Sometimes, your answer LITERALLY falls from the sky!

Remember my ‘Yard Debris Wreaths’ from a while back?

I had added the nests and birds ‘as a finishing touch’, but they STILL didn’t feel done.  But I had NO idea what else to do!!  Some of you suggested adding a tag; which I tried – and nixed.  They are so ‘organic’ that the tags looked out-of-place.


The one with the nest AND bird is hanging on my front door, and the one above on the shutter door to a cabinet in my living room.


EVERY time I looked at them, I think: “They STILL need something!”  But I don’t know WHAT!!  sigh.

Then, while I was out working in my yard last week, picking up pine cones from the grass, I came across ONE of the wispy tree twigs that I had used to make the twiggy wreaths a while back.  It was just ONE little branch, and I still have a whole basketful of them leftover in my garage, AND about 15 wreaths already made; so I was just going to toss it into my yard debris bin along withe the pine cones.

Then BAM!!! Major BRAINSTORM!! 

THIS (this little twig that I had in my hand) is exactly what the moss and bark wreaths need!!!!


It’s a very subtle added touch, but just that little ‘something more’ that they needed to feel ‘finished’.

The twigs show up much better in person.  So after I did the one on my front door with the branch I had just picked up in my yard; I went to my stash in the garage to find some to add to the other wreath.


I seriously LOVE these wreaths now!

And I kinda think I like the asymmetry of the second one MORE.


This is what I used to attach the twigs.  First I found the ‘spot’ that I wanted it to originate from and ‘punched a hole’ into the wreath with the point of my scissors.  I squeezed a fair amount of tacky glue into the hole and inserted the thick end of my branch.

Then I ‘played around’ a bit with positioning the wispy branch ends.  When I found the spot I wanted them to stay in, I used the floral pins (shown above) pushed in to hold them down.  It was a little tricky to find a spot that the pins would GO through, between the pieces of bark.  Then I just glued another little piece of moss on top of the pin to disguise it!

Do you agree with me that this was the perfect finishing touch for these wreaths?

Sometimes, your answer LITERALLY does, fall from the sky!

Birds nests on pedestals

Assorted mis matched pillar candle pedestals.  

These first few I left ‘as is’, and just glued my little birds nests on.

Still need to add some tags to these.

Added some loose twigs to a few of the nests.

This batch of shorter pedestals HAD to be painted though!

Since the original finish was shiney and I didn’t want to have to sand, I spray painted them cream color.

Add a little “bit o’ Ralph” (Ralph Lauren Tobacco glaze!)  I applied it in sections, to the bottom part first; just GLOB it on.  You want full coverage, but not too THICK, because you are going to be wiping most of it off, and why waste it?

You really have to work QUICKLY with this stuff as it ‘tacks up’ very quickly.  Apply your glaze and immediately dab off.  I did each base, one at a time; let dry for about 15 minutes so I could handle the base to do the tops.

A little comparison: The one on the LEFT is one of the formerly red ones that I painted and glazed.  The one on the right was ‘factroy glazed’ and purchased ‘as is’.  I COULD have made mine look MORE like the factory glazed one by WIPING off more of my glaze.  Leaving more glaze in the crevices and less on the surface.  I just prefer to DAB mine for a more uniform look.

Then I glued my little birds nest on top of the factory glazed one.

Here’s all three of the formerly red ones finished and awaiting nests.

As you can see, I didn’t glaze the inside part of the top.  Why waste the glaze when it’s going to be covered up by the nest?

Here are a few other finished ones.

I bought these nests (ON CLEARANCE ALREADY!!) premade, and just added some extra moss to fill them in more.

This big green pedestal perfectly compliments the color of the eggs!

 A little tea stained bird tag is the finishing touch.

These finished ones have gone to my space at Stars.



 Home tweet home!

Trying my hand at some assemblages

Those who are truly talented at this art form seem to be able to combine  dozens of items in a piece and not have it look overcrowded.  But then, I see some that are just ‘too much’ and not balanced and just not right.  But I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is that makes the difference.

Have had these ‘box frames’ for quite some time.  They were a ‘graduated set’ of sizes.  I used the smaller ones to put some little nests and eggs into.  Decided to try my hand at some assemblages for these bigger ones.

