Sunday, December 13, 2015

DIY garlands from old fake Christmas tree

I hate throwing anything out because there is no 'out', y'know? Throwing stuff out is just locating it to a part of the planet that isn't at your place.
It's even harder when it's a Christmas tree. Like this one. I'd bought it for $6 for a friend to use in her shop last year but she opted for a smaller version this year. I don't blame her, it was a pain to set up.  But what to do with it now?
 Yes I could use it on the front landing but in all likelihood it would be pinched. Not that I mind losing the tree but all the decorations would go with it. But I do like garlands and swags so I decided to deconstruct and use the branches for other decorating.
First I tried removing the branches which had a kind of hook holding them in place but was doing myself a fair bit of damage. Eventually I just used bolt cutters to cut them off close to the trunk. 
The branches were a bit prickly but eventually I had denuded the bottom two segments of the tree. 
Which left me with bits like this. 
 Then I started tying the branches end to end, or rather laying the head of one branch over the tail of another and tying them in place with garden twist ties in two places. I kept doing this until I was happy with the length. You could use small cable ties just as well and it would probably be quicker! I just went with what I had to hand. 
Then I had this.
 Then it was just a matter of attaching them to my railings. Next I'll add some lights and bows and that's my front porch decorated with a $6 Christmas tree. 







Monday, January 13, 2014

Christmas and New Year has kept me busy. Making items for the shop and generally rushing about.
Creatively it's all been about pocket watches and ballet themed items. No big surprises there.
My latest idea, I call Bliss Boxes. Boxes full of things that I consider blissful!
I was playing around with an old hat box I'm repairing and came up with the idea of a box filled with reminiscences of a dancer's life.
I gathered together items that make me feel happy and arranged them in a hat-style box.
These ones contain a tulle skirt, a bunch of silk flowers, decorated ballet pointe shoes, pearl necklace, a vintage ballet print and a tiara comb to match the shoes.  Each one is different depending on what I find to feed my fancy.
They make my heart sing!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ballet pointe shoe experiment #2

I was fiddling about with some brass jewellery stampings recently when something just clicked.
The brass stamping in question was a very rococco design and made me think of the opera and in particular the Paris Opera Ballet and bingo it was but a short leap (jetรจ) to connect them with ballet pointe shoes.
The brass 'flourish' looked like it would mould nicely across the toe or the vamp of a pointe shoe.
With some strongish persuasion from my hands and some pliers the pieces were sitting nicely and are now firmly attached with E6000 glue.
I used one of the pairs of used/dead Bloch pointe shoes I bought from a ballet school. They are so damned gorgeous I just keep looking at them.
Then I did another pair - black this time with a brass ribbon bow across the vamp. The black pair came from a professional dancer who has danced in many companies around the world including the National Ballet of Portugal and the Dutch National Ballet. So they've certainly seen some action.
Not sure what will happen next.  Mmm...
Have you done anything creative with old ballet pointes? 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Ballet pointe shoe experiment

OK so I have 16 pairs of used (dead) pointe shoes and 7 new pairs. Almost an embarrassment of pointe shoes but that's clearly impossible. You could never have too many.
I've been studying them for weeks now. The fabric, the way they are constructed, the meanings I attach to them.
And part of me was itching to 'do something' with them or at least a couple of them.
And yet...it was very hard to actually 'do' anything to any of them because they are so lovely I was terrified I'd muck them up.
In the end, just to get my feet wet so to speak, I bit the bullet and decided to colour one with a Sharpie marker which is one of the many ways mentioned on the net. I decided I wanted to try purple even though I'd only seen people colouring with black Sharpie markers.  I was a bit concerned about the possibility of uneven colour. Black is probably easier to get even coverage although that is supposition on my part at the moment.
Well my concerns were valid.  The purple is uneven even after several coats.  My fall back position was always that I could probably cover over it in black if it was too awful. Which is probably what I will do.
And I should have done the colouring in a well ventilated room or outside because I wound up with Sharpie headache from the smell.
I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ballet pointe shoe obsession

