This was the start of Christmas season for me. Yummies in a Jar (Baysville, Ontario) holds an awesome "Fab Fall Christmas Show" every year in their studio. There are only a handful of vendors but the show is packed. Invites are mailed out, customers come and enjoy a glass of wine, some snacks and are able to purchase Christmas items for 3 hours on a Monday night. This was my 2nd year selling at Yummies and its always a good show for me. Every year it gets bigger. People line up outside the doors for the 5:30pm opening.
The Riverside School Christmas Sale (Huntsville, Ontario) is also a great place to sell your items. Running for 20 years the vendors not only fill the gym but also in the hallways as well. Money made from this show goes towards school activities. I think there are a lot of people that start their Christmas shopping here. This is my booth the night before.
Mittens...just can't make enough for my sales. I have 75 pairs laid out on my kitchen table for the upcoming shows. No two are alike and all are made from sweaters, wool, fleece and the odd cotton. Most sweaters are pretty tacky when I buy them at thrift stores (great for tacky sweater days). I wash and, dry and make sure to shrink the wool ones. Then I cut out mittens around the design on the sweater. The tacky sweater becomes "awesome mittens". My mittens are very warm with either a fleece or wool lining. No cold fingers this winter!
This season I started making my elves again. I had one for sale at the craft show and it was purchased by an extremely excited customer. The new owner asked me to make two more...a girl and a boy. Both elves are made from recycled sweaters and fur. All of my elves are different and each personality comes out as they are sewn. I never know what they will look line in the end.
On March 4th a new store opened up in the Town of Bracebridge. The Bohemian Cafe and Gallery is owned by a mother and daughter team whose artwork is truly amazing.
My boyfriend and I were lucky enough to be two of the artists to display our work for sale. The grand opening was very successful for the duo. The room was filled to the brim with artists and art lovers. I'm sure this store will be the talk of the town. If you ever find yourself in Bracebridge, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada make sure to drop in. Its on Manitoba Street near the top of the hill. You can't miss it!
Keeping true to my upcycling ideals I made this manikin out of items you would find in your own home.
A new store is opening up in my town (Bracebridge, Ontario) within the next week. It will be a cafe plus an arts and crafts store. The Bohemian Cafe and Gallery is owned by Tammy and her daughter Kristen and they have been working long hours preparing for their grand opening. I as one of the artists will have a display at the store and one of the items I will be selling is a vest which has been airbrushed by my very talented airbrush artist boyfriend. For those that love horses this one features a horse galloping on the back of the vest (see picture below). What we needed was a manikin to display it for sale. This is how I was able to make a very inexpensive manikin out of items which can be found in your house.
I Googled "making a manikin" and found various You-Tube videos on making a manikin out of duct tape. Who would have thought of the idea in the first place "Red Green"?
Supplies I used:
1 Old tight T-Shirt
5 Rolls of Duct Tape (Dollar Store kind)
1 Wood Dowel
1 Small plastic disposable water bottle
1 Lamp base (heavy)
2 pieces of tubing which I scored from 2 solar garden lights
Keeping in an upcycling mindset you can search around your home for various similar items. I have also seen a manikin made with paper packaging tape as well but duct tape was my choice for this project.
You will also need a friend to tape you up. It was a fun project. I giggled right through it.
I purchased 6 rolls of duct tape from the Dollar Store and used less than 5 to make my manikin. Wearing an old tight T-shirt I was wrapped from neck to waist in duct tape. Believe me now I know what corsets feel like! Once the T-shirt was completely covered, and I could hardly breath the back was cut open and then taped back shut once I was released from it!
the neck and arms were also taped shut.
I used scrumpled-up newspaper for the filler and I partially filled my manikin body in the shoulder area.
Next cut the bottom off of the water bottle but keep the lid on it. I put the dowel up inside the water bottle and stuffed the bottle with paper. Then I put the water bottle/dowel up inside the manikin. This I did to help stop the dowel from poking up through the neck. After that more newspaper was stuffed inside the manikin to give it substance and to make it like a real body.
An oval was cut from a piece of cardboard the size of the bottom of the manikin. Cut a hole in the centre of the cardboard and slip the oval shape up the dowel and duct tape it to the manikin. I also taped it to the dowel to keep the dowel from slipping out.
