Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Freebie

Yet another Friday Freebie...
It is such a hard decision for me to make, what do you want to see?

Years ago I inherited an extensive postcard collection. My mom collected postcards just for fun, because she thought the images were pretty, unique or kitschy. Lots of them are kitschy! She used them as correspondence and received many of them from friends or her brothers who searched flea markets, antique sales and yard sales to find the most unique, unusual postcards to send her.
I am fascinated by them! I love this forum by which I can share them with you.

What should I choose for today?
Since Spring is peeking it's head here in Colorado, I am in a springy mood. My trees are starting to bud, I have seen a few tulip bulbs poking through the soil, and I even saw some bees buzzing today (isn't it too early for bees?) This all gets me thinking about warmer weather...

Badminton anyone?

(today's image is a vintage postcard printed in Great Britain)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Functional Project & Practical Tip

Practical Tip:

Line one cupboard or pantry door with cork. You can use a roll of cork, or cork tiles that are easily found at stores like Hobby Lobby or JoAnn Fabric. Use this newly corked door as a place to hang things that are important to keep at hand. It becomes a mini-office in the heart of the kitchen. We hang the school lunch menu, coupons and our take-out menu pocket. It is even a handy place to hang art work that comes home in the kids' backpacks.

Sometimes I am bound by a need to make things functional, not just pretty. I think this is an mental battle I wage: can art or craft just be for art's sake, or does it also have to be functional. It is nice to make some of our functional objects also artful.

My project for the day is a Take Out Pocket. This is where I keep all those Take-Out Menus and Coupons so that we can find them when I have the urge to order instead of cook.

The process is quite simple. I used a plain manila folder. I folded additional paper and glued it in place to close the sides of the folder and create a pocket. Then, I collaged the folder with varoius papers, letters, vintage stickers and stamps. Of course, I used a food motif. I "aged" the paper with a brown ink pad. I sealed the whole thing with a few layers of
Mod Podge.
Sealing it with Mod Podge will both protect the collage, and strengthen the pocket since it may be used frequently.

Back to the idea of form versus function. Should the items in our home be only functional? Can we also improve their form with our artistic touches?

What everyday items have you put in your home that share interesting or artistic form and useful functionality?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oh Lord! What a find!

I must first confess before going any further with this post, Rachel and I went to the store that I refer to as "The devil's playground." I can't even say the name because I am so ashamed, but I'll give you a hint - they have great prices on fabric and every town has one. Enough said. We decided to go down the Easter aisle to see what goodies they might have for the kids. We made an amazing discovery, Mary and Jesus right there on the shelf! They were Barbie and Ken size and spoke words from the Bible! We grabbed them right away and put them in the cart. There was no price on Jesus and Mary but then again how can you put a price on the Lord. We made the mistake of pushing Mary's talk button and then she wouldn't shut up. She went on for at least 10 minutes! Who knew Mary was such a talker?
Later on we found out they were $14.99! Too rich for our blood, so back to the shelf for Mary and Jesus. Maybe some other lucky shopper will find them and they can join Barbie and Ken in the Dream House for cocktails.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Little Bowls

So, I need some advice.... On a recent trip to LA, I went to one of my favorite stores that we do not have in Colorado, IKEA. I have never bought furniture there but I love the little marketplace section of the store. They have all sorts of kitchen pieces and decorative, fun items.
I saw these little tiny bowls there and couldn't resist. They came in a set of 4 and were such a bargain. I bought a set for myself and Rachel. I should mention that we both have a penchant for serving pieces both large and small. Little individual bowls for fruit and dipping sauces can look great in a place setting. It adds a formal touch to a meal and when you go to the trouble to place these on your table, people feel you have gone the extra step for them.
Now back to my tiny bowls, they are about 2 inches tall and two inches across. As much as I love them, I don't know what to put in them. They are too small for dipping. They are too small to hold my sewing supplies. They would work for beads but then they would have to leave my house and go to the studio. What is a girl to do with cute little bowls from IKEA? HELP!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I spend a lot of time making combinations.... thinking about color...

thinking about pattern...

thinking about texture...

