Monday, February 28, 2011

Inspiration Monday

When I was a kid we'd visit my grandma during school breaks and over the summer.  My grandma had this awesome house that was sort of divided into 2 parts.  They had this GIANT living space/rec room that sort of was off of the main house...and then their was the main house that you could get to from the rec room.  The first room that you walked through from the rec room was the dining room, and from there you could either go straight into the kitchen or you could swing right at the dining room table and head into the more traditional living room that was only used during holidays when I was super little, or as the primary living space as my grandma got older.  So if you followed all of that, you might imagine that the dining room got a TON of traffic.  My grandma always had a lace tablecloth on the table, and one of my favorite things to do (even as a teenager, which seems strange now that I am writing this) was to hide under the table and "spy" on people.  We'd also play under their too, but the spying was the real fun.  We saw all sorts of exciting and exotic things - like my grandma watching Johnny Carson or The Match Game and my mom sitting on the yellow stool in the kitchen talking on the phone.  We'd listen to my uncles and mom chat as they'd sit around the kitchen table, or we'd dare to peek out from under the table into the rec room where my grandma could be found sitting at the old spool table, painting her finger nails red.  Pretty intense, right?!
a spool table, just in case you didn't know what i was talking about.
This is all a very rambly way of saying this: when I was a kid, I used to LOVE playing under the table.  So, when I saw this blog post the other day, I literally gasped with delight.
Respectfully borrowed from The Artful Blog via Ohdeedoh.
It's from The Artful Parent blog and I MUST make this for my kid.  I think it would be fun to do with a bunch of different scraps.  Our dining room table is six feet long, and if I make it for that table it's obviously not something that could stay out every day, but I think it would be fun for rainy days or super hot summer days like we have her in Atlanta.  The other thing I could do is make a smaller version of this that could live in the paint room since I have 2 four foot tables butted up together as a work space.  The second table is really used for overflow of supplies and it also houses the cat food, so the house could stay up as a more permanent fixture.  Decisions, decisions....

Time to dust off my sewing machine!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dreaming of Turquoise Doors

We bought our house back in 2004.  The first few years, we tried to make the yard cute - we planted stuff, we weeded, we mowed.  We put new grass in the front yard.  And then like with a lot of other things - it all went to hell when we moved to NYC.  We moved back to Atlanta in 2009, but haven't had the energy or the funding to do much with the yard, until now.

This year is the year of the back yard.  I talked about this a bit the other day, but thought it'd be fun to elaborWe have big plans, and while not all of the plans will come to fruition in 2011, it's still fun to think about.  First up, we are tearing out the plot of driveway that is in our backyard.  We are also tearing out the deteriorating retaining wall and putting in a new wall and lots of new plants.  The driveway will be replaced with a play area for Em.  Our backdoor leads out to a patio, and we want to build a pergola over the patio.  One of the other things I want to do is paint the back door. My color of choice? Turquoise.

I first fell in love with turquoise doors when Heather and I visited New Mexico back in 2003.  We visited Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos and every turquoise door I saw sent me squealing with delight.  It doesn't take much.

I also love New Orleans, which is filled with color.  You see lots and lots of shutters and trim in turquoise and I love it all - what's even better is if it's on a corner door.  I LOVE corner doors!

So this year, is going to be the year of my own turquoise door.  Our back door needs a lot of love, thanks to our dog who takes to scratching at the door to tell us that she wants to come in. But by the end of the summer we will have a turquoise door!
It won't be surrounded in all of this beautiful, lush greenery, but it will be painted and hopefully open the way for lots of new backyard adventures!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Baby Shower - Flower Decorations

The other day, I posted about the invitations that I designed for our friend's baby shower.  I thought it would be fun to share some of the decorations, especially since I drew inspiration from the invitations.

Keeping with a garden/flower theme, I decided it would be fun to make some flowers similar to what we created for the invitations.  I wound up with 4 different designs, and I thought I had more pictures of single flowers but I either didn't take them like I thought or I've filed them somewhere where they shouldn't be, so here are some pictures that came from the shower:
We wound up with 2 long tables about 14 feet long, so we had 4 pots with 3 flowers each along the tables.  The card in the middle is an instruction card for two of the activities we had, and the smallest pot on the right was for m&m's that were also scattered along the tables.

