Korean Wedding Ducks

After being laid low by sickness, David and Michael, our son, stormed an estate sale without me and carried off loot. Unable to roll out of my bed and miserable with bronchitis when they brought their treasures home, they presented them to me in the bedroom as if I were a particularly congested maharani: two carved wooden ducks, an ornate pitcher, 3 antique German etchings, and a couple of mirrors.

The wooden ducks intrigued me. A colored silk tassel tied to a hole in the bill decorates each one.

Korean Wedding DucksThey are 20th century, but represent a wonderful tradition. Korean wedding ducks. The reason they play a special role in Korean weddings is due to ducks’ propensity to mate for life. The original practice of the groom bearing a pair of live ducks or geese to his bride-to-be’s family has shifted to presenting beautifully carved wooden ones. Photo Source.

Korean Wedding Groom

In Korean tradition, selection of the carver was important. He required possession of five fortunes: wealth, health, no family history of divorce, a good wife, and many sons. As the carver worked, he prayed the couple would acquire a lifetime of happiness, peace, prosperity and many children. He carved for honor, not money.

The carver of our ducks used two pieces of wood to carve and assemble.

Korean Wedding Duck Separated

For a wedding ceremony, both ducks are wrapped in a cloth with only their necks and heads are visible. After the ceremony, the groom’s mother tosses the duck to the bride. If she catches it in her apron, her first child will be a boy.

Korean Wedding Duck Facing Right

During the course of a marriage, the ducks are prominently displayed in the home. Either partner may arrange the ducks to communicate feelings: side-by-side means marital harmony; tail-to-tail means things are a bit rocky; bill-to-bill means exceptional marital bliss.

Check out the photo of this happy couple. I’ve added an arrow so you can easily find their ducks — and the bills are touching. Photo source.Korean Wedding Couple

Before I leave you, I want to share a photo of the elegant, engraved copper pitcher the men brought me. It’s tall — 13.5 inches. While I wanted to believe it was ancient and exotic, an appraiser identified it as North American dated circa 1900. There is something Art Nouveau about it. I polished it last night with a simple paste of lemon juice and salt. Look at all those floral arabesques.

Copper Pitcher

Thanks for visiting us. Have a wonderful week.

Ann Marie and David

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Great Buddha of Kamakura

Years ago I traveled solo to Japan following a business trip to the Republic of China (Taiwan). I doubted I’d ever get to Asia again and wanted to see as much as I could.

I visited the Great Buddha of Kamakura, a massive bronze sculpture, originally cast in 1252.  His size creates a sense of power, but his peaceful expression conveys serenity. He originally resided in a wooden temple but a series of typhoons and tidal waves destroyed that temple and others that followed. Since 1495 — over 500 years — he meditates out in the elements, calmly enduring rain, heat, and snow.

I took my photo during the summer:

Great Buddha at Kamakura 1

I recently acquired a replica of this Great Buddha. I bought him at an estate sale and he came with a note taped to his bottom: “1994, To Vicky from Haruko Sato, wife of Bishop of Kamakura (Great Daibutsu).” Great Daibutsu means Great Buddha.

That stirred memories of my visit — he still inspires awe. And a Japanese bishop’s wife gave this statue as a gift to a woman visiting the shrine. I needed to do him justice.

1.  I could leave him matte black, his original state when the gift was exchanged.

Great Buddha Black Matte

2. I could recreate the verdigris patina that I used on my cherub candle holders and attempt to match Buddha’s present-day patina.

Cherub Candleholders

3. I decided to paint him Annie Sloan’s Emperor’s Silk, a red with an Asian sensibility, and add gold foil. The original Great Buddha of Kamakura once dazzled worshippers with his gold leaf covering. No longer. But there’s still a hint of gold on his right cheek.

A team of researchers from Tokyo University and CAD Center received permission in 2000 to create a virtual reality model of the Great Buddha in the Main Hall. It’s amazing.

Imagine approaching that original temple and catching sight of the magnificent Buddha gleaming inside:

Main Hall and Great Buddha 3D

Great Buddha 3D Gold

Step into the temple and have the breath knocked out of you. Virtual reality is amazing because it integrates geometric and photometric models with environmental scenes. The result is a hologram that offers an intimate sense of the original shrine and Buddha’s golden glory.

Here is my Buddha after a coat of Emperor’s Silk. Clearly, I have not yet achieved my vision. A couple more coats followed.

