Saturday, December 31, 2005

Scrappin' Memories


What a wonderful way to count down to the new year. I got together with my sister and my friend last night and scrapped. Here are a few layouts that I finished. I got several more almost done. Just need to print out some more pictures for them. It was so nice to shop and scrap and chat and shop some more! It's always inspiring to work on projects with others. My sister and I only see each other a few times a year so it's always a treat to have some time with her away from the wee ones doing something that we both enjoy. I love that these layouts are simple. When I make custom layouts for people I tend to put a lot more "stuff" on them. Partly because I'm not working with pictures, so I have to compensate. For my own layouts I like to focus on the pictures and of course I love patterned paper! The Daisy D's paper for the pointsettia pictures above is so pretty. I was just checking to make sure that link worked and Daisy D's has a new line of paper called Attic Heirlooms. YUMMY...is all I can say!!! Lovin' it:)

The other big project going on here is my hubby is working on transforming our laundry room into a craft/studio space for me! He's building a huge set of wall shelves to hold all my goodies and I'll have my sewing machine in there as well. I'm always facinated and inspired by others studios and personal spaces. I'm anxiously awaiting seeing the book Where Women Create by Jo Packham. I have it on hold at the library. It looks fantastic!

Where do you find you are your most creative?

Friday, December 30, 2005

Happy Birthday Patti Smith



"In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth." Patti Smith

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Literary Mama

I've always had a passion for books

I recently received an email from Amazon.com with a book recommendation. As a librarian I'm always interested in readers advisory and am always curious to see what books are recommended based on books that I buy from them. This time they were letting me know that the book Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined by Andrea Buchanan was coming out in paperback. I hadn't heard of this book and was surprised that a book on "mothers who think" had slipped past my radar. I clicked on it to see what it was about. It sounded pretty good and mentioned that the writings in the book were the best of the best from the online magazine literarymama.com. Of course I was on the site in a flash. It looked fantastic! There were many links to writings of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and the like. On the sidebar I noticed there was a blog!! The blog looked like it is updated regularly and has lots of food for thought for the mama-type.

There was also a post about an article found here about mommy blogging. It talks about blogging as an outlet for mothers to "speak their truth". This certainly applies not only to mothers. I think this applies to any blogger, writer, artist, creator. So, what is YOUR truth?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Be Here Now...


I have been encouraged by some of you to show more of my art work. I have a link to my picturetrail on the side bar, but haven't incorporated my own art into my blog much. As I reflect during this week on 2005, I appreciate the gentle nudge to be more comfortable with what I produce. I've always been about process. It's not the end result, but the journey that led me to get there. However, it is fun to be inspired by others work. I am a big fan of Teesha Moore's collage style. She also has a wonderful new zine out called Art & Life. She inspired this entry for my first page of an art journal I started two years ago. I have so many journals that have begun in earnest and then peetered out over a few weeks, months, or years. I'm thinking about taking Shimelle's art journal class starting next week for twenty weeks. I've seen wonderful work inspired by her "journal your christmas" class on Shelly and Ali's blogs. The class encourages at least one journal entry a week based on prompts and inspiration that she provides. I will post my entry each week on this blog to motivate me. Sounds like fun!

I'm also lovin' this fairy girl page right now because my sister gave my daughter a darling naartjie brand outfit for Christmas this year. I guess it's a boutique brand that is mainly sold in California, and comes out of South Africa. I went to their web site to check out their other clothes and absolutely fell in LOVE with the fairy line ....and I swore I would never spend all my money on baby girl clothes:)

Monday, December 26, 2005

SPT #3- Reflections from a mud puddle


It has been such mild weather here in Minnesota, bean and I went out exploring....

Joy


We had a very nice Christmas. We spent Christmas Eve day at my parents with my sister and her family making cookies. Christmas Eve we spent at home with the kids, reflecting, relaxing and enjoying each others company. Christmas morning we headed back to my parents (glad they only live a few miles away) and opened gifts. I took this pic of my mom opening up the PEACE sign I gave her that I posted a pic of previously. She absolutely loved it! The hand made scrapbook calendars for my sister and my mom were also a big hit! We took the kids home for naps and then went back for a wonderful Christmas prime rib dinner. Today we headed down to Iowa to my cousins for a lovely day of mingling and singing Christmas songs with all the wee ones jingling their bells. Good times!

