Tuesday, December 28, 2010

dominos, cookies and the ick

hey there! just stopping by to say i am only leaving you for a few weeks and that i will be back after the new year. i try to take 2 weeks off from my craft business and my design business over the christmas holidays to refresh my mind a bit. and this year, i soooo needed it.

we had a handmade holiday this christmas, so my hands were busy being an elf the weeks leading up to the holiday. all my family came in town this year which we were very grateful for. my days have been spent playing a lot of dominos, eating a lot of cookies,

and using up a lot of kleenex boxes i am sad to say. my oldest munchkin came down with strep last thursday and it hit the rest of us hard, very hard. kind of silly, but being sick over the holidays is like a get out of jail free card. i don't feel the least bit guilty laying around with the boys, and watching movies all day long. actually, it makes me a wee bit happy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

whoopie pies and lovely friends

i'm sitting on the couch this afternoon playing angry birds with the kiddos and recovering from last night's gluttony. 5 of my friends came over for our annual homemade ornament exchange and between yummy treats and even yummier drinks, i had a great time. seriously, the red velvet whoopie pies are definitely headed for my short list of go-to recipes. they were so easy to make and came out perfectly. there is nothing worse than getting excited about a new recipe and having it turn out terrible. sometimes i think magazines don't even test recipes they print. anyway, on to the ornaments. each person makes enough homemade ornaments for the whole group to get one. this is a great tradition to start with a group of friends. creative talent within the group can definitely vary. some of my friends are always discouraged with their ornaments because they think they can't make anything, but i tell you that their creations are usually always my favorites. and if you are stuck on what to make, martha stewart and family fun always have great ideas with all skill levels in mind. if i get some good sunlight this weekend, i will take some photos of my new ornaments.

this is one of my favorite nights of the year. i get obsessed with cooking/baking and have been known to have my ornaments finished in october because i get so excited.

i feel like this weekend is the calm before the storm. we are having a full house at linwood avenue during the holidays this year, with the first guest arriving on tuesday. this means that the next few days will be filled with a lot of movie watching and even more cleaning. now i am thinking i should have signed up for the local deal of half price merry maids. oops!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

yo-yo's and packages

i have either hit the mother load or wasted $20 - the jury is still out. the other day, my friend, joy, called to tell me about the great bags of fabric she just bought at the local antique shop. i headed over there yesterday and 6 bags of pre-cut fabric circles were sitting in an old baby cradle. some bags were filled with patterned fabric, but unfortunately the colors weren't my aesthetic. but, i did snatch the 2 bags of bright solids. the best i can tell, they are from the 60's (the booth owner bought them from an auction house). they have a very slight smell to them, but it is more a dye smell, rather than a sitting in a grandma attic for 40 years kind of smell. i am about to bundle them up in a trash bag with a bar of soap to see if the smell will go away. hopefully this will work, which it usually does, because i have no dreams of washing and ironing over a 1,000 4 inch circles. can you imagine???

now, what do i make with them? definitely some yo-yo flowers since this is where my business has been headed for a while now. my "flowers" are the signature embellishment on my aprons, and i have plans on taking those flowers to pillows, greeting cards and even lamp shades. the flowers will be smaller though and will probably be clustered into sweet fabric bouquets.

other than that, i can see a large stuffed owl where these circles are appliqued to become the feathered body, sort of shingle style. not sure if that makes sense, but i can see it all in the sewing room contained in my brain :)

what would you do if 1,000 circles of solid colored fabric suddenly landed in your lap?