Great Buddha First Coat of Red

I pulled out my Artisan Enhancements’ gold foil next. After brushing on the liquid Size I waited about 30 minutes and  carefully applied the foil. Now, foil can be tricky because it’s like a finicky cat. You never know how it’s going to settle. I hoped for a strong contrast of the red and gold, and that’s what I got. I waited 24 hours and brushed Clear Finish over the very patient Buddha.

Buddha Gold Foil

His supreme dignity intact, he may continue his meditations uninterrupted.

Here’s one final photo from my trip to Kamakura:

Great Buddha of Kamakura 2

Thanks for visiting us. Sign up if you’d like to follow our adventures.

Ann Marie and David

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Iris Abbey’s All-Star Posts

Happy New Year!

Looking at the activities we’ve undertaken this year and the projects we’ve completed — well, it just takes my breath away. We continue to learn about estate sales and thrift stores, cleaning, appraising, painting, stenciing, gilding and becoming vendors at  Avonlea Antique Mall.  I am so grateful for the encouragement you’ve provided along the way.

I started my blog posts in November 2013 but summer ushered in a gap because of family medical crises. So, I’ve decided to share Iris Abbey’s 10 All Star Posts, the most popular ones, since I began my blog. Just click the title to go to any post.

1. How to Preserve Boxwood, Parts 1 and 2

My finished product looked a bit wilder than the carefully manicured store-bought kind, but I like it here with my dad’s photo and my handblown glass ball from our trip to Venice.

Staged Boxwood 1

2. French Empire Commode

We transformed this Baker Beauty by hand painting her with Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey and Graphite on the exterior and stenciling a gold medallion in each drawer.

French commode original stateFrench commode

3. Aunt Marie’s 1953 Lane Cedar Chest

I was thrilled to honor my Aunt Marie’s memory by updating her cedar chest with chalk paint and a Royal Design stencil.

Lane chest without contact paper

Slide1

4. Serpentine Chest

This 1940s Serpentine Chest, formerly a banged up mahogany piece from someone’s storage unit, is gorgeous. David devoted months on this because it was his first piece that we intended to sell. Of course, this was a pre-retirement project and it needed a lot of work. I painted the exterior Annie Sloan Paris Grey with Old White trim, and the interior doors Louis Blue with surprise stencils inside.

Serpentine13

Serpentine Chest 2

5. Victorian Chairs

We stumbled upon 2 Victorian chairs at an estate sale and promptly grabbed them. They’re in above-average shape for their age — they were originally built in the 1860s. Our cat, Boston, seems satisfied, and I still intend to paint that functioning Grandmother Clock in the background.

Victorian Renaissance Revival Chair 3

6. Verdigris Cherubs

My first attempt at creating the illusion of verdigris with the cherubs David bought for $5 (total) at an estate sale: I used a combination of Annie Sloan’s Louis Blue, Antibes Green, and Old White. David made sure they sat on the table for Christmas dinner.

Metal Cherubs

My Grandmother and Grandfather in their 1913 wedding portrait. Painted cherub candles sit on Grandma's tray, along with some of her jewelry. She was a dressmaker, and the ribbon belonged to her. The teddy bear is made from a suit belonging to their deceased son, Joe.
My Grandmother and Grandfather in their 1913 wedding portrait. Painted cherub candles sit on Grandma’s tray, along with some of her jewelry. She was a dressmaker, and the ribbon belonged to her. The teddy bear is made from a suit belonging to their deceased son, Joe.

 7. DIY Holiday Decorations

In November I went a little craft crazy and whipped up a variety of items that. I now love Paper Cone Wreaths.

DIY Paper Cone Wreath and Autumn Banner

 

DIY Christmas Decoration Candleholder

8. Old Ochre Pet Bed

We made 2 pet beds and both made this list. We removed the doors off one and I painted it with Annie Sloan Old Ochre. David upholstered the interior and laid down faux tacks. Then, as the pièce de résistance, I stenciled a gold peacock in the center and feather tips at each corner.

Pet Bed 1.1

Pet Bed 1.9

9. A Chance to Paint Fabric and Cane

I found this chair at an estate sale after David went off on his own. I sat down to wait and ahhhhh! Quite comfortable, especially with a lumbar pillow. How could I walk away? It gave me practice painting fabric and cane. I used Annie Sloan’s Arles on the cushions and a combo of Versailles and Olive on the wood so it matched our living room rug. Did I mention? We have 4 cats. Boston and Pepper appear here.

