Sunday, March 30, 2008

Allow Me To Introduce...

Bianca and her friend, Miss Swallow. They managed to lure me away from my previous intentions of cleaning this afternoon. Begged and pleaded with me to escape with them, but I graciously declined. After a quick jaunt they promised to return and help keep watch over my wishes which I plan to hide inside the box they sit atop. What good peeps they are!

This was one of the Bellatoria projects courtesy of the oh so imaginative, Sandra Evertson. She truly is a paper artiste creating one of kind characters embellished with glitter, crepe paper and all manner of craft store goodies. I often chuckle when I see her creations because they are so magical and fairytale like. Oh to be endowed with such originality! I loved this and it really didn't take much time at all to assemble. I had attempted one of the projects from Sandra's book, Fanciful Paper Projects before, but for some reason didn't finish. Same basic concept, but I guess I just gave up too easily. Maybe now I'll go back and try it again. I'd also like to have her book Fanciful Paper Flowers. Check out Sandra's BLOG to see more of her art or the current issue of Romantic Homes magazine. The issue includes a complimentary project from Sandra for readers to complete.

Been thinking about all the projects I used to do with my mom alot this weekend. This is a project she would try. Although, I have to admit she would probably be tempted to make her own box instead of using a purchased one like I did. Once we made hat boxes literally sewing them together and then covering them with wallpaper. I still have the heart shaped one she helped me to make.

Oh, I need to go. Bianca and Miss Swallow have returned from their ride so I need to get the window open for them. I see she's brought me a little posey-how sweet!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Button, Button

Do you remember the game Button, Button. Who's got the button? Loved that game as a little girl. And my love affair with buttons didn't end there. Today, I truly have the buttons!

My favorite store, Robin's Nest had a HUGE sale today and I scored big time in the button department. I don't know if you can tell just how large a container these are in (got this there as well in my favorite hob knob milk glass), but these are just the white, cream, gold and silver buttons from today's purchase.

This is after I sorted them-the red and yellow ones with the yellow thimble and red buckle are so fun. It was like a treasure hunt within a treasure hunt searching for one more special after the other as I dug through each bag. Lots of shoe buttons, cut glass and pretty, pretty blue and pink. I even grabbed up the sweet little basket they were all stacked in along with a few button cards.

Not sure what it is about me and buttons. Maybe it's because my mom has always been a seamstress. I remember a large round metal tin she had when we were growing up that was decorated with an oriental pattern. My mom used to store buttons and extra sewing notions in it. Whenever we would need an item for a school or craft project she would send us to look in the tin for something we might be able to use. There were always buttons. And a favorite toy my mom used to make us (and now the grandkids) was made with an oversize button and string-I loved the magic and whirring sound these two simple items produced. There is something comforting and familiar about buttons to me and their texture can add so much to the things I like to create. So this was button heaven for me today!

It was so much fun racing to be one of the first ones there on a dreary day I would've just rather slept in. Turned out to be SO worth getting up and out early today. Got several other great items including this lampshade I'll switch out for summer (only $5!)
and this, this was my very favorite purchase of the day-besides the buttons, of course!

Can you imagine who might have been lucky enough to carry this to school? Well, now it will house some of my vintage supplies. Fun, fun, fun!

I vowed to go home and get everything cleaned up and put away to store for future use so I'd better finish up. I'm even super motivated to get down to the studio to work on sorting and purging. Better run as the day will be over before I have a chance to get much accomplished. Think I'll work a little and then play a little-several projects I want to work on and/or finish up.

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wish I May, Wish I Might

Not really a voracious reader like the rest of my family-unless you count blogs and magazines, but here are some books currently on my wish list.
<-------- just found that this is coming out very soon-can't wait
<-------- i've been wishing for this for awhile now-wishin' & waitin'
Speaking of magazines, I'm already counting the days until the newest Somerset Life comes out (April 1st). Lots of my favorite artsy gals are included. And I'd like to get my hands on a copy of Romantic Country-the office of Heather Bullard of Present Past fame is in included.

