Sunday, November 18, 2007

belated bella episode two: classes

The glitter fest continued with two days of classes and a sparkly costumed Vendor Night! In preparation for classes starting early Friday morning, many Bellas outfitted ourselves with special Silver Bella hoodies sold by the irrepressible Lulubellas Kim and Cori. In their room the evening before, their beds were covered with rows of labeled bags ready for pick-up.

My first class was with funny and generous Jennifer Paganelli, the creative force behind Sis Boom fabrics. Using reproduced wallpaper and music patterns and lots of glitter, we made a hanging decoration to bring "A Christmas Wish." Her kit contained enough product to make the cones for her second class as well, although I haven't finished those yet.

Jennifer (at right)

Rebecca (left) with vivacious Carol Ryan (seated) and my lunch mate Leslie March behind her.

In my next class, sweet and gentle Rebecca Sower's "Life is a Collage," we made 12 tiny collages to place under glass squares, which we then framed with more glitter. Wish I had more fun photos to share, but keeping up with the other crafty ladies at my table, who could talk and laugh and craft all at once, didn't leave me time to think about photos.

For Kim Kwan's "Make a Wish" mini album, I scraplifted an idea from Cari Kraft's class project (see her laptop project below). Cari rolled her felt into flower cones, so I rolled some book paper into a cone to add to my felt and paper corsage. (Thanks, Cari!) Novice that I am at this paper arts stuff, I was a bit yikes! when Kim held up my little book cover to show it off. For at my creative table, talented Amy transformed hers into a sweet book with silvery tendrils, illustrator Maggie added her elegant Victorian details, mixed-media queen Tammy
used her stash of vintage photos and doodads to make a wonderfully evocative cover, and Debby borrowed a photo from Tammy to stage a vintagey scene on hers. Of course, my album still needs binding and personalizing the inside pages and starting my wish list . . . I'm counting on Hope Wallace's promise to take me "vintage" shopping in MD to help train my eye for collecting and assembling these goodies.

In Teresa McFayden's class "Miracle Under Glass," we soldered a cross on top of a little votive glass, collaged an inside wrap for the glass, and then illuminated it from within using a battery-operated mini candle. Remembering a few pointers from a very basic soldering class at CE, I managed to attach my cross to my strip across the top of the glass and smooth my circular edges. But I am even more determined now that I will learn this technique that others practice so skillfully. Teresa's sister Corrine was very patient and helpful with the many of us who needed her.

My last class, late on Saturday, was Corrine Ayers' aptly named "Naughty or Nice" album. Most of us were so exhausted by then that we were a little of both, except for Corinne who remained serene as we made her glittery album with lots of planning pages inside. It was also lovely to share this last class with my cohorts for the weekend, Debby, Elaine, and Maggie. We had so much fun shopping, eating, and late-night gabbing with lots of stories to exchange.

Okay, so one last photo of two sweet ladies whose classes I didn't get to take, the ever gracious Pam Garrison (she's Pam, I'm the "other" Pam, just like back in ballet class) and Charlotte Lyons, whose handmade felted skiing Santa now graces my work space instead of hers -- bringing with him, I hope, lots of sweet experience and inspiration. And on the right is Kelly Jacobs, another talented Bella. Wish I could have met and befriended them all.

Thank you, Teresa, and all the Bellas who made Silver Bella such an enjoyable and creative experience, filled with wit and whimsy and silvery good memories!

Friday, November 16, 2007

belated bella episode one: shopping

Like many of the lucky ladies attending Silver Bella in Omaha, I arrived a day early. The Hilton Omaha Hotel and the Qwest Center across the street (its sign and my room were out-the-window buddies :>) are newly built in Omaha, and the facilities and the river walk were delightful. But the main attraction for us before the event itself was Omaha's Old Market District, now a local boutique and dining mecca.

Heading off first to the much-ballyhooed Second Chance antique store, Debby Schuh, her friend Elaine Prosser, our newly-met Omaha blogging buddy Maggie Summers, and I formed our own posse to round up vintage goodies for the classes to come. Two floors crammed full of furniture, vintage display cases, drawers piled on drawers, boxes and mannequins made for a full-scale treasure hunt. The owner stands in the center of the photo above, surveying the start of the onslaught.

Like Elaine with her camera, we were all busily photographing, sorting, choosing, piling stuff in our baskets until we heard the credit cards whistling Dixie in warning.

Heading out the door (though many of us would return several times), Debby smiles in anticipation of the fun ahead.

Perhaps these chairs weren't put there just for us, but we (me, Elaine, Debby and Maggie temporarily behind the camera) needed the momentary rest.

Here's a quick glimpse of some of my glittery and softened-by-time purchases.

This collection of celluloid pieces, billed as French Ivory, is a favorite find for my desk space. Tracey Niehues immediately understood why I consider these small sculpting tools perfect for sanding and artfully distressing paper, especially since she's now also obsessed with art journals.

Another place to visit in the Old Market District is Gallery Walk, where small galleries, restaurants, and artsy boutiques line the brick walkway, and where this scrumptious-to-the touch handmade raspberry scarf from Paper Dolls wrapped itself in my

arms, although I certainly didn't need it for the mild weather in Omaha. Not to worry. Just the color happily warms up Miss Maude and me in my studio.

Until the Thursday evening wine-and-cheese back at Second Chance, we ambled through other antique shops, gift shops, and restaurants, including Upstream, where the very kind waitress insisted we have Omaha steaks for our late lunch, although if it had been colder, we might have just sidled up to the bar to sample their famous Blackstone stout.