Accent Chair with Boston and Pepper

Accent Chair with Boston

10. Emperor’s Silk Pet Bed

This second pet bed sold in a flash. We kept the doors on and painted it Annie Sloan’s Emperor’s Silk after running into trouble with Old White and the dark wood. David and I struggled with the interior fabric after the flannel proved particularly floppy to work  with. He took care of the faux tacking and our son, Michael, shined up the hardware, while Starbuck struck a pose.

Red Pet Bed Unpainted

Luxurious Red Pet Bed SOLDWe hope you enjoyed this year’s journey. We certainly did. Thanks again to all who visit. An even bigger thank-you bouquet goes to those of you who leave comments. We love comments. So many lovely people welcomed us in this, our first, year. We look forward to the 2015 and wish you a heartfelt, joyous New Year.

Ann Marie and David

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Christmas Ornaments, Index Cards, and Memories

Our Christmas tree explodes with ornaments. In the weeks prior Christmas I see magazine pictures of other trees, simply trimmed with lovely themes. I know that less is more, but that doesn’t apply to our Christmas tree.Christmas Tree 2014

Every year we pull out ornaments — we have quality levels of A, B and C — and memories come flooding back. We have remembrances of our many travels, elementary school creations by our son Michael, my mother’s and grandmother’s ornaments, handmade creations by me, acquaintances, and Michael before he started school.

I’m going to let you in on a secret: I make index cards for each ornament. I’ve cataloged cards for decades. Don’t judge me. Just know that I was an excellent student.

Each Christmas I take an index card and record the year we acquired the ornament, where we got it, and anyone related to it. The weakest part is my poor drawing skill. But the card really helps jog the memory.

We have eclectic decorations, yet we seem to have a host of angels on our tree. I want to  share a few of them, along with their cards. I made this angel, before I met David. Of course, it predates my index card collection since I made it in the 1970s. Egads.Frabic Angel by AMB

This next angel, made from a Bavarian Wax process, joined our family in 1988 after our Christmas in the South excursion.

Bavarian Wax Angel

Index Card Bavarian Wax AngelSome of our ornaments don’t need cards because their dates appear on them, like the ones Michael made. From left to right, pre-school angel, 1st grade, and 2nd grade angels.

Angels by Michael

On our family trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, we bought this sweet handmade angel. She once clutched a bit of pine, but that’s almost gone,Biltmore Angel

Biltmore Estate AngelIn 1993 David travelled solo to a conference at the University of Pittsburgh, where I went to graduate school. He took a tram to a mall and saw this angel in Kaufman’s Department store. Claiming she reminded him of Heinz Cathedral on campus, he bought her for me.

Angel from Pittsburgh

My son, in 2nd grade, acquired this angel ornament at his school’s Christmas shop:

Fabric Angel by Dale Penland 1

Index Card Fabric Angel by Dale Penland

The year we hosted Kyoko, our Japanese exchange student, we spent a few days during her Christmas vacation at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel in Georgia. The island, magically decorated for the holidays, was built by Gilded Age millionaires as their private winter getaway. The hotel is glorious. Posh Victorian furnishings, high tea, and superb food.

Angel from Jekyll Island

Index Card Jekyll Island Angel

 

That last sentence continues on the back of the card: “We stayed a couple of nights with Michael and Katie, our Japanese exchange student. We ate two dinners at the Club Dining Room and enjoyed a decadant high tea at 4 p.m.”

My ornaments, my angels, speak to me each year, bringing vivid flashes of our lives together.

Speaking of sharing, here’s the link to my Angel Banner with free downloadable pictures that you can cut out and string with ribbon.

Angel Banner

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas,

Ann Marie and David

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Iris Abbey Blog at One Year

I’m celebrating my first year of blogging by presenting some of the furniture and accessories that we painstakingly worked on.

My Aunt Marie’s 1953 Lane hope chest marked our first effort using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Royal Design’s stencils.

1953 Lane Cedar chest

Bolstered by that modest success, we boldly began work on the Drexel buffet. In retrospect, it was an overly ambitious undertaking. The hand-rubbed gold paint took an eternity, but the finished product was stunning.

