Friday, September 28, 2007

21 Day Challenge {Day 14} and MORE!

Here we are again with a new challenge quote about WILLPOWER. This one is tough for all of us I would imagine. It's such a difficult thing to keep up on a continuing basis. . .even harder than starting a new challenge is for me. I read a comment made on someone else's blog that a challenge wouldn't be a challenge if it was easy. That is SO true! I guess we just have to keep plugging along towards whatever it is we are working on and do our best to keep focused and on track.
Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. We recently had been going through some old photos from his side of the family and I came across these pictures of his older brother and sister and him. The boys had on these plaid collared shirts with bow ties and I had to chuckle because I have never seen my husband in a bow tie before. So I decided to take the pictures (copies, of course) and create this Claudine Hellmuth inspired beeswax collage as a gift for him.

I just love Rebecca Sower's style and wonderful talent. I have seen her use little crumply posies like these in her projects. Yesterday while I was blog-hopping, I found this little tutorial on how to make them. And so I did. These are a few of my favorites.

And finally, here is a sneek peek at some other projects I've been working on that I cannot share in their entirety just yet.

I just noticed that I am almost to my 300th post on this blog. WOW! It seems like I just discovered blogland not that long ago. Well, to celebrate this milestone I have decided to have a little GIVEAWAY. Be sure to check back here early next week to find out more details!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

21 Day Challenge {Day 13}

"Scroll" clear stamp used is from Rhonna Farrer/Autumn Leaves available at Target
"Notes From Today" rubber Stamp is from Cat's Life Press

21 Day Challenge {Day 12}

First of all, thank you so much for leaving such sweet comments regarding my post about the potting shed. I can't tell you how much it means to me. I shared them with my hubby last night and he was beaming too. My DH is such a sweetheart to have built that little retreat for me. - it truly was a labor of love. He really likes projects like that and is pretty good about figuring out those kind of things. And he just built it from scratch too - not a kit! I have debated about moving my studio out there, but living in the midwest I would have to trudge thru the snow to get there in the winter, so I have put that idea off for now. But it is a place of inspiration and relaxation for sure!

Sorry about not posting yesterday, but Blogger was giving me so much trouble yesterday, that finally at midnight I just gave up and went to bed. I don't know about the rest of you who have Blogger, but I have been having a heck of a time trying to leave posts on other Blogger Blogs. When I click on the comment link, it takes forever for the comment window to open, if it ever does at all! Then yesterday, I couldn't even get in to create a new post on my own blog! So frustrating!!! I don't know if it is just me or if everyone is experiencing the same problem.

I really liked this quote of Rhonna's. . .the one about being your own best friend and being happy with yourself. I got emails from several friends recently who were so down on themselves - it was strange because they all were feeling this way on the same day - there must be something in the air.) I was feeling the same way too. We do beat ourselves up a lot - I think women do that much more than men, don't you? But like I said in my journaling, we wouldn't treat our friends that way, so why do we treat ourselves so poorly sometimes? I've got to change that - it fits in so perfectly with my CHOOSE JOY goal, so I'll be working on it.

Well, I've got to go take Martha in for an oil change now, so I'll have to post today's challenge page later . . .that is, if Blogger lets me!!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"What I like Best About My House" Party

Karla from Karla's Cottage is having a blogland party with the theme "What I Like Best About My House." I hate to say this but I don't really care for my house. . .architecturally that is. When we bought our house many years ago, it was one of those handyman specials and it needed tons of TLC. It is a modern style house and I am more of a cottage-type gal. So I have always struggled with combining the two styles. Then one day, my dear aunt who just happens to have a knack for interior design, told me to simply ignore the fact that the house is modern and do what I want to on the interior. So I did!
This is one of my favorite vinettes in the house. This is the side board in my diningroom and I usally always decorate it for the season. As you can see, Halloween has yet to come to my house, but soon it will be festooned with pumpkins, witches, ghosts, and rich fall colors. The wooden birdhouse and frame are things that I have made....the frame holds a favorite B & W picture of my grandmother setting her diningroom table for one of her fabulous dinner parties. Also on the side board (and on the plate rack hanging on the wall) are some of my collection of pink rose limoges china that I pick up at flea markets or antique stores, along with some of my other favorite plates.

