may not make it to you in time for this year’s celebrations, it may be wise to pick up a mask to have on hand when the next opportunity to wear one may arise. A wild bachelorette party would be one occasion where a mask might come in handy, or a bachelor party for that matter. There is no reason at all that you cannot have a masked party in your own house, be it a birthday celebration, a grown-up Halloween party, or your next New Year’s bash. Masks make a wonderful conversation starter, and the range of style, from traditional to outrageous, can be a very personal expression of your own character.

Cardinal Leather Mask, Child Size – Made to Order by Chelsea and Marlo, Sundries and Plunder on Etsy.
Rabbit Brown Patchwork Mask by Looking Glass Leather Works on Etsy.
Fox Leather Mask, Child Size – Made To Order by Chelsea and Marlo, Sundries and Plunder on Etsy.
Snowy Owl Leather Mask by Annie Libertini, Libertini Leather Accessories on Etsy.
Gold, Brown and Teal Leather Dragonfly Mask by Looking Glass Leather Works on Etsy.

So grab yourself a strong cup of coffee and a slab of King Cake and settle in to search for the mask of your dreams. King Cake, by the way, is a coffee cake, oblong and braided, and iced with a simple icing then covered with purple, green and gold sugar. Each cake contains a hidden bean or small plastic baby. Different traditions hold for the one that finds that little trinket in their slice of cake. Martha Stewart has a particularly easy recipe for King Cake that you can make at home, and you can decided what significance you want to add to the finding of the hidden prize.

Gradient Purple and Silver Mask by Elaine, A Sight to Behold Masks on Etsy.
Intricate Alphonse Mucha Inpired Leather Mask by S.E.T Design on Etsy.
Waves Mask, Masquerade Mask, Luxury Venetian Mask by Coco Martin, Cocone on Etsy.
Dragon Days – Leather Dragon Mask by S.E.T Design on Etsy.
Black and Silver Metallic Masquerade Mask by Jessica, The Crafty Chemist on Etsy.

Your mask may be among the selection showcased here today, or you might want to head over to Etsy to have a closer look at the amazing mask creations of the artists that combine the skills of a sculptor with that of a milliner, combining elements of paper, leather, metals, feathers, and beads to produce the most magical and pleasing results.  You never know when your next occasion to wear a mask might come along, and you might as well be prepared. Have a marvelous Mardi Gras everyone.

Green Macrame Mask, Masquerade Mask, Elegant Mask by Coco Martin, Cocone on Etsy.
Columbina Venetian Masquerade Eye Mask by Venetian Artiquity, Venice Italy on Etsy.
Mardi Gras, Burlesque Mask, VAMPIRE Masqurade, Headband, Victorian Hair Accessories, Gold Shimmer Princess Queen – DANCE by Theresa Joy, deLoop on Etsy.
Eyes Wide Shut Bauta Masquerade Venetian Mask by Venetian Artiquity, Venice Italy on Etsy.
Mardi Gras, Mask, Pink Feather, Vampire Queen Ball Mask, Princess, Hair Accessories, Pink & Black Shimmer – PRETTY ONE by Theresa Joy, deLoop on Etsy.

Note: All Images and Creations in this post are Copyright and the Intellectual Property of the Individual Artists and their Respective Etsy Shops. No Infringement is Intended. Please follow the Link under the image in question for further information including price, shipping costs, and availability. Some items are Ready-To-Ship while others are Made To Order.

Sweet Treats From The Backyard – Sweetness Sundays

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Colourful Carrot Mix Organic Seeds at Cubits on Etsy.

 The message is out there, but are we listening? When you hear the term “buy local” in reference to your food, how local are you thinking? Would you say local is your country? Maybe it is your state or province, or even your town. All better options than buying something shipped in from afar, something sprayed in wax, grown with preservatives, and hauled in from overseas or across borders.  In most places in the world, there are limited local options, but in others, where we have seasonal weather and a variety of soil conditions, we can think about growing much much closer to home. As in at home, as in “our own backyard” or a small planter on our balcony or patio.  Today’s sweet post is about the sweet treats and sweet pleasures of growing your own.