Drexel Buffet

And we pushed on. Here’s the Baker Commode and more:

French commode

 

Savoy Lamp Table

The Serpentine Chest that David restored so it was sturdier than when manufactured:

 

Serpentine Chest 2

Small Victorial Table With Silver Foil 2

Luxurious Red Pet Bed SOLD

Pet Bed 1.9

We moved into Avonlea Antique Mall mid-July with as much furniture as we could fit. Only then did we discover the importance of smalls. I created an splendid menagerie:

Rooster Doorstop

African Carved Lion Painted 2

Painted Swans 5

Chinese Horse Silver Foil

Namibia Elephants

Elsa Elephant Bookends 2

Elephants on Pedestal

Quails

Quite a lot happened this year: David retired and a few months later landed in the hospital for several days. An 18-wheeler totaled my car. I developed a nasty kidney stone that demanded  attention. My mom made a few trips to the hospital before her final stay. She died in August, and I miss her.

During all those bizarre episodes, however, we continued to build Iris Abbey as best we could. We’ve learned a lot — and know there is much more to learn. We make new friends daily. David and I rediscovered the joy of spending our days together, and that’s a magical gift.

We wish you joy and happiness this holiday season. May next year bring opportunities, discoveries and — always — hope.

Ann Marie and David

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DIY Christmas Banners

This is our first Christmas at Avonlea Antique Mall and I’ve made a few DIY Christmas banners for our booth. First off, I want to thank my friend and marathon runner Melanie of Lost and Found in Texas for sharing her NOEL Banner. I downloaded it, glittered it, and put it in the shop. Here it is with my Santa Banner:

Santa Banner

I created three different banners with six 4″ x 6″ images each. I took my travel drive to Staples to get crisp images on card stock.

Following Melanie’s advice,  I  left a 1/4″ border for the glitter. Ah, the glitter. Lots of swirling silver glitter. I wanted mostly Victorian pictures, so turned to The Graphics Fairy. It’s hard to believe that some people may not know about her site. If that’s the case, go there immediately.

I’m offering the Angel Banner as a free printable banner. Click here to download the graphic. (I hope this works. I’ve never tried to upload a file on my blog before.)

Angel Banner

My last banner features Children, and I studiously integrated little boys and girls into it.

Children Christmas Banner

I want to quickly mention my other decorations: a display of two kinds of handmade Christmas ornaments. I used the technique demonstrated by Sarah at Pink Cricut on the glass balls. The tricky part is putting the image inside the ornament, getting it centered as best you can, and glued down.

I painted the papier mâché ornaments with ASCP Old White and used plenty of gold glitter on both styles of ornaments. I’m still finding glittering gold and silver specks throughout my kitchen, and migrating into the living room.

Christmas Ornaments

Thanks for visiting us. Be sure to take time to breathe and enjoy this holiday season.

Ann Marie and David

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Boho Chic or Nursery Lullaby?

David lucked into a project for us at the thrift store. Initially disappointed by the lackluster selection, he headed to the exit, empty handed. There he stumbled upon the thrift store truck returning from a pick-up. Holding the door for them, he noticed a solid looking dresser among the items the men were carrying in. After a quick exam, David bought it on the spot.

She was sturdier — and dirtier — then we thought. We scrubbed her down until she was spotless and sweet smelling. It was no picnic. I’m telling you, I think somebody had eaten lunch in one of the drawers.

David did some repairs but I forgot to take any pictures in her unpainted state. Oops. I can describe her, though: heavy, well-built and plain.

We hatched a plan to dress her up. I sketched out some ideas and this is the winner:

Nursery Dresser Sketch

Stripes along the two upper shelves, with the remaining shelves a solid color. You can read about my stripe-painting technique here.

I experimented combining ASCP Arles with different amounts of Old White but decided to stay with uncut Arles. By itself, Arles is a rich, yellow ochre with hints of orange. I toned down the vibrancy of Antibes Green with Old White and covered the body of the dresser with it.

Nursery Dresser Detail 1

We painted the inside drawers to match the light green outside.

Nursery Dresser Drawer Inside

I had a goal: I wanted this dresser to appeal to a diverse audience. On the one hand, she is perfect for the nursery, as an all-in-one changing table and diaper storage unit. As the infant grows, the changing table transitions into a child’s dresser.

Nursery Dresser with Gown

On the other hand, I wanted her to have a boho chic vibe to appeal to artsy, adventurous adults interested in unconventional furniture. You’ll have to tell me if I’ve achieved my goal.

