the soul would have no rainbow, had the eyes no tears.-john vance cheney-
Thursday, January 26, 2012
i begged her not to bake these red velvet cupcakes, but she did it anyway. my 16 year old daughter loves to bake. she says it's relaxing. i've never found baking to be relaxing. to me, it is work you have to do to get something really good to eat. but last night, when she said she wanted to bake, i tried to talk her out of it. don't get me wrong. i love baked goods. i mean, i really love them. i just can't say no. but lately, my waistline is suffering. the calories just don't burn off as fast as they did in my 20's. or 30's. it could be that we just finished her last creation - a three layer toasted almond-butter cake. so, here i am, all alone. with 18 or so cupcakes just sitting on the counter. i have a cup of tea brewing and i've made my choice. i want this one. the one with the coffee filter. she ran out of paper cupcake liners and i told her to use a coffee filter. i just bought these pretty (yes, coffee filters can be pretty) natural colored coffee filters and i actually like how this one came out. kind of rustic. and good. so, so good.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
i was getting ready to take some clothes to the goodwill when this sweater fell out of the bag. it was almost calling out to me. something like, "wait, don't throw me away". i decided to give it one more chance. not good for wearing - too short and a big fat turtleneck. but i do have a grungy, white pillow that needs a cover (never buy white pillows when you have kids or lovely, ivory and rose floral couches either, but that's a whole different story). i whipped up this sweet pillow cover in about 20 minutes. i just put the pillow into the sweater to get an idea of size, turned the sweater inside out and sewed a big square (no measuring - there was kind of a design to follow). i left a small opening on one side. then i squished the grungy pillow into it and sewed up the opening by hand. voila! a nice, soft (ungrungy) pillow for my studio couch.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
i made these year ornaments with some remnants of grandma's vintage tea towel calendars. i have a few more years, but these two were the coolest. i put a hurtin' on my inspiration overload this weekend. replenishing my supply of tea towel calendar ornaments, finishing this little leather "musician journal". it's a new design i'm trying out. it has a mix of blank staff paper, brown kraft cardstock and vintage music. my favorite part is the teeny, tiny harmonica. it actually plays. fun. i took advantage of the sun today to take pictures for my shop. i've listed some of the ornaments and this journal and i'll list some more items tomorrow. so yeah, it's all working out. one step at a time right?
Friday, January 20, 2012
have you ever had inspiration overload? it comes on when you have too many ideas swirling in your head. too many projects begun, but not finished. my desk is a clutter today of too much inspiration. i've stopped to make a cup of french roast and see if i can quiet my brain. maybe i should have made decaf. i have several journals started - one needs a cover, the other two need guts. some collages of silk and other old stuff. a painty thing that is way out of my comfort zone and therefore i don't know what to do with it next, if anything. a week long experiment in which i am trying to get an old book to a perfect state of wrinkledness (new word)... in times like this, it's best to choose one and finish it and then on to the next. a few more sips of coffee and i should be on my way to plain old inspiration. the kind where i actually complete something. hope you're feeling inspired this weekend...but not too much.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
today, i took a little break from art making and did some decorating on my mantel, as it has been quite bare since christmas was taken down a few weeks ago. the mantel in my living room is an ever changing display of whatever mood i happen to be in at the time. i'm generally pretty thrifty about it - i never buy anything just for this purpose. last month i hauled in a giant branch from the backyard and decorated it with some of my book page ornaments. but i usually never do the same thing twice. so, off to the cellar I went. I found some lovely old frames and i was thinking of maybe just displaying the frames empty, as i've seen that before and i like that look. however, when i turned them over, they were all closed up with wood and brown paper. too complicated to empty them, so i left them as is and decided to display the back instead. i like the look of the old brown paper and the nails and wire and string. then a nice stack of books without covers. i did make some lovely journals with those covers - still a few in my shop. my favorite old bottle, a bit dirty and just right. a sprig of dried plants that my daughter found for me. i don't know what this plant is called, but my grandmother always had some growing in her yard and it reminds me of her. a couple of bird nests that i have found recently, as they tend to fall out of the trees in the winter. the frames needed a little something so i tucked in an antique envelope and postcard from my growing collection of mail ephemera. an old tin ceiling tile, which used to be a clock (a few of displays ago), but i decided to take the clock parts out and that left a hole, but i had some nice butterfly tape - a piece of that over the hole - perfect. what else... last was the big crane. i folded up a crane, much bigger than my usual size, out of some brown shipping paper. all done. love it...