Organic Watermelon Radish Seeds at Cubits on Etsy.
Organic Easter Egg Blend Radishes Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.

I love vegetables, I always have, and if it was up to me, I would be happy to eat salads and baked squash and grilled zucchini and eggplant all day long. For various reasons, that is a dangerous proposition for me, but my love of vegetables, the fresher the better is a reality.  Where did it start? Well, I honestly think this one goes back to my childhood and a lovely cottage in Muskoka, Ontario. I was a very lucky kid to grow up with a place to go to every weekend and all summer long, there were very few rules, lots of things to do, and we had a huge property, even by today’s standards.

Organic Alibi Hybrid Pickling Cucumber 30 Seeds at Black Ridge Trading Post and Gardens on Etsy.
Radicchio Rouge De Verona Organic Seeds – Red Italian Chicory at Florentine Garden Seeds of Quality on Etsy.

While we spent winters buzzing about on our snowmobiles, building giant snow forts and sculptures, and ice skating on that frozen solid lake, summers were another story entirely.  Very early on, my parents squared off two very large garden plots, perhaps 12’x12′ each. Maybe larger, it is hard to remember. My mother planted and tended to cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkins, sugar snap peas, and other wonderful vegetables.  As kids, we would think we were very sneaky indeed, yanking small sweet carrots from the garden, running for the lake and washing them off, and eating them as we sat on the dock, dangling our feet in the water. If you have never had a carrot fresh from the garden, you are missing out on nature’s candy.

2011 Tomatoes – White Currant Seeds, Naturally Grown, Organic Seeds at Frog Pond Gardens Organic Seeds on Etsy.
Organic Heirloom Peacevine Cherry Tomato Seeds at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.

My mother would carefully collect all those small cucumbers and heaps of green tomatoes, and she would pickle them in huge batches. We would have garlicky dill pickles and green tomatoes, bread and butter pickles in jars by the dozen all set out in the ‘cellar’, a small room in the basement. My mother actually had to find ways to use the tomatoes, there were just too many for one family. Everyone got gifted, and she even tried some very odd culinary experiments. I remember a Green Tomato Pie, sweet, not savory, that she assured us tasted just like apple pie. In retrospect, it is more likely true than not, since Tomatoes are actually a fruit.

Organic Seeds – 3 Packs of Your Choice at Hollis Plus Hunter on Etsy.
Vegetable Garden Organic Seed Pack at Hollis Plus Hunter on Etsy.

At the end of the season, we would decorate the exterior of the house with the pumpkins and squash we had grown. My mother had a great sense of humor, and always kept aside any vegetables that looked ‘odd’, often resembling faces or other body parts.  I remember a huge carrot that looked like a woman’s legs crossed at the knees, it sat on the ledge above the kitchen sink.

Organic Garden Seeds, 6 Organic Heirloom Seed Packs Of Your Choice at Hollis Plus Hunter on Etsy.
Organic Heirloom Purple of Sicily Cauliflower Seeds RARE at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.

If you have access to a backyard, hopefully you have a compost container out there, if you do, you are likely brewing up some of the best natural fertilizer than can be had.  If you have a small patch of land, even just a few square feet, you can create a little patch of heaven in your own backyard. Some neighborhoods offer community gardens, places where you can sign up for a plot of land, often at no cost, to grow some fresh food for your family. 

Organic Heirloom Broccoli Romanesco Seed RARE Gourmet at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.
Organic Heirloom Blue Pumpkin Jarrahdale Seeds RARE at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.

My point is, there is no reason to buy heaps of ‘long distance’ semi-fresh foods when you can grown at least a few of them in your own backyard.  Have a picky eater in your house, a child that claims to ‘hate’ vegetables? School programs that have children participating in a vegetable garden project often find that kids are far more likely to try foods they have grown themselves.  The faster you can get a food from garden to table, the higher it is in nutrients, and the better the flavor. Refrigeration is death to the flavor of the tomato, mushrooms that are washed are tragically ruined, and carrots are meant to be heavy and juicy, not dry looking and frail.

