Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Dreary Winter?

Now that the Christmas holiday is over I have nothing else to look forward to but a dreary winter until spring comes. Winter is not my favorite season. I am not a fan of being cold.
Photo taken by me in 1987
It's about this time of the year I begin dreaming of my wonderful garden I'm going to have in the spring. Usually I run out of steam come April during prime planting season and my dreams never quite materialize the way I envisioned them.
Photo taken by me in 1987
For Christmas this year, I received a negative scanner so I've been hard at work scanning some of my old pictures I took years ago. I've come across some really funny ones -- one where my sister and I were goofing off with a cheap camera in the backyard, taking stupid pictures of each other.

There's one of me hanging upside down from the clothesline, but the best one by far was one of my sister tied to a tree with a garden hose! I laughed out loud at that one and had to email it to her. The quality is pretty bad because it was a cheap camera and I don't think I got the film developed until three years later.Here she is, the poor girl! The dog is diligently keeping vigil by her side, ready to chew through the hose if I don't free her after I take the photo! Like you can really secure a garden hose tightly anyhow! I'm sure she could have busted it loose like the Incredible Hulk if she'd tried.

So that dreary winter might not be so bad after all if I continue my scanning old photos project. Who knows what other treasures I might find?!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas To You!

Here it is, another Christmas holiday, but to my toddler it is the greatest thing EVER! He's old enough now to really get into the holiday and start forming those warm, fuzzy Christmas memories. I remember when I was his age listening to Christmas songs on my parents' radio while gazing at the lights on the tree for hours on end.

My parents took me to Sears when I was 2 1/2 years old to pick out Christmas ornaments. Here are some of them:
Apparently I had a thing for mice.
My beloved turtles, represented on the holiday tree. I was rarely seen without a stuffed turtle in tow.
This one still cracks me up all these years later! He's so silly!

I've started a new tradition with my son, letting him pick out a few ornaments each year. When he grows up, I'll give them to him to use on his tree. Assuming of course, that he won't be too embarrassed to hang them! So far he's doing well with his choices, mostly sweets like gingerbread men and cupcakes. Nothing too silly, like mine!

Christmas Eve-Eve

That's what I used to call December 23 when I was a kid, "Christmas Eve-Eve". Just 2 more days to go and I'm still shopping! Help! I think I need a personal assistant.

Gifts sure are fun to receive, but last minute shopping is the pits! I'm desperately scrambling around, madly grabbing anything that looks remotely interesting. This should not be what Christmas is about. I wish we could just boycott the gifts and spend time with each other instead. Hmmm...lemme rethink that one...there are some people I'd rather just shove a gift at! Just kidding!
I have to brag about a gift my husband made for my birthday. I made a passing comment that I needed a book press. I've been using The History of Modern Art and stacks of magazines to press my books. It works but is wrecking havoc on my bookshelf--you know how books fall over when some are removed from the shelf.

Well, he went to Home Depot to shop for my birthday present. I was thinking, "What power tools have I requested recently?? I have a chop saw, an electric stapler, and a cordless screwdriver. What more do I need?"

Then he came home and was sawing and hammering in the garage. I was a bit concerned. What the heck is he doing? Am I going to have to pretend I like it? What IS it??

Not to worry, no pretending here! Now the monstrous art books can rest peacefully on the bookshelf undisturbed. I have a book press. Now I am a real bookbinder! Ha ha!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Winter Garden

We rarely see snow in this part of the state, so when it snows it's really exciting! We haven't gotten any snow yet this year, but here's a look back at my winter garden from a couple years ago. In fact, while it was snowing in the deep south it was in the 70's here. I took advantage of the warm days to clean up my garden and prepare it for winter. I put an extra layer of mulch around spots that have washed bare with the rains and cleaned up the garden ornaments. I don't like leaving them out in case it freezes so they won't crack.

For this job, I recruited my toddler. I was trying to make room in the new shed for the ornaments and my son kept knocking things over. Giving him a job to do was a great way to get him out of the shed so I could straighten things up. "See if you can find any turtles," I assigned and he ran off on his mission with great exuberance.

A few moments later I emerged from the shed to check his progress. He was squatting in front of a hollow terra cotta turtle, tugging and grunting as if the thing weighed a ton. I came over to help him, flipping the turtle over to clean him up before putting him away for the season. As I flicked mulch and dirt away I suddenly discovered a black widow spider! Aaaaahhh!

