Monday, July 30, 2007

It's in the Mail!

I completed my Green Inchies for ArtErraticus last night and mailed them off to Melissa this morning. Putting together fabric inchies is slightly more challenging than making paper ones. But still, they were a lot of fun to make. Once again I had to tell myself enough is enough because even though they are only one-inch square, you'd be surprised at how much you can fit on them once you get started. I made each square with seven layers of fabric in addition to embellishments of tulle, beads, sequins, flower trim and teeny-tiny ball fringe. I can't wait to see what the rest of the gals have created.
While I was working on my green-inches, my daughter made the three inchie creations pictures above using pages from catalogs. I love the colors and what a simple and economical piece of art to hang on the wall of a contemporary home. She has always been "into" squares and has done a series of watercolors consisting on her signature squares that she loves. So when she saw me making my inchies she jumped right in to come up with her own version. I told you, these things are quite addictive. (Thanks for getting us hooked Lia!!!)

Well, I am off to the grocery store now to pick up a few things before the plumber comes this afternoon to unclog our slow draining bathtubs. Hopefully by this time tomorrow things will be flowing freely!!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Side-tracked - Part Two

Ok, I think I used this post title not too long ago so I am calling it Part Two - I am certain there will be many future posts dealing with this issue. Today I spent the day finishing up several loose ends around the house. Paying bills, balancing the checkbooks, sorting thru my flip-flop bin, cleaning off my desk, washing all the throw rugs, scrubbing down the bathroom and clearing off the diningroom table which seems to be the catch-all for the entire family. Well during my desk clearing, I found the Bazzill one-inch chipboard squares that Lia send me and I thought they might be good to use for the base of my green fabric inchies that are due on Wednesday for ArtErratica. So I proceeded in covering both sides of of the squares with green patterned paper and setting them aside to dry. Under my inchie supply box, I came across the pile of old magazines that I need to go thru before I toss them. So I started to flip through them and in doing so I discovered some images and words and phrases I can use in my regular inchies. So I cut them out. Then I thought why not just put together a few inchies since I had all the supplies right there. Ok, twenty inchies later I had enough to mount and put in my inchie album so that is what I did. And there they are pictured above. Sorry about it not being very clear. A few of the inchies are 3-dimensional and the scanner didn't like that at all. So after making 20 regular inchies, I still haven't made the 16 green fabric inchies that have a fast-approaching deadline right around the corner. Another example of how easily distracted I can get. Oh and did I mention that my family managed to clog up both bathtubs and of course tomorrow is Sunday and the plumber is going to charge us a fortune to come out to fix them. Hope you all are having more fun this weekend than me!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Winter Wishes

Just finishing up on the first part of a round-robin I am doing with Dawn and Mel called Winter Wishes. (Thanks to Dawn for organizing it!) We each are making a book as well as a keepsake box for the album to fit into. We have been busy bees working on the pages in our own books and now it is time to send it on to the next person so they can add their own touches to the books. I know you are saying to yourself, why are these ladies working on a winter wish book in July? I can explain - In order for the books to make the rounds to each other's homes and to give us enough time to work on the pages at a leisurely pace so we can have our books returned back to us in November, Dawn suggested the July start day - smart girl because it's no fun to work on something like this if you have to rush and be all stressed out about it. I put enough stress on myself as it is without having to deal with strict time constraints too. As it is, I already am having doubts about my book and pages feeling as though I should add something more or I should have done something different. I always do that. I am happy as a lark during the creating part, but then when I finish and let it sit for a few days, that is when my self-doubt about these things sets in. Of course checking out the other gals gorgeous "sneek peeks" of their pages posted on Flickr is enough to make anyone have second thoughts about their own work! You can see for yourself by clicking here!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Surprises in the Mail

Look what arrived today! It's the crown Claire made me from the Crown and Tiara Swap that we took part in. You can see the crown I made for Claire here and others from the swap here.
I love the colors and the vintage feel. The picture really doesn't do it justice though.
Claire also sent along this beautiful Mother's Day badge, above and the little goodies below as well. Thanks was fun swapping with you!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sweet Little Find

I just order this darling vintage inspired apron from here. I need an apron to wear when I am working on my art because I have a tendency to splash and spill when I really get into things (partly due to my enthusiasm, but mainly because my desk is always so overloaded with piles of supplies!) Hmmm. . .I wonder if I will want to splash on this since it is so cute and new and all ~there's always something to worry about, isn't there?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Mission Accomplished!

