Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fresh Recylcing for Christmas

Isn't is true that old saying? Everything old is new again. We have only to look at fashion trends to know it's so.

For Christmas, it is truer than one might think. Oh, I know from reading that 44% of children under the age of 10 have a iPad 2 at the top of their Christmas list, but did you also notice this past summer than when Toy Story 3 came out, the new reduxes of old toys flew off the shelves? Who can resist a slinky dog or a Mr. Potato Head? I have Mr. Potato Heads for different seasons.

Think about giving some of these 'old' things new life for gifts & stocking stuffers:

~I don't care how old you are, a new coloring book and a box of 64 crayons (with the sharpener in the back) instantly brings out the kid in all of us.

~Mood rings. Admit it, you see these in stores by the cash register and still check your 'mood'.

~Jacks. The real metal ones. Get down on the floor and see how you can still do 'sixies'.

~Sea Monkeys. Remember when you really believed you could train them to do tricks?

~Razzles. The candy that turns into a gum. The candy part tastes great. I can only last about a minute once it turns to gum, but getting there is the real fun. These have made a real resurgence in the past several years. I think you can get a big container of them at Sams Club, but they are also at Wegmans or places like Cracker Barrel.

~A Lifesavers Story Book. Admittedly, these are nowhere as cool as they used to be when I was a kid and you got 10 assorted packs of Lifesavers, but they still provide a cheap thrill to a stocking.

~Love's Baby Soft. Yes, it still exists. I even saw it at Urban Outfitters. It doesn't smell like funky socks either, so for a retro flashback gift for a girlfriend, this would be serious fun.

Support your local thrift stores. Found recently in thrift or secondhand shops are these nifty things that might make great gifts if I didn't hoard them for myself:

~Cashmere sweaters. That's right, the real deal. They may be missing a button, but I can do that if the sweater is less than $10.

~Vintage milk glass coffee mugs with retro advertising or logos on them. My faves: McDs and Christmas themed ones. Pair this with some great coffee, biscotti and/or chocolate (isn't any gift improved with chocolate?) for a very cool gift.

~Cute little handbags. For grown-up girls, tuck in a vintage hankie, pocket mirror and a great lipgloss or lipbalm (may I suggest Rosebud which is produced a couple of miles up the road from me? It's also Sephora's biggest seller:Rosebud Perfume Co. at Sephora) Even better, for a little girl, you can get candy jewelry, lipstick, etc at the dollar store. Tuck that in with a coin purse full of quarters for an AWESOME gift.

~Some of the best record albums ever made for less than $1. Baby, nowadays some of the covers qualify as bonafide art. If the record is good, you can still play it. If it's scratched, Google directions for making cool bowls with them or use the records as placemats for a fun party.

~Seriously great old books. Sometimes you'll stumble upon a first edition. Sometimes autographed copies. I'll admit, if the cover is pretty without the jacket, I buy it for decoration or to turn into an altered book. Sometimes an old book that is really tattered gets upcycled for gift wrapping, tags, shredded for filler, etc.

Don't forget to take time for yourself though. Doesn't matter how cool or amazing your plans are if you freak yourself right out of the Christmas spirit. You are hereby given permission for at least one guilty pleasure if not two guilty pleasures WITHOUT the guilt. Be it a Starbucks run, a new book (Christmas themed of course!) or a very chick-flick Christmas movie from Lifetime or the Hallmark Channel, go for it. ;-)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Kicking off Christmas

Ashley and Kirsten below totally freaking out over the hotel room view in NYC on Thanksgiving weekend. The Macy's Parade and Thanksgiving with my sisters was a huge part of our Christmas kick-off. Just spending a few moments to remind anyone who may venture here to take care of yourself this Christmas season. Generally if you're reading this, it's because you are a girly girl who likes to play with art supplies and skews towards vintage, eclectic style, but all are welcome!

