Life on the creative side

Posts tagged “crafts

Organic/Industrial chandelier

baby henry

While strolling through Brooklyn on a recent visit to see my daughter and my brand new grandbaby, we spotted a fallen limb from a large sycamore tree. It was lodged into the fencing surrounding the base of the tree and part of the sidewalk that had been heaved up by the expanding roots of the tree.  Although my daughter laughed as I pointed to the limb and said “We need that!” she not only worked it loose from the fencing but then carried it on her shoulder for more than ten blocks, back to her apartment.  I just want to note – strolling around with a large branch on your shoulder makes the normally aloof New Yorker  smile and engage in conversation.

found treasure, fallen limb

The branch had such a lovely organic shape and wonderful patina that we both immediately saw its potential for an amazing chandelier over their table, for which they have been in search.

Since hubby was due to arrive the following day we had him throw in some lighting supplies, including five Edison style light bulbs. Then a few days later…

dinning under the light

we were dinning under this beautiful  organic/industrial chandelier.

Finally we added a dimmer switch the chandelier could be adjusted lower for ambiance or raised higher for illumination.  Unfortunately we didn’t get good photos of the process but feel free to post any questions on the process  I would be happy to respond.



 blogpic2-1 (2)

Creative gathering: how to make paper

how to make paper

Hallelujah! Finally, my studio is restored and reclaimed! After months of repair and restoration, that threw my studio into disarray, I have my creative escape back.


cabin studio


I held a gathering to celebrate and the creative activity was paper-making.


how to make paper gathering at blue antler studio


Three of my five sisters – kindred spirits all – joined me in the celebration and the creative process of making paper.


making paper with kindred spirits in the studio


Having made paper with my small children, who are now ages 23-30 (admittedly a while ago),  I knew it was a simple, fun process. But I Googled “how to make paper” just to refresh my memory; it returned intimidating results with complicated, multi-step instructions. So I decided to turn off the computer and go with what I remembered about the process. After gathering supplies and putting on our creativity rings (a tradition among my sisters) we got started.


Recyclable paper – torn or shredded (we had newspaper, junk mail, old magazines and paper bags).

Extra newspaper (blotting paper) and old towels – for blotting out water

An electric blender

Rolling pen

Chalk powder or crushed chalk pieces – for color

Flowers, leaves etc.


Large container for water bath

A frame/screen sieve: This is a simple tool similar to what gold miners would use to pan for gold (the frame can be different sizes but need to be a few inches deep with the top side open and the bottom side covered with a taut, fine screen or sheer fabric) and must fit into the water bath container.

Hubby made a frame/screen sieve for each of us out of scrap 2×2 lumber and an old, torn window screen. For each sieve he cut the 2×2 lumber into two – 9 inch long pieces and two – 12 inch pieces (the size can be whatever you want and determines the size of the finished paper, but it must fit into the container used for the water bath).

Using glue, screws and the cut lumber pieces he constructed a simple, rectangular frame.

Then using the assembled frame as a pattern, he cut two pieces of screen, one slightly larger than the frame (which he stapled tautly across the bottom of the frame to create the sieve), the second piece of screen he cut to the size of the inner dimensions of the frame; on this piece he left 4×4 inch tabs on each end of the screen. The screen with the tabs fit snugly inside the frame/sieve with the tabs sticking up above the edge of the frame so we could use them to gently lift the paper out of the frame. (By using the extra screen with tabs to remove the newly made paper from the frame/sieve to dry, it allows you to make more paper with one frame more quickly: this step can be skipped and the newly made paper can be left in the frame/sieve to dry)

optional – creativity ring :)


making paper in our creativity rings


Step 1: shred recycle paper in blender adding enough water to make a thick soupy pulp (at this time you can add chalk for color, flowers or glitter etc.)


paper making using a kitchen blender

Step 2: fill water bath container with water

Step 3: place screen with tab inside the frame/screen sieve (make sure tabs are sticking up and out of the frame); place the frame/sieve into the water bath barely  submerging the screen; pour blended paper pulp into the frame/screen sieve until the screen is completely covered with a thin layer of pulp; gently swirl the frame in the water to evenly spread the pulp over the screen; at this point you can place pressed objects into the pulp, make sure there is some pulp overlapping the object.

water bath stage of making paper


beautifully embellished hand made paper


Step 4: lift the frame from the water bath, let drain and place on towel or layer of blotting paper and blot gently.


making paper using recycled newspaper


Step 5: using tabs on the screen gently lift the paper from the frame and place the screen with the new paper onto hard surface covered with a layer of blotting paper and cover with more blotting paper, gently roll with rolling pen (using no pressure) to express more water, then carefully peel off the blotting paper.

