This is the place where I round up a corral chock-full of mixed media art, vintage collections, digital escapades, and some occasionally snarky observations about life with junk, books, rescue dogs and nearly-grown children.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Things on my Scanner

The Tinsel Trading Card and the applique were scanned separately and combined digitally. 
But I could have achieved a similar (but blurry) effect by hand.  

 Ephemera is my addiction.  And my scanner is my favorite gadget after my camera.  This is a post about things I have scanned.

We had dinner at this famous deli.  The pickles were crunchy.  The huge Reubens were delicious.  This is a cleaned up scan of the souvenir napkin I tucked in my messenger bag.  Now, instead of leaving the napkin stuck inside a tour booklet, I can post it on the Interwebs!

We went to Liberty Island and saw Lady Liberty for ourselves.  She was as magnificent as I expected.  In the gift shop, we bought Silly Bandz.  Silly tourists!

Here is the more conventional bit of travel ephemra--the ticket for our ferry ride to see Miss Liberty.

My daughter bought clothes at this trendy NY chain located on Broadway in the SoHo district.  I bought the fluffiest flower pins/hair decorations ever, one in shabby pink, one in purple (for my sister) and one in earthy browns.  I also bought a cutey-cute pink scarf trimmed with pink pom-poms.  I'm not normally a girl who goes for cotton-candy pink, but I do adore pom-poms.

I'm glad the Metro folks are serious about safety.  This is the back of the card we used to pay for our subway rides.  In the 1980s, I was a managing editor for a trade journal called "METRO Magazine," which focused on the transit industry in the U.S.  I wrote about the NY Subway system (and its buses and trains) on a regular basis.  This was the first time I'd ever seen the system I wrote about for so many years!

This is a scan of a "Walks in New York City" card from a deck published by the good folks at Chronicle Books.  A friend loaned me the deck before our trip.  I took some of the cards with us, but we didn't use them due to competitive agendas.  However, this card, which includes two stars (double points if you find them) added digitally by me, show the area where we stayed.

I call this little feline "Lucky Lucky".  She is a little Japanese kitty cropped from a hang tag on a little trinket picked up in Chinatown.  I love the simplicity of this drawing.

If you are looking for great Chinese food--I recommend this eatery.  The shrimp with almonds is divine.

What sort of ephemera do you save?  What do you do with it?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

More from Manhattan

 Artwork made from scanned ephemera.

This was my first trip to New York City, and quite frankly, in spite of the crowds and the occasional long, long walk, I found myself captivated by the city's offerings from start to finish.
 Lady Liberty from the ferry at dusk.

First off, the city was a lot cleaner than I expected. I've lived in the thick or along the suburban fringes of several big cities--Los Angeles, Honolulu, New Orleans and Houston--but I just assumed that New York would be filthy. Certainly we were tramping along the tried-and-true tourist routes, but we did make a foray into the Brownstone blocks of SoHo on foot. The sense of pride the residents have in their city was evident in the tidy gardens, the cheerful posters taped up in front stoop windows, and the trash bins around business and high traffic areas. We saw a lot of graffiti, primarily on buildings near the roof-top lines, and on phone booth shells and newspaper boxes.  I know life is a lot grittier and dirtier in many neighborhoods, but what amazed me was how, in spite of all the people, the city remains clean.
Graffiti on a train car, Newark, NJ, train station.

Second, it was great to be in a city that celebrates the written word--bookshops, magazine stalls, posters, signage, even slogans on tee-shirts and Jumbotrons all blazed with literary fervor, both glorious and mundane.  It was great to sink back with a meaty paper--The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post.  It was exhilarating to wander through three-story bookstores--whether it was the Fifth Avenue Barnes & Noble or the giant Japanese-language bookstore, Kinokuniya, which was stuffed full of manga, language and travel books and anything else connected with Japan, Asia, or the Pacific Rim.  The typefaces and fonts on the signs transcended the blandness of our local malls here in Houston, while the blazing LEDs flashed spangled slogans and scrolling headlines.  The word, it seems, permeates New York, whether in English, Arabic, Chinese or Thai, or Farsi.
Chandelier inside Grand Central Station, NYC.

Third, it was exciting to plunge into the wonderful whirl of cultural collisions.  Clumps of older Jewish ladies chatting in strong Bronx brogues about the best place to get your hair colored as they paused outside a nail salon,  sharply dressed businessmen conversing into their Bluetooths (Spanish, Italian, Chinese, and Hindi).  The Syrian, Iranian and Lebanese street vendors displaying racks of halal prepared meats--chicken, beef, and lamb.  The bellhop manager at our hotel was Danish, and the desk clerk was Philipina.  Markets had shelves stocked with Tex-Mex, Asian, British and American foods.  Delis served breadstuffs from around the world--croissants, scones, bagels, and baklava.  Fruit vendors had papayas, apples, mangoes and more.  You could eat and shop your way around the globe without venturing more than a few city blocks.
Fire escape details in Tribeca.

Fourth, New York City's architectural history is so rich and complex that there was no way I could capture it with my camera, and I don't have the vocabulary to describe it with accuracy. Buildings were bedecked with carved details, exquisitely decorated facades, wrought iron embellishments and treatments created with brick or stone.  Glass-covered skyscrapers gleamed like sabers, and reflected the cloud shapes against blue glass.  Trees cloaked in summer greenery draped over park fences of weathered wrought iron.  Sculptures, reliefs, carved doors, capped cornices, gargoyles and the fascinating symmetry of the fire escapes created a stunning tableau.  Even the scaffolding erected across the face of buildings undergoing repairs had a sturdy sense of purpose.  So much different than the calm sameness of the suburb where I live.  So jam-packed with history and lives.
Near Times Square.

