Friday, 28 September 2012

flea friday: fabric finds & a new crafting corner

I haven't bought any fabric for a while because I have a stash of some lengths and offcuts, but when I saw this small bundle of vintage swatches I couldn't resist it. It cost just a single euro.

Look how nice and varied the selection is:

So what will I do with them? Well, I have some big plans... I won't tell you any more about them right now but am planning to reveal all hopefully soon. So stick with me!

Back to the finds.
I also found some pure vintage cottons in pretty printed patterns - the bottom ones are a pair of curtains, but they turned out too short for the window so I decided to stash them.

You know I have just mentioned that I have these big plans...I have been thinking about them for a while now, and finally they can start becoming reality because....*drumroll* I've thrifted cleverly and put together a new crafting spot for me!

I know that my new sewing spot is in a very pared-down and basic state at this point and needs personalizing with splashes of colour and pin boards but I've got to be patient and appreciate it as is because I haven't had a space at all to sew or draw for the last 6 months.

The sewing machine survived the international shipping so that is not a thrifty find but a happy survivor. 

The 60's - 70's Singer sewing table was €10 from the local antiques & secondhand dealer's. I jumped for joy when I saw it and there was no question about getting it.

The chair was found in the Red Cross second hand furniture store - a really sturdy lightweight thing with a lovely shape - potentially a candidate for a colour make-over...
The original price tag was for €15 but we happened to go shopping on a day when all furniture was half price so we got it for €7.50. (And many other things too - will blog soon.)

In the same Red Cross store I spotted this roll of old newsprint. It cost only €2 and it's perfect for pattern drafting and such. Or lining drawers even. Liking the ink marks on it a lot.

And - even though I blogged the iron and ironing board in my previous post - here they are again, because they are an important part of my new crafting corner and they make me happy. It's a joy to work with good equipment.

More vintage finds same time next week!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Friday, 21 September 2012

flea friday: kitchen goodies and more

I've been in flea-market heaven for the last few weeks...and still am!
The situation couldn't be more perfect: having moved into an entirely empty flat with very little material possessions in a town full of flea-markets and junk shops. Do I have to say more?

Well, it's like a dream come true for me - we are on a shoe-string budget and had two weeks to make the flat liveable and get the basics. So we've been paying daily visits to all of the local second-hand places to reel in the bargains and boy, did we get lucky.

I'm pleased to say that my man turns out to be an equally savvy flea-market shopper with a very good eye, so we've had a blast going on the hunt together.

This post is the first installment of a series showing off all our finds.

I'm so stoked to have found a couple of not overpriced enamel mugs - the white one is looking after my coloured pencils now, while the mint green one is gracing the kitchen as a utensils pot.

vintage enamel mug holder rubic cube

I picked up lots of practically new wooden kitchen utensils, for mere cents a-piece... My favourites are the wooden whisk (above) and the fruit tree wood butter knife (below).

vintage fruit tree wood butter knife

I've been wanting a good vintage non-steam iron for a long while now - they turn up quite a lot, but it's hard to find one in decent condition. Most of the time the bottom plate is scratched or the wire connection is dodgy.

Not on this one! This beauty is in near mint condition, and irons like a dream. My man spotted it, and it was a bargain at €2.50.
The same junk shop had a very sturdy vintage ironing board as well as a sleeve board in the basement, so I came away from there fully equipped for pressing and very happy.

vintage philips iron

I have a soft spot for whistling kettles. This Italian one caught my eye - it has the most wonderful odd green colour, a lovely modern but classic design and the price sticker said €1.50.

It's been whistling for many lovely cups of teas ever since I brought it home.

A vintage pepper mill was on our definitive wishlist and my boyfriend came across this small barrel shaped one. We tried it out there and then - it had a few old rose pepper corns in it and they still had a lovely aroma. At home we emptied it and cleaned it - it works just perfect, and for €1.50 it was a steal.

vintage pepper mill wooden barrel

I really would like to start a collection of vintage Pyrex ware - well here's the first one in line. No lid, but I like the pattern a lot.
We also picked up a couple of vintage wooden floor samples for a few cents - I thought they make  perfect potholders.

vintage pyrex dish 70s 1970s

There's something about chunky smoky glassware that I appeals to me a lot - luckily my boyfriend feels the same way too! The carafe was my find, the salad bowl was his. Both were a couple of euros each.

