Thursday, January 31, 2008

From Seat To Vase!

This particular piece of art has bothered me from the moment I first laid eyes on it. A local store, owned and operated by a friend, offers framing, some interesting artisan pieces, and wonderful lines of funky jewelry. This dainty piece of steel and iron has hung in her store since the grand opening. It has haunted me...I've hung it in my home (only in my head) numerous times while cleaning and rearranging. So, yesterday I broke down and purchased it.

It exempifies my essence of repurposing. The vase for the flowers was formerly a seat bottom from an old yard glider. It is totally out of had no hanger, so my own engineering skills had to figure out a way to mount it...and it came with a layer of dirt and dust. (I don't really think the artist hosed down the chair bottom when he found it on the dump heap.)

It reeks of raw creativity. Which brings me to the point...never close the mind to what can be seen and made...think beyond the obvious. It was a it's a vase!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Code or No Code!

Just bought my ump-teenth bag of plastic clothes pins of the 1950's! There is nothing more appealing in color and texture; and the reflection in your brain of seeing someone hanging freshly washed clothes out on a line using these little implements of household helpfulness paints a wholesome picture in my brain. I remember as a child one of my chores was to hang the sheets out on the line....hated it! Little did I know this task would be virtually eliminated in my lifetime. The neighborhood in which I live has a "no clotheslines" in the codes handbook. How bizarre is that? I'm not sure if I had a clothesline I would actually hang my clothes on it, but a fresh Spring day might invite the opportunity. Nevertheless...I will maintain the sanctity of this household chore by preserving its key component...code or no code.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Figure It Out!

Our household experienced a little strife last evening over math. I of course, being the mathematician that I am, was not able to add any useful contribution to the frustration over a series of letters and numbers that made absolutely no sense to me. The only definition of pie for me, is a delightful dessert at the end of a great meal accompanied by a yummy glass of milk or cup of coffee. So, as the only voice of reason available at the time, my roll became the cheerleader. I encouraged her to do her best and she would figure it out. I took her to this photo and reminded her....everyone figures it out!

Monday, January 28, 2008

27 Dresses & 56 Gallons!

Yesterday was filled with golf for Dad and Ma-Da (Mother & Daughter) for us. After little debate the Ma-Da sisterhood went to our favorite deli for lunch and off to see "27 Dresses". We laughed, giggled, followed it up with some shopping and home for homework. Just a terrific day!

The scene with the closet bursting of tulle and taffeta brought back some fond...yet, unnerving memories for myself. Being a card carrying, charter member of the Pack Rat Society; discarding, or donating or getting rid of, or passing on, my only daughter's cute little dresses and clothes was quite difficult for me. I felt this overwhelming need to keep everything. Now, when asked, "why?"...I had no legitimate, logical or semi-intelligent answer. Just the typical response that a card carrying, charter member of the Pack Rat Society might have, "I might need it someday."

My hoarding phobia was not for every little was for whatever article of clothing she deemed her "favorite". So, this could be overalls, jammies, certain personal items (clue: days of the week), play clothes and certainly special dresses. I wanted to keep it all!!! Now as a one year old the infamous 56 gallon Rubbermaid tub is not too difficult to store...but as children do...she grew, her size grew and my ability to store multiple 56 gallon Rubbermaid tubs shrunk significantly. I felt myself adding on to my home through the PODS system. There was no way this could continue. An intervention was needed.

I remember reading a parenting magazine featuring other parents suffering from this phobia, and I decided to take their advice. "Get Rid Of It" will not need it....EVER! Although primitive and certainly not something I hadn't heard before...I reluctantly began to figure out a way to heed their advice. They suggested archiving it with a picture. Great idea, but not a good substitution for someone like myself who enjoys the texture and feel of fabrics and notions. I needed a little piece of the history. So, I initiated an archival meeting with my daughter (she was 5 at the time) and we began to hull down the favorites.