Step 6: carefully transfer the new paper to a drying rack with the newly made paper down and carefully peel away the screen with tabs.

papermaking, releasing from screen (2).JPG 2


We used another old screen as a drying rack.


making paper embellished with flowers and drying in the sun

It was a wonderful, creative gathering.


making paper gathering in the studio

And another moment for my collection.

Check out  the following link for more great sites full of inspiration


Lovely Quilt Cube Side Table

Lovely Quilt Cube Side Table:

Basic box store foam cube up-scaled into this lovely, rolling,  quilt-cube side table.

quilt cube

Another empty-nest leftover transformed from this-

quilt cube foam blockquilt cube rolling base











to this-

quilt cube in room

Scraps of vintage textiles camouflage tears and blemishes in the cutter quilt slip-cover

quilt cube detail

while pieces of salvaged wooden planks with lovely distressed paint make the base.

quilt cube on wheels

Simple wheels finished the project.


 for more inspiration visit…


vintage inspiration bif

Vintage Vibe For Box Store Shelving

Vintage vibe for box store shelving

. Vintage vibe for box store shelving

As an empty-nester I can verify that when  the chicks leave the nest they leave it far from empty. Each time one of our little darlings set out on their own, Hubby and I found ourselves the keeper stuff – unwanted, but wanted stuff; treasures of childhood, mementos of college days and  a menagerie of mismatched  furniture  usually in rough shape.  These shelves fall into the last category.

box store shelf update before

But after a little creative restyling they look like this…

box store shelf update finished

In fact they turned out so beautiful they were snatched up on the first day of my fall sale.


Although the shelves were in good shape, they looked exactly like what they were, box store shelves. So I took sand paper to them and roughed them up enough so paint would  adhere. I then gave them a coat of a warm white paint and  sanded them again, taking off some of the white paint (more of the paint came off than I had intended or usually want, but this time it looked right so I went with it). Next step was to mellow the paint and any fresh wood exposed from sanding by coating the entire shelf with a dark stain (applied with a brush then quickly wiped off with a rag). Once it was completely dry I coated the shelves with a flat, clear sealer.

Meanwhile I took some vintage wallpaper I have been holding onto, cut it into strips as  wide as the inside depth of the shelves and  as long as the shelves were wide plus  and extra foot or so. With a  spray adhesive I covered the bake of the paper with fabric (I used remnants of old sheets) and trimmed the fabric to the size of the paper. This gave strength to the otherwise delicate paper.  I carefully wove the lined paper over and under the slates of the shelving. To finish I trimmed off the excess paper and secured the edges to the underside of the framing with furniture tacks.

This project turned out so beautiful,, I might have to make another with the remaining shelves in our keepers stash.


Christmas Ornament Exchange

christmas ornament hand painted manger scene

Hand painted, glass, Christmas ornaments.

I love Christmas time.  Spiritually the season renews hope. Socially it revives much of humanity’s focus on peace and love.  For us creative spirits the season inspires the very act of creativity.   And finally I love the traditions: lights and decorations; Christmas trees, cookies, cards and caroling; making, giving and receiving gifts; and of course gathering together in celebration with family and friends .

christmas lights display

Last night many of favorite things about the season came together with an amazing menagerie of woman gathering for our annual Christmas ornament exchange. This get-together with my girlfriends is one of many gatherings and I look forward to it each year.  It has become my tradition to personally create the ornament I take for the exchange, and this year I was particularly pleased with my creation – a hand-painted glass globe depicting a manger scene.

christmas ornament hand painted manger scene

Other examples of my painted ornaments

hand painted glass christmas ornament folk art cabin scene

christmas ornament  hand painted glass, wedding dance

christmas ornament hand painted glass, kate in positano

christmas ornament, hand painted, tree hunt

christmas ornament, hand painted wedding dance

christmas ornament hand painted wedding dance

Living Succulent Wreath

Living succulent wreath:living succulent wreath

While my daughter Kate, of Twice Treasured, was visiting for Mother’s Day, she mentioned a beautiful living succulent wreath project she had recently pinned  on Pinterest.  She commented that sometimes she, like a lot of us, was guilty of pinning projects with the intention of doing them but then not following through.  This project, however, was so perfect for us that we decided to make  time and actually create this beautiful succulent wreath.

