Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A little something

Here's a peek at what I made for Miss Lynn for her birthday. It was a little late. I took a cigar box and collaged it and made a lining out of (I think) peach polyester velvet (based on one of the individual workshops Mary Green sold back at the start of the year) ... Then I had to figure out a way to close the box because I wasn't that hot on my measuring (and eyeballing) and it wouldn't close!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Two weekends ago...

Two weekends ago, I introduced my hubby to Mt. Calvary @ St. Mary's Retreat House in Santa Barbara.

We caught the train up and back, which was really nice. Here are a couple of pics that he took in their gardens. It was a feast day for St. Mary.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

So Did I Play Hooky?

I did decide to play hooky last Tuesday, but only if I could get a hold of one of the office angels to cover for me that night. So I called and left a message, but she didn't get back to me.

So last Tuesday morning, I get an email from my office angel. She has to take her hubby to the airport.

I resigned myself to going into work, instead of playing with Hope and Gina, getting ready to head into work at my usual time.

When my office angel calls. She's dropped off the hubby and wants to know what I need.

Of course I don't tell her I'm in the ICU, or ill, or anything. I work at a church and there's some stuff you just can't lie about. So I tell her about the day before and how I want to go hang out again.

But I do need to get some work done. (After all, there is Sunday to get ready for and the fact that we're launching a whole new brand/look for the church this week. You know, not much on at all. Ahem.)

So we go into work, I get things rolling and take off on our public transit, texting Hope my location all the way and she texting back. (Oh and taking a tech support call from church. I neglected to check the permissions for Firefox.)

We finally met up at Vignettes in Ocean Beach and shopped. Gina had her daughter along -- we're all taking Hope's latest journaling class, and I'd met Gina at the SoCal Silver Bella gathering last year.

My finds:
I wouldn't have even spotted the basket of prize ribbons if I weren't with these two.

After that we went to The Green Flash on Pacific Beach for lunch, had ice cream before heading north to Solana Beach and the Cedros Design District. We went to Out of the Blue, solo, and Leaping Lotus.

Here are a few little things I picked up at Out of the Blue:


And here we all are at the end of the day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Spending Time with Hope

So when Hope Wallace Karney said she was coming to town and would I like to hang out, of course I said yes! We'd exchanged maybe a sentence or two at Silver Bella, and I was taking my second journaling class with her. At Silver Bella I think I was rushing to class.... It was too bad I didn't linger then, because we had so much fun talking and shopping and journaling together!

Anyway, so we met last Monday on my day off and went off to Paper Tales. I'd never been before, so it was a first time for both of us. Hope was a real trooper, enduring public transit with me. Helle Greer was there and it was cool to meet her and get to see her "Somerset in Love" book in person.
This is Hope and I out the front. What you can't see are our shopping bags! Thanks to Hope for this photo, I brilliantly left my camera at home.

We spent a few hours there. I'll definitely be going back -- it has scrapbook stuff, but also cute vintagey trinkets and beautiful ribbon. Here's part of my haul, all of which are inspiration pieces for Suzi Blu's La Sirena class.

Hope and I exchanged gifts. She gave me a packet of postcards and a packet of vintage papers. Lovely gorgeous stuff. I gave her a cute little cardboard purse with Chuao chocopods inside.


It was too bad the day had to end and I had to work the next day because we had so much fun together. We went next door to Daddyo's for burgers, fries, onion rings and hot dogs and headed back to Paper Tales to spend the afternoon at their back table journaling together.

We talked about my playing hooky, and another gal there suggested calling my office volunteer for me -- and telling her I was in ICU and couldn't come into work, so could she cover for me at work. I could just imagine the freakout: calling the prayer chain, calling my boss who was still on vacation.... and all because I was playing hooky.

So did I play hooky?.... Stay tuned for tomorrow's post to find out what happened.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tomato harvest and a caterpillar...