What will all of these combinations become?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Pet Peeve and PSA

So one of my pet peeves is about public restrooms. Have you ever seen the signs that say:

This is all well and good. Of course we want people to wash their hands before returning to work, especially our waiters and waitresses, our doctors and nurses, our teachers and anyone else who may come in contact with lots of people throughout their daily course of work.

But, what about the rest of us? Don't we all need to wash our hands before returning to our daily business. How many adult have you seen walk out of a stall and straight out the door of the restroom? Some studies show only 65% of women wash their hands and only 35% of men. Even my first grader is taught (at school) to be a "cootie catcher" and wash her hands after using the bathroom, blowing her nose or sneezing. She is also taught (at home) to wash her hands before eating and after playing on the playground.

With the rampant spread of viruses, like the flu. We all need to be more cognisant of what they are teaching school children and listen to the lesson: Wash Your Hands! If you look a little further (ie. read the daily news) you may have heard that this flu season is reaching almost epidemic proportions. Unfortunately the flu vaccine that was widely advertised and given last fall didn't include the strain of flu that is most prevalent this season.

The flu has reached many work places and schools across the country. According to the Center for Disease Control website, "The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was above the epidemic threshold for the sixth consecutive week." Shockingly, the CDC doesn't track the number of school closures due to illness, however you may read about closures in your local papers. The CDC does, however, track flu fatalities. This year is among the worst in recent history. I won't cite the statistics here, but you may read about it on their website.

Even the flu has even hit the reality TV circuit. It was reported that the flu devastated the American Idol contestants before last week's show. I couldn't believe how many news articles were devoted to their illness.

I am not a pessimist by nature, nor am I a germaphob, and don't care to spread panic. I also know that hand washing won't stop all the spread of germs and viruses. But, if we all do our part we may be able to stop the spread of germs, even just a little bit. So, don't forget to:

You may even want to print this one out and hang it in your bathroom:

Friday Freebie

Another Friday Freebie. Right click the image to save it to your computer. The cloudy nature of this image is part of the postcard, I assume from age. This one is a postcard that was mailed in 1913 with a 1 cent stamp. It was sent to and from Worcester, Massachusetts.

These old photos always make me wonder about the people in them. Who were they? What did they do? Unfortunately the text on the back of the card doesn't give any information. What do you think?

This image would be great in a black & white project or reprinted as an invitation. Speaking of invitations, feel free to join us for coffee any Friday morning. We'd love to share our studio with you!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Satellite over Hawaii

Last night the Navy was set to shoot down a satellite that had died and was carrying toxic gas. You can read about it on the AP. The story had been on the news for a few weeks as they waited for the optimal time to shoot it down. I was drawn to the story because it sounded a little too much like a summer blockbuster summary.
The story turned for me yesterday when it became all too personal. I heard they were planning on shooting the satellite down over Hawaii. Not only do I love Hawaii, but one of my oldest friends lives there. My buddy from first grade on, Carrie,(yes,even though our names have different spellings, we suffered through years of school having to use our last name initials for identification)lives on Oahu. I sent her an email last night warning her to watch for debris while roaming the bar scene on Waikiki. I haven't heard from her yet but assume all is good since looking at this morning's newspaper. It seems Hawaii is still intact. So, let's all keep Carrie and the Hawaiian people in our thoughts today. And if you are looking for a good Hawaiian PR person, check out Bennet Group PR and ask for Carrie.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy Rally Day, and other trivia

While flipping through my mom's extensive postcard collection, I found this little gem:

(another freebie image, right click and save to your computer. Happy Rally Day!)

What is Rally Day? I asked myself. A quick check of Google and Wikipedia, found many possible answers. One source says Rally Day is a "warm-hearted homecoming when friends greet one another again," after Labor Day. There are girl scout rally days, church rally days and legislative rally days. Many car clubs use Rally Day to enjoy "Rally Cars and Rally Stars." (Gee wiz, could I be a Rally star someday, I never knew...) Russell Sage College has a week of events leading up to Sweater Night (including sweater stealing) on the eve of Rally Day. But I don't think these little ones are intested in sweaters or cars.