And finally, I've managed to happen upon a big hollow plastic animal - remember this post with its smaller precursors? This guy will be subjected to some transformation soon to make a planter < edit 04/07/2013: I don't have the heart! To transform him would call for cutting a big chunk out of his back and cram some poor plant in there that would probably dye soon after from lack of drainage... so he remains as is, yawning with his toothy gaping mouth, with his back intact >, but in the meantime it's standing by the kitchen sink being useful as a ring holder.

I'm linking up with Apron Thrift Girl, with Cap Creations and with The Blue Eyed Owl this week to share my finds with other thrifters.

More vintage finds same day next week!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

zombies in fairytale land - a sneaky peek...

I'm taking part in a 'zombie doll swap' - you might remember - organised by the lovely Yarnigras, and I have to say the fairytale theme has been so much fun!

Do you care for a sneak peek?

 This undead sweetheart is heading to Texas in a matter of a few days, and when her new mommy has received the package I'll be able to 'zoom out' and reveal the whole story! Sooooon...

Friday, 14 September 2012

axes transformed: Maskull Lasserre

Maskull Lasserre vintage old woodworking tool upcycled wood sculpture snake skeleton skull wooden axe
wooden snake skeleton carving faragott balta kígyó csontváz fafaragás
I was rambling on about vintage tools in my last post, so rambly and random that I even wondered if anyone would read it past the first paragraph. While all along I was really wanting to write about the art of Maskull Lasserre.

But, you see, his artwork pushes buttons in me and gets me rambling about emotion and thought processes stemming in childhood memories. So who is this artist, with the intriguing name and button-pushing powers?

I have never known of anyone before with the name Maskull - it sounds anciently Nordic, robust and even viking to my ears. 

Yet he was born in South Africa, in 1978, in the same year as me. He was named after the protagonist of an early Scottish sci-fi novel. His family moved to Canada when he was a small child. 

Now, his name synonymous with contemporary Canadian art, he produces pieces of artwork that have me craving for exhibition trips beyond my reach. They get my inner Sherlock guessing the motives behind his pieces, trying to unravel the artistic thought processes by studying their form and detail as much as the pixels let me. 

I'm wishing that I could see them for real and up close, and even wear some of them out (they are my size, you know!) for a subzero pub crawl once the Nordic winter hits here...

Maskull Lasserre art artist studio axe work in progress
Maskull Lasserre artist carved wooden sculpture upcycled axe snake skeleton bones skull carving

I love his wood carvings - the snake skeleton axe is mesmerising with its delicate imbalance. A filigree wooden structure tailing off into a weathered metal axe head.

This piece is in constant conversation with itself. 
The airy beauty of the skeletal snake reveals a new dimension in the wooden handle while reducing the strong grip of the original tool to a fragile husk. The carved handle is upsetting the very nature of the object, rendering it full of tension, transforming it on multiple levels - changing its role, its appearance, its visual, physical and symbolic values. 
In response, the axe-ness of the object is threatening with a sense of self-destruction by breaking into smithereens - it's shape still echoes the original utility, still asking for being picked up like an axe. 

So precious, so intriguing and thought-provoking. The way I love art.

I found a video feature on him - in which he speaks about his own childhood memories and how they influence his creativity. 

Alongside the snake axe (called Secret Carpentry) many more of his wood carvings are shown - including another favourite of mine, the 'Murder of Crows' filmed in the making.

I don't know about you, but his artwork appeals to me on many different levels - beside the humour, the visual intrigue and emotive trigger, the way he uses found objects is one. I'm not keen to say 'upcycle' here, but I really like that he takes old objects and literally carves a new meaning into them.

If you'd like to see more of Maskull's art you can find the full body of his work on his website.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

three-line thursday: WRAP magazine

via WRAP

The best concept mag I've come across in ages.
An illustration & graphic art magazine that is also wrapping paper!
Hurrah for British inventiveness!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

better than the real thing: vegetable ivory buttons

carved vegetable ivory faux fake buttons tagua nut palm button vintage old collection

Have you ever heard of vegetable ivory?

