Saturday, December 29, 2007

my new year's wish for you

As we look forward to another year of inspired living, here is my New Year's wish for you, my sweet friends:

Here's to the prospect of a New Year,
All shiny and brightly burnished with
Plenty of love, gentleness and generosity for the
Precious people in your life, while
Yet reflecting your commitment to greet each

New day with honesty, energy and
Excitement as you learn and create
With a sense of purpose the person whom

You are meant to be. May the promised light of
Each new day capture your imagination once
Again with its potential; may you be graced with
Renewal unshadowed by futile regrets.

"The greatest good you can do for another,
is not just to share your riches
but to reveal to him his own."
-Benjamin Disraeli

"Every new year people make resolutions to change aspects of themselves
they believe are negative. A majority of people revert back to how they were
before and feel like failures. This year I challenge you to a new resolution.
I challenge you to just be yourself."
- Aisha Elderwyn

Saturday, December 15, 2007

just a little pink and white

It started at Silver Bella with a handful of tiny glamorous pink heart ornaments from Heather's Past Present booth. Then Paper Pearls' Beth tucked in a couple dainty shells each decked out with glitter and a soft pearl. The pirouetting pink ballerina was nestled in a tin of charming goodies from Tammy. Next to arrive was the elegant "Winter Wish" wand from Andrea. Sitting here and there in my work space, it soon became obvious that they all wanted to move in together on the little white tree waiting wistfully on my desk.

Happily, the vintage pink bells and glittery pink Santas were delighted to share space on the same snowy tree.  To bring them all together on their new home, it took only a strand of pink and gold glass beads and swaths of pink tulle wrapped festively around from top to bottom.

Below the branches a small collection of snowy houses gathers cozily, the star residence being Amy’s “very sweet” red and white polka-dot cottage.  This isn't one of our family's traditional trees, but it arrived just in time to bring holiday cheer to a corner of my desk and a giggle or two from my daughter-in-law. You can bet such a whimsical tree will be back in my studio next year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

shimmer and glitter on paper

It was a long late night at work, but I remembered I hadn't shared with you the outcome of my experiment for the Design Team using Tattered Angels' Glimmer Mist in a layout. If you live near Scrapbooks Plus, you can see the layout in the store. The metallic emulsion in the watercolor spray really does glimmer, but it's very hard to capture that sheen in a flat photo.

The Glimmer Mist colors I used are Gold and Burnt Red, sprayed lightly and in several layers to increase the glow's dimension. If you haven't tried it yet, it's important to hold the spray bottle some distance from the paper and to spray lightly and quickly if you wish to achieve a gentle shimmer rather than a concentrated or dense saturation. In addition, the layout features S.E.I. Holly Lane papers and ribbon, Heidi Swapp masks, Hambly transparencies (as " glittering snowflakes" behind the photos), Marvy and Martha Stewart punches, and my new love, glitter! And my granddaughters!

the mail always gets through

Still having internet access problems due to some sort of cable corruption in my cul-de-sac. Santa won't be putting me on his "Nice" list if he happens to overhear me airing my opinion of modern technology and its instant obsolescence and the nuisance factor that nobody but some overworked unavailable specialist seems able to figure out what's wrong when something inevitably goes wrong. This is not the time of year to waste my too-little-time hoping for a momentary slice of cable connection. Phew!! Santa, cover your ears.

So happy to know the mail still works, rain, sleet, snow or shine! Those jaunty little delivery trucks have been bringing me lots of toys and goodies that I couldn't resist, and if I can stay connected long enough to upload some photos, I'll share. Since attending Silver Bella, it's been my treat to find several wonderful kits from other creatively crafty Bellas. All I need now for Christmas is some mellow personal time to follow their creative guidance and actually finish their kits.

Meanwhile, here's one little fellow who's trying to get me organized. Don't you love his sweet happy face? He works in the mail room in the corner of the front hall, collecting cards in his sack and reminding me that this is a two-way deal and I'd better do more than just open my desk and decoratively arrange my pen and stamps.

And yes, I had hoped to participate in Karla's "Holiday Home Party" that she is hosting on her blog today, but that is a bridge too far (it's taken several hours to successfully give my little mail elf his public due this morning). Please visit her blog for links to all those who are sharing their festive homes. And maybe I'll be one of those stragglers she mentions. Now I'm off to work!

Monday, December 10, 2007

we need a little laughter ringing to the rafters . . .

We're already starting to enjoy a full house for the holidays! Our daughter-in-law, staying with us for one more week before deploying to Iraq to join our middle son, invited her good friend Joanna to stay for the week too, as she starts her own pre-deployment readiness. Since both girls will miss Christmas at home, I was easily persuaded of the need for a couple more Christmas trees in their bedroom wing. Yes, I love having GIRLS laughing and giggling around the house -- and wearing pink pajamas!