Two wire wreath forms
Medium gauge wire and wire cutters
Mat floral moss
Succulent soil

Line one of the wire wreath forms with the mat moss

making a succulent wreath

Pack with soil (the moss should keep the soil from passing through the back of the wire

Gently work the roots of the succulents through the wire of the other wire form so that the plants are on the outside and the roots are on the inside

applying plants into succulent wreath

 Place the planted form on top of the soil form and wire them together working the  roots  into the soil

 Using your fingers, gently work more moss into the wire around the plants

constructing a succulent wreath

 Cut four-inch pieces of wire and bend them into  hairpin shapes. Press the hairpins into the wreath among the plants and moss to secure

how to construct succulent wreath

Water thoroughly and keep the wreath flat for a couple of weeks or until the plants have rooted then it can be hung vertically.

 succulent wreath

check out inspiring links over at Yesterday on Tuesday



A Pin Cushion Made From Fabric Scraps and Vintage Dish

pin cushion made from vintage table cloth and white dish

pin cushion made from vintage table cloth and white dishVintage pin cushion

Recently I had a friend mention that she didn’t have a pin cushion so I thought I would take a few minutes and make one for her.  Since she loves the shabby chic style and has an affinity for old textiles, as do I,  I thought repurposed materials would fit her style aesthetic. Using a little milk glass dish, some scrap from a vintage table-cloth, a stocking and a hand-full of cedar shavings, I created this sweet, shabby chic pin cushion.

This is such a simple project and no sewing is required!

The supplies needed: Scissors, rubber band, a piece of yarn or string, old nylon stockings,  fine wood shavings (you could use cotton stuffing instead but I like the feel, the old fashion quality and aroma of  cedar shavings), some fabric and a small container like my milk glass dish or tea-cup. (construction adhesive optional)

supplies gathered to make pin cushion

Cut the fabric into a large circle; size will depend on the size of the dish, but a nine-inch diameter worked for my smallish container.

stocking used to make pin cushion

Cut the stocking six or so inches from the toe and stuff the toe with wood shavings until you have formed a ball large enough to fill the container and tie off the opening.

making the pin cushion

Place the stuffed stocking in the center of the fabric circle and wrap the fabric up and around the stocking ball, pull it taut and tie off tail using the rubber band. Tie off again using the string or yarn.

 making pin cushionfabric tied around filling of pin cushion

 Fan out the fabric;  smoothing and pulling it evenly back over the bottom of the ball. Wedge the ball into the container, a dab of good glue such as construction adhesive will hold it securely.

white dish used to make pin cushion

And you will have created a lovely little pin cushion

pin cushion made from vintage table cloth and white dish

Now gather up the supplies and surprise some special with a unique pin cushion.

for more great inspiration visit


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.


Our Booth Of Eclectic Home Furnishings And Collectables!

booth at renninger's extravaganza


booth at renninger's extravaganzaAfter a very long day our booth is ready and we are so pleased with the way it looks.  We had a lot of positive feedback and several sales offers. While our closest neighbor comes across a little abrasive at times, I think the elderly man and his wife are probably nicer than their first impression would indicate; we certainly hope so, but tomorrow we’ll have a stash of sangria on hand, just in case we need to calm our nerves and shore up our patience.

booth at renninger's extravaganza

Check back to hear how it goes.

Here We Go To The Antique Extravaganza!

