Saturday, September 29, 2012

Moonlight Party Under the Big Top

Hello everyone and welcome to my Moonlight Party under the Big Top.
Please sit back and relax, grab a cup of your favorite beverage and Enjoy! 

Please hit play
This is Erin Morgenstern's Night Circus Play list
 The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
You wander among all the tents of stunning black and white. 
Even the ground has been transformed to a shimmering white.  
You spot this tent and decide it is the one to try.
Something about all the details draws you in, after all who can resist the lure of book print and chandelier crystals.
It's difficult to find the door, then you notice the roof is opening and a ladder is drops down.  You climb the white rungs and enter the tent.

"Hello my friend and welcome to The Bakers Tent," says a woman clad in black and white, her dress resembling frosting.
 The smell of fresh baked goods blankets you.
 You wander around the tent, it seems much bigger now that you are inside. 
 The walls and floor are covered with a rich black velvet.
And all the treats look scrumptious.
 "Here, try this."
The woman hands you a deep black cupcake with velvety white frosting and diamond black sprinkles.
You take a bite and are transported to another world!
"It's my special, the Night Circus Cupcake," she says. "Don't ask me what's in it, that's my secret." Her words answer your unasked question like the fortune teller you have heard about. 
The woman boxes up some of her cupcakes for you without you even asking. 
"A gift," she says "and make sure you stop by my friends tent, the Card Reader, she has a Giveaway for you."
The Night Circus Giveaway a lovely set of Renaissance Tarot Cards, still in the original packaging!
If you would like to enter the giveaway please leave a comment
1. Name
2. way to contact you
3. That you want to be entered in the giveaway. 
It's nearly dawn and the circus is closing.  I hope you have enjoyed your time here and come back soon!
To read my book review on The Night Circus go HERE.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Slow Progress and a Funeral

I am participating (or at least trying to) in Laura's Pretty Potions & Poisons Apothecary Event. I ordered all my items a while back and have been ever so slowly chiseling away at her wonderful tutorials and adding to my own Apothecary. 

Some people are already done!  So I figured I would share a few photo's of what I have so far.  Above I created some cake slices out of sponges and caulking.  They look good enough to eat don't they!

And here I've started working on the top of my Apothecary, as you can see my theme is a bit different. 
Now onto something very sad
Please hit play to experience the full effect. 
Last week my beloved Nikon took it's final photograph.  It has been there for me for over 5 years and taken countless pictures of art, three homes, and the birth and growth of two girls.
It deserves to be buried in honor. 
And since I'm a southern girl, it should be done southern style. 
Farewell my good friend, I shall see you soon in many art pieces since I plan on smashing you to bits and using every last drop of your gorgeous bits. 
And now...
My new camera.
You have a lot to live up to.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Perfect Halloween Candles

Guess what spooky candles are available again!
As always I am working on some other fabulous Halloween themed items so make sure to visit often. 
Thanks for taking the time to look.  

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.


Please enjoy Erin Morgenstern's Play list while reading my review. 
The Nigh Circus opens with a segment called "Anticipation" where the reader is addressed directly.  Talking to the reader about the Circus.  It has gorgeous descriptions that some might find long winded but I was able to immerse myself in and fall in love with the setting.  I frequently enjoy books that start off by engaging the reader in this way.  However I don't like much of it, and Erin is wonderful at stopping just when she needs to and occasionally picking up this point of view throughout the novel. 
Erin breaks the book up into a number of parts, the first part is called "Primordium" which is a perfect name.  All of the characters are introduced here and the Circus idea is formulated.   
1. early tissue growth: a tissue or organ in the earliest stage of embryonic development, found when the dividing cells in the fertilized ovum first differentiate
There are two other story lines besides the one that directly involves the reader, one about a game being played by Celia Bowen and Marco and the other about a young boy, Bailey who is enamored with the circus.  I got a bit tired of waiting for these two story lines to merge but Erin makes up for that a bit in the lovely descriptions and they enhanced mystery element she has going on with the game and romance between Celia and Marco. 
There is quite a bit of time and place jumping between chapters that threw me off a bit at first because the timeline is so tight, 1873-1897 and it doesn't jump linearly.  However once I grasped all the characters this got better.   
Image from Pinterest
Part 2:  Illumination 
Illumination starts off with the opening night of Le Cirques des Reves which is rich with description of this fantasy Circus and all it's wonderful sights you feel like you are right there. 
One of my favorite quotes in the book comes from this section. Pg 177
"The finest of Pleasures are always the unexpected ones." 
To me this is true about life and this book. 
The author gives the impression that those people that work on the circus have stopped aging.  I thought they may have become immortal but then one of the characters dies, however this is a fishy death since she was spying on another character.  Later the author clears this up but at this point in the novel I couldn't decide if the book was slow or if there were just so many mysteries not getting solved and new ones being introduced that it felt unfocused. 
Dreams and Fasinations
Soul Cookie
Part 3:  Intersections
By this point I have decided that the book i mostly descriptions and I have settled into being okay with that since they are rich and well written and so different for what one normally reads about Circus life. 
I am also having a hard time with the romance between Marco and Celia the only way they know each other is through the game and yet Marco says he loves her.  Can one love someone just based on actions?
In this section Bailey's character becomes more important and I make a name association.  Bailey as in Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus.  So of course I went off and looked up all the information on the circus and learned quite a bit. 
Saltar in Banco
Lacy Barry
Part 4:  Incendiary

And like with most incendiary devices this is the section that everything hits the fan.  It is also from this point on that you can't put the book down.  However I must admit I was a little let down by the "big event" but it does fit the storyline. 