Yes, I think I want to go back to New York City.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fun in the City

I'm back from my trip to New York City and Washington, D.C.  We spent three nights in each locale, so we barely made a dent in the list of things you can see or do. I've had company at my house from the day after I arrived home, so I'm only now getting to look at all the photos we took--my camera was used by three photographers (me, my daughter and my son) so the subjects varied!
Each of us had a shopping list--I wanted to go to Tinsel Trading Company,which turned out to be not far from our hotel in mid-town Manhattan.  My daughter and I perused the fabulous array of trims, ribbons, laces, appliques and other goodies in stock.
 Lovely ribbons in an old vegetable basket.
While I could have spent a lot more, I contented myself with a handful of felted ribbons, a few faux flowers, and two letterpress tags by Wendy Addison.
 A cast iron urn holds shimmery bolts of sheer fabric at Tinsel Trading Company
We did take time to visit one of the city's most famous landmarks--the Statue of Liberty.  We took an a ferry to Liberty Island where we spent "An Evening with Miss Liberty."
 My photo of Miss Liberty with an engraving effect.
It was balmy and clear, and since there were only about 450 people, it was almost like having a private tour, even if we couldn't go inside the museum.  The skyline of Manhattan was awesome, and we took so many photos!
The Manhattan Skyline from Liberty Island.

We went to Grand Central Station and rode the Subway to 14th Street to find a shop my daughter, pictured below, wanted to visit.  The station was full of stunning architectural details, along with shops and dining places.
Along14th Street, we were removed from the touristy hub-bub, and were able to appreciate the brownstones, tiny gardens and home-style cafes and shops.

It was unseasonably hot by New York standards--well into the 90s--so we got quite a workout walking along the avenues.
Back in Manhattan, we took a "Circle City" Bus Tour, riding a double-decker bus from downtown to the eastside neighborhoods and back around past the harbor and Wall Street.

Later the same day, we boarded at Times Square for an evening tour of Brooklyn that ended back at Times Square after dark, when the lights are stunning.

We shopped at the brand-new Times Square Forever 21 (my daughter is their target shopper) and then headed back to our hotel to pack up for Washington, D.C.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Guess Where I've Been

I have been on the road, so I've not had a chance to post.  Can you guess where I've been?  Hint:  The lion's name is Patience.
Here's where we are now!  We're staying with my sister-in-law and have a couple more days to see the sights.  I'll upload more fun stuff when we get home.  Leave a comment about your adventures this summer.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Patriotic Fun Finds

The fireworks are finished, but Summer in America is prime time for red, white, and blue.  I was busy parading Shelter dogs and helping at Off-Site Adoption events over the weekend, but wanted to post a few patriotic items from my collections.  Above is a cleaned-up version of an awesome flag design, taken from a photograph of a vintage flag box.  I don't have the original flag, but this is a superb design.

This is the cover of a vintage educational game--from back when learning geography was truly a family affair and not just something for a High School AP class.
This game is intact, with the board, question cards and colored map pins.  No one in the family wants to play it--they think I'll win. They're probably right, thanks to my liberal arts education.

Here is a mantel display from last year, with a trio of ribbons affixed to the side of an old, blue-painted carpenter's toolbox:

I am addicted to "smalls"--the little items in antique and junk stores.  Below is an arrangement in a hobnail milk glass vase (probably Fenton) made up of a vintage eagle flag finial, a reproduction of a deck of French playing cards featuring American heroes of the Revolution, and a Bicentennial celebration button I found in a Rosenberg, TX, antique store two years ago.

A display on a bookshelf from our house in Hawai'i (circa 1998) includes a cowboy boot planter filled with colorful flowers, metal cookie cutters, a Cow Parade figurine and an Avon blueware plate depicting Independence Hall, plus some flags, a Liberty statue and a handmade (by me) votive to Virgin Mary.

Below--a copper bank from 1976 depicting the famous fife and drum scene:
The Spirit of 76 is one of my favorites--I was a Junior in high school in 1976!  Below is a new-old stock patch I snagged on Etsy.

And a bit of Texana--a thrift store find--a Marching Band patch. 
Last, here's a photo of some vintage Americana collected by the owner of the Ross Antique Mall in Ross, TX:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fancy Boots

I was so impressed by the amazing cowboy boots I saw at the recent Paper Cowgirl Altered Art Retreat that I dug into my backup files to find a photo of my altered cowboy boots.  These are Justins, size 7 1/2, and, alas, I now wear a size 8 or so.  I have hung on to them for years, thinking I'd give them to my daughter.  But she wears a size 8, too.They were my favorite dress boots, bought the year we went to the National Finals Rodeo when the show made its debut in Las Vegas.

So two years ago, I dug 'em out of my closet, got the fabric bits, trinkets and acrylic paints and set to work.  I painted plants and trees that represented the areas I have lived--Joshua Trees for California, Bald Cypress for Louisiana, red Hibiscus for Hawai'i, and Satsuma oranges (on the heels) for Louisiana.  I added glitter, embroidered longhorn embellishments, and two celluloid medallions from a vintage children's western holster set to finish the boots off.  Big ol' curtain tassels from Tuesday Morning add that romantic flair.

While these boots aren't made for walking, they sure look nice on an end table, and they remind me of rodeos in times past!