Speaking of moms, I loved Elsie's ode to her mother post the other day!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

That Christmas feeling


...because it's Christmas!
Happy Holidays!
wishing you peace, joy, laughter and love

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas tea


I absolutely love this teapot! I have collected teapots for awhile now, but don't really buy them for myself. It's mainly a collection of teapots from my parents world travels. It's perfect for when they're going somewhere exotic and ask what they can get me. Instead of an obligatory t-shirt or shot glass, I ask for a teapot! So I have wonderful teapots from China, Turkey, Chile and beyond. This one is extra special. It's from right here in Minneapolis. Several years ago my hubby and I went to see Gulliver's Travels at our favorite local theater, Theatre de la june lune. We were a bit early, so we stopped at a funky little gift shop next door. I saw this teapot and I had to have it. It so whimsical, quirky and festive. It seems part elf, part winter sprite. So it was my anniversary present that year and each year since I look forward to bringing it out for the holidays to enjoy it's cheerful presence.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

MamaSaysOm ~Traditions~


Dear bean,
I'm so excited that this year you were able to participate in one of my very favorite Christmas traditions...making sugar cookies. Last year you were so young, I kept thinking that I couldn't wait until you could participate in the things I remember doing as a child during the holiday season. Santa is going to have to wait another year, but this year has been all about cookies! I think that you thought the dough was play dough, but you enjoyed cutting out the shapes nonetheless. It was fun to watch you take your very first bite of your sparkling cookie. Merry merry!

These layouts were made with Flair Designs paper and stickers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The art of giving


I started wrapping gifts tonight and I thought I'd share a few fun wrapping tips that I've come across and used. For wrapping paper I used butcher paper that my son had painted on. I then attached the initial of the receiver of the gift cut out of scrapbook paper. Check out these gift tags.
I got the book The Starving Artist's Way: Making your world a work of art by Nava Lubelski at the library today. It's a fun book with the philosophy:

Make it Yourself ~ Make it Cool ~ Make it Cheap

It also had some easy funky wrapping ideas:
*Glue buttons onto the package.
*Make a potato print like you did in kindergarten. Make an image with a cookie cutter or any other metal object. Cut off the excess, print with tempera or thinned acrylic paint.
*Use ribbon made from bright or shiny fabric.
*Put a few stickers on the package, that always keeps the excitement level high.
*Cut logos are funny bits from packaging and cut out a window. Write a message in the window. This is a quick sort of greeting that says "I love you enough to spare a tree's life in your name."
Fun stuff!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

SPT #2- Reflection


I found it among curios and silver
in the pureness of wintery light.

A woman painted on a leaf.

From A Woman Painted on Leaf by Eavan Boland

Monday, December 19, 2005

Handmade holidays


"There is a life to the objects made by hand that a man made object could not possibly reproduce" Keri Smith- wish jar journal

I just went down my whole list of 60+ favorite blogs and it sounds like there are many, many frazzled people out in blog land right now. I was most blown away by artist LK Ludwig's unbelievable "to do" list for this week. Yikes! What I found out is the vast majority of you are making wonderfully unique hand made items. I wish I could be a little elf running from blog to blog helping out where needed. Is it weird that I don't feel stressed at all? I did do hand made touches for nearly every gift this year, but I actually didn't procrastinate and did them bit by bit over the last month or so. For instance, I did this rag bag for my niece. Super easy! I chose to really simplify things and not get sucked into anything to complicated. So I'm pretty much ready for the holidays. My sister just came into town last night from San Diego with her two kids. I'm looking forward to a pretty quiet week of playing in the snow, making sugar cookies, scrapbooking and just hanging out with my family. Sounds like a good Christmas to me. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