I’m not quite convinced that I ‘have the knack’ for this kind of artwork though.   I see SO many wonderful conglomerations of elements and I think, “I could do that!”  But then I start digging through all my supplies and my mind just goes BLANK!  Is this too much stuff??? Not enough stuff?  Not the right stuff??? Does THIS go with that???

It’s such a delicate balance between a ‘carefully orchestrated’ grouping and ‘a bunch of stuff just thrown together; ya know what I mean??? 

I don’t know WHY this is such a challenge for me?!?!?  I can usually ‘just look’ at something for inspiration and turn right around and do one of my own.  I hate to ‘copy’ someone elses work, but maybe that is what I need to do in order to ‘figure this art form out’???   Not an exact copy of course, but follow the ‘formula’ they used for how much of this and how much of that and placement and balance.

Anyhooooooo  . . .  these are the results of my first attempts!

Your honest opinions and constructive criticisms are welcome.  I’m neither disappointed nor thrilled with my results, and YET, I haven’t a CLUE as to what I might have done differently!?!?

I’m just really NOT SURE I ‘love’ how these turned out.  They’re ‘okay’ but . . .

Do you have a favorite assemblage or collage artist that you recommend I study for some hints?



No such thing . . .

 .   .   .   .   as TOO much Ralph!

Some assorted urns from the thrift store.

This one had some especially fun detail work.  It just didn’t show up too well.

Just add Ralph!!!  Brush on the Ralph Lauren tobacco glaze (be sure to get in ALL the creases) then lightly DAB off with a soft cloth.

Glob it on and spread it around with a brush.

The brush marks will ‘go away’ when you dab off the excess.  I prefer to DAB as opposed to WIPE.  Wiping will give you a greater contrast, by taking more of the glaze off the raised parts.  I prefer to DAB and leave a bit of the glaze on the top parts, and LOTS of the glaze in the recessed parts.

I had to do this one in ‘two parts’ in order to have something to hold on to while working.  Then once the top part dried, I went back and did the base.

See how the glaze makes the details POP?

And here’s what I did with the finished urns.  Added some moss, feathers and and egg.

Here’s my trick for filling the urns with moss, so I don’t have to use as much.  Squirt some tacky glue in the bottom and add some crumpled newspaper.   Cut a piece of cardboard  and glue that to the top of your newspaper.  This really works better than using ALL moss; as the moss seems to ‘settle’ and get kind of matted down after a while.  PLUS, this makes it difficult for those with sticky fingers to steal the ‘innards’ of your urn.  (Hard to believe, but it’s been done!  Had the contents of the urn, moss and egg, stolen from my booth) 

And then to theft-proof the egg (they REALLY like to steal the eggs!!!) I do this.   A little extra work, but worth it to not have to be replacing eggs all the time if you are selling in a ‘mall’ type setting.  ( I never had this problem when we had our own store; but then I had eggs in jars that they could buy however many they wanted)


Published in: on March 31, 2010 at 9:52 am  Comments (3)  
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More birds and nests

In a little rusty watering can.

On a pedestal made from a tree branch.

Under a glass dome on a glass pedestal dish on a bed or pretty paper shreds.


FROM THE “I knew if I held onto it long enough I’d come up with a way to use it” FILE:

I’ve had these little corrugated cardboard boxy things stashed in the back room of the store for probably three years.  They were the packing box/base for something.  It’s been so long that I don’t even remember what though!  I just like corrugated cardboard and I just KNEW these would come in handy one day!

And HALLELUJAH!!!  That day arrived!  I actually had TWO ideas for ways to use them.  Here’s the first:

A little nesting box for a pretty white bird!  I just glued the corners together and rubber-banded tight while the glue dried.  Tied a piece of jute and unraveled the ends after I tied the knot.  Covered the inside with glue (Alene’s Tacky glue, of course!) and filled it with all the little bits of nest grass (Spanish moss) that settle to the bottom of the box that I can never figure out what to do with!

For the next project I first ‘color washed’ an unfinished wood frame using Jamaican Sea Folk Art brand paint:

Then I glued on my piece of corrugated.  It was already folded so it was raised.   And sized tp perfectly fit over the opening on my frame.  I secured it with rubber bands while my glue dried.  (which only takes about 10 minutes if I plop in into my handy food dryer!)

I decided to make this one a ‘beach theme’ instead of bird.  Dug out my big ole box of embellishments and stuck a couple of them on.  Then tied a piece of jute into a little bow at the top.

What else could I do with my little corrugated boxes????