My answer to everything is frame it! I then found a scrapbook template for a dress and cut out one for each article of clothing she LOVED! We saved some buttons...trim...added some written history along the edge of the dress...glued them to a mat board, and archived our clothing history in frames. This became the art for her room for years. Now that she is a is my art for years, less the fourteen 56 Gallon Rubbermaid tubs.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Domino Effect!

Do you ever feel like you are domino number 17 in a series of 89...someone just pushed number 1...and you have a sense of what your future holds? Well, today my fellow blogger Lynn at was no doubt the pushee of domino number 1. She so nicely chatted about my blog to her entourage' of loyal comrades and the series of kind comments are falling like dominoes! I have had the largest morale boosting day ever experienced in quite a while! This is a gleaming example defining the 'domino effect'. I can't thank Lynn enough for sharing me with her friends. Please check out her blog.

During this process today, I had a big mystery question pop into my noggin'..."why domino..what is the origin?" So, I got my handy dandy book out...Why Do We Say It? and looked it up. Your trivia/Who wants to Be A Millionaire answer for the day is: The monks of a French monastery who invented it gave the game its name. The winner of the game was expected to recite the first line of the vesper service, "Dixit Dominus, Domino Meo." "Domino" is just a shortened form of this line. There you have wrinkle for the day. All this time I just liked the look...the feel...the nostalgia of an old game...and watching the effects of gravity playing its role in knocking them over. Unknowing the origin of such a simple wooden rectangle with dots defines so many different experiences.

So, in honor of the domino, I thank Lynn, her friends, the many other bloggers who have popped in, the monks and the effect of such a game. May you all at some point get to be number 17 in a series of 89!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


This may look like a canvas of strewn paint....but, it's really that... and much more. I was going through my "appreciation of Pollack" phase and just wanted to simulate the joy he supposedly experienced while slinging paint on a canvas. The flow of the colors, the textures, the splat of paint from different angles and distance...all was quite interesting to me. So, one afternoon I purchased a huge 3'x4' canvas...laid out an old sheet on the driveway...and began slinging. It was quite invigorating. The lack of concern for how the paint addressed the canvas, the vibrant colors beginning to blend...the giant mess that was was FUN!

Not to insult Pollack...but, this was like taking a refresher course of Art 101 as experienced in 1st grade. It was about no parameters...not being conservative with the care for the end premeditated vision...really it was like putting a blindfold on, getting behind the wheel of a car and hoping for the best. There was a huge sense of adventure with no idea of how it would end.

This particular afternoon my daughter was just an observer. She made her side bar comments, but felt totally humiliated at my prancing, and was praying no neighbor or friend would happen by as the canvas ritual was going on. But, as time passed, the watching and the embarrassment became, "throw this color on there...toss it over your back...why don't you just throw the canvas and see what happens", to the point, I invited her to participate. With much reluctance, we both were slinging paint like Metropolitan Professionals while giggling and solving all the ills of the earth. We slung so much paint it took 4 days of 98 degree weather for it to dry. Layer upon layer of acrylic paint, with layer upon layer of stories to match. It became our version of the "Divine Secrets of the Ma-Da (mother/daughter) Sisterhood." We had a terrific, creative experience!

All this said...I now look at art a little differently. I have often made snide remarks about the simplicity of something, yet, I don't know what went on in the process of its creation. Buried beneath all that paint could be the answer to solving world peace....who knows?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Toasty Tags!

I love to receive a handmade gift...and if the wrapping of the gift reflects the giver has made a special effort in not looking mass makes me feel all toasty inside. Sometimes the presentation is just as much the gift, as the gift.

Well, I will often make the gift...but I stink at packaging it. To spend time on the wrapping...the card...the bow....not going to happen. This basically says, "I'm a traitor to the handmade pledge." Generally, I just slam the widget in one of my 28 recycled/re gifted gift bags, add some tissue...and hope I can tell the recipient it is from me, for I refuse to pay $4.95 for a card.