I did so through being a vintage button nut, but I'd never really knew what it looked like or what it really is except that it's meant to be fake ivory. So I didn't realize that in fact I had some in my button jars.

As it turns out I managed to accumulate a small collection of vegetable ivory buttons unknowingly, and now I'm pleased to show them to you here and share my equally small amount of knowledge about their material too.

It's fascinating actually.

Vegetable ivory is basically a hard nut that comes from the tagua palm tree.

Tagua nut in its many layers of shell via the Macrame Projects

When this nut is dry it can be carved like bone then polished to a shiny smoothness. It can hold extremely fine detail - and that's one giveaway sign of a carved vegetable ivory button.

Another sign is that the nut, even if colour-dyed, has fine watermark-like lines resembling ivory.

I love that some of the buttons I have are carved in a way that preserve a little of the dark textured peel of the nut.

And these pretty and interesting little nothings have nothing to do with all that cruelty to elephants.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Of old saws & axes and such...

These days, for some reason, I'm very drawn to old hand tools. My heartbeat steps up pace when I spot old woodworking planes, old saws and pretty much everything with a wooden grip, handle or element.I have been thinking about where this seemingly sudden fascination comes from - I figured it must have started when I got interested in cutting woodblocks. Researching techniques and types of wood let me into the world of tools that coax timber into new shapes and functions.

When I really think about it, it must have started much earlier. I detect a nostalgic, sentimental, emotional quality to my interest. As I dig deeper into the vault of my reminiscing mind, I find a big stash of childhood memories connected to woodworking tools.

I see the warm woodgrain handle of different rasps that I was put in charge of handing to my grandad when he was shaping a new door handle on his wine cellar door.

I see the big weathered bow saw with its blonde wooden frame and braid of twine hanging on the wall of my horsey grandpa's stable.

The chipped red paint on the flat carpenter's pencil that I was given when it became just a little stump, too small for my dad's fingers to hold but perfect for the little pocket on my pinafore dress.
And I see the handle of the small axe worn all smooth and shiny that us children used - with much confidence! - to help chop kindling for the winter.

I come across old axes, saws and other woodworking tools often, in pretty much every flea-market and second-hand store I visit these days.

I'd love to adopt them all - the well-handled grips, the shine in the wood, the matted blades all point to silent histories and previous owners who held them in their hand and used them with skill in their profession or in everyday life.

I find them beautiful as objects. If I bought them I would display them like art on the wall. 

I've come across an artist who uses old axes in his sculpture art - I really really like his creations. This post is a bit like a lead-up to an introduction of him, but now that I have digressed into much elaboration of childhood memories and my affinity for orphaned hand tools I really ought to dedicate a separate post to his sculptures. 

Promise, I'll write about solely his art in my next post!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

three-line thursday: Zsa Zsa Zsu

via Tromarama
A music video made of buttons and beads - crafty!
Stopmotion animation by the talented art trio Tromarama for the band RNRM.
Never heard saxophone and sex on the phone paired up for a rhyme before now.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

the magic of late summer forests - an outing

erdei gomba forest mushroom wild foraging

We went on a forest mushroom hunt a few short weeks ago, hoping to find a particularly delicious type - chanterelles. It was still summer then, even though subtle signs of autumn were probably everywhere around us already.

None of the fragrant and delicate mushrooms on our wishlist came our way but there were plenty of others that I enjoyed finding for taking pictures of - not sure if any of them were edible...

We had better luck finding delicious wild berries - ripe and juicy blueberries and strawberries by the handful!

There were some magical scenes of undergrowth life - like the little slug fairy that lived in the stem of a big big mushroom.

We got back in the car before the heavy rain-filled clouds started chucking it down - and I was glad to drive past a yellow rape field in full bloom looking luminous under the inky blue sky.

I spent the car journey back home snacking on berries and discovering the sweetly bitter scent of a single white yarrow.

erdei erdő piros sapka gomba fűben red mushroom in grass forest

forest foraging wild blueberry blueberries strawberries strawberry summer erdei vad szamóca áfonya

moha és páfrány erdei avar forest undergrowth moss lichen

csiga tündér gomba ház házikó erdei little slug in mushroom house toadstool forest fairy

forest foraging berries foraged wild fruit wildflower erdei gyümölcs vadászat

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