Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hair, Hair, Hair, long beautiful hair...

Now look what I've gone and done. I'll bet your singing the title song from the classic musical "Hair', aren't you?

Well, I am!
And as much as I fear this might make me look like an blog attention hog, it's really not my intention. But I do have yet another giveaway to share. This one is NOT for artsy blog candy though. No, if you have hair, you should be interested in this one. If you don't have hair, but know someone who does, you should be interested in this one.
I just received a small order from Sephora and I was sent a full-size tube of a new product to try that's not in the store yet. It's from a company called Living Proof. It's called No Frizz and unlike most other products aimed at taming the frizzies, this one has no silicone, so hopefully hair won't have that coated, weighed down feeling. The best part is that they sent two tubes instead of one with the suggestion that I share it with a friend! And I love to have more friends to talk skincare, beauty product gossip with!
I had chosen the thick to coarse hair option, so if that's you, this will fit you to a tee. If it's not you, we all know someone who has decried the frizztastic state of their coarse, wavy mane as they try product after product in an effort to tame it, so either leave a comment on their behalf or steer them this way. I'll draw a name next Saturday, February 7th!

This isn't a sample, but a FULL-SIZED tube of the line that will be launched nationwide in the spring and I'll throw a passel of other samples in this box just for the fun of it. (doesn't the word "Passel" make you smile?)
Another package going out on Monday is to my Year of Color swap partner and I hope she enjoys it as much as I've enjoyed putting it together for her. Even better than brown paper packages are pink paper packages, right? Lisa, the pink of this box really isn't as bright as the photo, so don't faint thinking your getting a neon pink horror. :) This little bit of floof will be going out to another friend soon as a part of a petite Valentine package....(pssst, she has no idea! Yet....)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Little packages

Finally, at the end of January, Mother Nature has decided to bless us with snow. Not a lot, but a little. At this point, my girls will take the school day even for an embarrassing few inches. This is my first experience driving in it with Lucy Bug. She hates taking off in 1st on a hill with the snow. We had a little fish tail excitement this morning which is more than enough to last me the rest of winter. From now on, unless someone in my family is bleeding from a headwound that won't be fixed up with a butterfly bandage, we're staying home for snow days too! (or stealing the Jeep back from my daughter)

I've been having some stolen moments creating what I hope will be a few small joys for my swap partner from the Year of Color blog. A few peeks for her that surely won't give too much away...

And yet a few more moments having fun putting little packages together for a few ladies going to the Inspired Artist Workshop. I hope these little send-offs can put a smile on their face!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

And the Oscar goes to...

Sherri S of ~Design to Shine~!

I so appreciate everyone who shared their love/hate relationship with Valentine's Day. One of my most fun memories? When I was in 2nd year French class and one of the only 2 boys in our class sent the rest of the girls roses. He was so gallant and nerdy and probably has made some woman extraordinarily happy with his thoughtfulness.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Confessions of a Reforming Shopaholic?