2008 is my year of "Packaging Presentation". What has caused this epiphany is currently unknown, perhaps I'm sick of waiting to do everything at the last minute...maybe I'm cheap...possibly I've collected so much miscellaneous pieces of quirky paper I need to purge...perchance I'm getting nostalgic in my old age...the possibilities are not worthy the contemplation. So, in an effort to be somewhat clever, I've made a stack of funky gift tags for all my packages in 2008.

The key for me is doing it and putting it in the gift drawer for future use. So, this morning, I did it! I made 25 cute, quite simple, yet obviously handmade gift tags for my future gift giving transactions. I simply punched holes in monopoly cards, bingo cards, tickets, old milk caps and several vintage playing cards; attached a cute ribbon....and neatly stacked them in a box in my gift drawer. Simply flip them over, write your greeting and garnish a gift with toasty goodness.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do You Tingle?

This past weekend I visited some relatives which required a road trip. Just as a car needs gas...humans need food...I need to stop at one antique mall advertised via an obnoxious billboard on the interstate. This trip was no exception.

I often wonder why people will only wear brand names...that the latest Louis Vitton makes them tingle with delight...well, the mystery is solved. The whole process of tingling is subject to what makes you tingle. For me, it is a simple sign hoisted into the air about 80 ft. and reads "Over 150 Booths". The mere thought of crossing the threshold of uncharted junk cubbied into 10 ft. squares, with hand written signs reading 20% off TODAY ONLY! is sometimes more than I can handle. My car has an innate magnetism to antique malls! When I enter the building, the refuse of earlier times calls to me, and I always want to answer.

This particular stop had its many rewards. But, the one I enjoyed the most was the cigar wrappers. I have looked for these for years! I grew up on a tobacco father raised it... was a buyer of it...and auctioned it. I myself helped many summers planting it...setting it...and benefiting from its sale. We all know the consequences of tobacco and there is no debate, but one aesthetic value of tobacco...was the packaging. The boxes...the wrappers...the papers...all beautifully ornamented and pleasing to the eye. Through the years I've seen outstanding things made from cigar wrappers...but, not by me...because I never could find them.

Today...and today ONLY...I found cigar wrappers! Lovely little $1 bundles with an artistic future. They called to me....they said, "find some good in me"...and I did. Quickly I snapped up the five bundles and called them mine. It kind of made me tingle!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Flock of Friends!

Have you ever heard?..."If you surround yourself with people smarter or more talented than yourself, you will be great!
An interesting thought of how the influence of friends can effect who you are and what you do.
The smartest people in the world can't do everything...but, the true definition of genius to hanging out with people who are quite genius in their own way. There is no doubt their essence will enhance your own person.
Naturally I gravitate to smart and creative people. I want to be smarter and more creative. I have managed to assemble a wonderful group of smart and creative women friends that no doubt impact who I am. All to my advantage! (It is part of the master plan.)
In creating this blog, one of my mental obstacles about committing to this task was...."what will I write about every day?" I feared having nothing to say and nothing to share. Which brings me to this thought...when you decide to write something everyday, and you want that "something" to be positive...or interesting...or funny...or colorful...the anxiety of
not coming up with a topic can often keep you from making the attempt. So, you either leap and hope for a soft landing, or leap and let things come to you.
Which brings me to today. I had the good fortune of receiving this delightful flock of birds with a signature bird envelope in the mail. These fowl are the creative genius of one my dear friends. Everything she does ends up looking just this happy! I love it! The quirky peacock on the envelope is one of her signature images that evoke the warmest feeling when I see it. I thought sharing these images could only benefit the masses. Enjoy!
Which leads me to all of this "deep" contemplation and surmisal...I am thrilled to have my dear friends. I so appreciate their intellectual and creative genius. And if these same people continue to allow me to hang out with them, I will be great! So, with this brilliance tucked in for the night, my advice to everyone is quite simple: Go find a flock of outstanding friends!

Thursday, January 17, 2008


If you happened to read yesterday's contribution to the necessary human arrangement of jammies and spoons that will encourage the flakes up in the sky to alter all school schedules...I unfortunately have to report that our ying and yang must have been skewed. For the snow stopped roughly 17 flakes after I snapped the wagon photo last night. Several schools in our area did close..but unfortunately, my household was in deep mourning. My daughter anxiously watched 72 minutes of local and national news waiting to see and hear her school name chirped by the snowbird...only to learn that the use of a snow day was not going to happen. After much lip service addressed to the television and me, she gave up and put on the school uniform.

