Category Archives: vintage

DIY Vintage Button Rings

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Greetings, everyone!  I hope all is well with you and yours.  Today I’m sharing some Vintage Button Rings I made, and hope you enjoy this peek at my latest crafting endeavor.

If you’ve been following my blog for some time now, you’re probably not a bit surprised to see me share this post.  After all, in years past, I’ve made Vintage Button Earrings, Vintage Button Bracelets, and Vintage Button Pendants.  It only seems natural that rings would be next, right?  I didn’t consider making rings until very recently, when nature forced my hand.  (No pun intended)

You see, I’ve got big, strong peasant hands. I get them (and much of my physical appearance) from my Dad’s side of the family.  My father’s hands were truly humongous, and my hands are in no way small and dainty.  Not only that, my fingers have a tendency to swell at times.  Rather than have pricier rings in “real metals” that may or may not fit me at any given time, I’ve decided to wear adjustable rings that I embellish myself.  Then I can resize the ring at will, based on which finger I’m wearing it on that day.  Woo hoo!

Not only is this more practical, given my somewhat challenging hands, I’m really happy about how creative I can be with these buttoned beauties.  They’re unique,  inexpensive, and are so fun to mix and match!  They’re super quick and easy to make, too, so grab your button box (or your Granny’s) and make some rings of your own.

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Materials
*

Buttons – vintage or new
Ring blanks – I found mine on Etsy
Sand paper for leveling the back off the buttons
Wire cutters – for removing the shank from buttons (if applicable)
Epoxy (I like the 5-minute versions for nearly-instant gratification)

supplies

Instructions
*

1. Remove the shank from the button (if applicable) by cutting it off with the wire cutters.
2. Sand the back of the button if there’s any protruding bits of shank left and it needs to be leveled out.
3. Place the button face down on a protected surface.
4. Dip the flat, round disk of the ring blank into a small puddle of epoxy, then place the round disk part of the ring onto the center of the back of the button.
5. Make sure the blank is centered on the back of the button, and let the epoxy set without moving the two pieces.
6. Wear and enjoy!

gluing_position

This is how the button looked with the ring blank set on it for gluing – minus the epoxy.

My Process & Yield
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I sorted out buttons and set out the supplies to make these rings one night last week.  The sorting and choosing took a little while since I have (ahem) a fair amount of buttons.  However, once I was actually ready to assemble, it went quickly.

I worked in batches.  First I cut the shanks off and prepped all the buttons, then moved onto gluing.  I had 20 buttons and blanks, and mixed up enough epoxy for approximately 7 rings at a time.  (Tip: I mix my epoxy on pieces of aluminum foil and mix it with a wooden toothpick)

It took me less than 30 minutes to make 20 rings once the buttons were selected – quick and easy!  And I LOVE the way they turned out.

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sparkly_rings

colored_rings

gold_rings

MORE!
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Yep, I’m making more.  One might think 20 button rings would be enough for one gal, but one would be wrong.  ;]  Somehow I missed sorting through my silver buttons before making my 20 rings.  This is totally ridiculous because silver’s what I wear the most!  Once I discovered this silly oversight, I knew I’d have to order some more ring blanks and make at least five more rings.  We’ll see how many I eventually end up with – I’m sure it will be more than 25.  I don’t feel bad for this particular excess though, since I already have a stash of buttons and it’s such a low-cost project.  After all, I could collect expensive shoes or purses, right? :]

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at my DIY Vintage Button Rings.  Until next time…

Warm regards,
Melody

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A New Assemblage & Etsy Shop Sale!

Mystery1

Hi everyone,

I hope you’ve been enjoying your summer.  It’s been pretty hot here in Southern California for the past few months, and I’m definitely ready for cooler temperatures.  I hope we have a cool fall and winter, and hope we get some much needed rain!

New Assemblage

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Today I’m sharing my most recent assemblage – a piece I’m calling Mystery.  The main image is comprised of two different vintage photos – one photo of a little girl on her First Communion day, and another photo that I believe was taken by my grandfather on Guam in the 1940s.  I’ve combined these images with decorative elements like three desert roses (gypsum), washi tape, metallic joss paper, rhinestones, and other decorative elements.  Mystery is now available for sale in my Etsy shop – and speaking of my Etsy shop…

Assemblages on Sale in My Etsy Shop!
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For the first time ever I’m offering a sale on the assemblages in my Etsy shop!  I currently have six assemblages available, and they’re all on sale at a significant savings.  The pieces are usually $140 – $160, and they’re all on sale for $95.  That’s a savings of $45 or more per piece!  So if you’d like to add a one-of-a-kind piece of art to your collection, or want to start a collection, now’s the time!  Hurry over to my Etsy shop, take a peek, and order your favorite today.  :]

I hope all is well with you and yours, dear readers.  Until next time…

Warm regards,
Melody

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New Assemblages: Frontiers & Broken Foundation

Today I’m pleased to share two new assemblages:  Frontiers & Broken Foundation. They’re the newest additions to the series of assemblages I’ve been working on since late December, and they’re the fourth and fifth assemblages I’ve added to my Etsy shop.

