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Christmas

Second Helpings: Etched and Painted Wine Bottles

By Second Helpings

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This Second Helpings project is a combination of two mediums I’ve talked about in past posts — acid etch for glass, and porcelaine paint for use on dishes.

There is a Pebeo paint which is made especially for glass and it does not need to be fired in the oven, however if you are planning to use it on glassware you intend to drink out of and wash and use again I would recommend you take the extra step to ensure its permanence.

The Pebeo paint for glass is called Pebeo Vitrea 160 and it is also water based and comes in both opaque and transparent colors.

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For this project I etched the glass first. On the lighter green bottle with the round ornaments I just painted the acid etch in swooshes leaving lots of untouched bottle for painting the ornaments later.

On the darker green bottle I cut out squares of plastic contact paper in the shapes of presents and stuck them to the bottle. I then covered the entire bottle with the acid etch cream and let it do its work. When I rinsed it off there were present shaped “windows” where the contact paper had been and I painted presents in some, but not all, of those spaces.

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There are lots of cool things to do with the finished bottles. You can simply admire your handiwork with the sun coming through them. You can put in various spouts and use them for oil and vinegar, or dishwashing liquid. You can turn them into oil lamps with kits available at craft or candle stores. Or you can add little candelabra inserts like this one, which was a gift to me.

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Now if only Hans Christian Anderson had had a little more imagination he might have introduced the Little Match Girl to a nice Wino and together they might have come up with something more festive, like this….

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Cheers!

Four Favorite Books for December

By Four Favorite Books

Picking Favorites isn’t easy! I thought I knew which books I was going to choose a month ago but now that I’m actually composing my post I’ve completely changed my mind. The fiction in particular was difficult because the book I thought I wanted to suggest was just too dark. It had a definite December orientation, but there was too much bitter with the sweet. So, I have a different book which has more sweet than bitter. Let’s start with it:

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A lanky redheaded magician with a crinkly smile named Adam, and his talking dog Mopsy, travel to the walled city of Mageia in order to apply to the Guild of Master Magicians. There’s just one problem. Adam is truly Magic and that causes the other magicians to be jealous and fearful and to rise up against him in a murderous riot. What ever happened to peace, love, community and collaboration? Anybody?

The Man Who Was Magic, by Paul Gallico, was written for young adults, though I would extend to it the “children of all ages” categorization. It was written in 1966 and unfortunately it is now out of print. My friend Allison tracked down this used library edition for me (a First Edition, well loved). Yeah, she’s a little magic too. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s available on Kindle though, or you might find it at your local Library!

This book is sweet, sentimental, and even while reading the worrisome parts you know how it will all turn out. That may make me a sap for liking it. So be it. It’s any easy “Feel Good” on a wintery afternoon.

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My favorite book of Interior Design is Calder at Home, The Joyous Environment of Alexander Calder by Pedro E. Guerrero, published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang in 1998.

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The author first met the Calders in 1963 when Alexander Calder was 64 and Guerrero was assigned to photograph the Calder kitchen for a House & Garden article. The Calder’s house wasn’t exactly the sort of house the magazine was at all used to showing. Maybe not exactly H&G’s cup of tea, but for Guerrero it was “complete happiness and heart-stopping clutter.”

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One of the many reasons I love this book is because it shows not only the interweaving of art-making and home-making which I am so keen on, but you can also see so clearly what a wonderful pair Alexander and Louisa were and how they inspired each other.

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My favorite Art book is really just a bit of Christmas fluff. It is Greetings from Andy (Warhol) – Christmas at Tiffany’s, by John Loring, published by Harry N. Abrams, INC. in 2004.

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I’ve always preferred Warhol’s early advertising artwork from the 1950’s to his later work. What I didn’t know was his process. He liked to create the look of a print by doing a wet offset image with lots of ink splotches and then pressing two sheets of paper together. Later he would tip in watercolor loosely, purposely not worrying about staying inside the lines to give it a childlike feel.

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And finally, my favorite cookbook(s) for December are two tiny books inscribed from my mom to my Gramma Dottie: To Mother, Christmas, 1954.
They are Holiday Punches, Party Bowls and Soft Drinks, and The Holiday Cookbook, both published by Peter Pauper Press in 1953 and 1950, respectively.

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I’m actually having a cup of Hot Mulled Cider as I write this. It’s a little recipe from the Holiday Punches book, just cider, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Very nice as it is currently 21 degrees and partly cloudy according to my weather app. Might as well enjoy it!

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I hope you take some time to enjoy a cup of something hot and sweet and a good book or two this month as well. My horoscope keeps reminding me this is the time of year to slow down. My guess is that would be a good idea for everyone!

Jolly Man’s Trusty Krewe

By Holidaze

We all know Santa wouldn’t get anywhere without his trusty reindeer and so it goes without saying my Jolly Man has his own Krewe as well….

There’s Orangina:
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and Frida:
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Carl Jung:
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and Brownie:
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King Tut:
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and Camille, who always has a bit of a cough:
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Here’s hoping your Holiday Spirit has as happy a lift off!

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Art you glad it’s December!

By Holidaze

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I am a visual learner and I’m an artist. I see things in my mind first and then “create” them in the material world — that’s what we artists do. But I also see things in the world around me which I haven’t created or seen in my mind first and those things bring out emotions or ideas which lead to new “creations.”

All of which is a very convoluted, philosophical way of saying that the absolutely quickest way for me to get into the holiday spirit is to bring on the visuals: trees, ornaments, lights…ACTION!

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Being in the holiday spirit is in itself a convoluted and philosophical topic. One which I will leave to others, and will instead touch on only in regard to making fun stuff to decorate with during the Winter Hoo-rahs.

You know “I Paint Everything!” — so when I find something which is actually supposed to be painted my inclination is to do it differently from the standard expectation. Make it mine.

This papier mache Santa is right at home with all my painted patterns, and he looks quite a bit like a much taller jolly man who lives here year round. I’d say I made him mine.

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Now he’s a regular part of my Winter decorating and every December he helps me get into the holiday spirit so I can make more fun stuff and enjoy the season. More of my “creations” in the days ahead, but for now…HOO-RAH!

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Coloring Inside the Lines

By My Artist Home

Finally!

I finished painting the rug on floor of the dining room, (Woot woot!! Toot horns and dance jigs!)…

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And then immediately moved in everything, including the Christmas tree, the minute the sealer was cured enough to walk on.

It went pretty much like this:

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The dining room was the last in this batch of rearranging I’ve been working on since Logan moved into Supported Living, and Mike and I reclaimed the whole house and emphasized its function as studio space. I still have refining and reorganizing to do here and there, especially in my painting and paper studios, but overall I’m done, and it feels great.

And now I’m going to go have dinner in my new cozy dining room by the light of our faithful old Christmas tree.

I said it feels great? What was I thinking? It feels AWESOME!