The real Rally Day began at Smith College in 1876 as a celebration of George Washington's birthday. Over the years the celebration has included speeches, awards, performances, music from the glee club, square dancing, carnivals, formal teas, and dinners. This year's Rally Day is today, February 20.

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732. You probably know all the good stuff he did from your American History courses, but did you know he was a high school drop out and never went to college. He never learned Latin, Greek or any foreign language, like his contemporaries. He married late in life, at the ripe old age of 27 and was the happy step-father to Martha's two children.

While Martha was devoted to George, she was a less willing first-lady and is quoted as saying "I think I am more like a state prisoner than anything else, there is certain bounds set for me which I must not depart from..."

Two year's after his departure from office, George fell ill with pneumonia. The pneumonia probably isn't what killed him, though. Most likely, the doctor's perscribed treatment of blood-letting and doses of Mercury Chloride did him in.

But his legacy as the Father of our Country is what we celebrate on Rally Day. Don't forget to put on your Rally Day hats, and send out your Rally Day cards. Be sure to bake yourself a Martha Washington cake ( see recipe below) and celebrate Rally Day!

And certainly, don't forget what Martha said:

I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.

Martha Washington

Happy Rally Day!


Martha Washington's Great Cake
(One of Mrs. Washington's favorite recipes)
Take 40 eggs and divide the whites from the yolks and beat them to a froth. Then work 4 pounds of butter to a cream and put the whites of eggs to it a Spoon full at a time till it is well work'd. Then put 4 pounds of sugar finely powdered to it in the same manner then put in the Yolks of eggs and 5 pounds of flour and 5 pounds of fruit. 2 hours will bake it. Add to it half an ounce of mace and nutmeg half a pint of wine and some fresh brandy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Google Ads Sells Irish Children?

· Irish Children

Bargain Prices. Smart Deals.


We have recently started using google ads on our blog and were surprised to find an ad for Irish Children at Bargain Prices. Where do they get these Irish Children? Now, my own Irish children (actually half Irish) were no bargain. 9 months of pregnancy,(okay only 7 1/2 with the second one) 11 hours of labor and countless sleepless nights later. Now they even cost more with webkinz and Pokemon collections. Never mind the fact they they outgrow their shoes every 6 months at least. They are always growing and wanting copious amounts of food to go with that. The vats of peanut butter that I have had to purchase since having kids could have paid for many nice vacations for my husband and I. Bargain children, I beg to differ.

So, what are these actual Irish bargain children like? Do they do their chores without being asked? Do they come equipped with the expertise to make Shepard's Pie, Corn beef and cabbage and scones for their parents? Do they make woolen fisherman's sweaters to sell and support the family? Do they know where the leprechauns hide their gold? Ahh, to click or not to click and find out about these mysterious children. Please let us know if any of you out there decide to take the risk and purchase one of them. Send pictures and comments, we would love to know how you are enjoying your Irish children and if they truly are bargains.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weekend Project

Looking around my house, I am itching to bring spring inside. I am tired of the cold, the wind, the snow and mud trudged through my kitchen. I can't wait for the tulips to peek out, the robins to start singing and the birds to come to roost on my front porch. I am itching to make beautiful things to have and enjoy in my home. Making bright and beautiful things is one way I try to battle the winter doldrums.

My weekend project, which encorporates two of our goals --using our materials and living a more artful life-- was to recover two of the little foot stools I had sitting in our living room. Reupholstering furniture, wait, is that part of this blog about craft and art? Stay with me here, it is not as hard as you might think.

These stools were old and frayed, to say the least. They certainly didn't yell out, "I come from an artful home." They are the ones who put the shabby into shabby chic. Actually, there was no chic there.
Maybe I could rescue these two before they ended up at the dump. I had two fabrics in my stash that would make great new covers for these old stools. A smart red chenille and a springy yellow brocade might do the trick.