Nursery Dresser 3

We don’t have room at Avonlea Antique Mall right now to show her off — the holidays are underway. We may try to post her on Craigslist, which I’ve never done.

Nursery Dresser 2She’s a charmer and I so hope she finds a great home.

Thanks for stopping by,

Ann Marie and David

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DIY Holiday Decorations

Coronet de PaperIn the spirit of the holidays, I decided to try a few DIY decorations based on ideas that caught my eye from around the web. Nothing original, but I’ve added my own touch.

Let’s start with the candleholder made from a clay pot and saucer.  I bought a couple of pots and saucers, acrylic paints, and a stencil. Don’t tell my Annie Sloan stockist, because this paint came from Michael’s. After sealing the pots and saucers with Mod Podge, I smooshed and smoothed Artisan Enhancements VP Antico through the stencil for a raised design.

My first pot replicated the black and gold Tuscan Candleholder of my inspiration photo, but my husband and son weren’t thrilled with the result. I liked it, but added another coat of gold paint for good measure. Better. More Mod Podge to seal the paint, then I glued the saucer to the pot with E6000 contact adhesive. I painted the second pot with a navy blue acrylic paint and brushed gold onto the raised design. The men liked this one. I placed 3 votive candles on each saucer. Christmas Decorations Candleholder These candleholders are intended to be a Grab-N-Go Gift item at our booth at Avonlea Antique Mall. We’ve all needed a quick gift, right? I added ribbon and a clip-on poinsettia and printed a sign to remind customers that if they need a gift right that minute, they’ve found it. Here is a hurried photo before we headed to the shop. DIY Christmas Decoration Candleholder Next up: an Autumn Banner provided by Andrea at The Cottage Market. I downloaded her letters and leaves, printed, and cut them out. My contribution was outlining the borders with gold glitter and stringing oyster-colored baby rick rack through the cards. Here’s how it looks on my front door. DIY Paper Cone Wreath and Autumn Banner The Autumn Banner and Christmas wreath look a bit excessive together, but stores jumble their holidays all the time. I am astonished, however, that my front door is the color of yellowed book pages.

Anyway,  I’ve made two wreaths and am grateful to Rebecca Robeson of Robeson Studio for her terrific video. The front door wreath came from a 1928 adventure book I bought for $2 at an estate sale. It’s big — 32″ in diameter. The process really isn’t hard, just labor intensive. And no one volunteered to help roll 120 cones per wreath.

You’ve already seen my second wreath at the top of this post. It’s a bit smaller and comes from a French – English Dictionary. While rolling my cones I learned that I can call this cone wreath Coronet de Papier, reaffirming that learning occurs anytime. After I rolled the cones I brushed Mod Podge on the tips and sprinkled gold glitter on them. Again, no volunteers. For the center, I added small Christmas balls and finished up with a Mardi Gras necklace that I brought back from The Big Easy. I cut the string over a large baking pan but still managed to have pearls rolling around the floor. And our kitties rejoiced. Paper Cone Wreath Before I leave, I want to show you a Pirate’s Play Table that I wrote about earlier. I’m just  putting it in our Booth now, but I’ve added ribbon, a pirate hat, and a Grab-N-Go Gift sign. I believe there’s a little pirate in town who can use this for his or her adventures. And I hope there’s a parent who will see this gift and snatch it up. Pirate Play Table Ann Marie and David

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Vintage End Table Converted to Luxurious Pet Bed

My son and I rescued another end table from an estate sale. Solid wood and weighing around a hernia, we found ourselves drawn to its intriguing carvings. Red Pet Bed Unpainted Unlike our earlier pet bed converted from an end table, we decided to leave the doors on because of the eternal pet debate: when company visits, should you close up your pet’s sleep space if you are able? Or should you leave it out because your pet is part of the family? I see it as a personal preference. This should have been a quick job but we ran into obstacles at every turn. It was very dirty. Every job begins with a thorough scrubbing using Simple Green cleaning solution. Inside and out, with sponge and a clear water rinse. A pet’s home should be pristine. Zinsser Shellac came next, exterior and interior, followed by a couple of coats of Annie Sloan’s Old White. We planned to have a white pet bed, but the dark wood and oils kept bleeding through.

Old White
Old White

We shellacked again over the Old White and opted for a stronger color: Emperor’s Silk, a  striking red.