Harvested a bunch of tomatoes yesterday. I've lost count of how many Black Pearl Hybrid Cherry Tomatoes we've harvested, but its a lot. Unfortunately a lot of them fell off the bushes last weekend while we were gone, but as you can see, we're still doing all right.


No thanks to this guy. I caught him gorging on a tomato. He was so big, he was shearing off the side of the tomato, down to the seeds!


Yes, he's been eating well. I put him in a nice place for a bird to snack on.... although knowing my luck it crawled back into the garden.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Creating for Little Ones

So my nephew who is not quite 4 is expecting a sibling soon. I thought I'd make him a book, combining my writing skills with my newer collage skills ....

But I need some advice -- should I make the collages first, then color copy them and stick them into the board book? Or just apply straight to the board book. I'll be adding stuff like flaps for him to open, etc.

I don't have kids, so am asking y'all who have littlies, what would be the best thing to do....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time Spent Away

Time away means I have 125 blog posts to catch up on.

I've been to Santa Barbara for a long weekend and stayed at St. Mary's Retreat House with the Order of the Holy Cross and attended a musicology retreat. Yesterday, I went to Paper Tales with Hope Karney -- I had the most amazing time -- I've never been there before -- and I had such a good time with Hope that I went into work this morning for an hour and a half and then went and played hookey with Hope and Gina Grable!

We had so much fun in Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and Solana Beach. (Hmm, a bit of a theme there....) Much more detailed post(s) later for both Santa Barbara and today and yesterday. I forgot my camera so I'm hoping Hope can let me borrow a few of hers to share with you :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

An Artist? Me?

I mentioned a couple of posts ago when I was trying to decide whether or not I should take Suzi Blu's course (which I am, see earlier pos), that I didn't do art in high school. (Well, kinda sorta).

The way the system works in Australia, at least where I grew up, high school starts in year 7. When you're about 12. For the first four years, you get a taste of all the different electives the school offered. In the last two years, you had to pick your electives to add up to a certain number of units. I cannot now remember what my electives were (I suspect my taking 3 Unit Math instead of 2 Unit put a crimp on additional electives): but I think one of them was Ancient History, and another was computers, maybe?

Anyway, so I didn't choose art or photography. I don't think it was really on my radar.

But here's the thing: I had one free period a week, and where would I go? To the senior art class.

And I would watch my peers draw and paint, and I would ask questions about their work, and yes, just chatted with them, until the art teacher finally told me that I couldn't stay unless I also produced something.

So I did.


I've blurred out my old home town and the art teacher's name, but left in the made-up part of the address "1 Seeididit Close".

I think I used pastels to make the brown of the envelope and I don't remember how I did the stamp except I do remember that the white stumped me. Thank goodness Liquid Paper had been invented by then! Yep, that's what I used.

And so that's my little "how I didn't do art really in high school" story.

What about you? Was art a major part of your childhood and growing up?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mermaid inspiration

I've just gotten started on this ... but as part of La Sirena, we have to gather some things that inspire us on the subject of mermaids... A corkboard/inspiration board was suggested, but I came up with something else.


Yep, the birdcage I picked up at Urban Barn. I'm draping ribbons, pearls, shells inside and outside of it. The ribbons are kind of reminding me of floating seaweed......

I might move things around a bit on my inspiration board (aka my shutters) and use it to display the paper pieces once I go digging for them.

I stopped by the fabric store a couple of days ago to pick up some fabric for the Madonna hanging ... and even by going through the remnant tables, I still managed to spend a pretty penny. *sigh* Anyway -- also found these two trims, perfect for mermaidedness....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Great-Grandma's Watch

So I was given this beautiful watch when I was eight. The clock face was ringed with red-gold (it held the glass) and it had leaves embossed on it. I wore it to school and promptly managed to knock off the top of it by running around the playground.

You have no idea how devastating this was. Suffice it to say, it was.

