art

The Mystery Of the Errant Fabric Pin

A blast of an almost forgotten memory hit me as I was re-reading an old Art Doll Quarterly. The events are still so strange to me that I decided to share the story for your Halloween spooky-story month.

This advertisement from Anima Designs popped up to surprise me at how baffled I still am, after all these years. The ad featured one of the sample fabric pins that I made for them using their rubber stamps.

Advertisement from Anima Designs

The mystery happened in the middle of a rubber stamp class that I was teaching at Cloud Nine in Monrovia. Well, let me back up…it really started when Kim from Anima Designs e-mailed me to say that one of the pins that I made was stolen from her last rubber stamp show. It is heartbreaking when that happens in classes or at shows but, as you can guess, it happens a lot. Theft of handmade goods or artwork is so sad that I had to learn not to take it personally. I had to tell myself that it is the price of doing business and let it go.

The class that I was teaching was probably to be my last as I was moving out of state and did not know if I would continue in the same direction. I had mentioned it to my group a couple weeks earlier.

Well, in the middle of class, a student walked in and I thought, “late as usual”. (Lateness is one of my pet peeves and, in a full class especially, it is so not fair to the other students to be interrupted by a late comer. OK, that is a whole other story.)

Dried flowers for fall

But, in walks this regularly pain-in-the-butt student. She surprises me by saying that she is not in the class, but that she wanted to bring me flowers for being one of her favorite teachers and to say that she will miss me. OK, now I’m completely turned around emotionally because I was in a totally negative state at first and then put into a suddenly happily-surprised state. I was just thinking that it was strangely kind of her when she announces, in front of everyone, that she brought something to show me that SHE had made. Yep, you guessed it- it was unmistakably my pin.

It was not the pin in Kim’s ad that you see above, but it was the pin that Kim said had been stolen. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of that pin to show you. But it was unmistakably my pin. You see, I had hand dyed the fabric and all of the trim, so I recognized it immediately. I flipped it over to see my signature on the back, but it had been crossed out with a black Sharpie.

I was shocked and appalled. So now I went from happy state to WTF?! A million thoughts crossed my mind. Should I confront her? Is she crazy to think that I wouldn’t recognize my own handiwork? What is her game? And, finally, is she the one who actually stole the pins or did one of her friends do it and then gift it to her? I don’t understand. All of these thoughts put me in a practically catatonic state as I kept smiling and mumbling about how nice.

I didn’t want to be rude in front of the other students who were all smiling at how nice this lady was for bringing me flowers. What to do, what to do…. In the end, I did what most women my age do when being slapped like that. I did nothing.

Obviously this still bothers me and is wrapped in a bunch of strong emotions. I do realize that it is yet another one of those just-bury-it and let it go things.

Mostly though, I’m posting this because I wondered what others would do in the same situation. What would you have done?

Still perplexed
autumn flower arrangement
art · DIY · Home Decor

My Halloween Living Room Reveal, Part 1

Doesn’t it seem like Halloween, Thanks Giving and then Christmas decorating is too much to do in too small of a window? Or is it just me being lazy? This year, I’m putting out most of my fall and Halloween decorations at the same time regardless of style. That’s right, I’m being crazy and mixing primitive with rustic, with 50s kitsch with modern…well, you get the picture. I am also combining fall with Halloween so that as soon as Halloween is over, I can clear it out and replace just a few things like the runner on the coffee table with a Thanks Giving runner.

You may ask your self, “Why is she doing this if she just wants to be lazy?” The answer is that I still love seeing my little seasonal accessories at least once a year. Unwrapping and playing with the toys is just fun for me. You should see me with the 50’s Christmas music and the peppermint- hot chocolate come time for the Christmas decor. Oh wait! I think that you will. hahaha…I’ll get Les to take a pic this year.

Anyway, on to the before and after pics.

