Sunday, October 26, 2008

Busy-ness and Buttons

I am tired with the pleasant kind of tiredness that comes of a week of steady hard work. After well over a year I am just beginning to feel as though I am getting back to my previous level of productivity. The trick now is to gently maintain this momentum without over-doing it.

I launched over 100 auctions tonight, and hopefully ending them Sunday will be a good strategy, perhaps my US customers will be browsing eBay as a little break from last-minute pre-election coverage, as we approach the final "all election, all the time" coverage. Our Canadian election was a mere blip in comparison. I loved Jon Stewart's coverage of it! I much preferred it to Canadian Network coverage!

Despite the elections, the grim economic news and all the other occasional gloom's of everyday life, eBay does provide a few surprises now and then. I was watching this quite rare Pierre Imans wax display head.

I was thinking I might possibly put in a little bid. I don't need another wax head, but lately they seem to be going quite reasonably, compared to the past. However I forgot to bid. Just as well! Obviously I have exceptionally good taste....this one closed at..... $1, 614. 01. Do you think that penny did it? I believe my Emilie is an Imans as well. I paid a ridiculous amount of money for her but I have never regretted it for a moment. I thinks she is remarkable!

I attended an estate auction sale on Monday and bought a large quantity of antique and vintage buttons. It was the estate of a collector, and there were thousands and thousands of buttons. I had spent several hours examining then at the preview the previous week, so I had a good idea of what I wanted and what I was willing to pay. Sometimes it's difficult to stick to your limit at a sale, but it's SO's ruinous to get caught up in "auction fever". (I knew someone once who had a weakness for this, she would bid far beyond what an item was worth ...and what she could afford, especially for resale... out of a determination to "win", to the point where she had to stop going to auctions entirely.) I was careful to stick to my limits, and while I didn't get everything I wanted, I was pleased to get some great lots at good prices.

There were several high-profile (meaning: a much bigger budget than me!) button dealers present, from the US and Canada, as well as numerous collectors, which meant I was outbid on most of the earlier buttons, but I did quite well, obtaining the 20th century ones I wanted.
A large box of Bakelite and Lucite buttons, there were some yummy ones in here. I still have to clean them which takes a bit of time, but makes them SO beautiful! I also got a big box of 1940s colorful plastic buttons, and a box of 1940's "Goofy" realistic buttons. I was happy to get these antique Japanese Satsumas and hand painted porcelain studs.
No luck on these exquisite enamel buttons, I'm sure whoever got them is very happy!

No luck on these ones either! Oh well!

I got this BIG box of diminutives, charming tiny glass buttons c.1910-1920, from Czechoslovakia. Wonderful for dollmakers. These will be fun to sell.

I very much liked, but didn't bid on these wonderful buckles. Wouldn't they make extraordinary clasps for art necklaces or bracelets?

The first lot sold, these antique Grisaille buttons sold for $345.
Charming, delightful vintage dime sized "Brooks" buttons, handpainted in England in the 1940's. This card of 50 buttons went for approximately $700! Holy Guacamole...I didn't see that one coming. Glad I didn't have my heart set on these ones.

I'll be attending another auction on Tuesday, there are some delectable things there (I pre-previewed it on Friday, they let me have an early peek). Lots of the sorts of things I, lace, linens, more buttons... I can't wait. You would think after approximately 40 years of attending auctions (Yes, Mom started taking me when I was 8!), I would be tired of them. But I never do get tired of them. I get tired AT them, but I still love to go to a good one!

Here's a little Shakespearean humour to end the week:
Elizabethan Homies:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Work

Corset Rings

The spiral laced one in the top center was tricksy as the holes have to be uneven for the spiral lacing to line up. There are very few people in the world who would notice or care about this!

Flying Moon Girl

Fine Silver, carved bone from Bali, vintage pearls, pink freshwater pearls, pink cubic zirconia.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Mish Mash of Stuff

Sorry for a week of silence...I was exceptionally tired and busy all week. I'm perking up now, but I certainly dragged my butt around for a few days! This short post will feature no thematic coherence, just some random burbling. You have been warned.

This blog features some entertaining Hallowe'en cakes...this one is my favorite. Some of them are not quite, um, appetizing!

This one would go very well with my very swanky new Dias de los Muertos jammies, covered with calaveras de azĂșcar! (Cake? or Death?)

Anthropologie has such a pretty website! I'm looking forward to a good browse when we're in Miami. I wish they had a store in Canada. These ridiculously expensive boots keep calling my name. NO! I do not need you, boots. I can only wear warm, clunky, snow-and-salt-proof Canadian winter boots. Leave me alone!

Fall has certainly settled in...we had a brief show here of glorious color, but the wind has taken most of it and the cat is driven wild by all the blowing leaves. She really wants to come outside with me but is quite disgusted by how cold it is, and is quite uninhibited about letting me know. she definitely has a Siamese ancestor or two. She is exceedingly vigilant where possible mouses are concerned:

We had some heavenly WARM weather last weekend, though, so I spent hours outside taking ebay pictures. This cicada dropped by for a visit, there were several buzzing in the big pine tree, deluded into thinking it was summer again. This one was quite calm, with a face that reminded me of a pug dog! It started to get a little TOO friendly and we had to part. Big bug in the hand: ok, big bug walking up my arm: not so much.

