Monday, June 29, 2009

Jumping Into Art Journaling

For awhile now, I've been wanting to do an "art" journal. I wasn't exactly sure what mine would be like, and frankly, I was intimidated by the whole idea. I got as far as going to Michael's to buy a watercolor paper book (which is what I wanted to use as my base), but then it sat on the shelf in my office for weeks. Every now and then I'd see it and consider starting to work on it, and then I wouldn't..... Fear.
Then I decided that being intimidated by a little blank watercolor book was ridiculous. There was no reason not to get started. So, get started I did. Tonight I worked on the cover. I think I like the way it all came together:
I covered the binding with a vintage pink velvet ribbon, and left it long enough to act as a bookmark. I pinned a vintage pin to the end of it for a little extra bling. (There's never enough bling!) Then I covered the front with a mix of vintage papers and scrapbooking papers, added cardstock embellishments and rub-ons, and finally finished with some antique lace and tatting.

All scrapbooking materials were from Brenda Walton's Madeline line (love that line!). Other goodies are from my own vintage stash.
So now that I'm over the fear factor, I'm excited to keep working on this journal. I'll keep you posted as it progresses!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

To Punch or not to Punch?

I live in a house full of bookworms. I am the original -- these days, my library card is practically smoking, it's getting so much use -- and I'm proud to say that I'm raising two little bookworms in my image. (My oldest daughter is so into her books that I've had to give her parameters: no, you may not bring that book to a birthday party; no, you may not read at the brunch table on Mother's Day; etc.)

I say this so that you know how much we revere books around here. Because of that, I'm having a crisis of conscience over the fact that I've been using vintage books for crafting supplies. On the one hand, these are books that have basically been rescued from the thrift store, and their wonderful graphics, text and images can be recycled into myriad useful things as well as wonderful altered art creations.

On the other hand, as I rip a page from the binding, or punch out a cute illustration, I feel guilty about it. It's like my inner librarian is screaming at me: "Don't damage the books!"

I'm not sure how to resolve this inner conflict. But I do think that the square scalloped punches are darn cute, no?

Oh well, back to my library book!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Of Peonies and Old Lace

Lately we've been on a real economizing kick around here. For months, we've been trying to reduce or eliminate all unecessary expenses, and that means keeping little luxuries to an absolute minimum. I've rarely bought cut flowers, as that's an easy thing to cut from the budget. But this week these peonies appeared in the grocery store.... and I couldn't resist. Aren't they amazing? And the way they smell -- well, I wish you could be here to smell it.
So, the peonies already had me in a good mood, and then I found a treasure trove of old lace while out doing my rounds today. Wow! I don't know if you can tell by the mound of lace in my picture, but there's a lot of loveliness here. Lots of lace for crafts, and lots of lace for the etsy shop.
Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Is it Houston? Or the surface of the sun?

Back in April, the weather was balmy. In the morning, I would open every window in the house that was equipped with a screen, and let the wonderful cool spring air flow through the house. In the evening, the hubs and I would sit outside and drink wine and watch the kids play on the swing set.

This lovely scene persisted for so long this past spring that I was lulled into forgetting that I live in south Texas. I started thinking silly things like, "It's not that hot here!" and "Why have I complained about the weather before? I love the weather here!" and "Even California can't compete with this weather!"

Well, surely you see where this is headed.

It's not just hot here now -- it's scorching hot. Like WAY over 100 degrees hot. The patches of our grass that do not get shade or copious amounts of water are fried up to a crispy brown crisp. Wine on the patio? Ha! It's even too hot to let the kids swim in the pool. Hot, hot, hot.

So, for those of you who live in cooler climates, cheers to you! (Can we come visit?)

And for those of you who are suffering in the south, I say pass the iced tea, please.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Featured in a Sweet Treasury!