The picture above is the daybed in my studio. Right now it doesn't look like this, as it is covered with trays holding supplies for the various swaps I am working on. The bed originally was in my daughter's room and when she opted for a more urban loft look in her room, we moved the bed in here. My mother always wanted me to have a white iron headboard for my bed when I was a little girl and now I have one! You can't see it in this picture, but I replaced the gold brass bedpost knobs with antique glass door knobs. Surprisingly, they were just the right fit!

Now, I know this picture is not of the INSIDE of my house, but I really have to say that my MOST FAVORITE place in my house at this time of the year is the OUTSIDE of my house! This gazebo sits in our side yard next to the perennial bed. Believe it or not, this gazebo didn't cost me a penny! It was on the property of some land that was going to be developed and it was just going to be demolished. So my DH and some friends literally picked it up, put it on a trailer and placed it in our backyard. After a coat of fresh white paint it's the perfect spot to sit and enjoy a cup of tea!

A few years after the gazebo was set up and after perusing through an issue of Country Living magazine, I found an article about a cute litte potting shed/garden house that a woman had built in her backyard. It just so happened that she lives and owns a shop in a town nearby. I visited her shop quite regularly after that and later attended a special sale at her home and got to see the actually potting shed from the magazine article. Well, I couldn't stop talking about that darling little building, so again my DH took it upon himself to build me my very own in our backyard! Of course, during the construction process, all the male neighbors would come over and inspect this macho garden shed that he was building and say how great it is, etc. etc. My DH never said a word about it's intended use and who it was actually for. Well, once we started staining the floorboards a wonderful shade of robin's egg blue out in the yard and I hung the lace curtains in the windows. . .well, the men stopped coming over and the ladies in the neighborhood came instead! It was all too funny!!!

Most of the furnishings in the potting shed are either heirlooms or from second hand stores, flea markets or the gift shop I used to manage.
I made the garden sign, chalkboard and the painted lampshade. The piano bench I use to sit on at the desk is great for extra seating at garden parties and also for the hidden storage under the seat.

The shelving unit in the corner is from the shop of the woman who owned the potting shed featured in the magazine article. The white bench used to sit on the patio at my dear aunt's house and the needlepoint pillows were made by her years ago.
I painted the tree branches and nest on the wall and the handpainted chair with the little chickadee sitting on the top is one of my all-time favorite pieces that I have.
The shawl on the back of this chair was a stole that I made out of a piece of white wool fabric and wore to my high school prom. Well, I hope you enjoyed the sneek peek into my little house. Now I am off to visit everyone else's homes.

21 Day Challege {Day 11}

Did any of you realize that today is the half way point of this challenge? As I wrote in my journaling, I didn't know it until I read Rhonna's post this morning. Wow! Sometimes the days seem to go by so slowly with these challenges, but this time I think the time is flying by quickly! I like that. I suppose at this point we should be analyzing where we've been, where we are now, and where we are going and whether what we are doing to get there is working for us. My main goal for this challenge is to CHOOSE JOY, not to exercise everyday or diet or anything like that. Those are just some ways to reach a joyful state. I didn't exercise today (not yet anyway) and I am not beating myself up about it. . .I think that's a first for me. I am not depressed or angry at myself for skipping it. I know I will pick it back up again tomorrow. I worked on a fun collage instead this morning (it's almost done - I'll share it with you later) and that made me joyful. (Art always does!) And now I am going to go take a shower, get dressed and spend a little while at the book store and maybe even treat myself to a pumpkin latte. Yum! Hope you all have an enJOYable afternoon too!

Monday, September 24, 2007

21 Day Challenge {Day 10}

It's a new week; a fresh start; a new beginning. Happy Monday to all!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

21 Day Challenge {Day 9}

We are over the hump of the first week and as Rhonna said, this next week is going to be a rough one to keep ourselves motivated. But we can do it if we give it our all, right? I'm going to do my best to keep working towards my goal this week by making healthy eating choices, continuing to exercise and to think of one thing each day that I am grateful for. Doing these things will help me to feel good both physically and mentally and as a result, have more joy in my life. Good luck everyone!

If you're finding it difficult to keep up with the journal everyday, try doing what I did this weekend. While working on Friday's journal page, I created backgrounds for Saturday and Sunday as well. By doing this ahead of time all I had to do was add the journaling and Rhonna's quote for the day and I was done with the pages in a jiffy!