Here we go! Tomorrow we set up at the big extravaganza and the gates open to the public at 10:00 am on Friday.  If you’re in the central Florida area stop by and say hi – Renninger’s Extravaganza, Mount Dora.


merchandise for renninger's extravaganza

merchandise for renninger's extravaganza




I Love Old Dishes! Even Broken – Mosaic

vintage dishes in cabinet

I love old dishes, the time mellowed hues and crackled glaze gives them a commonality that makes my miss-matched collection work beautiful as a setting. Vintage plates and bowls can be found everywhere from yard sales and flea markets to antique shops; and they are often inexpensive. Even if broke, which happens from time to time at my house, their beauty can still be enjoyed and appreciated through repurposing.

table setting of vintage mix-matched dishes

After one of my favorite plates broke, I used the broken pieces as tile and created a sweet little lazy Susan.         Broken plate mosaic lazy susan  broken plate mosaic as lazy susan

 I used the decorative center of a broken saucer as a design element in a mosaic top I crafted for a mid-century wire stand.

mid-century stand with saucer mosaic

Remember that some of the glazes used in vintage dishes may contain lead so test them before using. I sometimes use the old dishes like chargers, paired with clear dishes so their beauty is still visible while food is kept safely away from possible lead contamination.

Happy collecting!

Repurposed, Refinished, Created and Found Treasures

Today I loaded up the truck (well hubby loaded it for me) with treasures I’ve been working on for months.  Lisa and I are now in the process of collecting together our merchandise for the extravaganza coming up a week from today.  It’s exciting to see the collection of repurposed, refinished, created and found treasures finally all together and we are very pleased with our eclectic mix of treasures.

Here’s a sneak peek.

Collection of pretty tins. 

Refurbished antique bed, tractor seat stool, quilt crafts.

indian River painting, acrylic on woodOriginal painting of Intracoastal Waterway, acrylic on canvas.

 Vintage quilt remnant pillows and end table cube on wheels.

Lamp shade made from vintage hankiesLamp shade made from vintage hankies.

 Old tractor seat stool.

elephant ears, acrylic on canvasOriginal painting of elephant ears, acrylic on canvas.

  Lamp shade made with vintage post cards, chenille room divider and refurbished rocker.

Recycled Magazine into Beautiful Lamp Shades

recycled magazine pages into lamp shade

recycled magazine pages into lamp shade

Inspired by a lamp shade created by my daughter Kate, a recycled magazine was turned into this shade for an old lamp I’m fixing up for the extravaganza later this month. While the process turned out to be more challenging than I had anticipated, the result was even more beautiful than I had expected.

Supplies gathered for the project.

supplies for the paper lamp shade

Pattern cut from magazine page and ready to be rolled into a rosette.

magazine page cut to form rosette

Project in process, with some rolled rosettes glued to shade and more ready to be glued in place.

Detail of rosettes.

detail of rosettes

Inspiration shade

Lights, Decorations – Party!

Isn’t Christmas time wonderful? I love everything about the season; the sappy TV specials and Christmas movie classics, as I type this post Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby are singing their way through White Christmas. I also love the traditions of the season; baking cookies, hanging Christmas lights and decorations, and gathering with friends and family.  Last night was one such gathering for a very special group of awsome christmas light displaymy girl friends, no men.  Well a couple of the guys were there for a while but it didn’t take long for the tide of estrogen to run them off. It was our annual bunco Christmas party and ornament exchange.

 For those of you who aren’t familiar with bunco, it’s a simple game of dice perfect for those of us who would rather laugh and visit than concentrate on strategy, while still providing a reason to get together once a month at each other’s homes.  It is our tradition that this party is hosted by the same member every year and for good reason, her husband is a Christmas decorating maniac! Driving up to their house is a sight to behold, with lights and animated decorations from curb to door. And inside the house the spirit continues.

beautiful christmas lights display

It has become my tradition to make the ornament that I take to the exchange. For the past several years I have crafted a one of a kind scherenschnitte but this year I decided to change things up a little and paint my ornament.

My hand painted ornament for this year’s ornament exchange.


 Painted ornaments from the past.

We’re Booked At The Renninger’s Antique Extravaganza!

Its official, we’re committed.  This weekend we rented our space for the antique extravaganza in January   It’s the sale that Lisa and I have been moving toward with all the repurposing projects we’ve been working on for the past few months.