I'm so excited to report that I've been featured in my first treasury on etsy. It's darling, no? Big thanks to akattywampustale for including me. Here's a link to her cute esty store:
And here's the direct link to the super cute treasury she created:
Go check it out and support etsy sellers!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Peek Inside my (Suddenly Clean) Office/Crafts Room

Ever get to that point when the clutter in your work space is so bad that it's sapping your energy, and just looking at it makes you tired? Well, I reached that point over the weekend with the chaos in my office. I hate to say it, but it took the better part of a day to get things back in shape. I'm not sure how long things will stay this tidy, so I took some quick pictures to capture the moment.
I actually have a tidy desk! I can see the floor! It makes a huge difference. I feel energized, and organized -- so if any of you have been procrastinating cleaning up your workspace, by advice is: do it today! You'll be so glad you did.
My favorite part of the room is the ever-evolving "art wall" which features my girls' artwork. You never know what will end up there, but I love all of it.

Go forth and organize! :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

NOW it's really summer!

I know it's been "summer" for most of us for a few weeks now, but we've been busy with swim team, which for me, as a mom, has felt a lot like work (working swim meets as an "age group mom," sitting at practice for an hour every day in the blazing Texas afternoon sun, etc.) and not a lot like vacation.

Well, tonight was our last swim meet of the season! Woohoo! I can't help but feel like summer has just started for us!

At bedtime tonight, my girls asked me, "What are we doing tomorrow?"
And I happily said, "Nothing!!!"

Hooray for summer!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In Love with Vintage Lace

I admit it: vintage lace has a hold on me. I tend to snap it up whenever I find it, and then I have a hard time parting with it. But strangely, I also have a hard time using it myself -- it's almost like I think my crafting projects aren't worthy enough to use the really good stuff.
Well, I'm trying to turn over a new leaf. Lately, I've been using more good lace in my own projects (see the ballet collages in my archives, for two examples). I've also listed some lovely pieces in my etsy shop. It's time for the good lace to come out and play!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vintage Paper Ephemera -- Let's Get Excited About Math!

Lately when I've been treasure hunting, I've been looking for vintage school items -- like flashcards -- both to add to my stash and to put into my etsy shop. I've also got some great back-to-school crafting kits underway (stay tuned!) and I want to keep adding goodies to those. Yesterday, I hit the mother lode of vintage school stuff -- so exciting! Among the many great finds was an unused vintage Quizmo game. I love the bingo-card looking game cards, and I love the colors of the game pieces. I put together a few fun bundles today and put them in the etsy shop. The rest will go into crafting kits or get hoarded for my own personal stash! :) Who knew math could be so exciting?!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Vintage China Marks

Awhile back, I found this nifty little antique book at an antiques store. Now, if you know me, you know how much I loooooove old china -- especially old Spode. It's something of an obsession with me, but I haven't bought any plates in a really long time, due to my desire to economize. Anyway, I was so delighted when I discovered that this old book is an index of old china factories, potteries, and china marks!
Each page has lists of factories, dates, and marks -- it's amazing, really. (At least for me, the china-enthusiast.) At first I thought I'd keep the book for reference, but it's really falling apart. Also, the pages are so interesting, and have such great images and an aged patina, that I decided the best use of this book would be for art and papercrafting. I'm planning to use it for projects, but I've also listed pages from it for sale in my etsy shop. So, if you're as excited about it as I am, you can find it there!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Vintage Victorian First Communion Cards

I found these amazing cards a few weeks ago, and I'm still so excited about them! I have no idea how old they are, but I'm thinking at least 50 years old, if not more. The big first communion card is 3-D, and folds out to reveal an even more amazing design. I also found matching small gift enclosure cards that were incredibly detailed and sweet. In all the things I've found while out "treasure hunting," these cards rank among my all-time favorites. I'd like to use these for papercrafting projects, but I think I'm going to have to figure out how to do really good color copies, because I just can't use the originals this time!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bookclub Light Summer Dinner

It was my turn to host my bookclub this past Sunday night. It's been hot here -- so hot that I couldn't deal with the thought of hot food. So, we had a "lighter" meal. We started with hummus and pita chips (with lots of white wine, of course)! For dinner, we had spicy boiled shrimp with an avocado/buttermilk dip, a cold cheese tortellini and snow pea salad, fruit salad, and walnut blue cheese tea sandwiches. (Most of these recipes were from Southern Living.) For dessert, I made red velvet cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream frosting. YUM!
Dinner was yummy (which, as the cook, is always a relief), but the book was the best part. We read The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton. Loved it! Everyone loved it (which rarely happens in our group). If you're looking for a great summer read, The Forgotten Garden would be a great pick!

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