Here's a close-up of a part of the food table.   The pineapple was so good on these kabobs!
After the party, I divided the flowers into 2 halves and gave a bunch to Shannon and Laura.  I kept the other half and they will be divided between Emily's room and my office at work.  These were so fun to make and I love how much Laura and Shannon loved them!  Later in the week, I'll post a bit on how I made them.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday - 2/23

I haven't participated in Jamie Ridler's Wednesday prompts in quite some time, but I popped over to her site today, and really loved the question she posed:

What do you wish for your home?

Love this as home things have definitely been on the brain lately.

We are settled again, so this year it's all about reclaiming our space and LOVING and ENJOYING our space.  There have been a fair amount of needed home improvements that we've HAD to take care of, but thankfully there are a few this year that we WANT to do, which makes the process (and the money being spent) so much more fun.
(not our yard)
The backyard is going to be our big project for the spring and summer.  We are getting a new retaining wall next month and then we will start the process of planting A LOT of new plants - flowers, shrubs and even a bit of grass.  The other thing I want to do back there is build a playhouse for Emily.  This is my inspiration for the house:

I've got to figure out how to make this!  I found this on ohdeedoh last year and I've been in love since.  I love the whole area, especially the rocks because our little girl LOVES rocks.  She collects them.  Everywhere we go, she will look around and find a rock.  One time we went to Red Lobster, and they have those big garden rocks that are probably 5-10" across out front, and she bent down on the way out and tried to get one.  She didn't understand why she couldn't get those!

Back to the prompt - I wish for new and improved spaces to play and relax in.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Baby Shower - Invitations

Our friends Laura and Shannon are expecting a baby in April.  We have been so excited for them ever since they shared the news that they were going to try to start a family last June.  Once we found out that they had 'become with child', I almost immediately offered to host a baby shower. I had so many fun ideas for this shower, but the fact that L&S have called their baby in utero, Sprout, the idea of doing something related to a garden or growth seemed pretty natural.

So I started with the invites.  These were so much fun.  Here's the design I came up with:
I came up with the prototype pretty quickly and took a picture, texted L&S and got an almost immediate, 'yes!'

The fun part came with making all of the invites.  L&S wanted to invite 40+ people and by the time we got around to deciding the date of the shower, it gave us only 3 weeks to plan so I knew that I wasn't going to be able to make all of the invites on my own.  So we decided to have an invitation making party.  Laura, Shannon and the other shower co-hosts, Joey and Heather came over, and together we formed a round-about assembly line to make the invites.  Here's what the back of the invites wound up looking like thanks to Joey (some info blurred out for privacy):
And here's a few shots of our invitation making evening:
me taking a break and enjoying it all.
joey showing off her mad invite making skills.

our collective efforts.  I love that all of them are unique.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Favorite things lately

Mumford and Sons - The Cave
I know everyone loves this band, but this song rocks my socks off every stinkin' time I hear it.  Seriously.  Like even in a downpour, I just (want to) open my sunroof, roll down all of the windows and turn the radio up as loud as I can in my car and drive around singing wildly.

Model Magic
This is a new, old love.  Back in the day when I used to make and sell bottleheads, I used this stuff all of the time.  It's super-light, super pliable, air drying clay.  I used to buy it by the biggest tub I could - always in white and I'd paint it, glue things to it, and create all sorts of fun things with it.  I recently purchased some so that Emily could try it out.  She loved it and it's been a great tool to teach her about about primary, secondary and tertiary colors.  Of course, at the end of each playtime, we just wind up with a bigger ball of brown, but that's ok - it's still be a lot of fun and definitely something that moms should have on hand for those rainy/cold/bored days.

This Etsy Shop:  1SweetPeaBoutique
I got Heather a Kindle for Christmas this year, and I LOVE the idea of having a few of these to change up with your mood:

Pandora and Trace Bundy
I've been listening to a lot of Pandora lately, but then again, who hasn't?  I recently created a Mumford and Sons channel because of my aforementioned love of them, and my channel introduced me to Trace Bundy.  I am a sucker for acoustic guitars on most days, but this guy - holy wowzers - he's amazing.  He seems to be touring a lot in the west/NW, but I sure hope he makes it to the south because I would love to see him play live.  Here's a peak, but there are some great covers on his youtube channel as well.


