I've always really, really wanted one of those little blow-mold plastic lamps - a rabbit, maybe, or a pair of glowing red mushrooms. These lamps, sold here, and here (and often spotted in beautiful French children's rooms) are a little bit pricey and also hard to come by in the U.S., so I'm still without one.
But when I spotted this swan at the antique mall last week (with a very small price tag) a little flash went off in my brain. I could have my own blow-mold lamp. A big one! A swan!
And you can have one, too! These swans are just planters, and they are still being manufactured by Union Products.
You only really need two things to make it:
- The planter, which you can order via Amazon or elsewhere online (you might also check your local home and garden store - they might carry this kind of novelty planter.) There is also a goose, a penguin, and other things, if one of those is more your speed. Or maybe search Ebay for old blow-mold curiosities?
- A cord kit, the kind used for those hanging paper lanterns. There are lots of them here (again) or maybe you have one already? Just pay attention to what kind of light bulb it takes - some take candelabra bulbs, some take 40 w bulbs.
Since these are planters, they will probably have a
hole (for drainage) somewhere near the backside. If the hole isn't
large enough to pass the pronged end of the cord through, I found it was
easy to enlarge it with a long lighter and a screwdriver. I warmed up
the plastic, and it was easy to make the hole as large as necessary (although I did feel a little bit horrible brutalizing the poor swan with the screwdriver.)
I nestled the light in a glass jam jar, so the bulb wouldn't rest against (and likely melt) the plastic. You could also just pile a string of white fairy lights in there. That's what I did at first, and it looked lovely - I just wanted a bit more light.
So happy to finally have a little glowing animal for company in my studio. A swan is not a rabbit, but I love them just as much!
*** Updated: There was some concern raised in the comments about my ramshackle lamp-making, and I want to encourage everyone to tinker with their own lighting particulars (for instance, in V.2 of my own lamp, I think I'll use a wooden block secured to the light's base to suspend the bulb in mid-air.)
Most importantly, whatever route you go - never use one of these (totally unapproved-by-safety-commissions) lamps unattended!
An important thing to consider, definitely.
If one decides to make this little experimental project, there are
many items you might use to shield the plastic mold from the light, ie:
you might build a simple base for the bulb so that it doesn't come in
contact with the surrounding plastic.
As glass is a relatively poor conductor of heat, it seemed like a good place to start in my tinkering.
Regardless, I will never use it unattended, and I certainly suggest everyone else do the same!
I'm excited to say that most of the new paintings (Lillian & Licorice, Costume Party, etc) are now available as prints in the shop, along with this new pin set!
I am crazy over these four little guys - they bring out the crazy cat lady in me:
I hope you fancy these dapper little kittens, too! I think these little brown floral pin-packets will make the sweetest stocking-presents, so I wanted to have have them in plenty of time for the holidays.
PS: What do you think of a set similar to this with pups on it?
October was lovely (and I'm sorry to see her go!) but November is off to a nice start so far!
There's a whole bunch of new wearables coming to the shop...and some old favorites, too!
I love seeing how the tiny prints look underneath that beautiful glassy little dome of resin, in their pretty brass frames. (This is just a peek, but I'll let you know very soon exactly when they will be available for order in the shop!)
I have been so excited to reveal that my collaborator, the lovely locket lady, Lori (alliteration!) & I have been scheming & dreaming up a new collection behind the scenes. Finally, the Lost on the Midway pieces (and a few other newbies) have beeen miniaturized!
I've even redesigned the packaging for the Fancy Wearables, so they're the sweetest and nicest possible little art lockets you're ever likely to find.
I'm just so jazzed about these little guys, and I wanted to be sure I got them into the shop sooner rather than later so they'd be order-able for Christmas...
At long last, Black Apple recipe cards: I've wanted to make these for so long, and I finally promised myself that I'd make them in time for this holiday season. I think they'll be so sweet as stocking presents, and a good little extra something to give with a cookbook or a kitchen gadget!
The dancin' food & friends in the "Kitchen Party" set come 15 to a packet, and they come to you tied up in peppermint string with a funny little strawberry card on top.
Fair warning, though: they're reeeally easy to give away. Kind of dangerously easy. I keep wanting to tuck them into letters and packages and give them all away to my pals! They're just so small and cute.
Get your dancing apples and cupcakes and milk cartons in the shop now!
The last week was such an insane flurry of catch-up from Thanksgiving and trying to stay on top of all the holiday orders (for which I'm very grateful), we've been so happy to catch our breaths this weekend. I've got some cinnamon roll dough rising right now, and only a few things on my to-do list for this Sunday afternoon.
As much fun as all the hustle and bustle can be, the moments of calm in the month of December are so dear and lovely!
