Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thrift Thursday: Antique Quilt Block

One of my favorite pastimes is rummaging through piles of fabric at thrift stores. On occasion, I come up with a real treasure. My mom is an avid quilter, and I absolutely adore quilts - especially old quilts.

I found this hand-pieced quilt block about 2 years ago in one of my favorite vintage stores - New Bohemia in Austin, Texas. I had found two blocks from the same maker months before, and given them to my mom. Then I found this one, and decided to keep it!

Antique Quilt Block

I think the fabric is from the 1930s - but I am not sure. It is very old, and the prints are amazing. I just pinned it to a piece of acid free paper and framed it in a cheapie frame. It hangs in my "textile corner" at the iTaggit offices.

Detail of Antique Quilt Block

One of the things I love about iTaggit is how I can store so much information about each item - multiple pictures, the story of how I bought it, and all kinds of specialized fields depending on the item's category. My mom recently added a collection of her small quilts - check them out! Much more on quilting and quilters to come!

Applique Quilt by my Mom

My iTaggit Profile

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

DIY Wednesday: Jewelry Screen Project!

This Wednesday's project is super easy, and super useful! How many of us gals have piles of earrings laying around - in a drawer or on a dresser, all tangled up? I wanted to make something pretty to hang my earrings on, and this Jewelry Screen is what I came up with!

Difficulty Level: 3 out of 5
Estimated Cost: $20 - assuming you have some of the basics on hand


* Frame with a solid back
* Picture Mat that fits frame
* Wire Screen (usually sold as repair item for a screen window or door)
* Foam Core
* Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
* Craft Scissors and X-acto Knife or Rotary Cutter
* Ruler
* Optional: Paint and Brushes to decorate Picture Mat
* Optional: Paper for background

Step One: Preparing the Frame

Take the frame back off and set aside, make sure to attach the hanging wire, if necessary. Discard or reuse the glass for the frame. Now you can decide if you want to paint or decorate the mat - you can buy them in colors, but many frames will come with a plain mat. I chose to paint mine a pretty coral color with acrylic paint - you could decoupage it, stamp it, glue fabric on it - the sky is the limit!

Step One

Step Two: Preparing the Screen

Roll the screen out, and hold it flat with some heavy objects. Place the back of the frame on top, and cut the screen to the same size with your craft scissors. The screen's edges can get sharp, so be careful.

Step Two a

Step Two b

Step Three: Preparing the Foam Core

(get your pet to help!)

You will need 4 pieces of foam core. Use your ruler to measure the width and length of the long side of the mat - cut 2 of this size. Then, lay those two pieces on the mat, and you will have a space left for a top and bottom piece. Measure and cut these 2 pieces. The best way to cut Foam Core is with an X-acto Knife or Rotary Cutter, using a ruler as a straight edge. *The pieces of foam core are more clearly shown in the next photo...

Step Three

Step Four: Assemble the Mat, Screen, and Foam Core

First, plug in the hot glue gun! Lay the mat decorated side down, then lay the screen on top and hold it in place with a heavy object in the middle. Squirt hot glue onto one of the long sides of the mat, and press the foam core on top. Repeat for the other long side, then do the top and the bottom. This will hold the screen in place, and give you necessary space between the screen and the frame back to hang your earrings.

Step Four

Step Five: Finish the Project!

Place the Mat, Screen and Foam Core "unit" face down into your frame. This is where you decide whether you need a background color or pattern. If you do - place it down first, and then put the back of the frame on. Close it all up, and hang it!

Finished Piece

I am new at writing these tutorials - so please send me your feedback! Was this easy to follow? Was my "level rating" on target? Send me pictures if you create one!

My iTaggit Profile

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Treasure Tuesday: MLK Funeral Fan

So last year my friends and I started going to Round Top, Texas every Fall and Spring for their huge Antiques Fair. It's fields and fields of vendors out in the middle of Texas Farm Land - mostly centered around Round Top, Pop. 77.

MLK Funeral Fan

One of my most unique finds was this promotional fan from the Hemphill Funeral Home of Houston, Texas. Printed in 1967, the fan features a well known photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and one of his most famous quotes. "I have a dream that one day this Nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self evident; that all men are created equal.'"

I pinned it up in my cubicle at work, and look at it every day for inspiration. Recently, I wanted to find out more about the fan, and started researching it using iTaggit's tools. I found out that the tradition of printed fans was very common in African-American Churches during this time, and that it still survives in some places. I just could not find any detailed info about the actual history of this kind of item online. This is a case where I will be better off going to a Library, or better yet, going and interviewing African-American Funeral Home owners in person. Sadly, a lot of this kind of history is taken for granted - like the plastic bread loaves we used to raise money for Church when I was a kid! You see something everyday, and don't think it has any historical value.

I LOVE History, especially African-American History, and now I am impassioned to keep searching for more. I found a few other fans for sale online - ranging from $15 to $215! The value of this fan is personal for me - it was printed in 1967, one year before Dr. King's assasaination, and is from my home State of Texas. I know how hot it gets here - especially in Houston!

What items do you have with an interesting story? Look at your walls and in your closets - surely there is something of value that deserves to be shown off to the world! I am off to research more about these fans!

My iTaggit Profile

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

DIY Wednesday: Painted Pots!

Ok friends - this is my very first attempt at writing a DIY Project blog! I have been crafting for almost all of my 28 years - and I am ready to start sharing some of my fun projects with you.