This is what I worked on today. It's for a collaborative calendar/diary that Lucy is putting together. I just finished it now and hit the send button, so it is on it's way! That's one thing I can check off my "to do" list. I have a ton more to~do's on the list. I seem to add more items than I cross off lately, but that's okay because I like to keep busy. And when the to~do's are creative projects, how can I complain???

I went to one of my favorite antique malls this morning and unbeknownst to me they were setting up for a special event. The store is located in a tiny business district of a cute little town with very limited parking. I had to drive around and around looking for a parking place and NOT because it was crowded with cars. . .it was because all the parking was blocked off in preparation for the big Harry Potter celebration tonight!! I didn't even think about it until I saw the very, L-O-N-G line of kids standing outside the Barnes and Noble!!! It was kind of cute though because all the shops got really into the spirit by having their store windows decorated with items from their shop that related in some way to the book. . .wizards, magic, brooms, etc. It was fun to see the way they really had to stretch their imaginations to tie their merchandise in with the book. One shop, called "Potters" had added the word Harry on top of their sign and when these three girls (all dressed in various Harry Potter character costumes) saw it, they squealed with glee and wanted their picture taken in front of the store! Too funny!! Then I noticed that many of the shops had altered their store fronts in some way or another. Oh how I wish I had brought my camera, but alas it was at home recharging it's batteries. Isn't that always the way?! How many of you are going to be at the bookstore at the stroke of midnight to get your copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Comforter Update

Good news and bad news. The bad news is I have been to countless Homegoods stores and I haven't been able to locate a second twin sized comforter like the one mentioned in my previous post. The good news is that I decided to buy a full/queen size so I don't have to waste any more time and gas. The larger size was only $10 more and I figured with gas prices as high as they are, $10 more (and a little alteration) is money well spent. Another problem with going from store to store on this kind of treasure hunt, causes me to see more things I can't live without.. .like green and white polka-dotted towels, a bath rug and shower curtain. It seems that I have no will-power these days, so I think it is better (and more economical) to not even go into more of these stores.
I've been spending any free time I can carve out putting the finishing touches on my Winter Wishes round robin I am doing with Dawn and Mel. The deadline for sending them on to the next person is fast approaching. I think I may just lock myself in the studio until I finish!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Easily Side-Tracked

Are any of you easily distracted like me? Gee, I am beginning to think I need a personal assistant (or something like that) to keep myself on task. Lately I seem to be going in a million directions and don't get anything done. For example, yesterday I had every good intention to spend the entire day in my studio to work on all the projects that are in various stages of completion. But I first had to go to the bank, the post office, and a take care of a couple of returns. One the returns was at Homegoods and even though I kept saying to myself I will not go any further than the customer service counter, I found myself wandering around in the bedding section. And lo and behold, I found the perfect comforter to use on the twin beds in the guest room at the cottage. The fact that we don't even have any beds up there yet shouldn't make a difference, should it?

I have been toying with the idea of having a green and brown color scheme in the guest room for a while now. I occasionally take a peek at the bedding in stores just to see if anything catches my eye. I passed up on cute green and white polka-dot comforters several months ago but talked myself out of buying them because we had so many other more necessary things to buy for the cottage. Now I am sorry I didn't buy them. But when I came across the comforter above (it's a little more yellowy-green than this picture) I didn't want to let another one get away.

Then I found the matching pillow shams, along with a couple others that coordinated nicely. I also found sheets in a skinny stripe similar to the pattern of the middle pillow sham above.