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012
i'm still in the process of sorting through all of my finds from my recent antiquing adventures. my once a year trip to Behind the Iron Gates in Syracuse, NY. if you are ever there, you have to go. i have never found another store like it. i would actually like to live there. a picture for you - a large, victorian mansion, complete with cool paint job, wrap around porch and victorian details set behind iron gates (hence the name). inside, beautiful woodwork and a dreamy, winding staircase and lots and lots of rooms. all stuffed full of all sorts of treasures. i really like this shop because of the sheer amount of stuff. the best are the boxes and baskets set under the tables. and the drawers. there are some nice dressers for sale, but while they are waiting for their new owner, the drawers are used to hold more stuff. if you have the patience to sift through these, treasures abound here.
but anyway, on to the dirty bag part. one time on this blog, i wrote about a dirty bag of buttons that i found at a shop and purchased. so dirty, i couldn't really see what was in the bag, but i bought it anyway and was rewarded with a really gorgeous bunch of buttons. well, this is another one of those dirty bag finds. the above little album was wrapped up in a dirty plastic bag and taped. and taped. and taped some more. there was no peeking in this little parcel. and no description on the tag. all i could see was the top page, which was a really nice Italian stamp. and a $9 price tag. which frankly, is over my limit to spend on something which you cannot see. but i really liked that Italian stamp so i carried it around for a while, thinking about it, almost put it back, but in the end i decided, what the heck. and when i opened it the other day, i had a "dirty bag happy moment". it looks like someone started a little stamp collection. it started off nicely, with the stamps neatly attached to index cards and labeled where they were from and tucked into the little plastic pockets and then it looks like they lost steam and stuffed between the pages are the real treasures. stamps torn off of envelopes with paper still attached and whole envelopes (my favorite) with stamps. stamps from Italy, France, Denmark, U.S., Switzerland, countries in South America, Japan, Mexico...from 1900 up to about 1980. around 200 in all. a real treasure. an awesome dirty bag find. so, i'm going to tell you again - don't pass up those dirty bags. you never know what you'll find. and now, time to think up some "stamp art"...
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
as you probably already know, i love letters. old, new, handwritten, typed. i just love them. the idea that someone takes the time to stop and write. it's special. on a recent trip to an antique shop, an old letter caught my eye. the handwriting was beautiful and it looked like something i would like, so i didn't stop to read it there, i just put it in my pile of purchases. once i arrived home, i took a moment to read it. and i could not believe how beautiful that letter was. it is dated June 28, 1892 and was a bit difficult to read, due to the old fashioned writing and the many folds in the paper. but here it is:
Gertie, my Dear Child,
I think this is the first letter I ever tried to write to you and I hardly know how to write this. But I expect to be away from home all day Tuesday (which is your 14th birthday) and cannot talk to you nor scold you nor whip you so concluded to do the next best thing. In this little box you will find a ring, a present from your father. Now Gertie you cannot find the end of this ring. Neither will you find the end of Fathers love. Keep this ring and let it always remind you that the surest way to happiness is to do all you can to insure the happiness of those with whom you associate and when trouble and disappointments come (as they will) remember this too will pass. Keep cheerful always. Father
i love how it has been folded many times. i imagine dear Gertie treasured this letter and perhaps kept it in a special box and reread it many times.
yesterday, i received the most wonderful gift. i was walking my son to school, as always, when a car pulled up and a woman got out and walked towards us. she said she had something for me. for me? yes, for me. she handed me an envelope and she smiled and hopped back into her car. i was really surprised but somehow i knew. i knew that there was something really special in that envelope. maybe it was her kind smile or the friendly air she had about her. i don't know. but i took one look at my son and we both smiled and said, "open it". and inside was the most beautiful and heartfelt letter i have ever received. it brings tears to my eyes, even now, after reading and rereading it so many times. apparently, she sees me and my son walking every day. and it reminds her of when her son was young and she walked him to school every day. and it brings her joy. and she wanted to tell me that. and that is why i love letters so much. this kind woman chose to write me a letter and tell me that we brought her joy. and this simple action brought me joy. and brought my son joy. and that is such a special gift. for a while now, it has been a goal of mine to write letters. to let someone know when they have affected me in a positive way. and i have. but this really reinforces it. now that i am on the receiving end of it, i see how truly wonderful it is. the next time someone brings you joy, take a moment. let them know. you won't regret it.
Friday, January 6, 2012
i made these cupcakes the other day. devils food with peanut butter frosting. what was the occasion you ask. well, i made them for sadness. don't worry, i'm ok. i am just a little sad that christmas vacation is over. i took a nice trip with my family - to visit family. we had so much fun. a whole week of no work. no e-mail. no laundry. a whole week with hubby. a whole week with my kids. together every moment. i know it had to end. we would drive each other crazy. and we would run out of clean underwear. but it was a good week. and i'm a little sad to see it end. so these cupcakes are just what the doctor ordered for sadness.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
just wanted to say "happy new year" to you. just for fun i typed it out on this old typewriter that i got from my mom. i actually typed out a few papers on this when i was in high school. eons ago. i have to say, i did not appreciate it back then. but now, it's just the thing i need. for creating masterpieces. i love new years. besides the fact that it is my youngest sons' birthday, it is just an exciting time. a fresh new year stretched out before me. so many new ideas and possibilities... i'm so excited! how about you?