But...if you are a girly girl, you may also be the one in charge of Christmas in your home. That may also mean you get what amounts to a third full time job for the month of December, sometimes stretching into January. So, take the time to care for yourself. You know the saying, if Mrs. Claus ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! (or something like that, but it's true)

If you do get some time to take a few moments to yourself to play with art supplies or make heartfelt gifts for your loved ones and friends, check these links out for great ideas, tutorials and more:

One Pretty Thing ~tons of links to tutorials for everything under the sun, you could get lost for hours here

Little Pink Studio ~if you're into vintage chic, Cerri will show you the way

The Graphics Fairy ~loads of vintage images to download for creating to your hearts content

If you're in the mood for guided Christmas creating, check out these workshops or tutorials:

Teresa McFayden ~offering her 5th annual Christmas e-course

I'm Just a girl ~Spark your Christmas workship with a big emphasis on transforming what you already own. You know I'm a green, tree-hugger, so this speaks to me.

christytomlinson: 12 Artsy Ornaments of Christmas.. a mini workshop ~12 different talented artists will guide you through not only ornaments, but also home decor and gifts as well.

Tim Holtz ~I think this is Tim's 5th year of his 12 Tags of Christmas. Free for you to enjoy, duplicate or use for inspiration. You'll learn lots of new tips here too!

Through December, if you like, keep checking back to the Granny Panty Chic blog for more Christmas ideas and (hopefully) inspiration. I'll admit, I get totally giddy over this month. It's just gotta spill somewhere and it's gonna be here I decided. ;-)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How time has flown by

Today is my oldest child's birthday. My little cuddle bug with the big giggle and even bigger sense of adventure is...a man. (and yet, I mysteriously remain forever young!)

I can tell you this; I have a friend who says "Little children, little problems. Big children, big problems." It's true. When you are in the midst of colic and diaper rash and potty training, it can be truly, mind-numbingly exhausting. When your teenager comes to you after some incredibly bad decision and is facing extreme consequences, it is true that when they're heart breaks, your heart breaks right along with them.

We can't dwell on the valleys because the moutaintops are numerous and rewarding and life is a terrifying, wonderful thing.

Cliches are grounded in truth. The cliche that they grow up before you know it is absolutely true. Oh, to redeem the time wasted when I was 'too busy' or 'too tired' as he grew up, but I am trying to choose to treasure all the moments, the milestones and the memories.

Zach is a guy's guy, so I made him a pretty simple, but bright card.

One of his little secrets is that he loves flowers and gardens. He won't tell you, but it's easy to observe. When he was younger and we lived in a townhouse, we built some raised flowerbeds. I bought loads of perennials and annuals. He is the one who arranged how they were planted. When he badly hurt his knee and realized he was a horrible patient at home, he asked his dad to help him shop for a rose bush as an apology. He walks around the yard smelling flowers and brushing his hand over herbs and he takes an active interest in the vegetable beds, but his big request is to plant watermelons. So, a little spring bouquet for him. How appropriate that the world is coming awake as his birthday arrives.

And this is super late, but last week Opus Gluei had a challenge to use material in a project. I have an older friend who is extremely ill and I know that she loves flowers, so this little embellished burlap bag will hold a tiny bud vase and several tiny daffodils. Hope she likes it!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It ain't pretty, but it's home

I love spring! Now, if only spring weather loved me. Can you believe there is a wintry mix in the forecast for tomorrow?!? Nevertheless, some early spring can't wait for me to be having a comfy 'jeans and t-shirt weather' day. They need to go in now if we want to enjoy later. So, already planted last fall were 2 varieties of garlic. Nom, nom, nom, not only tasty, but protects us from vampires and people who invade our personal bubble. I also transplanted a few dozen strawberry plants into a new bed. It was time. The asparagus bed is well established. I was so very excited when it started sending up a few tender shoots last week. I even steamed a few. Spring weather being what it is though, we've had some frosts that have halted those messengers of spring for another week or two, so my little asparagus feast was premature.

This spring, I've got more beds to work with thanks to some very hard work on the part of the youth missions team doing a work-study project and to a few intensive weekends of work for Tim and I. Last week I started the early spring planting by putting in a few different types of lettuces and seeding Swiss Chard. This past Saturday, when we had a surprisingly nice day, I hurried to spend a little time planting kale, cauliflour, broccoli, shallots, spinach, onions and spring peas.