Friday, February 18, 2011

birthday wrapping

As my darling 4-year-old gets older we are invited to more and more birthday parties.  Buying a present is one thing, but purchasing the wrapping can be an investment all by itself.  It also sneaks up on you.  Or it did me.  I typically would have a rough budget in mind for a gift, but rarely did I account for the cost of the wrapping in that price.  What I started noticing was that the card + wrapping (gift bag, tissue paper and bow/adornment) was easily adding an additional 20-40% more cost to the total gift and that adds up, especially when you attend several parties. 

So, I've decided to take matters into my own, or in this case, my kid's hands and make our own wrapping.  Rarely do I wrap birthday presents in wrapping paper.  Bags are so easy, and you can fit multiple goodies in one sack.  I've started to keep a stash of plain gift bags on hand.  I only buy them now when they are on sale, and I've only been purchasing white or brown (craft paper).   Sometimes, I'll have to get a bag that is a bit bigger than what I have, but if you buy a plain one you can usually find them for a $1 or less compared to the average price of $4 for a large, printed bag.  I think my mother-in-law's thriftiness is starting to wear off on me, because I've become a deal hunter and the Dollar Tree is becoming a regular haunt, where just a few years ago I wouldn't set foot in there.

Here's a bag that Emily and I recently put together for our friend, Zoe's birthday:
and a close-up of the z:

Here's how we did it:

1.  Ask Emily what color paper we should use.  This is a rhetorical question because she will always choose purple.
2.  Cut out the person/child's initial.  In this case, it was a 'z.'
3.  Give your child a tube of Elmer's glue and a bunch of junk stuff that she can glue on the paper.  My kid is particularly fond of sparkly things, pom poms and the random bits of my scrapbooking leftovers as evidenced by the photo.
4.  Allow yourself plenty of time between step 3 and the party in order to let the globs of glue dry.
5.  Glue or tape the letter to the bag.
6.  Optional step:  fill in the 'holes' with other bits and pieces that your child might not be privvy to.  In this case, I added a couple of stickers, buttons and polka dots around the z.
7.  Make card.  In this case I found some scrap paper that actually matched the tissue paper I had.  I scored the paper and wrote a little birthday love note inside.
8.  Go to the party and give your gift.

That's it.  The only other piece of advice that I'll offer is don't leave your kids unsupervised with all of the little pieces of stuff.  This was a lesson I learned the hard way as I used to keep an open bowl of all sorts of bits for Emily to glue on her desk.  The desk and the floor usually looked like this:
Now it looks more like this:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sketchbook Project - my pages, part 2 (aka Goddess Inspiration)

I've talked quite a bit about the different art projects that I've taken on over the past few months, but I haven't done much talking about a group I've been involved with since the fall - Goddess Circle.

Goddess Circle is the divine invention of Goddess Leonie of  If you spend even 2 minutes on her site, you will understand what Leonie is all about - being your best self, being inspired, being open to what the world brings and sharing and celebrating life.  She's like a Australian, hippy, blonde, mermaid Oprah.  I think she's great.

Last fall she started a private community for like-minded women to join and connect to each other which is called Goddessguidebookcircle.  I joined right away.  It's been an amazing experience so far - I've been able to 'meet' and connect with women all over the world and we've been able to share our stories, ask questions and give and receive support when needed.  I've really never been apart of anything like it.  The group has inspired me in a number of ways, including creatively.

As I was approaching the last few pages of my sketchbook, I was running out of ideas, so I decided to turn to my Goddess sisters.  I posted a blog entry inside the community and talked a bit about the project, my theme (happy thoughts) and opened it up to the community to give me some ideas.  I got a few that I worked with, and at the end of the day, they are some of my favorite pages in the book.