Organic Heirloom Onion Red of Florence Seed RARE at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.
Organic Heirloom Sugar Snap Pea Seeds at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.

So let’s see, you can save money, grow without pesticides and herbicides, you can have vegetables and herbs literally at your fingertips, your kids are more likely to eat the veggies you grow yourselves, and you can reduce the carbon footprint caused by the long-distance shipping of perishable goods. WIN – WIN! Not  only that, but you can grow the things you like best, the varieties you treasure, and you can go organic in the true sense of the term. There are a handful of Etsy sellers that have the most magical and lovely Organic Seeds for stunning varieties of veggies available for purchase, and now is the time to start thinking about your spring garden.

Organic Heirloom Eggplant Diamond Seed at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.
Organic Heirloom 3 Beet Variety Seed Blend – BEST SELLER at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.

First things first, know your zone.  Find out what will grow in your area of the country, and what is less likely to thrive. Second, plan your garden size, and where you will put it, then watch to determine the sun exposure vs. shade in the average day.  Find a local garden supply store that supports home gardeners.  Plan for the supplies and tools you will need for your garden. Don’t think you have to buy everything, up-cycle is the key to making this a great project.  Use an old cake sever as a trowel,  if you need to grow some seedlings before directly planting in the garden, find  a series of small cups or glasses that can be used, or even use a cardboard egg crate as a perfect seed starter. Reclaimed boards or wood scraps can make great stakes for your plants or can make the perfect box frame for your garden, helping keep weeds out without chemicals.

Organic Parsnips Harris Model Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.
Organic Victoria Rhubarb Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.

After you determine how much space you have and what you are planning to grow, get the best seeds you can find. Order yourself some of these non-biologically engineered hearty organic seeds, all found on Etsy.  These pictures are positively mouth watering, and I just can’t wait for spring so I can set up a planter and grow some carrots on my balcony.  I am not good with flowers, but something tells me a few chives and carrots will look great in a long trough planter on my balcony. 

Organic Spring Lettuce Mix Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.
Organic Carrot Cosmic Purple Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.

Some of these seed types are rare heirloom seeds, and they are only available in small amounts, but they will give you an idea of what is out there.  It is truly remarkable to see the sheer range of colours and shapes in a single vegetable family, and each colour had it’s own unique nutritional benefits.  Some seeds cannot be shipped by mail across certain borders, so make sure you can get the product you want shipped to you before you make the purchase. The friendly vendors at Etsy are almost universally thrilled to answer any questions you may have, and when it comes to those who sell seeds, they have often grown the varieties they sell personally, so they are the best people to ask.  Bet you can’t get that at the local Walmart

Organic White Pumpkin Seeds Casper White Pumpkins at Cubits on Etsy.
Organic Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.

Even if it is just something you jot down on your ‘something to do someday‘ list, having a look at these pictures will help to inspire you to try your hand at home gardening.  If you are a seasoned gardener, or ready to give it a good shot, then it won’t be long before spring arrives and you will have a chance to tastes these sweet treats from your garden, and savor the flavor that can only come with knowing you grew something with a little elbow grease, a lot of love, a the sun, soil, and seeds that are the recipe for fabulous garden fun.

Organic Round Zucchini Squash Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.
Organic Jalapeno Pepper Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.


Note: All images in this post and products mentioned are copyright/intellectual property of the respective Etsy vendor indicated under the image. Please contact vendors for more information about specific products and prices.  No infringement is intended.

Organic Perfection Savoy Cabbage Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.
LiMa beAn Heirloom Seeds From Our Organic Garden at Pailanita on Etsy.

No Strings Attached – Strange Stuff Saturdays

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Hand Puppet – Jack (Rabbit) by Nicole Ponce, Ponster on Etsy.

I have a very long and somewhat bizarre history with hand puppets. I find them to be a very interesting form of art, but there is something almost creepy about them, and sometimes I find them a little bit off putting, I am not sure why.  It really depends on the individual puppets, and who is making them speak. Perhaps that is why they make the perfect subject of today’s Strange Stuff Saturdays post. 

