22 July 2013


We had a blank wall that needed some love and art. I had gathered a few ideas online but was immediately stumped. I really needed an ocean painting. I don't have that kind of talent but my grandpa did. So I asked mom and *poof* out of a closet came the cutest little ocean painting by Grandpa Garden, all tucked away in the dark. With the best handmade mid-century frame, to boot! I remember his frame studio in his garage. It's a dream long gone, but I am happy to see one of his pieces in our home now!

With that painting, I was inspired and ready to get going creating the other things I've been admiring lately on Serena & Lily and Etsy: feathers, mixed frames, doodles, a geometric painting, arrows.

I started in with the feathers.

A variety of Feathers
A Shadow Box Frame - Mine came from Crate & Barrel
Neutral fabric - Ironed
Spray Mount
Hot Glue Gun and Glue

1. Cover the back panel of the frame with a neutral cloth by spray mounting it down.
2. Cut the fabric about 1" all the way around the back panel and fold the edges over tightly.
3. Hot glued the edges down so that it's tight and smooth on the front of the panel.
4. Use washi tape to give it a finished edge.
5. Lay out the feathers on the fabric board as you want them.
6. Hot glue the feathers with small dots at the points where the feathers touch the fabric.
7. Insert the back panel into the frame, leave out the glass.

Next, I wanted a geometric painting, something with a bit of neon, and after doing it I realized I needed some gold foil in there too ;)

Wood Board Canvas
Vintage paper
Spray Mount
Mod Podge
Paints and Brush
Elmer's Glue
Tracing paper
Painting Tape
Gold Foil and Sizing

1. First lay out all of the pieces of art so far and determine the color palette. I buy my paints at Miachael's and Joann's with coupons to make them nice and cheap.
2. Draw on the wood board canvas, your desired geometric shape.
3. Lay tracing paper over the top and trace the same geometric shape.
4. Spray mount a piece of old newsprint or book paper to the wood canvas.
5. Cut about 1/2"-1" around to fold down. Use Elmer's to tack this down.
6. Mod Podge the entire face and sides of the wood canvas. 1-2 coats and let dry completely.
7. With a ruler and pencil, go over the shape on the tracing paper with nice thick pencil lines. Flip that over onto the dried board and rub down the pencil to transfer the shape.
8. Lightly redraw onto the wood with a ruler to make the lines clear.
9. Tape around the outer edges, this will stay until completely done painting.
10. One shape at a time, tape off and paint each shape. Some shapes you can do more coats and make it more opaque and others, you can do one coat so you can see the newsprint through the paint. Careful not to get the paper too wet, it may bubble.

This part takes a couple of days because I let each shape dry. I try to do a few shapes at a time. You can go over the top if you don't like something. I found that I needed to add some gold foil and redid a few shapes.

11. When all is done, take off the tape and Mod Podge the entire face and sides again. One coat, let dry.

Next, I laid out all of the pieces of art, and added a couple of photos to the mix. I had a cute tile from Spain to add, and an vintage photo of my grandparents. Then I cut out pieces of newsprint each size of the frames and then taped those to the wall in the pattern that felt good to me. Then my husband and I hung up all of the pieces over the top of the newsprint and then tore out the newsprint from behind... It was missing something.

So I made one last frame of stamps. I have a stamp collection so I just gathered a few favorites and laid them out, hot glued them down, framed and put that up to balance out the group.

Done! In only what... 1 month later ;)

05 July 2013


I saw some amazing ribbon at Paper Source back when I was planning my daughter's 5th birthday party. A FAIRY PARTY so it was just perfect. I knew it had to be worked into the plan somehow. I got a spool and it has gone surprisingly far. I made two garlands out of it, plus I used some to sew onto the finished package... and I still have some left over. It was a good purchase.

The felt balls I got for the party were a different color palette than this tutorial. When my sister-in-law saw the finished garland at the party she said, "oh... that would go so good in...." you know, I had to make her one too, in the correct color palette of course. So I ordered up more felt balls and made her a little garland for her daughter's room.