This is only the second black widow I've ever seen. My heart almost stopped to think my son could have gotten bit doing a task I assigned!I used the opportunity to educate him about venomous spiders. This is the female southern black widow spider. Photos courtesy of From the top, she looks like a big black ant with a huge bulbous abdomen, but when you turn her over you can see the red hourglass. My son kept calling it an "Ant Spider". To their credit, it is reported that black widows are not aggressive and only bite when endangered or protecting their egg sack. However, with a toddler and a nosey dog around I can't take any chances! I hate killing spiders because they're such a benefit to the garden and our environment, but sadly this one is no more.

I guess I'll think twice now before sending my son out to the garden to poke around under rocks and such anymore!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Time To Celebrate

This holiday season I am celebrating my "Winter Damask Guest Book" hitting the front page of Etsy this past Thursday! Woot woot!

I missed seeing it on the front page. Instead I was struggling with gift wrapping some jewelry boxes for a customer. I wanted to wrap the box so it could be easily opened for her inspection, but the wrapping paper wasn't cooperating.

I kept hearing my email chime go off on my computer and when I checked my messages, found several regarding the same journal! I thought this was strange but it never occurred to me until after the fact that I could possibly be on the front page!

My book sold within minutes and I got a custom order for two journals for someone else. Then I sold yet another book, my "Sand & Sky Seaglass Journal", the next day!
Here it is, the famous "Winter Damask Guest Book"!

I'll be busy this weekend finishing up the custom order and then I have GOT to start on my holiday cards! I've been putting them off because I ordered a rubber stamp to use on my holiday cards this year, but after 7 weeks, it STILL isn't here. I'm not happy. The vendor reports having some family problems. I'm all sympathy about that, but 7 weeks is ridiculous. Shut your website down if you can't operate it for pete's sake! That's just unprofessional in my opinion. Needless to say, I won't be ordering from this vendor again and may just cancel my outstanding order.

So now I have to come up with plan B for the holiday cards. I could just use some store bought cards, but everyone will be so disappointed. They've come to expect handmade cards from me. Argh, the pressure (which I've brought upon myself)! Enough piddling on the computer, off to the drawing board I go!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

As promised, here is a photo of my Christmas tree. C'est fini! (I think I remembered my French correctly). I finally stopped decorating it! The story behind that statement as follows:
Our first house was tiny, so our tree was always tiny. Our next house was larger, but we didn't plan to stay there so we kept using the tiny tree. Now we're settled in another house and I took the plunge and bought a 7.5 foot tree after Christmas last year on clearance. It's amazing how many ornaments fit on this tree and how much ribbon I used going round and round the tree!

I realize I'm not going to like this larger tree when it's time to take the tree down! Just when you think you've got them all, another ornament shows up stuck somewhere between the branches. I think they hide, dodging you as you walk around hunting high and low for them. The ornaments wait until you pack the last box away and then, VOILA! they pop out, snickering at you!

Here is one of my homemade ornaments, a drum circa 1974. I made these with my Nana when I was a wee tot. Nana is currently in her 90's and sadly, not quite all there anymore. It's made from a toilet paper tube, covered with felt and trimmed with sequins, beads, and trim. The drumsticks are made from toothpicks and beads, painted gold. It was a fun project and a memory I'll cherish for years to come (until I get squirrely and can't remember things anymore either--not looking forward to that part of aging!).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Recipe of the Week

One of my all time favorites, chocolate chip cookies! This recipe is the best I've found yet. It makes really light and fluffy dough and I get tons of compliments on these cookies."The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever"
Recipe courtesy George Duran,
makes 36 cookies

2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups (12-ounce package) chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray. (I never do this, mine have a nice patina.)

Put the flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and stir it with a whisk to combine. Set aside.

Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter until it is lighter in color. Slowly add in sugars and beat until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and beat until they are incorporated. Stir in the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture using low speed, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Let the cookies cool for a few minutes and then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Argh! My first gray hair!

I looked in the mirror and saw something shining back at me, and it wasn't my smile! Actually, it was several somethings. I'm not sure if it's really my first few gray hairs, since my hair is light anyway, it's been hard to tell. My younger sister has had gray hairs for several years now and I knew I couldn't be far behind.

<--- This is not me...yet. I hope I'll look that great when my entire head is gray! Photo courtesy of O, The Oprah Magazine. She has a great article called the Gray Hair Bible.