Yes I have one of those too!  I'm obsessed with ballet pointe shoes. A single ballet pointe shoe makes my heart sing.  Many ballet pointe shoes make my heart sound like a choir with a full orchestra!
Worn ballet pointe shoes have poetry in them.  From the dreams and years and years of hard physical slog it takes to have strong enough feet to actually be ready to dance on pointe.
New unused ballet pointe shoes have promise in them.
Where is this heading?  No idea. I just love them.  Always have and can't see that changing.
I did the almost obligatory classes when I was little but when the teacher left our small town so did my dreams.
When I was a teenager a friend gave me a pair of her old pointe shoes which I hung on to for ages before deciding I was grown up and should part with them. Silly silly silly.
I have just spent a fortune buying pointe shoes old and new so I can indulge this passion for them. I want to look at them, understand them, deconstruct them, embellish them, make sculptures with them.
They're hanging from cupboard doors, curtain rails, on tables.  Mostly the varying shades of ballet pink which I always think of as peach, and a couple of black pair.
I would love to collect them, particularly vintage pointe shoes.  They absorb me.  Alas I will have to make do with photos.
Coming soon... pointe shoes! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Current obsession - it's about time

I have a thing about time.  Not having enough, waiting too much, having to put things off or rushing about to get things done.  Nothing new there.  
So watches and clocks intrigue me. So do hourglasses.
A little while ago I found some vintage pocket watch cases - the insides had been taken out and there were cases of all sorts.  Some still have their hinged front and back covers and some are just a ring like frame 'waiting' for something to happen to them. I like the brass/gold coloured ones best.
Pocket watch cases are of course popular as a steampunk item so I was happy to find some at a local collectors fair at a couple of dollars each.  Much cheaper than the ones I found on Etsy. 
So with a goodly supply of cases I 'waited' until they told me what I was supposed to do with them.
The ones with the hinged covers still intact are great because they can still sit up unaided to showcase themselves as well as being worn on a chain or pin as jewellery. Little works of art on display.
I also have a thing about hares.  Those amazing creatures like rabbits but so much more entertaining. Mad March Hare and all.  I had bought a leaping hair button some time ago which was also sitting about until it told me what it was supposed to be doing.
I had a mental picture of the hare leaping across the open face of the pocket watch case like a hare jumping across the face of a full moon.
So it was interesting that my first pocket watch case revealed the word 'Moon' inside the back hinge. Meant to be!  But I am still working out how I want the hare attached. Waiting.
However in the meantime other pocket watch cases have told me their plans. 
The first one that came together involved a little lady in a ballgown.
I only realised it was Cinderella later on. She who waited on her stepmother and ugly step sisters, who waited for her life to get better, who waited for her handsome prince. For whom midnight was indeed a defining moment.
So here is Cinderella half an hour before midnight. There is only her, caught up in her time.
The next one to evolve was another female figure, all white this time. 
She looked like she was waiting for a bus or a date. 
I found her in an art supply shop at least two years ago - a little figure used in architectural modelling. She drew me. Rather pensive. Patient. Because she has no choice. 
This one stands up in its own right as well as hanging from a chain.


The next one was influenced by the recent debates about gay marriage. I had some other little train type people and these two men stood out. There they were 'waiting'.  'Waiting' for people to accept their situation. 'Waiting' for governments to decide whether they could accept their commitment to each other and whether they should be allowed to be married. They're determined. They weren't about to give in and accept anything less.  It was a 'waiting game'.
I had one really rusted case with only the hinged back intact and found an equally rusted watch mechanism which I inserted back into the case. I like that you can see through parts of it. Like looking through time. It's also about the machine, the one we are all part of. So I inserted some very little people into the mechanism. There they are like the cogs in the mechanism, part of the machine.  And waiting... 
There is also a lonely chap inside the back of this one. A little pay off.
Perhaps he has missed his boat aka 'time'. Perhaps he's just 'killing time'. 
I'm not sure this one is finished. It might continue to evolve.
I'm working on some others as well but the hare still hasn't told me what he wants done. So I'm waiting.