Saturday, June 30, 2007

little dream house

With sweet Amy's encouragement, I joined her Club Little House this round even though I didn't have a little house and didn't have a little person and didn't even have a little stick of furniture. Amy is very sweetly persuasive. But today I finally followed enough online links to find a little dream house in a kit, that I can build, paint, furnish, and accessorize exactly as I wish. It's called the Beacon Hill Dollhouse, made by the Greenleaf Dollhouses Company. It's made all of lightweight wood and comes with 3 fireplaces, 3 bay windows, a winding staircase, and fishscale shingles. I'm sure my two little granddaughters living in Boston will love helping me make this a cozy and inviting play space. And in true housewarming fashion, the first wee items that will have pride of place in my new little home will all be gifts from my new neighborhood friends in Club Little House. Please, Mr Postman, look and see . . . is there a little dream house in your bag for me . . .

Thursday, June 28, 2007

color her dreams

Recently, on a very tight moving schedule and tight budget, I was asked to select the paint color and paint the walls at the new location for Scrapbooks Plus. Paint is a great mood orchestrator for not much money. My thoughts were to make the warehouse space warm and inviting, with a slightly darker pinky-orchid color in the smaller front rooms and a lighter orchid color for the open warehouse space. There's still a lot of decorative painting for me to do, when I have time.

Tracy Keith's new dream-come-true store,
By Design Scrapbook Boutique, just opened in Houston this weekend, and WOW!! What a jolt of inspiration!! Heidi Swapp pinks and blacks, elegant moldings by Tracy's father visiting from Alabama, black and white painted furniture, frames, candleabra, even crystal chandeliers. The space, judging from the old lettering they scraped off the display windows, may have been a home furnishings store, so Tracy inherited interesting flooring and wall arrangements. She's made the most of them. Heidi Swapp herself recommended the store just before opening, which added to the wow factor. The Creative Escape ladies from the Houston area are giving the store big thumbs up. Visit Tracy's blog for many more great photos -- and the address, if you're up for a road trip.

Monday, June 25, 2007

soul sisters at play

A knowing bluejay is cocking his head at me in the Japanese maple outside my window as I sit here at my computer. He seems to know I've been away over the last few days, happily engaged in playing with my soul sister, Carol, as we dirtied our hands (and knees) in antique shops all around Leesburg, compared cookbooks and then ate well in restaurants, exchanged so-similar family tales tall and small, and enjoyed presenting Carol's exceptional scrapping projects to groups of exceptional scrapping ladies at Scrapbooks Plus. Thanks to Amy, Jeanette, Carol, and Angie who, among others, all helped welcome Carol throughout her East coast visit.

Since everyone took photos, I'll post only a few that may be different. Above, Carol is anticipating the fun inside the pink and polka-dotted antiques silo and converted dairy farm of Leesburg's On a Whim where Amy introduced us to owner Donna on Thursday. Below, Carol chats with Scrapbooks Plus owner Debbie Chabot during a class break on Friday.

Here, a street view in old Middleburg, where we strolled after Sunday brunch at the Red Fox Inn, an historic fieldstone inn and restaurant in the middle of Virginia hunt country. In spite of our having just consumed a deliciously filling brunch, it didn't take long for us all to fit on one bench for a group photo.

And not to be missed, Jeanette, always on the hunt for her beloved home-decor topiaries, posing happily with the real thing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

temperature rising

The first week of summer is blanketing the area in high humid heat, and my deck plants are needing constant watering.

Perennial astilbes in big pots make my summer planting chores a little easier.

When the summer temperatures aren't so high, it's a pleasure to retreat to my deck for relaxing moments among the enveloping trees and quiet birdsong, for reading or just daydreaming. Somehow as the heat increases, it seems the neighborhood noises travel more loudly, too. But this morning's early start before driving out of town today was still enjoyable, and I thought I'd share a few quick photos.

Here's one of the tablecloth pillows with the pompom fringe that
Ann made, now resting in the shade of the enclosed portion of the deck. If the weather forecast holds for slightly cooler temps the rest of the week, I'm hoping Carol and I can unwind here after her teaching days at Scrapbooks Plus.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

catherine moore at savage mill


Perhaps it's appropriate to call Catherine Moore a constructionist, for she enjoys building and layering things.
Catherine is a charming, gentle artist from Atlanta whose company, CharacterConstructions, offers her own stamps and papers on her themes of art doll-making and nest-building, both of which have engaged her since her southern childhood. Because I had to work on Sunday, I was able to take only her Saturday classes held at The Queen's Ink in Savage Mill, MD, this past weekend, but it was delightful talking quietly with her at the reception the night before.

