Sunday, June 26, 2022

Hey There Tree Climber!

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Hey There Tree Climber! scrapbook page by June Anderson

Hey There! I've always meant to share more scrapbook pages, but alas, as I look back at what I've posted here in the past, there isn't much! So today I'm publishing this layout about my son Tayo that I just finished.

Scrapbook pages are both a labor of love and (for me anyway) a labor intense activity. I spend a lot of time thinking about the stories that I want to tell and how I can best portray the character or characters and describe the event. I also spend a lot of time thinking about what the visual representation of the story looks and feels like. Traditional pages, like that above, are a fun and creative way to represent events, milestones or personality traits.

As well, the act of making a page is a vigorous mental activity that I enjoy getting lost in. Like collage, I enjoy solving design problems and spend quite a bit of time just sitting with everything in front of me and experimenting. A part of my brain gets very charged from this activity so I tend to want to stay there!

This page, titled Hey There Tree Climber! addresses both Tayo's love of tree climbing and showcases his sweet nature at age eight. There a quite a few photographs through the years of him climbing trees but I chose this particular set of photos because I was anxious to try out my new Spellbinders Layered Cherry Blossom cutting dies. Cherry or Plum Blossoms appear quite frequently around our house so I know I will get a lot of mileage out of this die set. In fact, I plan to make more scrapbook pages and some greeting cards as well.

For the base of my page I used two sheets of 12" x 12" Beautiful Things paper from BoBunny: Garden Party and Beauty. Before machine stitching the Beauty paper to the Garden Party paper I cut a section out of the middle of the Garden Party paper and set it aside for another project.

Each of the three photos are matted with Bazzill Avalanche cardstock.

The ornate florals are also cut from Avalanche cardstock and the remainder of the flower buds and branches are cut from leftover Bazzill bits and pieces. The details of the flowers are amazing! In fact once I had all the pieces cut I kept them in a vintage tray that was decorated with cherry blossoms and I got fooled more than once!

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Hey There Tree Climber! scrapbook page by June Anderson

It took me a long time to maneuver the main branches and flowers into place while at the same time making sure there was room for the title and journaling.

The title, as well as the two moth stickers and the tabs on the sides of the photos are all from the Simple Stories Simple Vintage Indigo Garden Sticker Book. The journaling is printed onto copy paper. And finally, the insects at the bottom left of the page are cut from a sheet of 12" x 12" BoBunny Beautiful Things Collected paper.

And that's it! I'm happy how this page turned out and I hope you enjoyed seeing it.

Thanks for looking and bye for now!



Monday, June 20, 2022

Plum Blossom Decor: An Etsy Shop Update

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

Hello friends, I haven't written about my Etsy shop Plum Blossom Decor for a long time. The shop is in the process of being revised because my interest in all things chinoiserie has overtaken my love of vintage tea ware. There was a hiccup in renaming the shop and there are still a few things to fix but I am anxious and motivated to complete the transition.

I still adore old teacup sets (and 'pretty vintage' things) and will continue to offer them in my shop but over time I will be focusing more on vintage Chinese and Japanese home decor items, as well as vintage English items featuring the chinoiserie themes. There will also be a few choice Mid Century items as well.

In fact, today I'm sharing five new items (above) that have just been listed: Three Famille Rose pieces: a large statement vase (center), a large tea jar or ginger jar (left rear), a 'fishbowl' planter (left front) and two Rose Medallion items - a small wall plate (right, rear) and a teacup and saucer set (right front).

Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items are considered a quintessential part of the chinoiserie home fashion look. Famille Rose, with its 'court' or 'salon' scenes typically depict people in a formal setting carrying out traditional duties. Rose Medallion items do not feature people, but rather are portraits of the natural world. The 'rose' referred to is actually a peony. Both Famille Rose and Rose Medallion share common painted background characteristics of peonies, moths, birds, pomegranates, gold highlights and lots and lots of 'fill-in' florals and greenery. Pinks and greens are the traditional colors, but there is some variation.

At 14-1/4" in height this vase can certainly be considered a statement piece. It has beautiful bright colors and portrayals of courtly behavior within a cartouche-like frame on both the front and back of the piece. There are birds, moths, pomegranates and florals with gold highlights filling in all the spaces.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

This lidded tea jar or ginger jar also depicts a court or salon scene. It is 10-3/4" in height and 6" in diameter. It has florals, moths, greenery and gold highlights. A perfect shelf styling accessory!

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

One of the more fun items in the Famille Rose family of items I'm offering is this small (5" in height) 'fishbowl' planter. While it has the traditional salon or court scene attributes on both the front and the back (as well as two bird panels), it has a surprise element. Unlike most house plant containers, this one has a finished interior which renders it just as beautiful on the inside as on the outside. Keep scrolling and you'll see what I'm referring to...

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

Don't you just love those fish? They are both realistic and stylistic at the same time!

And lastly, the Rose Medallion wall plate and teacup and saucer set. The wall plate is 6" in diameter, and has four panels that contain the traditional rose and greenery elements. There is a lovely scalloped border with gold highlight and it has two holes in the back which make adding to your plate wall super easy!

