Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring crafting

I've been feeling the urge to do some Spring crafting, how about you?
 I white washed this fence I bought at an estate sale last year, and added my rag wreath to it and hung it over the computer desk!  Pardon the messy desktop...
I'm not a big Easter decorator but I have a few pieces I like to get out...
 like this tag I made last year.
and this sweet Peter Rabbit statuette; here he's holding a Peter Rabbit baby fork.
 I just made these decorated eggs the other day!
 On the small one, I glued some crepe paper in a kind of ruffle around the egg...
 and added a sheet music medallion and lots of glitter.
 At the same time, I covered a peat pot with this wonderful vintage wallpaper.
 And added a frothy pink ruffle to the top for trim.
 On the far left, behind Peter, is a beautiful little egg from Karla's shop.
Beneath it all is a gorgeous table topper that was a gift from Linda when I ordered from her shop!
More on that later.
 Remember the crazy quilt square I said I was going to make into a journal cover?
 I did it -- simply tied four signatures of parchment paper into it.
I love how it turned out!

 I had to treat myself to some of this beautiful Heather from Trader Joe's the other day!
...Two of them!
They just say SPRING, don't they?


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Scenes from my morning walks

I really appreciate living in Colorado, and I remember that more whenever the weather is nice and I'm out walking in my neighborhood.
I've been in a kind of a fitness funk ever since my Curves gym closed almost a year ago.  I have access to other work out rooms, but they require a level of self-discipline and lack the "community" feeling I used to get at Curves.  Do you know what I mean? I try to keep on top of exercising by swimming, walking, and taking the occasional Zumba or other dance type fitness class. 
Lately since Spring has made its appearance, I've been doing more walking.  It helps me a lot to be out of doors in the mornings since my full time job, which I start at noon, keeps me inside all the rest of the day.
I like having my phone with me on walks so I can take photos of whatever strikes me along the way.
The day I was taking these we had ice melting and I noticed this cool formation on the surface of the water that was draining from a pipe (above.)  Those squiggly white lines are ripples in the ice.
I'm interested to see what the Spring holds for us, weather-wise.  For now, the snow tires are staying put on my car!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Inspirations

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my post about being inspired!  Here are some of the things that have been inspiring me lately:
Have you seen this lovely paper tableware that looks like burlap covered with lace?  It's in the wedding section at Hobby Lobby and I was drooling over it the other day.  I would almost have a party just to use this tableware!
 I was at Ikea the other day and they had this line of ephemera style wrapping paper, notes, and tags.
How much fun are they?  I had to buy one of each!
Many moons ago I admired this exact cross stitched sampler framed on a friend's wall.  I wanted to copy it and make my own but I have NEVER seen one in an antique or junk shop.  Then Terri posted one on her blog and when I gushed, she sent it to me!  How lucky am I?  I love it like crazy and can't decide if it's going to be a pillow or be framed.
Terri also sent these great kitschy Christmas tags and decorations.  I am so lucky to know someone who loves the same stuff I do and who likes to share!
I've been to a few estate sales lately and even managed to meet friends at various ones, which is an extra added treat.  Jeanelle found and purchased the Old Glory (our favorite local antiques market) bag for me at one sale last week!
All I found at that sale was this Moda fabric from way back when -- yards and yards of it in a nice neutral shade.  I am trying out cross stitching on one of the sampler panels, just for fun.
I couldn't resist this silk scarf with a map of France at another sale...
And at yet another sale, Rebecca found the Sears catalogue in a great small proportion -- perfect for tags.  I also got half a box of vintage parchment paper.  They sure don't make it like that anymore. I will be using it for journal signatures.
Speaking of tags...I found all these for 75 cents and didn't even mind the bright colors because I tend to cover them up completely anyway.
This button bag was a dud but did contain some interesting needles...
and I loved the happy colors of this grab bag of seam binding!
Because it was half price day I grabbed these Walker transfers for the graphics...
and this HUGE pile of cards; because most of the cards are written on I won't mind cutting them up!
My favorite find was this silver toned napkin ring with engraved bird motif.  I just thought it was so charming and I think I have picked up another somewhere; now I will just have to find it.
Then just today I stopped at one small sale on my way home and was rewarded with these goodies -- an unopened box of paint brushes for just $2, and this plastic tablecloth with a fabric lining in the SWEETEST pink print!  It will be the star of my next craft day!
I had to go to the dentist this morning (never pleasant and it usually gives me a headache), so I treated myself to a pedicure and some frozen yogurt afterwards.  Ahhh...it inspired me to RELAX!
I hope you, too, are finding inspiration on this first day of Spring!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Corned beef and cabbage is in the crock pot for my family, and frosted bakery shamrock cookies await them, too...the best I can do on a day that I work!

Here are a few images from St. Patrick's Days past for you.




And some links to St. Patrick's Day crafts in my past:







I hope you remember to wear a little green and enjoy your day!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Inspire Your Heart with Art

7 Ways to Inspire Your Heart with Art
1.  Make a decision

My son is a high school senior now.  But, it doesn't feel like so long ago that I was a working mother of a youngster, with all those demands on my time.  I enjoyed art so much but I remember feeling that it was, I don't know, selfish or something if I took time to be creative.