Here is what the living room looked like before all of my Halloween decorating. Our living room is small but so I rearranged the furniture and decorated the whole room. This is the view from the entry. Behind the sofa, you can see two of the doll houses that I’ve been working on. I have nowhere else to put them so they will stay right where they are for this season.
This is the “after” picture. First, I changed out the pillows (of course). The wall behind the sofa has become a Halloween and Fall art gallery. I put links to some of the pics that were free printables in previous posts. The chairs that are now across from the sofa are the two entryway chairs melded together with a folded quilt.
If you are looking for free printable art for your seasonal decor, I’ve put a lot of links in these three posts. They include some of my own paintings that you can print out if you like. https://sandramccall.com/2019/10/17/more-awesome-free-printables-for-your-fall-decor/ and https://sandramccall.com/2019/10/13/where-to-find-the-best-free-halloween-printables/ and https://sandramccall.com/2019/09/10/free-printable-halloween-art/.
You can see Ali patiently waiting for me to leave the room so that she can test drive the coffee table arrangement. Actually, I had a three tiered stand that she promptly knocked over, so I backed it down to two tiers. I’m happy to say that she is now leaving it alone. As soon as Halloween is over, I will replace the skull table runner with a Thanksgiving version.
Two chairs that used to be on the entry wall are now “melded” with a folded quilt and a colorful pillow. Note the cute skull table runner on the coffee table. That will be changed out to a Thanks Giving runner as soon as Halloween is over.
Halloween wall with free printables and other Halloween art
Gallery wall. The skulls that you see just above the black shelf were done by Les. His stuff is so cool.
Halloween prims
I try to wait until the end of season to buy but I could not resist the resin figures from Michael’s and this cute felt garland from World Market this year.
Halloween collectables
My little Witchy lady is a favorite and stays out all year, usually in my art studio
entryway wall
Entryway before Halloween decor. The black console table will e moved over to the concrete wall that you will see in the reveal- part two. The two chairs will be moved directly across from the sofa.
entryway ideas for Halloween decor
And after. The dollhouse shell that you see was on the dining table. I had to move it in preparation for our feasts to come, so it goes here for now. What to do with an elephant in the room? Decorate it!
Fall decor ideas
To make the entry wall look more cozy for fall and winter, I hung a rustic looking coat rack and stuck a woolen scarf on it. A couple of throws tucked into the crate under the little white table adds to the fall effect I think.
Halloween decorations and collectables
The I’m a sucker for cats so this little guy in the yellow clown costume is another favorite collectable
Halloween cats from World Market
Happy Halloween!
art · DIY · Free Printables

More Awesome Free Printables For Your Fall Decor

I WAS going to put links for the free printables that I used in my Fall/Halloween decor this year, but then the post became too long, soooo…. Here are some links that I used this year. Check out my other post on free Halloween printables too. There are some really cool and generous sites out there!

Halloween prints
Pictures waiting to see if they make the cut on the Halloween gallery wall.

Another primitive painting from me to you. Just click on the picture for a download. It is in 8 x 10 at 300 dpi, so that you can enlarge if you have a bigger printer.

Halloween primitive painting by Sandra McCall
Skull sculpture by Les Gains
Les’s little resin skull head sculpture with one of the watercolor Halloween printables.

Just click on the pictures below for the free printables/downloads.

Fall Printable 5
vintage Halloween post card
35 Best Halloween Wallpaper Ideas (27)
35 Best Halloween Wallpaper Ideas (19)
art · DIY · Free Printables

Where to Find the Best free Halloween Printables

Looking for ages through Google just to find a free Halloween printable that suits your taste? Well, let me tell you, I just found out that the best and biggest selection of printables in one place are to be found on the sites that have free downloadable wallpapers for your phone or computer.

Coolest Vintage Halloween Wallpapers R53   2016wallpaperhd.site
Really cool vintage type art on this site. https://www.desktopbackground.org/wallpaper/coolest-vintage-halloween-wallpapers-r53-2016wallpaperhd-site-867282

The wallpaper images for the computer are set as landscape. They are great because you can crop to the size that you want your picture to be. Square? No problem. Oval? No problem. Plus, the art is done in a complete range of styles. Cute to spooky. Cartoony to realistic. Vintage? Yes!

Neato Coolville HALLOWEEN WALLPAPER UP THE HILL TRICK OR TREAT 1600x900
https://wallpapersafari.com/w/nL1GUc

Another plus is that the images are in HD and they are generally large files so you could even take a flash drive to an Office supply store and have pictures printed larger than you own printer’s capabilities.

https://wallpaperaccess.com/full/86465.jpg
image from https://wallpaperaccess.com/halloween
https://wallpaperaccess.com/full/86473.jpg
image from https://wallpaperaccess.com/halloween
https://wallpaperaccess.com/full/86479.jpg
image from https://wallpaperaccess.com/halloween

One caution- the sites say that the files are downloadable for free, but I’m pretty sure that it means for your personal use, so do keep that in mind. The art to be found is so awesome that I cannot imagine that the artists would be happy if we made posters and started selling them. Oooops! But, do check the links in this post if you are looking for Halloween art. You won’t be disappointed.

art · DIY · Free Printables · Home Decor

Free Printable Halloween Art

Fall and Halloween decorations will be combined at my house this year. I wanted to get a jump start since everything holiday-wise always seems to get away from me. I’m going to try to mesh styles as well as holidays this season. I figure that I can mesh Fall/Thanksgiving with Halloween and then I won’t have to use up as much time switching out decor before Christmas. I have Prims, cute collectibles and vintage style pieces that all need to go together.

Collectible Halloween figures

I’ve already torn down the living room to make room for holiday redecorating. Now that the new furniture arrangement is in place, the next step is to add in a few new pieces with the old, so I’m starting with paintings.

Sandra McCall recycles old thrift store canvases into new Halloween paintings
These little primitive paintings started out as thrift store canvas prints. I drew my design right on top of the print and then used acrylic paint to color it in.
Halloween paintings before and after sanding
I sanded my paintings after they were dry. You can do that on your prints if you like. On the canvases, I was surprised that sanding brought out the white of my grease pencil drawings, but I like it.

