Hello, and welcome back to Old Raven Creates.
This has been quite the February here in Boise, Idaho. We have had piles of snow and buckets of rain all month long, and I guess it’s only fitting that today, the last day of February, it’s pouring down rain again with snow visible just a few hundred feet up on the foothills which I can see from my windows.
But the weather has given me plenty of time to work in my craft room and my Spirit House / Memory Shrine is now finished.
Let me catch you up on the finishing steps – filling the house with treasures!
I’ve done quite a few projects that were in a house shape. For the ones that have attics, I just can’t seem to help myself, I always want to tuck in a bird’s nest. The dual symbology of house and nest are powerful messengers of love and home.
I found a Vintage bird die cut from one of Tim Holtz Ephemera packs that fit the back wall of the attic perfectly.
I always keep a stash of bird nests and eggs in various sizes. These items are what I’d call a staple craft supply.
Three tiny eggs, two hot glued in the nest and one sitting out on the ledge to pique your interest and have you looking deeper into the attic where you can catch a glimpse of the bird in the back. That’s it for the attic – I like how the decor of this little house has started out.
Next is the main portion of the house cabinet. Just digging around through some of my stash drawers brought me to this doll. She’s a Vintage Story Book doll that I found at a second hand store for a couple of bucks. But her size and age are just right for it to fit into my little house. The craft paper she’s standing on is going to be the ‘wallpaper’ on the back wall. I’ve done nothing to this paper yet, that’s just how it came – already loaded with age and ‘distressed’ goodness.
Once I cut the paper to size and before gluing, I went all around the edges with Coffee archival ink to give those fresh cut white edges a quick patina of age.
See how well the doll fits in there, perfect.
And even though her hair was in pretty bad shape, I just groomed it back as best I could, used a dot or two of hot glue to hold what was left of her hair in place and covered the bald spot in front with some Vintage rhinestones salvaged from being a decoration on a piece of fabric. The threads are still there, sticking out from the rhinestone mounts, but I like the effect and left them ‘as is’ when I glued them onto the doll.
I don’t care much about the back aspect of this doll. She will eventually be glued permanently in place and only her front side will be visible.
Yea! As I was working the sun made (a brief) appearance and when I turned around in my chair to sort through my stash(s) for another bit of ephemera – I discovered Smokey had quietly joined me in my work. But there’s always time for a quick pet and purr.
The same paper for the back wall is used to line the drawer. Again, I ran a smudge of Coffee all around to make it look appropriately old before gluing it in.
I’m a slow crafter, I think. I follow other blogs where these folks are just whizzing through their projects. Not only do they remember to take pictures of each and every step (which sadly, I’m famous for NOT doing) they seem to be able to wrap it all up in a day. Oh well, progress IS being made and I like that paper in there.
Vintage/Antique lace is another item I have a drawer full of. Though this piece was too pristine. A few spritz of Distress Spray Stain in Antique Linen fixed that.
Starting to get a nice warm homey feel in this little room. Lace will do that quicker than almost any other craft supply I know of and quickly and easily, too.
Okay, maybe I’m starting to catch on as to why it takes me so long to finish a project – but a walk in the woods always seems to help the subconscious crafter in me come up with the perfect idea for the project. And, Bella, my black beauty is very social and is one happy dog when she gets to meet with her best friend Budder for a romp and a game of tug a war. After a long shot of cool clean air I’m ready to dive back in and finish up.
More salvaged lace will get cut, ‘aged’ and glued, in this case, on the floor of the main section.
I recently found a bag of old buttons at the 2nd hand store for $5. It’s not like I didn’t already have a drawer full of old buttons, but for me it’s like playing the lottery for $5. You just never know what you’re going to win.
I have to take a moment and sort through the bag, separating out all the old mother of pearl buttons and any other unique button or mystery finds that might be hidden in here.
This was a pretty good score of MOP buttons and off to the right is some Antique boot buttons, collar studs including one with a real diamond center, some glass beads, a Big Mac snap (from a pair of old overalls), a spent ball from a black powder gun and a tiny child’s buckle. Like I said, you never know.
