Sunshine in my shadows

Welcome to sunshine in my shadows. This blog is my space to share all the stuff that makes up my every day life. Family, friends, crafts, recipes, books and all the little things that add 'sunshine to my shadows'. We all have a sprinkling of sunshine and an equal sprinkling of shadows in our lives. Hopefully you will find more sunshine than shadows to read about here and on the days when shadows fall, know that the sunshine is peeking just around the corner!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I'm a little bit naughty...

I stopped at a local op shop this morning. I really shouldn't have. I have no excuse.....
These are the treasures that jumped into my arms and said buy me!
Two pretty Royal Vale trios. At ten dollars each I had to bring them home!
Three orphaned plates at $2 each. The gilt trim is a little worn in places but I don't mind if they are a little shabby. They must have been well loved in a former life. I am getting a bit of a collection of orphans together now.
A boxed set of 6 lovely wildflower place mats. These were $6.99 but too pretty to leave behind especially as our current placemats are nearing the end of their lives.
It is always a fatal mistake for me to go anywhere near the book section but I go there anyway LOL. I found this how to crochet book for $2.99. I want to learn how to crochet so I guess I have no excuse now! The book is full of fabulous clear illustrations along with instructions.
Finally for $3.99 I picked up this book about life on the goldfields of Australia for Mr. B. One of his lifelong interests has been gold prospecting/ metal detecting and I thought he might find this interesting.

I did have to leave behind a fabulous not quite complete set of china. I just didn't have enough money to bring it home with me. **sighhhhh  There was a large cake plate, 8 small cake/sandwich plates, 6 saucers and 5 cups. They were embellished with a dainty rose pattern and gilt trim. All for just $10. I'm betting someone will buy the set and sell it for twice that on ebay. I Soooooooo longed to bring it home but I really didn't have the money(no not even $10 ) and am fast running out of room here to store or display things. Despite being a little naughty and comfort spending money I really shouldn't ought to have my found treasures bought joy and sunshine to my day!

wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday trinkets 8 ...

I thought I'd share some fun trinkets today. The box I rummaged through this week contained a variety of jewellery pieces including a menagerie of assorted animal brooches and just plain 'different' brooches. I have a large number of brooches and pins representing almost any animal species you could name and also those representing objects from every day life. They are often cute, interesting and sometimes unusual. They are always FUN!
What could be more fun than ruby red shoes! Take us away Dorothy! These are a modern day brooch but just too cute to resist.
I suspect this charming group of felines is relatively modern too but I loved the look of the pewter, copper and brass together.
This little duck is definately vintage. I'm not sure what era he is from but the plain glass stones suggest earlier than 1940. He has a few scrapes and scratches but is still adorable in my eyes!
This little donkey is a collectable vintage piece by the designer Trifari. He is tiny as well as cute and is not much more than an inch square.
Little Miss Mousie here is also tiny and cute AND her glasses move up and down! How could I possibly resist adding her to my collection?
An unusual pice this brooch consists of a lamp post with a poodle attached by a chain. I'm not sure what era this is from but thought it worth collecting just for novelty value.
Scotty dog pins were very popular in the mid 1930s and I have many scotty dogs in my collection. This lovely fellow is much more recent I suspect.
A beautiful 1950s swan brooch. I have a number of swans in my collection as well, they have such lovely shape. Note the gorgeous Aurora Borealis finish on the rhinestones of this example.

This unicorn was a piece I just had to have! I'm not sure what era he is from but I fell in love with him. The style reminds me somewhat of the Trifari donkey.
Two teddybear brooches. The gold one has articulated arms and legs. I believe these to be modern day pieces.
When I bought this brooch I knew these two kooky looking characters reminded me of someone I had seen before. Eventually it came to me. I believe this is a rendition of Dr. Suess' Thing One and Thing Two! What do you think? I'm guessing they are 1950s or 1960s.
Hope you enjoyed today's trinkets.

wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Monday, June 27, 2011

Shhhhh artist in training...

I'm really getting into this zendoodling thing! I think it will be some time before I could call myself an artist without laughing but I am having fun and I can see with practice I will get better at this. This is my second effort. I didn't stick to the official zentangle size for this. I just began and let it grow.
I do need to buy myself a thicker nibbed pen for colouring in those larger areas. I have also discovered I prefer the softer lines of curvy lines and patterns as opposed to straight lines and geometric patterns.

