Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Decoupage Candles: Bloom, Bliss, Dream

My Memorial Day morning was blissfully spent in my makeshift art studio-- a spare bedroom in our duplex that houses boxes of vintage ephemera, paint, ribbons, papers and other supplies. I wanted to incorporate one of my latest vintage ephemera finds into my decoupage candle holders. I had found a 1945 paperback edition of the French classic Les Dieux Ont Soif  (The Gods Will Have Blood) by Anatole France and disassembled it for art supplies. I also had recently bought some Paris themed napkins from DaisyFlowerPetal on Etsy, and was very inspired by their romantic designs.

First, I altered the French novel pages by painting it with a soft pink wash that was made with one part acrylic paint and three parts water. I blotted the wash with a paper towel to add a mottled appearance. Then, from my leftover morning coffee in the pot, I added coffee stains to add an aged look. After the papers were dry, I speckled burnt umber acrylic paint.

After cutting and sizing the French novel pages for the glass votive candle holders, I adhered them to the surface with Mod Podge. Then, I cut out images of a romantic rose from the napkins and separated the top tissue layer. I had wanted to stop there, but felt like something was missing. This feeling is always with me while making collage/decoupage/mixed media projects and helps lead me into new creative territories! There is a point when the artist knows they have finished the last detail. So, I had the idea to stamp the words "Bloom", "Bliss", and "Dream" on white tissue paper. I carefully cut them out and glued them centered on the flower images. 

I sized three circles from a sheet of two-sided scrapbooking paper for the candle holders bottom. To seal them, I first applied two layers of matte Mod Podge, then added a final layer of glossy, acrylic varnish. 

I just love how they look lit up! The layers illuminate in the candle light and give off a romantic aura. 

I have added these candle holders to my Etsy shop, which you can check out here for the listing:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Altered Art Journals with Reader's Digest Book Covers

This week I am assembling altered art journals made with vintage Reader's Digest book covers that I purchased from 58andGrace on Etsy. I adore the colorful patterns of these book covers! I am really excited about going vintage book hunting myself and see what interesting materials I can find to make journals with.

Other goodies I used to construct these journals:

  • Weathered, vintage dictionary pages
  • Vintage ledger paper
  • Cardstock printed with images from a 1923 Sears and Roebuck catalog
  • ivory coverstock paper
  • binder rings (can be found in office supply stores)
  • stamps
  • envelopes
  • decorative ribbon
  • vintage lace seam binding 

You can find these two altered art journals in my Etsy shop at

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Decadent Rose Lina Cavalieri Beauty Box

There is something intrinsically satisfying about pouring in hours of work to create something beautiful. My newest collage jewelry box required hours of work, but I am so pleased with the results! 

This large, octagon-shaped jewelry box was originally salvaged from a second-hand shop, then sanded down and recreated into a one of a kind piece of functional collage art. This intricate, one-of-a-kind beauty box was inspired by a photo of Lina Cavalieri, who was frequently referred to during her time as the "world's most beautiful woman".

Here are some of the steps I took to create this upcycled collage jewelry box:

  • The exterior of the jewelry box was hand-painted with two coats of rose acrylic paint and a light coat of ivory paint. I sanded down and distressed the surface between and after the coats of paint. Two coats of varnish was used to seal the paint and collage work.
  • The bottom of the jewelry box was created by assembling various rectangles of decorative paper and vintage dictionary pages. 
  • I glued vintage scrabble pieces that spell out the word "BEAUTY" with super-strong, craft contact adhesive. 
  • The sides were decoupaged with vintage dictionary pages that were hand-stamped with black flowers. The trim has tiny, hand-cut paper hearts

Sometimes I enjoy creating things that require an almost pain-staking attention to detail. I also enjoy transforming ordinary objects into unique pieces of art. The goal to make something beautiful is always my strongest motivation. For me, beauty is food for my soul, the force that soothes suffering and brings me bliss. One of my most favorite quotes by D.H. Lawrence is, "The human soul needs actual beauty more than bread."