We attendant this season’s first extravaganza to gather information.  We decided on an area of the show that we would like to be located, observed what items seemed to be popular and of course shopped.

If you’re going to be in the central Florida area January 20, 21 and 22, stop by and say hello.

Lovely live edge table crafted from salvaged lumber

Lovely live edge table crafted from salvaged lumber

As anyone who follows my post knows, my oldest daughter married in May; yes the father of the bride is wearing a Hawiian shirt.  If you are new to Blue Antler Studio, welcome, and you can catch up on all the fun by looking at my earlier postings. joyful father-daughter dance to "brown-eyed girl"

Anyway she and her new husband just moved from their tiny  Brooklyn apartment into a beautiful loft. Like he did for our other daughter when she and her husband moved into their first house, my “talented hubby” crafted a beautiful table for the latest newlywed’s new home; and this weekend we made the two-day drive to Brooklyn to deliver them the table.

live edge table crafted from salvaged lumberThe table is not just your average table, it is a seven-foot slab of live-edge, spalted maple and it is a collaborative work of art between the Good Lord and my hubby! The benches are spalted hickory and reclaimed heart pine, left unsealed for a raw finish; unlike the table which my hubby hand rubbed to an incredible sheen. The legs and supports are constructed from galvanized pipes attached to industrial wheels.  It is perfectly suited for the hip young couple and their urban loft home.

live edge table crafted from salvaged lumber


The drive was long but colorful and scenic.

Driving into the city in our pickup truck took nerve, but hubby has nerve, so over the bridge we went.







 When we spotted one of the iconic water towers of Brooklyn,

brooklyn water tower

we knew we were getting close.


we arrived at the lovely, spacious loft  – it is amazing!

And the table…

 live edge table crafted from salvaged lumber

 fit perfectly in its new home.

Over the weekend we gathered often around the table to enjoy great food and wine, conversation and laughter;  toasted the newlyweds and their new home; thanked the Good Lord for making such beautiful things as trees and family and cheese; and of course we bragged and bragged on my hubby and the table.

Little Table Makeover With Mosaic

My sister-in-law is moving into her new home and fortunately for me she is using the opportunity to thin out or replace some of her things.  This little table is one of the items that did not make the cut to move on to the new place, so it found itself in my studio waiting for a makeover.

Umm, what to do?

Simple, sweet lines…

not in love with the glass top, seems a little dated…

oh what to do with you, little table?



Of course!

lilly pad mosaic table

small mosaic top table

Thanks Carol.

I’ve joined the party over at


More Fun With Repurposing


More treasures for our upcoming sale.  Now along with the chair we re-upholstered in a soft plaid flannel, the room divider we created from an old picture screen and yellow chenille remnant,  a redesigned lamp and shade and  a re-finished end table embellished with a gold leaf starfish; we now have a set of shelves an old painting and an oak table ready for our booth.


I’m particularly pleased with the set of shelves that began life as slated multi colored cubes in a modern design.  But after some paint and creative use of old wallpaper, they have been reborn into a unique set of shelves that exude   vintage charm within its modern lines. 

 ← Before

                                                                                               After ↓


I painted this painting thirty years ago on a canvas board.  Over the years the canvas began to separate from the board so I went ahead and peeled it completely off. Then after serendipitously laying it on an old beat up table with pealing paint, I fell in love with the look and had the idea of mounting the old canvas on weathered paneling.  So my dear “doer” hubby put together a board constructed of tongue and grove boards and mounted them on a piece of thin plywood.  After scuffing and beating charater and age onto the surface, I painted, crackled and sanded them into a beautifully distressed condition.  Finally, using upholstery tacks, I mounted the canvas to the panels.


 This old oak table had sat in my dad’s barn for more years than I can remember.  The veneer had long ago peeled away and the base, held together by wire twisted around the pedestal by some long ago owner, was coming loose from both the table top and the legs; it was in rough shape.  First we reinforced the weakened structure then coated it with soft oatmeal white paint.  Then we glued a colorful remnant of outdoor fabric to the top, trimmed the edge with some antique rick rack and coated the whole thing with several layers of polymer.