We have an inquisitively nosy neighbor who pointed out that we were supposed to get snow that night and all of my plants would probably die. I was also warned that both spinach and kale contain chemicals that inhibit the absorption of calcium. I planted anyway; sure the babies would survive since they'd been hardening off on the front porch through a few frosts anyway and don't worry about kale or spinach. You'd have to eat a bucketload at a time to worry about calcium absorption and cooking them even briefly deactivates the calcium hindering chemical.

I let him boss me around a bit and send him off with fresh eggs (but not before he tells me how I should grow flax to feed to the chickens raising their Omega-3 levels) before he goes on his way. :)
All of the plants don't look so hot right now because until they are a bit larger, we have to protect them from Peter Cottontail and his voraciously hungry family members. It's so disheartening to put in several hours planting a garden, anticipating the harvest, going to sleep feeling you've done a good turn for the earth and your local food system only to wake up and discover your freshly planted garden has been mowed down by killer bunnies. It's ain't pretty, but the coffee cans and old pots work as a barrier.

But, there are signs of a beautiful spring...in new baby chicks...and old stands of sunny daffodils.
Speaking of spring crops, if you garden, this year consider planting extra to donate to your local food bank. In the mid-90s, a group of gardeners founded Plant a Row for the Hungry to do just that. Some news sources say a recovery is well under way, but in my area, local food banks have seen a large increase of families in need of assistance. What better way to help out than with homegrown produce?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

That 70's Chair

After a wonderfully amazing weekend at a youth worker's conference in Chicago with 3000 other crazy people, tim and I decided we really need a night of pure, unabashed retail therapy...at Goodwill.

Yes, the Goodwill you donate your old toasters and ugly Christmas sweaters to. :)

We went to the store nearest our home where there was nothin' good to be seen...until we went over to the furniture side. There I saw, sat and briefly noted a chair and then dismissed the idea of it. I couldn't find the price tag and since I was pretty sure that didn't mean the chair was free (always a faint hope, right?), I passed and we went on to the next store.

Tim was incredibly upset to find the most deliciously soft, supple Italian leather shoe.
One shoe.
Either someone donated only one or perhaps a one legged man bought the other shoe. He moped about for a few minutes until I found a milk glass coffee mug for $.48 and his faith in a good bargain was restored.

While we're leaving the store, I suddenly blurt out that we've got to go back to the first store for that chair.

Tim does a double take because he doesn't remember any chair at all, but he dutifully drives us back to the first store while I'm trying to describe the exact color of this chair, how comfortable it is and that I have the perfect place for it.

We get to store where I excitedly lead him to the chair.

"Oh" he says. Not "Oh!" as in cool. Not "Oh" as in wicked awesome. But "Oh" as in "Didn't the 70's do enough damage to our young, impressionable psyches?"
I tell him to sit in it.

"Oh" he says. as in "Oh, thank you Lord for creating an instantly amazing place to snooze, read a novel or watch a game." And in the wink of an eye, we were loading this much too large chair into his much too small trunk and driving home with flashing lights all the way. (when I get really happy, I either chatter away or fall completely silent. this was totally a chatter away ride home. Tim probably wanted to put me in the trunk and let the chair ride up front.)
It does have great lines. And I like the green, just so you know. I think I'll paint the feet black, but for now, I think I'll take a snooze in my new 70's chair. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I'm a volunteer youth leader in my spare time. What does that mean?

A lot of the time, it means sleep deprivation, heart ache for them, overwhelming joy for them, advocating for them and way too much caffeine while sharing the message that God loves them and longs to be in relationship with them. Some days it leans heavily to the sleep deprivation side and others it leads heavily to the sharing God side. Any balance isn't of my own doing, but from the Big Guy.

Lately it means I won't have one free weekend for well over a month due to youth related activities, but I'm having an awesome time this weekend.

You see, last night we dropped off one of our teens for a special weekend retreat. Just last year, this girl was so shy, so introverted that most of the time it looked like she was trying to escape.

Slowly, slowly we got to know her and she got to know us and Look Out World, here she comes! All by herself, she asked to join the church and be baptized. A lot of us fully mature adults are too hesitant to make a decision like that.

