Category Archives: antiques

A New Assemblage: Solitary

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I recently created the newest piece in my series of assemblages.  This one, titled “Solitary”, makes use of the same house-shaped box as its predecessors, and includes items like vintage wallpaper, a vintage photo, a mini tart mold (the “head”), key holder and keys, an old camera lens cover (the clear “halo” behind the silver tart mold), and other elements.

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I really enjoyed putting it together with my trusty friend, epoxy.  This piece is available for sale in my Etsy shop, so if you’d like this piece of handmade, original art please pop on over.  It’s signed, and is ready to be shipped out.  :]

Please let me know if you have any questions, dear readers.  I hope you’re having a great week!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Making Art: Four New Assemblages!

I love the creative process, and assemblage is one of my favorite artistic mediums.  It’s perfect for me, since I’m a gatherer and collector. Many of the drawers in our art studio (aka converted dining area) are stuffed with odds and ends I’ve found at flea markets, thrift stores, and antique stores.  And I have an entire drawer full of vintage photos!  I guess it’s a good thing I’m actually putting some of my treasures to use in these assemblages. :]

These first four assemblages will be followed by ten more since I have a total of fourteen little wooden houses.  Some will be made available for sale – like the Fishhook and Bereft assemblages below – and some will stay in my personal collection.  The dress in the Mending assemblage was handmade by my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Lillian, so I’ll be keeping that piece.

If you’re interested in purchasing an assemblage you may do so by visiting my Etsy store.  You may also see more photos of each piece – there are five photos of each assemblage…

Mending

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Fishhook

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Bereft

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Waltz of the Flowers

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at my artwork!  Please let me know if you have any questions regarding these four assemblages I’ve created.

Warm regards,
Melody

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My Article in Somerset Memories Magazine!

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As you may know, I published a book earlier this year.  An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past is available via amazon.com and signed copies are sold through my Etsy store.  Well, I’m very happy to share some book-related news.  An article about my book has just been released in the Autumn issue of Somerset Memories magazine!

About the Article
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The article, which was written by yours truly, starts on page 59 and runs through page 61.  The article includes an introduction to the book, stories, and artwork, and then gives how-to information on six of the fourteen illustrations that appear in my book.  It’s a thrill to see my work in the pages of such a lovely publication, and I’m very thankful my project and book were selected to be included in this issue.

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More Great News: A Positive Book Review, Too!
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Some months back I sent Jana Holstein, the Managing Editor of Somerset Memories, a review copy of my book. She read it, enjoyed it, and was kind enough to include the following review in this same Autumn issue of the magazine.  Thanks so much, Jana!

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“When talented author and artist Melody Nunez gave me a copy of her book “An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past,” I was intrigued because I knew it was a book that  centered around stories she created to with beautiful vintage found cabinet cards.  As I began reading, each story drew me in and I felt a part of the tale.  Each cabinet card is altered in a way that resonates with the story, so it’s fun to flip back and look at the art while reading the story.  There are 14 short stories in all, reflecting birth, death, family, romance, and even ghosts.  Well written and heartwarming, this is a fun, quick read.  I really enjoyed Melody’s book.  So much so, that I chose some of her altered cabinet cards as feature article in this issue (see page 58.

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So, if you’ve been thinking about purchasing a copy of my book, but haven’t done it yet, please do.  It’s good!  And don’t just take my word for it – take Jana’s.  And artist/author Seth Apter’s!  And the others who have reviewed my book on amazon.com!  ;] Help support a self-published writer and artist, and treat yourself to a book that can be enjoyed one story/illustration at a time (in multiple sittings) or in one fell swoop.

I hope you’re having a wonderful week.  Happy Fall, everyone!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Art Exhibit, Book Signing & Art Journaling class in Kansas!

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I was in Kansas last weekend – what a wonderful trip!  The 14 altered art illustrations from my book – An Altered Existence – are currently on exhibit at the Lincoln Art Center, and I spoke and signed books at an event there last Friday, July 19th.  It was a pleasure to be welcomed by both the gallery and the community, and it was such a thrill to see my work hanging on display in that lovely art space!  I also taught a class at the Lincoln Art Center on Saturday morning, and it was great fun to share art journaling with my 12 students.  A good time was had by all!

