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.”
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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.

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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!

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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.

“Pieography” My life is like a pie!

“We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.”
― David Mamet, Boston Marriage

2013-06-17_1241I’ve recently had an essay published in the Summer 2013 issue of Where Women Cook. The challenge was to write a 500 word essay for “Pieography – If my life were a pie…”  In addition to the essay, contributors were asked to share the recipe for the “life-pie.”  I wrote about my life-long love affair with books and reading, and how it is resembles a yummy brownie-peanut butter pie.  I call it:  “So Many Books, So Little Time, Pie.”  You should definitely buy this issue just to get my recipe! It’s delicious and simple!  You can make this pie to enjoy while you kick your feet up to read a good book! This short essay was so fun to write, and I thank Jo Packham and the editors of WWC for the opportunity to share my life and my pie.

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If you don’t think your life resembles a pie, think again.  The 42 recipes and essays shared in the book Pieography: Where Pie Meets Biography by Jo Packham will have you thinking otherwise!  Seriously, this book will introduce you to Alice Currah’s Kahlua Chocolate Pecan PIe, and Michelle Muska’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Pie with Rhubarb, Peaches and Raspberries.  Is your mouth watering yet?!

Pieography-cover1-280x280Happy baking and happy reading!

Book Review: “The School of Essential Ingredients”

“Life is beautiful. Some people just remind you of that more than others.”
― Erica Bauermeister, The School of Essential Ingredients

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My book club read this lovely title a couple of years ago, and it still stands out as one of my all-time favorite “foodie” novels.  Today I learned that the author has recently published its sequel, and it reminded me of how much I enjoyed it, so I thought I would share a little bit about it with you.  I hope you’ll grab yourself a copy and when your done, please send me a note and share your thoughts.  Happy Reading!

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister  (Putnam Adult)

As a young girl, Lillian learned that by combining certain ingredients in the kitchen she could make a connection with her wounded and withdrawn mother.  As an adult, Lillian uses this gift to run a first-class restaurant as well as a weekly cooking class. On Monday evenings, students are allowed to conquer their fears in the kitchen as well as create delicious, simple food.  In doing so, each of them discovers what “essential ingredients” will not only improve their culinary skills, but also bring flavor to their lives. Told in a series of vignettes, readers will step into the personal struggles of each character and delight in the way stirring, slicing, smelling and tasting can inspire friendship and renewal. This tender novel will seduce your senses and inspire you to create loving menus with enticing ingredients. More importantly, through its tender glimpses into challenges of each character, it will encourage you to embrace your own abundance of small pleasures.  With captivating language and believable characters, this insightful novel will leave you as satisfied as a delicious meal.

It’s Spring…. Really!

“In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.”
–Mark Twain

Montanans love to say, “If you don’t like the weather, wait another ten minutes.”  This is especially true in the spring.  No matter the snow flurries of the past weekend, I still see signs of peonies popping through the earth!

I thought I would share a vintage advertisement from my stash of Saturday Evening Post magazines found literally – in my grandmother’s attic.  I love these old magazines and the nostalgia they inspire. This one was from the ’50’s. Unfortunately, the pages were too big for my scanner, but you get the idea. So, here’s to grandma’s attic, but equally as important, here’s to spring!

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Book Review – “Microcrafts: Tiny Treasures to Make and Share”

“For the person for whom small things do not exist, the great is not great.”
~Jose Ortega y Gasset

 

Microcrafts:  Tiny Treasures to Make and Share  compiled by Margaret McGuire, Alicia Kachmar, Katie Hatz and Friends (Quirk Books)

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Take a regular item, make it smaller, and what do you get?  Something that’s just plain adorable!  Miniatures have always been popular for their “cute-factor” and this book is BIG on cute.  Prepare yourself for the dilemma of deciding which of the twenty-five unique and completely different projects you will want to make first.  Will it be the scrumptious looking candy charms, the adorable little spool dolls, or perhaps the itty-bitty houseplants and terrariums?  Whatever you choose to make, you will have something to decorate your dollhouse, give as a gift, wear as jewelry, or simply add some charm to a darling little shelf.  Each project comes with simple, easy-to-follow directions as well as diagrams and illustrations that will make craft-time a joy.  The photographs are lovely, and the overall feel of the book a blend of sophisticated whimsy.  You will want your own copy of Microcrafts to turn to again-and-again– if for nothing more than to get your daily-dose of cute!  We want to extend a big thank you to Quirk Books for sharing the “Book” and “Deer Head” projects from Microcrafts with us for this issue.  Go ahead, give them a try, and don’t be surprised if you start dreaming up your own microcraft ideas!

(This review was first published in the Christmas issue of Amy Powers’ Inspired Ideas.  The publisher, Quirk Books, was generous enough to share two amazing projects from the book with readers of the magazine. The images below come from the magazine, not the actual book.  Hop on over to Amy’s site to check them out, and then grab yourself a copy of the book to see all of the other amazing projects!)

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Hello Bunny!

“For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born.” 

~Alice Freeman Palmer

I was wrapping up a gift yesterday, and I wanted to give it an extra-special touch. Lucky me,  I found this free pattern and whipped up this sweet little bunny to give it some Easter flair.  It worked up quickly and was super easy! I used Caron Simply Soft yarn and a size I crochet hook.  I think I will make more in pink, green and white.  Won’t that be festive?

bunny1The pattern came from Love the Bluebird but I changed the tail and used the tutorial from Vivid Please.

Happy Easter and Happy Stitching!

“Inspired Ideas” Spring Issue – It’s Here!

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.  ~Hal Borland

covernoshadowI loved working on the spring issue of Amy Powers’ Inspired Ideas.  Once again, I helped edit the articles and wrote several book reviews.  This issue includes several more book reviews for craft titles as well as three amazing fiction titles. This time I chose three novels with a flower “theme.”  All of them are very different, but very good!  Isn’t this the perfect time of year to settle in a sunny window and crack open a good book?bookclub

My favorite non-fiction book review this go-around was a fantastic little book by Lilla Rogers called I Just Like to Make Things.  This book is just a treasure-trove of advice and inspiration for those of us who want to maximize our creativity.  It’s especially for those who want to turn their creative passion into a career.  Pick up a copy soon.  You won’t be disappointed!lillarogersbookHowever, it’s really the crafts that make Amy’s publication so special.  Each unique craft idea is full of cheer and whimsy.  You’ll have a hard time deciding which project to try first!  To be honest, Amy’s bird nests are at the top of my list, as well as the sweet little Easter cloches designed by Ashlee Parkashleecloche2 nests

If you’re in the mood to bust some of the stashes in your craft closet, head on over and check out all of the great ideas in this issue.  It’s quite an amazing deal for so much loveliness!  Be sure to stop back by and let me know if you read one of the recommended books or whip up something special for spring!

Happy crafting and happy reading!