All the while I am finding all these shams, I am still searching for a second comforter to match the first one because I need two of them for the room. And what's this? Another pillow sham! Well this one is grand because it adds other colors to the mix. Remember how I wanted to have a green and brown color scheme? Well the sham above has the brown in it (those skinny leaves are actually brown) and it has turquoise in it as well, which will tie-in the downstairs color scheme. I like when the colors of a house flow from room to room. Well, I simply HAD to have this pillow sham too. A bed can't have too many pillows, right?

Uh oh. . .what is this that I found on the clearance shelf? Two of these polka-dot plates marked down to one dollar! I debated about buying them because afterall this is a bedroom, not a kitchen. But I went back to them after I figured out I could hang them on the wall. I love plates on a wall in any room. And these plates remind me of that polka-dotted comforter I missed out on months ago.

And next to the plates I found this lonely aqua hobnail water goblet priced at $1.00 also. I swear I heard it cry out, "Take me home too" Why not? I can put it on the nightstand filled with chocolates or mints or some other treat for the guests. I can rationalize anything if I put my mind to it.

All these great finds, but I still only had one comforter for two twin beds! So then came the journey to two more Homegoods stores. . . with no luck. I even dragged my husband to a third store after dinner last night, but to no avail. So guess what is on the agenda for today? I have two more TJ Maxx/Homegoods to check out. With the nature of these types of stores, you have to make the rounds of the other stores right away because in a week they will have all new styles of comforters and I will never have a chance of finding a match.

So as a result, the work on my studio desk as well as the boring household chores will have to be put off until tomorrow. . .again! Wish me luck!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

More Swapping

I signed up for yet another swap today. This one is being organized by Maria over at The Junk Drawer. She's calling it the "Tussie Mussie Goody Swap" and sounds like it is right up my alley. Each of us will make a tussie mussie and then fill it with goodies. I have had some blank tussie mussie cones in my to do stash for quite a while now so when I saw this swap posted I jumped at the chance to join in! Doesn't it sounds like fun? The deadline for sign-ups is Friday, July 20th so there's still time for you to be a part of it too!

We went up to the cottage again this weekend, but there was no time to do anything fun this time. My husband had two truck loads of topsoil delivered as well as a load of mulch. The construction of the cottage last year left the front yard stripped of any decent soil and since most of the county is sitting on bedrock it was necessary to have good soil brought in. So all our time was pretty much spent spreading that all around. And we are no where near being finished. I think maybe we got 1/4 of the soil spread and most of the mulch put down where we want the planting beds. I think my DH husband thinks we are both still in our 20's and can still do this type of manual labor without any effects on our bodies. Needless to say I am pretty stiff and sore today. Like they say in the commercial, "I'm all Advil!" Fortunately the weather cooperated and it wasn't too hot or humid, so at least that was a plus.

I brought my supplies with me as I planned to make more inchies in the evenings, but I was too wiped out to do anything other than watch season two of 24. But when we got back home, I saw my order had come from Cerri over at Little Pink Studio and the contents of her Collage on the Go Kit will make some wonderful vintage inchies. She still has a few kits left, so if your are into making inchies you should check it out.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

More Inchies

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New Obsession

Look what I am addicted to....INCHIES!! I discovered these tiny little delights on ArtJunk's blog and it was love at first sight. Each of these little squares is 1"x1" and so much fun to make. Dear Lia has been so sweet to explain how she makes these and give me the details of her "inchie on the go kit" that she put together so she can make these teeny tiny creations wherever she goes. That did it for me ~ I just love the idea of being able to slip a little box into my bag and have everything with me to create art. Love it!!! The photo above shows my first 16 creations and there are more to come. I made these while watching TV the other night. When I cut out my first inchie square I was shocked at just how tiny one square inch actually is and thought how in the world am I going to fit anything on this tiny canvas? But once I got going there was no stopping me. I am so into making these that I signed up for the Green Inchie Swap at ArtErratica where we each have to make 16 fabric inchies in the color green. Besides Lia's fabulous blog, I found this site and this site for more inspiration. Take a peek and you might even get hooked yourself!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Crown Swap

I just cannot wait any longer to share with you the crown I made for Claire as a part of Holly's Crown & Tiara Swap we were in. I mailed it a week ago, but haven't heard from her yet as to whether she got it or not. Of course there was the July 4th holiday in between so that may be why it is taking so long. I sure hope it didn't get lost! That would make me very sad. Or maybe she received it and didn't like it at all!!! Oh, no....that would make me even sadder! Well, I am going to think positively - so Claire, if you are reading this post and you haven't received the crown yet and want to be surprised don't look any further. For everyone else, feel free to continue on and have a look.

