Sunday, October 25, 2015

Bowls for the Michael Pinball Clemons Foundation Charity Gala

Bowls For Michael Pinball Clemons Foundation Charity Gala 

I'm not supposed to be posting on this blog any more, but I wanted to share my post about the Michael Pinball Clemons Foundation - I am very honored!  I was asked by a lovey woman named Kalla, if I would be interested in creating 50 world globe bowls (which will hold floral displays) for the upcoming Michael Pinball Clemons Foundation annual charity gala.  Of course, my answer is yes!!

To accommodate her request, I'm scrounging around for as many blue globes (reasonably priced and in decent condition) as possible.  I only need 3 more globes!  
Here's my pile so far (how's that for a lot of globes??)  

Do I feel badly - that I am cutting them up (some might even say destroying them?)....yes a bit.  

But for the most part, these are all slightly damaged (if not heavily damaged), and many of them were already coming apart at the seam.  ALL of them were gotten at thrift stores or garage sales. I will lovingly take them apart at the equator-seam.  Repair what I can (small holes, dents and bits of loose or missing surface paper), then sand them, attach them to bases, and paint their insides a lovely white.

These globes will live on - having new lives which will start the night of the Michael Pinball Clemons Foundation Charity Gala.  They will become lovely bowls that will hold flowers the night of the event.  And then from there, I'm guessing that at least a few (or perhaps all?) will end up going home with some of the gala patrons - where I'm hoping that they will enjoy their new lives in new homes.

For those of you whom do not know about the Michael Pinball Clemons Foundation (or, they were founded in 2005 by co-founders Michael "Pinball" Clemons and Natasha Borota. Based in Toronto, Ontario MPCF strives to reach the most under resourced individuals at home and around the world."

Their mission is to inspire hope and empowerment through philanthropy while being a conduit for accountability.
Their vision "is to quicken academic excellence, infuse depth of character, promote health and vitality and inspire philanthropy."
Their pillars "We believe that Character is the foundation of good citizenship.  Education is the catalyst of success and progress. Health is the foundation of vitality."

"MPCF is proud to support FREE THE CHILDREN in their quest to make our community, country and world a better place."

I am flattered to be asked to create something special which will hold a unique place of honor, and it is a privilege to be able to play a small part in the gala. 

Thank you Kalla for extending me the opportunity to be a part of your worthwhile charity event!  I hope it is a fabulous night filled with hope and success!

Rebecca (Becky) Wachtman
The florist beginning to work with the bowls

10/25/15 The bowls were all completed and sent off to Kalla.  They have been received and the florist is now working with them.  So excited to see pictures of the big event!!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Re-Covered Treasures Blog is Moving to

Hi Everyone,

I have been sadly lax in posting to this blog - thinking that I could manage multiple blogs while working full-time, being a parent & wife, and attempting to make and sell my artwork.  I could not!

I have had to do some serious soul-searching: Am I a crafter & maker, am I an artist, or am I something else?
A few of my pieces (which have all sold - including 1 to Australia!)

My current answer (although it may change) is that I WANT to be an artist who also enjoys being a crafter.   I LOVE creating new things - especially when using recycled materials.  I don't think I'll ever stop!!  However 2+ years ago I was introduced to silk painting, and it turned my whole world upside down.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!  And somehow I seem to have a bit of a talent for it (thank you God!).  So I am not stopping my posts, but instead I have been posting under my artist name at and I will continue to do so.  It started off as a way to advertise my artwork, but my posts have been evolving and are pretty much how I had been posting here.  

I'm NOT going to shut this site down and move it to my blog, but instead I will just leave it as-is (and will even continue to respond to comments and questions) and invite you to come visit me at my new blog.  

I will continue to make a variety (and sell a few) of crafts under my Re-Covered Treasures name via my Etsy store but new craft-related posts will appear on my Rebecca Wachtman blog.

Thank you all so much for your support over the years.  I have learned so much and have been amazed by the response I've received.  See you on!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Steamer update - tips and things to remember

The Tulip Tree
I finally found time to use my new steamer (mentioned in a previous post).  It worked pretty well.  I had used a new sort of insulation (which looks like bubble-wrap coated with a thin reflective lining).  The steamer did a fine job of creating steam and steaming my silk, but it ran cold.  I use it in the basement/garage (aka my studio!) and it's darned chilly down there.  SO I wrapped another layer of the bubble-wrap insulation around it and the heat rose by 20+ degrees...almost to what I need it to be.  Thankfully the dyes did fine (I did steam both sets about double the amount of time recommended).  You can see more of my paintings on my other blog:

I'm guessing that good'ol fiberglass blankets work better for insulation - but I really didn't want to mess with fiberglass (and I'm allergic, so I've no doubt it would not be fun for me to do so).  But the bubble-wrap-looking stuff worked well enough for me - so I'm happy.