We elected to build a mound of snow pellets (i.e. mini-marshmallows) in our hot cocoa in honor of the occasion. Notice the delightful stir stick that has a mini whistle on the end. This is one of my favorite trinkets. I have somehow managed to amass a collection of about 30 of these musical toddy tools. All purchased at a yard sale for less than .50 per bundle of 4 or 5.

I don't know who thought of this outstanding device, but a whistle on the end of a drink stirrer can only be to the drinker's advantage. No more getting up to replenish your more stumbling to replenish your more wondering who is supposed to replenish your drink....just blow on this teeny tiny whistle and there is no doubt someone will come running to shut you up. This piercing tone will quickly bring a most anyone else willing to shut down the sound that highly resembles the feedback from a piccolo. As annoying as they are to hear...they are equally enjoyable to see. Once again, quantity is the key! Fun colors...and I have a sneaky hunch if they just could talk, they could tell a tale of equal gratification!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Yes, it is snowing here! Now to some this may not be a big those in our area...this is HUGE! We see snow very seldom, and as seen in this photo...this amount of snow is just this side of a blizzard. My daughter is sleeping with her pajamas inside out, and has put a spoon under every one's pillow. I think this may be some type of direct channeling method to the droppers of snowflakes in the sky...or some futile attempt at creating a southern, snowfall urban legend. Don't know. We are all on pins and needles regarding school attendance tomorrow. Keep in mind heavy snow moving equipment is virtually non-existent, and salt trucks (all seven of them), if summoned, could only cover minimal, there is a reason why we don't have snow removal tools. But, the unknown certainty that snow may fall, and virtually immobilize our city looms heavily in the minds of anyone attending school in our area. Once again, this is truly a testament to the innate human condition that thrives on the slightest glimmer of HOPE! Our household is filled with anticipation that school will be closed, and a snow day is imminent. There is nothing better than waking up to snowbird listing your school's name as "CLOSED, DUE TO SNOW AND ICY CONDITIONS". So, as I sit here with the surged inseam of my pajamas resting on the exterior of my body, and see a hint of a stainless steel utensil poking out from under my pillow...I too, have a little HOPE!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Just Use It!

One of my biggest fears, and joys is having someone pilfer through my things, at my future estate sale. Fear being, I obviously have croaked...or possibly, I have had to scale down to one small bedroom at my future nursing home finances have gotten so depleted I am resorting to pawning off my worldly possessions fifty cents at a time. But, lest joy not be forgotten....I hope should my worldly possessions be pilfered through at my future estate sale...the lookers will be thrilled with the huge assortment of stuff available, dust included...provide lots of thoughtful contemplation as to "why in this world would someone have this?"...and do not forget the sheer delight someone gets in finding the perfect knick knack to finish out their collection for under $1. All of these thoughts rummage through my brain from time to time when I occasionally open a drawer or cabinet and find some little treasure I have totally forgotten I had. Once the doo-dad is discovered...again...I try to remember how I became the owner of this little nugget of vintage joy...thus, the brain-onic tennis match begins in my head as to "what in this world am I doing with this much stuff? What am I going to do with it? Where can I put it, because I just think it is so cute? I love the color, why haven't I had placed this somewhere for a daily visual pick-me-up? I wonder what will become of it in 30 years?" This banter in my brain always comes to one clear conclusion: Just Use It!

So, consequently, in my home there are no cute matching bathroom sets (soap dish, Kleenex box, toothbrush holder) matching decanter desk sets...really, no sets at all. My decorative garnish is the remnants of someone (probably deceased, in a nursing home or needed some pocket change) else's life. Is this creepy or good? Back to the brain-onic tennis match...

Anyway, the pictures you see are all wonderful, pieces of estate history that now have purpose. This is just how I use it!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Peace of Art x 52...#2!