I must look into trying to copy and print some of my old snowflakes from popular front's snowdays website. I think I could make some fabulous art in this style based on my snowflakes. If you would like to view some of my snowflakes go to the 'find a flake' feature at snowdays, type in ladychiara, Australia and put peace and healing in the message area. That should bring up a few of my flakes. I haven't made any since about 2007. Sadly at the time I was most creative on snowdays I did not have the computer skills to save my art work for myself. They have made many changes over there since and I am not even sure if all the flakes ever made are still online for viewing.
If you would like to see what some other very talented artists have done with their snowflake images please take a look here.

When I first joined snowdays there were many experienced flakers doing amazing things with the program. Many of them have extended their creative talents in the realm of fractals and digital art using programs like Apophysis, Photoshop Pro etc. Many of these wonderful artists were featured on this website.
misterX website offered instructions and assistance to new flakers and old alike. I visited often and to my delight discovered I could make much more artistic snowflakes than I thought possible. It has been some time since I have visited misterX website so I am not sure if the forums are still active, however if you are interested in having a go at flake making on snowdays it is very worthwhile visiting and learning how to do all kinds of things with your flakes. 

After that little side trip down memory lane .......
This is my latest effort at this doodling business. I'm not sure if it's finished yet. Doodling these reminds me of free embroidery. Sometimes it's hard to know when to STOP!

wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Friday, June 24, 2011

Oh what a tangled web ...

I'm probably way behind the eight ball as I usually am on trends, latest ideas, fashions etc. So some of you are sure to have already discovered what I am about to share on this blog post. I recently heard/read the term zentangle and not knowing what it mean't sent me scurrying to google to find out.
My understanding is that the term zentangle is copyrighted and refers to a particular art form as described
Making a zentangle is supposed to be a form of meditation or at the least relaxation. The simplest way of describing the art work is that to me at least it seems to be upscaled doodling. I have read that most work shared online as zentangle's are actually tangles or doodles. Only certified teachers of the zentangle method can properly call their work zentangle's. Somebody feel free to correct me if I have this wrong.

I am sure we can all remember zoning out in class at High School and doodling in the margins of our books etc.After spending a whole afternoon following google links to zentangle tutorials, videos, tangle patterns, zendalas (a mix of mandala and zentangle) and falling in love with the zentangle images on google images I decided of course that I had to give this simple art form a go.

All that was required was good quality art paper, a pencil and a fine tip permanent marker.
The official zentangle site suggests specific tools and equipment but I used an artist sketch pad, a 2B pencil and a 0.4mm tip black marker successfully. Here is my first and rather ordinary result.

Using repetitive patterns is supposed to be relaxing and put your brain into a meditative state. I can see how this would happen with practice. Despite reading that there is no wrong way to zentangle I found my inner critic making herself heard whilst trying to just relax and get on with the process. I haven't given up though and plan to keep practicing. It was a lot of fun and I imagine in time your creative side would discover many new patterns and ways of incorporating them.

If all else fails there are websites and lots of photos online that share patterns and ideas. Some people even colour their art and some of these pieces looked stunning. Do a search for zentangle on utube and you will find a lot of videos to keep you busy for a few hours. I also found a few blogs featuring zentangles and zentangle inspired art. My poor first attempt looks pretty shoddy. I promise if you take a look at some of the links I have listed here you will be blown away by some of the art work.
Have a peek here.
and also here.
OR visit the 'official' zentangle blog here.

Have a go yourself, it's not hard, needs few materials and can take as little or as much time as you like! I know it will bring a little sunshine to your day!

wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Lock Artist...

I picked up a copy of  'The Lock Artist' by Steve Hamilton a few months ago. A new author to me and 'sold' as a crime novel. I found this book to be so much more or perhaps it is just my personal traits and interest in psychology and social issues that gave me a different perspective.

The main character of the book is Michael and he is narrating his story. Michael has had something so traumatic happen to him as a child that he is mute. Michael cannot speak but what he can do is open locks and as he shares his story we discover how this talent comes to dominate his young ,life and leads him to dark places.

I felt like a real voyeur at times watching Michael's life as described by him. The book jumps back and forth to different time's in his young life and Steve Hamilton has done a masterful job of making Michael's character come to life in a believable way. We watch as Michael is led further and further into crime, he meets a girl and falls in love and inevitably ends up in jail.

