Tuesday, July 28, 2009

There are not enough worlds

to describe Paris. Beautiful, gorgeous, decadent, historic all pale when attempting to distill the essence that is Paris.

Did I love it? Yes, there wasn't enough time. At the same time, I am so glad to be back home with my children, my comfy bed and my friendly potty (and I'm not embarrassed to admit that one).

One small portion of our trip was touring the Opera Garnier. Designed to show the patrons to their best effect rather than the performers; it was a place to see and be seen. It is also where the legend of the Phantom of the Opera began.
Box 5 has been his box for well over a hundred years. You can knock on his door, but you cannot go in. Here is a view of his box from below: The stage of the Opera Garnier is built on a slant, so that your view of the dancer's feet would not be obstructed. Because of this, the training halls were also slanted and dancers from the Opera Garnier were almost unable to dance on a flat surface. A new opera house was built for opera, but the ballets remain here.

Walking through the opera house with its guilded ornamentation, murals, frescoes and statues, I brought that 'feeling' home (certainly not the richness) to create an Opera Garnier inspired Christmas Globe.... Like the Opera Garnier, the globe is a bit careworn, but has not lost its glamour. I applied alcohol inks and metallic mixatives to the back of the globe to give it a hazy, aged appearance and also applied some metallic rubons. The base is a 4 inch tin that could contain a small gift or hold a circular album. The silver present came from Wallyworld and the tiny ornament is vintage. The tin is covered in Basic Grey and vintage lace. The ballerina began life with a blue dress. That was quickly changed with a silver Krylon paint pen. The floor upon which the ballerina stands is cotton batting covered in mica and vintage glitter. Altogether, I hope that come Christmas, I can gaze at the tiny ballerina frozen in her timeless world and remember the Opera Garnier.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Dream of Paris

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to walk the streets of Paris; to sample a decadent pastry, peruse the flea markets, shop the book vendors on the streets and gaze at the iconic images in living color.
Now that dream is coming true and I can scarcely believe it. Many obstacles almost derailed this trip altogether and my long-suffering DH who has lived with a wife who waxes eloquent over the Old World finally consented that the whole idea of France might not be so horrid (though it's not his preferred vacation in the tropics).

And though I'm frantic with packing both of us as well as daughters for their own trip this next week, I'm starting to feel a frisson of excitement. Thank heavens for Marriott points, frequent flyer miles and spare change jars. They really DO add up!

To help me get in the mood, I put a little France inspired playlist here, even including a BowWowWow song from the movie, "Marie Antoinette". Au Revoir Mes Amis! (my 3 years of French are rustier than an old garden gate)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Kickin' It Old School

Chic, that is.

Did anyone else ever get excited about going school supply shopping? There was nothing like finding the cutest new pencil box to store your freshly sharpened pencils, colorful chunky erasers and your red marking pen. I still remember having a tub of paste glue that Bobbie G. ate when I was in Kindergarten. To be fair, it did smell good, but dude, eat your own paste! One year I was incredibly lucky to talk my mom into buying me a Trapper Keeper. The multitudes of hidden pockets, doo-dads and thingamajigs on a Trapper Keeper made me oh, so happy.

Going to auctions, DH and I always bid on the box lots of old office supplies too. Even the packaging for those old goodies was cool. Boxes that slide open to reveal red colored pencils, bottles of ink, old letter openers, fountain pens, graph paper notebooks; yum, yum, office fun!

I think this is why I will always be drawn to playing with paper, pencils, inks and glues. The memories of tactile work. I'll admit that I still get a little thrilled when the shelves at stores fill up with new school supplies. I'll even buy a few new folders and pencils to feed my habit.

Having lots of school, office and art supplies means I always have a lot of scraps. The following little project I learned years ago from a Club Scrap retreat. At the time my friends and I thought it was so cool, but I never used the knowledge again until I was face with bulging folders of paper scraps that I hated to throw out. Hence, my uptake on this notepad project:

I pulled together paper scraps, scrap cardboard, office clips, a foam brush, Club Scrap Bookbinding glue (you could probably use K&Co craft glue or another bookbinding glue), assorted stamps and Ranger Distress Ink (both stamps and ink optional)

1. First you need your paper scraps. For mine I cut scraps of script and ledger paper into 3x5 inch rectangles. I also cut scrap cardboard into a 3x5 rectangle to use as a backing for my notepad.
2. If you desire, you can stamp images on your papers. It's totally up to you. I used a few unmounted stamps from Studio Calico. This is also a great opportunity to use up odds & ends of old rub-ons.
3. Stack your cut paper rectangles and cardboard rectangle. I mixed several different patterns. Clip together at the top to hold. Apply the bookbinding glue to the top of your notepad with a foam brush, being careful not to oversaturate the paper, but also to get a nice even coating on top of your notebook stack.

Set aside to dry for a few hours. The bottle says 24 hours. I don't have that kind of patience. I keep going back to check, recheck and fiddle with it. Really, mine was dry in a few hours.
The completed notepad...
with lots of different patterns and designs...
I made a little tag from pink ledger paper, an old flower and some seam binding to tie it all up. Maybe it will be a little gift or the start of favors for a party or just sit pretty on my shelf for now. Quick, easy and fun upcycling. Now I'm wanting to try making pale floral notepads, funky graphic notepads and more.
I made this card as part of the "How Does Your Garden Grow" challenge for Opus Gluei and yes, I am late once again! One of these days I won't feel like I'm a day late and a dollar short. The notepad project came about after making this card using all scraps from my scrap folders. That scrap folder keeps generating lots of small projects it seems.