First, I gathered the tools I would use to do the job. I needed a Phillips head screwdriver, a staple gun with mid- to heavy weight staples, pliers, wood glue, new batting, scissors, and fabric.

Next, I removed the legs from the stools. Each was attached with screws. Then, I used pliers to remove the upholstry nails and staples holding the old fabric in place. I used the old fabric as a pattern template for the new material.

Each stool received a new layer or two of batting to improve it's cushy nature. I trimmed the batting and secured underneath with staples. Then I fitted the fabric. The rectangular stool was a bit more challenging, I had to sew seams at the corners to create the fitted look. Once the fabric was in place on each stool and secured with more staples, I reattached the legs.

I am pleased with the results. The ratty-tat stools have new life. The bright red chenille picks up the bright reds of our living room rug. The yellow brocade, with it's springy pattern of flowers and leaves looks lovely with my grandmother's antique chair. The touches of red, green and blue are nice to break- up the yellow background.
So, I think that I have successfully re-habed these two; they are no longer destined for the dump.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Irish Wit and Wisdom

Rachel beat me to the Friday post, but here's my little quote for the week anyway!

“Where the tongue slips, it speaks the truth”

Enjoy your weekend.

Friday Freebie

We hope you all had a Happy Valentine's Day!
Check out these crazy, cool cats! Did you feel like this when you were buying your love a Valentine card? The card shops were packed!
Enjoy this image-freebie. Right click the image to save it to your computer. Let us know what you do with it. We'd love to see your projects.

Today's vintage image is from Belgium.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Birthday Gifts

How lucky I was to receive such great birthday gifts yesterday. Amongst them was cash(yay), play tickets, a dozen roses, wine and garden gnomes. Yes, Garden gnomes. They fascinate me. I don't know why except their incredible kitsch value. So anyway here are the new additions to the family. The weather is a bit cold and windy for them to make it outside just yet.


Malachy is a rebel with cause. He turned away from his parents wishes of him going to whittling school. Wagon pushing and duck riding also didn't interest him. Instead he chose accounting. Always in the corner of the garden, counting the acorns, he knew it was the career for him. He's proud of his life choices and we're proud of him too, especially with tax season around the corner.

Seamus' look in his jaunty green jacket, says "Call me." He's an Aquarius who likes long walks on the beaches and Pina Coladas in the rain. He's all about adventure and the ladies. Who knows where you'll find him next.

So, please excuse me while I go hang with my gnomies today. Thanks Rachel.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tell someone how you feel....

Way back in January, our blog-friend Kat told us that we made her day! It was such a nice sentiment. We are thrilled that anyone looks at our blog, much less thinks that what what we have to say contributes to their day. How nice!

We are just now passing along the same good wishes to our blog friends. Kerry and I read some of the same blogs and some different blogs, so we came up with this list together. (If you aren't on the list this time, it doesn't mean we love you any less...) So, these blogs make our day--

Thank you for making our day a bit brighter with your creativity!

If you are on our list, please choose 10 of your own Make My Day recipients and pass along the award.

(and, here is a shameless plug for our friend Mary Ann, check out her blog and then vote for her in this contest. She entered a beautiful collage and needs your support. Good Luck Mary Ann!)

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to all the February birthdays I know. There are so many--- you know who you are.


(This is also a freebie image. Right click the image to save it to your computer. It is from an undated vintage postcard)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday Freebie

I got the idea to "give away" an image on our blog from our blog-friend Altered Kat. She has been doing Freebie Friday's for a while. I thought we might join the bandwagon. Here is our first Friday Freebie. To save the image to your computer, right click the image and save. Enjoy for your own use in collage or card projects. We'd love to hear about or see your projects.

Today's image is a vintage love postcard from 1906.

A Little Irish Wit and Wisdom

I am replacing the Friday flower with a little bit of wisdom from the Irish. Because if you are lucky enough to be friends with an Irishman, then you know how wise they can be.

