Tag Archives: friends

Believe in Yourself

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This blue mantra painting was created for my friend, Laura, as a birthday gift.  She has gone back to school and was feeling a little apprehensive about quitting her job.

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She is studying Chemistry so I wanted to include some things related to that and also to remind Laura that she really is amazing, marvelous, smart and funny. Especially funny. I love spending time with her because we usually find something to laugh about.

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I’m also continuing to love crafting these pieces. There are layers that don’t show in the finished painting but are still part of the process and the piece. I really enjoy getting my fingers into the paint and gel medium, smoothing pieces of paper, layering them over each other; scraps from a textbook pages, bits torn from inside of an envelope, and seeing what they will become.  It’s messy and I have to stop every so often to rub the dried goo off my fingers, but I love every minute of it.

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Believe in yourself. It’s a good mantra for me as I continue to play, explore and learn this combination of collage and painting. It’s a good mantra for Laura too.

Thank you for your visit.

 

 

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Hi, Beautiful

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Hi, Beautiful. Yes, you.

When I saw a t-shirt with beautiful written out this way:

BE

YOU

TIFUL

it really caught my eye. “Be you. You are beautiful.” That’s how I read it. Just be yourself. You are enough. And you are beautiful.

This is another mixed-media mantra piece that I made after watching the wonderful Kelly Rae Roberts e-course, Hello Soul, Hello Mixed-Media Mantras. Here it is in stages.

The first layer: red and orange paint scraped in thin layers over a canvas board with a plastic card. Pink paint daubed onto bubble wrap then smooshed on the canvas to make pink dots. I love using my fingers and other tools besides brushes to get the paint onto the canvas. It takes me back to finger-painting. Playing with the textures, feeling the paint on my fingers.

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Then collaged bits and pieces: yellow flower from an old book, “you’re amazing” from a lovely, handcrafted birthday card, sheet music, scraps torn from an old Farmer’s Almanac. Then a little more paint on top.

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About that handcrafted card; I love using special cards and mementos in my artwork. It feels as if I’m giving new life to the item instead of sticking it in a drawer, and it adds meaning to my finished piece.

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This photo isn’t the best, but it shows another stage of the piece. I used some more paint on and around the collaged pieces to blend them into a more cohesive background, including some nice drips. I love the richness of the red background and some of the paper I picked out looks too bright-white.

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Somewhere in this process, I decided to use this mantra for the painting and as soon as I did, I thought of my friend, Maria.

She is smart, funny and pretty much awesome. She is also raising two smart, funny, awesome daughters.  Oh, and did I mention beautiful? Yes, I believe that being smart and funny and awesome are all characteristics of being beautiful but Maria is also tall with a huge smile and pretty dark eyes. So, the whole enchilada.

I started to add things that made me think of her.

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She loves elephants. She is fabulous.

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She wears polka dots.

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Hey, beautiful. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, you.

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Sweet Little Valentine’s

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Although I didn’t need any new supplies for making my Valentine card this year, I couldn’t resist embellishments.

I’d already decided on a color scheme of pink and turquoise, with brown paper (reused from grocery bags). I think the brown balances out the other two colors and keeps them from being too sticky-sweet. Browsing in Once Around in Mill Valley after Craft Gym I picked up a few rolls of washi tape: gold arrows on pink background, white X’s on turquoise background, and the little skinny white tape with tiny gold printed love and gold hearts.

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I also got these Fancy Frills border stickers by Doodlebug Design.

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My inspiration for the design were these Downton Abbey Vintage Valentine’s on Doodlecraft, which I saw on Pinterest. Natalie Shaw of Doodlecraft used little brown cards embellished with lace and trim where I used strips of paper and washi tape, but with a similar result.

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Since I was using small leftover cards in cream and chocolate brown, and I also had a few sizes of small envelopes, I cut up brown paper grocery bags for the card fronts. It isn’t really sturdy enough for the card itself, but it worked as a layer.

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I used gold foil saved from inside of chocolate wrappers to make little hearts using a heart punch.

The other tip I picked up from Doodlecraft is the great graphics at The Graphics Fairy. This fabulous site has over 5,000 free vintage images and is a great resource. I chose the images I used on my cards and shrank them down to about 1.5 x 2.5 inches, or slightly larger, before printing.