Why does hair turn gray? Being the research maniac that I am, I looked it up. As we age, the pigment in our hair follicles gradually dies leaving less and less melanin in the hair which gives it a gray tint. Once all the melanin is gone, it becomes white.

I think I'd look pretty washed out with gray or white hair. Thank goodness for chemicals! I recall a TV commercial from years ago where the lady sings, "I'm going to wash that gray right out of my hair..." Heh heh, that'll be me for sure!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Continuing my holiday recipe series, here is another one of my favorites. These cinnamon sugar cookies are a delightful little snack! I tried to look up the origin of the name, Snickerdoodles, but there was so much conflicting information I couldn't find any official authority on the subject. Oh well, it's a cool name, nonetheless!Snickerdoodles:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Heat oven to 400ºF.

2. Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, the butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.

3. Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Yummy Christmas Cookies

What evokes pleasant holiday memories better than sharing food with family and friends? I'm going to celebrate the Christmas season by posting some of my favorite holiday recipes here throughout the month of December.Here is one of my favorites, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies! I remember making these as a child with my mother. The patterns the white sugar against the dark chocolate always surprised me. Some friends and I did a cookie swap last Christmas and these were voted the best by the husbands, so you know it's good!

There are several recipes out there for these cookies, but the one I grew up with is Betty Crocker's recipe. Two things to call to your attention before making these: 1) The dough requires refrigeration before baking. I tried to skip this step once. Only once. I ended up with a big sticky mess, more dough on my hands than on the cookie sheet. And, 2) They dry out very quickly, so freeze what you don't think will be eaten within a day. They thaw quickly, so don't be afraid of freezing them!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
4oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1. In large bowl, mix oil, chocolate, granulated sugar and vanilla. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover; refrigerate at least 3 hours. Be sure to periodically sneak into the fridge and pinch a bit of dough for a little snack! :)

2. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet with shortening or cooking spray.

3. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls into powdered sugar; roll around to coat and shape into balls. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no imprint remains when touched lightly in center. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Getting into the holiday spirit

Now that the Thanksgiving festivities are over and my family has gone home, I'm anxious to get back into my routine. I've missed blogging and tweeting and obsessing over my Etsy shop! :)
I think these little pine cones are the cutest things, I wish I had a tree that produced such dainty pine cones! (Photos courtesy of

My family stayed five days, so we decorated the house for Christmas to keep them busy! We put the tree up, complete with a little train tooting around and around for the toddler's enjoyment. He likes putting the folks from the nativity set on the train to go for a ride. He's doing well with not messing up the train. The dog has been worse than the toddler; he keeps stepping on the track to sniff at the ornaments, causing the train to derail!

I'm still in the process of perfecting my tree. Once I get it how I like, I'll post a picture of it. I've been busy making bows--I've probably made 40 bows over the last few days! My Christmas wreath was in dire need of refurbishing. It got a little squashed packed up in a box and the bow was pretty pathetic!

Some more holiday decorating ideas. I like the wreath on the mirror. What a great way to add a holiday touch! The little door hanger is made of bells. You'll never miss a visitor with that hanging on your door!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Here are some last minute place setting ideas from Martha Stewart.

My family is coming in to spend the holiday with us. We started the new tradition of eating at my house because my mother can't find her dining room table in the midst of all her mess! You think I jest? I'll have to post a photo of her dining room one of these days. She'll be mortified, of course!

Time spent with family can be a blessing, or a trial! I'm looking forward to being together, but hope we can avoid another "cheese incident". My nephew who is now 5, is a bit...uh, shall we say...high maintenance. A couple years ago, he had the mother of all temper tantrums because his uncle opened his cheese wrapper for him. I'm still unsure as to what was supposed to happen, whether he wanted to do it himself or have his mother do it. At any rate, it's become a family joke--Whatever you do, don't open the cheese!

I hope your Thanksgiving is a special time with friends and family! I'd love to hear about your holiday, cheese and all, so please share a comment!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Laundry Day

Brace yourselves for an exciting topic! Today is laundry day! This is not my laundry room. I wish it were. Look at all that space. And the cabinets. And the counter tops. You could even iron in there. *Sigh*.