The story kept me up long into the night longing to read just a little more of Micheal's story. I wanted to know what had happened to him as a child that left him without a voice. I wanted to know what happened with the seemingly doomed relationship with the girl he fell in love with. It is a haunting story, gutsy and gritty. It left me feeling Michael's longing for understanding and of course we do eventually discover what trauma he suffered as a small child. It ties in beautifully with the story and makes many things totally understandable.

I thought the Lock Artist was a very different type of crime story and recommend it as a terrific read.

wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Vintage roses ...

When I bought my pretend Ugg boots at the op shop earlier this week I spied several other vintage pretties that I wanted to bring home with me. Alas no 'mad' money is to be had this week so I had to sigh deeply and leave them there.

Yesterday I took my ex mother in law in to the op shop to look at a lampshade we thought might be suitable for her standard lamp. The lampshade wasn't to her taste so we browsed for a few minutes and she found some books to buy. I showed her one of the lovelies I had seen the day before and she said she would buy it for me! Yayyyyy for my lovely ex mother in law.
The item in question was a gorgeous vintage sheet.
Although I have a love of most things vintage I have never even looked at vintage sheets before. The lovely rose pattern on this one jumped out at me. I wanted it immediately. Now I just have to decide exactly what to do with it. So far three options come to mind.
  1. Keep it as is and use it on a bed in the spare room matched with a plain white sheet. Alas it is only a single bed size.
  2. Keep it whole and use as backing for a quilt
  3. Cut it up and make cushions out of it. If i choose this option do I just use this fabric and get fancy with piping or ruffles or do I seek out matching/complementary fabrics and make some patchwork?
What would you do?

Since my ex mother in law paid for the lovely sheet I scrounged enough change from my purse to buy two other items that had caught my eye.

I found a pair of lovely white pillow cases for just $2.99. They are machine embroidered but wonderful quality and oh so white!

The other item was this adorable doiley/tray cloth.
At first glance I thought this was hand embroidered, in fact some of it does look hand embroidered and yet some of it is definately machine embroidered. For $1.99 I don't care and besides it is pretty.
Look at this sweet little bird. I love the vintage colours.

wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Baby it's cold outside...

Winter has really found us here this week. I'm not sure if it's due to my recent weight loss efforts but I have been freezing my butt off! I'm usually the crazy woman in short sleeves when everybody else is wrapped up in a beanie, coat and gloves.
Mr B and I wandered outside in the freezing cold pre dawn hours hoping to see the lunar eclipse this morning. Alas we couldn't see it. I crawled back into bed and my electric blanket whilst he bravely went off to work for the day.

We have an old fashioned wood stove here that is used for cooking and warming the house. A job it does admirably but it takes a little time to rebuild the fire each morning and get the temperature back up again. Thank goodness for the back up heating system.
The only thing that could be better about my lovely stove is having a glass door so I could sit and watch the flames!
Here is a shot with the door open. Don't you feel warmer already?
I'm a bit like a bear on really cold days. All I want to do is curl up inside where it's warm and relax with a good book.
(My current read, a jolly good read btw)
Indoors I usually have bare feet or slippers when it's really cold. I actually bought myself a new pair of slippers at the op shop today. They look brand new and unworn! I'm not usually big on second hand shoes but these were a bargain at $8.00 and did I mention they looked WARM!
So unusual for me to buy something I actually NEED at the op shop too.
They aren't real ugg boots of course, just acrylic fleece lined boots but they will do me for now.

Other essentials for a cold day inside include coffee ...or the beverage of your choice.
I pinched this pic from google images. I like a little cinnamon in my coffee.
Something yummy to snack on. Chocolate would usually be my first choice but today I actually had an apple strudel scone.
**photo courtesy of Bakers Delight.
What do you do when it's cold outside? Do you delight in all things Winter or are you like me and just want to curl up inside until Spring?
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday trinkets 7...

Whilst rummaging through my storage boxes to find some trinkets to share today I found a shoebox full of old bangles. Most of them are plastic but there are a couple of special one as well. I have more of these somewhere but the box full I found today are more than plenty for one post.
Lets take a closer look ....
I think most of the bangles in this photo are from the 1950s and 1960s based on the colours and the type of plastic they are made from but I am not really sure. I bought some of these individually and some came in a bulk box of jewellery I purchased on ebay several years ago.
This beautiful pale pink bangle is made from glass and is faceted all around the outside and smooth on the inside. This one may possibly be much older.