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I used a glue stick to adhere the pages of printed images to card stock, cut them out with a paper trimmer and embellished each little picture with a date stamp, buttons, felt flowers, foil hearts, ink borders, sparkly little dot stickers, washi tape, etc. These are the centerpiece of each card and I stuck them to the card fronts with Zots glue dots.

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For some of the time spent on this project, I’ve been alone at my craft desk, or with the company of Kitty McNiblet who lives across the patio in our apartment building, but visits often. Here she is relaxing in the position I call “kitty loaf.”

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Last weekend I spent a lovely day making Valentine’s, eating a delicious lunch and talking and laughing with friends from grade school. We call our creative gatherings Craft & Flash.

My sister, Kathleen, joined us and brought her young dachshund, Stella. The hostess, Clare, also has a dog, Trip, who was SO nice with Stella, even when she took his chew toy!

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I stamped the inside of the cards with this stamp from Oh, Hello Friend, which I also picked up at Once Around. A few years ago I purchased some printed masking tape from this site and the order came with a tag with the same phrase, which has been on my bulletin board ever since.

YOU ARE

AWESOME

loved

wonderful

BEAUTIFUL

& ADORED

The back of the cards are stamped, signed and dated.

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I will give some of my Valentine’s away in person and some are being mailed, so the small envelopes are tucked into larger ones, big enough for mailing. After breakfast out with a friend yesterday, we stepped into PS Paper in San Anselmo and I came home with this Bird with Love Note stamp from Savvy Stamps.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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Valentine Craft-O-Rama

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Yes, folks, 2015 Valentine Production was in full swing today and we had all the makings of an excellent crafty day. Craft supplies were abundant and the table was spilling over with paper, paper punches, rubber stamps, ink, adhesive, embellishments, scissors, embossing powder, ribbon and washi tape.

It was the first time for me to craft with Maria and her daughters Margaret and Elizabeth.

Here is Margaret, already an expert with the bone folder, scoring hearts to fold and staple for a Fluttering Hearts Valentine.  We also made Paper-Strip-Heart Valentines.

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When she wasn’t using the heat tool to emboss greetings, Elizabeth was using the microwave for a Brownie-in-a-Mug for each of us.

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As far as I’m concerned, chocolate is one of the important supplies for a great day of crafting.

A scoop of local Three Twins vanilla ice cream was the perfect topping for the brownies.

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Maria, who had already baked a batch of cookies and had pot roast in the slow cooker by the time I arrived at 10 am, worked to keep the paper and other supplies from completing taking over the table, put out a platter of sandwich makings and created a fabulous Valentine garland from recycled materials, craft paper, bakers twine and double-sided tape, but I’m afraid yours truly didn’t get any good pictures of it.  All that and she also made some Valentine’s.

Garland supplies included packaging from a box of cereal, a box of tissues, some old calendar pages, and a few other items.

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The lighting was challenging – it was much cuter and more colorful than it looks in this photo.

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Some of the finished creations.

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We decorated envelopes too.

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We even had the assistance (or at least the company) of Flora the kitty.  Pip Squeak the Guinea Pig seemed neutral about the whole operation.  Kitty #2, Fauna, made a very brief appearance. She wasn’t interested in any level of participation.

The Roomba cleaned up the floor after we were done.  A good time was had by all (except maybe Fauna).

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Thanks for checking out my blog today!

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Cards with Friends

Blue Butterflies

In January I got together with some friends from grade school and made Valentine’s.  We had such a great time together that we’ve made it into a regular event, calling it “Craft & Flash.”  Our last get-together was about a month ago.  Ladies: we need to schedule our next gathering.

Washi Tape

I was making a stack of birthday cards and recycling old greeting cards, maps and calendars in the process, inspired by crafting while on vacation.

Pink Butterfly card

I’d saved a pretty card with rows of different colored butterflies on a glittery green background.  I’ve had it for a few years and recycled it into new cards.

An old calendar from Paper Source provided artwork for a bird card.  I love the artwork on my wall all year long – they’re beautiful calendars and beautiful resources for crafting cards.

Blue Jay

Carefully cutting out the Blue Jay and adding a little glitter plus stamping a greeting on the inside and the card was done.

My friend Shook gave me some pretty place cards she’d bought and never used. I’m delighted to be the recipient when someone gives me something they think I might use in my crafting.  The cards add a nice detail when stamped with a message and glued inside the card.

