Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Small Slice of Home

Welcome to my newest followers and thanks to all my friends for your kind comments.  It's so good to be back in the creative loop.  I have found some time to play in my craftroom and loving every minute of it! 

This latest piece comes with a story.  For some time now, I've been interested in the genre of "primitive crafts".  They harken back to days when people made crafts to bring beauty and enjoyment to a home of meager beginnings.  When you don't have much, things that we typically discard today were kept, reused, re-purposed, and rarely thrown away until there wasn't anything left to throw away. These craft pieces have an organic feel to them simply because they are made with found objects, pieces of someone's life (that could no longer be used for its intended purpose, like a burlap bag that ended up with too many holes), scraps of this and that leftover from a sewing project (a handmade dress created from fabric purchased with nickels saved over months and months), and free objects found in nature.

The reason I resonate so much primitive crafts and the history behind them is because my father grew up in this sort of environment.  My Dad's family were caretakers of a mountain in hills of North Carolina.  They were given a small cabin on the top of the mountain where they took care of live stock and made sure that no one else trespassed on the mountain.  My grandparents, great-grandmother, and three children (my Dad and his older brother and sister) lived in a house with no electricity and no running water.  They lived hand-to-mouth and appreciated the gifts that nature provided them.

My grandmother, a Godly woman who loved providing for her family, worked hard to make this cabin a home.  I thought of her a great deal as I worked on this project.  My family still has the teddy bear that she made out of scraps for my Dad when he was a child.  She tried to teach me to sew and always had some sort of hand-crafted "play pretties" (or toys) for me to play with as I grew up.  She made me one of my first dolls (which I still have), a stuffed clown named "Sammy".

Anyway, here is my first attempt at some sort of primitive craft.  I thought about some of the things that my grandmother may have had for such a craft as I chose things from my stash.  I started with some burlap (from a small gift bag that I had) and some paint.  Now I confess, I used some of Tim Holtz's paint (Granny never had anything that good to work with!) and some of Tim's stamps to create my design.  But she would have had several buttons, threads and pins hanging around to embellish such a project.  I added some lace around the edges to soften the burlap.  This could have come from an old slip that was too worn to wear anymore or left over from a dress that she made for someone else.

I thought about the format of this project and decided to do a framed wall-hanging. To give a more rustic feel, I used the back side of the frame. Then I was left with the question of what to put in the background.  I remember my Dad talking to me about using newspaper to stuff in the holes of the cabin walls to keep the wind from blowing in on cold winter days.  So, I took some vintage newsprint, covered it with paper circle masks (a primitive shape), and roughly painted it with Walnut Stain Distress Paint.  After I took the circle masks off the newsprint,  I used some Antique Linen Distress paint to wash over and soften the newsprint circles.

To continue the circle theme, I grabbed more buttons, the top of a spool, and a pop bottle cap (topped with some of Tim's vintage paper) for embellishments.  I used some threads that I pulled from the burlap, brown rope, some muslin fabric (from an old laundry bag) that I stamped with a TH checkerboard stamp and  Walnut Stain Distress Paint, and a vintage safety pin that used to finish off the above corner embellishment. 

Simple house shapes and stars are also popular in primitive crafts.  A hand-cut star adorns this Sizzix Tim Holtz Artful Dwelling house that I die-cut out of Core'Dinations card stock and then backed with cardboard.  Each of my houses were painted with Distress Paint (Walnut Stain above, Broken China and Seedless Preserves), sanded, and then edged with Walnut Stain Distress Ink.  You may notice some vines connecting my button embellishment down to the houses in piece.  The mountain that my Dad grew up on had several wild grape vines that they would swing and play on.  I didn't have any wild grape vines handy, so I went out and grabbed some cuttings off my Wisteria vine.  I love the movement it gives.

I decorated the vine cuttings on the right side of my hanging with more scraps of stamped muslin.  I really love this look.

I used some Tim Holtz Idea-ology grungeboard elements to spell out the word "Home".  I actually cut the letters a little to make them a bit more stream-lined and rustic.