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Fun with Friends
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In addition to activities related to the art exhibit, I was there to meet up with some wonderful friends of mine.  Our adventures included a visits to a local wax seal manufacturer, antique shopping, and some yummy meals.  Some of us even went firefly “hunting” in the evenings.  We don’t have fireflies here where I live, and my Lincoln friends were kind enough to take me out in search of the luminescent beauties.  We didn’t find oodles, but I was entranced with those we did see!  I’m so thankful to all my wonderful friends for their kindness, support, and enthusiasm!

Antique Store Finds & Generous Gifts
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I invariably leave Kansas with more than I arrived with (this is my third such trip to Lincoln), and this year was no exception.  I was gifted with a number of wonderful and unique items, like a vintage crochet-trimmed handkerchief, books, vintage photos,  a ceramic pen holder, an Anasazi pottery shard and more.  Such wonderful treats!

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My antique store purchases included a bronzed baby shoe (I split a pair with one of my friends who also collects them), a manger cow with springy horns that truly looked like a “mad cow”, as well as a little purchase for hubby.  I also bought a jar of vintage buttons, and the jar itself was fab and rather unique.  Given the unusual size, shape, and contents of the jar, I wasn’t surprised that I was stopped at security when flying out of Wichita.  It was my first-ever on-the-spot bag search, so I suppose I was due.  Here’s a picture of the mad cow – I think he needs to turn his frown upside down!  :]

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Blessed Journey
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Every trip I’ve made to Lincoln, Kansas has been over-the-top fantastic, and this particular trip will always be extra special to me because of the art exhibit, signing, and class related to my book.  Big thanks to everyone who helped make my exhibit and overall trip so wonderful.  I’m most appreciative.  :]

Warm regards,
Melody

 

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A Rite of Passage

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My book, An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past, is just over a month old now.  Self-publishing has been a wonderful adventure so far, and I thought I’d share a happy “new author” rite of passage I recently experienced.  Until a week or so ago, all my book sales had been done through Amazon and Etsy.  I hadn’t seen my book for sale in a bookstore, but that was about to change.

While on a road trip I stopped into a bookstore near my destination, and ended up selling them a copy of my book.  Yes, one copy.  They very nicely explained that because they’re a small store they could only start with one book, but I was so excited you’d think I’d made a best seller list.  I was even more excited when one of the two ladies I was doing business with walked over and put my book on their New Fiction section in the front of the store.

OMG – there it was!  My book – for sale – in a store!  It was a first for me, and naturally I had to take pictures to mark the occasion.  I was grinning ear to ear as I left the store and drove on down the road. It was a small victory, but I was elated anyway.  Woo hoo!  Later on in my trip I went to sell another 7 books, including five that were purchased by an antique store, and it was a wonderful feeling.  I wish I’d brought more books with me.  :]

It’s unlikely my little book will make a big splash in the literary world, and I probably won’t sell tens of thousands of copies.  This is a project that came from the heart, and seeing it through to being published – and beyond – is food for my soul.  I strive to be mindful and grateful in daily life, so you can be sure I’m going to appreciate all the firsts and unexpected joys this literary journey brings my way.

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Like the pleasure of seeing MY book on a shelf in a bookstore…

Warm regards,
Melody

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New Assemblage Series: Then & Now