FYI - if you do build your own steamer and choose one similar to mine, there are few things to be aware of so please note:

1) You probably only need a 4 foot tall one (I did 5 foot because it was a single piece of pipe - the 4 foot option requires 2 2-foot pieces plus a coupler to join them).  Taller means you can do longer pieces of silk.. but it ALSO means you need a higher ceiling so you have plenty of room to get your steaming bag full of artwork in and out of the pipe without bending it or touching the sides!  Thankfully the majority of my garage has pretty high ceilings (of course my first steaming was in the lower area - so lesson learned).

My home-made steamer
2) Putting pennies in my rice cooker/steamer did not help me hear when the water was running dry (I guess they were supposed to bounce around and make clinking-sounds when the water got low - but it did NOT work for me).
3) Make sure your steamer bag is a good deal narrower in diameter than the pipe!  I made 2 bags - 1 wide and 1 narrow.  The narrow one held plenty of silk plus gave me more wiggle room (since I'm in the garage and the floor is at a slight angle, the bag leaned to one side but still had room to hang-free from touching the sides!).

4) Using a pillowcase for the steamer bag was a super-easy way to create a steamer bag for cheap.  I purchased a king-size pillowcase from Goodwill.  I washed it immediately in HOT water and bleach(I have to admit, buying bedding that is used does somewhat creep me out because of all the bed bug horror stories).  I turned it inside out and measured out the width I wanted... sewed it up one side and then cut up the side next to the new seam...and steamer bag.  I also sewed the other part of the pillowcase up making a larger-sized steamer bag.  So 2 bags for the price of 1 pillowcase from goodwill (less than $2 in cost - or $1 a bag!). 

5) All of the videos and blogs I saw used a hollow pipe to roll the silks around... but most of them pulled the pipe out before steaming.  I used a round closet dowel-rod that I happened to have in the shop.  It worked great! 

6) I have BAGS of clean mover's newsprint.. but it's all wrinkled from being used for multiple moves.  It worked just fine for steaming silk.  You put down a couple of layers of newsprint (I used three)  then place your silk paintings on the newsprint leaving a minimum of 3 inches between the paintings -- or better yet, 1 painting then 3 more sheets of newsprint, then another painting, then three more newsprints...etc.  Supposedly you can do quite a few layers that way.  BUT I personally wouldn't want to over-load it.  So I did 3 news print, a painting, 3 newsprint, another painting, and then 3 more newsprints.  Roll carefully around the dowel (you do NOT want wrinkles in your silk - they will be permanently steamed in!) and tape closed.  slide the whole thing into your steaming bag, and then carefully pull the dowel out.  Close the steaming bag and then put a cap of aluminum foil on the bottom and around the top of the bag to protect it from splashes and drips...and steam according to the dye or paint directions.

7) Don't leave the steamer unattended!  I stayed in my studio and did other things while the steamer was on.  And I'm glad I stayed!  I assumed I would hear the pennies  - but did not... And you have to be VERY careful when checking your steamer because you don't want to bump it and accidentally have the steaming bag inside swing and hit the inside wall of the pipe - water condensation from the steam would ruin your painting!!  Anyways, my steamer ran dry and I smelled something odd and noticed the temperature was seriously dropping - and that was my clue that I desperately needed more water in the steamer.

8) Have a way to get boiling water into your steamer WITHOUT having to remove the pipe!  I have a pretty large hole (about 4 inches wide) near the base of the pipe.  I keep it covered with insulation, but can remove the insulation to check the water level - and to add more water...although I needed a watering can to do so (my tea kettle just doesn't have a long-enough spout)!  It's best to add boiling water to your steamer rather than cool water because it will take a long time to heat up and you want to keep your silks steaming steadily.

9) I'm sure I mentioned a thermometer in my previous steamer post, but it is SUPER handy to have one in your pipe!  I had a hole just large enough for my digital thermometer to fit in - and I made sure to have a hole in all the layers of my insulation as well (which I marked with duct tape so I wouldn't loose the hole!).  I left the thermometer in the pipe the entire time I was steaming.. and every-so-often I would turn it on and check the temperature.  It was very nice to have it!

10) This probably goes without saying - but STEAM IS HOT!!  THE PIPE IS HOT!!  Yes, you could potentially burn yourself!  So please use caution and some sort of protection for your hands- (and maybe your eyes ) is advisable.  And along the safety notes - the taller the pipe, the easier it is to tip over!  I say this because YES, I managed to knock mine over - thankfully it was at the end of the steaming cycle... but still - scary!  Unbelievably, nothing broke!  It fell and hit a floor lamp, which fell and hit a table lamp, which fell and hit the floor.  But nothing broke. Not even the glass lid from the steamer that I covered in a towel (to help catch drips).  I was lucky - this time!   And I do NOT want to experience that again!

Do I have more tips - probably.... but having expounded at length.. I'm ready for bed! 
If you have any questions, please let me know!  I'd be happy to chat more. :)