It seems I always get injured on laundry day. I usually end up slamming my wrist, knuckles, or elbow on the agitator of the washer struggling with tangled clothes. Don't they have washers now with collapsing agitators? If so, I need one of those. I've tried front loading washers before, but I don't like bending over and end up sitting in the floor to do laundry.
This is not my laundry room either. Look at all that space she has! Surely though, if this was my laundry room, I'd fall over that chair or smash my elbow through the window.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful to even have a laundry room. Sitting around a laundromat all day isn't much fun. I used to have to do laundry in the garage in our other house. My washer was on one side and the dryer on the other, with the motorcycle restoration project in the middle. I'd leave a trail of laundry across the garage on my way to the dryer...underwear draped over the handlebars, silk shirt dropped on a greasy get the picture.

I had to step down to get into the garage/laundry room. You see where this is going, don't you? Carrying a large basket of laundry, can't see where I'm going, steps involved...on my butt I landed with the basket sailing across the garage. The dog thought I was trying to kill him by means of suffocation in a mountain of laundry. I couldn't have aimed better if I tried. Poor dog, draped in dirty clothes (a dog's dream!) peeking timidly out at me. "What did you do that for Mom? Am I bad? And why are you on the floor?"

It's nice to have a room designated for laundry, and not in a cold garage. However, I blame my injuries on a tight space. Would it have been too much trouble for the builder to have extended the room by just a few feet, allowing me to be able to turn around in the room?!This is my laundry room. I ran out of cabinet space, so I bought some plastic crates for storing beach towels and doggie items. I have to climb on top of the washer to get to them. Convenient, isn't it?

I like having a utility tub, but I use it mainly for storing the dog food container. Sometimes I back into it or trip over the legs.

Usually I have a ginormous dog kennel in the laundry room, you know, the wolf size one. A little overkill for our greyhound mix, but we had no idea how big he was going to be and overestimated. Oh well, if we ever get a lab or golden retriever we'll be set. Anyhow, I often hurt myself carrying the kennel out into the hall so I can get to the washer. The poor walls are so beat up from me ramming into them. And moving the kennel isn't an option. The only room big enough to put it in is the living room, and I don't prefer it in there! (It doesn't match my decor!)

For all my complaining, I guess I have it good after all. If I could just be more careful and not hurt myself so much! But if the wish fairy is granting extraneous wishes this season, perhaps she could magically give me a few more feet of laundry space...please? And a fancy new washer, klutz-proof, preferably!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Sticky Subject!

Here is a technical posting for all you bookbinders out there, or anyone trying to glue paper to another surface. I hope you'll find it to be a helpful resource! I originally wrote this article for our BEST team blog and have incorporated the information left in comments and have some new information as well based on my latest personal experience.
With all the adhesives and glues on the market today, it can be difficult to know what to use for the application of bookbinding, particularly if you’re new to the art.

Not Recommended!

When I first started tinkering with bookbinding, I had no one to mentor me and was just learning from experience. I certainly learned what NOT to do!! I got a book on simple bookbinding and they recommended using glue stick for their step-by-step projects. Lesson one—DON’T use glue stick! It may be quick and easy to use, but over time the glue hardens and cracks, causing the paper to pull away from the book board, ruining all your lovely work. Someone recently recommended Tombo’s glue stick to me, which reportedly does not do that, but I have been unable to find it to give it a try.

Another product on the market is YES stik flat glue found at most craft stores. A bookbinder I took a class from actually recommended this glue (!!!!). It won’t wrinkle delicate papers and is water based making for easy clean up, but it's messy to use and I invariably end up with most of it on my fingers and transfer to everything I touch! I've been told YES paste will darken paper over time, even though it claims to be acid free. For that reason, I don’t recommend YES. I've particularly had problems with it pulling away from the board with slightly heavy weight papers. In fact, I'm trying to use it up on a project I've been working on and that very thing just happened! Now I've got to re-glue the entire thing! Grrrr!

Why is it that when you're trying to to conserve something, it goes away twice as fast, but when you want to use it up, it won't ever go away? That is my story with YES glue.

**Note added later- I just threw away my jar of Yes glue. It ruined my project and this is the last straw! After my paper popped off my project, I tried to reapply first PVA, then white glue over top of the dried Yes glue. It acted as a stripper, peeling off the Yes glue and not sticking to the paper. I had to strip the entire sheet first before being able to reuse it! The sheet is now damp and wrinkled and I'm hoping a night in the press will flatten it out.

Good Glue!
Wheat paste is a glue used in traditional bookbinding and is still in use today. The great thing about it is it can be made in batches according to how much you anticipate needing. There are many recipes for wheat paste or rice paste; here’s one from Solar Cooking. has a video tutorial on making wheat paste.

