Hey, it's what I do! Welcome to my creative arts blog!

Welcome to my Maker's blog, where I feature my own unique creative projects. I'm six years out from breast cancer and counting my blessings.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm still here...with Christmas wreaths!

Yes, ladies, even chemo can't keep me away from the glue gun and all the Christmas balls I can get my hands on. So even with a bit of fatigue and nausea (British stiff upper lip and steely eyed glare goes here) I'm still decorating for Christmas with a plan and a schedule, starting with crashing my stash so I didn't have to spend more money and then making lots of wreaths.


My daughter, Insanely Creative Christy, made this gorgeous red yarn ball beauty for my counter top display area but we soon deemed it worthy of sale and moved it to our teeny tiny craft mall booth.

Where it joins a table top tree, my wooden spool yarn angels, Christy's creative clothespin sets (the ones on the shelf have chickadees and finches on them, so cute!) and her thread spool prim trees. Surrounding them all, my ruffled muslin garland. That's 8 feet of ruffly creamy goodness, so pretty!


Ahem, back to the wreaths. I made this red yarn ball beauty for the inside of our front door, reasoning that I wanted to see it more than I wanted the outside of the door to look good. I added satin covered balls, glass balls, beads and poinsettias before I said enough. Yeah, in wreaths I am no minimalist. I go for the gusto, baby!


This is the wreath I made to replace the craft booth wreath. Not quite as wonderful as Christy's wreath but full of color and texture and perfect for this empty spot at the end of my counter.




Which did not remain empty for long. Insanely Creative Christy decorated the tree on one of my exhausted days then I started filling in with everything red and shiny and Christmasy. Plus my painted branches got a bit of play after their duty for Halloween and Thanksgiving. I like that!


Whoa, look at all the STUFF! "Less is more" went out the window and "let's cram everything in there" became the operative phrase. So much fun, so much to see! What you can't see on the book page gourds (another Christy creation) are the glittery bronze stems, they look amazing with the book pages and the scalloped wood bowl. I made the paper mache Santa and snowman and put the googly eyes on the bottle cork. Seemed like a good idea at the time and now he makes me smile.

Dollar Store candy canes in a fluted glass and an apothecary jar full of red potpourri and I laughed when I figured out that the satin ball fit perfectly into the tarnished brass doorknob. It's serendipity.

This is the counter area I pass by dozens of times a day, and it lifts my spirits with it's exuberance. It's the first thing you see when you come in from the deck, and it is amazingly colorful and charming. And it didn't cost a bundle, just a few Dollar Store items and lots of "let's put this up there and see how it looks." Win, win and win.

Ah yes, another wreath. This one is for my Etsy shop. Not quite done at this point...Christy and I added a big gossamer butterfly and more beads and a few more balls. Gorgeous nonetheless and NOT just for Christmas. Girly girly bedroom, baby shower, breast cancer warrior gift, pink and silver Christmas.....this pink wreath has lots of decor potential!

And finally, a gold wreath this time. I hung it over the window and am still considering it. It suffers from "big bow syndrome." Perhaps I'll deconstruct the bow and string it in and out of the balls? Add more balls? Add more snowflakes? This wreath, it mocks me. I will do something more to it as soon as I decide what it needs.

The next project is 25' of lighted garland for the ceiling beam in our livingroom. The Welding Man and I will be tackling that today! He is also building me a storage rack for my studio which will let me organize some of my fabric. Did I mention how much he "loves" my spiral notebook full of lists? LOL

Ladies, tomorrow is my last round of "hard" chemo. They tell me the next rounds of taxol will be easier. Let us hope. In the meantime, I'll be making Christmas gifts for the fam and also giving you guys a nice post and tute on yarn angels. Soon. Very soon. Keep in touch, I love your comments!

Bless you.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lovin' the blue.....

Of pretty blue cobalt glass!


Donna at Funky Junk Interiors is running a little party in addition to her big Saturday Night special party titled, "Non gift things, what do you love to make or have in your home you love?"

Here's a link, http://funkyjunkinteriors.blogspot.com/2010/12/sns-59-brings-you-your-favorite-things.html

Well, Donna, that would have to be blue glass, as you can see from my header.I love blue in my house and garden and in addition to manufactured gazing balls, have made my own blue ornaments from blue half marbles and different size glass globes.




The Welding Man made me this baker's rack years ago and I've loaded it up with all kinds of glass, some of it true cobalt, most of it just "true blue." If it looks good, I stick it up there.