Since Renegade SF is getting really close, I thought I'd do some sneak-peeks of the new things I've been scheming up that I'll be debuting at the fair. There will be new things to see here every day til' Saturday!
First things first, a whole slew of new pinback button sets (including a new packaging style):
The big, super-deluxe button set debuting is the Midway pack:
Of course, all of these new odds + ends will be added to the shop when we're back, so don't worry if you're not going to happen to be in San Francisco this weekend!
The Midway Postcard sets are the largest ever (15 cards + envelopes!) and I just added them to the shop!
They are boxed up this time (rather than packaged in a sleeve as usual) because it's such a big set. They look very fancy that way! And the printing is wonderful - every single one is a beautiful, tiny reproduction of the painting it comes from.
I know a lot of folks have been waiting for these, and I'm happy they're assembled and ready to go now.
I've been keeping these two new Fancy Wearables designs under wraps for a while now, but I think the time is right to release them. I'm crazy about how these two turned out, and I can't hoarde them and keep them all to myself. Therefore, I've made the Little Red Locket and Anatomical Heart Locket available for their debut.
Small quantities of each new locket are now available in the shop!
Little Red, in the dainty "book-style" locket:
And the mysterious Anatomical Heart locket in the sweet round setting:
PS: So fun nerding out about Daria yesterday...I had a feeling there would be lots of other fans here.
I've been thinking about tags for my dolls for a long time, but in the last few months I really buckled down to designing one. It's just back from the printers, and I'm so happy.
They're made to look like tiny storybooks:
And when you open them up, this is what you see:
You will probably remember this little painting from a few posts back (and there are notecard sets arriving with the same image very soon!). I can't wait to tie these little tags onto many, many future soft-things.
We went out of town rather suddenly for a family obligation on the Easterly coast, but today we're back and I'm back to working on my June show and all the usual Black Apple things. I'm always so excited to get back to work (which, methinks, is a sure sign that I indeed have a lovely job).
This sassy new mini-button set was just added to the shop, along with a beautiful, large limited edition print of Heart and Key on watercolor paper! I knew I had to offer that image in a larger size - it helps show off the details.
I've got a some good things up my sleeves for the next few weeks (a shop event, a restock of Fancy Wearables, and some bunny-themed dolls + originals!), so stop by again soon!
For now, Happy Friday to you!
Tonight we're off to see Ryan's new show, and the the long-awaited Mr. Burton's Alice (I've been carefully reserving judgment and avoiding reviews 'til I see it for myself).
UPDATE: The Valentines are not sold out - they're in the shop...never fear! I wasn't able to add more to Etsy until this afternoon.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Valentines for Anytime!
I say that love notes are for 12 months out of the year.
I revamped the Anytime Valentines for 2010 and created a set of 18 vintage school-days-style cards (like Black Apple-ish versions of the ones you'd
exchange with classmates). I love those Valentines, and I wanted so badly to create something similar. I remember excitedly reading ones from the special someones of 3rd grade, certain that the "You're #1" with a picture of a GI Joe really meant something - not that the kid's mom had probably just dutifully written a name at random. What a thrill!
Designing this set, I knew they had to be petite, and they had to have neat vintage-style packaging. The inserts echo a package of erasers I have from the 60's that has this perfect, simple red band at the top. The backing cards are sweet peppermint stripes.
They are offset printed on 2"x4" smooth, matte notecards with a
small "to/from" area and fancy red scalloped edging on the back
(leaving room for inside jokes and loving declarations).
I recommend these for:
-Slipping into someone's wallet -Leaving in somebody's work space/laptop -Enclosing in lunches for little ones -Including in bigger letters as a little extra surprise
My new "Thank You" enclosures are back from the printers, and I am very happy.
So happy that I am extra, extra glad I also had this item for the shop up my sleeve:
Little ten-packs of "Thank You Kindly" cards, newly available in the shop! The Black Apple has never offered official Thank You notes before, so I'm very excited about this.
This is a set of 10 petite folded notecards and envelopes,
each measuring in at a dainty 3.5"x5" (when folded).
The cards are
offset printed with soy inks out-of-house on heavy, 100% recycled
stock, which has a sophisticated satin finish. Each
set arrives complete with 10 simple, pretty, perfectly-matching
matching white envelopes.
I love the size of these (Josiah likened them to a cassette tape). I've already issued some of my Christmas notes of gratitude on them, and I'm certain I will be squirrelling away a hefty stack to keep all to myself.
Since it's the new year and all, I've been freshening up the Black Apple shop odds & ends. It is kind of scary how much this sort of work still delights me! So far, I've got a new shop banner up, two kinds of new shipping labels on the way, and a new order enclosure I created up last week.
It will be the new postcard "thank you" that is included with all of our orders:
I just love 'em! I'm going to be watching the porch for that package every day til' it's here.