*Update ~ I just heard from Claire that she did get the crown and loves it! Hooray!!!

Claire told me she likes vintage children's books and retro things, so what could be more fitting that images from a Dick, Jane and Sally school reader? She also told me she liked the colors red and sky blue. Besides the images of the children, the crown is embellished with rick-rack, ball fringe, vintage buttons, crepe paper, seam binding and text from the book. And since this is a Crown and Tiara swap I gave little Sally a gold crown of her own!
I decided to make a tag to go along with the crown when I found this image of Miss America in a book about beauty paegents. Here is the front of the tag:
And this is the back of the tag. The text says, "She desired to see herself be queen for a day." I had a lot of fun working on this swap. I hope Claire likes it......if it ever arrives! I can't wait to see the one she made for me! In the meantime I have been enjoying all the crowns the other participants made here.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Nature Walk

Last weekend we were up at the cottage and went on the most wonderful walking tour of this lovely place. Our tour guide Marion was so informative and full of knowledge that the two and a half hours of walking simply flew by. (Marion told us that she gets reprimanded occasionally for going over the scheduled two hour walk time, but she confessed that she just gets carried away with enthusiasm for the place. Believe me, we didn't mind one bit!) The Clearing is a Folk School established in 1935 by Danish landscape architect, Jens Jensen. One might think that The Clearing got it's name from the meadows found throughout the grounds. However, The Clearing has a different meaning to Jens Jensen. He wanted the school to be a place where "one can come to clear the mind and feel a kinship with the earth." Week long classes are offered in a variety of subjects ranging from drawing, woodworking, knitting, music, literature, paper arts, quilting, nature study, photography, and others at this 128 acre forested setting along a secluded shoreline. Delicious meals are served family-style in the lodge and students stay in cozy cabins like these:

The cabins look rustic on the outside, as they are original to the 1930's, but they are ever-so-comfy on the inside with each bed made up with crisp white linens and a handmade quilt made by students in the quilting classes, a fireplace, desk, table, and modern bathrooms.

Meals and down-time take place in the lodge which houses a dining room as well as a large sitting -room/library with a giant walk-in fireplace. The windows in the lodge offer glorious views of the forest and water beyond.

Classes and special events are held in the classroom building which is built of stone (pictured below) and features hand-carved woodwork and trim made by students, instructors and volunteers. Even the railing leading to the path in front of the building is made by students in the woodworking classes. All the saw dust from those woodworking classes is used to create the paths through the forest.

I first visited The Clearing with my parents when I was a child. Even back then I became smitten with the place and it's setting. I dreamt of someday taking classes at the school and leading the life of an artist. Years later I took my own family to see The Clearing and my daughter was also impressed. Although she was quite young at the time, she still remembers our visit there. Although many years have passed since my childhood days, I still dream of taking classes here. Now that we have the cottage, perhaps my dream is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Studio Time

This is a little assemblage that I created called, "Nest." I have had this idea in my head for months now and yesterday was finally the day it came to fruition. The quote on the roof is by French philosopher Gaston Bachelard and says, "A house is a nest for dreaming, a shelter for imagining." Don't you love that quote? I used colors similar to the ones we have at the cottage, so I think that is where I will hang it. I made an extra one to put in my Etsy Shop, so if you are interested you can find it there.