EMMETT Hand Puppet by Megan, Furry Guys on Etsy.
Henry the Hand Puppet Made of 100% Recycled Wool by Margaret Nathon, The Creative Frog on Etsy.

Hand Puppet – Dog – Pink by iasio on Etsy.

In my earliest recollections, I know that I watched Mr. Rogers Neighborhood on television, perhaps it was the mid-seventies. I was just a little girl, and children’s television was a new genre.  I remember when Mr. Rogers would transition into the land of make-believe by following that little trolley car, there were the creepiest looking puppets in this “make believe” land. Even as a child I knew it wasn’t really a dream state, it was just that dude Mr. Rogers in another part of the studio, talking to a bunch of creepy puppets.  I was particularly weirded out by King Friday. I have no idea why, but I knew his voice was the same as Mr. Rogers.

Forget-Me-Not, A Bunny Handpuppet by clothmoth on Etsy.
Gorgeous Hand Felted Puppet ‘Donkey 1’ by Gladys Paulus on Etsy.
Troll Hand Puppet of 3 Billy Goats Gruff by Mary-Ellen O’Neil, at Meoneil on Etsy.

At the same time, Sesame Street was taking off in popularity. I found those puppets, a version of hand puppet, to be really adorable, and I was always trying to figure out how they were controlled. I understood that they were puppets, but I often got lost in the magic, since the voices seemed so original and the characters were all very well defined. They didn’t bother me at all, and to this day I love Muppets in all forms.

Fairy Godmother Puppet by Jessica MacLean, Geeky and Cheeky on Etsy.
Roofus Dog Hand Puppet or Ventriloquist Puppet Custom Order by Bob Wolanin, Bob’s Imagination on Etsy.

Handmade Large Green Octopus Hand Puppet by Mike Artelle, Artelle Puppets on Etsy.

My mother was always very crafty, and we did several projects that involved making puppets.  We used wooden spoons to make a very simple puppet with a face on the spoon end, wrapped up in a tea towel. I remember her buying “DAS“, which was one of the first commercial clay products for home use. It would air dry to a solid but light finish, and then you could paint it. My mother had us all make “Clown Heads” out of DAS, with small plastic eyes and mouths you could stick right into the clay before it dried. We then painted them, and she actually sewed up a bunch of tiny clown costumes for the puppets. It was a bit creepy, but still a fun activity. You can apparently still buy DAS. Who knew.

Klotild, The Witch – Handpuppet by Agnes Abraham, AgneShop on Etsy.
Hedgehog Glove Puppet by Ruta Staseviciute, rstaseviciute on Etsy.
Figgy The Upcycled Bird Puppet by Amy Hofacker, Funamals on Etsy.

For one of my siblings birthday parties, my mother decided that my twin sister and I should provide the entertainment, in the form of a puppet show. I don’t remember what the story was, perhaps it was “The Frog Prince”, but my father built a huge puppet theater for us to stand behind and work our magic, I can’t imagine it being a very successful show for an audience of children no older than 5 years. 

Subhadra Puppet by Leslie Howard, Govinda’s Peace Farm on Etsy.
Bird Eco-Puppet Made With Upcycled and Post Consumer Waste, Handmade Felt by Natasha Henderson, HendersonArt on Etsy.
Yellow Monster Hand Puppet or Ventriloquist Puppet (BigOOdle 49cm) by PuppetOOdle on Etsy.

So here we are, I have a mixed bag of childhood memories involving hand puppets. Some good, some weird, and some just strange.  So I decided to take a look about Etsy to see if anyone had some great hand puppets, made by hand, that I could share with you and thus redeem myself from ‘puppet ambiguity’ in decades past.  I was surprised at just how much I loved looking at these charming and odd puppets, they just look like a whole lot of fun. I could see them being used to make up some silly and fun stories with children and family members, or perhaps used in a classroom setting.  I could also see a drama department at a local high-school going crazy for some of these puppets, I can only imagine how insane that puppet show would be. Some of these sweeties would just be fun to use for play.