Placecard recycle

For this one I used a scrap of the glittery green birthday card and some washi tape.  Another benefit of crafting with friends is expanded your supplies.  Everyone was generous and happy to share their goodies.

We had a variety of projects happening around the table. Creativity was flowing and I enjoyed seeing projects old and new.

Embroidery

Bees

Besides the production of birthday cards, an Art Journal was being expanded, tags and beautiful wrappings were being created for a series of birthday gifts, jewelry was being crafted and chocolate was being consumed.

Chocolate

All the best crafting events include chocolate.

As usual, the table was in creative chaos.

Craft Table

Or was that just my mess?

Glitter was spilled.

Glitter and glue pen

I got to try this ballpoint glue pen from Martha Stewart.  I will pick a few up next time I’m at Michael’s.  It is very fine, great for glitter and other detail work.  Like Dianne Dots.

The last time I was at Craft Gym at Once Around in Mill Valley, my  friend Margaret gave me the gift of a little shopping spree. Amongst the goodies I came home with was a package of cute paper embellishments. This butterfly is from that package.

Butterfly with Glitter

More glitter and an adhesive jewel, a few stamped flowers and paper from both an old textbook and an old bus schedule complete this card.

I’ve made a few of these cards with an old map and a bicycle stamp, but for this one I got a bicycle cutout from another of the Craft and Flash ladies.  I spent awhile coloring it. I love this card!

Bicycle Map Balloons

We crafted and chatted and laughed and ate.  It was lovely.

The dogs were happy sitting in the sunshine.

Dogs in the sun

Phoenicia made delicious chili, another great dish without a recipe.  If I recall correctly, it had beef, pork and sausage, and it was full of different veggies.  Write it down, Phoenicia!

Craft and Flash Chili

One last card I did that afternoon was from a 5-minute collage I’d made. A little extra embellishment and another card done.

Purple Collage Card

Sitting and chatting with my friends while crafting is the best therapy in the world for me.

It has been a very tough month since then with my brother spending more time in the hospital then out.  He was in ICU but is back in the regular ward and we expect him to be discharged in the next few days.  He has started dialysis and faces a host of challenges. The support and love we have all shared and received has helped make a really difficult situation survivable.

At first, spending long, anxious hours with other family members at the the hospital, I was too worried and upset to focus on anything more than mindless games on the computer.  Long days and nights of interrupted sleep meant I missed getting to the gym and I didn’t have the energy or inspiration to craft.

With some improvement in his condition, I’m returning to some of the things that have been on hold.  A trip to the library and new reading material I’m finally able to absorb.  I was able to spend time cooking together with Rem who has been a rock, taking good care of me.  And yes, pulling out the craft supplies and crafting.  I’m finishing up some cute cards and will share them soon.

Thank you for being here.

 

 

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Happy Spring!

Plum Blossoms

I pulled myself away from my desk to walk around the campus and enjoy the first day of spring.

My office

Iris

Little purple flower

Pink Flowers

Rooftop Meadow

This meadow of wildflowers in on the roof garden of the Fine Art building.

Blue flowers

Strawberry Plant

Our building has a roof garden too but it isn’t doing as well.  There are some flowers but less color and greenery.

Bee in Rosemary Blossom

A huge patch of rosemary is in bloom and it’s buzzing with bees.

Pink Toesies & Green Grass

I’m very grateful it is warm enough to be wearing sandals.

Pearls

I tried to think “Spring” when I got dressed this morning: pale pink embellished sweater, aqua print top, freshwater pearls.

It was hard getting back to work, so I decided to give you a little tour of the inside of my office.

Perpetual Calendar

Calendar #1 is on my desk. A gift from my friend, Nicole, I think of her every morning when I change the day and date.

Paper Source Calendar

Calendar #2 is on the wall behind me.  It is from Paper Source and has wonderful artwork plus templates on the back of each month to recycle it into folders, cards and gift boxes when you finish using as a calendar.

Bird Tile Art

My friend Shook gave me this picture.  It goes beautifully with the perpetual calendar.  I love the color scheme, the bird and the collage-like layers.

The bulletin board

Special notes and cards from special people around me.  A feather that reminds me of my dad.

View out my window

One more peek at the view (looking out to the “orbit court”) before getting back to work.

Thank you for your visit.