My photograph doesn't do justice to this interesting bangle. I am not sure of it's age but was told it is carved and polished from a natural stone .(the name of which escapes me) It came from the USA and I was told jewellery of this type is made by Native American's and sold to tourists. It has beautiful browns and greens in it's patterns which do not show up well in the photograph.
An interesting bunch of various types of plastic in this photo. I believe the ages of these bangles varies from as far back as the 1930s to much more modern times.
These three amber/butterscotch coloured bangles are all made of glass and date from the early 1900s.
They feel wonderfully smooth to touch and are much prettier than my photograph shows.
I have no idea of the age of these three plastic bangles but they make a nice addition to my collection.
I am not sure what era these pretty tutti fruitti coloured plastic bangles come from but aren't they fabulous? The colours look like they would be from the 1950s or 1960s but the plastic looks like an older plastic so I am not sure. They are a wonderfully shaped on the outside as you can see.
I keep these bangles in this adorable vintage shoebox. I received a jewellery shipment in it some years ago. Sadly the box had been repurposed before and had damage where sticky tape had been removed. I could have cried when I saw the damage. It is such a beautiful old box! I hope you enjoyed today's trinkets. I certainly enjoyed going through the box and enjoying them all over again.
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sometimes it's just mean't to be yours ....

I posted last week about my op shop finds and mentioned that I had something very special that I would share in a later post. I visited my local op shop a few weeks ago and as always I went up to their locked glass cabinet where they tend to keep the more 'expensive' treasures like fine china, jewellery etc. They had a gorgeous cut glass, lidded candy dish but wanted $25 for it. (I'm not sure if it's glass or do you tell the difference?) I briefly thought it was a little bit expensive but was very lovely. I looked at it longingly and walked away.

The next time I popped in the candy dish was still there but I still balked at paying $25 and I didn't have $25 to spare really so in the locked cabinet it stayed!

Last week when I went again the candy dish was still there and I mentioned to the saleslady that they still had 'my' candy dish. I said that I couldn't afford it and she said "Oh I'll just check, I think it has a purple tag on it today". Purple tags were half price for that day and lo and behold it was half price (imagine me squealing with delight inside my head at this stage) For a mere $12.50 I couldn't leave it there could I ? I decided it was mean't to be mine.  My photo doesn't do it justice. It stands about 11 inches tall to the top of the pointy thing on the lid and about 10 inches around. It has three feet. I'm making the assumption it's a candy dish, I can't imagine what else this type of container would have been used for.
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday trinkets 6...

A few old earrings to share today. If my trinkets posts seem a bit random it's because they are! A lot of my vintage jewellery collection is packed away in boxes and I'm just sharing bits and pieces as I come across them. Apologies for the poor photographs today. The weather and the light were against me.
I believe these lovely aquamarine blue glass beauties to be from the early 1900s. My best guess would be around 1920. The glass is faceted all over and the claws holding the stones in place are beautifully decorative. Hard to see in the photograph but they suggest these were quality jewellery in their day. They are clip ons.

Earrings have come and gone in fashion depending on the clothing and hairstyles of the day. They were out of favour at times when women's ears were covered either by bonnets or their hair and came back into fashion when hairstyles changed and hair was pulled back off the face and neck.
These clip ons are probably from around the same era. It isn't clear in the photo but the centre's are surrounded by clear rhinestones.
This style made from plastic is likely from the 1950s and was probably made in Japan. Similar styles were found earlier than the 1950s and some were made by highly collectable designers. Cheap copies such as these abound. I have large numbers myself and whilst they may not have any monetary value I love having them for the pure joy of looking at them. They really are so very pretty!
A lovely example of Aurora Borealis coated rhinestones. 1950s clip ons.
A pretty pale green lucite pair of clip ons from the 1950s.(my best guess) This pair is marked Lisner. Lisner were a New York jewellery company and the Lisner mark was first used in the early 1930s. Lisner became very popular in the 1950s and their higher end of the market jewellery can be quite collectible. Lisner made some beautiful diamante pieces and a google image search will find you some of their better pieces if you are interested in taking a peep.
 I'm not sure when these pretty glass clip ons date from. The pastels suggest the 1950s but the clips on the back suggest they are much older. The glass is faceted and unadorned by the aurora borealis frequently added in the 1950s. They are claw set and well made.
Well that's all for today's trinkets.

wishing you sunshine in your shadows