Office Work

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.  ~Confucius

Seriously, have you gotten your subscription to Uppercase! Magazine, yet?  It’s one of my favorite things to discover in my mailbox!  This graphically rich, whimsical, and all-around cornucopia of all things art-related never fails to make me smile.  I’ve had such a blast responding to their calls for submission.  In issue #18, I was lucky enough to have a piece published in their Handsome Ransom feature. That one was so much fun to create!

This time, the challenge was a call for letterforms and alphabets made with office supplies.  I went out onto my back deck and took some photos of my three vintage staplers in configurations no one had ever imagined before!  The result was unique, and my submission was printed right up-front in the feature.  I love the challenges – they give me an excuse to flex my creative skills.  Thanks Uppercase!

notion004This recent issue is another visual feast. I love the artist profiles, the interesting feature stories, and of course, the snippets of creative and curious things to look at.

#19 cover previewHappy Reading and Happy Working!

Time to Hang it Up!

“Order is the shape upon which beauty depends.”  –Pearl S. Buck

Don’t you love it when your closet is in order and things are arranged by color and type?  Things are so much easier to find, and it’s not such a chore to plan your clothes for the next day.  (One of my pet peeves is when the shoulders of my clothes get misshapen from those plastic or metal hangers.)  That’s why I love my crocheted hangers!  I got my first hangers as a little girl.  They were a gift from my great Aunt Helen.  I used to save them only for special items in my closet, but now I use them for everything.  In fact,  I still have the ones she made me, and I’ve added to my collection over the years.  Recently, I made a whole set for a special young lady I know.  I am helping her celebrate her senior year by sending one gift a month.  This month, she received some hangers with which to hang all of the pretty outfits she will need:  Homecoming, Prom, Winter Formal, Senior Banquet…. the list goes on.  I told Mom to get out the credit card!  At least she’ll have something nice to organize all of these lovelies in her closet!

hangers3You can order the wooden hangers online, and I got this simple, classic pattern here.  They whip up so quickly and will protect your clothes and display them in style!

Happy Fall and Happy Stitching!

 

Let the Countdown Begin!

“Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by so quickly you hardly catch it going.” –Tennessee Williams

A beautiful young lady in my life has just begun her senior year of high school, and I know how special and exciting that time was for me.  So, I wanted to do something throughout this year to let her know I’m thinking about her and lend her bits of wisdom about being seventeen.  At the beginning of the school year in late August, I sent her a package with a card I made for her:

chalkboardlrg-002I used a chalkboard template that I got from the blog “How to Nest for Less.”  I also used many of the fonts recommended on that post.  I downloaded most of them from Dafont.  Included in the  package was a beautiful journal designed in all of her favorite colors. (Journal by Paperchase from Borders)

journal1I wrote heartfelt letter encouraging my sweet girl to diligently document her senior year as something she could look back on in the future. I wanted it to be something that she had a hand in creating, but here are some of the suggestions I offered:

  • Will it become a “to-do” list for your busy year?
  • Will it become a “bucket list” for the things you want to experience this year, or in your life?
  • Will it become a gratitude journal listing 3-5 things a day for which you are thankful?
  • Will it become a one-sentence-a-day journal (www.happiness-project.com)?
  • Will you write long, detailed ramblings about the ups-and-downs of your year?
  • Will it become a scrapbook journal with items taped and pasted inside?
  • Will it be a dream journal of all the crazy things that go through your head while you sleep?
  • Will it be a simple journal listing three things that happened to you that day – good, bad or just plain worth remembering?
  • Or, will it just be a little bit of all-of-the-above?
  • Or will you make up your own journal format?

School is almost two months underway.  She assures me she is writing!  I am looking forward to coming up with something clever and meaningful for each month of this year until her special graduation day next May.