 My granny made that cabin a home for her family.  I hope I can contribute to a sense of home for my family with my crafts as well.  I have to thank Jenny (Buttons) for her "Just Three Colors" challenge over at Our Creative Corner.  The color choice blue, brown and purple really gave me the impetus for my primitive crafts project.  This has been such a great stroll down memory lane and a time to be thankful for my family and what they've taught me.  -- Mary Elizabeth


barbarayaya62 said...

MAry i'm the first!! Stunning project! Love the colors palette, unusual but totally amazing! I love every little detail! I pinned before to see it on your Blog! You know what strikes me most about your projects? In each one there is a little piece of your soul! dear friend, you are wonderful! BARbarayaya

Jenny Marples said...

You have no idea how pleased I am to hear you were inspired by this colour scheme theme Mary Elizabeth, and I have to say you have done a magnificent job here. It totally screams that primitive genre, with the stamped burlap, the distressed wood and of course all those delightful trims. This surely must have pride of place in your home and I'm so incredibly thrilled you have taken the time to enter our challenge at Our Creative Corner. Jenny x

Claudia N. said...

Thank you for this wonderful post, Mary Elizabeth,

which I enjoyed so much to read! Your beautiful frame with the burlap, buttons and houses really has this feel of treasured goods (using even the tiniest scraps of string or any things other people might throw away without looking at them twice). I love your buttons and that soda cap - but my favourite is the lovely handstitched doily that works as a frame for the burlap piece! This does sooo remind me of my son's great grandmothers - whom I had the luck to know and who both had these in their homes. Alongside with other treasures (like the old sewing chest for example)... I always enjoyed visiting and travelling back in time.

Thank you for sharing this lovely piece and your beautiful story!

Claudia x

Claudia N. said...

Oooops...I was so carried away that I forgot to say: thank you for joining us at OurCreativeCorner! :)

Another hug,
Claudia x

Paper Profusion said...

Truly wonderful post and creation Mary Elizabeth. I love how personal it is to you. It really does evoke an era long ago when times were tough but that sure didn't stop anyone having treasures and beauty. It's a gorgeous make. I'm slightly upset tho cause I spent a long time last friday trying to achieve that colour scheme, without success. You've made it look terrific here. Hope this week is a good one for you. Nicola x

butterfly said...

It's absolutely glorious, Mary Elizabeth... and such a wonderful post to read too. The thought, care and love behind it shine in every detail - the wonderful stamped burlap at the centre, the fabulous scraps of muslin on the vines, and those amazing clusters of embellishments in the corners. The houses look wonderful, and I love the circular "windows" of newspaper text - just brilliant.

Thank you so much for sharing this stunning piece of artwork with us at Our Creative Corner.
Alison xx

Meihsia Liu said...

Oh, Mary Elizabeth, this is such a gorgeous creation! Love how you mixed all these beautiful elements. Very unique and fabulous design :)

Mona Pendleton said...

Wow Mary! What a fantastic project full of so many fabulous details! I love all the little tied pieces of stamped muslin and burlap! What a darling story board!

Andrea Ockey Parr said...

This piece is so lovely! I really love the "primitive" feel of it that you created, yet the color scheme is totally modern and inviting. You've managed to find a balance between rustic and vibrant and this piece is a stunner for sure. It's always a joy to browse your blog and see what that creative mind of yours has come up with!

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

Love the burlap, the colors, the houses, but the 'Grape Soda' bottle cap gives me tears!!! Awesome!

Marci said...

Just read everyone else's comments again, starting with Barbara YaYa, because I can't say it any better!!!

Gabrielle Pollacco said...

Another stunning project! I love the natural color palette you used! Thanks for sharing how you put this together, it's always a delight to read your blog posts! xo

Geraldine said...

Wonderful wall hanging, I love the story behind it, and Barbara is right, there is a piece of your soul in your creations. Thank you for sharing with us, best wishes, Geraldine.