Refurbishing with Paint, Stitching and Silver-Leaf; A Lovely Little Table to Treasure,

I grabbed this little wobbly table right out of my dad’s hands as he reared back to toss it into the dumpster, now you know something is in sad shape if  it’s not worth the space it takes up in a barn full of junk! Anyway that was a few years back and since then it has lived by mytt's barn bed, on the porch and finally in an out building.  But with Lisa and me looking for items for the booth we plan to set up in January, I pulled it out and took a fresh look at its possibilities.

The black paint concealed the colors but not the ragged texture of the multiple layers of paint globbed on beneath. The legs were loose, very loose; one had actually broken through the table top which had also shortened one side considerably. It was in sad shape, but there was just something sweet about its form. So after my hubby stabilized the top and legs, the best that could be done, I started to work painting. I decided to use a dry brush technique that embraced its primitive nature; and I chose a beautiful blue that puts me in mind of the sea.

Lisa had been looking for a project to try a technique she had seen somewhere that involves stitching on wood.  With that in mind we developed a plan to transform the little ugly table into a beautiful home accessory.

Using a new piece of plywood cut to fit the top of the table, we painted on layers of paint that we then distressed and crackled.  We stitched on a border using a beautiful multi colored yarn and applied a single starfish using gold leaf.

This is what we ended up with…

a lovely little table to treasure.

How to stitch on wood:

We drilled holes about 1 1/2 inches from the edge of the wood using a 3/16 inch bit.  The needle was a six-inch piece of thin, flexible wire folded in half and, using pliers, pinched at the fold to make it small enough to fit through the drilled holes. Sliding an end of the yarn onto the makeshift needle and starting on the underneath side, I pulled the yarn up through a hole and down through the next hole, creating a running stitch; tying off the ends on the underneath side.  To compensate for the bulk of the yarn on the bottom of the stitched piece, we glued very thin strips of plywood along the underneath edge and a couple of strips along the center. Finally, we applied glue along the strips we had added and attached the completed piece to the table top; clamping in place until set.




Edna’s Window Top Table

Well, it has been a long journey on the project I first cleaning and painting the old window for Edna's tablewrote about on the Blue Antler Studio (BAS), project share page.

But I’m  finally ready to update everyone who provided advice, suggestion or just good luck wishes. The project is now finished and sitting in my kitchen;  a counter height table made by repurposing an old window pane that I found in my dad’s barn.

First I had to clean, paint and come up with a technique.  Once I decided to use the window as a top for a table, the hard part began;  trying to decide what treatment I would use and getting it put together. Thankthe old window and porch post used to make Edna's tables to the Blue Antler Studio, project share, I had a lot of wonderful suggestions. 

I ended up using a vintage tablecloth  purchased at a yard sale; thanks to Diana, my sister, who spotted the tablecloth and knew that Kathy, the artist of BAS, would like it (sorry Kathy). It was also Diana who suggested that I use a nice piece of cloth for my project, and so the idea of the tablecloth as the treatment for my table was born.

vintage tablecloth and other supplies for making the old window into a tableThe colors are vivid, yellow, red, green and pink.  I sandwiched the tablecloth  between a piece of thin board and the window pane. But I didn’t stop there, thanks to Kathy’s advice,” think layers” and her suggestion to paint some of the design on the window pane; it gave it the depth it needed to bring it alive.   I used an old ornate column for the base, that was also found at a yard sale, and had been waiting for a new purpose.  I also have to thank my husband, Chuck, for  putting all the parts together, if not for him  the project would still be in a million pieces.  My sister-in-law Mary Ellen and my adopted sister, Sharon, were also there, giving moral support and keeping me from getting to wild with the painting, they kept saying,” keep it clean”.  The story would not be complete without the mentioning the one individual who always gives me the encouragement I need to keep going, thanks mom.

 old window turned into a high top table

066_0So the Blue Antler Studio has done it again, bringing the spirits of the ridge together; no matter if we are just out the road or hundreds of miles apart.   So thanks for everything; my project would not have been a success without the support and spirit of the ridge.   Edna


Wonderful job Edna, it turned out beautiful!  I just want to add one more thank you. Since I’m sure that the lovely blinging creativity ring, that I noticed on your hand,  added inspiration, a thank you goes out to sister Jane.


Creativity Bling!