Art Journaling

I couldn't sleep, so I decided to get up and blog-surf for a while and in doing so I discovered these two fantastic videos while reading Lia's Artjunk blog. If you are one of those visual people who learn best by having things demonstrated, then this is for you. Suzi Blu shows you how to make an art journal in the first video, which you will find entertaining as well as educational. The second video offers up a challenge to start your own art journal. She makes it so easy it is almost impossible to not to give it a try!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

21 Day Challenge {Day 7}

Confession time: I am an 'all or nothing' kind of gal. It's not a good thing. In doing something like this 21 Day Challenge it is dangerous for me to miss a day of working on my goal because I have a tendency to feel that because I messed up, then I have to start all over at the beginning and let's face it, that's just not going to happen. I noticed this problem when I would go on diets. I could lose the weight as long as I kept strictly to the diet plan. But as soon as something would happen and I would have a slip-up, I felt like I had blown the entire diet. I did learn (after a long time of doing this) that the trick is to put the slip-up behind you and continue on. We shouldn't punish ourselves over eating a cookie or a piece of chocolate cake. Like me, many of your goals are life long changes and we can't be expected to be perfect and never fall off the wagon. So when I didn't make the time to exercise yesterday, I tried not to beat myself up about it. I just moved on to today and picked up right where I left off. This is a BIG accomplishment for me to be able to do that. So if you're feeling down because you skipped a day or didn't accomplish your goal for the day, don't be so hard on yourself. This quote from Emerson offers some good advice on this subject:

"Finish everyday and be done with it. You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in;
Forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and
with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This day is good and fair.
It is too dear, with it's hopes and invitions, to waste a moment on yesterdays."

Day Six Do-Over

My little birdie from yesterday's journal page got a make-over. I thought the glittery crown was a little too much bling for the paper princess, so I gave her a less regal tiara made out of a phone book page. I think it goes better with the over all feel of the journal and ties in better with the other little phone book bits on the page. You can see the entire revised page here.

EDITED: In the ongoing debate about "birdie bling," I have reached a compromise with myself (pictured below) A little paper, a little sparkle - the perfect marriage!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

21 Day Challenge {Day Six} and Journal Revolution

As Dr. Phil says, "You have to name it in order to claim it," or at least something to that effect. So in order to GROW and MOVE AHEAD in life we all need to have a clear goal in mind. . .or better yet, written down, like we are doing with these journals. Yep. . .mine is to CHOOSE more JOY in my life. Instead of concentrating on the negative, focus on the POSITIVE and figure out what GOOD THINGS I can bring into my life as a result. I am already starting to have a better attitude, just by putting in the effort EVERY DAY. How about you?

FINALLY! This book is now in book stores. Yay! I have been waiting ages for Journal Revolution to come out and it finally has. I really liked Linda and Karen's first book, Visual Chronicles. In fact it is one book that I refer to frequently when I forget that art journaling doesn't have to be anything fancy or eloborate. I can't wait to see what they have in store for us in this new book. You can check out more Journal Revolution artwork at their Flickr Group here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

21 Day Challenge {Day Five}

Rhonna's quote for today was from Leon J. Suenes - "Happy are those that dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true." How very true! We all have dreams but unless we put some effort into achieving those dreams they will never happen. That's what this 21 Day Challenge is all about. . .putting in the effort to achieve our chosen goal. I am determined to reach my goal - how about you?

I had to really work to get myself on that exercise bike this morning. Like I wrote in my journaling, if it weren't for the 21 Day Challenge I wouldn't have given that bike another look after Day One! Once I force myself to hop on it and start pedalling along it isn't quite as bad, but man getting started on it is sure a struggle. I added the scrap of sheet music to the journal page because I always listen to music on my iPod when I am pedalling because it makes the time go by a lot quicker.

Below is a sneak peek of one of the round robins that I am working on. It is a fun one and I can't wait to share it with you in it's entirety. Soon. . .soon!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

21 Day Challenge {Day Four}

Going strong on the 21 Day Challenge. I made my way to the exercise bike at the crack of dawn this morning. . .actually I think it was still dark out. It works out better for me to get up a half hour earlier to exercise than to try to fit it in later in the day. If I don't do it when I first get up chances are pretty high that I won't ever do it. I heard Oprah say yesterday how much she hates exercises. . .still does after all this time. Dr. Oz was her guest and he was talking about nutrition (he has a new show on The Discovery Health Channel this week, which unfortunately we don't get with our cable package). He had so much good information and I can hardly remember any of it. That's what happens when you watch the rebroadcast of the Oprah show at 11 PM. . .the mind has already gone to mush by then. I'll have to go over to her website to see if they have posted any of the information from the show yet.