While the girls took off early Saturday for a full day of snowboarding at White Tail in PA, I recocked my elf hat and went to work. In the guest room where Rose is enjoying the high step-up French iron bed, she now has her own tree, nestled on the painted bureau and festooned with fruits and berries and warm snow shoes and mittens. She already appropriated two of the stuffed blanket reindeer, one red plaid and one green plaid, for snuggling when she goes to sleep. We'll have to fill the stocking that hangs on her door a little early to make sure she has treats for her long trip.

In the next bedroom, where Joanna sleeps in the walnut four-poster, her tree holds a collection of wooden skates among its fruits and berries. Behind it, the reindeer skins brought back from Finland's arctic area clothe the wall, along with a Finnish national hockey jersey and a birch bark star garland. Over the bed, the wreath continues the outdoor theme with its reindeer, moss and lichen. (Sorry, it was late and dark when I snapped these photos.)

Sunday morning boasted a full-scale winter breakfast prepared by the girls, including pumpkin-infused heart-shaped waffles topped with lingonberry and cloudberry sauces, sliced bananas, powdered sugar, and whipped cream. With evergreen boughs in the red Iitalla vases, and red and green holiday place settings on the pine island, it was quite festive. Rose and Joanna took photos to remember their pre-Christmas breakfast and, of course, to share with our son, anxiously awaiting Rose's arrival. Now that her deployment date has been advanced a week, instead of leaving here just two days before Christmas and being enroute right until Christmas day, she's happily looking forward to surprising him with the gift of an extra week.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

it's beginning to look a little like . . .

Continuing in the spirit of gathering simple holiday vignettes, this hall-table arrangement of some of our Finnish collectibles reminds me that sprites and tonttus are also part of our family holiday tradition. One of our trees is always decorated with folksy Finnish and German ornaments collected over many years. With lots of wooden figures, birch bark and paper ornaments, garlands of real popcorn and cranberries, and tiny white lights like fireflies, it's the tree that our children (when they were small) and now our grandchildren enjoy the most. It's the tree which they are in charge of decorating. But every year certain ornaments have a habit of escaping the tree. Like these two tonttus, off to investigate wherever they think I might need help. It was their idea, when they spied the wooden sauna cups and birch bark snow shoes, to add snowflake punches in red to resemble the Scandinavian cross-stitched linens that are also part of our holiday heritage.

Earlier this year, Lidy at French Garden House sent me this lovely table runner, stitched in red with my family monogram. We agreed it was meant to join our family this year. I love how it looks, draped casually next to the old Meissen soup tureen, as though preparations might be under way for a warm winter meal.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

a day in early december

Today was another full class day, teaching two intense holiday papercrafting classes at Scrapbooks Plus, my last until the new year. Winter has definitely arrived, we all declared as the wind and then rain spiked the day. Two visiting British ladies new to scrapbooking joined us, adding to our bubbly holiday spirit and also to the already-oversubscribed class. It took the quick emergency run of my generous friend Carol in Phoenix to pick up and FedEx the dozen extra papers needed that we couldn't find in stock elsewhere. We're all eagerly anticipating Carol's return to Scrapbooks Plus for her classes early next June.

After class I mustered the energy to apply a fresh coat of glossy paint in our foyer where one of the 9+1/2-foot tall trees will go -- tomorrow, I hope. The tree lights will softly sparkle and reflect off the walls. Can you tell I'm behind in my holiday decorating? But we did enjoy a long Thanksgiving visit with our oldest son in Boston, who deliciously brined his first turkey on his first Thanksgiving as family host. We obediently followed our granddaughters from class to class on "Grandfriends Day" at their school and played full-scale bigs-and-littles soccer in the park. Evening entertainments included front-row seats at a winning Celtics game and mellow jazz at our son's trendy club, The Beehive. A very protracted phone call to Iraq included our middle son in the festivities. Then we ferried youngest son back to UVA, and transported daughter's family to the airport for their trip to Belgium and Germany, where they'll extend their stay to include shopping at the Christkindl Markt.

Tonight, after an easy supper of corn chowder, dill bread, salmon with pesto, and French green beans (all from Costco except for my bread-machine bread -- how easy is that!), I started one of the layouts for the Scrapbooks Plus Design Team, using the metallic-infused watercolor spray Glimmer Mist in Gold and Burnt Red. Heidi Swapp masks on ivory cardstock provided a background that shimmers in the shadow box frame I made using SEI holiday papers from the Design Team kit. I varied the masking to try different color effects. Unfortunately, I didn't muster the energy to figure out better lighting to actually show you the shimmer. Tonight the painted paper is resting under weights to flatten it before I continue experimenting tomorrow. Meanwhile, I'm anticipating falling asleep to the lulling sound of rain falling heavily on the skylights.