I also have glass shelves in my corner windows stuffed with the stuff. I love the glow of the sunlight through all that blue anytime of the day.


Even our "million dollar view" is improved with a bit of blue, isn't it? And here's what Insanely Creative Christy did for me this year for Christmas, in that corner window with all the blue glass...
And just recently I've run into a few pieces of true green and true red glass, and you just know I had to have them. Methinks I may soon need a bigger house, lol!

Thank you, Donna, for hosting your fun parties and letting us all share in the fun.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sometimes pretty just happens.



Well, we're making the change over from Thanksgiving and autumn decor to Christmas this weekend. Insanely Creative Christy and I have a list and together we have a plan. But sometimes things just happen and you have to seize the day. I have a big, old, oval trencher with a beat up chippy paint finish and as we took things down and put things up we started throwing the odds and ends in that old bowl.....


Hey, neat!

That's looking pretty cool, almost like we planned it, but we didn't. Had to take pics anyway.

Book page Christmas balls, vine balls, shiny balls go in. Chuck in some random silvery, pearly, metallic garlands next. Hey, that looks good!

A pretty yarn angel, a tangle of tiny pearl beaded garland...and a trio of rusty tin stars. Better and better!

Hey, these pretty little string angels need a place to rest before we hang them on a tree. Put 'em in the bowl. Sweet! So many pretty things together in one place, maybe we should leave this as is?

Maybe, but probably not. We've got plans and lists and schedules. But don't worry, old beat up chippy painted trencher bowl, we'll do you good when we're all done with things.

Just sharing the spontaneity of the moment ladies, sometimes good things happen if only fleetingly. Seize the moment and ENJOY!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sweet Post It Note Flowers Tute

Here are the simple book page ornaments we've made for our little tabletop trees, including a punched paper snowflake garland, Mod Podged balls and these pretty little origami flowers.


In my previous post about simple, white Christmas decor, I told you I'd give you directions to make these flowers. I call them Post It Note Flowers because they work up beautifully using a 3" x 3" square of paper, so in a leap of naming logic there ya go. They are really origami kusadama flowers and they've been around forever. I'll give you a link to an origami website at the end of this post in case my instructions lead you hopelessly astray. ; 0 )

Start with a post it note or any size of paper as long as it is perfectly square. IF YOU USE post it notes, you will start with the gummy side at the bottom right and gently separate the layers if they become stuck. I LOVE these in hot pink, but I don't have any paper that color right now.
Fold bottom to top, then sides in to form a diamond, then fold each side out from the middle.
Unfold each side "wing" so it looks like a kite, then fold the top of these side kites inwards so now you will have a middle kite shape with matching side triangles. Fold each triangle once inwards.
Roll into a cone and hot glue the two folded sides in the middle. You need at least five to form a flower shape, tho I have seen them with more. Hot glue all the cones together and don't worry if you have a little gap in the center, even real flowers have a little opening in their middle.


We've made ours out of vintage dictionary pages to go along with our simple white Christmas theme.

And the Live, Laugh, Love ornaments? Simply book pages cut into small rectangles then Mod Podged onto Christmas balls. I hand wrote the words on each ball with a Pigma pen, then sealed them all with clear acrylic. You could also use a Cricut or Silhouette for the words, or print them and cut them out to match the book pages and Mod Podge them on. Simple, pretty and inexpensive. We like!

Here is a link to a real origami website with great instructions and lots of samples for these pretty flowers...

http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/origami_kusadama_flowers

I'll be joining the parties on my sidebar beginning with the Saturday bunch, even tho I'm posting on Sunday. Yeah, I slacked a bit this week, sorry ladies. Come join the fun and see the neat projects posted this week!






















Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Beautiful, simple book page Christmas decor

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and then you know what happens.....time to decorate for Christmas, ladies! Woohoo!

I love the riotous color that comes with Christmas decorating as much as the next creative gal, and yet when Insanely Creative Christy and I started brainstorming about little display trees for our tiny craft mall booth, we decided to try a shabby chic look using, what else, vintage dictionary book pages. Here's the start of our project and we're liking this clean, white, crisp look very very much. So wintry white and elegant, we think.

