Little Book of Ancestors

I recently took Laly Mille’s online class, Little Book of Whispers, a beautiful class in which she teaches you how to make a mixed media artist book connecting to the whispers of your soul. I chose to make my book into a little book of ancestors.

I embellished the pages with scraps of vintage lace and doilies, ribbons, buttons, and sewing ephemera, many of which belonged to my ancestors. I also used vintage greeting cards from my collection, Victorian decoupage scraps, pressed flowers from my garden, pages from old music books, fabric, and pieces of broken jewellery.

Between the covers of this little book lie the whispers of my ancestors.

To learn more about Laly Mille’s class, Little Book of Whispers, click here. The class is only available to join at certain times of the year, but you can get on the wait list to learn when the next class is open for registration. I urge you to take a look at her website www.lalymille.com where you will find lots of beautiful mixed media art and inspiration.

The House in Wattle Lane, the second book in my Wattle Lane series, also delves into ancestry and connecting to whispers of the past.

When 29-year-old Neave Hamlin is made redundant from her job in the city, she decides to return to the small town of Kerrigan to consider her future and to reconnect with her estranged father and half-siblings. However, she soon learns that being part of a family is not always easy as she struggles to cope with the emotional dramas of her 14-year-old, half-sister, Lily, who insists that the old family home is haunted, and a less than welcoming stepmother.

After attending a heritage scrapbooking class, Neave is inspired to learn more about the lives of her ancestors. While searching for the truth behind a dark family secret, she discovers that sometimes unearthing the past can shine a light on the future.

The House in Wattle Lane includes recipes.

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Scrappy Cupcake Angels, book one in the Wattle Lane novels, introduces you to some of the other characters who live in the small New Zealand town of Kerrigan, several of whom also make an appearance in The House in Wattle Lane.

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Valentine’s Art Journal Page

Amore

I have had this wonderful vintage postcard in my collection for a while now and thought it would be perfect to use on a Valentine’s Day project. I began by layering and handstitching together pretty fabrics and lace as a frame for the postcard. For the background I did some stenciling, inked around the edges of the page, then added some washi tape, buttons, ribbon and paper hearts. A little tag with a sentiment and a tiny paperclip finished it off.

Ancestor Christmas Ornaments

Originally posted on Wattle Lane

Ancestor Christmas OrnamentsWe often think of our dearly departed at Christmas time and wish they were with us to join in the family festivities. These little ornaments were fun to make, using scraps and bits and pieces from my craft supplies. I used copies of old photographs of my great-aunt and my aunt, who are no longer around to share the festive season with us, but by hanging these ornaments on the tree, it feels as though they are a part of our Christmas. You can even use vintage photographs of ancestors whom you’ve never met. Hang the ornaments from the branches among the other decorations and turn your Christmas tree into a living family tree.

Ancestor Christmas Ornament2I made these ornaments by gluing squares of burlap to cardboard, then adding random touches of gesso and acrylic paints around the edges. I adhered the photos to corrugated cardboard and placed them on the burlap. Next I added scraps of vintage lace doilies, buttons, ribbon, wooden stars, beads, and embellishments. Once I was happy with the layouts, I glued everything down. I printed sentiments onto paper, added a few random splashes of colour and adhered them to the ornaments. Then I punched holes through the tops, attached ribbon, and they’re ready to hang on the tree or across the mantle.

Ancestor Christmas Ornament1I also made one of our beloved Cody, who passed away three years ago, but is always in our hearts and minds.

Christmas ornament1

The Gypsy-rose Tea Museum

In the weekend we visited the Gypsy-rose Tea Museum in Taradale. As a tea lover, I was enthralled by the huge range of tea memorabilia, from antique Victorian hot water urns, to models of tea clippers, vintage tea mugs, and knitted tea cosies. There was such a lot to look at and the curator provided interesting snippets of information about many of the items as we looked around. If you live in the area, or are planning a trip to Hawke’s Bay, I definitely recommend a visit to the tea museum.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

Victorian teapots 1880-1900

Miniature teapot

English pewter samovar 1875

English hot water urn 1810

Victorian tea caddy 1890

Vintage tea caddies

Later, at home, I got out my vintage copy of Foulsham’s Tea-cup Fortune Telling, made a pot of tea, enjoyed a cuppa, then read my fortune. My tea leaves formed a whimsical little cat in the bottom of the cup. The book states that the cat usually shows treachery or deception, but if the cat is distinguished in a resting position, near the handle and at the top of the cup, it shows domestic comfort. I think I will go for the last one, as my cat looked very joyful and content, and I definitely feel in a state of domestic comfort.

Vintage Easter Cards

Vintage Easter Cards

I thought I would share with you a few Easter cards from my vintage card collection. The Italian card at the bottom was posted in 1943 from a father stationed in Italy during the Second World War to his young daughter in New Zealand. The others aren’t dated so I’m not sure exactly how old they are. If you click on the image, you can see a larger picture and read the greeting.

vintage Easter card

vintage Easter card

vintage Easter card

vintage Easter card

vintage Easter card

vintage Easter card

Vintage Christmas Cards

I have been collecting vintage greeting cards for three or four years now, browsing antique shops, visiting stamp and postcard shows, and poring through boxes of old cards when the Cartophilic Society fair visits our local town. I love the vintage pictures of a bygone era, and the handwritten sentiments inside or on the back of the cards.

 

vintage Christmas cards

The oldest one I have, that is dated, is a Christmas postcard from 1907. Wonderful to see how the women are dressed!

vintage Christmas card

 

I have a collection of Easter, birthday, Christmas, and New Year cards sent from a father, stationed in Italy during the Second World War, to his daughter back home in New Zealand. I think it is so lovely that his daughter kept the cards all these years.

vintage greeting cards

 

Postcards were hugely popular in the early twentieth century, when improved printing technology meant that high-quality colour images could be mass-produced cheaply, and postcards were cheap to send. For a few years, postcards replaced the earlier, elaborate, Victorian-style Christmas cards. Sometimes the postcard would show a portrait of the sender, along with a festive greeting.

 

vintage Christmas cards

 

By the 1920s, the traditional folding Christmas card and envelope had returned.

vintage Christmas cardsI save a lot of my own cards that I receive and wonder if, one day, many years from now, future generations will look at them with fondness and feelings of nostalgia for a time gone by.