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale
Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

The tea set has the same cartouche-like panels, with birds the central theme here. There are also the roses, peonies, moths, and an abundance of greenery as well as gold rims and gold embellishing in all the spaces within the greenery.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale
Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

As mentioned at the beginning, all items featured in this blog post are available in my Etsy shop Plum Blossom Decor. All are in excellent vintage condition with no chips, cracks, glaze crazing or repairs. Each piece has been carefully cleaned and inspected. As always, my goal is to offer the best quality vintage chinoiserie, oriental and asian style home decor items for your enjoyment. So if you love this kind of timeless home decor, visit my shop! For more details, including video clips and prices, visit Plum Blossom Decor and enjoy a ten percent discount with the code PlumBlossom10!

Thanks for looking!


Sunday, June 5, 2022

The Meeting Place

collage, hand cut vintage paper collage, vintage hand cut paper collage, mixed media collage, dance collage, bird collage

Hello again!
I'm so glad to be back sharing another collage with you. Since I never quite know which direction the creative part of my brain is going to pull me in, it always feels like a miracle that I managed to not only execute a project, but get it photographed and sit myself down to write about it.
In my post last week, I talked about the challenge of creating atmosphere. Since then, I've been thinking about visual story telling. As I survey the collage works that I've been making I see a common theme: character development. There is a lot of talk in the political world about finding common ground in our humanity. Of course right now, that idea is the furthest thing from our current situation, but I digress...
When choosing images to use in my pieces, it appears that I often start with the human figure. This might seem obvious but the truth is that I am not a 'people person' at all. Rather, I prefer solitude and need a lot of time and space for processing thoughts, actions and words. This reality came to me slowly over the last twenty years as I watched my son grow up. We are so much alike in this respect! It's like looking in the rear view mirror sometimes.
But again, while it feels ironic to me to start the creative process with the human form, I am beginning to understand the reason for it. Not only am I looking to create an atmosphere but I am trying to get to the heart of what it feels like to be human, which again, is how I am digging into how we relate (and react) to the world around us. I have to laugh at myself as I re-read what I am writing here. And then I want to cry because I should have been doing this kind of work in my twenties!
So what is it about the human dynamic that are we looking at in today's collage? The simple explanation is that I found a vintage book about the history of dance (which I also talked about last week) and the ballerina (above) is cut from that book.
And because in the book she was leaning in a doorway, I needed to capitalize on that posture. So after I cut the image out I went traveling through my bird books to find her a companion. Meet the Ascension Island frigatebird (Fregata aquila). Once I placed them together, it felt like their relationship to one another immediately took on a 'fairy-tale-like' quality.
Also, I realized right away that in order for both images to be better viewed, that the dancer needed to be standing on something, otherwise the pair would have to sit too far down on the bottom edge. So I found the dancer a plinth and suddenly, when placing the pair on my painted background in that way, the atmosphere began to come alive!
I like how it looks like a genuinely personal moment between the two 'characters' and decided to give the piece an aura of a taking place in a garden. I debated with myself about completely filling the space with flowers and maybe more birds. But, being the minimalist that I am, instead settled on just two other red elements, creating a visual triangle with the frigatebird's inflatable red pouch.
From this vantage point, the rest is left to the imagination: is the ballerina a statue, permanently affixed to the top of a column? Or is she a real human that must climb up the column to meet her friend? Lover? Or is the frigatebird enamored with either a statue or a human and perches on a nearby branch to rendezvous with her? More importantly, (in the traditional vein of the fairy-tale) what could be a lesson here?
You might think of a completely different take on the scene above. And that's okay, because we're all on the same journey and we need to explore, address and express how we see the world around us and communicate those thoughts and feelings in healthy ways that can advance a conversation or cause to find that common ground that the world desperately needs right now.
How do you make sense of the world these days?

Sunday, May 29, 2022

James Waring Dances the Merz

hand cut vintage paper collage, vintage hand cut paper collage, character development in collage, atmosphere in collage, painted backgrounds in collage

Hello Friends!

It's been fun getting back into the groove of collage.

I've been working on creating painted abstract backgrounds to add more color and interest to my compositions. I'm also challenging myself to be more selective in my gluing process so as to allow more dimension. I'm using just enough raised foam adhesive to glue the pieces down yet allow for some shadow effect. If you look to the right of each of the elements above you can see this happening.

With Covid restrictions easing up, Jimmy and I were excited to read that the public library was bringing back their annual Library Book Sale. He likes to read mystery authors such as H.C. Bailey and I enjoy looking for 'collage fodder' so we donned our masks, headed to the sale, and had fun getting lost in the world of books.

One book in particular that I was excited to find was Anthology of Dance. It's from the 1970s and is a compendium of the modern dance movement from that time. I had been waiting to find a vintage book on modern dance, so this book, with its somewhat grainy black and white photographs was perfect!

As I flipped through the book, this image of James Waring (1922-1975) caught my attention immediately. At first he reminded me of Sherlock Holmes with his dark hair and top hat. But I was also enamored with his dance outfit and pose. And when I read the short paragraph accompanying his photo and learned that he was not only a dancer, choreographer and teacher but also dabbled in collage, my interest was kindled! The book also mentioned that in both dance and collage he was influenced by, prioritized and embraced experimentalism.