But MOP buttons are another one of those perfect accents that carry home, hearth and long ago time in each of their small and endlessly unique shapes.
It was easier to lay the house on it’s side while I found the right placement for the four MOP buttons in graduating sizes. I wanted them to look like treasured decorative plates on the wall. I used hot glue to hold them on permanently.
And, of yeah, I forgot to mention earlier. An old Military Band Concert die cut from TH’s ephemera was a small but colorful pick for the back wall.
It used to be, you could find these photo mounts everywhere but now, no one has photos any more and these old paper mounts have become Vintage ephemera. Another craft stash regular for me which I collect in all different shapes and sizes. These make wonderful little ‘frames’ to accent a tiny picture. The right is plain and the left has undergone the “age” technique.
Little details = big overall picture LOVE. The pic is from TH Vellum Ephemera pack and it’s adorable with the boy in his cap holding his dog.
I’m pulling out all my favorite Vintage stash pieces for this project. Pearls! Anytime I can pick up a string of old pearls cheap I grab them up. Back in the day, every young lady was given a string to welcome her into womanhood. Many of these pearls were made of glass and coated with a ‘pearl’ finish like the ones above. Over time the coating begins to chip or rub off and those are the ones I really like.
A line of pearls gives a rich but subtle definition to a wall or edge adding shape and texture without adding too much color or distraction.
Hot glue or Tacky glue works good to keep them in place. This small space is becoming a comfortable little room of memories.
A small bouquet of Antique silk flowers gets tucked into the corner. I like to soften my corners, especially the lower/floor back corners. It seems to help take the eye away from ‘measuring’ the space to simply ‘being’ in the space and enjoying the scene.
And with that in mind, I added another short string of smaller pearls running from the left corner to the edge of the flowers. Much better.
These kind of projects are always about layering. There were a number of items that went in as ‘possibles’ but didn’t make the cut. The right thing in the right place always just feels “right”, so don’t be afraid to take the time to test a few pieces before settling on one. And I was constantly popping the doll in and out to make sure things looked good and still fit with her in the picture.
I found this old hook, part of a Vintage hook and eye set, in the button bag. I used hot glue to mount it in place but I also added a touch of Verdigris embossing powder to make it look like it had been on the wall a long time. In the end I’ll hang a tiny silver heart from it. This wall turned into a little shrine of its own for dolly’s boyfriend in the picture.
Also, this picture shows a good example of three different textures/colors in one little room. I put ‘wallpaper’ on the back wall and left the side walls as just chipped paint and then finished the floor with a bit of ‘rug’. Back in the old days it was frequently the case that there was enough money to wallpaper a main wall in the house but to do the entire house was out of the question, financially. And many a home had a few area rugs over plain wood floors.
I was a bit uncertain how I wanted to finish the drawer so I saved it for last. Part of me wanted to add treasures in here just like the rest of the house, but part of me wanted to give the final owner of this little house a place to save a piece or two of their own treasures. Answer: I added a bit of pretties and left most of the drawer open.
Two little paper posy bunches were aged and glued down and topped with a large old plastic button. Yes, I got my money’s worth from that button bag! Another bit of ephemera from TH’s pack was cut to size and glued in the back of the drawer.
One final touch, though. A decorative stick pin is about to get a smudge of permanent ink.
Just enough to highlight the definition molded into the leaf. Using a pair of wire cutters, I shorten the shaft of the pin until it will fit into the posies under the button.
And we’re done! This was a really fun journey for me. Finding the old doll in my stash was the turning point – the moment I knew which direction this little house would be taking. This finished project has a soft comfort to it that speaks of simple times, sweet love and home.
This item is now listed in my online shop, Old Raven, on the Etsy platform:
And if you would like to go straight to the listing, follow the link below:
And here are the final pictures:
Thank you for riding along with me – it’s always fun to journey with friends!
Until next time, Kriss