Recently, I was contacted to ask if I could make some miniature pies with pie birds for a lovely lady who collects life-sized pie birds! Of course, the answer was yes! I did a little research on the history of pie birds (also known as pie vents/whistles/funnels/chimneys) before I got started, and I learned that they originated in Victorian times to help prevent the pie filling from boiling over in the cooking process.
So why a bird-shaped vent, you ask? Historians think that the earlier ceramic funnel form that vented steam eventually evolved into a decorative bird shape in reference to the nursery rhyme, “Sing a Song of Sixpence.” Remember the phrase “four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie”?
Anyhow, I had a wonderful time creating these wee little pies with pie birds, and I’m so thrilled to know they will be enjoyed as part of a fabulous collection of life-sized pie birds!
To be fair, it’s hard to say “Hello, fall” when it’s still in the 90s, but hey, a girl can dream! I set up this fun little autumn scene to photograph my latest fall garden flags, and I love how it turned out.
One of my favorite details is the pair of muddy boots! To create those, I dabbed brown and black acrylic paint on the bottoms with a Q-tip, and before it dried completely, I sprinkled a little model railroad soil on to look like caked on dirt from a day well spent mucking around in the yard.
I also made all of the flowers and the fallen leaves. I used alcohol markers on Japanese crepe paper to get the mottled, multicolor look for the leaves, and I think it worked out really well!
I’ve been wanting to make a little farmhouse-inspired Halloween hutch for my kitchen, so this past week I took to Pinterest for some ideas and immediately fell in love with the idea of creating some Rae Dunn-style ceramics for the shelves.
After painting the hutch black over crackle medium and distressing it, I found some black and white striped scrapbook paper to put behind the shelves.
Next, I printed all of the Halloween-themed decals on waterslide decal paper and applied them to an assortment of plates, bowls, tea cups and a tea pot.
The little ghost garland was also really fun to make and incredibly easy – all I did was string beads on a length of sparkly thread with a needle. For the ghosts, I took faux pearl beads and cut out a little square of white cotton fabric. I applied a bit of tacky glue to the fabric, placed the pearl bead in the center of the square and gathered the edges together so it took on a ghost shape.
Once the glue dried, I painted on the eyes and mouth with black acrylic paint using a small ball stylus. Then, because I used a pearl bead underneath, I was able to string them onto the garland with the needle. Easy, right?
So, since I love how this turned out, I think I’ll be making similar ones for Thanksgiving and Christmas… stay tuned!
PS – In case you’re wondering, that adorable hand-painted cat is by the talented Karry Johnson!
With the 4th of July coming up next month, I thought I’d try my hand at building a little ramshackle roadside fireworks stand from scratch! I built the entire stand from foamcore and textured it with steel brushes to resemble wood.
I searched for vintage fireworks images and found a ton of great old posters, which I affixed to the front and sides of the stand, as well as old packaging that I was able to print out and turn into bottle rockets, sparklers and fountains. For the little smoke bombs, I painted wooden beads black and glued white embroidery thread in the hole on top for the wick.
To make the lit sparklers, I use a pom-pom making method with silver tinsel for the tops and then glued the sparkler to a piece of white floral wire.
To make the flags and bunting, I printed the images on inkjet printer fabric. For the flags, I cut them out and folded them in half around a trimmed and sanded toothpick and then glued them. I aged the edges with a Tim Holtz ink pad. For the bunting, I glued the half circles together at the tops and then sewed across the length of the bunting, pulling the thread taut to create the bunched effect. I then took a piece of red ribbon and glued that across the top to cover up the stitches.
To fill out the stand, I also printed out little patriotic top hats, pinwheels, a bird house and Cracker Jack boxes. I thought they brought a little nostalgia to the overall look of the stand.
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