She also stepped out of her peer group and joined us at Creation with about 100,000 other crazy teenagers. I'll never forget the night she came up to me, jumping up and down, covered in glow sticks, hugging me and screaming "I love Tobymac!" Gone was the shy flower.

And she just keeps surprising me. So, this weekend she is at the retreat getting treated like a Rock Star and showered in love. One of the ways we show our love is through all of the little details (and I can't go into those because I don't want to spoil the surprise for anyone else who might go).

I do think I can share these...Sometimes they may find a personalized placemat at their meals. Sometimes. I made her a couple and took them to be laminated, so they're safe from spaghetti sauce. They're pretty simple. Couldn't go wild with the embellishments since they were going to be laminated, but I have to say my favorite is the big layered butterfly I cut with my Silhouette.

That's her, a beautiful butterfly. :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sweetness for the Sweethearts

Sooooo, it's about time to pack up the Valentine goodies because I need to move on to some top secret projects for someone, but before I finish sealing these up in envelopes, here are a few more sweet, funny Valentines...You'll note the copious use of those little honeycomb heart cupcake decorations. And I found these bags of vintage buttons I had packaged up for a flea market that got rained out, so I decided their creamy patina was perfect to frame a heart. For a soft, simple Valentine decoration that wasn't blatantly red & pink, I cut out a heart old-school style; fold, cut and unfold. Pulled out cards of vintage (and not so vintage) laces & trims and hot glued them. A banner covered in antique German glass glitter with I Love You and a vintage earring finished it all off. I'm adding this heart decoration to the Opus Gluei challenge of creating a decoration for your home. Doesn't have to be a Valentine's decoration. You are free to get crazy. :) Be sure to check out their other entries!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Season of Lurve

Have I asked you to hold me back from buying any more Valentine's Day papers because I already have more than I'll ever need? If I have, apologies. If I haven't, for the love of Pete, somebody stop me!

And half the time I make cards, layouts, canvases for different occasions using supplies that have nothing do to with the intended holiday. So why do this stuff continue to work its way into my supply? I'm pretty sure it's because we're all a bunch of happy enablers. Our 12 step program involves tips for finding the latest & greatest, new sources and coffee places in close proximity to our supply meccas.

Faced with all of these supplies, lovely and amazing though they are, I sat down to try and actually use some of them.
I made these cards with a mix of Teresa Collins, K & Co, Basic Grey and Heidi Swapp (super old stash, yikes). And you know what? I still have a LOT of Valentine's stuff from Teresa Collins, K & Co and Basic Grey. I love it all though. I mean, how could you not love a big pile of soft blush, pink and red with frilly stuff all around?
The next card has mostly stash; some Teresa Collins, Basic Grey, K & Co, Making Memories. But what isn't old stash is something I found in the cupcake supplies at the store. I saw these honeycomb heart cupcake toppers and said to myself "Self, those would make killer cute embellishments on a Valentine's card!"
You know what? They really do! Just snap the wooden toothpick off and you are all set. If you're mailing the card, don't open the honeycomb. Let the sender do that (send a little set of user instructions of course). The honeycome hearts are getting used elsewhere too. Hope to show that off eventually.
Until then, it's less than 2 weeks til Valentine's Day! If your honey doesn't do something special for you, do something special for yourself. You deserve it! :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Funny Valentine