Of course there's the book page decoupage balls with hand written script that say Live, Laugh, Love, Family, Joy and Peace. We'll try some smaller balls too just for a bit of balance. And don't forget the tiny paper chains. Book pages and hot glue, baby, easy peasy and cheap! The snowflakes are punched then glued together for a REALLY REALLY lovely garland, very simple and beautiful. LOVE IT! For a little extra body we suggest gluing two layers of paper together before punching. We're also trying some garlands of hearts and primitive stars. If you've got some craft punches try them out for some lovely and creative garlands for your Holiday House.


I crashed my stash for the metal star and the 18" twiggy trees, but really, everything and anything is a candidate for this classic, simple look. The paper looks so sweet against the deep green of the trees.


Christy made these gorgeous gorgeous paper flowers, they are so sweet nestled in the branches and give the whole tree a bit of needed texture. We're working on angel tree toppers made of more book pages and a couple of other surprise projects and we're having so much fun! We'll add a few more things and a bit of bling and who knows what else. We're a little giddy that way ;0)

I'll be posting the how tos for these sweet flowers starting this Saturday on the blog parties on my side bar. Please check back, they are super clever and easy to do, you'll want to make some for your own projects!

Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday, dear friends, and be sure to count your blessings during this most personal time of the year. Life is beautiful. And please, as James Taylor sings, "Shower the people you love with love, show them the way you feel, things are gonna be much better if you only will."

See you on Saturday!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gallery of Dolls on my Ruffles and Crows Doll site...



...come check it out and see if you find something you'd like to order for the Christmas season of giving or just for yourself.

http://rufflesandcrows.blogspot.com/2010/11/gallery-of-dolls.html


I'd be so glad to see your visits and comments over there! Thanks!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thar she blows! My hair, that is.

My hair came out in clumps and handfuls yesterday. Awesome. The doctors, nurses and oncologists have been telling me to expect this for a couple of months and boy howdy, here it is. And so, I'll deal as usual and make the best of things. Here's a lame bathroom mirror shot from last Christmas a year ago.


Thin hair but lots of it.


Sort of a modified version of my high school flip.




Pinned up in back most of the time since hair in my face annoys me. Little did I know....


Short crop after first chemo thanks to my clever daughter. This length was doable and spikable and kinda sassy. I thought I'd sneak up on the bald thing by going shorter every couple of weeks.

But my hair brush tells a different story. Wow, it came out fast once it started to go. So scarves and ballcaps and crocheted beanies to the rescue. But hey, I've discovered a newfound love for dangly, pretty earrings. Yes, Insanely Creative Christy is making them for me ; 0 ) Even futzing around here at home I'll wear them cuz I like that little spark of pretty when I look in the mirror.

I knew I wouldn't be blogging about my breast cancer woes, but in keeping with my whole outlook you'll see entries like this...me making the best of the situation, hopefully with grace and humor. And you know, the more I try to keep my chin up, the better I feel, even with heavy duty chemo and meds and multiple testing and the various aches and pains. So, a good attitude is working for me, looks like I'll keep it up!

Thanks ladies for all your wonderful wishes. Bless you!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thankful wreath and autumn display.

Despite everything, I do have alot to be thankful for this year, and I knew I wanted this display to remind me and cheer me everyday. I love the way it came out!


Here is "display central" on the end of my kitchen counter. The textured wallpaper
looks good as a background no matter what I put up there. My first round of chemo went smoothly, and it surely did not keep me from switching up my Halloween decor to Thanksgiving. If you'll recall, this is how it looked for Halloween.....

...crepe paper bats, mod podge balls, a rosette wreath, black spray painted branches and foliage plus Dollar Store knick knacks. That was fun! Now I've changed it up for autumn and Thanksgiving using a bag of Dollar Store leaves and a bit of stash shopping. So this changeover was not only fun but it was CHEAP. Win win!



I hot glued the leaves to the spray painted branches and also used them on a twig wreath that had seen better days. I added some book page leaves leftover from my garland redo and then painted a banner for the middle of the wreath saying, "Thankful." Painting the muslin with country white paint gave it enough body to curve and hold it's shape when I glued it in place. Simple, easy and almost free! A colorful spray of silk leaves is in the white vase now instead of the black foliage.


These are my Thanksgiving napkin rings made of grapevine wire, more miniature silk leaves and tiny book page leaves. A few have tiny berry sprigs. They look GORGEOUS with white dinner napkins but until I need them, they look pretty on this tree.