I made this a while ago for Heather as a little thank you for all the work she did designing my banners and biz cards. Now I am off to work on some pages in the round robins I am in. Better get a move on it!

Monday, September 17, 2007

21 Day Challenge {Day 3}

{Journaling block containing quotation is from Rhonna's Vintage Label Digi Set}

Yay! My migraine is gone, so now I can get back into the world of the living. I am always so amazed at how good my head feels afterwards when it is pain-free. I actually take a few minutes to take it all in to thoroughly appreciate the the feeling. When someone asks me if my headache is gone, I'm almost afraid to answer yes for fear that the pain will return. I have had that happen in the past. . .thinking it was gone only to have it sneak back. Thank you all for your well-wishes. I am sure that helped as well.

Today is Day 3 of the 21 Day Challenge and the first thing I did when I got up in the morning was to go for a ride on the excercise bike. As hard as it is to get myself to exercise, I must admit that I always feel good about myself afterwards. Why can't I focus on how I feel after instead of the dread of doing it? Maybe after these 21 days I will be able to do that.

In addition to the exercise, I am also trying to take time to reminisce about my childhood and the things I enjoyed doing way back then. I have always like art and creating things. And spending time with my friends, especially my friend Nancy who I still get together with today. We would play Barbie's a lot with imaginative story-lines, sell home-made things at a table in front of our homes (instead of having a lemonade stand), dress up in disguises and spy on her older sister and her friends, create elaborate haunted house walks in her basement for Halloween, serve amazing meals of flowers, berries and leaves (we only ate the berries) in her fabulous log cabin play house. We had the most active imaginations and we always agreed on everything. It's funny but I can't remember us ever having even one argument, like girls these days do. We were too busy having fun and being carefree. I think that is something that I don't do as much of as an adult. . .take time to just have fun. I'm always too bogged down with deadlines and "must dos" to take time to just enjoy the present. Adult responsibilities and the seriousness of being a parent have replaced all that fun and spontaneity. Maybe getting back some of that childhood fun will help me choose joy in my life. What kind of fun things did you do as a child?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

21 Day Challenge {Day Two}

I know I am supposed to be choosing joy for the next 21 days, but that's easier said than done with this excruciating migraine I have right now. Of course the headache is keeping me from thinking about anything else right now....including negative thoughts and maybe that is a good thing! I haven't taken anything for it yet, but I have had pretty good success with Excedrine for Migraines. Believe it or not, when I was younger and would get these more often, I was prescribed much stronger migraine medications which never even touched the pain. On a whim, I tried the Excedrine for Migraines when it first came out and was very surprised when it took all the pain away after one dose! I think part of the key is to take something as soon as you feel the pain coming on. I used to be a martyr and put off taking anything, mostly because I didn't want to fill my body with drugs if the headache might just go away on it's own. However, it never did. I can't tell you how long it took me to learn that simple lesson. Well, fortunately, the headache didn't start until after I completed my page for Day 2 of Rhonna's 21 Day Challenge. Glad I didn't procrastinate this time. OK, now I am off to break open a fresh bottle of Excedrine! Happy Sunday to you all!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

21 Day Challenge - {Day One}

Here is the cover and first day's entry in my 21 Day Journal. The premise behind Rhonna's 21 Day Challenges is that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. I decided that it will be my goal to Choose Joy during the next 21 days, since I have been feeling kind of down in the dumps lately and I can't seem to shake the mood. I wanted to keep this journal smaller than my previous ones, so I am using a 6 x 8 inch sketch pad from Michael's. And I am just loving the colors and graphics used in this new Basic Grey Periphery paper! I plan to keep this journal simple so I don't add more stress to my life, which would kind of defeat the whole purpose of choosing joy. As far as I'm concerned, Rhonna couldn't have started this challenge at a better time for me. If you want to check out the other journals in the 21 Day Challenge, then click here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Halloween Party Treats

I'm getting together with a group of girlfriends tonight and thought I would bring them all a little fall treat. I saw this idea in the current issue of Martha Stewart's Halloween Magazine and thought it was cute idea. I made the mistake of using the wrong size bag, but I did see that Michael's has the proper sized mini craft bags if you want to make some. Instead of the the tendril that she used, I opted for a piece of gingham ribbon. I included the directions from the magazine below.
And speaking of Martha Stewart , if you missed Claudine Hellmuth's appearance on her show Wednesday, you can see a video of it here.

