Monthly Archives: January 2014

Recycled Wooden Puzzle Mini Shrines


Image One of the goals I have made is to use as many as possible of the arts and crafts supplies that I have accumulated in the past 10 years. I began making things and selling them around 2003 or 2004, when I would stop by the Pier One Clearance store on my way home fromwork. There, I amassed a large inventory of frames and coasters and other clearance itemImages to recycle. From there, I made regular stops at Hobby Lobby, JoAnn Fabrics, Walmart, and Party City.

One day, I was in JoAnn Fabrics and looking through the dollar bins at the cash register.  I had seen these little mazes before, but that day I had an idea.  First, I bought one, brought it home and checked to see if the plastic cover would pop off.  It did, with the help of a finger nail file. So, I went back to JoAnn’s and bought more. They were 50 cents apiece. There were some with safari animals on them, but they were still $1.00 each. So I spent a bit of time sorting through the puzzles and bought 83 of them.

The project I had in mind was to make them into mini shrines!  I had saved a lot of scraps from the Alexander Henry fabric I use to make into larger shrines and crosses. I hate to throw away scraps, because you never know when you can use those little pieces. I measured and cut around the head of one of the Guadalupes to use in the boxes.  First step was to asImagesign each Virgin head to a puzzle. Then, I painted the boxes in a variety of colors, each matching the Guadalupe inside.

I used two coats of paint, and when the mini shrines had dried, I glued the fabric to the puzzle, and went over the images with Mod Podge. I used glitter glue to line the image, and to keep any stray threads down. Then I put some mini paper roses at the base of the picture and let the whole thing dry. I put the plastic cover back on them, which was not as difficult as popping them off. The only thing added since I took the photo above are a few more glitter glue dots on the outside of the frame – it looked like it needed something.

I decided to put something on the backs of the shrines, so that they could stand alone.  The Imagebacks were cut from a holographic folder, one of many I bought at WalMart for use “someday”.  My challenge was to not put too much in the shrines, as they are so small. I am not sure about the holographic paper on the back – I may skip that in the future. Finally, I put clear glossy Mod Podge on the outside to protect the paint.

A long time ago, Target had a special Peter Max line of wrapping paper. I have been a fan of his for years and years, and I particularly loves the hearts. I bought up quite a bit of the wrapping paper, but my favorite is the one with small blocks made of his hearts. I have used them to decorate many things, but I still have quite a few left. Hoarding? I wouldn’t say that… I also have a wonderful cardboard panel that used to decorate the display. My sister acquired it for me when they were taking the display down. It is still up in my studio. For the moment, that is the closest I will come to owning a Peter Max…

ImageSpeaking of pop art… I have also been a fan of George Rodrigue and his Blue Dog. I come from Lafayette, and he was also from the area. He used to play bourre with my father, and when he opened his restaurant, The Blue Dog Cafe, my dad went and stood in line to have the limited edition “teddy bear” dog poster signed. My mother is an artist and was very active in the Lafayette Art Association. She was acquainted with George since he was painting Cajuns in front of oak trees. I was sad to hear of his passing, and happen to have a lot of his art… on note cards and calendar prints.

My favorite Blue Dog treasure story involved a trip to Montreal and Quebec with my mother. I believe it was in 1998 – right after I returned to Atlanta after living and going to grad school at ULL (University of Louisiana – Lafayette). I was walking down the street in Montreal and there was a sidewalk salesman selling large calendars with Blue Dog prints – I could not believe that I bought all 75 calendars for about $1.00 or $1.75 US dollars. I gave a lot of them to my Dad, who sold them. I gave one each to two of my friends. At the height of their popularity, they went for $350 on eBay. Amazing.

The little Blue Dog shrine above was made with an image cut from a note card I bought to frame. It was just an experiment. I do not plan on putting it up in my shop, but I might make some more. If you are interested in one, please contact me.

The First Steps – A New Beginning


the first step quote

I am using this quote to kick off a new era of Maison Celeste. It has been so long since I have blogged regularly. I am learning that there have been so many improvements in the land of blogging and website building. I planned on getting started sooner, but life has intervened. The divorce took so much longer to finalize than I had anticipated, and it was a very expensive and soul crushing process. It was a move that was vital for my mental well being, but it cost me a lot.

Part of the reason I have not written is that I was having a hard time thinking of positive things to write about. I was told by my creativity coach, Kathy Cano-Murillo, to keep posts upbeat. I was not feeling upbeat. As usual, I began the school year thinking that I knew what I would be teaching. And, as happened every year since 2008, there has been a change to my teaching schedule. I am obviously over certified. So, school was not feeding my inspiration as it has in the past.

The big bright spot in all of this is that I have become reacquainted with the place where I consider my hometown. That would be Lafayette, Louisiana. I visited every month for the past few years, with trips to New Orleans interspersed between those trips. I have fallen in love again with the culture of Acadiana. Lafayette has changed so much since I lived there in 1997. Since then, it has been awarded The South’s Tastiest Town, The Best Food Town, and The Best Overall City in America… Business is booming and Cajun cuisine is getting the recognition it deserves. And it’s not too far from New Orleans!

I wanted to move back to Lafayette over the summer, but circumstances made that impossible. So, now I am announcing my intention to move there this summer. There is so much to do. I plan to put my townhouse on the market, but not until I have vacated it, save for some of the large furnishings. In order to do that, I need to pack up or use up or get rid of a LOT of stuff. I have been accumulating art and craft supplies for years, and many of those are unused and in my garage and studio.

The other challenge is that the townhouse I plan to share with my new guy is much smaller than the one I live in now. So that doubles the need to lighten up. The plan, as I proposed it to Kathy last summer, is to write about the items I have. I want to revisit the moment when I though it was a good idea to buy 200 paper mache bells (they were 8 cents apiece…) or 500 mini photo albums with NASCAR drivers on them (10 cents apiece…). I will then decide if the project I planned with those things can come to fruition in the present. If so, I will make things and sell them on my Etsy site. If not, I will get rid of them.

I know this was a bit choppy, but I just needed to write something. This is the first step.