Monday, July 30, 2007

home from houston

&Thunderstorms in Houston, Nashville, and the Northeast kept interfering with our flight home Sunday night, but at least we weren't sleeping in the airport like many who configured themselves on any horizontal surface that wasn't being swept by the night crew.  Even our bleary arrival in the driveway at 3:30 am, unnoticed by tree frogs in full-throated nightsong, didn't dampen my enthusiasm for the preceding days.  After all, it had been a case of pure not-to-be-denied curiosity that had compelled me to join my husband on his business trip to Houston.

First, there was By Design Scrapbook Boutique, Tracy Keith's zowie new scrapbook store just south of the Houston Hobby Airport (a short easy drive, if you're tempted).  Tracy is a little powerhouse with some very talented friends who have helped bring her dream to life. Framed reminders to dream and be inspired are tucked all around the pink-and-black rooms, even in the bathroom (below right, more elegant than mine at home). 

Out front, the deep-pink octagonal room (left), largely devoted to Heidi Swapp products, concentrates the glamour with its framed display boards, candy jars filled with scrapping goodies, and luxurious fall of drapery. But the grand gestures start in the entryway, where an ornate black standing mirror towers just inside the doors next to a table full of color-coordinated totes (below). To the left of the entry, a small room features a sexy circular divan and a black curio case among the framed slat boards.

Through an arched opening off the central display area lies a small but comfy sitting room, then the "she" crop room with its pink mini frig, and the kitchen, filled with treats during class, including pink punch and pink toile napkins.

Ok, impressed yet?  There's more!  Walking into this luscious store, I bumped straightaway into Debby Schuh (on right below, with Tracy), there to teach By Design's first class offerings. A designer for Anna Griffin, whose classes I teach at Scrapbooks Plus, Debby taught a layout class, a mini album, and a framed layout all based on Anna Griffin papers.  She confided she has a raspberry-pink studio with black-and-white toile curtains, so she felt right at home in Tracy's store. Gracious and confident, she makes you feel like you've known each other for a long time. Furthermore, she offered to come teach at my local store, and Tracy invited me to teach there in Houston -- we'll see what comes of all this.  To top it off, Tracy put the ENTIRE store on 30% sale to welcome her first students and to make room for all her CHA purchases. This girl knows how to make a first impression!

Finally, on Sunday, we detoured a few hours west to Austin to enjoy the jazz group "Topaz" playing live in the Oak Garden at
Guero's Taco Bar on S Congress Ave, regardless of the rain showers that threatened to turn thunderous too soon.  Nope, we didn't see Bill Clinton or Sandra Bullock or, alas, Matthew McConaughey in the crowd, but we lingered nonetheless.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Q is for Quotes

Down to the finishing touches on my next class offering in August at Scrapbooks Plus, so here's a sneak peek of this easy summertime project! Wouldn't you like to have a handy colorful file for your favorite quotes that you can bring right to your scrapbook work area for inspiration? You'll have fun painting and inking to tailor the paper colors for this little book. And once you make the mini accordion file inside, you can store your printed quotes, sticker quotes, stamped quotes -- use my set of decorative file cards, then make your own to keep adding more! Class details will follow soon.  

Monday, July 09, 2007

can it be lucky me?

Are you lucky? Just plain winning-the-prize lucky? When names are drawn out of a hat, is it your name they call, stumbling over the pronunciation maybe, but urging you to squeeze your way through the tables to come up and collect your new booty? When you scrape the covering off the prize ticket, do you ever get to read something besides "please try again," written so large you don't even have to put on your glasses to get the bad news? Not me. After being so grandly blessed with my children and so many big things in life, I guess whenever Lady Luck smiles my way, she's just primping and congratulating herself on such a done deal -- before moving on.

But a few days ago, Lady Luck got a boost from two little boys and grinned
at me with some extra toothy bling. Come see!

One of my favorite blogs to read is My Minutia, where Teresa McFayden shares her unfettered talent for deliciously papering everything she sees. Showcased as lead artist in a new Autumn Leaves book called Foof-A-Life, and generous as always, Teresa decided to randomly give away her barely-off-the-presses book to someone visiting her blog. Mr. Personality and Mr. Black Cat Connector displayed their own adroit magic and picked -- ME! And the NEW & IMPROVED Miss Lady Luck sent me her wonderful autographed book and all this Foof-a-La booty!

If you can't read the caption below the photo, it says, "Thankfully, there's an artist in every crowd." Thanks, Teresa!!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

july fourth at the washington monument

Will you share with me a little history review on this commemorative day? The Washington Monument is one of the masterworks defining the skyline in our nation's Capitol. It is the centerpiece of the capitol city's Tidal Basin collection of memorials highlighting our nation's history and wars. Begun in 1848, work on the monument stalled (finances and politics) until after the Civil War. When construction resumed using marble from the same Maryland quarry, the marble was unexpectedly no longer the same color, leaving a linear separation still visible today. Architect Robert Mills' controversial Egyptian obelisk design was originally intended to have a large circular colonnade around the base. Now, the unimpeded glorious abstract shape has in its size and power a very modern appeal. When the monument was finally dedicated in 1885, it was the tallest building in the world. By law, the Washington Monument is still the tallest structure in D.C., 555 feet of that white Maryland marble. From the lookout station at the top of the monument, you can see other great monuments in the four cardinal directions: the Capitol to the east, the White House to the north, the Lincoln Memorial to the west, and the Jefferson Memorial to the south. Tonight the 4th of July fireworks in our national backyard will silhouette its height and stature.

Congratulations to two new Army majors promoted today, my son in Baghdad and my daughter-in-law in Afghanistan!! Your family will miss you both as we watch the fireworks tonight from our usual perch at Lee's Arlington Cemetery summit (weather permitting), but we appreciate your dedication to independence. Stay safe and well!!

Happy 4th of July to you all!!

NOTE: See WETA's half-hour TV program on "Memorials"; photo courtesy of DECLAN MCCULLAGH.