Sweet Inspiration

I just found out that Rhonna Farrer is starting up a new round of her infamous 21 Day Challenges. I participated in these daily creative prompts two times in the past (you can check my journals out here and here) and I am so ready to take on a third challenge. It starts tomorrow (but you can join in at any time), so if you are interested you can click here for all the details.

If you loved this magazine from last year. . .
. . . then you will enjoy Charlotte Lyon's interview with it's author, Matthew Mead here. And while we are on the subject of Christmas, you should check out this new book too. Do I hear the sound of jingle bells in the distance?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Work and Play

Keeping busy working on Halloween things for swaps and the shop. I'm having a hard time concentrating though, because the weather has been so perfectly wonderful this week that I want to be outside enjoying it. I keep hearing my mother's voice in my head saying, "Work before play." But then I seem to remember another saying that goes, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Hmmm. . . decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Claudine's on Martha!

Okay, I have my VCR set (I pray that I didn't screw up the start and stop times, like I usually do....better go check it one more time), I have my cinnamon roll ready to warm up, a fresh pot of Hazelnut Creme coffee is brewed and I all my morning chores are done so I can sit and enjoy the Martha Stewart Show. In case you hadn't heard, Claudine is going to be on Martha's show this morning (10 am CST) making her cute little Poppet People shelf sitters. On a whim, Claudine was able to get one of Martha's people to accept a custom collage to give to Martha at a trade show and the rest is history! You just never know when and where your next break will come, so continue to persevere! Edited: Just found out that Martha Stewart was moved to noon here for the new season, so I had to reset the VCR and eat my cinnamon roll! Lunch anyone?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Never Forget

Remember. . . .and fly your flag today.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


It was a beautiful day to go antiquing, so that is what we did! All three of us got up early and headed out for breakfast and then to the antique fair. This is the same fair I went to last month (see post here) when it was soooo humid and horribly hot! Not this month though. . .the weather was perfect! I found some good buys on old books....should have bought more.....I always have regrets when I get home. I thought these were good since it is "back to school" time. Wish I had found the In College Days book when I was making this for my daughter - which by the way I still haven't finished.
Lots of great dollar rhinestone jewelry this time. It was hard to know when to stop digging!
A great vendor with lots of inexpensive old photographs. . . again, I should have made an offer for the entire lot. Dumb! I already have plans in mind for these, so stay tuned!
And below is my special find of the day! I told my husband and daughter to be on the look out for an old train case. I wasn't really looking for a particular color because I didn't think that there would be a huge color selection. We came across a few reasonably priced ones that were terribly stained or had ripped linings, etc. Near the end of the day we stumbled upon a darling little shabby-chic type booth that had several sets of luggage. Again, the train cases were badly damaged. Then my daughter looks up and sees the one pictured below. . . .
. . . and I couldn't believe my eyes. The true color is closer to the pic below, which happens to match my little car perfectly. And since I wanted to do something like Rebecca did here with it, the color couldn't have been better if I had special ordered it. And to top it off, it was priced less than the damaged train case. I can't wait to clean it and fill it up with art supplies!

I also bought another suitcase full of sewing notions, dress patterns, buttons, etc. for a song because the vendor said she was tired of packing it up at the end of each show. I found quite a few vintage postcards of the area where our cottage is located at. Usually they are difficult to find. And also a few tiny porcelein doll parts which didn't photograph well enough to post. All in all, I'd say it was a successful shopping trip for a beautiful birthday weekend!

Friday, September 07, 2007


T h_McElman_070718_3051 A N K S
for all the wonderful birthday wishes.
I had a great day - some morning art play, a Starbuck's Green Tea Frappicino, cards from wonderful friends, the biggest mum plant I have ever seen, a gift certificate to Barnes & Noble, a long distance call from my favorite aunt from Dallas, dinner out with the family and tiramisu - What more could a girl ask for?
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