As you can tell, I am in full on accomplish NOTHING mode this week. We are all off our regular routines since sweet boy is still on Spring break. With no TV to tempt me tonight, I'm hoping to get a few things done as I gear up for the weekend. Guess I'd better get after it. Toodles!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tea for ONE

Rounding out my extended holiday weekend with a lovely cup of tea this afternoon complements of my swap partner, Cindy from As part of the Bellatoria eZine, I participated in the Queen's Tea Swap and was delighted to receive my package from Cindy today. Inspired by the tea and traditional biscuits she sent, I pulled out a pretty cup and saucer and prepared a little afternoon tea fit for a Queen-a lemon bar, fresh strawberries and cream and of course, biscuits. YUM! Why don't I do this more often-what a treat! Here's a peek at a couple of favorites included in the package I received.

Her handwriting is tres magnifique! love the HRH, especially. Look at all the detail she added to the harlequin pattern and the queen herself. This is the cover of a journal. It IS good to be the Queen!

And this is a darling keyring I've already added to my keys. Thanks, Cindy. She even addressed the package to Queen Patti-yeah, Brady got a big kick out of that. Jeff just rolled his eyes and said, "she got that right"!

Earlier today, we met Jeff's folks for an early lunch in celebration of Linda's birthday. I was so excited, but nervous for her to open her gift. Enjoy wrapping gifts for her-she enjoys it so and I love that! Here's a peek...

Loving these butterflies that come with the Shabby Chic gift wrap set at Target-the paper is really nice quality, too.

The birthday girl with her gift-made with love.

To my delight, I think she really liked the journal I assembled for her to use as either a prayer or travel journal for her speaking engagements. This was modeled after the one I purchased from Rebecca Sower's etsy shop. I wanted Linda's to have a bit more detail and in her colors though so I made one myself using Rebecca's as inspiration. Love the idea of the cabinet card for the cover and kept it simple for this one, but Rebecca embellishes the photos with wings or crowns which is very cool. Used some of the ideas I picked up from the Red Lead girls, too-pockets, tabs and using the Lumiere paint on top of acrylic paint (on corrugated cardboard)-one of my favorite things. All in all, I think it went over well.

Hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend. We had a very quiet one with lots of time to reflect on the true meaning of this special day. A little different as it was just the three of us and we woke up to snow which continued off and on throughout the day, but good nonetheless. Old man winter just doesn't seem to want to let go! Got some things marked off my to do list and Brady and I even managed to get to the movies. A little R&R is good. Here are a couple other photos from today for the grandma's and the aunties who frequent my blog.

The boy loves his Mee-Moo! (And Grandma Swan, too!)

I'm off to work on the Sandra Evertson project from Bellatoria-it's SO very Sandra-love it!
Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Randoms Unplugged

Well, I'm afraid this may be my last blog post for several days as I have been "grounded" due to my lack of attention to the house and other important family matters. I just realized today that I haven't purchased an Easter outfit for Brady and Easter is Sunday! So perhaps my grounding is warranted. At any rate, it's good to unplug a little every now and again. So, that's the plan. But before I sign off for a few days I wanted to get a few thoughts out of my head. (Maybe the title of this entry should really be Randoms Unleashed!)

We are getting a TON of rain here with flash flooding in some areas. Pray with us that our sump pump keeps pumping. The moment it stops we're in big trouble! With the rain comes lots of green though. Have you noticed little by little the gray and brown is being replaced with green? Still waiting for the first glimpse of forsythia and red bud blooming.

This month is flying by and the fact that Easter is so early doesn't help. In fact, here's a bit of trivia I found really interesting:
This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above!). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier!

Here's the facts:
1) The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

2) The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year

I'm hoping the Old Farmers Almanac is wrong and that the HUGE snowstorm they are predicting for April does not come to pass. Man, would that be a BUMMER! My brother told me the Almanac has predicted the others we've had this year within a couple days. Hmmm...

Missed the Dancing With the Stars premiere last night, but hoping to catch up tonight. Anxious to see how Steve Guettenberg and Marlee Matlin do. Do you have a favorite yet? Who would you like to see on that show? I think Priscilla Presley is a pretty interesting contestant. Someone said Bill Clinton would be interesting, too. What about Martha Stewart? She's always wanting to learn new things.

Starting to really get into this season of American Idol now. Takes me awhile to get invested in some of the contestants. My favorite is David Cook who did an awesome job on Eleanor Rigby last week. And I love the Beatles as much as the next person, but why are they doing another week of that?!?

We love our Sunday School kids. Some of them have been in our class for nearly three full school years. We're going to miss them when they move up to the next class, but we love how we have seen them grow physically and spiritually. Several new kids recently, too who are adding a lot to our class.

