Oh Deer, Christmas is Here!

More Decorating, More Treasures

“The sleigh was all packed, the reindeer were fed…” –Warren D. Jennings

Sometimes I find some wonderful treasures at the thrift store to make it an extra merry Christmas.  I thought I would share a few of my recent finds.

IMG_3515 No markings on this piece, so it’s probably homemade– Which makes it even more special!

IMG_3530Vintage “Japan” Ceramics

IMG_3517A lovely vintage Napco planter.

 

Merry Christmas and Merry Thrifting!

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Time to Get Inspired!

More Books, More Crafts

“Christmas isn’t a season.  It’s a feeling.” – Edna Ferber

The latest issue of Amy Powers’ Inspired Ideas is now available online!  You are going to LOVE this latest treasure trove of crafty holiday inspiration!  I am proud to be a part of putting it all together.  From writing the book reviews to editing the copy, every bit of it was a pleasure!

cover-1One of my favorite projects was Noodle and Lou’s Gift Toppers.  I mean, how cute are these?  Time to start gathering the vintage papers and get to work!

jennsflowersI also have a soft spot in my heart for these adorable vintage ephemera letters by Ashlee Park!  Seriously cute, don’t you think?

ashleeslettersAnd I can’t help but mention the book reviews.  Among several craft-book reviews I wrote for this issue, I also included some great “snow-themed” fiction books – perfect for a cozy afternoon by the fire.

bookclubHurry over to Amy’s site to get this incredible online magazine for only $3.99.  It’s a great bargain for so many great ideas!

christmas2013promoHappy Holidays, Happy Crafting, and of course, Happy Reading!

Book Review: “Rosette Art” by Cathe Holden

More Books, More Crafts, More Miscellaneous

“It is deeply satisfying to win a prize in front of a lot of people.”
― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

I wholeheartedly agree with the above quote by E.B. White.  Each of us should have a chance to win the big prize, shouldn’t we?  Well, there’s no better way to give a fantastic “prize” to someone you love than to make something from Cathe Holden’s recent book, Rosette Art (Chronicle Books).

Rosette-Art-Cover-470We’ve all got them… stashes, boxes, bags and drawers overflowing with simple treasures we can’t bear to part with.  Vintage fabric, ribbon and buttons; lovely papers, pretty pictures and tiny trinkets.  Well, Cathe Holden presents the perfect project for using up some of our beloved scraps…. Rosettes!  Such a simple, but versatile idea! This one-of-a-kind book is more than an assortment of unique rosette crafts; it’s also a collection of lovely papers to incorporate into the designs. For many, the traditional rosette reminds us of the elusive first-place ribbon.  However, with inspiration from this book, you can make a loved-one, or even yourself, feel like the grand-prize winner! The endless list of suggestions will start your own creative juices flowing, and soon you will be hooked-on dreaming up your own clever rosette patterns.   Try a garland, mobile, ornament or wreath.  Whatever you choose, you likely won’t be able to stop with just one!

Head on over to Cathe’s website, Just Something I Made to get started on one of my favorite projects from the book — the Money Rosette.  Wouldn’t this be a perfect “prize” for someone’s special birthday?

cathe_holden_dollar_rosetteShe also shares the directions to make these amazing shelf-paper rosettes.  Can’t you just imagine all of the possibilities?!

CatheHolden-shelfpaper-rosettes-01Pick up a copy of Cathe’s amazing book– complete with papers to get started.  You’re sure to win first place with all of your friends when you whip-up some unique, and thoughtful, gifts!

(This review was originally published in the Spring 2013 issue of Amy Powers’ Inspired Ideas.  For one of Cathe’s projects, as well as some other “prize-winning” crafts, be sure to check out this fantastic issue!)

Office Work

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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!

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“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!

More Crafts, More Miscellaneous

“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

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“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

More Miscellaneous, More Nature

“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.

Image

Journey of the Heart

More Miscellaneous, More Nature, More Treasures

“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

More Crafts, More Decorating, More Treasures

“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!