Frontiers

frontier

I can’t recall where I found this black and white photo, but when I found it I knew I had to buy it.  I’d never seen anything quite like it, and knew it would be a strong foundation for a piece of art.  This lady from long ago is standing on her homestead, in the snow, looking off into the distance.  Such a lovely image – one that I’ve enhanced with elements like a vintage mirror, butterfly, bullet shells, vintage ledger paper, vintage cloth tape measure, a button, and a mini saw blade.

butterfly

bullets

 Broken Foundation

foundation assemblage

This is another photo I just had to buy.  This little girl has such personality – hands on hips in her cute dress.  Her image has been paired with a ribbon bow, vintage buttons, broken china pieces, a blue lens, and gold photo frames with words/phrases in them.  I also stamped on the photo with permanent black ink…

girl

frames1

These assemblages are each priced at $140 and are available for purchase in my Etsy store.  Please pop over and take a peek!

I hope you’re having a wonderful week, dear readers.  Happy Spring!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Photo Watches – Giveaway Winners!

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Congratulations to the winners of my photo watches giveaway!  The winners are:

Watch #1: Karen
Watch #2: Linda
Watch #3: Oksana

I hope you enjoy making your photo watch jewelry, ladies!  Please email me your mailing addresses so I can send your watches to you.  You can follow the directions I shared in this post to make your own Vintage Photo Watches.  :]

Warm regards,
Melody

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Vintage Photo Watches & Giveaway (w/ pics this time!)

I’m reposting this project today – and this time I’m actually including the photos.  ;]  This super cool project turns old watches into photo keepsake jewelry.  I’d like to say I dreamed up the idea for these amazing “photo watches”, but I didn’t.  I saw a photo of them on Facebook and was instantly smitten.  If you search online you’ll find other examples that are similar.  It’s a simple idea – one that I love SO much. They’re easy to execute (except getting the back off the watch!), and make lovely and unique jewelry.

As you may know, I LOVE vintage photos.  I collect them, have a drawer full of them, and use them in my artwork.  I often use photos of strangers that I’ve purchased in my projects, but sometimes I use old family photos.  My three samples make use of two cherished family photos, as well as one of the vintage photos I altered in my book – An Altered Existence.

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Left: One of the characters from the story Cast from a Different Mold (in my book)
Center: My Grandma Neva in the 1920’s
Right: My Aunt Bobby as a little girl, in her swimming cap and bathing suit

I wear the watches featuring the photos of my aunt and grandma on a regular basis, and I often wear both at the same time.  I sometimes pause during the day and look at their photos with love and gratitude.  It makes me happy to have them close, particularly since they’ve both passed on…

Materials
**

Old watches – they don’t have to run
Photos – either copies or (if you’re daring) originals
Diamond Glaze or Mod Podge (optional)
Scissors
Pencil
Something to pry or screw open the backs of the watches

Instructions
**

1. Open the back of the watch. You may need to reference the web to figure out how to open a specific type of watch, as I did.  Two of the watches opened by prying them open with a metal tool, and one screwed open.
2. Select photos that will fit in the window of your watch.   Make copies if need be.
3. Lightly trace the back of the watch onto the photo with pencil and trim the photo to fit inside the watch.
4. Remove the watch “innards” so you can place the photo inside.  You may need to trim the photo a bit more to get it to fit and line up properly.
5. Secure the photo inside the watch – either with Diamond Glaze or by putting the watch innards back in the watch behind the photo.   If you opt to affix the photo to the inside of the clear face cover, use a thin swipe of Diamond Glaze to “glue” it to the plastic or glass.  I did this with the two round-faced watches because the photos were color copies, and were thinner.  For the gold watch with the rectangular face I simply put the photo in and then placed the watch innards behind it.
6. Close up the back of the watch, wear, and enjoy!

giveaway_watches

Giveaway!
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I love how these pieces turned out, and look forward to making more.  For me the tricky part is finding watch bands that fit my (big-boned) wrist.  I ordered a few lots of watches from eBay in order to make this project, and because some of the watches are just too small for me I’m offering some of the watches that didn’t work out for me in a giveaway.  If you win one of the watches you can customize it your own way – whether you opt to use a color photo or something black and white, as I did.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post saying which watch you’d choose from the three I’m offering. Please include your first and second choices.  I’ll choose names at random and will assign watches to folks until they’re all spoken for.  The winners will be notified here on my blog a week from today, on March 26, 2014. Good luck!