Book Review: “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

 

“I would far rather have two or three lilies of the valley gathered for me by a person I like, than the most expensive bouquet that could be bought!”    –Elizabeth Gaskell

 

The Language of Flowers book cover

A foster child for all of her life, eighteen-year-old Victoria is emancipated from the system with few social skills and a bad attitude.  Now all on her own, Victoria can’t help thinking about Elizabeth, the loving woman who once wanted to adopt her – who took her in and taught her the beautiful language of flowers. After a heartbreaking chain of events separates them, Victoria copes by focusing on flowers, and using them to communicate her pain, until a chance encounter brings her face-to-face with her past – challenging her to move forward as she bitterly clings to the past. This beautifully written novel leaves the reader haunted by Victoria’s choices, but hopeful for the second chance she deserves. After taking this journey with her, you won’t look at a yellow rose or a cherry blossom in the same way, and you’ll find yourself thinking about the characters, again and again, wishing them well as if they were old friends.

Check out the website for this lovely book and learn more about the author here.  Happy Reading!

 

Out On a Limb

“You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes because that’s where the fruit is.”
Will Rogers

ImageLast weekend we took a nice long hike up to an old fire-lookout.  The structure is no longer there, but you can still see the remnants of the old foundation.  It’s amazing to think that not long ago, men (and possibly women?) were hired to live in these places keeping watch for blazes.  How lonely it must have been.  Perhaps it was also very quiet and peaceful, made more tolerable by the abundance of sweet huckleberries ripe for the picking in late August.  I know that huckleberries are a luxury to us native Montanans, but it breaks my heart to think of all the folks out there who have never tasted one.  We love them on our pancakes, in our muffins, and definitely straight out of the bowl.  Yet, the finest way to sample a huckleberry is to wake up before the sun, drive to a remote location in the mountains of northwest Montana, and start walking.  If you’re lucky, you will be greeted by endless bushes on a south-facing slope.  Find the ones that are dark purple and pluck easily from the bush.  When you bite into it, you will swear you are tasting pure sunshine.

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Journey of the Heart

“The beauty of the heart
is the lasting beauty.” –Rumi

I spend a lot of time hiking the trails, wandering the creeks, and simply exploring the beauty of northwest Montana.  Last summer we took a special hike to one of the favorite mountaintops of our beloved Hondo – a dog that we loved for seventeen years and to whom we had recently said good-bye.  On that hike (an especially long one, I might add) I decided that I wanted to find a heart-shaped rock to bring home as a memento.  Well, I found a few, and this year, when we returned to that special place, I found a few more.  Once I started looking, they seemed to find me.  So, here’s to Montana, and here’s to the love of a good dog.  They steal our hearts, and they’re never the same, are they?IMG_3239

Kitchy Cute = doe-c-doe

“Without atmosphere a painting is nothing.”
― Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn

I’m loving by the photos for sale in the Etsy shop doe-c-doe.  First of all, I’m a little obsessed by old Paint-by-Numbers pictures.  I’ve been snagging them at thrift stores and consignment shops lately, and I think they’re just peachy!  I hit a garage sale last a couple of weeks ago and found a vintage kit with the print still in the box – untouched. (I’ve got big plans for sitting down with that bad-boy this winter and trying my hand at a little long-forgotten craft skill.)  Here are three of the kitchy-cute  pieces of photography available from doe-c-doe. red bicycle with paint by number background print

avon camper with paint by number background print

ewe with paint by number background printAdorable, don’t you agree?  Perhaps I’ll get all three!

Handsome Ransom

“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”
Muriel Rukeyser

One of my favorite magazines is UPPERCASE Magazine, a quarterly publication printed in Calgary.  I had the opportunity to meet editor / publisher / designer, Janine Vangool when I attended a conference in St. Paul two  years ago.  I fell in love with the eclectic mix of articles and photography, and I wait anxiously for it to arrive in my mailbox each season. It’s such a work of art, that I can’t bear to part with any of my issues, and I can’t imagine it not being on paper.  It just wouldn’t be the same in a digital format.  (There’s the traditionalist in me coming forward!)  Here is a brief description of UPPERCASE from their website:

UPPERCASE publishes books and magazines for the creative and curious: products that spark the imagination and inspire creativity…Our books profile up-and-coming artists or explore emerging trends in design and creativity….A playful exploration of creativity, an affinity for vintage ephemera, and a love of typography are some elements common to many of our publications.”
UPPERCASE-18-COVER-this-one
Last spring, I noticed a “call for participation”  – a challenge if you will- to submit something for their collage-themed issue.  They called it the “Handsome Ransom” project, and they wanted readers to come up with a creation using cut-up words and letters in a “ransom note” style.  I just couldn’t resist trying my hand at something fun like this.  After all, I’ve been a huge fan of collage over the years and have made a few found poems using cut words from magazines.  I’ve always found it very enjoyable, as it combines my love of words with visual creativity. (I also can’t resist a good challenge!)  So, I spent my spring break this year working on my “masterpiece.”  Imagine my surprise when I returned from vacation yesterday to find my issue of UPPERCASE waiting for me.  I eagerly thumbed through it and voila’, there it was, my version of a “Handsome Ransom.”  I used a page from a falling apart novel, and words from a vintage copy of the Saturday Evening Post to spread a message that I hold dear to my heart…  I hope you like it!
 
 
2013-07-22_0758A big thank you to Janine Vangool and UPPERCASE Magazine for printing my creation.  It was a ton of fun to make, and I hope others will enjoy it!  In the meantime, head over to the website at UPPERCASE, and subscribe to this inspiring and visually stimulating publication.  If you appreciate art, words, photography and interesting bits-and-pieces of this-and-that…. if you have an affinity for nostalgia and appreciate traditional ways of doing things… you will love UPPERCASE!
 
 
 

Restoration Hardware: Shelf Knockoff

“Why hurry over beautiful things? Why not linger and enjoy them?”
Clara Schumann

Recently, I became sad about all of the beautiful pottery I have collected that has been sitting in boxes since my last move (six years ago!)  I desperately needed some shelves to display my collection, and for some reason, this look from Restoration Hardware really caught my eye.  However, the price was out of my budget.  So, I headed to the hardware store, and came up with a similar design that looks fantastic in my bedroom and didn’t cost an arm and a leg!  Now I am enjoying my pottery, and also realizing that I probably shouldn’t buy any more because these shelves are FULL.

Here are the versions from RH.  Aren’t they beautiful?

shelfjingbracketsjingAnd here’s what I came up with…. First, I bought some galvanized steel pipe with a threaded end.  I think they came in one foot  lengths.  I used a pipe cutter to trim each end to length.  It took a little while, but it wasn’t too bad.  I cleaned each of the pipes really well with some de-greaser.

shelf4

Then I added a floor flange and a black plastic plug (these are in the isle next to all of the pipe.)  I spray painted them an oil-rubbed bronze color.shelf5Then I put them in the drill press and added holes so I can attach the brackets securely to the shelf.

shelf3Here’s how they turned out.  I think they look very similar to the more expensive ones from RH, don’t you?

shelf6My shelves are actually re-purposed bi-fold closet doors from our Habitat for Humanity Resale store.  I removed the brackets, cleaned them up, and added a couple of coats of clear satin spray paint for protection.  Now I can enjoy all of my vintage pieces of pottery…. Really, I have enough!

shelf2shelf1

I Get to Live Here

“The Earth Laughs in Flowers.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson 

I’m so blessed to be able to spend my weekends in the mountains of northwest Montana. Nature, in all its glory, is right outside our back door, and June is when it is at its most splendid.  These are just a few of the amazing displays from last weekend.  As you can see, it’s important to have my camera with me at all times!  The wild roses are in bloom, the Beargrass is beginning to appear, and the Lupine is in full-force!  The Arrowood is so fragrant, that the air is full of it’s sweet smell.  It’s times like this when I am especially grateful that I get to live here. 

rosebeargrasspurplekittenearschapparalleHey, I took these pictures myself. Please do not take them without permission.  Thanks for your respect.