If you like free swag, before you read this, go to the post below and leave a comment for my itty bitty giveaway. It's not massive, but happy mail is always good mail, right? Is there a woman out there who hasn't read Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella yet? And the rest of the novels (so far)? And who is going to see the movie that comes out in a few weeks?
I must confess that I have read every last novel, drooling over the shopping escapades of one Becky Bloomwood and cringing as I wondered how she was going to dig herself out of debt. She always manages to rise to the occasion, but not before I almost get heartburn in angst over it. And it's a fiction series!!!
Even though I'm a thrifty, flea market girl at heart, I have my full retail habits. Under my favorite websites I have saved, there is an entire section for make up and skincare. Hubbie worries when he hears the associates at Sephora call me by name. I'm trying to save my pennies until mid-February for when MAC Cosmetics releases their Hello Kitty line because I want it almost as much for the cute packaging as the make up. I'll skimp on butter to save a buck, but my skin is priceless. I wasn't born blessed with dewy, poreless skin. I'm not going to add insult to skin injury by bargaining with it.
And CHA starts tomorrow. I've said it before, I have NO business even considering purchasing any art supplies that aren't staples, but I'm feeling that frisson of excitement with each email containing a spoiler alert for new product. My inner Becky Bloomwood is making a list and planning to purchase as soon as it hits the stores.
But, I'm trying to be more conscious of my spending habits.
I'm really curious to know if anyone else looks to the era of the 40's when people were planting Victory Gardens, using ration books and repurposing everything with a bit of admirable envy?
Does anyone else worry that our consumer driven society has crippled us as we live through this time of recession? Do we still have that can-do spirit?
I'd like to hope that we can and will rise to the occasion.
Now, why do I have no business buying any art supplies? I have a room that is bursting at the seams with lovely things that rarely see the light of the work table. I've been making an effort to use it up. Tossing an empty package into the wastebasket is a most satisfying feeling. And really, when the creative session is over, I don't feel the least bit deprived for not working with the latest releases, but I do feel the satisfaction of creating AND utilizing my older, but still gorgeous stash. Now that puts a big Cheshire Cat grin on my face (you know, the face with pores big enough to drive a Hummer into?).
This is one of 6 Valentine's cards from old supplies....
All old stash: old cardstock, patterned paper, rub-ons, ooooooooooooooooold...The rub-ons for the sentiments are 5 years old! And they still went on like buttah...
Punched those tiny hearts out with the very first incarnation of the Quickutz. Yes, I still have an original handle. Still works!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Paying it forward, awards & a giveaway!

Since Valentine's Day is around the corner and it seems like my little corner of the world is awash in pinks, I think I had pink on the brain when I ordered 2 sets of these Basic Grey chipboard stickers! So, I'm giving the extra set away along with 2 stamps from Glitz Designs. Just leave a comment telling me what you love (or hate) about Valentine's Day and I'll draw a winner on Sunday the 25th. And I have been honored with 2 sweet awards,
Priscila of Casa Bella Chic gave me a Kreativ Blogger award, but you should see her work. She is astounding and full of vintage, altered charm!

As I am surrounded by talented and creative friends, they are all 'Kreative Bloggers', but don't we all like to get a pat on the back to reassure us that we aren't hunched over our work tables because we're stark raving mad? (myself excluded, I AM Cruisazy!)

So here are five people who are not only creative, but live all aspects of their live through an art-filtered lens:
Danielle, Kelly, Tina, Heidi and Becky
Please, when you get the chance, tell them hello and let them know I sent you their way!

I also got this sweet award from Back Through Time: This is what this award entails:
These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbon's of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these kind writers. When you pass the award along please include these guidelines. I'm supposed to give the love away to 8 friends!
I don't think I know a single blogger who's left a comment that seeks anything more than to be friendly, but only 8? That's hard! I'll give it a try: Valita, Amy, Dianna, Rosemary, TJ, Jennifer, For the love of vintage..., Trying to Stay Calm!

This past weekend, Chartreuse and Co. we having their monthly tag sale, so Kim and I met in town to drive out there together. First, we should've dressed in long underwear because it was cooooooooooooooooolder than, well, it was cold. I'm just now regaining feeling in my toes. Nothing is heated in their barns or carriage house with the exception of a few space heaters in one barn, but the shopping is worth it! The barn is FULL to the rafters with treasure if you're willing to dig for it, but we were good. I just got 3 old theater poster prints and a vintage choker from here.
From there we went to a couple of local antique malls and came away with a few treasures. Whenever I shop with another artsy person, my shopping is always artsy focused so most everything is something that will be repurposed at some point in time. My favorite finds were the old receipt book and the organizer that looks like an old book. Just cool stuff on the cheap (my favorite kind of stuff!).
For lunch, we hit Frisco's almost exclusively for their Exploded Potatoes. Habit forming potatoes. They are like a loaded potato on crack. Made the mistake of ordering a pizza and not eating very much of it because I was focused solely upon the potatoes when the owner comes by concerned that something was wrong with the food. Couldn't be further from the truth! The pizza was brought home and enjoyed for dinner, but he's got to know that he could sway votes with those potatoes. Yummmm, getting hungry just thinking about them. If you ever want to meet for lunch south of Frederick one day, call me. I'll take you to the source hidden away in an industrial park. It'll be our dirty little secret.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The one where she turns 13

This little one who still asks to be tucked in from time to time is turning thirteen tomorrow. Yikes, my last teenager! She has no idea what she's getting from us for her birthday and the arrival of envelopes and packages from relatives is turning her into a Nervous Nellie. I imagine by tomorrow morning, we won't be able hold off the present melee for long. The will of the Birthday Queen must prevail. Happy Birthday Baby! I'm so glad God loaned one of his angels to me!