PVA is another highly recommended glue and can be mixed with methyl cellulose to slow down the drying time, allowing for repositioning. Menthyl cellulose is also good as a thinning agent for the PVA glue. It is not a good idea to thin the PVA with water because it can affect the stability of the glue over time.

Noted bookbinder Peter Goodwin recommends SuperFlex PVA glue by Fuller in his YouTube video, appropriately titled “Glue”. This very basic tutorial shows the technique he uses to apply his glue and some helpful tips.

Cindy from The Paper Studio also recommends a PVA glue and demonstrates the technique of gluing for book covers in this YouTube video, “How to Glue for Bookbinding".

One last resource is this great site that gives glue advice called "This to That". I love their slogan--"Because people have a need to glue things to other things"! I wish I'd had this info years ago!! Oh, the trials I could have avoided!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My first show

I finally bit the bullet and participated in a craft show. I tend to stay away from them because they seem like so much work, getting inventory ready, pricing everything, preparing your display, and traveling to the show. It kind of reminds me of holding a yard sale (except without the travel)! I've had some bad experiences having yard sales, but that's for another post!

This show was put on by our ACE (Amazing Carolina Etsians) Team and hosted in one of our teammate's home. We had a lower than expected turn out, but most of us did okay. The best part was getting to meet each other in person--I would have attended just for that!

I learned a lot from this show and hopefully will attempt another show at some point. The picture above is of my display table. I think it was too small, or else I crammed too much on it! I should have done a trial run at home with the display, but I ran out of time trying to get all my stuff together. I was even pricing things in the car as my husband drove! Maybe I'll be better prepared next time!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday's Treasures

This week's favorites! Click the links below to visit these talented artists' shops...
8x10 Assisi Print by ValeriaH
Vintage Cloth Journal by SewDanish
Purple Charm Bracelet by circ
Shades of Blue Vase by potteryhead

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday's Treasures

A few of my favorites to support a great cause! I usually pick four favorites, but this was such a great cause I found it hard to stop! October is breast cancer awareness month and many of the shops on Etsy are having specials to promote the cause. Check out these sellers' shops for other great items also!

Crocheted Pink Ribbon Brim Hat by AnnieKnits
Pink Ribbon Hearts Lampwork Beads by Lutrick
For the Cure Backwrap by feelgoodessentials
Breast Cancer Awareness Soldered Pendant by gypsyskies
Stay Strong Pink Ribbon Soap by BodyandSpirit
Breast Cancer Bracelet 3031 by JudyEvansCollection

Friday, October 17, 2008

Classic Southern Manors

I love old architecture! The details are so intricate, I could spend hours photographing the front of a building!

We went to New Bern last weekend, in the downtown historic district, for Mumfest. I didn't see many mums, but I saw a lot of cool old houses. Any excuse to have a festival, I suppose.

Here is a gorgeous bed and breakfast. The front porch is sweeping and wide, extending beyond the photo all the way to the left, where there is the main entrance. No, this isn't the main entrance! It's almost a side entrance, the way it is recessed.

Here's one that needs some TLC. It's for sale, any takers?
I thought this home was the grandest of all! It too needs some work, but the peeling paint just adds more charm! The details on the porch are amazing! I love the sunburst pattern on the ceiling where the light hangs.

The festival would have been really nice except for the rain! We took the little guy over to the kiddie rides. He had the time of his life, but wasn't too happy when it started raining on him while on the big swing ride. He was already a little scared of the ride, but really wanted to go on it. I had to stand out in the rain next to him to reassure him while the attendant was strapping everyone in. Rain was just streaming down my legs and pooling in my socks and shoes! The things mothers do for their kids! (Dad was standing under an overhang by a concession stand to keep dry. **rolls eyes** To his credit, he finally came over to take pictures.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday's Treasures

Here are some of my favorite finds for this week! Click the links below the pictures to see these talented artists' shops.
Poppy 7 x 7 photograph by JKphotography
Medium Round Vase with Gold Lotus by yogagoat
Sunset Rabbit Print by nimbusnovem
Garden Sparrow brass earrings by JeweledElegance

Friday, October 10, 2008

Yum, delicious soap!

Speaking of coffee and tea in my last entry, here is a bar of soap from SoapDeli that looks good enough to eat! It's called Lemon Spice Chef's soap. Rebecca says, "This kitchen soap contains coffee which is great for ridding your hands of nasty kitchen odors like onion and garlic."

