Thursday, May 29, 2008

ribbon rout

Once again my workspace is a mess, with several Design Team projects mid-stream, class supply lists and kit prep piling up, and a Glimmer Mist demo in the works for Scrapbooks Plus in June.  Nor do I want to be inside dealing with any of it when a lounge chair outside is sighing my name, magazine pile at the ready. Oh, the very thought of you, sunshiny day -- crisp shadows that lean long across the greened grass, red maple leaves dancing gracefully on the slight air shifts, a generous quiet that pays attention to small sounds.

Contrary to the lightness of being outside, this compiled ribbon assortment in my studio seems heavy and workaholic. The small spools of ribbon are tucked in an old red-painted wooden Cola box that neatly fits between the legs at the end of my farmhouse table, camouflaging the low shelf where red storage boxes serviceably line up. But today I feel the need for unblocked views and more air flow. So I'm mulling over where to move the ribbon box as an excuse to daydream and gaze out my window.  


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

creativity fairy for inspiration


What beautiful weather we had here this remembrance weekend in northern Virginia -- sunny but balmy, birds singing their natural anthem, roses in bloom, al fresco meals requiring us only to sit back and enjoy. Not wanting to miss a minute of the effortless luxury and fine family conversations, I took only a short time away to make something in my studio.

Several weeks ago Candice Carpenter sent me her kit to make a fantastic "Creativity Fairy" party hat. You can find more of her Monthly Party Hats here, where she combines a fondness for flamboyantly fun retro finds with modern scrapbooking products. She offers a range of other kits, too, often of the classes she teaches to those lucky ladies who live around southern CA.

Decked out with tissue garland, glitter, gold stars and a star wand, the fairy hat seemed just the celebratory thing to create this weekend. The clipart fairy herself came from Hope Wallace of Paper Relics. Since I didn't have enough tissue garland to go around the wand, I covered it with sheet music and used pink tinsel instead. Rather than seaming the hat up the back, I reversed the decorative fairy oval to the seam side and then "buttoned" up the back with Cropadile punches from the Heidi Swapp chipboard ledger letters Candice provided. Then it seemed appropriate to write out my own version of the word "Inspiration" for the wand's message, using her photo as a guideline.

Now my Creativity Fairy sits on my red swirled cake stand, paired with my big red lucky die. Not quite fireworks, but close enough.


Friday, May 23, 2008

anna griffin georgette layout


Working with a subdued monochromatic color scheme is not my normal approach, but the June Anna Griffin class I'm teaching will feature just that. Here's a peek in progress of the 12x12" layouts using her new Georgette line, elegant papers based on French couture designs. Adding to the couture feel are these glittered dimensional sticker flowers. An accordion mini album will accompany the layouts, but I'm still waiting on the remaining embellishments to arrive for both. Seems everyone's been away at the National Stationery Show in NYC for the past several days.

Time to take a break and wish you a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

cranberry swirl shaker

A couple weeks ago, when Debby and Kitty and I were foraging for vintage treasures in Leesburg, I spied a cranberry swirl sugar shaker in one of the glass vitrines in the Leesburg Antique Emporium. Although I have no sweet tooth and no need for an actual sugar shaker, I was drawn by the colorful candy stripes and knew immediately that it could have a new purpose in my studio. But the price was high -- and so the rationalization had to go on for a little longer.

When I returned this week to visit Ann at The Cottage, I checked whether the shaker with the cranberry swirls was still across the street at the Emporium. It was. I asked to remove it from its protective glass walls. The sweet white-haired lady at the desk retrieved the proper key and let me hold the shaker. As I ran my fingers over the faceted glass and admired the luminous colors, the rationalization gained momentum. Was there some way to reduce the price? Yes, I could pay by check for a small discount. Could we do more? She would call the vendor and ask. While I meandered around looking at other items, none of which was talking to me that day, the rationalization continued. Finally, the vendor-agreed price was presented -- and the cranberry swirl sugar shaker was mine.