Monday, December 13, 2010

igloo and surprises

i came home from mailing some etsy orders this morning to find a box filled with sweet paper goodies on my doorstep. if you know me, then you know that i love anything to do with paper and that i also have a deep fascination with letterpress. a few weeks ago, i entered a contest where allison chapman from igloo letterpress was giving away 2 of her refillable journals. well, hello, i didn't need to be asked twice to enter! and if you haven't guessed yet, I WON!

the colors are perfect and i love that they are refillable. i often buy mini notepads, and end up tearing off and saving the covers once the pad is full because i love the imagery so. but this means i can keep using and reusing. perfect.

head over to igloo letterpress to see all they have to offer – notebooks, cards, invitations, etc. better yet, if you are in columbus, ohio, check out their schedule of classes.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

gnomes and spirit

all the ornaments are hanging out on the tree, along with this little guy. i believe this gnome is from germany and he has been in the family for many generations. while others search for the perfect tree without any holes, i am on the hunt for something different. our fresh tree has to have a bare spot for this little guy to sit in. isn't he cute? he is super fragile, so every year that i unpack him, i have my fingers crossed that he is perfectly intact.

we had brunch with santa today, and it definitely helped with my mood. actually, we have had a very packed weekend of holiday parties and laughter with friends. nothing like laughter to bring me back to earth and remember what is most important!

one week and counting until the munchkins are home with me for winter break. school lets out on friday - which i can never figure out. i mean, can't they just stay in school for the whole week, they already have an obscene amount of days off for christmas, do you really need to add friday to the mix???

oh well, that just means i will have some child labor getting the house ready for guests.

Friday, December 10, 2010

beauty and hidden truths

i sent out a tweet yesterday that envy was eating me alive. while this is not something very attractive to admit, it is true none-the-less. this month, i should be filled with christmasy goodness. yet my mind is constantly taking inventory of my (un)accomplishments throughout the past year. the areas where my dreams have fallen short. i am constantly comparing myself to other artists online. i think it is easy to go down this path when the blogs and tweets i read are mainly focused on the good things that happen to their writers. constant. sugary. sweetness. but isn't that one of the main purposes of blogs - to share your joy with the world? or is it?

but then i read a post over at whipstitch. and it all suddenly made sense. bloggers (or the blogs i read) rarely show their unsightly hem (read the post and you will understand) they are more of the "fake it 'til you make it" variety. so this is it, this is my unsightly hem, my hidden truth. i often get the "why not me?" blues. and. they. are. not. fun.

regular scheduled cheery posting will resume soon. because i do strongly believe that what you put out in the universe is what you receive back and i certainly don't want the little green monster sticking around for very long :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

time and well, time

there are never enough hours in the day to accomplish all the lovely things my mind conjures up (especially when i am hosting a strictly homemade holiday this year).

that is all.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

soft and simple sheet APRON

i'm so excited to announce my latest tutorial - the soft and simple sheet APRON! vintage sheets are a weakness of mine and for a while now, i have wanted to create an apron pattern utilizing their beauty. i typically find sheets at estate sales and most of them have the prettiest trim along their top edge, not to mention they are so very soft! you can also use a pillowcase for this pattern, however you will need to piece together the length of the apron tie. also note that the fold of the pillowcase is often very worn and this will run down the center of your apron.

to get started, simply click here to download an instructional pdf. i would love to see what you have made, so after your apron is complete, head over to the flickr group i have created to showcase your work!

*this is my first time creating a flickr group, so please let me know if something isn't right. thx :)

earrings and etsy

around the holidays, my paypal account is like my secret little piggy bank. it's the account that isn't linked to any bills, or worked into any budget. it is the account that i can use to buy sweet things that i don't really need. but don't tell my husband :)

i ran across these beautiful earrings that julie makes and sells through her pemberley collection etsy shop and knew that i had to have them! she shipped them out super quick, even though it was thanksgiving weekend and when i opened them, i found that i received not one, but 3 lovelies! julie was kind enough to include two photo cards with my purchase and the subject could not fit in with my home any better than if i photographed them myself.

customer experience is such a huge part of why i shop and sell on etsy. i love finding people who care about their customers and genuinely want to see them happy. it is definitely the little things that make repeat customers.

if you want to see more of julie's work through her company EAB Designs, you can visit her blog here.

what is your shopping weakness around the holidays???

