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Archive for February, 2008

I have the sweetest little girl. Actually I have the sweetest little boy too, and in a few weeks they will both turn 2 years old! Usually, I use this blog as my crafting blog because I maintain another blog that is for family and friends where I post all those pictures I take of my two cuties. But I thought I’d share some of their stories here.   My girl, Clara, loves to dress up. She loves to wear my shoes, loves jewelry, and purses. She carries her purse on her arm like a little lady I guess I sometimes do the same thing, so monkey see, monkey do. Usually our day starts with her finding a pair of shoes, a hat, a purse, her beads, and then she can push her shopping cart around the kitchen. So in the course of a day, she will wear several pairs of my shoes which results in my shoes being all over the house. Honestly I don’t think of myself as a big fashion queen, but I seem to have lots of shoes.The best part about Clara’s dress up is how she just knows things. She knows that shoes come in pairs, that there should be two and when she can’t find both she comes to me to find them. She also knows that before leaving the house I tend to accessorize a bit more than I’d admit to. And she knows that nice dressy pumps are the very best shoes. Finally, she knows how to walk in heels, a little better than I do actually! As I shared Clara’s dress up stories with friends I came to the conclusion that little girls are born with this natural ability to dress up and walk well in heels and somewhere along the way some of us lose that ability. I think it could be on par with losing the belief in Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy. Something to think about.  

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This morning while sipping my coffee I surfed a few blogs and went down a few rabbit trails. It’s like going to Wikipedia to look up one thing and then you click on other links and go down other trails. So, after a few blogs I ended up at Bluelines. And got really inspired by this article. I just now discovered that bluelines is part of Martha Stewart’s Blueprint magazine. hmmmm. Anyway, I was really liking the groupings of objects and the idea of using your window sill, shelf, or whatever little spot you have to create little art installations. What I like about this idea is that it gives me a space to showcase some of the little treasures I have collected for a while. Okay, I collect all kinds of bits of this and that, some I get passed down from my family, some I find, and some I get at thrift shops. My struggle is that I want to see all these little collections and highlight them, but I don’t want to add to clutter of my house and I have my twins, Jack and Clara who are almost 2 and nothing is safe. The idea of using my windowsill really appeals because it’s up high out of the reach of little hands and it gives me a little platform to highlight a couple of cool things. My house is only a few years old but built with a craftsman, old-fashioned feel to it. My kitchen sink faces the street with 3 seperate windows that give me lots of light and a good view of my neighborhood. I took the little arts and crafts pitchers out and made 3 seperate installations: sewing, time, writing. As I gathered these things from around the house I kept having the word vignette come to mind. Honestly, wasn’t sure of the excat meaning but the sound of the word fit. Luckily I went to Merriam Webster online and found this definition:

Etymology:
French, from Middle French vignete, from diminutive of vigne vine —Date: 1611
1: a running ornament (as of vine leaves, tendrils, and grapes) put on or just before a title page or at the beginning or end of a chapteralso : a small decorative design or picture so placed2 a: a picture (as an engraving or photograph) that shades off gradually into the surrounding paper b: the pictorial part of a postage stamp design as distinguished from the frame and lettering

3 a: a short descriptive literary sketch b: a brief incident or scene (as in a play or movie) Okay, the definition in my head wasn’t quite the same but I think I still got the right word. I wanted to tell a story about my affection for old and handmade things. To show that while I love technology-thank you Ipod- I also appreciate the roots of technology, and like to be reminded of simpler times. So, according to MW, I think no. 3 is my definition: a descriptive sketch. These make me very happy. When I look at my kitchen I don’t see it filled with sippy cups, goldfish crackers, and dirty dishes. I see instead 3 art installations: sewing, time, and writing. Maybe no one else will even notice these little displays, most might laugh at me calling them art installations, my husband will just assume it’s some thing I’m into right now. Doesn’t matter. Because now, everyday I can see those cool fountain pens I’ve collected for a long time, the wind up clock, or wooden spools, and enjoy them.  If you have any little collections of things, try making displays of them somewhere in your house. It’s fun, relaxing, and gives you a little more time to put off doing the dishes. 