What a wonderful time we’ve had at Blue Antler Studio this summer.  My parent’s anniversary picnic brought family, scattered  all around the country, home to the ridge; my girls from North Carolina and NYC, and my sister from California. Their presence took our gatherings to another level, where we shared, supported, and inspired ideas. But all too soon it was time to say good-bye. So we prepared some beautiful food, poured some local wine and fresh cold water and local ohio valley winegathered in the Studio. While we talked and laughed Jane and Edna announced they had another surprise – big, blinging, creativity rings for each of us!

We are once again creating far from each other, but now we have as inspiration, our memories of a wonder time shared together at Blue Antler Studio and, of course, blinging creativity rings keeping us close in spirit.

  Miss you all!





How to Make Beautiful Gift Boxes, Creativity Inspiring Creativity

beautiful hand made gift boxes

handcrafted gift boxes made from photo copied imagesThe recent visit of my daughter Kate, the artist behind Twice Treasured, left all of us out on the ridge inspired by her energy and creativity. So after her too short visit, we gathered at the studio. Under the creative instruction of my sister Jane, in from California, and using beautiful images from the recent photo shoot for Kate’s Love, TT jewelry line, we crafted these beautiful boxes

For those of you who may be interested in creating some beautiful boxes of your own here are the instructions.


Template: Note (We used the same medium weight card stock for the template and the boxes.

  • Cut two squares out of your template material – (1) 7 ½ inch square and (1) 7 3/8 inch square
  • Cut a 2 3/4 inch square window into the very center of the 7 ½ inch square

Note (the window will allow you to see what part of the image will appear on the top of the finished box DO NOT cut out the opening on the box project)

Make copies of any image you want onto medium weight cardstock.

  • Take the larger template and use the viewing window to align the image as you want it to appear on the finished box. Then mark around the perimeter and cut out a square for the top of the box. DO NOT CUT out the small window.



  • On the back side of the square mark the center by drawing lightly with a pencil a line from corner to corner diagonally, forming an X in the center.
  •  With the back side of the paper facing up, fold each corner of the paper into the center point you marked with an X in the previous step.


Note (you should now have a smaller square with the image showing on each side)

  •  Carefully but thoroughly crease the folds.


  •  Next unfold two opposites corners.
  •  Now take the two sides that still have the corners folded and fold them again but this time lengthwise, in toward each other, meeting in the center and lining up parallel, make sure the corners stay in place. Crease well.

Note (the two sides should meet precisely in the middle and line up exactly parallel)

  •  Now unfold the parallel folds you just made.
  •  Refold the other two corners; you should now be back to the small square with image showing on top and bottom and all four corners touching in the middle.


  •  Next take the first two corners you made the lengthwise folds on and unfold them completely.


  •  Now you can fold the next two sides lengthwise toward each other meeting in the center (parallel to each other) and crease well just as you did to the other two sides.


Note (all the folds you have made so far have a memory and when folded in sequence will now make your box).


Now for the hard part: Take a deep breath…

  •  Unfold the lengthwise folds you just made and refold the other two corners; you are, yet again, back to the small square with the corners touching and the image on both top and bottom of the project.



  • Now find the center square formed by the creases you’ve made. With the corners still folded, place your finger on the corner of the creased square and lift the corresponding corner of the project. Your finger should encourage the paper to fold at the corner point of the crease.



  •  As you lift the corner up and toward the center of the project, watch for a dart to form on the inside  and for the two sides to rise up and together, forming a corner.




  • Press the corner together and severely crease the dart. (the dart should be pointing toward the center of the project)




  •  Do the same to all four corners.




Note (The project should still be at the point where the four corners meet making a square with the image on both top and bottom)

  •  Now one more time unfold two opposite sides.


  •  Once again refold the lengthwise fold you made earlier on the other two sides.



  •  Lift open the lengthwise folds to 90 degrees, forming the first two walls of your box.




  • While holding the first two walls in place, slowly lift either of the remaining two sides up – folding from the inner most crease inside the box. As you do this watch for corner darts to form and be sure to force the darts toward each other on the inside of the box.



  •  Wrap the rest of the extended wall over and down along the inside of the wall (covering the darts) and across the inside of the box – press into place.