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I recently created a two-part assemblage series, and thought I’d share it with you.  These pieces are particularly significant to me for a few reasons.  One: they’re more personal than my previous assemblages. Two: measuring 12″ x 15″, they’re the largest assemblages I’ve made thus far and incorporated heavier objects.  I even used epoxy for the first time, so now I feel all official.  :]
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I really enjoyed creating this series, and look forward to creating many more assemblages in the future. This mental shift towards more significant assemblage work is evident when I shop at thrift stores, estate sales, and antique stores – I’m now looking out for more dimensional pieces than ever before!
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Rather than take you through the assembly of these two pieces step-by-step, I’ll give you some of the highlights :
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THEN – first in the series
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This assemblage includes the following items: a vintage photo of a young girl, a traditional wooden ruler, a square wooden ruler, a doily, a pair of scissors, a heart-shaped tart tin, vintage graph paper, red fibers, 3 large beads, 2 vintage rhinestones, gold joss paper, and a small silver frame.
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The picture above was taken with the glass lid up, to reduce glare.  The image below shows the lid down…
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then
NOW – second in the series
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This assemblage includes the following items: a vintage photo of a woman, a small glass container, a vintage bunny figurine, a small doily, three vintage pen nibs, a nasturtium seed packet, a projector light bulb, lace, ribbon, a vintage measuring spoon, a vintage book, a paintbrush, a foreign postage stamp, a clear lens, and a piece of vintage cloth measuring tape.
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Again, the picture above was taken with the glass lid up.  The image below shows the lid down…
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now
  • Both assemblages made use of pre-made wooden boxes with glass tops.  The boxes were purchased at Michaels, and the wood was left its natural color but was sealed with a clear varnish.
  • The inside of each box was collaged with vintage sewing patterns before the other elements were added.
  • Though each assemblage stands on its own the two were meant to work together, so some elements are used in both pieces – like photos, doilies, measuring elements (ruler and tape), the deep red color, and metallics.
I hope you enjoyed this peek at my newest assemblages.  What do you think?  Please post a comment with any questions or feedback.
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Warm regards,
Melody

 

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Books & Bunnies!

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Greetings from Book Central!

I received my first big shipment of books on Monday, which will be used to help promote the book, and I’m so excited!  Feedback on my book has been very positive thus far, and I’m a happy camper.  I’m looking forward to sharing my “baby” with more people in the coming months, so I also ordered some bookmarks and postcards to help with that.  They arrived last weekend and I think they look fab.  Hubby did such a great job on them!

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In other book-related news, some (very) informal market research has been done, and two out of two bunnies surveyed find my new book delicious!  ;]

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So, have you entered my giveaway yet?  I’m giving away 3 signed copies of An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past, and will announce the winners this Tuesday, March 5, 2013.  Please enter now by commenting on this link’s post, if you haven’t already!  :]

I hope you have a great weekend, dear readers…

Warm regards,
Melody

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Estate Sales: The Thrill of the Hunt

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Do any of you frequent Estate Sales, or is it just me?  I’ve been to a handful or so in the last year, and I have to confess that I can’t get enough of them.  In fact, this may be a new addiction – uh oh!

For me part of the fun of an Estate Sale is the hunt.  Not knowing what I might find – peeking and peering around in search of things that I consider treasure.  Treasure, for me, includes vintage photos, buttons & notions, and linens.  I look for inexpensive crafting supplies for my at-risk art journaling students.  I’m now looking for more jewelry and findings that I can make necklaces with, and have also been known to pick up a vintage mini tart mold or two.
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Do I need any of this stuff?  No – these items are purely recreational, and are intended to appear in some of my creative projects.  That said, collecting and creating keep me out of trouble, and it’s a relatively inexpensive form of entertainment all things considered.*

Example: on a recent Saturday morning I visited two Estate Sales, and had a few hours of fun looking around.  My purchases for the day totaled $10, and I ended up getting four vintage photos (including one in a frame), one handkerchief, a knitted baby sock, two doilies, a thread spool holder, metallic thread, a vintage star cookie cutter, and two clipboards.  The next bit of fun is figuring out what I’ll make some of these items into. :]
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Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to shopping Estate Sales?  I’m curious about whether or not folks like to go on Friday when the sale first opens (for the best selection), or if they prefer to go on Saturday when prices are often half off.  I’d love to hear about your Estate Sale tips and tricks, and what you like to look for when shopping, so please post a comment if you can.
Happy Hunting!
Warm regards,
Melody
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The Launch of My Book! And a Giveaway!

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I’m thrilled to announce the release of my book, which is now available on Amazon.com!
The title of my book is An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past.  It’s a combination of both my writing and altered art, and I’m so happy to see the project come to fruition!

About the Book (from the back cover)
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An Altered Existence is a collection of short stories, each illustrated with a vintage photo.  These photos, also known as cabinet cards, were “orphans” collected from flea markets and antique stores.  They sparked the author’s imagination, and resulted in 14 short stories illustrated with photos “altered” by the author.