Next Bella episode: classes in session

gray hair and autumn leaves


Ugh! Still having unexplained internet access problems. Our neighbors have been building an addition to the back of their house and, not uncoincidentally, I think, our cable access has been steadily degrading over the past few weeks. We enjoy the privacy of being at the end of the road, but not so much the travails of interrupted service along the way. Only after midnight do emails wing their way with just a minor delay. But most frustratingly, blogging has become a sad sequence of lost time and lost uploads. I believe I can actually see the gray hairs increasing in direct parallel.

So I took myself out into the crisp air and blue sky for a brisk refreshing walk among the swirling gold and red leaves. Came back to the warmth of indoors and the soothing meditative Gregorian Chants of the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey at Ganagobie. Not only a fine choice of music for tasking myself in front of the computer again, but also among my favorite preludes to the holiday season. Serving as president of the German-American Women's Club in Berlin afforded me many treasured audiences with divine German and visiting boys' choirs. Being enveloped in the sweet sound of young tenor voices floating to the Gothic arches is an experience worth cherishing. Compelling in a different register are the meditative Gregorian chants of religious orders who have popularized the early plainchant songs. Although I was allowed inside the massive fortifications of Saint Catherine's Monastery in the desert at Mount Sinai (photo below), entry of a female into the monastery itself was hard-won despite the intense desert heat. But I have nearly a shelf full of these wonderful recordings of harmonic voices, young and old, to glorify my winter season.

So I will prevail and, at some point, show you my photos of Silver Bella 2007. Meanwhile, it will just be the perverse pleasure of the internet gods if this post goes through, acknowledging the vastness and variety of this universe which I can savor but not control.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

glitter still to come


Yesterday I enjoyed a lovely relaxed morning, sifting through my delicious Silver Bella booty of class projects and vendor stash and being regaled with sweet birthday wishes from my children, including my son in Iraq, and friends. The long coveted iPhone is now in my still-glittery hands, so watch out -- I may actually get organized, after all! The rest of the day picked up tempo, leaving my photos of Silver Bella still awaiting my posting, hopefully after work today. (Okay, I admit it, I spent a lot of that morning break reading the many other Silver Bella blog postings -- so much fun to share.)

Meanwhile, look at all the class kits I brought home in the Lulubellas customized tote, filled to the brim with creative inventiveness calling out to me to settle in and play with more glitter!

Monday, November 12, 2007

back from bella-land

Is it already the 46th week of the year? Although I've blissfully spent all those weeks (and just a few more) delving into the wonderful world of scrapbooking, this past week my learning curve followed the vintage brick road to the enchanted Silver Bella land in Omaha for a new and deliciously creative adventure in paper crafts.  Sitting next to so many talented crafty ladies in action, making new friends in every class, coveting (and buying) their lovingly handmade wares at Vendor Night (I think at least a third of the students were also vendors), and meeting the most generously supportive teachers -- all this was amazingly packaged by Teresa McFayden, Miss Prima Bella herself.

My fab five teachers included the ever stellar Teresa, sweet and funny Jennifer Paganelli, calm and gently creative Rebecca Sower, whirlwind Kim Kwan, and engaging Corinne Ayers, and I'll show you their class projects when I unpack that suitcase.  But all the teachers, like Charlotte Lyons and Pam Garrison, were so amiable to all the students, in and out of class, that it was a delight. This was the third Silver Bella, tripled in size this year, says Teresa, and just the right size, I think.  I hope it doesn't get any bigger for next year, because being able to actually meet so many of these talented ladies is a large part of its charm.

Today I would love to share some more photos with you, but Blogger is not cooperating.  So, since I have some freelance deadlines looming and it's taken way too long to upload only these two, I'll be back.  Prepare for glitter and whimsy!  Tap-tap!

Monday, November 05, 2007

in the holiday mode

Changing the clocks Saturday night did cause one sleepy student to miss class on Sunday, but the rest of us were energized and laughing through the day's two Anna Griffin papercrafting classes. The afternoon gift bag was pink and black and stylish, and resulted in lots of ideas for other papers and patterns.

With the winter holidays just around the corner, our next Anna Griffin classes will include a morning 2-page layout with cut-out ornament borders, followed by a 3-D ornament class in the afternoon. The elegant papers for the morning layout are already popular in the store, as many customers start preparing for their holiday scrapbooking.

Now, per student requests, I'm trying to re-engineer the folded paper ornaments so they will actually open and hold little gifts when they are hung on the tree.

As soon as I deliver these class samples to Scrapbooks Plus, I need to get busy packing my supplies for this week's Silver Bella, where all the glittery papercrafting classes will surely jumpstart my holiday spirit. Since I'm leaving for Omaha at o-dark-thirty Wednesday morning, tomorrow will require some quick sorting of winter sweaters after our late summer's end. Luckily, it looks like Omaha may warm up to the mid 50s for our benefit. Maybe I'll stuff my sweater pockets with some fun sparkly embellishments to personalize each class project.

After teaching Sunday's classes, I joined my husband downtown for a relaxing crabcake dinner with lovely friends visiting from Santa Barbara. Inevitably, my conversation with Susan turned to the art and scrap events we both enjoy attending, even if we have to shoehorn them into our busy schedules. Susan is a big fan of Teesha Moore's ArtFest in April up in Port Townsend, WA. Quite a long distance for me, but she assures me that ArtFest offers lots of painting workshops, so I guess I will just have to check it out. What else are those frequent flyer miles for?