Life on the creative side

Archive for February, 2012

Architectural Salvage

My hubby and I recently attended a lovely, out-of-town wedding.  Since we were there for the weekend we had some time to spend with each other; and hubby surprised me with the perfect outing – a trip to an architectural salvage yard. It was a wonderful surprise and we had a great time: I even found a few treasures (imagine that).

archictectural salvage yard

After spending the morning digging through pieces and remnants of the past, we drove to the wedding with treasures poking out of the trunk, tied down with twine, and filling the back seat of my car.  We got a few stares, laughs and Beverly Hillbilly comments, but of course no one who knew us was surprised.

rusty metal candle sconce for garden accent

A rusty metal candle sconce. I think this will work great in my garden.

large paper dispenser

 I’ve needed a large paper roll dispenser at the studio for some time; now I have one.

amazing patina on old mirror

I love, love, love this old mirror; it has the most wonderful patina.

patina detail on old mirror

Here is a detail of the beautiful patina; see why I love it.

top of old wooden wheeled cartwheels for salvaged cart

And finally the most exciting find of all, an old (rotting), wooden  cart on wheels; well it’s not quit on wheels yet, but it will be once restored and then it will make a great coffee table in the cabin: So excited.

Better With Time

gladys at the quilt frame


It wasn’t long ago I was visiting my mom on a cold winter day when she pulled out a long ignored quilt top that she wanted to finish. As we were looking it over we discovered that it was missing one side of a border, which presented a dilemma.  Mom no longer had the fabric she had used when she started the top, but we soon came up with a solution which began a search through the beautiful collection of fabric she has preserved over the years.

 mom's collection of quilt fabric

During the search I came upon a small scrap of fabric that I fell in love with and immediately knew I wanted to do something creative with it; so I set the scrap aside for the moment and continued to help mom with her project.

fabric sample recycled

The calling to do something with that small piece of fabric would be realized a few days later at my Dad’s barn.

Dad has transformed the old barn, used in years past to house livestock that helped support our family, into junk/treasure storage.

While some may see a lot of “junk” in Dad’s barn, we on the ridge see mostly treasures.  Dad was helping me gather some old mason jars, for another project stirring around in my head, when on the far back wall I spotted it; an old frame covered in the dust of time.It took both me and Dad moving boxes, hand saws and standing on whatever I could to rescue the fame from its hiding place, but once I had it in my hands I knew it would be perfect for that beautiful scrap of fabric I had been holding on to.

 Dad thought it was in too rough of shape but I knew it would be fine. The finish had lost a lot of its shine, it had chips here and there and a white wash from a previous era was flaking off, but the beauty was still there, even enhanced.

old salvaged frame

The frame and fabric have now been put together and I can only describe the marriage of the two as a piece of art, of history, and a poignant reminder of time moving on.

old frame with salvaged fabric

Through this creative journey I came to realize that the faded fabric and tarnished frame are much like the two special people from whom I had gotten them,  a little worn by time, a few chips and nicks here and there but more beautiful  than ever after over 65 years together.

This post was contributed by my sister: Thanks Edna for sharing your inspiration and insight.


Birds, Butterflies And My Garden

roseate spoonbillTwo mornings this week there have been Roseate Spoonbills in a lake near my neighborhood. They are beautiful, quirky birds; lovely pink plumage and long bills that flatten out at the end like a spoon.

I love to watch the birds that frequent my yard, especially around Blue Antler Studio; with a lot of cats in my Florida neighborhood, song birds tend not to hang around for long. On the ridge however, I have feeders and bird houses all around my yard, strategically placed for viewing from the windows and the porch.

I have always planned my garden with birds and butterflies in mind.  But over the last few years my perennial garden has suffered; trampled during cabin repair, ravaged by age and, sadly, neglect.  But the lovely pink visitors have reminded me of the pleasures of having our winged friends around, so I have begun plans to revive my gardens. I’ll keep you posted.

Butterfly Days

butterfly journal

butterfly days book

During my recent organizing frenzy I stirred up more than just dust and memories. I rediscovered some of the fun projects and activities from my children’s childhood. One of my favorites took place over the summer of 2000.  It was the first time that my girls spent part of the summer away from the cabin, making their little brother a lonely boy. 

As a creative person I believe in the power of creativity to cure many ills, including a little brother missing his big sisters. That summer Mother Nature herself would provide inspiration – butterflies; colorful, delicate wings in unbelievable numbers, fluttered on the flowers of our garden, floated over the yard and gathered around mud puddles.

butterfly image

With a good butterfly book in hand we spent long days among the kaleidoscope of our colorful winged visitors, photographing, identifying, documenting and even befriending them.  Soon we were not only getting close enough to capture them on film, but with gentle coaxing they would crawl right onto our fingers; my then ten-year old son, still holds the record at five Great Spangled Fritillaries on one hand at one time!

nate with three butterflies

Using a small spiraled book, colorful markers, photo-corners and our camera, we created this scrapbook of our summer of butterflies.

butterfly scrapbook


pages of a butterfly watcher scrapbook

butterfly scrapbook

butterfly count listed in scrapbook