Hand Puppet Large Aqua Blue Monster with Moving Mouth by Sarah, OnHandByHand on Etsy.
Bitsy The Rug Monster Hand Puppet – Promises Not To Bite by Anne M. Thorson, THE PUPPET REGIME on Etsy.
Sarah the Foamie Puppet by Sharona Reouveni, Raisinlike on Etsy.

However you see yourself using hand puppets, if in fact you can see it, I just had to show you some of these amazing Etsy finds.  If for no other reason than to make you smile, you need to check out these amazing puppet makers. This is just the smallest collection of puppets, there are many more to be discovered at these and other Etsy shops, so take a wander over with the links provided under the images and take a little look-see at what other marvelously strange and wonderful puppets you can literally get your hands on, and in, as the case may be. Call me a puppet convert, I just can’t help but love this crazy band of characters.

Pukeko Hand Puppet by Sara L Johnston, NZ Creatively Crafted on Etsy.
Hand Puppet Awesome Cute and OOAK Green Creature From The Blackberry Bush with A Sweet Little Violet Cloak by Holle La Luna, Priestess Design on Etsy.
Deborah The Trophy Wife – A Sock Zombie Puppet with Pink Hair and Aqua Eyes by Erin Glaser, Underroos on Etsy.

NOTE: All images and products in the post are the intellectual property and copyright of the individual artists and Etsy stores indicated. No infringement is intended. Please follow the link under each image for more information on each puppet, including price, availability, and shipping rates.

Making Faces – Found On A Friday

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ONE 28″x20″ Mixed Media Print, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy.

Friday’s are the day that I don’t have to worry about any categories, I can simply showcase something wonderful. That is a blessing and a curse sometimes. A blessing because it removes any constraints on the fabulous finds I get to introduce, a curse because I am spoiled for choice.  It has become apparent to me that I like a heck of a lot of things, and so it comes down to choosing an artist to feature that doesn’t “fit” into one of the themes days here at the Fab. That means that mt Fridays are usually reserved for Artist that have a unique and original flair that somehow speaks to me. Today’s featured artist is one of those.

Every You Every Me – Mixed Media 15/100, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy.
Angel – Mixed Media 12/100, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy

It has become apparent to me that the original art that seems to grab me full on from the jump is often art that features human [or humanoid] faces. I don’t know why, but when I see a face, I see emotion, and it often connects with me on a very deep level. I have presented several artists that do a sort of ‘abstract portraiture’ before, and try as I might to pass them by in search of something else to showcase, I keep coming back to the same work over and over again. Vincenzo Rizzo is one of those artist who works just grabs me. I will be doing a random search of artwork on Etsy, or even just searching the whole of the newest listings pages, and every time I see one of Vincenzo’s paintings, I click through to look at it closer. I often don’t even realize it is yet another of Rizzo’s amazing creations until I get to the image listing, at which point I have that “well Duh!” moment, the moment where I realize that it is no wonder I like it so well. Vincenzo Rizzo is a master of capturing faces that captivate me.

Canada 10/100 Limited Edition Mixed Media, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy.
Drinking My Tears – Mixed Media 14/100, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy.

Vincenzo’s Etsy Shop is chock full of the most amazing mixed media prints and original paintings, and they are all of them priced well within the grasp of an collector.  Prints are almost always limited to an edition of 100 copies, and most are available for purchase at just $10.00 USD.  Canvas mounted prints run higher, but they are large in scale and ready to hang. You can bring home an amazingly high quality print on canvas, mounted on wood, and signed and dated by the artist, for $220.00 USD. Many original works are also available, these range in price from the ridiculously affordable $10.00 USD price point.

Agata – Mixed Media – 11/100, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy.
Feeling The Wave – 4/100 – Mixed Media, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy.