MamaSaysOm- Window



Dear bean,
I took this picture just the other day just after you had gotten up from your nap and quietly sat at the table eating your snack. The winter sky was beginning to turn a deeper pastel blue, then yellow, then dark. I look out these windows so many times each day. Watching the world go by around us. Sometimes I feel like early motherhood is like living in a bubble, oblivious to the rest of the world. My life energy completely wrapped around you and your sister. Yet so many people are looking in, telling me what to do, how you should behave, what milestones you should have passed. We've been going through so much lately. Me growing up right along with you. You, me and Chloe doing our daily routine dealing with the ups and downs. I wish I could know what is going on in that little head of yours. You are so full of life and want to express so much. You will be get there very soon and we will always be here with you.
Love,
mama

Christmas cookies and holiday hearts


Ok, the heart was in another post, but I am in full-on cookie eating mode now. Here are my schnazzy Basic Grey take out boxes filled with yummy cookies ready to go to their new homes. Here's the template again along with TONS of other really unique free templates!

I had a cookie exchange today with my girlfriends from my stint working as a naturalist. It was years ago and we still get together every couple of months. We've all taken different paths and it's always fun to see what everyone is doing and have an afternoon of laughter and friendship. I went away with a whole slew of cookies and feel all warm and fuzzy. I think this was my first ever cookie exchange. Strange how I can be 30 years old and make cookies all the time, but I've never done a formal exchange. It always seemed overwhelming. Like I'd be making dozens upon dozens of cookies to give away. This one was four women and we gave six cookies to each. Perfect! That leaves plenty left over to eat!!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Life as Art


Wow, I am overwhelmed with the creativity in the blogging community! I was lucky enough to find Michelle at a sweet life blog right away. She's been a joy to get to know and I appreciate her candid advice for a newbie blogger. She also was sweet enough to put a link to artsymama on her post. I was both greatly appreciative and a little overwhelmed. Is my site good enough for all that traffic? Will people that read Michelle's wonderful blog find anything of interest on my blog? I decided to skip the self deprecating talk and open my arms to this community. So for those of you checking out this blog for the first time, or if you've checked back often in these first weeks of publication, I just want to extend a wholehearted thank you. Thank you for your interest, your comments, and your inspiration. In the last few days I've been looking through dozens and dozens of unique and creative blogs. I enjoy looking down the list of favorite links that many of you have. So far my own favorite links list now tops 60 blogs! I wish I could check each of them every day.

I'm not sure how this blog will evolve, but my intention is to keep posting as often as I can. I will share personal art, writing and photography and also some fun artsy links and inspirations. So pull up a chair, grab a hot cocoa and a scone, take a peek at my world and please share yours as well.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Primitive Holiday

I just received this gorgeous heart ornament in my Christmas card from my lovely artist friend Chrissy. Thank you! I've known Chrissy for a few years now by her yahoo group Artistazine. We both live in Minnesota, but have never met. Isn't it amazing how the world seems so small through the internet, we are in touch with people from all reaches of the globe, yet some really do live in our own "back yard" and yet we never meet face-to-face? Someday hopefully we will.

I love how Chrissy distressed this hand made fabric heart. She said she used tea to darken it and it adds a wonderful smell! I just love the primitive look. I would characterize the style of my tree and decorations as either rustic, folk art or childlike whimsy. Some of the artists that I really enjoy are Lori Mitchell, Dan DiPaolo and Heather Goldminc. My favorite are finds like this snowman that I found at an estate sale. Before I go, I have to share this adorable button wreath ornment.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Soft toy creature feature


I've had an on-going facination with goofy little knit dolls. When I was pregnant with my daughter I got into making rag dolls (see previous post) and was on the look-out for instructions on making sock and other homely creatures. Now I have noticed these critters of every shape and size all over. The blogging world is full of them. I keep finding more and more unique creations, blog after blog after blog. They're made of fabulous fabrics; some vintage, felt, wool, corduroy, you name it! Many of the patterns seem to come from Japanese craft books. If you could give me some insight into this, I'd love to hear it.