Warm regards,
Melody

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A New Assemblage: Solitary

 solitary4
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.

solitary1
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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A Peek at My Newest Art Journal

Greetings!  I hope you’re having a great week thus far, dear readers.  Today I’m sharing a peek at my newest art journal – art journal number #16!  I just started it last week, and thought I’d show you how I customized it.

The Book Itself
journal

The journal is an 8 ½” x 11” book that started out with a blank white cover and blank white inside pages.  I love getting these Possibilities Blank Books from skybluepink.com.  The proprietress of skybluepink, Christina,  is a longtime supporter of my art journaling program for at-risk kids.  Hooray!  :]  I believe the style I order is the large portrait journal with 46 sheets…

Personalization
cover

I decorated the exterior of my journal by covering it with vintage wallpaper.  (Thanks for the wallpaper, Karan!)  The central image on the cover consists of an original black and white vintage photo that I mounted on black cardstock and a vintage label stamped with the word “sixteen”.  I also traced around the edge of the label and photo with a bronze metallic gel pen.  The exterior of the journal is treated with a clear sealer in order to protect it from spills and muck.

The Spine
spine

I customized the spine of my journal with another number 16.  This helps me order and locate the journals quickly if I have them on a shelf.  The number was cut from a page of vintage ledger paper – I wanted to carry the vintage look throughout on the exterior…

Inside
inside-left

I always make sure to put my name and phone number inside my journal, in case it gets lost.  I also like to include the date I start and finish the journal.  Because I date virtually all the pages/entries in my journals I could also look at the first and last entries to figure this out, but I like having this quick reference in the front as well.

inside-right

On the right side of the inside spread I like to mount an envelope.  I use this envelope to hold odds and ends like movie tickets while I’m working in the journal.  In this particular case I’ve embellished the envelope with some washi tape and a butterfly that I die cut from fine wire mesh.  However, the envelope embellishment varies from journal to journal.

Credit Where Credit is Due
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Many of the ways I customize my book (decorating and sealing the cover, envelope in the inside, numbering journals) were adopted from the supremely talented artist Janice Lowry – I was lucky enough to take a class from her several years ago.  She was a lifelong journal keeper, and her 100+ journals are now part of the collection at the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art.  Janice was an incredible artist and a lovely person, and I’m thankful to have had her for both a teacher and a friend.  :]

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick peek at my newest art journal.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

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

mending2

mending3

Fishhook

hook2

hook4

Bereft

bereft1

bereft4

Waltz of the Flowers

ballet1

ballet5

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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Just 9 Free Shipping Copies Left in My Etsy Store!

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Greetings!  One last reminder that I’m offering free shipping on my book via my Etsy store – and there are just NINE free shipping copies left!  To save on the $5 shipping fee simply enter the coupon code HOLIDAYS13 during check out.  If you’d like your copy or copies inscribed with your name, or the name of your gift recipient, please indicate this in the notes to seller.

This book is a great read, and the altered vintage photos work really well with the stories – but don’t take MY word for it!  To read reviews left on my book’s amazon.com page, click here.  Described as “A Must Read”, “Quirky and Imaginative” and “Imaginative Gems”, An Altered Existence has been very well received.  I hope you’ll pick up a copy.  :]

Warm regards,
Melody

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Free Shipping on Signed Copies of My Book!

books

Greetings!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I’m posting today to share a special offer on my book – An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past.  As you may know, I have signed copies for sale in my Etsy shop.  I’m currently offering FREE SHIPPING!  Simply enter coupon code HOLIDAYS13 during checkout and the standard $5 shipping fee will be deducted!  I have a limited number of copies on hand, so place your order now.  :]

Each copy will be a mere $13 shipped to your door, and you can have your copy/copies inscribed with your name – or with the name of your gift recipient.  (Etsy free shipping offer applies to U.S. addresses only – standard 1st class postage)

You may also purchase unsigned copies of my book through Amazon.  If you order a copy through Amazon and would like it “signed”, you may contact me and I’ll send you a signed bookplate (or bookplates) via U.S. mail!

Please let me know if you have any questions, dear readers.  Happy Reading & Happy Shopping!

Warm regards,
Melody

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