First up, is the inspiration from Sylvie.  Her happy thought was that Jerry Lee Lewis was still playing rock and roll at the age of 76.  I have to admit - this one threw me for a few days.  I liked the initial idea of it.  I know who Jerry Lee Lewis is, and I know some of his music but I couldn't figure out how to draw/sketch/create anything around this idea.  I sat with it for probably 4 days and then one Sunday morning, I got out of bed, went to the paint room and in about 90 minutes produced this:
The text on the left reads:  Jerry Lee Lewis is still ridin' his bliss and playing music at the age of 76.  Keep flying, Jerry Lee.  Keep Flying.

The text on the right page reads (clockwise starting from the title):  The Bliss Mobile
- Ruby red finish so people will see you coming
- Custom rims for a bit of sass.
- Brakelights used for potty breaks or low flying geese
- Big trunk for memorbilia or paperwork or for a secret stash of m&m's.
- Big ass wings to carry you on all of your amazing adventures.

Next idea came from Rose:
I had wanted the window on this page to open, but the paper in the book was so thin, that it couldn't support the opening action (I wanted the window to slide up and down), so I gave up and instead just made the sky dimensional by using micro beads.

The final idea came from Sally:

As soon as I read her idea, the image came to me.  I actually sketched the idea in the book (it's underneath the text on the right) and then did the paper piecing on the left.  The text reads, "For Sally who also mentioned snuggling with her husband, but I'll leave that between them."  Her happy thoughts were a good cup of tea, furry cat bellies and fresh green paint.

Thanks, ladies, for the inspiration.  <3

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We Must

I recently stumbled across a new (to me) artist, Mindy Lacefield, and was wandering through her blog and found a great poem.  It's from her friend, Jenn and I asked permission to post it since I don't know either of these talented ladies.  Mindy wrote back and said she didn't think Jenn would mind.  I love this for the simplicity and for the reminder that we are each unique, special and amazing exactly as we are.

We Must
We must tell the truth of our story
Share all of the pieces that make up who we are
We must show ourselves to the world
Perfectly imperfect
Exactly as we are
Because we are beautiful creatures
Creating magic wherever we go
Just by being ourselves

We must open up our hearts and soul
Allow them to let beauty and goodness to enter
We must not be afraid of this
Soak it all in
Embrace what is before us
Then share it with the world

We must breathe deeply
Letting it all in
The happiness as well as the sadness
Each of these things balancing out the other
Show them all to the world
Wear them proudly
So that you can let others in

We must be true to ourselves
Each and every day
Standing tall in who we are
We must

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sketchbook Project - my pages, part 1

As previously mentioned, last year I signed up for Art House's Sketchbook Project.  The project was a lot of fun, if not a bit daunting when I first started.  In flipping through the whole book, you can definitely see where I get more and more comfortable with the challenge, my ideas and finding my flow.  Here's a few shots:

This was actually one of my first ideas for the book, but it appears about a third of the way in.  I inserted this page as it's a series of individually cut houses.  You can see at the bottom of the page where I attached it to the book.  I used double-sided tape and then reinforced the ends with the brads.
(Text in above picture) I used to work for a great guy who lived in a city called Alpharetta.  While all of the houses were very pretty, everything was a different shade of brown.  It was boring and I started calling the city Tauparetta.  I don't think his wife appreicated that name very much.

This next page is what you see when you turn the brown house page over:
(Text in above image) If I had anything to say about it, all neighborhoods would be filled with color and that way you couldn't help but smile when going past your neighbors house.  I'm sure the people of Alpharetta don't like that idea much, but I think it helps to explain my love of cities like New Orleans and Savannah.
There is a hidden dig in copy there which goes out to Brooklyn.  No one smiles.  No one says hi and no one looks at you when you walk down your own damn street.  One of several things I hated about living in Brooklyn.

The next 3 pictures are all the same page.  I incorporated a turning wheel into this page.  The theme of my book was, "happy thoughts" which should explain this....

This is page 4 or so:
Yeah, I like to use words + images.  The final picture for today is actually the first 2 pages in the book:

The left side reads:  Yes!  I'm more than half full.

