Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pretty Pretty Things!

A little peek at the pretty, pretty things I found at the Willow Nest Flea Market. I'm particularly jazzed about finding the floppy velvet posies in pale shades of pink and lavendar!! Oh, and while not particularly old, the shabby white stand mirror is fabulous!! Then there's the skinny lampshade form.....you know that will turn into something altered for sure!! And, you can never go wrong with hand dyed vintage rayon ribbon.....from teddy bear ribbons to gift package ties....an excellent score!!

I wish you could all accompany me on my treasure hunts!! You'd have the best time!! Of course, you'd have to wear your best running shoes to keep up!! It's wildly fun!!

Have a fabulous week!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Flea Market Today!!

The Willow Nest Flea Market was held today!! I went with a list of "Needs" but came away with bags of "Got to Have It's" instead!! I always go to the Early Buying session (8am-10am) having already stopped at Starbucks for a Venti, Sugar-Free Vanilla, Non-Fat, No Foam Latte. It's an early wake up to get there. 6AM on a Saturday!!

We arrived at 8:15 and already shoppers were carrying bags of treasures to their cars. I snapped a few quick pictures and then it was off to the races with my list in hand. Did I find anything on my list? Ummm.....no. I sure did find some pretty things though!! I'll have to post a picture of my treasures tomorrow. I filled up the blog picture bank to overflowing already!!

One thing in particular I was delighted to see....really beautifully done collage art. The type you see in the Stampington & Company magazines. I wish I'd remembered to pick up the gals business card. Though beautifully done, with a lovely beeswax finish, nothing she had today really had "Gotta Have It" stamped across it. I'm hoping she's at the next flea market though!!

I also came across these two bears sharing stories in a shabby pink chair. Shabby bears, shabby chair! They were just adorable sitting there together!!

The next Willow Nest Flea Market will be held August 18th. If you're in the Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington area be sure to make Willow Nest a must see stop. Remember, it's an event and not open all the time. If you click on my link to the left, I believe you will find the address on their website. It's definitely a don't miss!!

Next on the antique trail: The Portland Antique Expo!! 1850 booths!! July 14-15 at the Expo Center. Perhaps there I'll find something on my "Need" list!! Until then, it's back in the studio to try to get something accomplished before my guests arrive. So many things to do....so few hours in each day!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Giggle more.

Giggle more. Worry less. Be Silly!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Pink Flamingo in Oregon?

Sure!! Why not? I actually found a pair of pink flamingos at Stars Antique Mall a couple of weeks ago. Cool, huh? No, I'm not crazy. Not really anyway!! ;o)

I bought them for the annual theme party we host at the end of July for the Good Bears of the World, Portland Paws chapter. This years theme is Think Pink!! We host the party in the back garden by the pool. Its so much fun!! Members are encouraged to wear or bring something pink. What's more pink than a flamingo? And hey, they fit in my tropical garden!! Double bonus!! Ha!

Anyway, that's where I've been this week.....in the garden....getting everything ready for summer fun. Summer weather in Portland officially turns sunny and hotter than the dickens on July 5th! I can hardly wait!! Yahoo!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Friday, June 15, 2007

Color me Happy!

Thought I'd share a little piece of my heaven with you. These are a few of the flowers blooming in my back garden right now. It's fun to watch people's expression when they see the garden for the first time. It's bright and tropical looking....not what you'd imagine seeing in Oregon.

These pictures even match my mood today!! Though it's pouring cats and cows outside, I shall put on my ladybug boots and dance in the rain!! I received the most wonderful news.....Miss Teapot will be published in the Winter Issue of Art Doll Quarterly!!! I'm thrilled and honored to have one of my art pieces included in such a beautifully artistic and highly regarded magazine. Color me....tickled pink!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Altered Art Doll...er, Bear!

Miss Teapot in the Library with the sugar bowl. Clue game....remember? Okay, so my sense of humor is rather out there this evening. What I should have said was.....Ta Da! This is what has kept me so busy these last few days....my altered art teddy bear submission to Art Doll Quarterly. I don't know if she'll make it into the magazine but she sure was fun to create!!

Yes, that is an upside down teapot as a bodice and arms!! All built on a wire dress form covered in layers and layers of antique lace. There are bowsies and posies and velvet snips and bits and bobs here and there. I'll try to get a close up of the hoop skirt in the morning so you can see the detail. Now all I have to do is package the little darling. That should be an event in itself!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Edited to add skirt detail. Underlayment of lace. Wire form. Lace sewn on wire hoops. Bowsies and Posies. More and more lace. Velvet cumberbund w/MOP buckle. Antique locket case, key and sugar bowl. Lots of itty bitty work!! Miss Teapot is only 10 inches tall!!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

No pity parties!!

One of the reasons for blogging, to me, is so that family and friends can see what's going on in my life. I realize that my last post was a bit of downer for some of you. My Mom even called me on Friday to say she was sorry that the Storybook Bears weren't being received well. (She's just the greatest Mom!!) My point was not to have a woe is me pity party.

I think an important part of my post was missed. I'm not a person to wallow in "Woe is me." I'm much more of a "Let's find a silver lining here!" kind of gal. There is always a silver lining to be found!! I went back to the place my bear business began. Ebay. Perhaps my current collectors aren't interested in this new line of bears. Who do I think I am anyway, thinking that my current collectors will just LOVE everything I do? I needed a good grounding!! And I got it!! ;o) This is me you see....with all my strengths and weaknesses. One of my greatest strengths is the ability to keep moving forward and taking with me what I've learned.