Alison Bechdel's new book should be in stores for Christmas, we might get our copy a bit earlier due to the Daily Distress contribution. It will be great to have all her cartoons in one volume. I love the color cover on this one! And incidentally, AB has truly beautiful hands. I'm just sayin'...

I finished a number of metal clay pieces this weekend. I'm pleased with one pendant, and I'm also pleased that as I continue to make the corset rings they are growing more refined, without losing their essential "handmade-ness".

Monday, October 13, 2008


I'm thankful for so much. For friendship and love. For family. I'm thankful that I'm able to do work I love.

I'm thankful to live in Canada.

I'm thankful for health which is better than it was last Thanksgiving.

I'm thankful for pie!

I'm thankful I can post to this blog even though my head is foggy with exhaustion! It might be time for more pie...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dancing Queens

I think there was an unwritten law in the 1960s requiring female children to take dance classes. Ballet, tap, jazz, Modern, Irish dance, Highland dance...depending on your location you may have been subjected to one or all of these. Sometimes baton twirling was added in for good measure. I speculate that for most of us the classes left no lasting sense of rhythm or any memory of the steps beyind first and second position...but they did leave me with an enduring appreciation for sequins and glitter.

They also generally left us with amusing and/or embarassing photos!

Exhibit A: Mitchellina Ballerina, in a enviable rainbow tutu (note the highly desirable sequin trim!) and beautifully posed studio portrait. Appears to be calculating the apsect ratio of something.

Exhibit B: Yours truly, and my sister Er c.1968. She was taking tap lessons and her recital dance was to the song "Alley Cat", which our entire family became very familiar with. The class was so adorable when they came out on the stage that they could have simply stood there without dancing and still received applause. I am not sure why they had cream puffs on their heads instead of cat ears, perhaps the puffs were considered more versatile for future perfomances.
Exhibit C: Me again, displaying the attitudinal result of too many familial requests for dances and a rather un-ethereal pose. What cracks me up every time I look at this is the black running shoes. SO dainty! I really didn't want to be a ballerina. I wanted to be a horse.
Exhibit D: This would ideally be a picture of So in Irish dance costume, but 1/ I don't have said picture in my custody, and 2/ posting it would cause domestic strife. Use your imagination. So wanted to be a soldier.

Belly dance classes for kids were unheard-of in 1960's Ontario, though now there are usually a handful of kids in the larger workshops I attend. They seem to be having a good time. Not only do they get sequins, they get coins, beads and fringe too!! Lets hope they get a kick out of their pictures in 30 years or so...and still remember how to shimmy!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Studio Tour

What a fun weekend it was! Veronica came down from Cobourg to assist me, which made everything run smoothly. We had two days of perfect Canadian fall weather, sunny and dry, (though it promptly clouded over and got cold when we headed off on a beach walk before dinner on Sunday!)Veronica took all of the following photos with her great new camera.

Welcoming flowers just outside the studio. Note the pink spray paint on the driveway, from spraying a lamp...not quite enough newspaper on a windy day! Thankfully So is quite indifferent to these little mishaps!
This workbench was my dad's for as far back as I could remember. He made it himself, the drawers were rescued old library file drawers. It was not pink then, of course, it was a battered and manly battleship grey with numerous paint spatters, gouges, grease spots and battle scars. I am so glad my mom persuaded me to take it when she sold the house last year. Dad would get a chuckle over the pink paint makeover...but I know he would be glad to see me using it.
The Wall of Fruit. The giant 1970s plastic fruit fridge magnets on my fan hood were a big hit. People kept asking if I had made them. Heheh.
I did bead demos all weekend. Fish and flowers, fish and flowers. For a change, hollow fish. Plunged flowers were the most requested demo. The most frequently asked questions:
1-How did you get interested in making beads?
2-Do you teach?
3-How long have you been doing this?
4-How did you get the flower in there? (I just showed you!)
Beads and jewelry displayed for sale. The big black thing is a vintage lampshade I covered with fabulous sassy black feathers left over from a corset project.
More beads and odds and ends on the workbench, providing inspiration.

The lampworking setup. The hood has been raised so I could talk to people, usually it's much lower. We forgot to get a photo of the jewelry-making table.
Velvet lined shadowbox (a yard sale find), with some of my bead collection and some vintage things
Part of the Wall of Virgins, visitors had mixed (and intriguing) reactions to this.

All in all I feel it was quite a successful weekend. We had a lot of people come out, which was great considering it was my first time on the tour and we are located a fair ways outside of town. And I sold far, far more than I had anticipated which was also quite a pleasant surprise. Our dinner on Saturday night was so much fun, with some guests providing plenty of laughter and great company.
On Monday Veronica and I went across the Bluewater Bridge for a day in the US. We raided the large craft supply store there for some items we each want to experiment with, and we were quite restrained in our buying, tempting as the fibres and fabrics and metals and papers were! (Yarn...I could so easily become a "yarn harlot"!! Silk and alpaca...cashmere...roving...)
Now it's back to eBay for a while, and focusing on remaining positive through the Canadian election, the US election and the financial crisis. These are interesting times.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dolly Arm Pendants

Antique porcelain doll arms dug out of a ruined doll factory in Germany, with riveted fine silver collars, agate, pearls, fluorite, my lampwork glass flowers and eggs. About 1 1/4" long.