What’s with the French and 1 April, the day when school children go around pasting paper fish on the backs of the unsuspecting and yell “Poisson d’avril !”. No one knows for sure but there are plenty of adorable, probably not-entirely true theories behind the tradition.
One comes from the fact that back in the day the new year began around the first of April. That changed in 1564 when King Charles IX took France into the modern world by adopting the Gregorian calendar and a new year beginning with January. This caused understandable confusion and frustration. (Think about it. As it is, Daylight Savings Time throws me off for weeks. Imagine shifting a whole season.) The response was to jokingly continue to celebrate the beginning of the new year on 1 April with gag gifts of fake fish.
Okay, but why fish? It may have been connected to Lent which often fell about this time of year. Meat was forbidden and fish was a big treat, ergo giving someone a fake fish was hilarious. (Don’t ask me, I don’t understand pranks at the best of times.) It is more likely to be linked to the fact that fishing [read more]
These altered postcards are one of a kind miniatures. Each postcard dates from the early 1900s (circa 1902) and has that beautiful, old-world handwritten script. The birds are from an old Swiss field guide to birds, 1912. Each one has been hand-cut and added to the post card, then altered with charcoal and graphite for maximum pop. Each card measures 13cm x 7.5cm (5″ x 3″), and will come on a card that is from a 1920s French post card scrapbook. It is not fixed and can be removed and framed, if wished. Cost is £27 GBP with free worldwide shipping. To buy use the Buy It Now button UNDERNEATH the image that you want to purchase. If there any problems, please contact me by email.
Click on any image for a larger view:
One of the questions I am asked the most often is where do I get my bird images. Well, I do actively search them out and then some just find me but yes, I have a lot of birds. So here are a few to share and add to your collage, art journals, altered books, or other mixed media work. To use these, click on an image for a larger resolution, then right click and copy. You can then add it to an editing program such as Paint. (I use Word. Even though it is not a visual platform per se, I am used to it.) You may want to resize these, make them larger or smaller. Happy Making!
At last! After almost three months I have finished my latest altered book. Using a combination of collage techniques, art journal ideas, and pockets – lots of pockets – I have created a new, old, one-of-kind art piece.
To see a larger version of any of the photos, just click on any image below.
This book is for sale at £235. If you would like to buy this piece, just use the PayPal button below. If you would like to divide up the payments, please send me an email and we can work something out!
And if you still want to see more, here is a flip [read more]
Recently I made an altered book layout using mix-and-match, contrasting backgrounds for a sort of torn wallpaper look. (The video is below.) You can use the techniques shown – rough tearing papers and layering them – using any papers that you have such as sheet music, varied text, junk mail, magazine pages, and almost anything in between.
But if anyone would like to have these images, which are from Goldsmith’s Animated Nature, the 1876 edition, either for a similar background or any other project, I have added these high-res scans for you to use. Simply click on any image to get a larger version, then right click and copy the image into an editing program such as Paint. (I use Word. While it is not traditionally used for photo editing, it works for me and I am used to it.) Please note, you may want to resize this and make the page and images smaller. [read more]
Growing up on a farm on a dirt road in Mississippi I dreamed of travel, of one day living someplace far away and glamourous. Like Swansea. Okay, maybe not glamourous in the sexy sense of the word but in the sense that it is unfamiliar and offers endless opportunities for discovery. This is in itself a kind of enchantment.
For me, a trip to Swansea Market is a strange delight. Fishmongers! Of course you can get fresh fish in America but until I moved here I had never seen honest-to-gosh stalls devoted to nothing but fresh, shiny seafood. Pig’s trotters! You know what you just do not see in America? Severed pig’s feet piled in a cardboard box and skinned porcine carcasses on a pallet. Gruesome, yes, but fascinating and a deeply important reminder that our food comes from a living source, not some sterile styrofoam factory. Oops, my proofreader (otherwise known as my husband) says that we say “polystyrene” here.
Well, there you go. Hubby is a nice boy from Manchester. We’ve been together for ten years and after all this time we still find differences in our so-called common language. For instance, did you know that in [read more]
I love to travel and I love to keep journals, so whether it is Paris or Mississippi, Italy or North Carolina, I always keep an illustrated travel diary. Well, none of us are going anywhere for awhile but we can still use this time to explore other places and work in our sketchbook travel diaries, which is why I am delighted that Sketching Spain has asked to me to help get out the word about their virtual travel adventure art courses.
Normally, Sketching Spain hosts in-person tours but there’s nothing normal about now so they came up with two online courses to fuel your imagination and wanderlust as well as really up your travel and journal game. Your instructors are Danny, who introduces you to the culture, food, wine, and history of Barcelona while Judith shows a wide variety of techniques for filling your art journal even if you are an absolute beginner.
They also offer All About Vino, a crash course on Spanish wines and art classes that guide you in creating a hybrid illustrated travel/wine sketchbook.
To find out more, click on this link to go to Sketching Spain: Barcelona. Or [read more]
This is a mother-of-pearl rosary from France. It has silver bead caps on the Pater beads. The Christ figure on the crucifix is also silver. This is an old piece, from the 1890s. White rosaries like this were often given as gifts for a first communion or on a wedding day. While this, of course, makes a unique and lovely devotional object, it is also makes a lovely piece for someone who just loves old French antiques, and it can also be worn as a necklace. Please note, there is tiny nick (chip) in the MOP in the crucifix. It is not noticeable and in fact I bought it without noticing it but it is there.
It measures 18″ (45cm) and the crucifix alone measures 1.5″ (4cm). To see larger images just click on any photo below.
Comes with a vintage French postcard of an old-timey nun circa 1910s and a vintage French tin as a presentation box. Please note that tin is distressed but that is meant to be part of its charm. If you prefer something a little less eccentric, I can switch it out for one of my hand, faux-rusted tins that you can see in my other listings [read more]
This is an outstanding piece. A vintage French rosary (1910s). The beads are multi-faceted crystal in a pale blue. The fittings are silver and include a lovely art nouveau link piece (see photos). The crucifix has two hallmarks on the bale. An unusual feature of this rosary is that it has 12 miniature silver medals (one for each station of the cross); on one side is the face of Mary and on the other is the face of Jesus. The six linking beads have silver, filigree caps.
While these are gorgeous devotional objects, they can also be enjoyed as a piece of vintage French ephemera and worn as a necklace.
It measures 21″ (53cm). To see a larger image, click on any photo below.
Cost is £135 with free worldwide shipping. Click on button below to buy instantly. Go here for a currency converter that will show the price in your currency. Please let me know if you have any [read more]
The Girl’s Own Paper was a periodical published in Britain from 1880 until 1956. I really enjoy the older versions for their plates and engravings that I use a lot in my altered books and art journals. They also have some writing that is as ridiculous as it is humourless: sanctimonious advice to young women about the quality of the verses, suggestions for becoming lace menders or lady’s maids, and serialised stories that were meant to be uplifting but today seem terrifying in their narrow expectation for the female half of the species.
Here are a few plates for you. Click on any image for a larger version then right click, copy, and put into an editing program. Paint is a good one although I also use Word (because I am used to it). Below is a video flipthrough of some of the prettier (and cheesier) selections from the book. Let me know if you have any questions and please get back to me and let me know what you [read more]