Here's a quick tutorial so you can make one too.

Leaf Ribbon from Paper Source
Felt Balls (yellow. green. periwinkle) - I got a 20-25mm pack of 25 from HoneyCanada
Neutral DMC Crochet Thread
Needle - Use one with a large eye, but also sharp.
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks

1. I lay out the balls in a long line in the order I want to string them.
2. Thread your needle, you'll be stringing the balls on a single strand of thread.
3. At the end of the thread, make a loop (for hanging the garland), and then tie a knot to secure the loop.
4. Thread the first ball and take it all the way to that knot, leaving the loop as the end of your strand. Poke the needle back through the ball so that you have a bit of leftover of the 2nd piece of thread on the other side of that ball. You'll need that later to secure the leaf ribbon to the ball strand. Hot glue the knot to the ball at it's end entry point.
5. Continue to thread all of the balls in the order you'd like, leaving as much space as you'd like. I spaced mine out about 2" in the end. They needed a bit more space once the ribbon was twisted around the balls.
6. At the last ball make a loop (the same size as the other end) and thread it back through that same ball. I try to NOT go through the same entry hole. Leave some leftover thread and take out the needle.
7. Tie a knot at the other end of that last ball to secure the ball in place. Hot glue the knot to the ball.
8. Going back to the other end of the strand - Tie the leaf ribbon to the ball strand, using the extra bit of thread that was left over, tie it on with a square knot. Be sure to tie it past the first leaf so the ribbon doesn't slide out of the knot. Secure that knot with a dot of hot glue.
9. Twist the ribbon around each empty space between the balls so that the two strands are intertwined.
10. Just before the last ball, tie the ribbon onto the ball strand using the extra bit of thread that was leftover.
11. Secure that knot with a dot of hot glue. 

I hope that makes sense, the loop thing is a bit tricky to explain, but it enables you to have something to hang the completed strand with. You don't have to have the loops, really. You could attach tassels from the end points instead and hang it up from the strand at any point.

Whatever you choose, it's a sweet, delicate little bit of spring to hang up in the end.

P.S. Make sure you store this wrapped around something. If it gets tangled it's mighty painful to untangle. Truth. 

04 July 2013


I have to really concentrate, is it fourth or forth? Every time I write out that number I try it out both ways and realize it's really fourth. It seems so wrong, but then again forth seems even more wrong. Inevitably, I end up writing 4th in all my spelling insecurity. Ha!

This is a holiday that I deeply respect in meaning but sort of get annoyed by in reality. It was more fun when I was single heading to a great fireworks show in Portland, New York or San Francisco. Before my worries of kids waking up from extreme pops and sizzles into the wee hours. Before the days of fretting my husband making it home alive after a late night gig. Staying up waiting for him, hoping the police didn't show up instead to tell me there was an awful accident of some sort....All fears I've feared over the years on this glorious holiday.

It is a fabulous occasion to celebrate. I feel a bit of pride seeing our flag waving in our yard. There's a sense of gratefulness for the freedoms that we enjoy. And we do enjoy them. Often without a second thought. Not that I feel like we should feel guilty, but there are many countries full of people in the midst of suffering and political struggles. I hope and pray for their peace. How blessed we are.

I recall traveling in Greece years ago and finding it (this was before 911) alarmingly eye opening that Americans are resented, disliked and in some cases hated. The friends I met there said we think we're so big and important, not giving a second thought to others. I felt a bit ashamed at the moment. I didn't defend us with examples of charity for those that find themselves in the middle of disaster clean up... but we do probably think that way a bit on some level. At least I could see how we could be thought of as puffed up. We've got some issues, sure.

Every country does. But I'm glad for what we have. We have a pride that won't quit. We have a mentality that rises when called upon. We have good people that genuinely want to be successful in life and try with all their might no matter their situation. All worthy of pride, in my wee little opinion. And what is pride but an inflated sense of self... as well as a feeling of satisfaction in achievement. One of those is negative, the other positive. So they see it as negative, we see it as positive, I suppose. I don't know. I'm not terribly political, just happy to be an American.