You can probably guess by now that I don't like to use ready mades. But I do think that charms add, well, charm to a piece. Substance, or something. I had these seahorses that must have been from the 60s, in red, white and blue, rather ghastly to my way of thinking, and they sat in the bottom of my supply box for a long, long time. The other day I thought, alter 'em, what's to lose? So first they got wiped down thoroughly with rubbing alcohol for degreasing, and then dabbed with embossing gunk and sprinkled with distress powder and then out came the trusty heat gun. The result was good -- they appeared to have undergone a sea change, and were encrusted with barnacle bumps in the high spots, which increased their sculptural appeal. Then they got swiped with some pearl powders, which stuck to the barnacles, and their whole commersh look became something else much more satisfactory. While I was at it, I pearlized the tin shapes and failed foil that almost caused me to pitch those parts out. The whole lackluster project came back to life. It's all about knowing when to quit, and sometimes that means don't quit too soon.
Then I went after a pair of cute, but uninspiring, anchor charms for another pair of tin "platform" shapes cut from a tea tin with sailing ships on it. Much better. Still, I don't think I'll be going shopping for ready made charms, er, well, uh, maybe some old ones, something really funky from a dead stock merchant on the East Coast, or something like that . . .