I was pushed over the edge when the winter issue of Martha Stewart Kids magazine (LOVE it) had an article on making small hand sewn creatures inspired by your children's drawings. I thought that idea was genius. So today during nap time I created my own. My kids aren't old enough to draw their own little creatures yet! So... I introduce to you Walt. Not sure what he is and there's definitely room for improvement, but he is a friendly little guy and that velvet body is oh so soft:) If you're inspired, check out all of these "stupid" sock critters and there's even a book ...gotta find me a copy!

Catching snowflakes


Snowflakes
by Anna MacPherson
Each one comes in a different light
A different reason a different night
The brightest thing you'll ever know
Love for them will forever grow
Every one has a different face
Each of them their own special grace
It's in our lives they frolic and sing
Just to see them alive is a beautiful thing
They bring us joy they give us love
they're a beautiful creation from God above
They laugh they play, make us smile and gleam
Let's walk amongst them and share their dream
A sparkling snowflake is truly unique
Its your understanding they wish to seek
Open your hands and soon you'll see
What beautiful people these snowflakes can be

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Winter Wishes


It seems that signs with Peace, Joy, and Hope are abound this holiday season. Such wishes are a nice way to pizazz up your decor. Inspired by Wendy Addison's lovely glitter words I made this Peace sign for a gift. I simply started with wooden letters that you can find at any craft store. I love the font of these. My dear husband made a small base, slapped on some glue and we were set. I then did a base coat of gold metallic paint. I added a coat of "weathered wood" effect and then painted over that with white for the distressed look. I could even add some glitter! Fun and easy!!!

Another fun idea is to gather the old retro ornaments that you have from back in the day and glue them to a wreath. Not much to it. This one has ornaments from my childhood and also my husbands. It's a nice way to preserve the memories.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Self portrait Tuesday


This is my first time participating in Self Portrait Tuesday . I like the concept and figured it's easy enough to take a picture of myself once a week. So I thought! This month's challenge is reflective surfaces. It did make my day quite interesting noticing exactly how many items in our world reflect our image back at us. I chose to take a picture in this mirror, because it is located on the far wall of our main living area. I was intrigued by the thought that so much of my daily life is reflected back in this mirror. I love how this picture reflects one "ordinary" moment during my day.

I've always been inspired by Jim Brandenburg's "Chased by the Light" project. He took only one photo a day in the northwoods for 90 days. The results are stunning. While I'm not a professional photographer, I still think it would be fun to have a photo documentary of my life right now with two young children running circles around me. I've always wanted to give myself a goal to take a picture a day for a year. I think it would be really telling to see what I decide to take that one picture of for the day and how putting them all together would really encapsulate the year. Hmm....I smell a New Year's Resolution brewing!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Art therapy


I've been feeling a bit frazzled lately. My usual stress relief is doing something crafty. This time the answer to my woes came in the mail as Sabrina Ward Harrison's new book, "The True and the Questions." I have faithfully bought each of her previous visual journal books. They are filled with the kind of raw, honest journaling that I love. Her new book is a place for readers to create a journal of their own. Just what I need, another blank journal! I just need to write in the ones that I have!! This one is different. The pages don't feel like the blank stare of a crisp white journal page waiting for the perfectly crafted sentence. These pages already are full of life. They are filled with quotes, colors, scribbles and are begging for the journaler to dive right in. That is just what I did. She makes it so fun and so easy- just write over the background images, cross things out, paint, draw or glue over what you don't like, add to what you do. Aaaahhhh release!!

I want to start adding more of my own artwork to this blog. I added a link on the sidebar to my picturetrail album . Pictures of my altered art for swaps, and round robins are housed there, along with a fabric altered book I made of my son when I was a brand new mom. I also will add some of my scrapbook mini albums and layouts since that has been a lot of the art that I've been doing lately, selling them on ebay and doing custom orders.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Calling all superheroes

This time of year can really get overwhelming. If you feel like you'd have to be a superhero to get everything done, check out Keri Smith's "Become your own superhero" for some giggles. While you're at it, find out which superhero you are by taking this quiz! Also of note is Andrea Scher's Superhero Designs web site, which is full of eye candy. She's a painter and jewelry maker. Be sure and check out her community resources.

