Club Little House

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

clublittlehouse
When I was in elementary school, I became quite enamored by dollhouse miniatures.  There was something about the tiny little items that enchanted me.  Of course, I had quite a stint with my Barbies, yet it seemed I spent more time designing their houses than actually playing with them.  That compulsion to decorate somehow evolved into creating little dollhouses inside cardboard boxes.  Then I received a REAL dollhouse kit for Christmas, and my mom let me spread out all of the supplies on the kitchen table, and I glued and painted to my heart’s content.  I still have those minis tucked away, and I absolutely must get them out, dust them off, and enjoy them once again!  My love of miniatures has been dormant for quite some time, yet I recently rekindled my obsession by participating in “Club Little House” which was organized by the wonderfully crafty Amy Powers.
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“Club Little House” littles created by Amy Powers

“Club Little House” participants agreed to construct twelve 1:12 miniature items and ship them to Amy by the deadline.  For a small fee, she graciously packaged up twelve items and sent them to all of us in return.  As a result, we each received a lovely assortment of clever, and lovingly-crafted “littles.”  I am quite in love with everything I received.  You can take a look at all of the items, including mine, here.
I spent quite awhile trying to come up with just the right thing to create for “Club Little House.”  In the end, I decided to make something that relates to my job as a teacher.  Here’s what I came up with….
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“Club Little House” miniature school charts by Kerrie More

They are pretty simple, but to tell you the truth, they were very time consuming.  I love how they turned out, and I hope the recipients who received my “littles” enjoy them as much as I did making them.  (Just a note:  I did not make any money from the creation of these items.  If you like these images, you should go to this site and purchase them, much bigger of course, from – Paper Source.)

I was so impressed by the items in my “Club Little House” box, but imagine my delight when I discovered a sweet “little” from one of my favorite artists, Mary Engelbreit!  Don’t you love them?
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“Club Little House” littles created by Mary Engelbreit

Participating in “Club Little House” was really a lot of fun.  I want to thank Amy Powers for organizing such an enjoyable artistic opportunity and for sparking my love of miniatures once again. I loved it so much, I am already thinking of what I might create for the next “Club Little House!”

Happy Summer and Happy Crafting!
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One Resolution

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“Happiness is a place between too little and too much.” –Finnish Proverb

I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions.  I’ve never had much luck with them, and it seems that all of them are centered around doing more, or less, of something.  More exercise, more vegetables, more fun time, less sugar, less television, less stress… Sound familiar?  My favorite resolution each year is simply to focus on “Balance.”  Some weeks are better than others, but when I focus on trying to include a little of “this”, and a little of “that,” in my life things just seem to feel right.  Too much of anything just messes with my equilibrium.  So, I made a little reminder of my focus for 2014.

balanceHappy New Year and Best Wishes for balanced 2014!

Time to Get Inspired!

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“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

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“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!)

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!

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

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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!

“Buttoning Up” My Christmas Gifts!

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“Each day provides its own gifts.” -Marcus Aurelius

I just whipped up a lovely necklace to give as a Christmas gift to a special friend.  My inspiration came from the amazing designs of Molly Bernier from Whimsy House.  Looking at her jewelry reminds me of being a kid in a candy store!  These antique buttons are hard to come by, so I was lucky to get one in a grab bag of buttons from the thrift store.  Score! IMG_1648This was so easy!  1.  Break off the wire attachments on the back. 2.  Use E6000 to glue on a jewelry bail (easy to find on Etsy or Ebay.) 3. Cut a ribbon or cord to length and add clasp hardware. 4.  Enjoy all of the compliments you receive!  I hope you’re finding time for handmade this holiday season!

It’s Finally Here! Amy Powers’ Inspired Ideas: The Christmas Issue

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I am so excited to announce that the Christmas issue of Amy Powers’ Inspired Ideas has finally been published!  If you’ve never had a chance to experience her beautiful, inspiring online publication, it’s time to head on over to her website to take a peek!  Once you start looking at this issue, as well as back issues, you will become enamored and will want to read them all! This publication is a unique mixture of craft ideas and tutorials with a vintage feel that is strong on whimsy.   Christmas is right around the corner, and I know you will be heading to the craft store right away so you can whip-up an adorable vintage mesh stocking (just like the one you got as a kid!), some shiny tin ornaments for your tree or perhaps a miniature deer mount as a gift for the friend who has it all!  All of the directions, along with fantastic pictures, are provided to make it a piece-of-cake to create something delightful to get into the holiday spirit!

I was thrilled to contribute to this issue by reviewing some heart-warming holiday reads.  Furthermore, I served as the editor of this issue, and was able to lend a scrutinizing eye for typos and other small nit-picky details that perhaps only someone with an English degree would even bother to notice!

To experience some unique craft ideas and be introduced to some adorable new products — and of course, read my inspiring book reviews — hurry over and take a look! If you read (or have read) any of the book titles that I recommend in my article, I sincerely hope that you will stop back and leave me a comment with your thoughts.  It’s so much fun to talk books!