Okay, now onto pretty things!! A few posts back I mentioned that I was going to Fabric Depot for fabric to cover an old wicker chaise I found at Monticello. Well, my mission was accomplished!! I picked a pretty pink and white check upholstery fabric. It's a perfect balance for a room filled with florals and polka dots!! It will be soooo pretty. Now you know I'll share a picture when it's done!!

Gotta dash off now. I'm on a mission to find a child size tea pot!! Have a marvelous Sunday!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Friday, June 8, 2007

A change of plans!

Trying out a new design is always a risk. Sometimes it works out and sometimes, for whatever reason, it doesn't. My Storybook Bears turned out to be a huge risk. A jump that landed with a resounding thud!

I'll be honest, I'm used to having my bears sell pretty quickly. I've been very lucky to have such wonderful and devoted collectors. For this I am forever grateful. With this in mind, I am left to wonder.

Is it the bears? Is it the price? Is it the fact that I used the same pattern when my collectors are used to "One of a Kind." Are the ears crooked? The eyes crooked? Goofy noses? These and more questions pound away in my head!! I have a splitting headache and I'm cranky!!

So, what do I do? I change the plan a bit!! Afterall, I just spent a month on these little darlings and I have to pay for my trip to the TOBY awards. I'll let the collectors tell me if this design is worth continuing. I've decided to list each bear separately on eBay in the coming weeks. Gosh, it's been so long since my last listing on eBay.....I wonder if I remember how to do it? Well, no time like the present!! Off I go.....

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Storybook Bears, Aunt Grace Collection

I'm simply delighted to introduce my first line of Storybook Bears....The Aunt Grace Collection!! So named for the Aunt Grace print dresses each of them wear. Though each bear is made from the exact same pattern they each have their own unique personality. From Left to Right: Mary Grace, Amberly Grace, Hannah Grace, Violet Grace, Eugenia Grace, and Dorothy Grace. Better pictures of them, of course, may be found on my website. Their listings begin promptly at 1pm Pacific Time today!!

I'm crossing my fingers these little bears do well. I really do love making them!! I've even started collecting fat quarters for Halloween Storybook Bears!! Oh, and then there's Christmas too!! Imagine!! My brain is chock full of ideas!!

I won't forget my larger bears though. Are you kidding me? With that closet full of dresses and sailor outfits?!! I think not!! I actually already have a couple of larger bears sewn and awaiting stuffing!!

Dashing off now for a yogurt and some fresh picked strawberries. Yes, I can grow something other than flowers!! Who knew? ;o)

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Oh, the waiting!!

See the itty bitty shoes!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

P.S. I honestly don't mean to tease....I'm just being impatient and want to show a little something of the bears!! You see, I promised first choice to a bear artist friend of mine.....waaaaay back when I first introduced the prototype. She's going through a rough spot in her life right now and I really think it would help cheer her to know she has first choice in something in her life. Don't you agree?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Decorating Treasures!

I'm putting the finishing touches on the Storybook Bears today!! Yes, they are finally nearing completion!! Joy of joys!! I'm SO doing the happy dance!!
It's not that I don't love these wee little girls....I truly do! My problem has been staying focused on the little darlings. I've been sidetracked with other projects, fabulous estate sales, antique shop sales, gardening, and family. How on earth does one stay focused with so many wonderful things to do and fabulous people to visit with?
And so, here I sit, pondering this question and working on yet another diversion.....my blog. Meanwhile, upstairs, little girly bears are fighting over dresses, shoes and bonnets!! I'd better get up there!!
Oh! I almost forgot to tell you a little about the pictures.....these are a few decorating treasures I've found while NOT working on my girly bears! Ha!
Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Saturday, June 2, 2007

A Recipe to Dye For!!

The bear hats are done! Now onto their shoes!! These hats were made of the wool felt I hand dyed the other day. As promised, here's the recipe:

1. Fill a good size pot 2/3 full with water.

2. Add 1/2 c. white vinegar.

3. Dissolve a small amount of Wilton Icing Colors concentrated tint paste in a cup of hot water. Yes, this is frosting tint paste! Who knew?

4. Add dye to pot.

5. Pre-wet wool felt or fabric in warm water then add to pot. Let simmer.

6. Remove from pot. Rinse. Squeeze out excess water. Dry in dryer. Press with iron for a crisp look if you wish. Of course, you wouldn't press mohair....or maybe you might! Hmmm.

Important!! A small amount, as I found out, means a scant amount. Take a toothpick, insert vertically 1/2 inch into color tint and remove. You do not need to "scoop" a bit of the color tint or you will end up with scary bright colors!! Trust me on this. Been there, done that. It may not look like there's enough color in the pot but there is and the natural fibers will soak it all up!!

Common sense rules: Use rubber gloves to protect your hands from the color tint and the hot water when removing fabric from the pot. Better yet, use tongs to remove the fabric for the rinse stage.

And lastly......experiment and have FUN!! I felt sort of like a mad scientist while dyeing the felt and mohair!!

Warmest pastel tinted bear hugs, Aleta

P.S. Wilton Icing Colors are really inexpensive for the amount of color tint you get and there are lots of colors available already. You can also just buy the basics and mix your own!!

Friday, June 1, 2007

A Wild and Wooly Week!

....and it's not over yet! Oiy! I haven't much time to write this morning. Fabric depot is having a SALE!! 40% off ALL fabric!! I'm running out for upholstery fabric to cover a lovely wicker chaise I found at Monticello. More about that later. Oh, and more about that pretty stack of wool felt later too!! I dyed it myself.....and I'll give you the recipe.....it works for wool felt and MOHAIR!! Wahoo!!

Warmest bear hugs (and I do mean warm!) on another hot Portland day!! Aleta