Speaking of which, my husband and I checked out the movie Aeon Flux this weekend. Boy can that girl kick some butt!! For some new gear check out the web site under downloads and you can find some fun iron-ons. The whole web site is fantastic if you're into animated action sci-fi kind of stuff.

On a completely different note, if you're into paper crafts of any sort, check out Lisa Vollrath's web site for lots of fun and inspiration. She has a fun online advent calendar with a downloadable surprise each day.

Friday, December 09, 2005

New Year's Revolutions


Into collage? Just looking for something fun to do? Last year I did Marney's free teleclass on Collaging your New Year's Revolutions. Check it out here! Yes, I mean "revolutions" as in: a complete or radical change of any kind, or a complete cycle of events. I enjoyed the telephone class, did the activities and then promptly forgot about it. However, I did feel that the seeds were planted. Now that a year has passed I happened to think about it again and got out my projects to see if I had accomplished what I set out to do.

I stated my personal intention/goal/desire/dream and placed it in the center of the paper. For me it was "Contributing creatively to my family." I then created a "clock" around the statement embodying each of the six senses as I imagined having accomplished what I desired. What did I see?hear?smell?taste?touch?intuit/feel/sense? I then added images for each of the senses to bring the desired to life visually. "Before you can have what you really want, you have to know what it is!"

I am happy to report that this year has brought even more than I could have ever imagined. I have been able to be creative in just about everything I do. What more could a girl ask for?!

Marney has created Artella, an online community of words and art. Check out all of her creative goodies and have FUN!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

You're a doll


When I was pregnant with my second child, as soon as I found out I was having a girl, I knew I wanted her room filled with wonderfully loved heirloom and hand made rag dolls. If it would have been a boy it would have been sock monkeys. I had a pair of old Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls from my childhood that inherited a prominent place in her bed room. Armed with my new sewing machine and second trimester energy, I got to work on making rag dolls of my own. They were quick and easy to make. I loved the character of the homemade dolls I saw on ebay and on sites such as Raggedy Old Annies. I bought a pattern and was inspired to make all sorts of characters! I used some old dresses that my mother still had from when I was a girl.

Recently I was at the seasonal sale that the fun ladies at Junkmarket put on and was inspired by some santa dolls I saw. I came home, got out my polymer clay and came up with one of my own. He has a Fimo head, fake fur beard, felt stuffed body and branches for arms and legs. All you need is a hot glue gun. Easy!!

If your not in the sewing mood and would prefer to play with some fun paper dolls, check out Lone Nunnally’s fun site where you can print them out yourself. I found these when I came across Meggiecat’s blog with tons of fun craft projects. I was never a doll person growing up. Now I really enjoy using dolls as d├ęcor and for toys for my children.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Hip Mama

I'm not referring to a hip mama here in a superficial sense, but one of being an informed and honest parent. As Bee Lavender, one of the founders of hipmama.com states, she was "radicalized by my experience of being a parent, yet never saw my story or any honest stories in the media. Hip Mama was the first parenting publication to explore the real experience of parenthood; not just the superficial aspects, but the true challenges and rewards of creating a family."

I knew I wanted to be an involved parent. Not involved in the sense that I was putting my unborn child’s name on a waiting list for an ivy league pre-school. Involved in the “full catastrophe” of parenting. As Yo Mama says, “The parental is the political.” I have suddenly found myself caring about things that I could have never predicted. Now that my child is taking early childhood education classes through the school district, I make sure I'm informed and vote on the school referendum. I’m involved in making sure they continue to receive funding.

