Wednesday, June 29, 2011

bookmarks and boredom

holy cow, anyone else feel like this summer is flying by? for those of us in the lovely south that have children who go back to school the first or second week of august, well our summer is about half over!

our days have been filled with swimming, movies and general laziness. but sometimes i have to do something constructive to fill in the gaps. when i start to hear "mom, i'm sooo bored" i know it's time for a project. so, anyone who wants a quick, easy craft to do with their munchkins - this one is for you!

the kids and i made some bookmarks out of what else, mayarts ribbon. i really have a thing about grosgrain - i can't get enough of it and usually have a lot lying around the house. if your little ones are too small to sew, no worries, there is always the fun tassel fraying bit.

click here for the downloadable pdf tutorial. happy reading!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

labels and lists

my personalized woven labels came in the mail a few days ago and i feel so professional now - watch out people!

seriously though, this is such a major step for me, but one that i really wanted to do. the labels are really very expensive for what they are and for the money i bring in, but they are definitely going to add something special to my sewn pieces.

the process was pretty easy, but i must say i am really glad that i am a graphic designer and can edit my logo any way i choose. due to size limitations, i had to edit my "hand-made home goods" tag by taking out the word "home". it took a few rounds to get it right with the manufacturer since i am so very picky, but in the end they are now perfect and i don't even mind the revise tag :)

now i have to run to the fabric store and buy some aqua thread. i only ever sew with white thread no matter the fabric color, but somehow i don't think that will pass for these beauties!

ps: my birthday is thursday so i might be missing for a few days while i am out celebrating. cheers!

Monday, June 20, 2011

wishes and books

i cannot believe i did it - i actually wrote on the first page of a journal! back in this post, i explained that i have a thing about never writing on the first page because i feel like it is such an important page and i don't want to mess it up. crazy, i know!

anyway, i've recently finished the book "the wishing year" and it really spoke to me. it ended up being a book heavy on references and light on actual story line which wasn't great, but i did end up learning a lot about the art/history of wishing. i learned that in order to truly wish for something, you need to be very specific in your desires and very discerning. no wishy washyness allowed. no generalizations. wishing is heavily grounded in the laws of positive and negative energy. if you direct a lot of your attention towards your wish, you will attract positive energy into your life which will then usher in the manifestation of your wish.

when i finished reading, i decided i needed to do something about my own wishes - that's where my new journal comes in. the cover is really a bunch of doodles that came from my rapidiograph and colored pencils and i have already created a few pages of wishes the same way. so there you have it, a photo of "my very own wish book". but i will only ever show you the cover because after all, we all know that a wish told never comes true ;)

Friday, June 17, 2011

beginnings and mantras

have i told you all my life mantra? it is simply "begin anywhere". yep, those two words are what moves me to push forward. the fact that it is never to late to start something new. you are never too old to change your course in life.

what phrase motivates you to do your personal best and to not let anything stand in your way?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

buttons and batches

so you all know my love of buttons, right? I LOVE THEM! what i don't love is cleaning them :)

my mom recently sent me a ton of buttons she found really cheap. and by really cheap, i mean under $7. more and more, i see old mason jars filled with buttons being sold for $20 +. crazy right? as beautiful as they are, i would never pay that much. if they are in an old mason jar at a flea market, chances are they were plucked off an old granny's sewing table after she passed and there is no reason for that price tag.

so i received this package of goodies in the mail and opened the bag and wow, did these things stink. i believe the most stinky buttons are old bakelite ones (correct me if i'm wrong). it is almost a burnt plastic smell. i don't have any formal recipe for cleaning, but i soak them first in a baking soda/water mixture, then i soak them in a bleach/water mixture for good measure. typically i will fill up a colander with the buttons and lower it into a bowl of my water mixtures. just make sure your colander has very small holes because some of these buttons can be teeny tiny.

after they soak in each mixture for a few hours, i lay them out on a white towel to dry. this is the best part because i can uncover all the beauties.

this batch contains a few of the beaded green shanks which are so spring like. i also love the molded flower found just above the green one. and hidden way in the background is a royal blue one that is spectacular as well.

what do you guys think, are you a button freak like me? any other tips for cleaning the stinky ones?

Monday, June 13, 2011

paper and clay

after hearing a bunch of artists talk about the coolness of paperclay, i knew i would not be able to resist buying a block. as if i need any other art material, geez! it sat lying in my metal office basket catch all for a few months and recently i decided to give it a try. and i have to say that this stuff really is pretty cool.

i am still experimenting with it and since the package does not come with much in the way of instructions :( there are a few things i need to fix with my technique. the above is my first attempt at making a flower wall hanging. it is roughly 4 inches in diameter and when i assembled it, i stuck a large metal safety pin in the back for hanging. this is definitely a work in progress as you can see how a few of my mini beads have fallen off during the drying process. all the missing beads are safe and sound so i will glue them back on which won't be a huge deal. i have been advised that the best part of paperclay is that you can use a super fine grit sand paper to soften up the dried piece. thinking about taking an embroidery file and going to town sanding off all the rough edges. my favorite part is the "love" notation stamped into the center. not original by any means, but sweet none-the-less.

this piece is a free form flower that has been molded onto a piece of cotton wrapped thick wire which was lying around my studio. i think i have had my pack of 50 of these for about 5 years now and never had a use for them. i am dreaming about a whole vase filled with paper clay flowers. my only mistake on this piece is that i didn't put a hook on the end of the wire to really secure it into place. since the wire is straight, it might eventually come free of the bloom. but again, glue will fix it right up, so no biggie.

my next step is painting... i did some research and practically any paint will work on material. i am thinking about acrylic since it is what i have the most of, but i want to thin it out by half so it is more of a wash and not a solid color.

all in all, it was really fun to work with something new. i find that when i am in a rut, i need to go in another direction completely to get the spark back!