Emperor's Silk
Emperor’s Silk

Once painted, David waxed the top. Big Red Flag: he forgot to put down the Clear Wax first; he just spread Dark Wax directly on the paint which darkened the piece far too much. Frustrated, he brought it to me and asked what was wrong. Luckily, I knew a simple solution to this problem. I simply erased the Dark Wax using Clear Wax. The technique is to dip a cloth into some Clear Wax that you’ve put on a palette and go to town. Over and over again until your cloth is brown with Dark Wax. I love Emperor’s Silk and it looks terrifically opulent with Dark Wax, but I always start with Clear Wax. Red Pet Bed 2 Next, I chose the wrong fabric for the upholstery. The red and white flannel matched the Emperor’s Silk but lacked the stiffness to make the fabric manageable. It took lots of time and patience to get the seams right and everything glued into place. But it looked like snug little home once I finished. Kind of like a logger’s warm flannel shirt. Red Pet Bed 1 Let’s just skip to the end. David nailed in the faux tacks to glitz it up and we added a new, cushy pet bed. Unfortunately we forgot to take an updated photo of the tacks outlining the flannel on the doors. The Dark Wax really emphasized the exterior carvings, and we used Rub N’ Buff on the hardware. Luxurious Red Pet Bed SOLD We carted the Luxurious Pet Bed to our shop at Avonlea Antique Mall and, within 48 hours, it went home to a lucky kitty or pup — just not this curious kitty. Her name is Starbuck and unlike this table she will be staying with us.

Ann Marie and David

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Glamorous Swans

Brass SwansThe large brass swans on the hearth called to me. Up to that point we had only acquired unique and unusual furniture to paint. But these tall swans looked amazing. I’ve seen them labeled Mid-Century Modern or Hollywood Regency style. They exuded glamour and personality despite a few dings. I couldn’t believe our luck and snatched them up. Unfortunately they were brass, extremely popular several decades ago, but not so in vogue these days. Real swans have an average lifespan of about 15 years, but these lovelies easily surpassed that and are still going strong. One thing was clear: time for a makeover. The day arrived when we settled the female, called a pen, into our car’s back seat, seat-belted her in, and headed for the beach. Lugging her into Mid-Life Crisis by the Beach — they are surprisingly heavy — I showed her to Pat. Mid-Life Crisis by the Beach If I haven’t described Pat before, she embodies enthusiasm, creativity and encouragement. A visit to her shop inevitably refreshes my spirit. We talked about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint colors and some new products from Artisan Enhancements. The eyes would be the key to this project, Pat advised. Make them regally Egyptian. In her enthusiasm, Pat picked up a brush and began painting an eye violet, then blue, soon adding eye shadow and black mascara. Just practicing.

Source: ladybutterbug.com
Source: ladybutterbug.com

Armed with inspiration, we headed home. Zinsser Shellac went on first because it just makes life easier. I started with the male swan, or cob, and mixed Artisan Enhancements’ Pearl Plaster with ASCP Pure White. I simulated feathers with long brush strokes. This was a strikingly different look from my previous time using Pearl Plaster when I gave a pair of elephants rough skin with Fine Stone and finished them up with a pearly shimmer. Studying the finished product, I decided the cob wasn’t pearly enough. I covered him with a thin coat of Pearl Plaster. It provided a lovely iridescent sheen. Painted Swan I applied a mixture of Old White and Arles to highlight their beaks. But the eyes. Ah, the eyes challenged me. When I know I must draw a straight line, my hand plays tricks. After failing to achieve the look I wanted, I turned to index cards and practiced with multiple brushes to get it right. Statistically, one has to achieve success eventually but it took me a while. The day finally came when I decided I was, in fact, satisfied with their eyes. I lightly brushed Pearl Plaster over them, using a cloth to wipe away any thickness. Painted Swans 1 The final step: finding a way to accentuate those long necks. Amanda, the floral designer at Michael’s was delightful. She found ribbon that matched the eyes, eye shadow, and snowy feathers, and created the beautiful bows. She suggested a nautical theme with a rope and strands of shells but I didn’t want to go in that direction. We agreed on the ivy, which she carefully arranged, and topped off with delicate white butterflies. And here they are. They’ve shed their outdated brassy coats and donned softer, fluffy feathers. Their eyes are so expressive and Amanda’s ivy and ribbons complete their  ensemble. They could hold their own at any red carpet event. Painted Swans 5 Painted Swans 3     Let us know what you think about the swans. If you’d like to receive our posts, just sign up below.

Ann Marie and David

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