In the end many of the mysteries are wrapped up, some that aren't as important are left for the reader to ponder as is the ultimate fate of the Circus (but I think Erin wanted the reader to make the Bailey connection). 

I enjoyed this book, the beauty of her writing, the way everything is so mysterious.  However I can see how many readers would not enjoy it so overall I have to say if you can read a slow book filled with many lengthy descriptions, a lot of mystery that doesn't seem to ever get solved and an original story then this is a book you should try. 

Now, why did I read this?  Well, it's obvious how much I love blog hop and linky parties and I found Moon light Under the Big Top which was inspired by this book.  The hop only requires that you do something circus themed but of course since i am a reader I read the book. 

So even if you haven't read the book please come check out all the wonderful art that will be on display next Thursday, September 29th. 

My piece is almost done and heavily influenced by the gorgeous descriptions in the book. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this rather lengthy review I hope you enjoyed it.   

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mirror Mirror ~ Tutorial on Aging Mirrors

Alpha Stamps is hosting another fabulous swap, a Cabinet Card Curiosities Swap.
I had an absolute ball creating samples for this "slightly off" swap.

The cover of the Cabinet Cards were supposed to be traditional, very Cabinet Card-esque.  So all I did was add some traditional classy bits, some Cocoa Seam Binding (this color is absolutely scrumptious!), Pearl Strand, enhanced the oval frame with some Platinum Pearl Liquid Pearls and finished it off with a few bits of paper from the Postale Paper Pad
But then came the fun part, the "slightly off" bit.

Maybe it's because I have been doing so many Alice in Wonderland pieces or possibly just because I have always been obsessed with what may be on the other side of the mirror, but I decided to Mirror image everything as my "slightly off" bit.

So I found some mirrors at the local craft store and went to work to make them look vintage. 
You will need:
Paint Stripper
Paint Brush
Plastic putty knife (must be plastic!)
Latex gloves (or something to protect you if you are allergic)
Muriatic Acid
Spray Bottle
Black flat spray paint
Something to protect your surface (cardboard box)

Step 1:
Coat the back of your mirror with Paint Stripper, I like Klen-Strip KS-3 Premium because it is a thick paste that is easy to brush on.
Follow the manufacturers instructions.

Step 2:
Use your plastic putty scraper to remove the backing on the mirror.  It must be plastic, metal ones will scratch the glass. 
You might have to repeat Step 1 a few times in order to remove all the layers of paint.  All the black and the orange needs to be removed.

This is what my mirror looked like after the first stripping.  I had to do 3 in order to remove all of the orange paint.  Be very careful, the layer under the orange is the mirror.

Step 3:
Mix Muriatic Acid (can be found in the pool section or paint section at hardware stores) with water in a spray bottle. 

Step 4:
Spray the back of the mirror with your Muriatic Acid mixture. 
**As you can see the back of my mirror still has the orange backing, I had a very hard time getting it off of this mirror so I decided to see if the Muriatic Acid would eat through it.  It did not, so I went back to the paint stripper.  I did try later straight Muriatic Acid on the back, and after removing the black paint on the back of the mirror the acid did eat through the orange and silvering of the mirror.
Your Mirror should be silver on the back when you spray it with the Muriatic Acid. 
So after you spray let the Muriatic Acid eat the silvering until you like the look and then take your rag and dab off the excess.
Step 5:
Wash your mirror

If you are pleased with the amount of silver that you have removed move onto the final step.
If you would like to add an image now is the time.  Glue it to the back of the mirror and let it dry completely. 

Step 6:
Spray the back of your mirror with the spray paint and let it dry.
All Done!
Here are some mini mirrors that I did the same way. 
To attach the front and back of my cabinet cards I created an accordion folded piece and glued pockets to the different layers of the accordion fold.

I made tags to go inside the pockets. 

And printed out some great images from the
 Cab Card Cuties Collage Sheet
And mirror imaged them on the back of the tags.

For the final page I Mirror Imaged the front cover that I created. The only difference is that I used a lighter shade of seam binding, this time I used Rose Beige.  

I finished the back off with a White Bone Flower and some mini velvet leaves
This was a fun project to create and the mirror I think really adds a lot.  It is a very simple process and doesn't take much time either.
I hope this tutorial inspires you to try out some Mirror Aging.