Happy Holidays, happy crafting, and happy reading!

Loving the Library

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I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.  ~Jorge Luis Borges

Yes, I am a librarian, and love that I get to spend each day in “paradise.”  I found a little time to get crafty earlier this week, and I made a little desktop sign for my dear friend and colleague who just finished her master’s degree in library science. It was a lot of hard work, but now she is done!  I hope she will display this proudly and remember how lucky she is to work in the greatest profession in the world!

This craft project is seriously easy and you may remember my post from earlier this year when I made a similar one for a friend’s birthday.  Anyway, I took some recycled game pieces that I gathered from the thrift store and a little “tray” that came from a vintage game…. glued them with some E6000 glue…. and there you have it!

Happy crafting, and happy reading!  I hope you make time to visit your library TODAY!!

“The Art of Reading” with Joan Tapper

The Art of Reading

When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.  ~Enrique Jardiel Poncela

Photo credit: Gale Zucker

Recently I had the pleasure of reviewing an incredibly beautiful and absolutely inspiring book…. Craft Activism by Joan Tapper and Gale Zucker. This amazing book was selected in Amazon’s Best Books of 2011! (You can check out my more complete review here.)   After posting my review, I was delighted to hear from Joan, herself, and was not surprised to learn that as a writer, she is also an avid reader.  I thoroughly enjoyed her book, but I especially enjoy stopping by her blog from time to time to see some of the amazing projects that have been inspired by her book. (Seriously, it looks like she has the most interesting life!)  I know you will enjoy some of these fantastic creations as much as I do!  Among other topics, Joan has written about creativity, travel, and interesting places,  and is a sought-after editor who lends her skills to a wide variety of genres.  Check out her website to learn more about this talented writer.

Website:  Joan Tapper        Blog:  Craft Activism

What creativity do you share with the world?  I believe in the written word, and as a writer and editor have tried to promote excellence.

  • Book OR e-reader? book
  • Buy OR lend from the library? Often the library, but I’ll buy books I can’t find there or those I want to keep, especially books written by friends of mine
  • Hardcover OR paperback? both
  • One book at a time OR several? Usually one
  • Skip ahead and read the last page OR be patient and wait? Patience is a virtue
  • Bookmark or fold over the page corner? bookmark
  • Abandon a bad book OR stick with it no matter what? To the bitter end
  • Laugh OR cry? Why choose
  • Cover Love:  I love the cover of …….. sorry too many choices

What is the next book on your stack of books to read?  I’ve got Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder and Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters (both passed along by a friend), Janna Malamud Smith’s My Father is a Book and Cynthia Ozick’s Dictation (courtesy of a book giveaway at the community college where my husband teaches) and Katherine Stewart’s The Good News Club, written by a friend and bought at a book-signing event.

How do you acquire the books you read?  I’ll reserve a book at the library when I read a promising review; that extends to popular mysteries and thrillers and literary novels. I’ll pick up a book at Chaucer’s, my local indy bookstore, for an upcoming book group meeting. Occasionally a friend will pass along a book. Online? On rare occasions.

How do you choose the books you read?  I follow certain authors, but I’m interested in many subjects, both fiction and non. When I read a review that sounds interesting, I’ll make a point to find and read it. But I also am delighted when members of my book group choose something I would never have thought of…a classic, science fiction, a science topic. I like being introduced to new writers and ideas.

Do you have a book that you love so much that you re-read it periodically?  You can put me in the Jane Austen club. I could read and reread Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion every year. Austen is sharp-eyed and precise in her use of language. And of course, you always know things will turn out well for the heroine. What a comfort!

What are the characteristics of your favorite books? I think I tend to like books whose authors exhibit a wry sense of humor and a generosity toward their characters, as well as an acute sense of place. That could mean Ann Taylor’s works, those by Alexander McCall Smith, Larry Shames’s Key West mysteries; it could mean Tolstoy’s War and Peace or Anna Karenina. Even a nonfiction work like Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks shares those qualities.

How do you fit reading into your busy life?  It’s not an issue. If reading is important – and it is – you find time to sit down for a few minutes and do it. I’ll start with newspapers at the breakfast table, a magazine story over lunch, and a book for at least a few minutes (and often more) at bedtime.

I am proud to say that I have actually read… Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past and Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time – both brilliant multivolume sagas. I took them on lengthy vacations many years ago and they filled the hours wonderfully.

I am in a book club and it goes something like this….  There are about 13 of us and we meet each month (first Wednesday) at a different house, which goes in alphabetical order. Hostess provides dinner (often memorably keyed to the book.) We eat and discuss. Everyone gets to have a say uninterrupted, then it’s a lively free for all. It’s a fairly literary group, with several writers and a publisher included, so opinions are strong. Then the hostess gets to choose the book for two months down the road, which gives us time to get it from the library and actually read it.

One of my favorite craft books is…. My own two, of course, with photographer Gale Zucker: Shear Spirit and Craft Activism.

Thank you, Joan, for sharing your love of reading with us!  Here’s to good books, good writing, and new friends!