Posts Tagged ‘decoration’

New lovey-dovey items for sale in the Etsy shop just in time for Valentine’s Day. Two new listings for handmade heart garlands! The first listing is for a pre-made, ready to ship string of four bright red heart ornaments, strung on a length of hemp and cut to your size specifications. Ornaments are hand-made out of  vegetable tanned leather and painted with a waterproof acrylic ink.

Ornaments are free-sliding on a length of hemp cut to the size you specify. I offer a length of 35″ for standard windows, 40″ to hang over doorways, and 60″ for mantles, double windows, and just about anything else. If ordered this upcoming week, I can have them to you in time for Valentine’s, and shipping is incredibly affordable with this light-weight and foldable item.

The second listing is for a yet-to-be-made custom string of garland comprised of eight hearts instead of four. Looking for personalized wedding decor? How about a string of eight hand-made heart ornaments painted the color of your choice? Hang these hearts over any doorway, window, entryway, altar, or bride’s table to instantly transform the space for your special day. Have difficult to find wedding colors? I can reproduce any shade to match your vision. Want multiple colors? I can make every heart a different color at no extra charge.

This cheerful modern accessory is made from vegetable tanned leather ornaments painted with acrylic ink and sealed with a waterproof varnish. Strung on cords of hemp and tied in neat little bows, this simple design matches any decor. The best part about this item is, when the wedding is over, your bridal party can each take home an ornament as a bonus wedding favor! Use them year-round as Christmas Ornaments, & Valentine’s Decor.

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Nature produces all the most beautiful shapes and colors. I believe nothing that man can make will ever be as effortlessly beautiful as nature; therefore, why not use organic materials when decorating your living quarters? In this post, I am going to show you a few really, really easy ways that I have used objects found in nature to make home-made decorative treasures. All of these projects cost me virtually nothing–all you need to complete them is a little time and sunscreen!

First, dried flowers. A lot of people think of dried flowers and think of death and ugly brown. But not all flowers dry in a completely lifeless manner. Roses for example, keep a lot of their color and shape. As do lilacs, yarrow and lavender. If a flower is thin to begin with, you may want to dry it between the pages of a phone book, however, this will produce a flat result. I like to use hardier foliage, and either hang them up side down to dry, or, just toss them together in a brown paper bag for a week. The brown bag will suck the moisture right out of the flowers! While white flowers tend to turn brown or yellow, lightly-colored flowers retain a lot of their original color, and dark flowers tend to get a lot darker. You can use dried flowers for any number of things, but here I just put some red and yellow roses in a small bowl with lilac and miscellaneous dried petals for a cute table accent. You could also purfume these flowers and make potpourri.

Next we have a category that I am quite fond of because it means you get to go to the beach: shells in a jar!! Sounds pretty simple because it is. I went to the beach. I got some shells. I put them in a jar. That’s the short version, but I did actually take a few extra steps to make these jars look as good as possible. The first step is in my selection of shells. I tried to find all shells, small stones, and sea-glass that were all in the same color family. The beach is filled with rocks of every color, and putting just any rock in a jar doesn’t make the jar pretty; you have to think about it. I knew that I wanted all whites, blue, and gray, a very classic and beachy color combination. For this larger jar, I also selected larger rocks and shells. And how I put them in the jar is also important; the large ones go in first, at the bottom so that they don’t cover the smaller treasures. I arranged everything so that the prettiest side of the rock is facing outward, and I also tried to lean everything on the glass, and leave the most empty space, or the ugliest rocks (filler rocks) in the middle, since you don’t see much of them anyway.

Experiment with shell orientation for more interesting compositions. You can also add items other than shells to the jar to dress things up a little. For example, here I added an open-work ceramic necklace to the top of the jar. I actually used a muscle shell as a bowl to sit the necklace in so that it wouldn’t shift and fall in between any of the other rocks. This extra item provides a focal point and a little extra texture in the rope.

I placed my finished jar on a bookshelf  with other sea-themed objects and colors.

Here is another type of bottle with another type of shell; In this one, only small shells would fit through the opening, and there was no way for me to position things just so, so I had to take it as they fell. I put a lot of periwinkle shells in this one, and small broken shells. I also added a few man-made colored resin faux gemstones for a touch of color. Once the items were all in the jar, I just shook it gently until I liked what I saw!!

The key in a bottle like this where only small items are being used and where they cannot be arranged, it to not use too many shells. filling this bottle would hide almost all of the treasures that you put inside!