  • A photo of a bearded man with haunted eyes is paired with a silver key, and a story of a family with hoarding tendencies emerges.
  • A wedding portrait of a young couple, combined with a gold wedding band and the words “false” and “true”, yields a tale about a gentle schoolteacher who sets her small town’s rumor mill on fire when she poses for a photo with a local scoundrel, though they’re not engaged or married.
  • A young girl’s portrait, when paired with vintage buttons, births a story that many can relate to: loss, and the subsequent struggle to feel whole again.

Look into these 14 portraits from long ago, and venture into the “altered existences” they inspired.  This collection includes stories about life, love, birth, death, self-acceptance, salvation, and taking chances.  Their stories just may be our stories, too…*

GIVEAWAY!
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In honor of the launch/release of my book, I’m going to give away THREE signed copies!  In order to enter, simply leave a comment here on this post.  The winners will be announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, so please enter by Monday, March 4th.  Good luck!
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Please spread the word!
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I’d really appreciate it if you’d share the news about my new book with family, friends, fiction readers, book clubs, and artists – anyone that might enjoy my illustrated collection of short stories.  Thank you in advance!
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I hope you all have a wonderful week…*
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Warm regards,
Melody
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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

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I really enjoy decorating for the holidays, and was excited to change things up a bit this year.  We usually decorate with the same items and theme, and I decided this year would be different.  Why?  I guess it feels like I missed out on celebrating some things this year since I didn’t dress up for Halloween and was sick on Thanksgiving Day with a nasty headache.  So, when it came to Christmas I decided to go big.  I’m feeling particularly festive since I’ve been cleared by the doctor for full use of both my hands.  Hurray!  It was a real pleasure to decorate our home for the holidays, and I hope you enjoy what I came up with.

Doilies Everywhere!
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As I mentioned in my Doily-Inspired Mandalas post, I’ve collected a number of doilies over the past few months.  One of the lots of doilies included several identical white doilies, and I decided to make a garland with them – to hang over a doorway.  I also decided to use some of the larger doilies for wall decor.  But first I had to stiffen them. Armed with a mixture I made by cooking cornstarch and water, I did just that.

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The eight white doilies are linked together with old-school brass brads.  I added some ribbon bows and vintage silver candy molds to add some “pop”.

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These three large doilies look nice alongside the window, and the silver floral trim that I glued in the center really added some sparkle to otherwise flat pieces.

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This view is from the bedroom, showing the backside of the garland – looking towards the tree.

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Our tree has to be elevated up off the ground because of our pet rabbits, and I decided to use a table cloth that my mother-in-law cross-stitched years ago for our “tree skirt”.  I love the look of it, and it has a lot of sentimental value.

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Our main tree, lit.  I left our typical hand-painted tin Mexican ornaments off the tree this year, and used lights, glass bulbs and snowflakes instead.  I already had all those things though – the only things I purchased were the doilies used elsewhere in the room.

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I found this vintage tinsel star at a thrift store in Kansas in 2009.  Cost?  A mere 75 cents!

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This smaller green tree sits atop our bookshelf.  If those star ornaments look familiar, it’s because I shared how to make them in a DIY post last year: Aluminum Star Ornaments!  The star atop the tree is – yep, you guessed it – another stiffened doily.  I glued an old rhinestone earring into the center of the star to add some oomph.  The tree’s base and the the top of the bookshelf were “doilied”, too. :]

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Here are the little tree and wreath that I put out in the studio, in the corner next to (and above) my desk.  Tinsel rules in the studio this year, but I still have doilies under the tree and under the tiny baby Jesus.

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And of course, here’s the Vintage Crocheted Wreath I shared on Tuesday – which is hanging on the inside of our front door.

I wasn’t kidding when I said there are doilies every where!  The look I was going for is Modern Vintage, which is how I often describe my artwork – particularly my collages.  I love vintage, but want to keep it “clean” and interesting – and I don’t want it to look too saccharine.  Pretty, unique, and a bit unexpected – those are words I’d like used to describe this year’s decor.  Do you think I succeeded in keeping a bit of an edge?

Do you have a theme that you work with when it comes to your holiday decor, dear readers?  I hope you’ll comment and share.  Oh, and if you’re interested in the recipe/process for stiffening the doilies with cornstarch, just let me know.  I’d be happy to post a link in the comments to the page I referenced when I worked on the doilies.

Warm regards,
Melody

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