Ta-da! Please meet my new glitter shaker.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

carol wingert in two weeks

In just two weeks, my good friend Carol Wingert will fly in from Phoenix to teach three awesome classes (click to see photos) at Scrapbooks Plus the weekend of June 7-8.  And if you're within driving distance of the store, I hope you've managed to snag your class spaces by now, because there were only a couple seats left in the 7Gypsies ATC spinner class and the For Girls Only class the other day.

Carol is spending some extra springtime days here so she can relax from her hectic teaching and online-kit schedule -- but I think she'll have to go home again to do that! We have a lot planned, including retail therapy and antique hunting and lots of desserts with friends. Phoenix is already experiencing oven temperatures in the 100's, so a late spring retreat for this Philly girl is just what she needs.

We have another fun topic to discuss while she's visiting. Now that we both scrap in front of the bay windows in our family rooms, I'm going to test her reaction to my workspace. On her last visit, we crowded into my cramped and untidy space late into the night talking, with Carol sitting on a leftover child's chair from which I had to remove piles of paper and stack them in the hall. Now we can sit in my pair of feed-bag covered chairs and laugh at the preposterous extent to which our hobby has taken over our living space.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

time in the sun


After feverishly kitting class kits this week, losing sight of my studio floor in the process, it was a welcome relief to relax my tired back in the sun which finally showed itself with some commitment today. This spring has been cold and wet so far, good mostly for the lettuce garden and the shallow-rooted azaleas and rhodies, and incidentally for not minding staying in, hunched over my workspace, translating that idea so brilliant the first time around into endless repetitions. :( But today the photos for class instructions came out better without having to fiddle them through Photoshop. So I took the time to look around and enjoy the early bloomers. In the corner of my lettuce bed, the parsley is just getting started, but the lettuces have been picked steadily for yummy fresh salads every day. As you can see, I like mixing up the lettuces to make color patterns rather than planting them all together by type. Drives my husband nuts.

All the birds love to perch and sunbathe on the large pink blown-glass flower which has steadily filled with rain water this spring. The glass artist who made this gorgeous flower dripping with chandelier pendants sells from the glass shop on a sleepy corner of Hampton, VA.

Speaking of the birds, can you see the bird's nest built messily but so strongly among my flower beds? It's that brown heap pushed behind the violets for camouflage. It was first brought to my attention a couple weeks ago when I was watering and deadheading the early gardens. Suddenly there was a rush of beating wings and such squawking as mama bird flew straight out at me! She kept up the scolding and general disapproval even after I left the scene. But first, of course, I peeked inside and saw the 8 tiny pale blue eggs protected by all that gathered garden debris.

The battle between me and the deer and squirrels who love to prey on my gardens with impunity is already in full swing. Did you know (acc to an old issue of USA TODAY) that there are more deer in the good old US today than there were when the Pilgrims arrived? I have been trying to get back in mama bird's good graces by chasing the squirrels whenever I see them approaching that area of my garden.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

travel album to go


As requested by my avid scrapping friend Bunny, this Sunday I'm tickled to be teaching two classes tailored for her 50th birthday! She's invited her sisters and her friends to share her hobby of commemorating good days like this is sure to be. The morning class is a summery layout, almost tropical, to capture the feel of the many vacation trips these ladies take together.

After a celebratory birthday lunch brought in by her lucky husband, the afternoon travel album will be an ambitious, practical but gorgeous hand-crafted book with pockets, envelopes and folders to collect memorabilia on the trip and to scrap it after. For icing on the birthday cake, the travel album uses Bunny's scrap room color scheme. Happy Birthday, Bunny!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

mothers have it all • happy mother's day


Photos excerpted from my large pastel drawings.

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. -- Rajneesh

A suburban mother's role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after. -- Peter de Vries

The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men -- from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms. -- Oliver Wendell Holmes

I'd like to be the ideal mother, but I'm too busy raising my kids. -- Unknown


JOB DESCRIPTION: Long-term team player needed for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidate must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work full-time and various hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24-hour shifts "on call." Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in faraway cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES: This is for the rest of your life. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly and to be hated at least temporarily, until someone needs $5 to go skating. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers.

Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gathering for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.

Must be willing to indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next.

Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys and battery-operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT AND PROMOTION: Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required, unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

WAGES AND COMPENSATION: You pay them, offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered, job does supply limitless opportunities for personal growth -- and free hugs for life if you play your cards right.
-- Unknown.


Friday, May 09, 2008

shabby May layout


From the May Design Team kit at Scrapbooks Plus, I selected the MME 29th Street red blossom paper with its persimmon reverse side for a fun shabby layout. For a photo mat, I used a corner of the Creative Imaginations Narratives red diecut notebook paper that mimics the brick pattern in the photo, then layered under that a cardstock piece bordered with the new Fiskars Threading Water punch.

The new Design Team display will be up in the store on May 15th -- come see all the members' design work. I love these juicy colors -- spring fever in all its sunny glory! Hope you are having a great spring day, too!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

celebrating vintage part two


Although crafting with "vintage" finds is relatively new to me, antiques have always been a part of my heritage. But it is high fun to join friends in a hunt for "vintage" finds to add a lively spirit to my nearly-revamped studio. Especially when the shops are as spirited as these. On a Whim beckons with a polka-dotted silo and continues the color scheme even to the wrapping paper.

Two card-carrying "vintage" finders joined in the hunt, which means they employed their good humor to both enable and compete for the choice finds. Debby (above) and Kitty (below) have a thing for bird finials. Who knew?  Since I was the driver and needed to stay dispassionate, calm, cool-headed, and above the fray, I rationalized to myself that bird finials were about to be an endangered species and I should just look for something else.

Luckily I found, tucked almost out of sight in a basket, this gently pink-tinted tablecloth to add to the coveted piles in my linen closet. It has just a blush of color with its delicate applique borders and center.  

Further north up the road from Leesburg is Lucketts, a combination of buildings and dealers for the true hunt-and-peck troopers. But we started in the Beekeeper's Cottage because, well, we liked the name and then we really liked the colors. Two young women run this cottage filled with Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic and other romantic home furnishings that they often refinish themselves.  Lots of vignettes caught our eye. Enjoy the vision, including the wallpapered stairs.

Friday, May 02, 2008

celebrating vintage


While shopping in historic Leesburg on a warm sunny Friday, my sweet friends Debby and Kitty and I were especially keen to enjoy the new expanded location of The Cottage on S. King Street. Debby was visiting from Buffalo to teach three classes on Saturday at Scrapbooks Plus. Kitty was taking a day off and celebrating her birthday with us! And as we walked into The Cottage, we spied a familiar face from Silver Bella, for Karla was in town from Kansas with her husband to celebrate her birthday weekend!! We all made the most of our serendipitous opportunity to enable each other's gift selections.

Ann, lovely co-owner of The Cottage with Linda, graciously allowed us to take up most of her counter space with our piles of pillows and charms, lace ribbons and vintage cards, metal boxes and flowered tins, and our chatter, while other customers milled around and wondered who and what "blog celebrities" were (Ann's funny phrase).

Of course, I found lots of red items to tempt me, from old gym lockers to wooden tray boxes and a beautiful red lace-trimmed pillow showcasing lots of rhinestone jewelry.

But the favorite piece among my purchases is a shabby red-painted metal box imprinted with the words "My Stuff" on the hinged lid. It's such a good-sized sturdy box, and I've got such a lot of "my stuff" that could snuggle together in its capacious hold. Here you can see it sitting on the counter under another customer's Amish tin star.

Since it has so much interior space, this old mirror and frame could be the one to serve as my inspiration board over the chest of drawers behind my scrap desk.

Meanwhile, as Debby mused over the practicality of stuffing a pink wagon in her suitcases, I snagged two more gorgeous floral pillows, made by the talented Jean Anfindsen, for my screened deck chairs. Here they sit on my studio chair, waiting the return of warm sunny weather.