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Home Fries, Haggis & Hearts

Fruit & Pastry @ WOW Cafe

I had such a great weekend!

On Saturday I met an old friend for breakfast, someone I’ve known since we were in grade school.  She was in the area for a memorial service and told me that her aunt, who died at 96 after a battle with lung cancer, told her that no one should cry for her, that she’d had a good, long life. What a positive and powerful message to hear from someone. That is quite a span of years.

My friend and I go back many years which is nice.  We reconnected easily.  We met at the Worth Our Weight (or WOW) Cafe in Santa Rosa.

Worth Our Weight Mission

This is from the website:

WOW apprentices are young people from 16-24 who have faced major challenges in their lives, including foster care, difficulties with the law, homelessness, and significant family disruption. We provide tuition-free culinary and food service  training.

The fruit and pastries in the first photo were presented to us as we were seated, a really nice touch and they were all delicious, including the little pot of grapefruit marmalade.

Lisa had Eggs Florentine with spinach and cheese that came with home fries and she got an English muffin on the side.  The muffin was without any butter, but she shrugged it off.

Eggs Florentine

I chose a vegetable bowl and poached egg with a side of chicken apple sausage.  They vegetable assorted was great, including sweet potato, white potato, chard, kale, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and bell pepper.  It was served with a spicy/sweet tomato chutney on the side that was a perfect accompaniment to the dish.

Poached Egg Veggie Bowl

The cafe ran for five years with a ‘no-prices, pay what is fair’ policy but they had to end that because some people short-changed them.  Although service wasn’t top notch, we both felt good about supporting the program and tipped the young servers well.  They were learning, after all.

The check comes with a little bag of fresh-baked cookies, also delicious.  It is worth a visit.

Check with Cookies WOW Cafe

Driving home I stopped at Michaels for some fun Valentine supplies. That afternoon I sang at the bedside of a choir client, a woman I have been singing for nearly every Saturday for about 4 years, with another choir member. Her smile was warm and she mouthed the lyrics along with us as we sang.  Who can say who benefits the most from this interaction?

Rem and I had haggis for dinner that night, a first for both of us.  He’d seen a link on Reddit for ordering haggis, and since Saturday was Burns Night, celebrating Scottish poet, Robert Burns, when haggis is traditionally served, he ordered one, more for curiosity, I’m sure, than to honor Burns!  I was glad to learn it is no longer made in a sheep’s stomach, or at least not for export, they use sausage casing now.  It was better than I expected and now I can say I’ve had it.

I don’t have a picture of the haggis, suffice to say haggis is not really very photogenic.

Sunday was a day of crafting Valentine’s and I had the pleasure of doing it with a group of women that I’d gone to grade school with. We’ve only seen each other sporadically over the years and had become Facebook friends.  I suggested crafting together and the response was enthusiastic.

Our somewhat tongue-in-cheek name for the event was “Craft & Flash” as we are women of a certain age and hot flashes are ever-present for some of us.

Hearts

Four of us were up to our elbows in paper and ink, embossing powder and heart punches. We had lace doilies, glue sticks, little jewels, washi tape, baker’s twine, and lots of hearts. It was wonderful!

Valentine Crafting

The conversation and creativity flowed.  At the end of the afternoon, we had quite a gallery of beautiful, handmade Valentine’s.

Craft & Flash Valentine's

Craft & Flash Valentines

Victoria had picked up some treasures from Target $1 bins, like this cute owl that she featured on a card with some black lace patterned washi tape and a silver embossed greeting.

Owl Card

Clare worked steadily and managed to create 10 cards, including this one with red lace washi tape, a handful of hearts and a sweet little tag tied with baker’s twine.

Clare's Hearts

We had three sweet dogs keeping us company, including Shorty, Victoria’s rescue pup that she’s had since Christmas Eve.

Shorty

What a cutie, right?

More Craft & Flash Valentine's

Phoenicia made two banners, including a funny one for her daughter with old photos from a magazine.

Mystery Man

and more

She also made a delicious Thai curry chicken vegetable soup (maybe she’ll share the recipe).  We feasted on “Ham and Eggs” – stuffed eggs garnished with bacon, pigs-in-a-blanket, apple slices, grapes, cheese and bread.

My busy weekend was full of friends, laughter, reminiscing, good food, singing, crafting and love.  It was easy writing something for my Gratitude Jar.

Thank you for coming by.

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