Friday, November 26, 2010

forms and models

i have been photographing my lamps on an aqua table, so i figured that this vintage dress form was the perfect compliment to showcase my aprons on etsy. my friend, joy, graciously loaned her to me and she is such a lovely color and shape all around. plus, she is totally "linwood avenue" in style. i have 29 more aprons to photograph, then i will be grabbing some turkey leftovers!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

love and log cabins

i received this in the mail the other day from my "great big stitched postcard swap" partner, debbie. i think it is so lovely, especially the log cabin block stitching. when i visited her blog, i realized how much this card reflects the artist as well, which i love as well!

i hope everyone out there has a wonderful thanksgiving filled with love and quilts!

Monday, November 22, 2010

make-up and oilcloth

for months now i have wanted to sew a make-up case. the problem was i needed to find a pattern first. i finally found time to wander into that section of jo-anns and found a simplicity pattern that was perfect.

i promptly stitched up this make-up case and a large bag to go along with it. they were both made from my new oilcloth that i purchased from a vendor at the recent country living fair.

it makes me happy that i have graduated to an intermediate sewer with the ability to change patterns to my liking. i made the straps a bit thicker and more sturdy and i added lining to the outside pockets and interior pouch. it seems really strange to me that the pattern did not include lining, but i have learned never to question pattern makers because you will be questioning forever, but that's a whole 'nother post :)

the craziest part was what i found when picking out the lining. i have an old sheet salvaged from an estate sale and it was the perfect compliment to the oilcloth. so perfect that i think the oilcloth was patterned after the sheet print. such a happy coincidence that it all goes so well together!

Friday, November 19, 2010

luck and art

in the past 2 weeks, i have won 2 online giveaways! seriously, i can't believe my luck. 

today, i received my first package and i was instantly in love. beth, from the great big stitched postcard swap, sent these 3 postcards/art to me and i think they are beautiful - the fabric, the colors, the trim, all beautiful.

as the photo illustrates, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

postcards and new friends

the great big stitched postcard swap is over. i sent my postcard off to travel half way across the world to christchurch, new zealand. the theme was "home" and after much thought, i decided to base my postcard around the tulip magnolia. this tree is very prevalent where i live in georgia and is absolutely beautiful during it's blooming period. such beautiful white flowers with pale pink and orange accents. 

i iron transferred a photo i took of the blooms during a walk last spring onto plain canvas. then i roughed up the image so it would look a bit weathered. next, i went about embroidering - and of course i had to add in a ton of french knots which are my favorite.

for the back, i did the same iron transfer process of an image i created with our addresses and a faux post office stamp. then i embroidered a little message to my postcard pal. finally, i sandwiched a piece of mat board between the two layers for added stability and the postcard was finished.

i think i am officially hooked on blog swaps. they are such a great way to meet new internet friends and be exposed to different creative techniques. sign me up for the next one!

Monday, November 15, 2010

notebooks and scribbles

are you a scribbler? a note taker? a list maker? these mini notebooks are the perfect stocking stuffer to brighten up a purse or book bag. hopefully these will fly off the shelves at my holiday show this saturday, but in case they don't, they will promptly be placed on esty the following week.

Friday, November 12, 2010

trees and more trimmings

i've had some inquiries into the other color of trees i have made this season, so i thought i would post another style. this tree is painted using an antique brass color, embellished with gold baubles,

then topped with a glittered gold star.

finally, the base is trimmed with vintage sheet music and a ruffled green ribbon.

if you are in the atlanta area, swing by the st. pius x marketplace on saturday, nov. 20th from 9-3 to see all my glittery creations.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

trees and trimmings

is it close enough to christmas that i can start bombarding you with holiday decorations? i say yes! i'm prepping for a show the saturday before thankgiving and i want to have many different holiday options. these trees are so joyful and festive. they are small enough to place on a bookshelf or sparkly enough to use as a table centerpiece.

the base is an old tin jello mold and adds the perfect vintage touch. each tree varies in color, glitter word and trim. i love them so much!

everyone needs a bit of pink sparkle in their lives, don't they?

