Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The worst time of the year

Without a doubt, the worst time of the year for me is undecorating time.  There is no other time of the year that makes me feel like time is passing by too fast than the days I spend removing all the holiday joy from my house.  Birthdays, Anniversaries and any other time-marking-events don't even come close.

The only joy I get is knowing that in 11 more months, I get to once again unwrap little treasures like this house I bought at Brimfield a couple years ago.  

The good part about this time of year is gearing up for CHA the Craft and Hobby Association Convention that occurs at the end of January/Beginning of February every year.  I just love heading out to Southern California to see my old friends and make new ones.  This year I'll be three times as busy as normal with make and takes, book signings, and demos for 4 different booths and one workshop of 100 students!  

I promise to post all the specifics later this week.  Stay tuned.

Do you have any creative ways for dealing with post holiday joyness?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A piece of cake

This is the gift I made especially for Abby this Christmas.  It is a crocheted cupcake pin cushion.  The theme for Abby's gifts this year was FASHION DESIGNER!  Yes, I got my little 7 year old a sewing machine and a 21" manequin and fabric and this sweet little pin cushion.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of it in a bell jar (one of my obsessive collections) that I bought at Sur La Table.

After much searching on the internet, I ended up making up my own pattern.  I used a ribbing technique (single crochet in the back loop only) for the cupcake paper part and then concentric circles with variations for the frosting.  The bottom has dried beans to weigh it down and then is stuffed with fiberfill.  Large headed pins look like fancy pearlized sprinkle.  SO sweet.

Did you give any creatively themed gifts this year?

Monday, December 29, 2008

I dreamt of a white Christmas!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!  How can one talk about being creative while talking about shoveling snow??  Easy, live in a pedestrian neighborhood or city and talk about where you're going to put 16" of snow!  We have a front driveway, and a tandemly shared side driveway.  Plows came as often as 4 times an hour (not complaining because they kept the street clear), plowing us in.  What to do?  Lots of advil and a FORT!  Yes that mound of snow in front of the barn doors is where we put all the snow.  It got bigger than this too.  This is only about 1/2 way through the storm.  
Sadly, just a few days later and the snow is almost fully melted thanks to some warm weather and rain.

What weather makes you feel creative?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Perfectly Made

Today I get to have breakfast with some of my dearest local friends. It is our cookie, holiday exchange, gossip, venting, relaxing, get together. I have been looking forward to this all year. I have been on the search for the perfect Christmas present since January.
I wanted to make them each something special and felt it needed to be something that was luxurious. I also wanted to give them something that said, "I pay attention to you." or "I noticed you didn't have this and I've been dying to get it for you, make it for you, or share it with you". If at all possible I wanted the gift to be something handmade or something that let them hand make something. I just have to add the bows and I'll be already to deliver the goodies.
I wonder if it's even possible for them to enjoy the gifts as much as it was for me to prepare them.
What are your creative qualifications for the perfect gift?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy accidents

This piece is one of the Bingo Card collages I made for Shop Local that took place last weekend. I am always searching for relevant collage material. If I'm designing a piece on babys, the sheet music will be a lullaby, about immigrants, the papers will be about other countries, and so on.
The main section of this piece is from a geography book from the 1800's. I pulled it out a while before because I liked the horse drawn sleigh picture and it wasn't until I was putting this piece together that I discovered that it was a page on Norway--a country near and dear to my friend Karin's heart. It said that Norweigans were a generous and frugal people. I found that entirely too funny. It made me go back into the book to read what they wrote about other countries. Let's just say it was not very PC.
Karin ended up getting this piece which touched me because she really took the time to look at everything and spotted the Norway reference herself. She asked if I had made the piece especially for her. I told her, while I didn't set out to make it for her, as I happened upon my happy accident of choosing this page on Norway, I did restructure my focus to make something worthy of her.
What creative accidents have you had?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The To Do List

I can't believe I found time to blog today. I have so much to do. My fingers keep getting cold while I'm working so I need to go looking for fingerless gloves to try to keep them warm.
We're having a kids party next week and I have to pick up some supplies for that. There are checks that need to be cashed. I am 2 months behind on a hair cut and I also need to sit at the car glass repair shop for two hours.
The two hours of quietly sitting might scare some people, especially during this busy holiday season but not me. I enjoy a forced respite every once in a while. I can't do the dishes, fold laundry or cook dinner because I have to remain in one place far away from it all.
For me, it means enjoying a break to crochet a special little gift for Abby and listening to a podcast of NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. This is Joy to me.
How do you creatively spend your time waiting?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Love and Lunch

Gifts that keep on giving--that's today's theme. This picture is a book I received from my mum (Hi Mum!) for my birthday. It's called Lunch Box Letters: Writing Notes of Love and Encouragement to Your Children by Carol Sperandeo and Bill Zimmerman (Firefly Books 2000). The book is filled with little notes, some with prompts, to write and insert into lunchboxes, back packs and pockets.

Next to the book is a fabulous new bookmark/pen that was gifted to me by Karin as a hostess gift for her BBQ Birthday. A truly creative gift because I keep it clipped to this book so I never have the excuse that leaving a note is too much hassle.

I'm inspired by this book to make my own little love notes for my girls, husband, family and friends. How do you leave secret love notes?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Festivus Preparation...

I wish you a merry-whatever-you-celebrate, I wish you a merry-whatever-you-celebrate and a Happy New Year.

