Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Functional Vintage Assemblage Art Tutorial to Share

I've been busy making some of my favorite things for the online shop....using everyday kinds of objects and elevating them to little functional assemblage art pieces. I get the inspiration from the curls of wire that I use, from one of my favorite artists, Brian Andreas.


This is a bit time consuming, but fairly straightforward.

Here are the things you will need:

vintage salt shakers
sturdy wire, 20 gauge steel is best (check your local hardware store)
two part epoxy resin
small paper cups
wooden or plastic sticks for stirring
vintage pins or earrings
metal file or Dremel tool with sanding bit
wire cutters
paper for protecting your surface 
paper towels
safety glasses
painters tape (blue)
e-6000 glue

First, clean and dry your shakers. Set them on the protective paper on a sturdy, flat surface. Keep the lids off, but set them next to the matching shaker. Put on your safety glasses.
Cut lengths of the wire about 2 1/2" feet long. Curl one end around your finger a bit to shape it and stick the wire down into the shaker bottom. Do this for each one you want to make. To keep from poking your eyes, curl the top tips a bit to round them out.
If you want two curls coming from the top, like mine, use two strands of wire, or make a "V" shape and stick it down in there.
Next, mix about 1/4 of a cup of the resin in the paper cup, stirring with the stick until completely blended. No need to measure perfectly to make 1/4C. Just be sure to add equal amounts of resin into the cup. It usually comes in squeeze bottles, so hold the bottles over your cup in each hand and squeeze them together in unison and it will be right enough for this project! (because no one will see it if it gets bubbly and imperfect.)(It's ok)(Really. It is.)(It will get hard enough to work fine.)(Trust yourself.)
OK, this part is where you have to work quickly. After you have mixed your resin, squeeze your cup a bit to make a pour spout shape at the top that will fit into the top of the shaker. Small enough to pour the resin into the shaker. This can ba a bit tricky if you have a shaker with a narrow top opening! Especially if you already have wire sticking out of the opening. The trick though, is to cover the bottom of the shaker AND the wire in it, so that it will be sturdy when the resin hardens around it.
If you get resin on the shaker, just wipe it off with a paper towel as soon as possible.
Now, slide the shaker top on to the wires, threading it through the holes you want them to go through. Twist on the cap.

Curl the wire, beginning with a small curl, then work your way outward to form a spiral. Now to decorate, be sure to put on your safety glasses, and remove the backs from the pins and earrings with your wire cutters. File the backs down roughly with your file or Dremel tool. Hold them up to the shakers to see where you'd like them to be placed. File that spot on the shaker a bit to roughen it up. Lay it down and put a dot of glue on the roughened area of your pin or earring or whathaveyou. Wait about 30 seconds, then place your vintage element on the roughened spot on the shaker. Use a piece of painters tape over it to hold it in place and set overnight, or wait several hours for the glue to semi-set before adding more pieces on top of that one. The tape peels right off when you're finished.
Whew! We're done!
Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I'm very approachable! Ask me anything. Just leave a comment here with your email address so I can answer. Anonymous is just fine. No hoop jumping allowed here. No letters to decipher and punch in to leave a comment.
milk glass shakers with vintage earrings!
an example of an oil can holder I made
If you don't think you want to fuss with all of those directions, then you can  purchase some of these pieces from my etsy shop! I can also do custom orders for weddings. These would make great place holders or displays for any shabby chic wedding. Speaking of weddings, here is a recent shabby bridal comb I've got in the shop right now.


oil cans featured in Somerset Life 2010
I hope you have fun with this project and it sparks your creativity!
Blessings and Light to You All,
Jennifer Valentine of Sacred Cake

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Here Come the Brides, to Carry Me Over the Threshold of Doubt