Monday, November 8, 2010

postcards and progress

remember when i talked about entering my first online swap a few weeks ago? well, my postcard is finished and about to be shipped off to the other side of the world. it was really fun to make and i am actually a little sad to see it go. hopefully the person who receives it will love it as much as i do :)

once i get word that the package has arrived, i will post full front and back photos. for now this little section is all i can show you :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

friends and parties

i love having people over, but sadly don't do it as often as i would like. between the munchkins sports and household chores, it is usually 8:00 on a weekend night before i realized that i should have made some phone calls.

my friend joy had a birthday recently, so i jumped at the chance to have the girls over and was able to gussie up the place for a night.

a few weeks ago, ruffled blog posted this amazing fantasy dessert table. i fell in love with the pink ruffle cake immediately - it was the perfect centerpiece. after a little Internet searching, i found that it is actually a martha stewart design. since, i have never met a cake i didn't want to tackle, i promptly went to the store and bought the appropriate frosting tip (#103, for anyone interested.) in the end, i think it turned out pretty well, and the lemon cake made from scratch on the inside was as delicious as the outside looks.

the main reason i love having people over is it's an excuse to get out all the little goodies i buy at estate sales throughout the year. i can use the meticulously hand embroidered napkins, the crystal fostoria glasses, and the silverware from the 40s with a beautiful lily of the valley pattern. i love it all and don't believe about hiding treasures in a drawer!

Monday, November 1, 2010

decisions and realizations

through the years, i have pretty much attempted every art/craft/style/medium. flip through the pages of martha stewart's crafting encyclopedia and i can probably weigh in on most entries with personal experience. i love trying new things and mastering new disciplines. but lately, i have been making a conscious effort to stop and say "just because i can, doesn't mean i have to". this really pertains to my business both at festivals and on etsy. i get so wrapped up in making things that are cute and desirable that i lose track of my overall brand. and when i say brand, i mean the words that describe my style and what i want people to see when they view my art. some of these words are - flowers, bright, saturated colors, eclectic, fabric, vintage and crystal. so there you have it. moving forward, before i begin a new product, i will run them through the brand list and make sure they meet every criteria.

if anyone else has the "i can do this, and this, and this..." mentality, i have added a little freebie to the side bar on the right. it is a 5x7 illustration that you can print and frame or tack on your wall for the constant reminder that we do not need to do it all. in fact, i think our lives are brighter when we do less.

this new found soapbox will however be put on hold until after the holidays because i am in the process of making the sweetest mini christmas trees. you will love them!!! baby steps people, baby steps :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

costumes and treats

happy halloween! i have a policeman and a sock monkey who are itching to go get some loot, so this is all for now.

i'll be back tomorrow with a post talking about what i can and cannot do when i comes to my business :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

orchids and pansies

i finished my orchid piece at the last colored pencil class and i am pretty happy with it. i have to figure out a better way to photograph my drawings though, because straight photography/scanning, doesn't show the subtle variations of color. it ends up looking a bit more saturated and rough than it actually is.

i have one class left and will be working on replicating this pansy photograph i took last year. i'm excited to work through the dew droplets on the petals and to use colors i don't normally. stay tuned, hopefully it will be a masterpiece!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

country living and goodies

last friday, the girls and i packed up and headed to the first ever atlanta country living fair. we were ecstatic that they made their way south this year and were probably the first to buy our online tickets. while the show was way too expensive for me to set up a booth ($700, yikes!) it does not mean that i would stay away from walking the isles.

the earth angels booth was a collective of artists and by far my favorite. all the artists must be coached on what to wear and how to merchandise their individual space because they all flowed together perfectly. i walked away with the sweetest vintage photo embellished with crepe paper, glitter, mini crowns and pom poms, which went directly into a shadow box for display.

after that booth, we started to walk up the path of main vendors and i swear my heart skipped a beat when i saw this amazing love seat created by shawna robinson of happy chair. i think i could build an entire house around this love seat, i am not kidding!

some other eye catching booths were oilcloth addict, jbs merchantile, twist style, and fondue vintage to name a few.

after a solid shopping day, we headed home with bags full of goodies. i bought custom artwork, a few christmas decorations including a beautiful glitter house and some crazy oilcloth. the count down is now on for next years show!

