3/22/18

My New Pup-Pup

For Valentines day I got myself a new puppy...
Our two year old Belgium Malinois, Akira, had to be put down. Our Veterinarian ran so. many. tests... and just couldn't find out what was causing her to be so sick.... blah. Anywho, I figured I would rescue a new dog because there is such a need... and so-- here is my new puppy, Nisar. Getting a photo of an energetic puppy is hard.... cute butt huh?
 Nisar is a Beauceron.
 Not a German Shepherd, but a French Shepherd.
 Beaucerons ears can either stay up or stay down... I told Nisar to have "up-ears".... he is working on it.
After a long day selling at a local craft event, I went to our local animal shelter to look at the dogs. I got there thirty minutes before they were to close. I did my award-winning-gold-medal-speed-walking through the rows and rows of caged dogs... I felt heart-sick passing each one but I was on a mission to find "my dog." Nothing.

My husband had finally caught up with me and I advised him that I was going to go into the cat and kitten building to look at the cute cats since they didn't have "my dog." Inside the cat/kitten building they have a small enclosure that you can take a puppy into and play with it to see if you want to take it home. Well, there was a young couple in there playing with a puppy...... I peeked over the small wall and there was MY DOG. Gasp.... I played it cool as a cucumber..... long story short. I got the puppy! I was the last adopter of the day-- they stayed open late so I could do all the paper work right then and there. The sad part was I had to leave my puppy there (it was a Saturday) until Monday  afternoon when the puppy would be neutered. See the green tattoo on the belly? All animals get tattooed once they get neutered so there is no question in the future if an animal has been spayed.

It ended up being a blessing that I couldn't take my dog home with me that day as my house wasn't ready. I needed to fence off our pool, buy puppy food and lots and lots of toys...
 This little love bug loves stuffed animals.
 Ah, here is a good photo... only because he got tired!
I named my puppy Nisar after a sad love story from generations past. In the early 1900's at the Edinburgh University a distant relative of mine named Cissie met Nisar and the two fell in love. Nisar was from India and was going to school at the University to become a doctor. Nisar was a son of a rich Indian family and had been accompanied by his manservant/valet/ chauffeur while  going to school in Edinburgh. Nisar was smitten with Cissie and asked her to marry him. Cissie's father refused to let her marry Nisar because of the color of his skin and because he was of a different faith. Nisar knowing that they would never marry, was content in just spending long hours in her company. Every day, Nisar's manservant would take all of Nisar's monogrammed silver to Cissie's family's home. There he would set the table and serve the two afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream and preserves along with a variety of home made cakes and pastries. The two spent many days together enjoying each others company until Nisar's time at the University was up and he had to return home. As far as I know Cissie never saw him again, and never married.
I wouldn't know of this love story had it not been for this little engraved silver sauce bottle holder with the name Nisar engraved on it. I know that last names are usually engraved on silver so it can be passed down to future generations with the same surname, so I'm not 100% convinced this was his first name.... In the 1980's my grandmother was moving out of her home into another and this was on a chair with other things she no longer wanted. I was told to take what I wanted, and this little beauty became mine. Along with the story behind it as well. (it looks slightly odd in this photo because I just polished the heck out of it)
At the last afternoon tea the two shared together, this little silver piece had been left behind. Was it left behind on purpose by Nisar? Or, had Cissie taken it without him knowing about it- to always remember the man she loved and would never marry? Had Nisar gifted it to Cissie to remember him by? So many possibilities...

I have had this container for about 36 years. I'm sure Nisar and Cissie would find it funny that I treasure this little sauce holder. I've used it to hold pencils and pens and now it holds my ever growing collection of crochet hooks. I would love to find out more about Nisar. What ever became of him? Did he ever fall in love again and marry? Did Nisar become a doctor when he went back to his country... so many questions.
Sooooooooooooo... if anyone asks me, "Where did you get the name Nisar for your dog."....they are going to hear all about the love story behind the name.
big hugs,
Cheryl

3/11/18

Vintage Holy Shrine

I was lucky to come across this fabulous vintage holy shrine at our local swap meet recently. The asking price? $1.00... score!
Here is what it looked like when I found it in a box of junk....

Upon further inspection I noticed that the image of the Virgin Mary was one I was familiar with already....
This gold and black harlequin pattern is very distinctive and I immediately knew it was a match to the little rosary box that I had bought when I was around 10 or 11 years old when my family had taken a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. I remember there was a little table set up (I think outside of a church) with second hand things and also a few handmade things to buy. I bought this little rosary box and a seed-bead necklace for $1.00....
When I pulled this image of the Virgin Mary out of this Holy shrine it appears to be an actual prayer card, there are words on the backside that are in Italian. One day it is my hope to find the entire prayer card, wouldn't that be awesome?
I wanted this little shrine to light up again, so I pulled it apart to see what I could do...
It took some work, but I managed to pull out all the old wires and the existing bulbs from the piece.
When you hoard as much crafting supplies as I do it was just a matter of "shopping my own stuff" to find some battery operated lights to use.
I ended up choosing the super thin-wire strand of "starry lights" which I just taped in place on the backside.

They lit up pretty nicely in the piece.

The battery pack was easily taped to the backside once the piece was finished.