Rebecca did a lovely feature on my shop in her blog, SoapDeliNews. Thanks Rebecca!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cup of tea, anyone?

What's better than a warm cup of tea to take the chill off as the days grow cooler? Not being a coffee drinker, I've really started to get into teas over the last few years. My favorite to date is Stash's Green Chai tea, but I just found the most fabulous tea ever this week!

It's Celestial Seasonings, Sugar Plum Spice, from their holiday tea collection. It's an herbal tea rather than traditional tea, with flavors of plum and spice and just a hint of sweetness.

I'm not usually a sucker for those special displays the grocery store puts up on the endcaps of the rows, but this one caught my eye because I have a journal named Sugar Plum Swirl.

Now I can hardly wait to try the other flavors in their holiday tea collection! I thought this photo was appropriate--notice the journals stacked up in the background. Sit down with a cup of tea and a lovely journal one fine morning!

Cup of tea photo from

Thursday's Treasures

Aren't these doggies adorable?! I love little homemade friends. Two of my most special friends from childhood were homemade, a turtle made by my grandmother, and a pink cat sewn by my mom. These Etsy artisans have a huge variety of colors and styles of sock dogs to choose from. Visit their shops to see what other treasures they have in store for you!

Custom sock dogs by doodlebugfinery
Snow the white whymsies by MarjorieDade
Spot by aFairTrade
Daisy the sock dog by allthingssmall

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday's Treasures

Dog With Ball Tile by GretchenKramp
Peaceful Puppy Painting by AlloverArt
Sway Photograph by LenaBrown
Blue Candy bracelet by kimfoulger

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Kiln Has Cooled...

...and my pieces have been unloaded. I was pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out. You experienced potters, keep your opinions to yourselves and let me enjoy my perceived success! I could hardly wait to photograph them. In fact, I ran outside inbetween rain showers to take these shots.
I took three semesters of pottery classes in college, but didn't really learn anything. The instructor was one of those watch me and now you're on your own kind of guys. My pieces in college were clunky, chunky, and lopsided. I've been taking classes at a local art gallery and have the best teacher in the world! She's really good and takes the time to work with me and show how to improve. My new work is still a bit lopsided but I'm getting better!

The slab vases, pictured above, I built during the tropical storm that hit us a few weekends ago. It was time well spent, since I couldn't really go anywhere during the storm anyhow. I learned a lot from reading this tutorial I found on how to do slab construction. I was worried to death that I did something wrong out of ignorance and they'd blow up in the kiln, but apparently all was well. Whew!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Storque feature

My bookbinding team has been featured in Etsy's Storque blog!

Participating in a team is a great way to get connected on Etsy, make friends, and help promote each other. Yeah team! My journal is the first one in the second row.

Thursday's Treasures

I'm starting another new weekly posting! Each Thursday I'll pick my top four favorite items from Etsy to share with you. Today's debut features some fabulous items from these sellers. Click the links below the pictures to visit their shops!
au naturale mini vase by annaspots

bee and the blossoms by waywardgirl

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Studio

I always enjoy seeing pictures and reading about other people's creative spaces. I'm glad to have a room to call my wasn't always like that. In our first house, I shared a tiny 8 x 9 room with the computer desk. If my husband was working at the desk and I was at my work table, we'd bump the backs of our chairs into each other! I utilized every square inch of my space, though.

I spend a lot of time sitting in this chair working on the computer! (Not the little blue chair, the big one! The little one is for my creative assistant.)

This is where the journals and my other works of art are born! I love my "new" floor lamp inherited from my grandmother. It's true vintage! And behold, I can see what I'm doing now!!

Here is the studio watchdog, hard at work! Don't let him fool you, no one can enter or leave the room without his knowledge. He sleeps with one eye open. Sometimes I try to sneak by him to get a snack from the kitchen. Just when I think I've been successful, he usually appears quite suddenly behind me in the pantry! "Whatcha got there, mum? Any to share?"

My sewing table (which is not often used!) and my "resource center". My husband built the bookcase for me. I got sick of the cheap store bought ones that warp under the heavy weight of my art books. I had to keep flipping the shelves over to bend them in the opposite direction! This bookcase is solid wood, and guess what? No warped shelves! Yeah!

My bulletin board, cluttered with inspiration and little gifts from friends!
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