Monday, October 25, 2010

bats and white

as i said a few weeks ago, i am really trying to amp up my halloween decorating this year. i found the idea for bats in either an old martha stewart or country living magazine. they are made out of thick black felt and i simply double stick taped them to the wall (paint touch up might be required, once removed ;) there are 3 different sizes and they start coming out of the fireplace opening and travel up the mirror. my new yellow mirror frame really works at this time of year! i collect fenton hobnail milk glass and my brother recently sent me a candle holder which gives me a collection of 3. the effect of placing them on the mantel is perfect. and since the photo was taken, i have now centered each candle holder perfectly. i am a bit OCD with symmetry and the fact that these are off kilter in this photo is killlllling me!

Friday, October 22, 2010

postcards and possibilities

lately, i have been feeling in a bit of a rut blog wise. i love, love, love having a blog, don't get me wrong. but what began as me reaching out into the world has transformed into me on my computer, by myself, alone (i can't tell you how much comments help this frame of mind :) so in order to reach out and hopefully meet new people with new points of view, which will breath new inspiration into me, i joined a swap. my first blog swap ever!!! the task is to create a postcard out of fabric representing the theme "home".  i can't tell you how excited i am to start embroidering my version of home for someone across the world to receive. the deadline to throw your name in the ring ends october, 29th. interested? here are all the details.

now, i am off to raise a glass to possibilities and a good friend's birthday!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

oranges and pinks

for my colored pencil class, we had to choose a 4x6in photo to replicate. i immediately fell in love with this orangy fuchsia orchid. the image on the left is the photograph and the image on the right is my drawing, in case you couldn't tell ;) i am only half way finished, so no judging! i am so bummed that i mis-drew the petal in the upper left corner, but i am hoping in the end it all turns out right. to finish, i need to fill in the background stems that run along the bottom and them amp up the color throughout the piece. i can't wait to pull off the framing tape and see the crisp straight lines i am left with.

Monday, October 18, 2010

october and pumpkins

between the fair two weeks ago and then pumpkin picking this past weekend, the munchkins are getting mighty spoiled. they were off school on friday, so we headed up to north georgia and spent the day traveling between a pumpkin patch, an apple orchard and a corn maze. the weather was amazing and since it was a friday, we missed most of the crowds, which is a good thing in my book!

i am seriously loving my ttv photos lately. i can't wait to get some printed and cluster hang them on a wall. well, that is if i had an open wall in my house :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

a leaf and a lesson

i have my 3rd colored pencil class tonight and it has been going so well. this class really isn't about producing a lot of work, but learning how to produce. for the past 2 classes, we have worked on adjusting our pencil pressure to create percentage scales. 9 blocks in a row - the left most one being 100% color and the right most one being 0% color. this is a very, very slow process as you have to be "aware" of your hand and pencil at all times. for someone who is always in a rush for everything, this is harder than it sounds! this is all a bit of a refresher for what i already know, but it is really nice to have a specific process broken down again to clear my head.

we then reviewed the basic structure of an oak leaf and practiced laying down a perfectly even coat of color. next, we explored the different effects of adding red to some leaves and blue to others. in an actual drawing, i don't think i would add these colors to the same leaf, but this was a very helpful exercise.

tonight, we are starting on a 4x6 inch drawing which will take us through the remaining 3 classes. patience is my word of the night :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

cotton candy and carnivals

this past friday we packed up the munchkins and headed to the county fair for the night. i lugged around a backpack carrying my camera and ttv contraption which got a bit cumbersome, but it was worth it since i ended up with some really great photos. it was a night filled with cotton candy eating, stuffed animal winning, ride riding, clown watching, and gold fish winning. a good time was definitely had by all! what's your favorite fair attraction???


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