  •  Repeat on the other side.


  •  Final,ly using the smaller template, repeat all the steps to make the bottom compartment of your box.

More Mosaics

More beautiful mosaics have been created through the inspired efforts of Blue Antler Artists.  Diana and Edna, who have been meeting regularly at the studio to learn the art of mosaic,  have finally completed their first projects in the new medium. 

Edna designed a porch stand using a re-purposed bamboo table and old plates.  After breaking the plates and prepping the table, she used the broken pieces as her tile with lovely results.  Diana designed a mosaic depicting one of her beloved humming birds that frequent her feeders.  First she drew out the ambitious design then, after painting the small round table  she was re-purposing, she tiled both it’s top and bottom shelves;  lovely!

Congrats Edna and Diana, you  are now mosaic artists!




Succulent Wedding Bouquet

succulents for a wedding bouquet

Succulent wedding bouquet

I thought it might be fun to talk in some detail about a few of our recent wedding projects and activities that we particularly enjoyed and that perhaps others might also enjoy or find useful.   I will begin with one of my favorite and most asked about projects – the succulent bouquets. Having only worked with succulents in my garden, I must say I began the process a bit intimated.

I started collecting succulents  as soon as my daughter said she wanted to use them in her wedding. My first step was to take cuttings from the plants already growing in my garden.  After deciding which plants I thought would best match Cindy’s vision, I simply cut off a piece of stem or a branch near a joint, striped off the lower leaves and stuck it into a well draining potting mix; I used a cactus mix and potting soil at about a fifty fifty ratio. I kept them well watered for a couple of a weeks, the key is to make sure they are very well drained as soggy soil is death to a succulent. While most of the succulents that populate my garden live happily in the sun, I kept my cuttings in mostly shade during the rooting process.  After a few weeks I began testing to check if they were taking root by gently giving them a tug, if they resisted they were rooting. I have read suggestions about dipping  cuttings  in a root hormone, and I guess that could  be useful, but my Grandma Jane spent a lifetime rooting countless cuttings to share with family and friends and never used root hormone so neither did I.

While I was able to get quite a lot of plants through my cuttings, the wedding projects would definitely require more than I could start.  So I looked around and found a local nursery that specializes in succulents. I also returned to the small garden center near the beach where I had purchased my first succulents for my Florida garden.  I also discovered that the large home improvement stores  sometimes carry them, but I had more luck, and more fun,  searching the smaller, locally owned nurseries and garden centers of my area.   But I also knew that if all else failed, succulents like everything else, are readily available on line.

Finally the day before the wedding I gathered all my supplies;  a knife, scissors, wire cutters and pliers; floral wire,  floral tape, wired floral picks and floral foam; wooden dowels and flora pins with diamond heads; the plants ; some friends, my sisters and mama.

We started by shaping the floral foam, using a knife we carved them  into softball size spheres. We created a handle for the bouquet by inserting a wooden dowel, six or seven inches long, into the foam.  The dowel was attached to the foam by wrapping floral wire around the dowel, up and over the foam again and again  until  secure, then we repeated the process using floral tape. Next we carefully selected succulents for shape, color and size. By stripping away lower foliage we made a short stem, one half to one inch long. Next we mounted each succulent piece to floral picks by wrapping the wire, which comes attached to the pick, snugly around the plant stem but taking care not to dig into the stem.  Carefully we pushed the picks, with succulents attached, into the foam. We found needle nose pliers useful in this step. Also we learned the hard way that you need to be aware of the length of the pick in relation to the width of the foam. Take care not to push the pick or pin all the way through and out the other side into unsuspecting flesh – ooch! Beleive me I know. If a pick is too long it can simply be snapped into a shorter piece. When a plant didn’t have enough stem to wrap with wire or was too big and heavy, we carefully pushed the pick through the plant center, from the top down and directly into the foam. Starting with larger  plants we continued to insert plants around the foam taking care to keep the shape symmetrical. Next we used smaller plants to fill in until all the foam was concealed. For this we used the diamond headed pins inserted through the crown of the plant. Finally we finished by wrapping six inch wide ribbon of black towel around the dowels; attached with a dab of hot glue. They looked amazing!