And somehow I managed to build a mythology around it. It was my great-grandma's (am posting a picture so Mum can correct these memories because when I talked to her last she didn't remember what I was talking about), the frame around it was Welsh gold (Gran and my great-grandma were Welsh). And I kept it in its little box, always stashed in a drawer somewhere...


... which is marked with the name of a local jeweler in my home town. Not Wales. Hmm.

So I want to honor both the mythology and the truth and incorporate this watch into a piece of art. Haven't figured out what yet. Another fabric collage with a photo of Gran (or great-gran who ever actually gave it to me)? A shadow box? Don't know yet, but its on the to do list...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Surprise box

When I got home from shopping yesterday (headed out for fabric for the Madonna collage), I found a box from a writing buddy of mine. She, I, and two others went on a writing retreat too long ago and I haven't seen her in age although we email a lot.

Anyway, so I get this package wrapped in wallpaper and open it up (I couldn't get it to close again):


And look what was inside! My friend Sherrie does a lot of stamping (I also got a lovely purple embossed card from her) There's ribbons, wool, fibers, lace, more wallpaper, buttons, fabric scraps....
That bit of teal felt trim is going to be perfect for the La Sirena course...

Isn't that neat? And totally unexpected! Apparently this little box has made the rounds. It's carried quick bread and other goodies back and forth between Sherrie and her friends.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Liner for my grocery cart

I walk to the grocery store/supermarket to do the week's shopping and eventually my in-laws took pity on me and bought one of those carts. (It's only three blocks.) For a long time I wanted to make a cute liner for it, but as I keep saying, my sewing skills aren't that hot.

They are apparently better than they used to be.

Here's the cart before, with the reusable grocery bags.


And here is after. This liner is 100% handsewn.


The fabric is a portion of an old bedsheet that I'd discovered still in the chest of drawers (which you can glimpse behind the cart) after we'd brought the bedroom set home. I added a "lid" which I thought might do a better job than the dark grocery bags in reflecting heat.

Of course I had to add a flower to it -- daisies, naturally. The center one is glittered. The brad holds the flower together and then the bottom two layers are sewn onto the edge of the liner lid. (which is the top hem of the bedsheet.)

I found a bright yellow button in my button box and so the whole thing closes with that and a blue and yellow gingham wired ribbon.

Not bad for someone who can't sew, eh?

I guess I shall have to stop saying that. But we'll see how this holds up to the wear and tear....

Friday, August 6, 2010

Did you think I was done talking about KC Willis?

I got in touch yesterday with one of the gals with whom I attended KC Willis' class at Urban Barn and found out she'd blogged about the day! She took a lot more photos than I did :)

And I did it. I signed up for Suzi Blu's new semester of Le Petit Academy. This is going to be a real adventure!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

You know When You Get an Impulse to Do Something?

Something like Suzy Blu's new class?

And you say to yourself: Self, you have a book to create for your nephew; you have a Madonna fabric wall-hanging to put together from last year's Silver Bella swap; you have a small fabric book to finish; and a glorious purple satin/velvet/organza fabric book to create. You have more projects waiting than you can shake a stick at...

Sorry -- I've just watched Suzy's video and I think her manner of speaking is a bit on the infectious side. (This happens to me sometimes: after I've read Miles Vorkosigan novel (written by Lois McMaster Bujold -- fantastic series!) I get a little manic. Suzy's infectious joy is just plain contagious :) ) <- Ending the parentheses not showing off a double chin....

Anywho, I am thinking of taking her class because a) I can't draw faces worth a #$#^ and b) I didn't do art in High School (well, I sorta kinda did, sorta, but that's a story for another day) and I missed all the cool stuff she's offering. Although I can sculpt a mean lizard....

Yes, it's mermaids, but the whole idea of layering a painting like you're looking into the watery deeps? Just love that. And I've no objection to mermaids, really ... but I can apply her techniques to other stuff and isn't that the whole point of Suzy's classes?