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In praise of the New Year, I’ve made some resolutions I mean goals. Things I’d like to work on for the upcoming year. Here’s a partial list: lose weight, get healthy (duh), get organized (sort of), be more productive, make better use of my time, buy less craft stuff (or not as much), and use up the stuff that I’ve been holding onto for way too long. After reading several boards and blogs I know that my hoarding and collecting of craft stuff is not unique to me. Many others suffer from this affliction. I had found a blog where many posters were talking about building their own kits for scraping. Did a bit of brainstorming and came up with a plan and started shopping in my stuff.  Yes, I have lots of stuff, but I know that many others have more stuff than me, and that helps me not feel as guilty. So I started with some funky cardstock that had no apparent use.  I also included leftovers from 12×12 sheets that looked approximately 8.5 x 11. Then I added 3-4 patterened papers (some where full sheets, some scraps), then I choose an alpha type (sticker, rub ons, chipboard, or stamps), I added a card or tag (something that I could use for journaling or something), ribbons (at least 3), chipboard, flowers, buttons, brads, or similar embellishments. I also included things that I have collected or held on for a long time. I put all of the kits in big baggies that I’ve saved–yes, I’m a huge packrat! Part of the goal I have is using things that I’ve waited to use on the “perfect” project.I also wanted to use some of the non-scrappy things I’ve collected. One of the kits has a paint chip sample that is part of a larger pile that I always meant to do something with someday. Well, someday is now.My other thought with these kits is time saving. Like a lot of scrappers, I would love more time to scrap. As a SAHM to nearly 2 year old boy/girl twins I really am limited in time. As if that isn’t enough I also work out of my home with a couple of businesses. So, if I have a few kits made up ahead of time I can do a bit of scrapping when the kiddies are taking a nap. I also think that down the road it might be fun to swap page kits with other crafters online. Maybe. When I first tried this I was feeling restricted by using only the stuff in my bag. But I made myself stick it out and now it’s become a fun and easy way to craft. Plus, now if I go to a crop of a friends house I can just grab a few kits and head out the door instead of packing half of the stuff I own! 

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My scrap “studio”

I’ve been seeing on some of the message boards and galleries posts of some really fabulous craft or scrap rooms. I once could lay claim to an entire room of my home for me and all my crafty stuff, but it will soon be a bedroom for my sweet little girl. My DH (love using these abbreviations now that I know what they mean!) built me some very large cabinets in our garage for housing lots of my craft stuff that is not used all the time. Then I talked him into turning our mud room into a craft studio for me! And I use the term studio very loosely!
 

 
craft studio

First he hung these wire shelving things that are adustable.  
 Then I added the 5$ metal desk I had found at a salvage yard and painted it this awful blue. I think I may have gotten a deal on the paint. 
The desk was the perfect size depth wise and it allowed room for my paper stacker to be next to the desk.  I really like these little white baskets, I got them super cheap at Big Lots, added a metal tag (from a hardware store) and labeled everything. Yeah I’d like to have super cute wicker but these work just as well and they were cheaper. 

This is a magazine/toilet paper holder from Southern Living at Home
 
It works great for holding my latest magazines and catalogs. I also hang binder rings full of rubons from the tp holder. All in all, I think we spent a little less than $100 for the whole project. Over time I might add some accessories and paint but for now it usually looks like this.

This new space should make me more productive, and since it’s right off the dinning area it needs to stay clean since it can be seen by visitors. The only sad thing is that when I’m scrapping what I usually only need is this one little tote and my paper trimmer.  

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My inspiration binder

I admit that like most crafty/creative types I tend to hoard and collect all kinds of bits and pieces hoping to use them one day. Magazines are one of these things that I have piles of with dog-eared corners, and sticky notes. The unfortunate part is that I forget which magazine I found some great idea. It seemed like I wasted a lot of time thumbing through these! This frustration coupled with my “organizing” bug made me decide to deal with the piles. 

inspiration binder

First thing I did was start ripping out the pages I liked. Each night while watching tv with the hubby and kids I’d take a pile of magazines and literally rip out the pages I liked, then I tossed the rest of the mag! This can be the hard part but I think it really helps with the creative juices. I then put these pages in sheet protectors to fit into a regular office binder. Then I set up the following categories: Ali E, single photo LO, multi photo LO, albums, mini books, Cathy Z, and other. Then I took my handy dandy tab punch from Stampin Up! Then I stapled these tabs right on the first of each section. Now, as I find pics I want to scrap, I look in my binder for an idea or two and then I toss the photo in the sheet protector on top of the LO. This also gives me a way to see if the pics will work with the inspiration LO. I have discovered a couple of other things while doing this: I found my style/preference, and found I can get more scrapping done!What’s my style? I can’t really name it except I really like clean, funky, vintage, fun designs. So maybe I can call my style clean and funky? I did find that I am really drawn to the style of Jamie Waters . I found a lot of my faves were by her or inspired by her. She does such a great job with clean/funky/fun style. My next post I’ll show a few of my scraplifts. 