You may well recognize some of these faces, as I do, as some of the most beautiful models to grace the pages of fashion magazines, to portraits of some of the most iconic celebrities.  Many people may attempt to do portraits of famous faces, but Vincenzo does it with such skill that you often feel that you know who you are looking at in these images, you just can’t figure out how you know them. Rizzo’s combination of these lovely faces and splashes of colour, script, or other mixed media elements are masterful. The range of colours and materials used makes them so appealing, and with such an accessible price, you can bring these lovely limited edition prints or originals into your home with very little hesitation.  I simply love the way Vincenzo makes faces.

LoVe BomB – 49/100 Mixed Media, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy.
Watercolor’s Spirit // Limited Edition 32/100, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy.

Rizzo’s art would look stunning in a traditional mat and frame, or in a floating frame of glass.  The sizes make them very easy to frame for a reasonable price, so they would all make wonderful gifts as well.  I could see them in a gallery like collection, featured on the walls of a hip hair salon or spa, or in the bedroom of that budding Fashionista teen you know so well. A group of these prints would work in just about any room that needs some colour and personality.

NERONE – miXedMedia 12/100, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy.
Wings Of Stone – 34/100 – Mixed Media, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy.

This is just a small selection of Vincenzo’s works available on Etsy, so please follow the links to Rizzo’s Etsy Storeand see which works speak to you personally.  While I mainly presented a sample of portraits, Vincenzo also does some fantastic nudes and humorous images featuring juxtaposed vehicles, animals, and other artistic elements.  I particularly love the whimsy of some of the original works done on pages of Latin dictionary pages, they are simply fantastic.

LOVED – 18×12 Inch – Mixed Media, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy.
3D O.R.I.G.I.N.A.L. Hand Painting Mixed Media on Page of Antique Italian Vocabulary of the Early 1900’s Original Unique Artwork, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy.

Make sure you take a trip over to Etsy this weekend, a long weekend for us Canadians, and don’t forget to visit Vincenzo Rizzo’s Etsy Store in your travels. You will not be disappointed, and it is a great place to start if you are an Etsy ‘virgin’, as may be the case.  Don’t be afraid, Etsy may seem like a daunting place, there is so much to look at and explore, but there is truly something for every taste and living space, and the images presented are almost universally lovely and appealing.

UV – Mixed Media 49/100, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy.
Gucci 12 of 100 Limited Edition, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy.

You may think of Etsy as akin to eBay in some respects, but it is far more focused on handmade, one of a kind, and antique goods.  I find eBay to be impossibly over-run with what often seems to be ‘crap’, there seems to be no standard of presentation or attention to detail. Etsy provides a much better shopping experience, and there is a true community feel to the site. Have a lovely weekend and may you find a whole lot of fabulous in your foraging attempts.

I Know You Like My Poker Face – 30/100 – Mixed Media, ART by Vincenzo Rizzo on Etsy.

Note: All Images/Products Featured In This Post Are Copyright and the Intellectual Property of Vincenzo Rizzo and the associated Etsy Shop. No Infringement is Intended. Please Follow The Links Below Each Image For Purchase Information or Further Details.

We Should All Have A Dream – Time Travel Thursdays

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Fine Art Print – “Hidden Gems” Ballerina and Saxophone – 5×7 by Aesha Ash, Swan Dreams – A Shop With A Cause on Etsy.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

In February, the United States and Canada share a common observance, a rare thing between our two countries, but a welcome one particularly in this case. February is Black History Month, and it is a time to not just look to the past to find astonishing heroes and heroines that have changed the world as we know it, but a time to assess where we now sit in relation to our goals for understanding and harmony between all persons. This post will feature images of items available right now on Etsy that are particularly evocative as we look at Black History Month, and remember our shared history, and equally importantly, our shared future, for our children, and for our children’s children.

Rare African American Collectible Cabinet Card – Identified as Kate Smith at Button Empire on Etsy.
Black Americana – Cotton Bale, Memphis – Tupelo, Postmark – Vintage Postcard at Muse of Memorabilia on Etsy.