The morning class offered one of her themes in "Nest Building: A Mixed Media Box Construction." Each of us finding our own nesting boxes and natural accessories allowed many variations within the class guidelines. Unable to find the suggested cigar box myself, I found first a large lidded balsa wood photo box at Michael's, then a glass-topped smaller balsa wood shadowbox at IKEA. After breaking away the glass, my smaller box fit like a drawer within the upright larger box. Using Catherine's papers, we paneled and painted our boxes, then filled them with a stamped doll figure, a nest, quail eggs, and other nesting materials. Unfortunately, with such a large box as mine, simple surface coverage was a challenge, but here it is, minus its semi-circle crown. Just like a bird building its nest, I assembled mine with generous donations: the nest and quail eggs from Catherine, dried mulberry leaves from Claire, feathers that floated my way, green moss handed over my shoulder, the little bark house on top from Donna . . .

This close-up above shows my painted drawer (it used to be "balsa" colored) with its "nest" label from my hardware collection and some of the findings that cushion the nest.

And the view from behind, collaged with Catherine's papers and painted.

In the afternoon "Alphabet Tags" class, we made small assemblages of found ephemera on watercolor-paper tags which we painted first. This view of my blue-green tags in progress shows my limited supplies (generously augmented by Donna and Hope, who has promised to take me shopping for vintage ephemera!), but these tags done with a theme are fun and quite attractive. Once finished, they can be matted on theme-related paper and framed for a souvenir of one's trip, for example.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

object desire

Since my husband was heading slightly in that direction anyway for a noon conference at the Miller Center at UVA, he agreed to follow me this morning to Leesburg first. There I had a rendezvous with another handsome object of my desire. A bit wobbly on its feet, this otherwise sturdy pine armoire is just what I need for my new studio space, and it was waiting for me at the Cottage. As sweet friend Amy and I pondered how to help manoeuver its bulk around corners and down the steps into my curbside SUV without breaking either a nail or a sweat, another customer stepped in, had a brief consultation with my husband ("ok, this is what we're gonna do"), and out the door they went. Within minutes, they were cordially shaking hands and patting each other on the back. All I had to do was slip the funny old key to the bottom drawer (not shown) into my purse, wave goodby to my husband, thank the generous kindness of a stranger, and spend the rest of the morning chatting with Amy. A lingering feeling that I hadn't actually worked hard enough was made to feel better when I also found two pillows for my deck. The talented Ann sewed them from old flower tablecloths on the front, soft chenille on the back, and dancing pompom fringe all around.

Monday, June 04, 2007

folded paper fans, ribbon and photo corners


Although I'm able to write my grocery list in the dust on my dining table, this hectic month of being on the road has been rewarding, too. From happily watching my youngest son graduate from UVA with two degrees, in Biochemistry and in Economics, to admiring my oldest son's success with his new venture, the Beehive, in Boston, to congratulating old friends in the limelight, to sharing NYC night life with Finnish relatives in this country for a wedding, I've been so proud and well entertained. This week's New York Times Sunday Styles section featured the Beehive in an article titled "Boho in Boston," claiming that the Beehive, open a week and a half now, without fanfare or advertising, has long lines waiting to get in, in a city where that seldom happens. The only hitch in my happiness is missing my middle son
in Iraq and daughter-in-law in Afghanistan, who are leading an uptempo existence but missing us, too.

So I wore my new Mamma Mia! souvenir t-shirt to teach my classes on Sunday at Scrapbooks Plus. Would you like to see some samples of the projects we completed? These ladies are so dedicated to learning paper techniques that we spend the whole day laughing, no matter how tedious the cutting and folding gets at times.

Both classes focused on the new Anna Griffin papers. In the morning we made a 2-page layout and complementary card using the Dorothy line of papers. Folded black floral paper fans decorate both pages for a striking geometric layout. Flocked stickers embellish the journaling blocks.

After lunch, using the Charlotte line of papers, we made a French-style ribbon memo board with an extra photo board that can be attached or used separately. Embellished with satin ribbon, brads, photo corners, and flower die cuts, this elegant board can be a gift or even used on a scrapbook page. As usual, I prepared my cutting layouts and technique sheets to help simplify the process and to add to the ladies' library of paper embellishment