Speaking of American Idol, my sister loaned me her Elliot Yamin cd. Can't remember which season he was in, but I love that cd! Have you heard it? Very laid back groove to it. Think about all the Idols who have made it that didn't win or who weren't even in the final three. Man! one of my favorites in that category is Chris Daughtry. Some of them end up being far more successful than the actual winners. Interesting.

Decided to participate in my first swap as part of the Bellatoria e-Zine. The theme was The Queen's Tea so anything crown or tea related-purchased or handmade. Mailed my items today and I'm SO glad to have that finished. Guess that's one of the reasons I never participated in a swap of any kind before-I over think it WAY too much. Just ask the 4 or 5 people I've driven crazy by asking them about it over and over for the last two weeks! Or the UPS guy who looked at me like I was from another planet when I asked him to " please sprinkle this (printed pink shreds) over the top of the items before you put in the last layer of peanuts". Yea, he didn't appreciate it like I thought he might! :)

Since I had to delay my shipment until today, I decided last night to go ahead and try to make something to send as well. I'd been thinking about this for at least a week anyway so might as well give it a whirl, right? Well, this is what I came up with-mind you, it is only partly original. I was totally inspired by a peek HERE at one of the classes Pam Garrison is teaching in Paris and imagined that this is what her project might look like (minus the Eiffel Tower and all). I was really happy with how it turned out and was particularly pleased with the glittered bird which I traced and cut out since I couldn't find the right chipboard bird to purchase. And the other thing I really, really liked was how the little bit of paper shred under the bird's feet seemed to be just the little something to keep the whole thing from looking too flat-that was totally Pam Garrison. I can't wait to make one for myself, but not for awhile. I need to finish some other projects and get busy cleaning up my various messes around here. And buy Brady an Easter outfit!

See, I told you it was an explosion of randomness. Here's to being unplugged--until I return, dear readers!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kiss Me, I'm Irish!

They say that everyone is Irish on St Patrick's Day. But I'm proud to say that I am Irish thanks in part to my beloved Grandma-Anna Irene McDonald. As my dear husband has said to me on many an ocassion-what's the big deal about being Irish anyway? To me, to be Irish means...

you have fortitude

you are grateful for the land

you value family and community

you have pride of God and country

you carry a song in your heart and a twinkle in your eye

you believe in the magic of the world around you

you treasure the comfort of your mother's home, a good pot of stew

and the loyalty of dear friends

And so I treasure this day in all it's revelry and celebrate all that it means to be Irish.

Happy St Patrick's Day!

to be Irish

is to embrace all that was

with the hope of all that can be

to smell the clover across oceans

to take her heart wherever life leads

to wear history like a medal

and to hear the wind whisper over the moors

from a poem by Becky Crist

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first. -Ernestine Ulmer

As is typical for me, I've already planned the table decorations LOOOONG before planning the actual Easter meal. Yep, and this was the inspiration. My first completed Bellatoria project.

I had SO much fun with this. I used vintage earbobs, millinery and mother of pearl buttons. Added a little wallpaper scrap and some glitter and TA-DA! instant crowning glory. She was supposed to get a "welcome" sash, but I wanted to use the rosaries I've been collecting instead. Poor thing, she's one of those pieces that comes with a tag that says, "not for outside use". Yeah, well, I didn't pay attention to that and now she's flaking and looking very shabby-don't look too close. IRL she is really very pretty with all her finery.

Although we may or may not have a sit down meal for Easter Sunday, at least we already have the centerpiece!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Feather your NeST

In my momentary cleaning mode this weekend, I was feeling rather satisfied with myself and while at Target was looking at this candle thinking it might keep my homekeeping mojo going. In fact, I had looked at this candle so many times on other trips to Target that Brady finally said to me on Saturday, "Mom! just buy it for crying outloud!" So I did. It's so clean and fresh and SO not my usual vanilla. And it IS doing it's part to help me stay a little more on track with the picking up and cleaning around here. I don't know what happened to me. I did pretty good around the holidays and after the first of the year, but sometime during the month of February I just lost control. And it shows!

So I'm sorting and cleaning and weeding through. And finding inspiration to keep motivated. A daily source of inspiration for me comes from Rebecca Sower. I wish I could adapt her gentle attitudes in my own life. She is so inspiring whether or not you are artistique or trying to stay motivated to clean. Saw this on her blog HERE and so had to pull out this silver tray I found while shopping last summer for Grandma Alice's soiree and give it the Rebecca treatment. Now if that doesn't inspire more spring cleaning and nesting, I don't know what will.