Happy. Vintage Assemblage Bridal Earrings
  When I feel like giving up, I think about them...the precious brides-to-be that come to me and my shop for the assemblage bridal combs, earrings and bracelets that make them feel beautiful on their most special day. I sometimes hear the voices in my head that say that what I do is meaningless adornment in a world filled with so many more important things. The voices say that I'll never make lots of money, or be well known for my work....the voices say that I am wasting my time. Who do I think I am?
And, I say back to the voices, that maybe I'll never be as successful as others...and maybe I won't ever make the big bucks...but what is important is what I feel when I create, and how others feel when my creations belong to them. I feel incredible bliss when I create that nothing, aside from my children, has ever given me. My work is infused with it. It feels like a divine compulsion...something I must do even when I want to give up because my body won't cooperate, or because life gets too complicated or stressful. I escape into the little world at my desk, where old things are made new again...arranged like flowers in a vase until all of the elements seem just right.
custom bridal comb in vintage silver
Making jewelry for brides is my most favorite thing to create. It is such a humbling experience to receive photographs from "my brides" wearing something I put such deep thought and love into. I see the photographs and I shake my head in wonder and amazement and in thanksgiving for such an honor. Such a joy to be a part of one of the most special times in a woman's life...

Alison's Custom Bridal Comb and Earrings

Jenny's Assemblage Bridal Charm Bracelet
Jenny's Wedding (favorite picture)
Custom Bridal Comb Set with Antique Crinoline (some of my most favorites!)
Melanie's Lovely Australian Wedding
Melanie's Bridal Bracelet and her Beautiful Bouquet
Where do you find your bliss? Tell me about it, won't you?
I've also marked down the whole shop to clear things out for new pieces...come take a peek here.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

At Your Fingertips

     Em and I and KW have traveled a very rough road together. Her early teen years were extremely troubled, and there were lots of late night talks between my husband and I about what on earth we should do differently...what in the world are we going to do about her? Where did we go wrong? Feeling like failures. Calls to the police. Missing persons reports. Sighs. Yelling. Exasperation. And tears of frustration.
Now Em is expecting her own child. She has settled down and she has discovered a new passion, sewing. She sews for hours....seriously. HOURS. Experimenting with different patterns for baby clothes, making curtains and pillows for the large room she will share here with her baby, who will arrive via induction on the 24th of October. A tiny gift this Autumn, whom I can hardly wait to hold. My other oldest daughter is due in I'll be double grandma within 6 months time. A grandbaby for fall and a grandbaby for two most favorite times of the year....incredible gifts...

Em looking at her recent sonogram pictures
(love this picture)
    Lately I've spent more time noticing. I'm not one to live behind my camera lens, but today there were things I wanted to capture.
noticing light in the kitchen
little white dresses we use as kitchen valances
our middle son Christian's huge shoes by the sofa

      I was diagnosed with Fabry disease almost two years ago. Sadly, I am now loosing the feeling in my fingers. It is the same neuropathic damage that has already happened with my feet. So I know what is coming. It  begins with the softest things. A child's skin, kittens, the underside of mushroom caps...and it progresses. For now it is just the tips of my fingers. I don't know how fast or how slow it will progress. I just know that I am struggling with it.  I remind myself that there are others that have it so much worse than me...and that I shouldn't complain too loudly. I talk myself out of tears. I think about selling all of my jewelry making supplies. I consider giving up.
     I won't lie to you here and say I'm coping well. I'm not. Not right now anyway. I take it one day at a time. I'm angry. I feel grief. Uncertainty. I feel like I better hurry up and touch everything and burn it into my memory. I cry. I allow myself to feel sadness. I allow myself to feel anger. But I keep it to myself for the most part. I'm not here to elicit sympathy or make you feel sad for me. I am here to gently remind you to relish the little things. Touch everything you can today. Use your fingertips. Really notice it. Touch your child. Caress your own face. Run your fingers through the grass, crumple leaves, hold soap bubbles in the sink, press the tips of your fingers into the underside of a mushroom. Relish it. 
And I'm going to keep going. Because, as I also say in this post in 2010, I don't stay down for long. There is just too much to love about living in the moment...

our  little fella enjoying the back yard today