Inspiration Mash-Up.  Putting together the new window.

I can't believe four months have passed since my last blog post.  (so much for that resolution of keeping up to date on the postings ;) lol. 

Since the last time we spoke I guess a lot has kept me busy.   I enjoyed some time off with my family, worked dilligently on updation my bridal selections and I officially launched my new Ginkgo Collection, (I hope to post more about that soon.)   For today though, I want to talk to you about my new window - which I am loosely titling "Mary Poppins visits Roseland for the Relay for Life's Carnival for a Cure"  I know, I's a bit of an odd concept. (And the event is actually being help at the Civic Center on April 29 - I liked the fantasy of bringing roseland back for the event ;)  

When I first told my husband, I think he thought I was nuts....but in the end, I think visually it all works.  Here is the journey as to how I arrived at such a strange mash-up of ideas :)

(I apologize in advance on the length of this post - I really wanted to include all of the inspiration and process of making that went into this display)

About a month ago I was approached by a Relay for Life committee member about this years event.  They were hoping for downtown businesses to decorate their windows in purple and incorporate the theme "Carnival for a Cure" to help spread the word and celebrate their cause.  

Sounded like fun! - but then I got stuck.  

Creative block........ ugh - the worst.  

My hope was to have the window all put together before I went away with my family to Florida.  That soooo did not happen.  I had no clue what to do. We went away and the windows had to stay the same until we returned.

There is something wonderful that happens when you step away from everything, just relax and take your mind off the things you toil over.  Somehow, inspiration strikes and all the pieces seem to magically float together.  We were fortunate enough to experience a great many things on our trip, but three things specifically served as the springboard to my imagination that finally solved the puzzle of what to do about this window.  

Herrmann's Royal Lipizzan Stallions

The first to start the influence was visiting the Herrmann's Royal Lipizzan Stallions home outside of Sarasota FL.  The story of these beautiful horses is an amazing one.  You should check them out if you don't already know.  My daughter was extremely taken with them during the "Airs above the Ground" practice.  The image of the distinguished animals danced in my head for days.


Later in the week we visited the Ringling College or Art and Design  - at my daughters request.  Yes she is only 9, but she has been dead set for years that she wants to attend this school to become a Disney animator (specifically Pixar) Every time we visit Sarasota, she has to go and visit "her future school".  This time a kind student personally took her through the animation classroom halls and she had the chance to check out a traditional animators desk.  Here I started to think that I needed to create a window that needed some whimsy and perhaps a nod to my daughters love of animation. Her sense of aspirations was very inspiring to me. But I still had not quite had the full "ah-ha!" moment.  

And then....we surprised little one with a day at Disney on her birthday.  As we passed through "Main St USA"  and waited to meet Mary Poppins, the full spark hit me!  That ultimate charm and fictional turn of the century nostalgia we were suddenly immersed in could so easily be fused with our little city.  It was then that I realized we needed Mary Poppins to visit Canandaigua to participate in the Relay for Life Carnival for a Cure. In my mind the event was naturally being held in our collective nostalgic memory that is the long-lost Roseland Amusement Park.  

I went straight t work when I returned to work on Thursday. First things first, I needed to gather my inspirational references. We already live and work in a real life "Main St USA" so that part was already taken care of ;)  After visiting Herrmann's Royal Lipizanns I knew the centerpiece needed to be the white stallion carousel horse I remembered from Roseland's carousel (1909  PTC #18 - Thank you to for having such an extensive history on this work of art as well as detailed images of this beauty.)

Carousel horse that used to be at Roseland

Next, I needed Mary Poppins references - specifically from the chalk drawing fantasy scene.  This would bring in the animated whimsy I wanted to capture while also fitting in the fantasy time-capsule of 1909 as well as the carnival and carousel aspect.  


Let the fun begin!  I always start a window with a general concept sketch to try to figure out the scale and general placement of the big elements I wish to incorporate. 

Window concept sketch

As with most creative endeavors, the final product strays a bit from the initial sketch, but every idea needs to start somewhere!  From here I began construction of the carousel horse.

carousel horse sketch starting to paint the carousel horse

working out the details of the carousel horse carousel horse after being cut out

I used a large sheet of white faced corrugated cardboard (thanks to my Father-In-Law for the cardboard) to create the painted horse.  From sketch to full cut out this took roughly a full day to complete.

Next up, create the paper Mary Poppins inspired dress.  Of course the one main difference is for this event...she needed purple accessories instead of the original red :)

The dress is constructed entirely of coated paper dropcloth, some white tulle I have used in many of my windows over the years, staples, ribbon and a touch of hot glue.   Also I finally had the perfect opportunity to use this great antique hat my Mother-In-Law gave me several years ago! (yes in the first photo, the dress is surrounded by complete chaos...creative processes are truly messy sometimes - I am currently dealing with that aftermath so I can get back to work.)

mid way through paper dress construction antique hat finished mary poppins inspires dress in purple

The next item to construct was the paper petal wisteria that would become the backdrop for the carousel horse.  To me wisteria feels so magical, so it seemed like a good flower to add to the purple scheme.  I always love the amazing wisteria that is outside the YMCA that I pass walking to and from work.  Now I must admit however, this part of the project I developed a love/hate relationship with.  I think it took me close to two full days to construct these flowers.  The good part is they will keep and I can use them in another window some day......but for now, I do not wish to cut or string another petal for some time.....I think it took about 700-800 handmade petals to complete the look.  I really wanted more, but simply could not spare any more time on this part of the project.  

paper wisteria petalsfinished handmade paper wisteria plant

After this is was time for my little cartoon bluebirds to be painted on the windows to pay homage to my daughters love of animation. It's funny, with all the work that went into this window, these easy little cuties I think are the part that makes me smile the most. Sometimes it's the little things :)

outlining the painted bluebirds

Finished cartoon Bluebirds

You can see in the background here, I drew from the Mary Poppins fantasy carousel for the inspiration of the outlined architecture. The last of the details was making the purple pennants, stuffing some flower baskets, blowing up the balloons and putting it all together. After a six day process, I'm ready to get back to what I'm really supposed to be doing - making jewelry!

Thanks for reading through this lengthy journey :)  I hope to see you soon. 



finished carousel horse window finished Mary Poppins Window

Full effect of the finished window.  Mary Poppins Visits Roseland for the Carnival for a Cure.




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