Sunday, August 4, 2013

I was first drawn to old books when I started creating Altered Art Books about 9 years ago. A vintage book's gorgeous covers and dated fonts were hard for me to resist and if not enough, the earthy smell of an old book could draw me in like a heavy pheromone. Always waffling between my guilt of tearing up old books (for artful purposes) and justifying it with an earth-friendly, Go-Green mentality, I never experienced regret until very recently. "Romola" by George Eliot. After removing several brittle pages to cut into delicate strips, a calling card slipped out from it's pages... haunting me from the past, a handwritten note. I will never handle an old book with the same disregard again.


A nest that I created implementing "paper shred" from an old book.

This is the front of Miss Ferry's calling card.

And her intimate inscription... how I wish I knew who she gave this gift to...

A gorgeous drawing that is in the front of the book.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mother's Day Schmother's Day!

Mother's Day is coming... It will be the first one without her. I used to dread Mother's Day. Hallmark doesn't  sell cards specifically for tense mother/daughter relationships, broken and frail. I used to be annoyed and resentful of the day. I craved a quiet kind of nothingness... My idea of a perfect Mother's Day was a day without mothers and children, a day of peace. My mom's and my twisted, tangled and confusing past surpassed any hopes of giving her the perfect gift or card, the kind that would bring her to tears and phone calls filled with gushiness. Nope. Nada. Wasn't going to happen.

This year I am looking forward to Mother's Day for incredibly different and hopeful reasons. This year will be the first Mother's Day without my beautiful and FUNNY and creative and complicated mother. She slipped from our lives and this Earth on St. Patrick's Day. EFF Cancer BTW. She confided in me a few months ago (when we knew she was dying) that she didn't want to die alone. I find it comforting now, to realize looking back, that she certainly didn't die alone. The tiny bedroom was FILLED with her family, the people that she was the closest too, both geographically and emotionally. I was honored to be in that room and I try not to question if it meant something to her... my presence. Anyway, this year I get to honor my mother. I've made peace that her and I lost YEARS to mis-communication, self-esteems, jealousy, depression, illness, and worst of all... stubbornness. What can I say? I got it from her?!?!?! This Mother's Day I will be honoring her, her strengths, accomplishments, sacrifices, generosity and her stubbornness. I love her more now than I ever knew possible and have more respect for her than I ever thought I could give. I am so proud that SHE was MINE. She was my mother.

Things that remind me of her:

pink roses
sand castles
pretty dolls & teddies
post it notes
black fine tip Sharpies
a pile of magazines
cigarette smoke
curly hair
pictures of myself
Dial soap
strawberry ice cream

Denise Ann Jones Glowacki  July 25th, 1952 - March 17th, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Creative Energy Zapped

I've never felt quite this excited to start a new season of creating before. I am coming off of the high from a super-fun and successful Christmas season, both on Etsy and with a local craft show, and my Valentine's Day Lovelies where a smash as well. I know that I am on a roll and I have so much fun with it as well. This season... Spring & Easter... well, it's "My Thing".  I've always been IN LOVE with the pastels, baby animals and all of the Easter sugary goodness. Anyone who knows me, KNOWS that I go BAT SHIT CRAZY for a bird's nests. Spring is ME! It inspires me like no other season. There is never a Spring Day that I am not in awe of the magic that nature provides at this time of year.

I found amazing little stainless steel ice cream bowls that will house
a nest and egg perfectly. I am thinking vintage lace, book pages
and mother of pearl buttons.

Pretty pastel paper, pink tulle and fuzzy little bunny feet!

Another little nest with eggs that need painted a bit to match the
aqua tulle. Should I put them in a cone or on top of a candy box?

Fuzzy baby animals like this duck, lambs and bunnies are filling
up the ideas in my head. Pastel sugary sweetness with paper
flowers, miniature baskets and papered boxes.

Here it is! A card table set up in our dining room displaying all of the
adorableness so that it is easily accessible when my creative frenzy ensues.

 So what's the problem? Why am I not showing you sneak peek pictures of bird's nest vignettes, Easter candy boxes adorned with fuzzy animal babies and cones fluffed with tulle and birds? Why am I only "talking the talk"? I only wish I knew the answers. I wish I knew why I can't clear my head and work space and fill it with the ACTION of my creative ideas. Sadly, I am lost in this...

