Friday’s Quote

By nature I’m a planner. Always have been and most likely always will be. This time of year in the midst of holiday craziness, I believe in taking some time to reflect on the year that is coming to a close and thinking about what it is I want for myself in the coming year. Making this time is such an important part of taking care of yourself. Truly a gift only you can give.  
Over the past week, I’ve been listening to some podcasts about intentions and manifestations. Belief in faith is a powerful thing. If you have never tried manifesting, I highly recommend it. It can be as simple as writing something down that you would like to bring into your life [I’m not talking new shoes, but it could be as simple as that], place it in a drawer and see what happens. The process of writing it down, creates a place in your conscious and the universe in making magical things happen. 
When it comes to going after all that my heart dreams of, this quote from Lao Tzu says it all, “Watch your thoughts, because they become words. Watch your words, because they become actions. Watch your actions, because they become habits. Watch your habits, because they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” 
Quite simply, watch those little things, positive and negative, that you tell yourself. They mean more than you realize. 

Past, Present and Future

An odd time of year to be showing pictures of a boat, at least here in the northeast, but with the flurry of activity lately, I completely forgot to share my latest mixed media collage piece. It was made months ago in preparation for my husband’s birthday and then squirreled away for safe keeping. I was so excited to pull it out of hiding a couple of weeks ago for his special day. 

 He loved it. And I adore the fact that he values home made gifts as much as I do. At times it’s quite the competition to see who can out do the other one [I win at least half the time].

From what I’m told, he was a water baby from the very start. Much of his childhood and favorite memories were spent by the water, making this piece not only a reminder of his early years, but the love we share for being waterside whether it be a beautiful river, lake or the sea and the dream of living by a beautiful body of water some day.

I incorporated ephemera from trips we’ve taken by the seaside and the Thousand Islands, which are always a favorite time for us. Maps, paper place mats from restaurants, tour guide books and ticket stubs tend to be my go-to supplies for projects like these. It gives the piece additional meaning and provides a better home for ephemera versus the box they would otherwise be spending a lifetime in where they are not appreciated or even remembered.

How do you honor your past, present and future in your artwork or even your life? 

Peace

The holidays in our neck of the woods got off to quite the peaceful start. Thanksgiving was filled with good company, laughs, and lots of wonderful food. There was a lot to be thankful for and still is. 

We took full advantage of the long weekend spending time cleaning, decorating, wrapping, and we even managed to fit in a little holiday shopping. And yet it was all done on in a relaxed manner, moving quietly from one thing to the next without any stress. It has been peaceful from start to finish. Oh Monday, I don’t even want to think about you. 

The tree is mainly decorated in white this year with cream felt ribbon, star fishes and glittering silver ornaments. I am in love with it. Just about each time I pass it, I oooh, aahhh and tell it how much I adore it. I think the husband may be a bit jealous.

My Christmas wish is for a peaceful holiday season filled with holiday cheer and memories that we’ll look back on for years to come.

Giving

Way back when, I started collecting acorns and acorn caps specifically for this project. These little gifts from nature are just so sweet in my eyes and when I saw felted acorns a few years back, well, I was smitten. After learning how to wet felt earlier this year and then needle felt, I couldn’t wait to tackle this project. Finding just the right colors of roving, took all year, but this week I was finally ready to make them with detailed directions from this tutorial

If you have never needle felted, quite simply, you need to try it. Besides the immediate gratification of making something right before your eyes, it is a stress reliever like no other. Stabbing the roving again and again into little balls with a sharp needle, wipes out the stress from the day. Guaranteed. Once these little balls are formed, its time to shock them in hot water and then using a little dish soap, roll them around in your hand. It’s a bit similar to rolling meatballs. Once they have hardened and taken on a more firm shape, they are shocked again in cold water and left out to dry.

I will warn you this process is just that, a process. To make three dozen of these little guys took a solid two hours as well. As I worked with the roving, Arte jumped in and helped out for a solid two hours working with the acorn tops drilling holes, cutting thread and then threading them (I plan on using them as ornaments). We both agree though, it was totally worth the process.

The little balls set out for a day, drying and then were hot glued to the tops. A process that took another hour. Again, totally worth it and something I plan on doing again. I’d like to make another few dozen to sit in glass bowls.  

The vibrant colors and the purity of the white ones, make them ideal for accompanying gift tags, place card settings for holiday meals and to hang on the tree. My aunt has a tradition with her girlfriends – each year for their holiday exchange, each woman gives everyone their favorite thing from that year. And this my friends, is mine. Everyone on my list is getting at least one [sshhhh…don’t tell]. 

Cuppa

My love of tea and just about all things British runs deep, as you maybe noticing. [wink], and because it’s a part of my daily routine, it also becomes a source of project ideas. When sipping tea, what better accompaniment than cork coasters in the shape of tea bags with little sayings on them?! 

These coasters are going to make great stocking stuffers and hostess gifts this holiday season. To make a set of your own, you’ll need: a roll of thin cork with an adhesive backing, a fine tip permanent marker, a pair of good scissors and a few sheets of felt — all of which can be found at the craft store. Using cardboard I made a template of the shape I wanted to use. Holding the template up to the sheet of cork, I trimmed out each coaster to ensure they are all the same.