Black History Month is a time to recognize that we share more with our fellow man than we can possibly imagine, and that the differences are the things that make us unique and special in this world.  It was Edmund Burke who first said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Burke, a British Statesman and Philosopher, may have said it in the 1700s, but it is just as true today as it ever was.  Ignoring our history, weather it be triumphant or traumatic, only serves to allow us to repeat our mistakes in ignorance. When you know better, you do better. This month’s celebrations are not about placing blame on any person or persons, they are about the strength of the human spirit to survive the most bleak of circumstances, and to show us that we are all capable of great acts of bravery when push comes to shove.

Rosa Parks Print 11×17 – Famous Seniors by Garrick, Senioritis on Etsy.
Carter G. Woodson Postage Stamps – Black History Month at Vintage by Cassandra on Etsy.

I am not black, I am not a visible minority, unless you consider being female as a minority, statistically it is not.  I consider myself instead an “Invisible Minority”. I am a Jewish woman, and though I am not orthodox in my observances, I do self identify as a Jew. That means that people who meet me in my professional life often assume I am not Jewish.  I have been present when people I consider to be friends have used derogatory terms, even absent-mindedly, in reference to the Jewish people. I was once discussing a shopping trip with a group of fellow nurses when a male nurse over 15 years my senior, stated, “How did you get a deal like that? Did you Jew them down?”

Wedgwood Anti-Slavery Dish – 1930’s at DeLuca on Etsy.
Vintage 1930’s Mammie Doll – Handmade Toaster Cover at Firegypsy Vintage on Etsy.
Vintage Black Americana Print – Antique “Mammy” and “Sambo” Illustration & Poem at Tuppence Ha’penny on Etsy.

It is a very difficult experience to explain if you have never been a party to it. It is a bit like being slapped in the face by an invisible hand.  It stings, but it goes deeper, it wounds something inside you.  When you realize that this type of thinking is usually something learned early in life from one’s parents or peers, that it takes generations to change the thinking behind it, and that the subsequent slur is often uttered without any conscious intent to wound. I can say that I myself, until that day, had not really examined my own use of certain terms. That single experience was so shocking to me, so life altering, that I cannot help but shudder to imagine the experience of those who face open hostility and violence based on their religion or skin colour, their heritage, sexuality, or race.

Mother To Son by Langston Hughes – Card by Jerise on Etsy.
Boys in White – 8×10 – Black And White Photograph by Nate Ivey, Neurorocker – Crescent City Connection on Etsy.

When I was a child trading toys with my little friends, we used the term “Indian Giver” quite freely, meant as the ultimate put down for those who took back what they had traded.  My mother pointed out to me at a young age that it was a hateful and ignorant thing to say, and I am grateful to her for it. I know that into my early twenties I was using the term “Gyped” to describe a situation where I felt I had been cheated out of money. It was only after realizing that the term actually referred to a Gypsy transaction, and in light of my own experience with a similar term involving my heritage, that I eradicated the term from my vocabulary. It now brings a great deal of shame to my heart to know that I may have offended someone with my thoughtless and ignorant remarks.

1965 Fun With Our Friends – Classic Dick and Jane Primer – Ethnic Edition 1st Grade at Bookmonster on Etsy.
Black History Month // 1970s ABC Flashcard Letters Post Cards at Crab Apple Design on Etsy. Optional Stitching Into A Banner by Melissa Stewart.

I am in no way a student of Black History, I have learned what I know from reading books, watching television documentaries, and through my general education.  I wish I was able to give you a concise history of Black America and Canada, but I cannot claim that expertise.  What I can do is speak from my heart, and hopefully reach yours, and say that as I know better, I try to do better, I can say that it is an ongoing process, and one we can all take part in.  Racism, bigotry, and racial intolerance is one of the last unspoken taboos in our culture. We often are so uncomfortable with our history, we choose to ignore it.  We are more comfortable discussing sexual harassment, violence, and practically anything else in order to prevent us dealing with racial tension.