After having an amazing time for Making Merry in December, Rosemary, Kim and I decided to get together for a day to celebrate Valentine's Day. This time Kim was hostess at her lovely home and she fed us incredible food. Nom, nom, nom. I'm still dreaming about that white lasagna...
Kim had us create 2 beautiful cards. I love that she didn't use a traditional Valentine's Day palette with the lavender card. For the other card, she had us beading which was soooooo fun! I could've kept making little beaded petals all day long. Rosemary used her wicked cool Cricut creativity to cut out matchboxes with acetate windows and brought an awesome stack of vintage images for us to fashion adorable Valentine's decorations. I hung them up right after I got home to show them off! I had bought a stack of chandelier ornaments after Christmas at Target (love Target!)for 50% off. I had a stash of honeycomb wedding bells because I always go to the party supply store for something like napkins and can't help but peruse the wedding & baby aisles for art supplies. Take some Paris slide images, vintage sheet music and a bit of glitter to alter those chandelier ornaments and they become gilded bell ornaments for Valentine's Day.
One of my favorite things to do (it seems), is to create holiday projects with supplies that aren't holiday themed. A few years ago, I bought a stack of Foofala papers from a friend who was having a scrapbook yard sale. 100 sheets of fun. None of them holiday themed, but some of them with a romantic, dusty palette that was ready to be fashioned into a Valentine.
I always sketch card designs or layout designs in my notebook. If you ever see my scribble-scrabble, you will look from sketch to finished project and wonder to yourself, "I don't see the resemblance." It helps me thing and work through the design process. For this card, I sketched (ha!) it out and started to measure, fold, play with different patterned papers, etc. I pulled in the grade school trick of folding paper in half to create a heart and used that as a template to cut a heart from a page torn from a vintage German book. I printed and distressed a love poem to use as the card sentiment. Added some bling, distress inks and vintage crepe paper and hope it fulfills the romance quota. But even more than the projects, it is the decision to take the time away for the purpose of creating, sharing and oh, the laughter that is food for the soul. We really did laugh over some funny Valentines. And I can't wait to come up with an excuse (perfectly good reason) to do it again!
These goodies also go perfectly with the latest Opus Gluei challenge. If you haven't checked them out before, head on over. Low pressure, high-octane creative fun! Come as you are and be embraced by the Poobahs. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fabulous Fifteen!

Oh wow! Just. Wow.

My baby is turning fifteen this Saturday. She was a blizzard baby, born right after the crazy blizzard we had in 1996. I remember my neighbor, who was a firefighter, freaking out when he saw me shoveling snow. I was ready for her to ARRIVE.

He very kindly offered to help me deliver her should I go into spontaneous labor. I think after I picked my jaw up off the floor, I thanked him and said something to the effect of "I will walk to the ER in snowshoes before you deliver this child because no way would I ever be able to look you in the eye again."

Fortunately all the roads were cleared of snow and the skies were full of stars on the night she came into this world. When I remember the night of her birthday I always think of this line by Shakespeare, "There was a star danced and under that I was born."
And she is a star. Happy Birthday Baby Girl! (I made this very girly card for her. She's starting to actually like bling-bling, so I'm milking that for all it's worth!) So much glitter on here. And rhinestones, pearls, Glimmer Mist, paper lace, old tulle, vintage seam binding, etc. It's an homage to a young lady who is growing up on me, but it still very playful at heart.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Return to the Roots

Long, long ago, a friend tricked me into scrapbooking by asking me to host a Creative Memories party to help her launch her new business. LOL Little did I know that as I was cutting wedding photos into star shapes and smattering them with sticker sneezes that I would become so hooked.

But I was.

It was a tether back to the creative little girl that I had been; who had been choked by the weeds of life, the real world and the admonition to 'grow up'. (as I type this I can't help but think of the John Candy movie, 'Uncle Buck' where he tells off the principal who wants him to crush the spirit of his imaginative niece, what a hilarious and sweet moment that was. Look it up!)

To all those who think scrapbooking is something soccer moms do in their myriad hours of spare time, I'm sorry you feel so negatively. I've met incredibly talented women (and men!) with rich, full lives who pour their creative spirit into documenting a life well-lived. Some are married, some are single. Some have 10 children, others have no children. Some are doctors and others are stay at home parents. ALL are valuable.
And yet, as much as I enjoy it and continue to invest in new product and/or tools, I hadn't scrapbooked at all in quite some time. I made a lot of art that I had a great time creating, but I'd gotten away from the heart of what got me back to creating in the first place: scrapbooking.

So, while others dressed up to go out and party on NYE, I pulled on some yoga pants, brewed some hot coffee and went to the studio to play.

And I loved it.
What I did isn't elaborate or newsworthy, but it was nourishing and renewing and most of all, it made my 2 oldest feel treasured because they are the subject of my time and effort. They laugh and weakly attempt to hide it from their friends, but then they pull all the old scrapbooks out and spend hours looking through their own lives. Lives well lived. (forgive the cropping of the photos. I'm still trying to figure out my new camera and its photo editing software!)