I enjoy reading books with more realistic (sometimes raw) views of parenting, such as:
Mother Shock by Andrea Buchanan
The Big Rumpus by Ayun Halliday
Mothers Who Think by Camille Peri
**Your Children Will Raise You: The Joys, Challenges and Spiritual Lessons of Motherhood edited by Eden Steinberg
The Mother Trip and The Hip Mama Survival Guide by Ariel Gore

Go ahead, check out some of these resources:
Brain, Child: the magazine for thinking mothers
Mamaphonic: Mothering and the creative process (a web site and a FABULOUS book!)
Hipmama
Violet magazine: "you've grown up but you haven't grown old"

If you have others to add, please share!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Snow elf


Well, I finished the hat, lickety split. I'm here to say it really IS that easy! Once I got started with a little help from my dear husband. I'm not one for understanding written instructions. I need lots of detailed pictures. Anyway, once I made the first row, I was hooked! I'm the kind of person that when I start something I can't stop until it's done. So I worked on this fluffy little gem for 2 hours and viola! It wasn't even two hours straight. I played with the kids and put Chloe down to bed in there too. So here's my little cutie in her new hat. I love it!!! Thanks for the encouragement, Jenna. She gave me more patterns to use with my Knifty Knitter too. I'm bound to have more fun with this:)e also gave me this link to more patterns to use with my

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Learning to knit the (so called) easy way


It’s cold and snowy here in Minnesota. It sure is pretty, but you really have to bundle up to go out and enjoy the fresh fluff. I’ve always wanted to knit my own winter wear. However, I haven’t had much luck. After reading my friend Jenna’s fabulous fiber blog, she mentioned that she loved her Knifty Knitter. I went out to Michael’s to find one. I guess they’re all the rage, they had a big display of them. I then picked out some neat skeins (I think that’s the right term!) to try my first knitted hat. I bought some fun fur to make a hat for my daughter. I’m normally not compelled to jump on the fun fur bandwagon, but at a holiday boutique sale recently I found a knit fun fur hat that when I put it on Chloe she looked like an adorable snow elf. I now have my first row knit (see pic). The picture is hazy because my son put his greasy finger on the lens. I thought the effect was kinda cool. I will keep you posted. If you have any advice or suggestions on using Knifty Knitters, I’m all ears!!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Ebb and Flow


Isn't it amazing the amount of ups and downs, high and low energy cycles we go through each day? I am reminded of this all the time as a SAHM of two young children. One minute my son is screaming to have me hold him while my infant daughter is in my arms. The next minute he's sitting peacefully on the floor looking at a book. I sure wouldn't want to be in the body of a two year old. Thoughts and emotions change in the blink of an eye. It's always nice to get out of the house just a little bit for a change of scenery and to burn some energy off. But today it's cold out and it's already getting dark at 3:17 pm (yikes!!) so we're hunkering down. There are so many different stages in a day; some relaxed, some energy filled and some loud and impatient. I try not to get too worked up when the moment is full of frustration since I know that it too shall pass. I try to remind myself to ride the ebb and flow of the day like waves.......

One more thing to make with scrapbook paper...goody! If you're tired of the scrapbook paper crafts, I'll try to move onto something different soon:) This one was again inspired by a kit from Basic Grey, but could easily be made using templates. You can even make them out of fabric...very cool!!! They're supposed to be ornaments. I have them sitting out on a table. The kids like to play with them too!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Take out, anyone?


Wow, I am totally hooked on the Apprentice (the Donald Trump version). I normally don't get sucked into shows like that, but here I am. They're down to the final two now. Tonight had a surprise double firing. I thought Alla might win it all. I can't believe Rebecca is only 23 years old (according to the Apprentice web site) and is in the final two. She's from Minneapolis!! I think I jumped on this bandwagon too late, though. From a report on instacritic.com it sounds like both the Martha and the Donald Apprentice shows are on the out.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a couple more crafts to do with all that extra scrapbook paper that you may have. The first are these groovy little "take out" gift boxes. You can actually buy them pre-cut and they just need to be punched out. That's how I did these. They're by Basic Grey. I love their paper! Then you can use your template to make more with all your other papers. Endless fun! I also made snowflakes using scrapbook paper instead of white paper. It's already cut to size in a 12x12" square. Genius!