The right side (called 'Family Ties') reads: The ribbon was purchased in 1952 from a Woolsworth for 5 cents.  It was used to wrap a present for Martha.  Rita, Martha's sister, snatched it as soon as the present (a hand mirror) was opened as she thought it matched her eyes perfectly.  She wore it in her hair on special occasions.  It was found in a wooden box upon her death, 35 years later, by her 9-year-old granddaughter, Victoria, who now uses it to tie up the curtains in her playhouse that are made from her brother's old t-shirts.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

no more apologies

In flipping back through this blog, I've noticed that I apologize for the sometimes lag between entries. 

First of all, I think the apology is directed towards myself moreso than anyone reading.  I have grand visions of regularly scheduled posts, but reality has different plans.

Second of all, I really have nothing to be sorry for - again, a note to self.  When I'm not blogging, I'm usually busy working on projects and I'll get around to posting on the ideas, as evidenced by my Christmas post in February.

Third of all - it's my blog and I can do what I want.  So no more guilt or apologies about time between posts.  Ok?  Ok.  Glad we could clear that up.  Now I'm going back to paint with my kid.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My December Daily date

Back in December, I talked about my December Daily Album and wanting to get some things accomplished.  Well, I got as far as prepping my pages and creating my cover, but never got to actually putting pictures in the album.  The good news about being at home with your kid when she's sick is that you can get caught up on personal projects.  I took the first step today by organizing all of the photos in iPhoto from the last half of 2010.  I have my pictures tagged to print and that feels good. I also have some mental notes on things I want to journal about, but I really enjoy writing as I am working with the pages vs. having a lot of ideas pre-planned.  So here's what I've got so far:

First, here's a peek at the inside pages:
My goal for the pages was simple and easy.  I purchased  My Mind's Eye Sweet Dreams Holiday Avenue Paper pack to use as my base.  Each page is 6" x 8" and I used the same paper on the front and the back to create a really sturdy page.  I used Quickutz Aquarius dies for the numbers.  
I used a hole punch on a scrap piece of paper to keep the positioning of the numbers the same on each page.

Next I worked on the cover.  I really liked the shape of Ali's book this year and decided to mimic it with a twist of my own.  In addition to the paper pack, I also purchased some holiday themed chipboard pieces.  

Let me pause here to explain something.  I love the idea of chipboard.  I love the depth it creates on the page and I love the versatility of chipboard - you can glue, paint, stamp, glitter, emboss and do all sorts of fun things on it and with it.  I also love so many of the cute chipboard accents that are out there.  But the truth is - I RARELY wind up using chipboard.  When I do use it, it's usually as a template or it inspires other ideas.   I have a whole drawer of chipboard pieces that I rarely use, but I can't part with, because well - if I parted with them, then what would I do with the card catalog drawer labeled "chipboard?"  

Anyway - I bought some Holiday chipboard with the original intention of using it on each page.  As soon as I opened the package, I realized that the pieces weren't exactly the kind of thing that I wanted on my pages.  So I was stuck.  I am not good at returning things, and I didn't want these to sit around the paint room forever, so I decided to incorporate them into the book.  I did this by using them on the inside cover.  First, I took my cover and laid the pieces out until I was happy with the placement.

Next I took them off of the cover pages, added just a bit of removable adhesive and placed them on my cover template in the same placement, so I wouldn't loose the arrangement.

From there, I glued each piece back onto the cover and covered the whole thing with a layer of gesso.

After the gesso, I was a bit unsure of where to go from there.  I added a bit of white paint in some areas, and then decided to use some embossing powder to sort of fill in the areas between the chipboard.  I did about 3 layers of embossing and on the final layer I sprinkled in some glitter as well as some white flocking for some texture.  It's a bit hard to see the difference between the gessoed piece and the final, but here it is:
Here's the cover and pages together.  I'll likely add a cover page of some sort as I start to fill in the book.  With any luck, this will be done by next Christmas.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dried up.

This is what happens when you don't pay attention to your art supplies:

Yup.  Your water dries up and your brushes are ruined.  Sorta how I feel about my blogging attempts have been lately.  A little crusty.

The good news is that I've been very busy, but what I am struggling with is finding time to write about all that I am doing.  It's not that I don't want to write, because I totally do, but it takes time and time is what I haven't had enough of lately.  But I can't go back, so all I can do is try to do something interesting with what I have to work with:

It's like a paintbrush tee-pee!
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