I've been doing a bunch of work for the book with gouache, and I hadn't since art school. But I really do like it, persnickety a medium as it is, so I used it when I painted the card the other day.
Totally unrelated, but last night we saw the long-awaited Dr. Parnassus! I loved the look of so much of it, and I was thrilled with how much fantastic Waits-age there was (I hadn't wanted to get my hopes up too much, because I feared it might be one of those things where his appearance is hyped up, but he's only really in the movie for 2 minutes). He was wonderful - a reason to see the movie for certain. Also, their collapsing stage contraption from the first half of the film is one of the most beautiful things I've ever laid eyes on. Like an ornate Victorian paper theater, but enormous...and with glittering actors and a whole grove of paper trees. And speaking of paper theaters, one of those makes an appearance, too (but much later). There were so many beautiful sights, costumes, and details, it was well worth getting through some of the "wacky" parts that I associate with Mr. Gilliam but didn't love so much.
The new collection of Fancy Wearables is now available in the shop!
(EDIT: The lion's share of the collection has now sold out - there are a few pretty little dancin' bears available at the time of this update, but that's all. Thank you so much for the fantastic response and for taking such a shine to this hodgepodge of lockets and brooches!)
Here's a peek at more images of the pieces - check the individual listings for even more.
Small lockets - Dancing Bear, Little Bee, and Bear Cameo
Deluxe Round Lockets - Nurse Effie & Stella
Deluxe Oval Lockets - Ava, The Beekeeper and Snow Rose & Bear
Oval Brooches - Goodbye to the School & Escape From the Black Forest
Each piece is a limited edition, available in limited quantities. I'm so thrilled with the response to these! Thank you!
Remember when I said I had some more good gift-y things coming to the shop soon?
Well, I'm ready to share what I was elusively referring to - A new collection of jewels (Fancy Wearables, if you please) just in time for Christmas!
The images included in this collection are: The Beekeeper, Ava, Snow Rose & Bear, Nurse Effie, Stella, Escape from the Black Forest, Goodbye To The School, Little Bee, Bear Cameo, and Dancing Bear.
Like with the last collection, these are the product of a collaboration betwixt myself and the wonderful Lori (her craftsmanship is incomparable, and I couldn't ask for a better partner in creating pretty things)!
Also like last time, there will be limited quantities of each piece available for purchase.
I'll be adding them to the shop tomorrow (Wednesday) around 10:00 am Pacific - and I'll make a second post with more photos when the collection become available.
In full disclosure, these are (as I think I already said in my last post) some of my favorite things I've ever had in the shop. Seriously, top-three material.
I am so crazy-excited to share this new notebook set, "Little Red + Wolfboy"!
Now in the shop & perfect for gift-giving and stocking-filling!
Here are the specs:
-They come packaged up neatly bundled together with a pretty printed paper band
-Each notebook measures 5"x7", saddle-stitched, and filled with a just-right 48 pages.
-The cover is sturdy recycled chipboard, and the interior is a white, recycled medium-weight paper
-The covers are offset printed with Pantone soy inks in white, black, and tomato-red.
When we picked these up last week, I just lost it (with happiness). Josiah did, too. So did our printer (at least a little bit, right Austin?). We were all just kind of standing around grinning from ear to ear, marveling at the printing magic that occurred with this project.
Truly, working with the illustrious Pinball Publishing is always a fantastic experience (there is no business more friendly, clever, generous, or professional). And we've made some veryradthingstogether. But the stars just aligned with these, and I think we are both really, really proud of every aspect of these little notebook sets.
The Beekeeper & Ava Large-format prints Edition size of 50
Each print measures 11"x14", including a sliver of border for framing/ Printed on a watercolor 400 gsm textured paper. Printed out-of-house with archival pigment inks by a specialty Giclee printing house. In the shop now!
Over the next few weeks, I'll be stocking the shop with brand-new items that: A.) I'm terribly excited about! B.) Will make for a lovely range of gifts.
These new limited edition large prints would make for very elegant presents, while the smaller items I'll be unveiling next week will make the best stocking-stuffers. And it's taking everything I have not to share those today. They are some of my favorite things ever to be in the ol' shop! Seriously, ever.
Oh! And two things I wanted to post here, one that wants to give you a very excellent discount, and the other needs your help because of a band of varmints:
- I got an email from Chronicle yesterday, letting me know about their annual Friends & Family Holiday Sale. Until December 4th, you can take 35% off all on-line orders from their website. Just use promo code: FRIENDS at checkout. That's a nice little deal! - The lovely ladies at Worn Fashion Journal (who interviewed me oh-so-long-ago!) have been struck by some serious bandits - you can read about it here. They're accepting donations to help keep them on their feet, so if you're a fan of what they do, you can send a little something via Paypal, however modest.