Neither of my daughters are girly girls. You won't find pink in the list of their top three colors. This has led to frustration on both our parts. As soon as they could object, I could no longer dress them up in pastel florals and they had to grow up in a home that is largely swathed in a soft wash palette. We have rubbed off on each other though and I've come to enjoy brighter colors at home and in my art while they have been caught on the rare occasion wearing pink; sometimes even donning jewelry!

Still, when I'm in my little studio, I am drawn to my comfort level colors of creams, pinks, blues and greens. This won't do for a bright color loving teen who is drawn to strong oranges, blues, greens and reds. Sometimes I have to remember when I'm creating something that if I'm making it for someone else, I should keep their style in mind rather than my own. Easier said than done. Did I fail because I still ended up using lace? Even if it's bright orange lace?
After working with that bright set of colors, I was still in a bright zone and needed to put together a new notebook for the year. I know I've said I hate lists, but I do like doodling sketches for card ideas, clip a lot of photos out of magazines and write all journaling (cause I never fail to mess it up on the real thing) or sentiments before I put them on a layout or card. This notebook is where all of that goes. Even though it was pretty flashy in terms of brightness, my favorite colors look good when they're more saturated. Something that certainly makes for a happier Inspiration Journal when we're staring down these dark, bitter cold days of winter. (seriously, who feels creative when it's this flipping FRIGID outside?)

My little notebooks from the other day weren't quite finished. Just a little pop, pop, pop of pink (oh yes, pretty in pink) and a soft exclamation of "Oh dear" and they feel just right now.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Upcycled Art

Remember back when chipboard was riding the first big wave of popularity and if we bought one package, two was better? (oh, you only bought one package? Well, bless your heart! I, on the other hand, had no self-control) And then, if you are anything like me, the chipboard either 1)got put away in a drawer only to be used intermittently because, at any moment, companies might halt all production of chipboard thereby leaving the world in the midst of a devastating chipboard shortage or 2)you forgot about it completely until your chipboard storage drawer would no longer open and when you finally yanked it free, you were rewarded with an avalanche of warped cardboard. I'll plead guilty on both counts.

I'm not making any no-buy declarations. I know myself. But I am making a concerted effort to use what I have this year on a far greater level than I have previously. So, I was staring at two packages of Basic Grey undressed chipboard recently. Just had to have them. Very rarely used them. In fact, one package is still sealed. Knowing that all things in life are better with bling and that an art supply would practically soar when dripping with bling, I spent a few minutes glittering the entire contents of my open package of chipboard.

Suddenly what had been non-descript pieces of cardboard turned into sparkling, tarnished silver pieces of possibility. Even the most basic shape is elevated with just a little something special. (if you aren't into glitter, I'm sorry. We can't be friends. No, no, I'm kidding. We can still be friends! I still love you! mostly)
Then, I was folding some old linens that I had bought at an auction. Most of them have nasty rust stains, holes, tears and seemed destined for the rag pile. Many of them are edged with pretty lace though and I hate to see anything go to waste. But...even with holes and stains I still cringe a bit whenever I think of taking scissors to something old and vintage. I feel like my Nana will walk through the door and lecture me on wastefulness while making me eat cinnamon squash (another story).
Eh, I got over it.
With my newly glittered chipboard loveliness and scraps of old dresser scarf, I'm working on these little notebooks. They'll help me out with my resolutions to be better about simplifying and making lists this year; just right for tucking into my pocketbook.

New Year, time to rotate some dishes? I love the Fireking Charm cup & saucers, but rarely pull them out. The Year of Color blog is focusing on blue and white for the month, so I'm sipping coffee, tea and hot chocolate from these for a few weeks. Nana would be proud. I bought them at a little antique shop in OK when I went to visit her and Papa a couple of summers ago.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Ah, the mere 2 year plan!