Friday, June 10, 2011

table covers and a new room

remember when i posted this cabinet last week? well, it has sparked a complete dining room re-do and i am so excited. i went to our super special fabric store in town a few days ago for inspiration and it might possibly be my favorite place. this isn't just your average fabric store that carries patterns made by big corporations. no sirree. this fabric store carries all the big names... amy butler, anna maria horner, heather bailey - the list goes on and on. the store goes on and on as well with an assault of color wherever you turn!

back to the dining room - i have decided to paint the walls antique white and bring all the color in as accessories. above are 4 fabrics i chose to brighten up the space. from left to right, the first 3 are anna maria horner fabrics while the last, scallop pattern is by tula pink - a new to me designer. it is often difficult to mix and match different designers' fabric, but i think the scallop print compliments the other 3. in my opinion, they were made for each other.

the tula pink print will line the back of the white cabinet and then i big plans in store for the rest of the fabric.

this is a mock up of a crazy quilted table cover i came up with. we have a 5ft round mahogeny table in the dining room and when you include the chairs, the entire look is a bit wood heavy. i love the table and chairs, but really want to soften it up this time around. the quilt will be slightly smaller than 5 feet in diameter which means it will not hang over the table as tablecloths usually do. i will also use very low loft batting when pulling the quilt together so it won't be too puffy. i am so excited to start sewing and i hope it comes out exactly like i have pictured in my head. as every one well knows, this doesn't happen all the time :) however it turns out, i will be sure to document the progress with lots of before and afters.

thank goodness the munchkins have camp next week - between painting, sewing and hanging new crown moulding, my days will be packed!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

mayarts and a new opportunity

it's official - i am now part of the mayarts design team. woohoo! thanks for everyone who helped me along the way :)

i really am so excited about this opportunity. truth be told, i still need some clarification about what my position really involves (haha!) but i know it will mean getting my hands on some  amazing ribbon. i am toying with the idea of adding a separate tutorial page to my website since i think that section will be getting filled up awful quickly. if i can get my act together, look for it in the next few weeks...

Monday, June 6, 2011

blue and pink or maybe purple

i can't believe it has been so long since i posted a ttv photo. so for your viewing pleasure, here is a bloom from my gigantic hydrangea bush in the backyard. the blooms this year are so huge and plentiful that we have had bouquets in the house for weeks now.

the other day, i asked my husband what he thought about trying to change the color of the blooms next year and he looked at me like i was crazy. "don't you like the blue?" he said. well of course i LOVE the blue, but there is something so magical about being able to change the color of a flower. a sprinkle of this and a sprinkle of that onto my soil and my yard could be sporting pink blooms next year, i can't imagine not being intrigued by the thought!

Friday, June 3, 2011

cabinets and curbs

it is no secret among my friends that i have an extreme need to rescue any piece of furniture left on the side of the road. no matter if i have room for it of not, that cast off is going home with me and i will do my best to refurbish it.

i recently scored a beautiful cabinet with a hutch and it is a real beauty, i promise! my friend had this cabinet in her dining room for as many years as i have known her. they moved last june and it didn't fit into the new house, so for a year, it was banished to the back deck to soak in rain water and wind damage. the thing is, i absolutely love the peeling paint that the water damage created. a slight ooh and ahhh from me and it was mine (little did my husband know :)

the munchkins and i went to work flaking off all the loose paint. then i mixed up a bleach/water solution and scrubbed it free of mold and debris. it will be a bit tight, but i am going to put it in my dining room as a storage unit for my new cake stand collection. the bottom of the cabinet originally had 2 doors, but since one broke, i am going for the open shelf look. this is where i am going to place some vintage quilts and bridge tablecloths that i have inherited from grandmothers. have i told you about my bridge tablecloth collection? that might be another post altogether ;)

hopefully full photos will come shortly, but since this little cabinet has actually sparked an entire dining room redo, only time will tell the actual completion date!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

sweets and summer

summer has officially begun in my household. the little munchkins of georgia got out of school this past friday (some even the friday before) and we immediately went into celebration mode with pool parties galore. i love making my munchkins an end of school treat, but with my littlest being gluten-free, my dessert recipe list has severely thinned down. this year i went with a quick and simple gluten-free cupcake and all were happy!

after a few parties, we headed out to our friends house on lake martin in alabama. i have been spending summer weekends here for the past 10 years and absolutely love it. when i was packing this time around, i was looking for a craft to take, but suddenly decided against it. may was such in insane month that i really needed to take a few days to do absolutely nothing. and absolutely nothing is what i did!


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