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I have taken a break from blogging. Just haven’t been in the mood, and have been reading some more negative blogs on the net that have infected me with their cynicsm. And now at the start of the new year I am contemplating this blog and the act of writing about crafting and sharing the projects that I’ve made. This makes me think about why I do this. 

 

Am I hoping to get discovered some day? Am I waiting for someone to realize I could the next great thing in scrapping? Do I want to make this a serious deal, for publishing, fame, and cash? Am I delusional enough to think I am the next Ali Edwards? And I thought for a while I would pursue the publishing angle, maybe submit a few things here and there and see if anything got picked. I even have had a book idea in mind for over a year about the amazing mini books I’ve created or thought about creating. But are there really any original ideas left? And is the pro-scrapper angle where I want to go? 

 

This winter I got a taste of the “being paid to do what you love thing”. This seems like the best thing ever right? I alter things, notebooks and little books and stuff like that. There are people who want to buy these from me. So I figured the cost of materials and marked up the price to be about double the materials. I neglected to figure in my time and well when you figure the time angle I probably made very little. So I just ignore that part. As I’ve been making things for people to buy I’ve had more people request more of my “product” and requesting certain colors and themes. Being who I am I went ahead and charged the same price even though I had to do some hunting for just the right product. And while I loved getting paid for something I love doing, it took some of the fun out of it. It also took time for my projects and layouts. This was a big eye-opener, made me re-think taking this really serious and really trying to market my crafts. Right now, I am taking a break from the “work” projects and doing stuff I love just for me. 

 


In conclusion, I’ve decided to continue writing this blog, sharing the things I create 

and not worrying about the publishing part of things.  This is for me, it’s a way for me to reach out to the rest of the crafting world, a way for me to share what I make.

I like to create things, I like to personalize and alter things, and I like to talk about this hobby of mine. 

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I like to collect things with my name or first initial. So I have lots of crafty and non crafty things that are the letter “e”. But after a while it gets a little ridiculous and you realize you have saved an entire box of e’s and you haven’t done anything with them. I thought about doing a layout or mini book about myself or just highlighting the letter e. But then I thought I’d rather have something more 3-d since most of my letters are big and textured. 

 

 

Canvas

I took a 9×12 canvas that I had prepped and aged with cream and brown acrylic paint for another project that I never did finish. I then had a self portrait I’d taken this summer while camping that I really liked. But I still had no real plan. I gathered up all of my e’s, shuffled them around and still didn’t quite use them all. For the other elements I used things and papers I love. The red polka by Chatterbox, the brown scallops from Bazzill, my favorite ink-walnut stain by Tim Holtz, and some of the vintage papers and vintage-looking papers I’ve accumulated. I like old things, love old writing and stuff.

 I also added a postcard from a women’s history event I had created while I was a teacher that meant a lot to me.

 

The title “the girl in the mirror” and vintage article and image are all from an old magazine article telling young women how to keep the inside and outside of themselves looking their best.

It’s a funny little article that tells you to first look at yourself and follow their checklist. Then it tells you to look away from the mirror and look into yourself. Anyway, I thought it was funny and used it.

 

 

The partial flower is from an old sheet of Rusty Pickle paper that had funky hearts in squares. I inked everything, used a pencil to add some highlights and swirls. I used my trusty Modge Podge to glue everything down. I let it dry a bit and then dumped more MP on the canvas to seal it. Some of the papers came up a bit but I kind of liked the dimension it added to the project. This was one of those projects that I had no purpose or audience for, it was just having fun and making something fun with my letters. All in all, it turned out better than I had anticipated. It’s a fun, funky piece that’s also a little personal. It is hanging on the wall of my scrap “studio”- and use that word very tongue in cheek (tic).

I had so much fun doing this I’m thinking about making something similar for my kiddies’ rooms. I should mention I was inspired by Ali Edwards new book–which is super cool– to use a canvas. I started with some of her canvases in mind and ended up with something much different. It still works.

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