Here is another example of only using a few shells in a small jar. A VERY USEFUL TRICK for making your shells look even more gorgeous is to finish them with a glossy top-coat to give them an eternal wet-look. You know how shells and sea rocks always look their best when wet? And no matter how many times you wash them you can’t get that dulling sea salt off?? Well, don’t fit the salt, just cover it up! I use an acrylic gel medium with a glossy finish to coat my shells and give them a pearly shine. Here’s how: I get use a plastic cup, and a cheap paint brush, and lay out my shells on a paper plate. I take a clump of acrylic gel medium with my brush and put it in the plastic cup. You only need about a silver-dollar’s worth to coat a whole plate of rocks. Then add a little bit of water, and mix. You just need enough water to thin the gel so it goes on transparent to clear and spreads easily. Spread the gel over the shells with your brush. If you’ve thinned the gel enough, you won’t leave brush marks, so you can be kind of sloppy. Let this coat dry completely. Then flip over your rocks. You may want to put down a piece of wax paper on top of your paper plate, under the rocks to prevent them from sticking to the plate. Otherwise paper bits could get stuck to the rocks. If this bothers you, go with some wax paper. Anyway, you’ve flipped your rocks, so now paint the other side with the gel and let dry. Your rocks should now be shiny and wet-looking. Apply as many coats as desired for an even glossier finish.

Here is a medium sized jar with an opening big enough for my to arrange the rocks in. It may look like I’ve only used small rocks and pieces of glass in this jar, but that is actually an illusion. There are larger rocks at the bottom and in the middle of the jar, holding up the smaller, more beautiful rocks. I used pebbles, broken shells, periwinkles, sea-glass, and coral in this jar. All of which were coated with one layer of gel medium to give them a slight shine.

Another natural material that I like to use in decorating (as well as meditation) is gemstones. Above is lucky purple quartz, fools gold, and red quartz.

You can use big and small stones, and even pair them with your shell-jars. Place your gemstone treasures on a mirror to double the look of your gems!!

Stone also look great next to single shells or colored ocean accents, like this baby star-fish. You can also place your colorful gemstones in bowls, on tables, book shelves, or on windowsills to reflect the sun-light. These polished and tumbled stones will cost you more than shells and flowers (which can be found for free) but they are not all that expensive, and are still from nature.

When you pair your natural elements with store-bought products such as mirrors, jars, candles, ceramics, and small furniture, you instantly add interest to the space, and create a sense of wealth, abundance, and creativity.

Happy decorating!!

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This set of two is my completed final project for Lithography.

Typically, when I set out to compose a work, I try to put together a window that allows to viewer to see into a complete scene. As an illustrator, I deal with narrative, setting, and continuity. Foreground, middle-ground, and background are all addressed and developed in relation to each and to the boarders of the picture plane. For this assignment, where we were asked to work in a new way, that is not typical for us, I decided to disregard the idea of making a moment in time and to forget the idea of rendering a three-dimensional space.

I have always admired and envied purely decorative arts; things denoted as crafts such as embroidery, stationary, henna, and decorative boarders embellish the everyday objects of our lives and make them pleasing to look at, however they do not receive the same attention or respect as something that is framed–either literally or just by the edges of the image area.

Surface decoration can be just as laborious and complicated to construct as conceptual art but it differs so greatly because of its lack of meaning. It is so simple and upfront and that is why it appeals to me: because it is a change from the image that begs you to think about it. My henna-covered turtle is a simple image that is completely lacking in deeper meaning. It is surface decoration only, with no story, or mood, or space, or even boarders. The image stands alone without an environment and it is exactly what the viewer sees and nothing else. Yet it is still an image that I feel is worth creating because of the simple, straight-forward, decorative pleasure it delivers.

The first state of the image, the black henna on creme paper, was created very simply by drawing the design carefully onto a lithography stone. This was my first time working with a stone and those things are HEAVY. My stone was only 10″x 12″ and it weighed at least 15 lbs. Probably more. That might not seem like a lot to the rest of you, but I am a peanut!


For assignment III, the first state went fantastically and I am very happy with the results. So happy, in fact, that I did an addition of six, instead of the required five. (Yo. I’m selling these prints too….make me an offer)

The second state was made by counter-etching the first state, removing all of the gum so that I could apply more grease. I applied liquid touche (greasy paint) over the entire turtle, covering up all my pretty designs. Then, with an etching needle, and two scratch board styluses, I delicately carved out the same exact image out of the black turtle. The second stare is almost a negative image of the first, but there are obvious differences in weight of the line. When printing my second state, the areas that I had scratched out of the stone began to fill in. I pulled four prints, the first of which was just fine, with the others getting progressively darker and more filled in. So after four prints, I stopped, washed out the image, re-etched it, and then pulled six more copies with a less greasy ink. I had other problems while printing with the amount of ink on the stone and with the paper sticking to the stone and taring when I removed it, but eventually I did manage to get five good prints, though they may not be perfectly identical. Because of depressions in the stone, it was difficult to hit all places with the same amount of ink. The roller was much larger than the stone and so ink would build up on the outside while not hitting enough of the inside. Plus, even after re-etching, some lines still filled in where the ink was just too thick. But I do not mind the slight imperfections, as I think it gives the image character and a quirk.

I am excited to frame these two states together and hang them in my room. If I can somehow manage to craft my own frame out of beach wood, that would be just fantastic. But I will probably end up modifying an old frame from a yard -sale.

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