This is immediately to the left of my arm... ecigs, Valentine's Day
candy and nagging phones. NO FUN! :(
And this is my work space. Slightly organized, could be cleared
in a matter of minutes if I could find it in me. Begging to be put
to use. Heavy sigh..............

And this is my mom. The cute one in the middle. Ha Ha Ha This
picture was taken the night before her wedding to my dad. Notice
her beautiful smile, long gorgeous hands and fingers and the ash tray
and cigarette she is holding?

My mother was recently diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. She's refusing treatment. I just spent two fabulously sad, healing, wonderful, emotional, fun and draining weeks in sunny Florida at my mom's side. I've been home for two weeks now. I should be back to business, right?  The fog should've lifted by now but it hasn't. I am nowhere near being "myself". I am not particularly sad. I can see tons of greatness and happiness in my life. I am filled with a gratefulness that feels real and thick with authenticity. My heart pitter-pats when I see and hear and interact with my sons; their goofy little smiles and quirky characteristics. My eyes soften when my husband smiles at me and tells me I'm beautiful. My heart sings when I feel his arms around me. I genuinely had to hold my urine in when I was with my fabulously neurotic friend and we spotted the creepy dolls at the indoor flea market as I was teasing her about haunted items and laughing so hard my eyes watered. So, I am alive. I am feeling. I am not numb to all that is around me.

Okay... never published the above. Didn't feel like it was ready so it's now ALMOST A MONTH LATER...

My Mom is dying. My mother is passing away. Hhhmmm... no matter how I type it, it just doesn't sound right. My brain and heart can't comprehend it. They say she's "declining" and use words like "any time" and "irregular heartbeat". I am headed back down. I will be at her side. I will be there for my dad, my aunt (my mom's identical twin sister) and my brother and his wife and children. I will be there.

BTW... Easter goodies are in the shop. I am quite proud of what I accomplished. They are beautiful and fun. Each piece has a little bit of my mom and I in it. I hope that my love shines through in each of them. I hope that when the recipient holds their "junque" for the first time, they marvel at the detail and smile. It truly was my therapy to work the last month. It kept me grounded and sane.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Let's Play a Game!

After such a successful and fun Christmas crafting season and a little down time celebrating the holidays with my family, I am excited to work on some Valentine's Day and Easter "junque". I love starting the New Year off fresh and neat and tidy. Despite the Christmas tree and ornaments and Santa collection being safely packed away for another eleven months and the house back into a resemblance of order, I am still struggling to tap into my creative mojo in MY STUDIO! It's a jumbled mess of beautiful goodies and my brain is overfilling with new ideas. The process for organizing and creating is painfully slow right now...

Can you believe these working conditions??? I tease My Big Guy that I am a Creative Genius
and cannot be bothered with such lowly tasks as keeping my work space neat and tidy!!!

Let's play a little game! The first person that leaves a comment giving specific details about the location of the Barbie head receives a $10.00 discount at MichelleLovesJunque! (I will give you a secret code to use at check out!)

This messy studio may be intimating to some, but it looks like a little slice of heaven to me! Unfortunately, without the much needed order and neatness, efficiency is completely unattainable. Under these conditions, it took me OVER A WEEK to tweak perfection into this little cutie!

A vintage heart-shaped tart tin has been decorated with thee neatest cherub image, seam
binding ruffles, a paper rose, pearls from a Grandmother's old necklace, vintage red glitter,
a paper banner "With Love" and a ruby red crystal!

I hope you love what you see. And as soon as I can carve out some much needed organization... MORE WILL COME so stay posted!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What I am most grateful for:

my incredibly adoring Big Guy, who loves me and supports me endlessly

my waaaaaay too serious and intelligent and musically-gifted Alexander

my dimpled, ferociously kind and loving, hug and gray hair giving Maxwell

my fiercely independent, outside-of-the-box thinker, Oooops Baby Jaxon

my loyal and loving, anxious and barky, cuddly and stinky, baby girl Grace

my mother-in-law's fantastic stuffing and pumpkin pie

when my children fight over the last orange, banana or helping of beans

coffee when it hits my lips each morning

My Besties

Peanut Butter M & M's

the crocheted afghan that my Gram made for me that I use when I'm cold and missing her

a strong sense of faith that gets me through things that I never imagined I could endure, let alone survive

Will Ferrell

finding my bravery

glue guns

Fruity Pebbles

floating on a raft in a pool on a beautiful clear day

Bubbles, my 'puter

Modern Medicine

knowing that tomorrow will always be a new day

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What to do? What to do?