Next I wanted to add some color to the inside of the shrine.
I used Modge Podge to adhere some blue shiny foil. I chose the blue to match the blue sash she is depicted as wearing.
After that I got a little bit to happy and over zealous with the bling.... I added some rhinestones and a few vintage pieces of jewelry to the piece as well.
I replaced the two images that were in the two small circle frames at the feet of the Virgin Mary. One was an image of St. Anthony and the other was an image of a Nun. I replaced them with vintage ephemera of flowers.
 This image is so special to me... I scanned it so I can print it out to use in the future. I added a half pearl over each light bulb so the light is diffused a little bit. I wanted this Holy Shrine to still have the appearance of being very old.
In these photos the Holy Shrine looks extremely discolored, but when you see it in person it isn't so jarring. 
All that was missing was a Rosary for the little drawer....Ah, much better~ 
big hugs,
Cheryl

2/16/18

Cookie Time

Once again it is "Girl Scout Cookie time." This year I whipped up some little Unicorn card holders for my grandaughter to pass out to potential cookie buyers at her school. It never hurts to "sweeten the deal" now does it~
 I love these sassy little unicorns, but after seeing them all lined up together they all look like they are in line to use the bathroom!
 Tricked you! They are holding banners that proclaim, "Buy your Girl Scout Cookies from Chloe Room 10!"
 Inside the little pouch that would hold a gift card I've printed out this years cookie selection and tucked it into the pocket.
I only made eight unicorns for my grandaughter to pass out this year. I actually started making these just to keep myself busy while thinking what it is I'd actually like to work on! So that worked out well!
big hugs,
Cheryl

1/22/18

Table Centerpieces

Ok-ok-ok, to be more specific... Pirate table centerpieces. I've been wanting to jazz up the centerpieces I use for my pirate dinner parties. In the center of each table I usually have a large silver tray with silver goblets and bowls with strands of beads cascading out of them. Nothing permanent and always tossed together really fast before guests arrived. I was wanting something already put together for ease of use. So, I pulled a lot of silver items together and filled the lighter weighted items with some plaster of Paris and then topped them off with some spray Styrofoam to fill each up to a level I could just give the vessels the appearance of being filled completely with pirate treasure.
I have a lot of usable junk jewelry to pull from. I sorted them into different categories like, kinda pretty, extremely pretty, all gold, chains/pearls, gold with centers etc.... I used hot glue to adhere all the items into each silver container. It was slow going-- but hopefully each one will last for many years. *fingers crossed*
Here is a photo of the first layer all glued in place... not looking to cute-- but getting there.
Arrrrggggghhhhh~ now it is looking like pirate loot!
I have a thing for green moss.... I really think the green makes all the colors really pop. I only added moss to a few of the goblets to add some variety.
I like- like colors in the same container... Probably a little "OCDish" but that's how I roll~ Once each container had strands of beads glued into place I added some additional bling then added more strands... each layer being glued in place.
I added rhinestones to each vessel as well.
 I also added coins from countries from all over the world too.
 I never thought I would finish with these, it was a long.long.process. I think these will look fabulous sitting on silver trays on each table. In the mean time I'm putting them all away in a plastic tote waiting for warmer weather! I'm sure when I pull them out to use them I'll glue a few more bits & bobs to them as everything in life is a constant "work in progress" isn't it~
Now, I'm thinking I would like to make some new tablecloths! I have six round tables that I usually use for our parties... six table cloths... sooooooooooo doable!
big hugs,
Cheryl

1/15/18

God's Word

While trying to clean and organize my art studio I came across some holy cards I had purchased a while back. I have an ever growing stash of these little beauties. Little mass cards, prayer cards, cards with pictures of Saints.... yep, I love them all... I am ALWAYS on the hunt for more!
Before tucking my treasures into a drawer where I keep my collection, I decided to create a little something-something for a friend of mine whose sister died due to a hit and run. My friend's sister was walking to a nearby store to grab a gallon of milk for her young son and was struck and left to die in the roadway.....  What can be said? no words are ever adequate-- but God is universal in his words.... so I created a little Religious wall hanging to hopefully give her some solace during this painful time. Here it is in all its glory~To create this piece I used one of those plain cardboard circular ornament blanks that you get from a hobby store for the base. I fussy cut out the center and added a thin piece of cardboard to seal off the opening leaving a little well to create inside of.
I covered the cardboard with thin gold paper that I ran through my embossing machine to give the little shrine some added texture. The gold was extremely bright, so I added some black paint to distress it a little bit. I made the sunburst crown behind the image of Jesus using of all things-- the little topper that is on top of a Christmas ornament. I had bought a huge bag of ornament topper replacement pieces for a few dollars at a second hand store months ago...  just goes to show you I'll buy just about anything. *wink* Easily flattened with my bare hands and then a few whacks with a small hammer and I had the perfect sunburst crown.
 Here you can better see the depth of the little shrine.... I added moss, vintage flowers, vintage Dresden trim and of course some rhinestone pieces. The purple fabric I used is iridescent fabric which turns from purple to a moss green at different angles. Above you can see the purple, and below you can see the green hue showing up... magical.
The blue tinsel around the shrine I had bought at Christmas time not knowing what I would ever use it for.....
 I really like how it all came together, I think I'll continue making more of these. I know a lot of people who could use a little Holy Shrine themselves....
myself included.
 big hugs,
Cheryl