I especially recall one holiday season where I set aside one single Saturday to do some crafting with a friend.  I looked forward to it for weeks.  It wasn't easy to wrangle a day away from "real life" but I did, and planned all kinds of Christmas decorations and projects to do with my hoard of craft supplies. We crafted from morning until evening, and I remember saying over and over again how happy I was to be doing it!  It surprised me how full of joy and intensely satisfied I felt -- it was like a breath of fresh air to someone who has been cooped up for too long. The glow of that day of creating lingered for the entire season. 

It taught me I was starving for creativity, and I made a decision to not to starve myself anymore.  It didn't mean I had to devote many hours to it every day --  but I did decide to make time for art and not to deprive myself.

Now, I consider an art break a healing, soul-enriching thing and I do it whenever I feel the need -- with wonderfully satisfying results.

2.  Find a way to instill art in your everyday life

I find I have to be intentional about infusing art and creativity into my everyday life. I've trained myself to be that way, mostly by paying attention to beauty -- something I learned from my late friend Michelle.  When you start looking for it, you see ways to be add beauty to everything you do: with your food, in fabrics, in shadows, the way you wrap a gift, or address an envelope, or dress yourself.  Michelle would buy a broom to use for house cleaning, and paint a flower on its base before she used it.  That's what I'm talking about.

I remember once I was part of a team of women who were all given matching T-shirts to wear for an event.  No sooner did she have it but my friend Deborah tore out the collar on hers. It made it look so much better, but I was so surprised  because it never would have occurred to me to alter my shirt.  She was expressing her style and I have thought about that ripped collar many times over the years as a way to make something everyday into something that reflects your creativity!

3.  Locate your tribe

I cannot stress enough how important it has been for me to connect with other women (mostly) who appreciate the same artistic aesthetic as I do.  For me, this happened through attending markets and craft fairs, and classes -- even art retreats that I save all year for and travel to. When I find someone who is a member of my creative "tribe", I know it immediately!.

One day I was on my way to meet a member of my tribe, Jeanelle, for lunch and ran into some people I used to work in an office with. They were puzzled by the roll of wallpaper I had sticking out of a bag and so I began to tell them it was a gift, and that we love to use old wallpaper in our art, because there's nothing like the feel of really old wallpaper...well, you can imagine the look on their faces. That's one way to know when someone is not in your tribe!



But even if you're not able to connect locally, you can find your tribe online  by shopping for the things you love, and then learning a bit about the artists who create them -- by reading blogs and following links to similar items whenever you find them.  Fewer people are blogging these days, but you can also follow folks on Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook with similar results.

4.  Inspire each other
Once you've found your like-minded friends, connect with them, encourage them, keep up with them and in doing all of this, you will inspire and be inspired by them!  Even if you live far away from each other, photograph your art and send it to your friends!  Or blog about it and post it on your blog, and when you hear or read about something they're doing, comment on it to let them know your thoughts.  Every blogger LOVES getting comments.

I was once told that getting together to create with friends makes you more creative -- that there is sort of an energy or synchronicity that occurs.  I believe in that and have felt it myself, as well as the less-mystical and more practical aspect of creating with friends: you teach and learn from each other. Everyone's muse could use a little company now and then. Inspiration is contagious.




5.  Use the good stuff

Many artists including me struggle with "saving" our best materials for "someday."  Use the good stuff is a mantra I've borrowed from Karla, and it means simply that if you are going to spend your time on art, use the best of your materials.  You can always get more of the good stuff -- but you'll never get back the time you spent on your art.

6.  Surround yourself with art and evidence of your creativity

Have you heard the expression, Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful?  Put your work out where you can see it, or give it away, or if you have too much of it, rotate it by seasons so you don't get tired of it.  Don't be shy about showing it off or giving it away...or selling it for what it's worth.

An aside:  I remember when (long ago) I used to be the queen of decluttering. I read a tip that really helped me to think outside the box about what to save and what to let go of: it said if you're having trouble parting with something that you know you don't need, or that is weighing you down, take a photo of it and create a simple journal of  the memories.  A journal takes up much less space than a lot of stored objects you never take out and look at.  I carried that a step further when I decided, If  I don't love the thing enough to take the time to do that, I don't need it around at all.

7.  Have fun

If you're not having fun -- you're doing it wrong.  Art can be hard work, too -- but in my opinion the end result must be joy, healing, satisfaction or pleasure.  Otherwise, spend your time doing something else that gives you those things.

I'm writing today about inspiring your heart with art.  There was a day set aside celebrate that very subject this past January 31.  You may remember reading or even writing about it yourself.  I missed posting on that day, but was later asked by Patience Brewster to blog on the subject.   Do you know of Patience Brewster?  She has the most unique and whimsical art, and I have been a fan of her style since the early 1990s when I first discovered her Christmas ornaments. They were right up my alley! You can imagine, it was a treat to hear from her daughter and be asked to do this blog post!  All the photos that appear in this post are examples of my art.