Next I found a broken lamp that had a heavy base. This lamp base had a hole big enough to insert my dowel. Before I mounted the dowling onto the base I decided to cover the dowling and used metal tubing which I took from old solar lights that I had around the house. You can also paint the dowel if you wish. I decided to try to match the base of the lamp and these tubes were perfect.
I covered the manikin with a long sleeve black T-shirt and stuffed a piece of scrap fabric in the neck to cover the duct tape.
I now have a very functional manikin. Total cost was under $6.00 ~ my purchase at the Dollar Store.
"One should either be a work of art, Or wear a work of art"
- Oscar Wilde
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The Quiet Side of Winter
We are now in the middle of our winter - the craziness of the holidays are gone...its quiet, some people find it boring and depressing. Not me. This is the time of year I love to snowshoe the trails. I'm lucky where I live in my town. A network of trails is just around the corner from my street. Many people use these trails to get away from the noise, get back to nature, walk along the Muskoka River and take in the cool fresh air of the season. Mike and I went for a snowshoe last Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny day. During our walk we noticed that a beaver had been busy working last fall, getting his place in order for the winter. Quite a few trees had been fallen and quite a few had only been half chewed. We joked that maybe beavers were like people with the pun..."tried to bite off more than he could chew". I've seen this beaver on my travels in the trail while running in the summer. I would surprise him then I would hear a slap from his tail on the water and off he would go.
The Peliated Woodpecker was also still in his area. We hear him every time we walk this portion of the trail. Hammering away at trees, looking for food high up in a tree he worked non-stop. I saw deer tracks and sometimes if your lucky you can see just where they stayed overnight under a pine tree. An indentation in the snow gives it all away.
There are people out there that just can't wait for winter to be over. I think its unfortunate because they haven't learned how to "use" the season to their advantage. How to get outside, enjoy the fresh air, a great workout while skiing or snowshoeing. How to get back to nature and the simpler times. Walking out in the woods gives you inner peace, it de-stresses you. How can you not take in the beauty and enjoy the simple things like looking up and seeing the most amazing blue. Last weekend I commented that the sky was the colour of a tropical ocean. It was beautiful.
This weekend we will go for another snowshoe along another part of the trail. Maybe you will join us?
My Mentor - Jon Gnagy
The first of my blogs shall begin with the start of a new year. This segment is about coming full circle in my artistic life. When I was a small child I would watch the Jon Gnagy Learn to Draw show on my black and white TV. Jon was a big part of my growing up and very influential in my young artistic world. He taught his listeners how to draw a circle and make it into a ball by shading and perspectives. He believed everyone had some sort of artistic ability. For Christmas I begged Santa to bring me a Jon Gnagy Learn to Draw Set. I wanted it so I could have all the right pencils and charcoal to sketch with. I woke up on Christmas morning and there it was under our tree. That kit never left my side during my childhood. It came with various pencils, charcoal, an eraser, a smudge tool, paper, tissue, drawing board, sharpener and a "How To Draw" booklet. This year I told my daughter if she wanted to get me anything for Christmas it would be the same kit I once had (there are various kits out there). This Christmas I opened up my present and found that exact same kit. It was complete with pencils, charcoal, eraser etc. She had found it on Ebay and was from an estate sale the seller told her. It even had all of the paper including 2 drawings the previous owner, maybe 40 years ago sketched. The next day I began reading his booklet and in his introduction I found this written....
"I believe that in the life of everyone there comes a time when the Art Spirit is dominant. You may have passed it when you were 5 or 7 or 11 years of age. But it will come again several times in your life when you are looking for something outside your practical everyday routine".
This statement was so true in my life. Upon opening that present I had told my daughter that it was a reminder that I had come full circle in my life (not knowing about the quote). After many years of raising a family and not painting or drawing, on a whim a few years ago I started to paint and sketch. I'm much better now than I was when I was 8 years old but I credit my ability to those early years of watching those TV shows and practising my sketching skills using his art set.
He was my mentor.
I believe everyone goes full circle in their lives. We find something we love, we wander due to growing up and growing away from our comfort zones and then we come back to those comfort zones years later much wiser.
Therefore I hope everyone has a wonderful mentor in their lives and to always believe that the good things will always come back to us.
Have a great New Year!
I am a self-taught wildlife artist from Muskoka, Ontario Canada