Click on the pictures below for a download of a larger PDF image. I was torn as to whether to make the printable an 8 x 8 for a standard printer or to make the file larger so that you can resize to whatever you like. In the end, I decided to make the PDF 8x 8, but in a higher resolution.

Primitive painting of Happy Halloween pumpkins by Sandra McCall
Click on this picture for a download of the large PDF picture.
Primitive painting of Halloween Trick or Treat y Sandra McCall
Click on this picture to download a large PDF file. I made the downloadable pics large so that you can then resize to whatever you like or put it on a flash drive and take to your office supply store so that they can then print a large poster.

Further posts will be coming on the holiday redo progress so be sure to check back. 🎃

art · DIY · Home Decor

How to Make a Display cabinet on the CHEAP – $28.00 total

I promise you, this display cabinet only cost us $28.00 from start to finish. Les Gains, my husband, makes things. Lots and lots of little things. If he does not have a guitar in his hands, then you will find him in his studio creating fabulous little treasures.

resin figures sculpted by Les gains

Above is a crowd of funny little guys that Les made with resin. He first sculpts figures out of modeling clay, then he makes molds, then pours resin into the molds. When the resin has set up, Les unmolds them and then paints each figure.   THEN he assembles his elements into really cool little sculptures. As much as I am fascinated by his work, a lot of little things spread all over the house drives me nuts. I like to group small things together to form a larger display unit.

IKEA cabinet

Several years ago, I bought two of these cabinets from IKEA. The photo on the left shows the cabinet with the clear glass door open. Sporting adjustable shelves, it is perfect for small collectibles. Generally, Les works small. Most of his items range in height from 1″ to 9″.
As prolific as he is, the IKEA cabinets were full in no time at all. I needed a larger display shelf that would compliment the style of the old cabinet and our eclectic home decor.
So, off we went on yet another mission. Seeking cheap building materials, Les and I scoured junk yards and thrift stores. We finally found exactly what we needed at Khules, a salvage store in Prescott.
From the salvage yard, we bought a large galvanized utility box. Probably some type of electrical junction box? After finding the box, the rest was easy to assemble.

Knock-off IKEA cabinet


This photo shows the larger, finished box and a close up on the right so that you can see the side detail. It’s easy to make – just follow our step-by-steps listed here.

  1.  (after a thorough cleaning) Drill holes into the sides of the box. You will need two sets of holes on each side of the box for each shelf.
  2. Cut 2 rods for each shelf that extend past the sides of the box. Thread them into the holes cross ways.
  3. Cut plastic shelves to fit inside the cabinet. I also bound the edges with copper tape and used an antiquing solution to age the tape.
  4. Finally, we got little caps to finish off the raw edges of the rods that stuck out of the cabinet sides. The whole assembly only cost only $28.00

Les Gains' art figures
altered art sculptures from Les Gains
altered art by Les Gains

Here are a few of Les’ sculptures. He solders, shapes wire, polymer clay, resin and found objects to make wonderfully detailed figures.

art · My Hometown

Prescott’s McCormick Arts District GONE

art-district-sign

The McCormick arts district in Prescott, AZ is yet another one of our quirky attractions that has vanished. We knew that it was just a matter of time before this happened. Off the beaten path, the funky little bohemian community had a rough time attracting gallery going tourists.

The buildings were tiny and old, old, old. Well, you could reasonably call them dilapidated. OK, and maybe a little hazardous, But with the cute, colorful paint colors, they were COOL. Not to mention that they were all filled to the rafters with unique,  original art and a cool coffee shop.

A lot of the art consisted of murals on the sides and backs of the tiny buildings.

So, flip to the present-why am I writing a blog post about something that no longer exists? It’s because I keep running across my old pictures of the street and remembering how much Les and I enjoyed the walk. We loved checking in to see what was new with the gallery owners. And we love art. This post then, is an ode to a happy destination that once was.

The refurbished little cottages are lovely and I’m sure that the people that bought the homes are living happily ever after. But, for Les and I, this is just one more sad loss for the arts in our town.

art · Travels

Visiting the Palatki Cultural Center

The Palatki Cultural Center is awesome! Les and I are interested in ancient ruins as well as artwork from any period of time. This place is rife with both and is located smack-dab in the middle of some of the most amazing red-rock scenery. It gets a HUGE thumbs up from us. OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let me tell you about our day at the site. (grin)

A gorgeous meadow on the walk from the parking lot to the Cultural visitor’s center where you have to check in.

The very first thing that we learned upon entering the visitor’s center is that we were supposed to call ahead to make reservations. Oooops! After a long, bumpy drive down a dirt road, we could have easily been turned away from the ruins. The reason is that they don’t allow more than 10 people on any given tour. The ledge in front of the dwellings is fairly narrow and really would not comfortably and safely accommodate more than ten. Also, the site can be closed for renovation, rock falls and rain. At times, the walk to the cliff dwelling is closed, so you can only view them from a distance below the cliffs. Continue reading “Visiting the Palatki Cultural Center”