This Spring & Summer have been all about the pots and plants. I decided to start container gardening, and being the crafty gal I am - I just had to have handpainted pots! So here we go on the tutorial:


  • Terra Cotta Pot(s)

  • Acrylic Paints - Basic white for base coat & pretty colors for fun

  • Brushes - Sponge Brushes are easy and cheap

  • Polyurethane for sealing

  • Drop Cloth or Newspaper to protect your work surface

  • Wax paper or something to squirt out your paint on

The Process:

Step One: Start with a clean, dry pot - mine were all new - but it doesn't hurt to rinse them off. Paint the pot with two base coats - I used Acrylic Gesso - but you can use Spray Paint too.

Step Two: Paint the pot a pretty color! Acrylic paints are inexpensive and readily availbe at Craft and Hobby Stores. You can judge if you need one or two coats depending on the quality of paint.

Step Three: Paint designs! I tried to keep things simple and just painted freehand. If you're a beginner, try drawing your designs on the pot with a pencil and then painting over them. A Q-Tip works great for little dots...

Optional: Try Decoupage! Such a fancy word for an easy technique - cut out shapes from Fashion Magazines and glue them on with White Glue or ModgePodge. After many months of rain - my Decoupaged pots aren't holding up as well - but they're still cute!

Step Four: After the paint is all dry - spray the pots with 2 coats of Polyurethane Spray. Do this OUTSIDE and follow the instructions on the product. It helps to coat the inside of the pot too, as terra cotta is very pourous.

Enjoy your Pots! Check out more of my crafts and additional pot pictures in my iTaggit Crafts Collection. I would love to see your crafty projects posted on iTaggit for all to see!

My iTaggit Profile

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Thrift Thursday: Czech Pottery & Texas Traditions

1950s Czech Pottery Bowl

Today I used iTaggit's awesome research feature to find out more about a piece of pottery I purchased last year. It's a funky bowl from the 1950's with a gorgeous linnear design and a pretty glaze. I was able to make out DITMAR URBACH on the mark, and found a website with a history of this pottery online, as well as photos of their marks.


It's a Czecheslovakian factory that has its origins in the late 1800s, and was two factories combined into one. After going through several ownerships, it was confiscated by the Nazi's in 1938, and then nationalized in 1945. I found this info on the Collector's Circle website.

Matching Czech Vase

I was also able to find a matching piece online! I have contacted the owner of this vase to see about buying it, and used their selling price as a reference in valuing mine.

Now - onto Texas Traditions. For those of you who don't know, Texas has a rich history of immigrants from Eastern Europe. One of the cultural groups that is thriving is that of Czech Descendants. Any Texan can swear by a homemade Kolache - yummy pastries with fruit (or many other) fillings that are sold all over the State.

Kolache Picture

I have fond memories of going to the Texas Folk Life Festival as a kid, eating Kolaches, and going 2-Steppin' at the local SPSJT Hall. In fact, no road trip from Austin to Dallas is complete without a stop in West, Texas - home of the best Kolaches around!

So you see - I was meant to own this piece of Czech Pottery - it's right at home here in Central Texas! Without iTaggit, I never would have learned all this info. One of the things I love so much about collecting is how it can enrich your life!

See my decorations collection here, and check out more of my blog posts here!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Treasure Tuesday: Funky Jewery Collection!

So for those of you who don't know - I collect jewelry. I started adding my extensive collection to iTaggit last week - and it was so fun!

I can remember where I bought most pieces, or who gave them to me. I like being able to write the history of each piece on iTaggit.

I wanted to feature a few of my favorite pieces today [:P]

First is this huge necklace that my friend Jasmine gave to me. I love the organic feel it has, and it makes any t-shirt immediately dressy.

Second is my "wooden delight" necklace - I scored it at a Thrift store for a few bucks, and I get SO many compliments on it.

Check out the rest of my collection here! Read more of my blogs on Jewerly, Art, Crafts and Antiques here!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Power of Negative Space

I remember the first time I heard the term negative space, I thought "what does that mean?" My art teacher explained that it was the area not drawn/painted/printed. She wanted us to learn the power of the blank space you leave around an image - and so made us draw an intricate tree by drawing only the shapes of the negative space.

Ever since then I have been fascinated by negative space. I like art that leaves the eye with a place to rest - and the depth the design can convey when the canvas isn't completely saturated.

Today's search of ETSY for artists started with a search for lace. The lace theme is showing up on everything from China to Jewelry to Fine Art. As I looked through the results, I was struck by these three artists' use of negative space.

Queen Anne&39;s Lace Print

This Queen Anne's Lace screen print by SarahParott825 is a homage to the mid-century modern style. I love the blue color and the simplicity of the flower with the intricate black details. A grouping of these would look awesome in my living room!

Bubble Lace Ring 4

This Bubble Lace Ring by ColleenBaran leaves the negative space open for your skin to show through. She has a series of jewelry in this style and I like how the openness of the design compliments the delicate circles.

Violet Jade Moon Woodcut

Finally, this Violet Jade Moon woodcut print by AzureGrackle and Procyonidae achieves a sublime richness of design in layers. The paper is a pale blue and the inks are purple and reddish orange. I absolutely love the design of this piece - it has the feel of an old piece of batik fabric.

iTaggit is a great place to post your art collections. You can see what you have, show it off to your friends, and use our detailed field items and reports for insurance purposes.

To view more of my blogs on Crafts, Art, Antiques and Jewelry, click here!