Once you’ve cut out all the coasters, one by one, peel off the sticky sheet on the back, place the cork on a sheet of felt and trim it out. It was much, much easier to adhere it to the felt and trim it out versus trying to cut the felt to be the exact same size. 

Freehand, I drew each outline and design onto the cork. The ability to draw escapes me, so have no fear, if I can do this, so can you.

My fingers are crossed that the rest of my holiday making goes as smoothly. There is almost always one project that doesn’t go quite the way I think it will. 
What kind of projects are you working on this season? 

Friday’s Quote

As autumn draws to an end, I found another paper dress in the archives. What a fun outfit this would make for Thanksgiving, right?! Not overly practical I admit, but stylish, yes.  
With less than a week before the holiday season kicks into high gear [I know, I can’t quite believe it either. I keep looking at the calendar thinking maybe I’m wrong], I thought it would be nice to take a moment, breathe and remember:  
“The question is not how to survive, but how to thrive with passion, compassion, humor and style.” The Great Maya Angelou. 
As your holiday planning, parties, baking, cooking, shopping and making commences, my hope for you is to find a way to not only survive it all, but more importantly, find joy in even the smallest of moments. 

Fire Starters

At the end of a long, cold day, it’s such a comfort to be able to come home and start a fire in the fireplace. To get those fires going a little more quickly, these home made fire starters work like a charm.  
Gather these four supplies: newspaper, string, dried out pine combs and cinnamon sticks. I had some cinnamon and pine scented pine combs from the craft store left over from another project that I used. You can also add some dried herbs like thyme or rosemary for more of an aromatic experience. 

Lay a pine comb and cinnamon stick out on a half a sheet of newspaper, roll the paper up, twist each end and tie them both off with some string. 

It’s seriously that simple. I keep them in a basket by the fireplace, but they could also make a nice gift for the hostess of your next, dare I say, ‘holiday’ party. 

Washi Tape

This roll of washi tape has me quite excited. It’s illustrated with beautiful fauna and toadstools that was begging me to do something with it. Most washi tape I have, is used on outgoing mail and little things here and there, but until now none of them have made their way into a project.  

Now birds and bird houses are not typically one of my muses. In all honesty, I’ve been know to get quite the laugh out of Portlandia’s ‘Put a Bird on It‘ skit….. Okay, I’m back and done laughing. Promise.

Once the bird house had a dry coat of Gesso on it, I transformed it using some of my favorite go to mixed media collage items: paper doilies, dictionary paper, ribbon, pearls and acorns.  

And in case you’re wondering, there is no way I am putting this outside for the birds. It will most likely get hung on the wall and used as a hook for my keys.

R&R

It’s all about rest and relaxation these days. Just last week I was emailing with a friend about what we’re both up to and she asked me when I relax. Relax? Ha. That’s really funny. To be honest, I’m not really sure how to go about that as of late. Taking breaks tend to evoke feelings of guilt. Something that surely needs to be addressed apparently sooner, rather than later because my body has stepped in to enforce some quiet time. 

A case of shingles made their debut over the weekend forcing me to put the brakes on things. Although, I’m not completely comfortable, mentally, with this whole slow down and rest thing, I am parking myself on the couch with tea, magazines, and creative inspiration to get me back on my feet when I’m feeling better and to help me feel connected to the things I love. 

These photos were taken a couple of weeks ago, at one of my favorite shops, Paper Trail, where paper treats hang on walls, adorn mannequins and table tops. The upside of slowing down has meant having some extra time to go through photos taken on the go with my iPhone and… enjoying them. 
How do you relax and make time for yourself? 

Tea for Two

If you’re on the east coast, oh how I hope you made out well with the storm. We fared very well here with little storm activity, but it is heartbreaking to see so many experiencing a life altering experience just a short distance from here. 

This ‘tea for two’ art project was a mental respite from all the sad news this week. Over the weekend, before I knew what we were going to be up against, I made a template for paper tea cups based on one I had seen online. I figured if I made them ahead of time and we lost power, I could always paint by candlelight to pass the time. 
I altered the template, but essentially, using an empty cereal box, I cut out the four panels for each cup, taped them together, created a bottom piece and paper mached over them covering the inside and out. 

With the drying time, taking a good eight hours or so on a windowsill in the sun, I left them to harden until I could paint them and treat them as a mixed media canvas of sorts. Each night this week, I came home to my ‘tea for two’ cups and either painted them, searched for ephemera or spent some time gluing on bits and pieces of this and that. Paper doilies quickly became my go to staple for the project. Tea and doilies just seem to go hand in hand.  

I plan on using them as decor slash storage for odds and ends that need a home in my studio. They are also my inspiration for a mother-daughter class I have been thinking about offering. A class where mom’s and daughter’s can come and bond over an art project and have some one-on-one time with each other. It could be a great Mother’s Day gift from a father or child. I know, I know. May seems so far away, but you’ll see, it’ll be here before you know it [someone please remind me I said this in March when I am whining about the weather].