UGH! Huge dilemma... I have an opportunity to do a small local craft show that benefits my son's school. The entrance fee is cheap, cheap, cheap so I wouldn't be out a WHOLE lot of money if it didn't work out and I couldn't participate...

I've started to make these adorable little ornaments to offer
customers affordable and unique gift ideas or home decor.
 The problem is my damn body! I've been enduring a wicked flare for the last month or so. Some days I'm great and others are hell. I'm dealing with more pain than usual and it's really wrecking my plans! LOL I've got too much to do fun to be had! I haven't done a craft show in over six long years and I MISS IT! I miss having a one-on-one connection with my customers and the public. I miss the adrenaline rush of setting up my display and anticipating the day. I miss going over the checklist a million times... cash box and change? Glue, tape and scissors? Cute bags and packing material? Business cards and free candies and hand-outs?

I love to see how people react to my creations. I love the challenging
customers who say that they "could make it themselves". Killing people
with kindness and a sense of humor is FUN for me and God-willing,
I seem to easily rise to the occasion.

With this particular show, I am able to set up my booth the night before. My merchandise can't be displayed until the morning, but WOW! Setting up the night before would really break up the hard, physical labor for me. I could have all the difficult tasks done, go home, get to bed early, sleep well and start fresh the day of the show. Could it work? Will my body cooperate?

I am having so much fun using up all kinds of vintage finds that I've
been collecting hoarding over the years... light reflectors, floral picks with snowman
(like the one in this photo), wonderful old flocked ornaments that I'm dressing
up with shiny sequins and ribbons and bells, vintage garland and Santas...
you should SEE my studio with all of these chotchkies everywhere...
it looks like Santa's workshop!!! LOL

I guess this is what I should do... I should pay the entrance fee and register. If I can do it, I CAN DO IT! If I can't... all the fruits of my labor will NOT be lost. I will list all the fun "junque" that I've made in my Etsy Shop, right? But can I handle the disappointment if my body fails me? How could I turn it into a positive? Could I handle the anger and resentment of my diagnosis? You'd think that after four years of sharing my body with Multiple Sclerosis this should be getting easier. Most days it is... some days it's just not!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Girls and Pearls

I'm not much of a Woman's Libber. I love it when my Big Guy opens doors for me and it endears me when he helps me with my coat and purse. I appreciate the respect and that "little extra" love that it shows. I do however resent the roles that I am expected to play... Perfect Wifey-Poo, Mother of the Year, Domestic Goddess, etc. So when I found the quote by Lynn Hecht Schafran, "Why is it that men can be bastards and women must wear pearls and smile?" I knew it was perfect for my latest assemblage box.

I found an AWESOME source on Etsy for vintage wallpaper to use
in my artwork. I used gobs of girly embellishments on this diorama.

Hannah at Fondly Vintage has INCREDIBLE selections of vintage wallpaper and offers thee best customer service out there!

I played with paper clay for the first time and sculpted the tiny bone.
I also made the dog food out of a button and chopped up cork.
Too much fun!!!

You can find my latest piece of assemblage art dioramas at my Etsy shop, Michelle Loves Junque. I'm also adding Christmas items regularly. My home and studio are swamped with Christmas Crafting Chaos!!! LOL Here's a sneak peek at my Christmas Angel. She was a hoot to create. I giggled while putting her together. You can find her in my shop too!

She is almost 100% vintage materials! Aside from the bottle
brush tree that I aged and the glue and wire...

Here's another Christmas Goodie using recycled materials found at various thrift shops and garage sales!

Thrift store platter, Merry Christmas letters, vintage garland and
corsage and a wonderful Garage sale find... vintage chandelier crystals!
I've been a busy girl in the studio stocking Michelle Loves Junque with vintage finds that I've been hoarding since the house move. LOL It's awful. I find the coolest things and then I put them on a shelf. I need to be more diligent about putting them on my CYBER shelves!

Thanks for visiting. Have a great week Friends!