I worked in my studio all day yesterday and oh how good it felt to be in there. I must admit I have been having trouble lately finding the time to create. There is always something else that demands my attention and I am not really good at doing "a little art here" and "a little art there." I like to have big blocks of time to work on projects. You see, I have found that I work best when I can start a project and see it all the way through to the end. That is a big problem since it's difficult enough to find enough hours in a day to complete all the routine tasks that need to get done. Typically that doesn't leave much time to spend with my creative muse. And then there is the guilt that comes from taking time away from household and family responsibilities to sit and play. (I am not Catholic, but my friends all say that I would make a good one with the amount of guilt I carry around!) Talk about putting the squelch on creativity! Yikes!

I read somewhere that we all should carve a little time out each day to work on our art. ..even if you do not have a specific inspiration to focus on. Just like with anything, setting up a routine is the first step in accomplishing something. If nothing else, simply creating backrounds in your journal for future use is enough to get the creative juices flowing. This goes along the same lines as Julia Cameron's (The Artist's Way author extrordinare) morning pages. And I must admit when I was working on my Morning Collage journal every day I did feel so much better. It was amazing how I never had trouble coming up with a topic to collage about and I really looked forward to getting up each morning and going to my work table in my PJ's to see what would happen. Also, working on my art first thing in the morning was kind of like what financial experts advise their clients who are having trouble saving money - pay yourself first! By "paying myself first" with a shot of creativity every morning, it really set the tone for the entire day. I was happier and didn't feel as "put upon" by everyone else's wants and needs.

So I think that is the answer for me. Work on something small each morning (perhaps it's time to resurrect the morning collage journal) and if it leads to something bigger, then I will go with it. And if not, then I will still have the satisfaction of having created something each day. Thanks for letting me work that little problem out with you all. If any of you want to share the way you keep your creative juices flowing or any suggestions you have for carving out creative time, please leave them in the comments section of this post.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July! Hope you all are enjoying the holiday. We are just kind of "winging it" this year. Doing some work in the garden and enjoying the weather. Later we will probably grill some hamburgers and sit on the deck. Tonight we will go see the fireworks at the park where my husband's office is. They put on the best and longest fireworks show in the area. I can remember when I was a little girl always thinking the display was much too short. Just when we were really getting into the "oohs" and "aahs" the show was over and it was time to go to bed. So what do you all have planned for the day?
Last night I made this little patriotic collage. The text says, "This stillness held a greater tribute." The man in the photo is my grandfather, Hans. He immigrated to America from Denmark in the early 1900's. I used this photo of him because Grandpa was the most patriotic person I have ever known. He was so proud to be in this country. He and Grandma met on the ship coming here and later were married. Soon after arriving they both were anxious to take English lessons so they could become U.S. citizens as soon as possible. Grandpa's favorite holiday was July 4th. He would always fly the flag and my aunt tells me they always would have their picture taken holding little flags. (I wonder who has those pictures now?) That was back in the day when people were anxious to do what was necessary to gain citizenship. And they were so proud when they achieved it and were grateful for all the opportunities this land had to offer. Grandpa, this tribute is for you!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Back Home Again

I can't believe it is July already. Wow, where does the time go? I got a little present in the mail while we were up at the cottage. The sweet little collage above is from Heather as a part of Jenny's Bits & Pieces Collage Swap we participated in. Isn't it simply lovely? I can't decide which square I like the most. I think I love them all! You can see more of everyone's collages here.

We had a great time at the cottage. We didn't get any of the yard work done that we planned to do. The weather couldn't have been more perfect so we played instead of worked. We went on a fantastic nature walk that I will tell you more about in the next day or two. We brought our bicycles up with us this time. I can't even remember the last time I was on a bike. I was surprised that I could still do it without making a complete fool of myself. My DH and I met while riding bikes right around this time of the year...many, many moons ago! In fact I still have the brown Raleigh bike I was riding when I met him - I've told you before that I am a pack-rat! However, that is not the bike I rode over the weekend. I did get a new bicycle at some point, but never could part with the old one for sentimental reasons.

Below is a sneak peek at the crown I made for Claire for the Crown and Tiara Swap we are in. I can't show too much of it as I don't want to ruin the surprise for her. Once she receives it, I will post a picture of the whole crown.
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