We've found that with a good pair of craft scissors we can cut 8 layers of paper at a time, so very quickly you can have LOTS of maple and oak leaves cut from book pages for your autumn decor. They are very versatile, I've used them ALOT this year.


I added my restyled candlestick trio to the mix. They started out as tired, old and white but now look pretty cool in gloss black, thanks to my daughter, Insanely Creative Christy. Wrapping the candles with jute and giving them some mini bows of satin ribbon dressed them right up. I kept some of my mod podged balls on the tree and added a few small grapevine balls, too. My fat fabric pumpkins stayed, as well as my little apothecary jar. Looks like all the mini Reese's cups are just about gone, lol!


Peeking out through the candlesticks is a bit of graffiti art my middle daughter, No Nonsense Mom Kelly, did for me for Mother's Day. I'll have to do a post on it all by itself, it is too cool for school! I am enjoying this bright display everyday now that the weather has turned grey, cold and wet. I have BIG plans for my Christmas display, plus lots of projects that feature my two rules....they have to look good and cost next to nothing. Can't hardly wait.

And for all you wonderful ladies who have left such wonderful comments for me, you make me teary eyed with your positive thoughts. My second round of chemo is this week and I know it's going to be a bit tougher, so I truly love and appreciate all of your support. I'm so thankful for all of you! Bless you.

Ahem. I'll be posting to the parties in my sidebar since they are so much fun. Come check them out, the creativity out in blogland is amazing.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Personal memory book...the BEST family gift ever!

My middle sister hatched the idea for this memory book for our parents, who had unceremoniously wrenched us from our comfortable Southern California subdivision ranch house to the wilds of 60 acres in Southern Oregon's beautiful cascades when I was a junior in High School and my three sibs were just pups.

Talk about culture shock.

That said, it's the best thing they ever did for us besides birthing us and raising us into the hardy souls we are today.

Thus, years later, the project was conceived in appreciation and loving nostalgia. Behold the book of our childhood....


Props go, once again, to Insanely Creative Christy who gave me a crash course in the construction and binding of a simple journal style book. She totally rocks, my daughter does! I used every bit of natural twigginess and embellishment that wouldn't deteriorate in time and then we went for it. The burlap and the scripty paper were a natural choice.


So my classy cool middle sister suggested a beautifully written collection of our memories and asked that I illustrate it with some pen and ink, colored pencil and even watercolor paintings. Ah, what a fine idea it was at the start......


...and indeed, the first pages off the press were pristine and lovely, courtesy of my youngest sister (known as Fantastic Singing Voice Sister) who edited our gleefully giddy emails and contributions to this work and delivered these crisply printed sheets to me for embellishment with fine artwork and beautiful sketches.

I had good intentions, really I did. I pictured wonderful pastel watercolor landscapes of the beautiful hills, creek and fruit trees. But the memories and my own sense of humor just wouldn't let me be so...um....PLAIN. After a quick warning email to my sibs, I just went for it and illustrated the margins with lots and lots of fun sketches. LOTS.


Our first winter was HARD and snow quickly lost it's glamor. We quickly learned that the survey stakes left by our friendly country road crew made great fishing poles and brush beating sticks.


Our mom discovered her green thumb extended to vegetable gardening. A half acre of vegetable gardening. That hill of beans is no exageration. And we raised goats. Even today we love the miserable creatures and think of them with malicious nostalgia, the little buggers.

The main charm of our Oregon home was our very own Creek. Not fenced off like in California, but free flowing and wild and fringed with fern, blackberries, mint and willow thickets laced with animal trails. Brings tears to my eyes remembering that Creek. Love it so.

Ah, the plastic bags + socks + red top rubber boots are still fashion riguer, I hear. We learned fast.

Oregon banana slugs, ahhhhhhh!

And the pros and cons of our country life.....no hot home delivered pizza, no Disneyland trips on a whim, no ballet lessons. But we also did not have gang activity, save for the goats at feeding time, and we did have an endless supply of fresh hot apple pies made with fruit from our own heritage trees and warm tea and hot cocoa and EACH OTHER.

And we'd do it all again, you betcha! Our first summer was spent in a camp trailer with a tin roofed deck built underneath a HUGE pear tree. If you are watching reruns of Twilight Zone or Psycho, there is NOTHING like the sound a ripe pears hitting the tin in a horrendous clash and clatter to give your heart a workout. Ah, sweet memories are made of this.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for abandoning the relative ease of city life and moving us all out into the woods for our own good. We love you.