Vintage Newspaper – Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination – San Francisco Examiner April 5, 1968 at House of Heirlooms on Etsy.
Vintage Martin Luther King Jr. & Bobby Kennedy [on Reverse] Memorial Pendant Necklace at Olive M’Lou DIY on Etsy.
“Our Lives Begin To End” Martin Luther King Jr. Quote – Jot and Go Recycled Notebook/Journal by Ivy Lane Designs on Etsy.
Martin Luther King Jr. Portrait Art Card – 5×7 Blank Card by Mike Tanoory, Tanoory Studios on Etsy.
Vintage Martin Luther King Jr. Spinning Memorial Pendant at Olive M’Lou DIY on Etsy.

I selected the images and items to showcase in this post very carefully, for a variety of reasons. Some are obviously connected to Black History Month, featuring iconic images and persons, while other are less obviously so. As for the photographs, where some might only see the face of a black man or woman, I see the image, but also see the sameness in experience. Who hasn’t taken a picture of a young man about to ship off to war, of a family around a dinner table during the holiday time, or held on to pictures of their ancestors long after the names and connections have gone a bit fuzzy.  That is the beauty of Etsy, you can find the most amazing things, no matter what you are looking for.

Daddies Babies Vintage Photo of an African American Man, His 5 Children, and His Wife at Romance Writer on Etsy
Vintage Photo of a Cute Little African American Girl Wearing A Frilly Dress and Matching Purse at Romance Writer on Etsy
A Night On The Town, Vintage Photo of Three African American Women Having A Drink In A Club at Romance Writer on Etsy
Handsome Sailor Vintage Photo of a Young African American Boy in Naval Uniform at Romance Writer on Etsy

In the United States they call their society “A Great Melting Pot”, in Canada, we call it “Multiculturalism”, in both cases, there are groups that remain marginalized for a variety of reasons, and that is our reality, and our failure.  Use this Black History Month to examine your own experiences, how can you do better for your family and by your neighbor.  I start with me, I can only change me, but I hope that by example I can show my young nieces and nephew that all people have value, no matter their colour, creed, or religion. We need to be a part of our community, and by extension our world, by interacting with others. We, each of us, need to develop an appreciation of our differences and dream of a day when no single person ever feels the sting of racism and ignorance again. Martin Luther King Jr. made the saying “I have a dream” famous, but each and every one of us should all have a dream of our own, and leave a legacy of love behind when we are gone, just like Martin Luther King Jr. did.

Love Art – Black History Month – London Photography, Street Photography [Love, Kiss, Romance] by Ronya, Ronya Galka Photography on Etsy.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
Fine Art Print – 5×7 – Hidden Gems by Aesha Ash, Swan Dreams – A Shop With A Cause on Etsy.

The image that heads this post, and the one above are the work of a very talented photographer named Aesha Ash, whose Etsy Shop “Swan Dreams – A Shop With A Cause” features many such beautiful images. The reason I wanted to leave a little special note at the bottom of this post, is because a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these stunning images goes towards organizations that endeavor to bring the beauty and benefits of ballet to children and youth in under-served communities. One of my nieces is currently studying classical ballet with a teacher who was herself trained in the exacting Russian Schools of Ballet. At first, my niece was having trouble with the strict attention to minor details and the constant correction of her form, but at some point, it clicked with her. She now sees constructive criticism as a means of making her better, of making her the best she can be.  For a nine-year old girl, I have seen the amazing effect that has had on everything else she does in her life, from daily homework to her downhill skiing, and it is a wonderful thing.  I find the work of the group that Aesha‘s work supports, The Swan Dreams Project, to be truly inspiring.  All children need to find the thing that makes life magical and beautiful, and teaches them to reach for the stars. Please follow the link to Aesha’s Etsy Shop to see more and learn how you can support this project.

A Class Full Of Lovely 9 Year Old Ballerinas To Be. [One of Which Happens To Be My Niece].

Note: All Images and Items In The Post Are The Intellectual Property of and Copyright by Their Creators/Owners and The Respective Etsy Shop. Please Follow The Link Under The Image for More Information. No Infringement is Intended.