Need to breathe some life into our surroundings in a big way. As Spring makes her grand entrance we'll have a hearty list of things to accomplish so we're making our list and prioritizing. Along with some unfinished projects from this winter it will be nice to realize some of these to completion. But for now, we catch up on the basics and make lists of things that need to be cared for once the weather breaks. And find inspiration not only from the blooms peaking out and the occassional warm sunny day, but also from the pages of the newest ME Home Companion magazine.

My issue arrived today with features on two of my favorite blog girls-Heather Bailey and Jenni Bowlin.
This is Jenni's featured project. Besides the birds and the buttons, I just love the whole sentiment behind this project. I have two little bird cages like that in my trunk just waiting to be revamped-may have to use this idea for one of them. (Don't ask why they're in my trunk!)

I had a fairly productive weekend overall and even managed to get a couple creative things going.
Making these inspired by the Red Lead gals for teacher gifts. Covering those box lids is not as easy as it looks, but I love all the layers and how the gold pulls it all together. Also, started working on a little something for the Sunday School kids using the new Garden Party paper from Making Memories .
Need to have 18 more completed by this weekend to distribute since we won't have class on Easter Sunday. Still didn't get to my Bellatoria project, but I'm going to work on it a little tonight-my reward for getting the rest of the kitchen picked up. So hopefully, I'll have something to share tomorrow.

Finally, I haven't found something in awhile where I screamed in the store and then have to look around and make sure noone's looking at me like I'm crazy.
But I found this at TJ Maxx on Sunday. Beautiful photos, great projects with instructions and only $4.99!
Other terrific finds at Marshalls and the local antique mall-could've spent twice as much there especially, but I didn't. See? I'm getting better. Now, if I could just stop obsessing over the stuff I passed up!

Okay, gotta go or I won't get anything accomplished today. BTW, there's a great little essay at the end of the ME Home Companion magazine about mom's who sew for the family. Yep, couldn't read it without crying-love you, Mom. Hope you're having a good day today.

Until tomorrow, I'll be the one shakin' my tail and struggling to feather my nest. Or at least getting the laundry put away and the kitchen table cleaned off!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Weekend To Do List

  • Clean bathrooms
  • Brady's ballgame
  • thrifting for supplies
  • barnes & noble - maybe, maybe not
  • target - my weekly trip
  • easter tags
  • bellatoria projects-can't wait to do these!
  • a little springy something for my sister - hopefully
  • grocery shopping (maybe at Trader Joe's)
  • oh, and RELAX

off to bed so I can get an early start. want to make the most of my weekend. ;)
hope you enjoy yours to the fullest!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Harbinger of Spring

I saw a little Robin today

said I, "Welcome! Welcome! Come and stay."

She winked at me as if to say,

"Spring will soon be on it's way."

I actually saw two or three outside my window at work today. One was gathering supplies for her nest. They all looked ready to settle in and stay for awhile. Sure hope so! It's always so exciting to spy the first ones returning from their winter homes. Now I'm ready to start seeing the forsythia and red bud trees begin blooming!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Everyone Loves A Cupcake

By now it's pretty clear that I've become an e-Zine addict. Miss Foof herself is at it again and the newest Bella e-Zine sounded just TOO good to pass up. This round will include 3 guest artists including the delighfully whimsical Sandra Evertson. WOW! The fun begins for subscribers on March 5th so if you're interested in this technique based online mag check it out HERE.

Can't remember which e-Zine this came from, but these projects were made with a template created by T McFayden.
This little canvas was inspired by another e-Zine participant. I looked for DAYS to find a picture frame like the one used for the original project and then when I saw this I wished I would have thought of using a canvas.

So when I came up with this take, I was proud of myself for breaking out of the box a little-it's baby steps, you know. The base is a Jenni Bowlin BINGO card that I altered with a word she didn't have in her line - Yet!

Looking forward to doing another spin on this template for a precious little gal's first birthday. Then I will have made something handmade for a ONE year old and a ONE HUNDRED year old's birthday. Surely that could be used as a tagline or something! ;)

Off to basketball and a movie with Brady and his best buddy/cousin Matt this morning. More to come of the crafty-ness later this weekend, hopefully. Stay tuned!