“You'll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind”

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Webkinz Bags

It our continuing quest to use the fabric and supplies that we already own, I too have been doing more sewing. I finally finished the bias tape bag that I started last year. I was inspired by Rachel who made several to give as teacher gifts. The design came from the Martha Stewart website. They make great all around totes with lots of outside pockets for storage. It is also great for using leftover remnants and letting your creativity go, by using lots of crazy patterns together.

After my kids saw my bag, they requested their own so they could carry their webkinz stuffies. Any of you who have children old enough to use the
computer will know all about webkinz. You buy the stuffed animal and it comes with a special code that you put into the webkinz website. You then have a virtual avatar of the animal that can navigate webkinz world. The animals can play, games, buy things for their "homes" and socialize. My girls are obsessed, buying them with allowance money, birthday money and asking for them for any holiday. The amount they have is too embarrassing to mention.

So, I modified the bias tape bag a bit to accommodate the webkinz. These bags are wider and have three pockets in the lower level. Hopefully everyone fits in the bags because I don't think I can make them much bigger.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Quick and Easy Project

In our New Year's quest to finished unfinished projects and use already purchased supplies (# 13, #17, & #19), we have found the fastest sewing project yet! Kerry found this easy kid's tote bag on Martha Stewart's wonderful website. I decided to give it a try.

Because I can never follow directions completely, I made a few changes to her well-put directions. First, I felt that the bag might be a bit small for my kids, the model shown was about 4 or 5 years old. I added 1/2 inch to the width and 3 inches to the length. If you do this, don't forget to add several inches to the cording as well.

Her directions call for a water proof nylon to line the bag, not having any nylon in my sewing stash, I decided to use an inexpensive cotton for the lining as well as the out side of the bag. This is where you can use the fun and funky prints found on the discount racks of your local craft and fabric stores. I enjoyed mixing the prints and colors.

The cording I used was a very inepensive cotton cording found in the ribbon section of my Hobby Lobby. I found 2 of the fabrics I used on their clearance racks for $2 per yard. (Nevermind that I vowed not to buy more until I used what I have. I couldn't resist-- you won't tell, will you?) On the third bag, I used ribbon loops at the bottom of the bag to anchor the straps. This is another way to encorporate more detail and color in the design. On an adult bag of a similar style it would be easy to encorporate more mature fabric patterns and a colored cording for the straps.
From start to finish, I think that each bag took about 30 minutes or less. The time and money invested is not bad for a quick and easy project. And the kids love their new totes!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

No Poo!

Kerry and I saw this creative sign in someone's yard on one of our neighborhood walks. Really, it made me laugh, but also it speaks on so many levels. So in the coming week, remember:

Don't take any ______,
Don't give any ______,
and don't leave any ______ where it doesn't belong.

I'll let you fill in your word of choice. By the way, does anyone know what kind of animal that is?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Dog Blog 2

Hi, it's me, Blue.
I am staying at Rachel's house again. I am not sure where my people went, but they left me here. They did the same thing last summer. Don't tell Rachel, but I wanted to fill you in on my day. She might not like it if she knew I drooled all over her computer.

She took me outstide and tried to take pictures of me. She always has that silly camera. I don't like to sit still. I just wanted to sniff around the yard. Her yard smells different than mine does. The house next door has two little dogs that bark a lot. I wonder what is going on over there.

It snowed. Instead of staying still for pictures, I decided to hide in the snow. I don't think she could see me, I hide so well. Playing in the snow makes me feel like a puppy!

I keep checking in the studio. But Kerry is not there. I wonder where she went.

It's okay, though, there are two girls here. They like to play with me a lot. They give me treats and brush my fur. I must be the prettiest dog in the world. Also, I take a lot of naps when I am here. I like to sleep. hmmm. I guess it is time for a nap right now. I need to rest before the girls come home from school. They tire me out, but I can't wait to play!

I think this is the best day ever!

--Blue (the dog)

Friday Flower

These snowy hats were left after Wednesday night's snow storm. They say we were getting up to three inches an hour. Good thing it didn't snow for very long.

Have a lovely weekend.