Isn't this a great picture exemplifying the beauty of contradiction? Beautiful ornate tapestry, paint chipped chair with gingham to a wicker cat house with a silver teapot in it... surrounded by beautiful plaids...with wacky, toe jointed red, wood sandals placed just as if someone just got up to go get a cup of coffee. I love when vendors display their wares with such surprise and detail. It makes me want to buy the whole vignette and set it up in my foyer or den. Keep that in mind when displaying your own merchandise....paint a picture that the customer wants to reproduce just like you have it! They might just buy the whole vignette!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

52 Ways To Garnish With Jewelry, Number 1!


Have you ever played bingo in a true "Bingo Hall"? There is nothing like it. The environment is quite altering...and a test of hand and eye coordination. My husband and I, while on vacation several years ago decided to stop in and give it a whirl. How hard could this be?

First, upon walking into the 5,000 square foot aluminum building; every bee hive, bald head, purple haired, freshly coiffed wig and some fairly normal heads, spun around and smelled new competition without hesitation. They sensed fresh blood before we hit the door. Little did they know, nor did we, that our ability to actually play the game, provide a competitive edge or possibly take home the kitty was not going to happen. After a quick glaze of the room, we found two open seats and sidled down to attempt fitting in and playing a simple game of BINGO.

We watched the procedure for getting cards, had to use plastic tokens for cover ups, because we forgot our monogrammed, multi-colored, dauber carrying case. For those who didn't see us come in, this was yet another glaring clue that unskilled outsiders were trolling for the cookie jar (bottle of money, I would call a jackpot). Not to be too intimidating, my Honey and I decided to play as a team. Note: this is scorned by all BINGO players. We got three cards, thinking this would surely make us appear a bit less green. The lady next to me, was at least 75 years old, played eight cards, drank diet coke like a drunken sailor, smoked 14 cigarettes, altered the colors of her daubing, gave us endless advice, and detected several unmarked numbers on our three cards, all in the same game, lasting approximately 5.2 minutes. It was the culmination of this very moment that I heard the word BINGO, and it will now forever be etched in my mind differently! It was confirmed...we were novice, rookie, amateur BINGO players. Only 45 minutes into our "fun" evening of childhood gaming, and we were down $52, two cokes and our self-esteem. We had stepped into a world we were not worthy of entry.

Thus, the need to use our BINGO calling tokens in a different way. Why not a bracelet? I wear one myself on occasion, and there has never been a time that I am not humbled when I see it. I will always remember Gladys (the 75 year old), her multi-tasking skills, and our inability to play BINGO.

Wear things that remind you of fun occasions! It adds to the ensemble.

The New Years Final Declaration!

It is official...I have confirmed my creative goals for the 2008 blog. du du du dahhhhhhh(sing similar to Beethoven's 5th) After much evolution to what I said earlier, the plan is this....

This year will be a theme on the number 52! This being the number of weeks in the year and the same number of creative efforts I hope to achieve in the following categories:

1. Photos Worth Smiling 52 Times!

2. Craft-Down To 52 Creative Projects!

3. 52 Uses for Old Stuff!

4. Piece of Art x 52!

5. 52 Ways To Garnish With Jewelry!

6. Thought Number ____of 52 By The Craftsy-Merchant!

There you have it....because of my particular work ethic and personality, a declared list of things to do must be created to ever get anything done. The order in which these little snippets of "52 whatever" could randomly appear any day of the week....but, they will appear! Check in every day to see what surfaces! Pass this blog on to a friend and get whatever is appearing in the "Pay It Forward" column of the blog...this too will change randomly. Let's try to make it fun!! a photo worth smiling for...number 1!
Babies...babies....babies...what is more likable to see than hundreds of 4" tall, little babies laying in a bucket? I saw this tub of babies at a flea market and could not resist taking a photo! My philosophy for collecting has always gets you started, two creates bookends, three makes a nice display, four is a horrible even number, and five makes you on your way to being a collector, so what does hundreds make!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

52 Uses For Old Stuff - Number 1

My "52 Idea Craft-Down" has already it is time for the "52 Uses for Old Stuff" Count Up! It will begin today!

