July 19, 2019

Papier-mâché Project Finished

Here are my papier-mâché House Finches inspired by those that visit our bird feeder. Making them of papier-mâché was fun, but instead of painting them, I decided to do tea bag art. They are completely covered in used tea bags with a reddish cast in places from Red Rooibos tea. I dried, emptied, ripped and attached the pieces of tea bags with Mod Podge before a final coat of varnish. Then I added black seed beads for eyes. This was a longer project than expected, but I’m happy with them.

July 13, 2019

Suspense Lifted

Thank you(!) to those who commented on my newspaper/masking tape balls. I never expected that, but I didn’t consider a game of fun suspense. So, here you are, more masking tape. The wings, tails and beaks were cut from a cereal box before being taped on. Next comes the harder messy part, adding papier-mâché. I need some luck with that. Elizabeth, the masking tape is by Scotch, and I don’t recall where I got it.

July 12, 2019

Starting Over!

At the risk of starting a new project then abandoning it AGAIN, here is the first step. Newspaper is scrunched into balls about the size and shape of a chicken egg. They are then covered with masking tape. 

Then I made two smaller balls the same way, about the size of small walnuts. More to come, I hope!

July 1, 2019

Next Step

My cowboy got his first application of papier-mâché today. So far, so good, but the hardest steps are yet to come. I need a hat, outfit, face, hands and feet. Some of this may come about by cardboard additions, then painting. Plus, I’m going for bowlegged and paunchy. Lol! This may take awhile!

LATER UPDATE: I’ve worked more on him since this photo and decided I cannot make hands! So his pose has changed. My husband says he looks like Popeye the Sailor now, but I think he still has cowboy potential!

**FINAL UPDATE**: I’m completely over trying to make this look like a cowboy; or for that matter, anything else! But I have to keep trying to create, and I hope next time to share something successful.

June 30, 2019

Uh Oh!

To my regular visitors, I apologize that my last post showing air dry clay rounds is gone. Thanks for your supportive comments, but I tried painting them and didn’t like the results. Grade school clay work must be too hard for me now! So I’ve gone back to papier-mâché and hope to have either a pig or a bow-legged cowboy soon. This is as far as I’ve gotten on the cowboy — a 6” wire armature built up with scrap paper and blue masking tape. Next comes using papier-mâché to try making it look like something — fun! 

June 23, 2019

An Original (partly)

Four posts ago showed some blocks I was making and didn’t know how to use. Thanks for your comments, they helped. In the end I just started cutting more colorful Batik sashings and decided what to do next as I put it together. The back is also Batiks, and it’s tied to the front. It lays very flat with no batting, and it will make a good table-topper or wall-hanging. It’s fun to improvise as I go! 

June 16, 2019

Papier-Mâché/Tea Bag Bowl and a Kitty

This was so much fun to make! I used Liquitex Matte Medium and Mod Podge to affix additional tea bags to the 5” x 7” bowl in my last post, then I added the pressed weed. I tried adding some color with acrylic paint, but didn’t like the look so I removed it. Once dry, it got an overall coat of Mod Podge.

The 3.5” x 4” Kitty below is also a Papier Mache/tea bag project from a couple years ago. It has been named “Cheddar” by Jennifer Gail! I started with a wire armature shaped like a cat. Then I used cotton balls and masking tape to fill out the kitty shape. Next came applying the papier-mâché and letting it dry hard before glueing down the tea bags. I placed the darker stained tea bags to look like Tabby kitty stripes. Glass beads glued down made his eyes. 

June 8, 2019

Not Potato Chips

I painted the papier-mâché bowl in my last post with brown and light green acrylics, then decided it will become a “Botanical Tea Bag Art” project. The used round tea bags were collected and allowed to dry. I then slit them open and carefully emptied the tea before glueing them to the bowl inside and out. I used Liquitex Matte Gel for glue, but Mod Podge or any glue that dries clear will do. I’m pressing some botanicals today, and the glue needs to thoroughly dry, so the next step will be in a new post. I may also add some finishing touches of colorful paint.

May 23, 2019

Two Days Later

My bowl dried overnight but wasn’t thick enough, so I added more layers of papier-mâché  yesterday. Here it is this morning, dry again and sturdy enough for painting. Now my challenge is to decide on a design! More to come...

May 21, 2019

Back to Grade School

If things really do come full circle, I may be in trouble because lately I’ve had a desire to create something with papier-mâché! I started this bowl today and was about to put my supplies away when I thought of taking a photo for my blog. 
The jar holds my homemade paste — flour, water, and teaspoon of salt. The upside-down green bowl was covered with a plastic bag and became my mold. Numerous layers of torn newspaper strips were applied to that with the sponge brush. It must now dry thoroughly before I can remove it to see how sturdy it may be. I’ll post again when it’s dry. 

May 19, 2019

Need Suggestions

I'm making these fussy-cut image blocks called “Summer Window” and I used batiks for the sashings. After laying them out (on brown carpeting), I see a challenge. Among other things, they are busy, multi-colored, and not symmetrical. How might a final project using these blocks be finished off? More sashings, different or the same, dark or light, etc.? I’m stumped, all ideas welcome! 

May 15, 2019


I’ve learned that seeing faces of any kind (human, animal, other-worldly, etc.) in everyday surroundings is a real thing called “Pareidolia” and is not very uncommon. Since I’ve seen faces everywhere for as long as I can remember, I want to learn more about Pareidolia. For now, here is an example that jumped out yesterday as I was walking past my wall-hanging (in my post of May 1st). Do you see it too?

May 12, 2019

The Last Vintage Quilt Chapter

My last post told the story of a charming 1930’s quilt made by a young girl. After restoring it, I researched and learned that the mill where the quilt’s fabrics were made is part of  Glencoe Cotton Mill Village Historic District, a restored village in NC that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Among other structures the village includes a company store, workers’ houses, a cotton mill and warehouse, a wheel house, a dye house, and the Textile Heritage Museum. Considering donating the quilt, I got in touch with the museum including some photos. I received a reply thanking me but they have other Duck family Quilts, and sending a batch of small 2.5” samples of cotton fabric made in the Glencoe Cotton Mill. I wasn’t sure how to use these samples, but a wall-hanging almost always works. So here it is at 24” square hanging in my dining room. It evokes  remembrances of life as it must have been in Glencoe Village, workers at the cotton mill, the people (now gone) involved in making this quilt, and the granddaughter of Lula Belle Duck, from whom I purchased the quilt. She lives nearby in a retirement community, and I have visited with her there. I also sometimes see her at the same annual flea market where we first met when I bought the quilt!

May 10, 2019

A Little Bit of Vintage Quilt History

This is a 1930s quilt I bought at a flea market from a descendant of the quilt’s maker. Every stitch was placed by hand, and I found it to be charming. It was soiled and falling apart so I set about restoring it. The “batting” was balled up in one corner, so taking it apart was necessary. To my surprise I found the filling was not batting as we know it, but rather old rags and a part of men’s long john underwear. 

The woman selling it was the daughter of Lillie Mae Duck, the young girl in the bottom photo on the nameplate I made for the quilt back. The photo should enlarge. 

Lastly, here is a view of part of the men’s underwear in the quilt’s stuffing!

May 5, 2019

Another One Bites the Dust

What happens when I try to salvage a canvas. This is the one in my last post. After trying to remove two paintings, glue, fabric and Gesso, there was no saving it. Somehow it appropriately looks like a graveyard!