So, I am being wise and I'm gonna sleep on it. Never mind that Suzy's Le Petit Academy has been sitting in my Firefox tabs for over a week, waiting for this announcement. Still gonna sleep on it, because its a whole semester, people, and that takes some commitment beyond the bucks -- I mean, ya got to take full advantage of the course before it goes away, right?

Stay tuned....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gorgeous Blog Discovery....

I must be last to the party as she has over 2,000 followers (and that's why she's hosting this amazing giveaway), but Miss Mustard Seed has the most gorgeous blog.

It wasn't the giveaway that sold me, nor the pretty feedsack pillows, nor the cute distressed frame. Oh no, although all those things are very lovely and beautiful and enough on their own to get me to followa blog (I use Google Reader, not Blogger's Friend following thing)....

It was the fantastic place setting post that did it. I mean, I haven't thrown out my china (or my grandmother's or my husband's grandmother's) and still like to add little odds and ends to it: like dessert forks with bone handles, etc., sort of like the knives Miss Mustard Seed is giving away.

Go check out her giveaway and her blog. You won't be sorry! (or you'll be very very sorry in an "I've just been enabled" way, but that's still a good sorry, not a bad one.)

Lady Churchill Challenge

Mary Green of Green Paper is hosting another one of her challenges. These are so quick and easy to do (well, I'm doing a small gluebookish version of them, rather than a larger collage or shadow box or something...)


My non-gluebookish part in this is the single rhinestone in her headdress. I think I'll call this one: "What Price Fame?"

Go join in!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Art's Desire Has a Giveaway

And its really pretty awesome :)

Check it out here ... I just love the journal pages she showed today...

It's odd, I wrote a post just today about the pretty stuff Sue makes and here's another!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Look, Ma! I made a seam!

Probably not news in the grander sense of the word, but there you go. I made a seam. Am trying to figure out how to patch by hand so that when I'm ready to go on the Madonna Collage with its silks, velvets and satins, I will know what I'm doing.


So this is the daisy fabric for the liner of my grocery cart. (I actually use it as a grocery cart, not for taking to flea markets) And my first ever seam.

I keep opening the bottom drawer in the guest bedroom and these fabrics surprise me every time. I went to look for fabric to bring to the KC Collage class and found this brown upholstery fabric stuff with a retro pattern on it.

We bought three chest of drawers at an estate sale many moons ago, and when we got home, found the fabric. This daisy fabric used to be a bed sheet.

I've found a couple of retro prints, what looks like an upholstery fabric remnant and today found practically a roll of muslin. Old stained, muslin. Or its an old stained bedsheet. Might need a wash before I use it. New/old stuff every time I look. It's like Christmas, sort of. That, or I do have some short term memory loss. :) Ok, I think it has more to do with: I'm looking for this kind of piece (I knew I had retro fabric there and daisy fabric) and I go in and there's another piece that would work great for another project.

I've partially finished the hanger for the back of my collage I did at the KC Willis class. Just need the hardware to finish it and I can hang it.

Speaking of undone projects... remember this?



At the end of August, I will host a giveaway (and give y'all a couple of weeks to enter), but the Undone project? Remains undone. It's just not who I am now, and really, shouldn't I be putting my energy into stuff I want to do now? So as nobody signed up for it, bye bye "Undone".

I do want to point you toward a gal who's blog I follow who starts many things ... but the little things she does complete are just gorgeous.

Check out her post here.

Sometimes we all have to take baby steps before taking on the big stuff, and so I am in the process of making a small fabric book (from the Garden Party set of workshops) before I make my larger, lusher one, and I'm making a grocery cart liner before I make a super large piece to put over the fireplace of Madonnas.

And that pillowcase from Year 10? I might scavenge it for parts to use in a fabric collage, especially the few bits I've already stitched, or just leave it languishing in the bottom of my sewing basket.

But right now, I have an exciting venture -- my first make something since I made a denim bag in Sewing at High School, which means, somewhere I have the memory as to how to make this liner....