Oh, the aluminum......

I LOVE hammered aluminum! I've been collecting it for years. The detailed, delicate ornamentation to such a simple metal is my favorite. The number of patterns, shapes, sizes and styles of this medium is endless. I must have 75 +/- pieces, and I don't think one piece is the same pattern as any other. I am a little phobic about using it, because of the metal content, and all the horror stories I've heard over the years, but I still think it is beautiful to enjoy its aesthetic value. Imagine the work put into the original pieces that were forged by hand. Up until this very Christmas, I have only found platters, bowls, napkin holders, pitchers and a variety of serving pieces....but, my sweetie purchased a very unusual gift for me...a hammered aluminum purse! It is fantastic! The moment I can attend some party...event...or special occasion, I will be accessorized with this wonderful lipstick and cell phone holder. I can't wait to wear it. But, until then, what can I do with such a unique piece of aluminum? I've decided to display vintage hand towels in my guest bath. If you have never seen an hammered aluminum is your chance. Enjoy the unusual...and use it!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Art!

Our downtown has opened the most warm and charming bookstore...
Rockpoint Books! It is casually decorated with comfy antique chairs, church pews, funky benches and quiet corners. It is not as big as BOM or B&N, but, equally just as wonderful. It is filled with the best sellers and lots of classics. You can look from any angle and see various kinds of art by local artists. Numerous events happen throughout each month: scrabble night, book clubs, southern authors book signings, poetry readings and lots of children oriented activities. This store reminds me of the movie with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks (can't think of the name of it...but, she had a local bookstore and he moved in the big box store around the corner...ultimately put her out of business). Rockpoint oozes coziness and familiarity...not to mention a coffee bar is located in the back. Anyway.... I was thrilled to have the opportunity to display my art amongst its cozy walls. Here is a few photos of some of my new work, and one of the walls in the store. I sure hope the box stores stay far away from this quaint little retail establishment.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Craft-Down Number 52!

The Craft-Down has begun!
Craft-Down (kraft' dahn) noun, - is a crafting/artistic project that is basically very easy and simple to make, yet economical and fun to do. Can be given as a gift, sold as a retail or wholesale item or kept for your own personal pleasure. A different project will be posted weekly to create a 52 item list of fun projects.
Craft-Down Number 52: Hanging Hip!

Tools Needed:
wooden hanger (can be gotten at the "dollar" type stores, yardsales, already in your closet, with a
paint (can use any type of paint, I prefer spray paint because it is faster)
paper images (I cut mine out of a children's catalog)
decoupage medium (Modge Podge, Elmer's glue and water mixture (use equal parts of each)
paint brush needed to apply the paper images to the hanger
acrylic sealant type spray (get at hardware or craft type stores)
decorative ribbon (completely optional, just a little more garnish

Step 1: get/purchase/find a wooden hanger

Step 2: spray paint any color you like, let dry
Step 3: cut out cute/fun images to reflect the recipient of the hanger
Step 4: decoupage (glue) the images on to the hanger, let dry
Step 5: spary a protective sealant on the wooden hanger
Step 6: add decorative bow
Step 7: give to friend, hang in your closet...too cute!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

2008 A New Year!

It is finally a new year for me... I know I'm 6 days late, but much domestic duties have delayed my entree into the new year. So, with much enthusiasm and gratitude, I welcome in a new year. With this wonderful sense of newness, it is essential you challenge yourself to new goals. So, here is what I'm going to do:

1. Create mucho art and jewelry!
2. Dedicate a daily time to write for the blog (even
daily goals such day for a artsy-craftsy day for show and day for
sharing a clever tip...and two days open for the
3. Creating a forum for like minded artsy-craftsy
people like myself.
4. Finish writing my book.
5. Eat more cake.

I know the goals seem lofty...but, you have to start somewhere. Happy New Year to all! Let the creativity begin!