Oh, don't mind me, I'm deep up to my neck in holiday spirit these days.  I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the intake of gingerbread, chocolate and mini marshmellows.  

I spent the weekend quietly being creative with my brood.  We baked cookies.  Dozens and dozens of cookies.  Here they are all wrapped up for a bunch of our close family and friends (oops, just spoiled the surprise).  I have a few more dozen to go of our favorite Belgian cookies for a cookie swap.  I don't bake a lot.  REALLY!  It's only one or two days a year that I wish I had a double oven.

Abby, in her most givingness, wants to make sure she can give cookies to the new girl in her class who just started on Friday.  How sweet you think, right?  Yes, beyond sweet.  She was very excited to have this new little girl not only in her class, but sitting at her cluster!  Oh JOY!  and Abby thinks she MUST feel welcomed!  

Abby got to meet the new girl who comes here to Brookline from China!  Poor thing doesn't speak any (or very little) English yet.  But, alas, this has not dampened Abby's holiday spirit.  She has already fashioned a paper "friends forever" necklace (with the help of her sister) so that this lovely child knows that Abby is ready, willing and able to be her friend.  (oh, and for those of you who are worried, the new girl also sits with two other lovely students who are fluent in Chinese and English).

So Abby chose to be creative because her heart lead her there.  Where will your heart lead you this holiday season?

Hmm, is anyone else craving Dim Sum and Gingerbread now?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Week at Creative Imaginations

Well, you've been wondering when and where you could get your parts and parcels album and while you wait for them to appear at your local store, you can check out the Creative Imaginations Blog where I am guest blogging this week!  Make sure you stop by and make a comment or two, they will be picking a winner from the comments at the end of the week!  
Do you feel like a winner?

If you've ever had your work table look like this you might not feel like a winner!  I can't believe I'm showing you this shot but hopefully it will make all of you feel a little better about yourselves.  See what I do for you?  Creative Mess therapy!

Can you work like this or are you a neat freak? email me a picture and we can compare notes!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Think a small way.

An on going discussion a couple of my local mixed media and collage artist friends and I keep having is about the ability (or not) to work BIG.  When you look in books, you can only go so big without changing your whole process.  BUT, you can play with scale--by going SMALLER!  These little collages are about 2" square but I'm still able to work in a lot of detail in each piece.  These are mini versions of my Story Sketches which you've seen me work on in other posts.

So, while I'm busy looking for someone who is throwing away old posters and billboards, I'll continue to stretch in small ways.

How about you, how do you creatively play with scale?  

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I'm alive! Again!

These pictures are to tide you over until I get my camera uploaded later today.  They are a couple of quick shots of the assembled jewels (collage necklaces) that I put together for Shop Local.  

We had a great turn out and I pretty much didn't look at the time until we hit a lull at 5:15 and realized it was over.  So much fun, great art and fabulous munchies too.

Thanks to all who stopped by, with or without a purchase, for those who brought canned goods (we have three overflowing bags) and for those who put in their order from Mexico!

I took yesterday off and single handedly tried to pull America out of recession.  If the stock market goes up significantly today, you can send your thanks to me!  
Today is wrapping and regrouping (oh and a trip to see MILK with a couple of good friends).

My good friend Mary from Quayside drove down and it seems she was on a tour of Brookline Carriage houses!  Read more!

Also, there was a shout out on the Craftside Blog (suspiciously similar pics) about Shop Local.  It might be worth a minute of your time as Stefanie (the blogger) is giving away BOOKS for comments! GO NOW! (and if you bought something from my Shop can mention that!)

So to end for today I'll tell you about my creative bagging I did for the Shop Local event.  Instead of ordering paper bags to send purchases home in, I bought inexpensive non-woven reuseable shopping bags!  They are so cute and GREEN! (although I bought the blue!)  I hope people will use them over and over again or even use them as gift bags. Check out PaperMart for great (read affordable) buys for your gift wrapping.   

How are you going to creatively give your gifts this holiday?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Three more days until Shop Local!

I'm almost ready.  Almost.  But first I have to get through tonight.  Both the book signing at Brookline Booksmith and the Brookline Arists Open Studios First light Event.

It doesn't help that Matt is in Vegas and I have no one to bounce things off of.  I honestly didn't realize how much I depend on his feedback!  So, here! I'm going to show you instead! (or maybe Matt if he signs on and reads some blogs).
These are just little fun holiday hangings I've made with book pages, photos and sheet music I've been saving.  Oh, and my Tinsel Trading finds as well.  Oh to be creative without a deadline--now that would be a lovely gift!

What would you do if someone gave you 5 more hours today?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Inspired by color?!?

  I try, really I do!  I try to use different colors when I work.  Sometimes I start with brown or black or even red but I alway end up adding more and more color--All bright cheerful, whimsical colors.  We spent a day in NYC over the Turkey day holiday.  The first photo is from M&M world--a see of chocolate candies.  The last picture is the street behind the Natural History Museum which connects the two streets where the parade balloons were being inflated.  And there, in the middle is a sea of my new story sketches (no two alike), that I'm preparing for the Shop Local event at my house this Sunday Dec 7 from 1-5 pm.  These are so fun and gorgeous (if I do say so myself) in a grouping that it's hard to picture them all separated.  But, because each one tells its own story, they definitely can be stand alone pieces too.  

How does color define what you're doing today?