I love the challenge of creating atmosphere in collage (another reason for adding paint), and I will often add birds in flight as part of that idea. There is something about a grand landscape where, as one takes in the stillness of an expansive panoramic view, the sight of birds flying across the sky seems to slow the passing of time and allows the space within ourselves to expand. Some might call it Buddha-nature.

In that spirit, I thought it would be fun to place Waring in a time and place where he is in the process of, well, it could be collage... but it might be dance.

His outstretched arm led me to think how that gesture could be a part of the story and I also considered how experimentalism, like Dada and Merz, challenge the viewer's perceptions about what art is. In particular Waring's choreography is considered 'collage-like' in its experimentation and unexpected juxtapositions. So why not place him within a fanciful atmosphere, casting his cards, and relying on the serendipitious landing of the cards to tell him what the next dance steps will be? Or perhaps his intention is to create a collage, based on chance, wherein he will paste the cards in the exact arrangement they will fall in. Either way, the viewer is a witness to Waring's expressive pose and his creativity in that moment, slowed by the sight of a migrating bird...


Monday, May 23, 2022

DIY: Handmade Greeting Cards

Hello Friends! It's been so long since I've given my blog some love. Life since Covid has felt heavy and since my mom passed away last November my momentum to pick up the pieces has been slow...

I'm here today to share with you three greeting cards that I made recently using my new Sizzix manual die cut machine. It's so easy to get a perfect clean cut every time and the detail is amazing.

All of the papers shown here are from the new Bo Bunny Beautiful Things 6 x 8 paper pad. This size is perfect for card making because the images are scaled down and there is minimum waste. The bits of paper that are leftover can be used for die cutting the small die shapes which is fun if you are a 'mix and match' kind of crafter!

Each of the cards are made using a standard A6 size card blank from Tonic Studios.

As well, all three cards utilize the Sizzix Window Box stamps and die set by Olivia Rose, which I adore. 'Shaker box' type greeting cards are very popular right now and when I saw this particular set I knew I wanted to give it a try.

And finally, each of the three different sentiments are from the Elegant Sentiments stamps and die set from Waffle Flower Crafts.

For the background on the card to the left, above, I chose the Blooms paper (links are to the 12 x 12 sizes):

I stamped the scalloped circle using black pigment ink onto the B side of the Memorable paper and then die cut the shape. Both the stamp and die are part of the Sizzix Window Box set. I used one of the circle dies that came with my die cut machine to cut the background of the shaker box out of the Flutter paper. I also die cut a scalloped circle from a sheet of double sided foam adhesive from And finally, I cut a circle shape (same size as the Flutter circle) from some leftover packaging material for the "window". Then it was a matter of layering these pieces together and adding the decorative sequins to create the shaker box. For this card I chose the Early Spring Premium Sequins from 28 Lilac Lane.

The next step was to stamp and die cut the floral bloom and die cut the six leafy embellishment pieces using the Sizzix Window Box set. The embellishment arrangements on all three cards are cut from the B side of the Blooms paper. This paper allowed me to create some very interesting variations in both color and gradations of color.

And lastly, I chose the 'Happy Birthday' sentiment from the aforementioned Elegant Sentiments stamps and die cut set, ink stamped it, and then die cut it from the B side of the Beauty paper.

The background of the middle card is made with the Fly Away paper:

Both the scalloped circle and the sentiment are stamped using black pigment ink and then die cut from the same B side of the Memorable paper as the previous card. The circle background inside the scalloped circle is plain white card stock. Again, I repeated the layering of the double sided foam adhesive, and a die cut circle from product packaging for the window. The floral bloom and leafy embellishments (from the Sizzix Window Box set) are also die cut from the same B side of the Blooms paper as the previous card.

For the shaker 'ingredients' I mixed Early Spring and Rose in Flight Premium Sequins from 28 Lilac Lane. For additional interest I glued two of the Rose in Flight butterflies to the background.

I chose the 'Thinking of You' sentiment from the previously mentioned Elegant Sentiments set.

The card on the right is made with the Dotted paper:

Again, I used the Waffle Flower Elegant Sentiments stamps and die set to stamp the 'Thank You' sentiment and die cut it and the scalloped circle (after ink stamping it as well) from the B side of the Beauty paper. The shaker box is layered with the double sided foam adhesive and some clear packaging, then filled with the same two sequin styles as the previous card. The Sizzix Window Box floral bloom and leafy embellishments are die cut, again, from the Blooms paper after having ink stamped the floral bloom.

And that's it! If you have any questions about the products used or my process, please reach out.

I had so much fun creating these cards. In fact, I made each card for a cousin and two of them will be posted today. I can't wait for the two cousins to receive their handmade cards. It's especially sentimental because I have not seen either of them since childhood and with my mother's passing we have come into contact and I want to keep in touch.

Speaking of keeping in touch, I have plans for a few more blog posts, so wish me luck!

And, as my mother would always say, bye for now... 

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