Another tiny project that I'm excited hubbie and I got done over the holidays was to finally install an Italian Tole light fixture in my little studio. I picked it up at an antique store a couple of years ago with the plan to put it in the studio, but hubby said the ceiling tiles wouldn't support it. After seeing it on many a honey-do list, he enlisted my help to get it hooked up (maybe the fact that the light kept showing up in conspicuous spots like his desktop, his file cabinet, his bureau top helped spur him on. I dunno... whistling innocently).
Whatdya know? The ceiling tiles support it just fine and I have a pretty, little light to brighten up my creative space.
Not that I've spent much time in the studio the past couple of days because someone infected me with the crud. My nose is staging a mutiny against me. I hope to putter around in there (my studio, not my nose) a wee bit today because I'm feeling sorry for myself and there is no one around to pour me a Godiva chocolate martini (or three).
The ladies at Joli Paquet are taking their collective talents a step further by not only offering their tips, tutorials and kits at Christmas time, but will soon be adding to their blog with more loveliness for any time of year. Just click on their button to the right on my blog or check them out here: Joli Paquet. I'm excited!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ever heard of the 5 year plan?

And I'm not talking about a car loan either.

Ever bought anything for your home and five years later, it's still not done? Our shed (old chicken house) is full of 'stuff' that seems to be on the five year plan. The following is one such project that turned into a five year plan, maybe a six year plan. We're not sure of the exact time we got started with this one.

Long before the back porch was renovated, long before the basement was renovated, long before the endless powder room disaster, er, renovation, the hubbie and I were at an auction in Buckeystown held by Mike, the flamboyant auctioneer. Most everything was junk. Even the $2 box lots weren't moving, but the people watching is always a cheap date.

In between cheap veneer computer desks and a hospital bed, there was this sad, old iron baby crib. It had several layers of paint chipping off of it. The latest was what we dubbed "l'il Devil Red". Must've scared that baby witless to wake up with blood red bars holding him back from the world. The crib was a no sale and I pushed hubbie whispering "Offer a $1." I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it and little did I know it would be at least five years before my plan would come to fruition!

Just as soon as the porch was renovated (which I was sure was going to start happening at any moment, ha), the crib, once rehabbed, would make a cute little sofa/settee for a cozy reading spot.

L'il Devil Red crib went in the shed to wait it out. At least a year goes by...

Porch still not done...

Nope, not yet...

Ah, porch work has begun!

Now it's time to dig out the L'il Devil.

Countless home improvement shows lie to us telling us we can just take an old piece of metal furniture to an autobody shop where they'll sandblast it and paint it on the cheap. Not only will no place in my county do it, but I was also advised that I wouldn't want paint meant for a vehicle in my home if I had any furniture finished with it since it would be highly toxic to breath the fumes.

After asking some friends where they had their old tulip lawn chairs stripped, they suggested we call a headstone company. Yes, a headstone company. After all, the images, names and dates are all sandblasted into the stone and they could sandblast the paint off the crib, couldn't they? Hubbie dropped L'il Devil off and got a promise that they'd get to it over the weekend.

And another year (at least) goes by...

Headstone companies are, sadly, busy places. We were sure L'il Devil had gone off to die. Practically gave up on it.

Somewhere in there, in a fit of optimism, I had bought a baby mattress (which also went into the shed) and a vintage handsewn barkcloth daybed cover(I could've just passed out cold when I found this) at Lucketts.

Finally, hubbie tries one last time to spring L'il Devil from exile and they promise us one final time that it will be done the very next week. Well, lo and behold, they made good on that promise with profuse apologies and wouldn't accept payment for it because of the crazy time frame.

L'il Devil cleaned up nice. Over the holiday, hubbie painted it and we brought it inside where it will no longer be known for its scary red hue, but as a place to relax. Of course, Sozo kitty found it in about 30 seconds once we had the daybed cover on it. If you're ever in the neighborhood, come on over and sit a spell.