Tuesday, October 25, 2011

52 weeks of mail and beyond

It seems each of us rely more and more these days on our "smart" devices to communicate with friends and associates.  I use them constantly myself, and it is truly a wonderful tool.  With all its convenience, technological communication can lack that personal touch that most of us appreciate so much.

Do you save wonderful notes and cards that special people take the time to send to you through the mail?  I know how great it makes me feel to get even the smallest note addressed to little ole me...  I am lucky enough to have thoughtful friends who often surprise me with delightful remembrances.  It totally makes my day.  Here are just a few that have arrived here within recent weeks...

Several months ago I made a fun little "fat book" full of pockets to hold these treasures. My book is already so chubby it needs to go on a major diet... The funny thing is, I love it when my hand-made books barely close... It's more fun that way!

I found a link this week on FACEBOOK that caught my attention.  

The page is called 52 WEEKS OF MAIL.

Here is part of the information off their page.

52 Weeks of Mail, brought to you by Etsy Greetings Team,

is designed to encourage people to be more intentional about relationships and 

keeping in touch with friends and family by sending out a card or letter each 

week, for the next year.

I don't know about you, but I LOVE getting a personal, hand-written card or letter in the mail.

Throughout 52 Weeks of Mail, we are asking everyone to commit 
to sending

 just ONE card or letter each week. 

You can send more than one, of course!

52 Weeks of Mail BEGINS on October 9th, 2011,

and ends on October 7th, 2012. 

Please feel free to blog about this event, or share it on your Facebook page. 

Share it on Twitter, or any other social networking site too!

I love this idea and have made the commitment to send at least one piece of handwritten mail
every week this year... and beyond.  You never know what your note could mean to the person who receives it.  It could arrive at the moment it was most needed.  

As a teacher for many years, I want to do my part to see that some of the "social graces" of our generation are not lost forever.  Some of the older traditions cannot be improved upon.  
Write a note and send it in the mail this week... Make it a habit.
You could really make a difference.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

pulling out an unfinished project

Several months ago I took a wonderful class from the delightful Teresa McFayden called Free Style Embroidery. I just loved the class... watching Teresa demonstrate all the stitches... then putting her fabulous sampler together.  I got a start on mine, and then... life happened... I got sidetracked to other projects and I unfortunately just put it away in my vintage sewing box.

I just love Teresa's ideas for combining embroidery stitches with other fun trims, ribbons and remnants.

Pondering some goals I want to accomplish during the fall and winter months... the idea of brushing up on my hand stitching skills came into my heart... and out came my UFO and my collection of gorgeous perle cotton threads.

I also adore the work of Pam Garrison and Charlotte Lyons, both such talented artists whose blogs I follow regularly.  Both of these gals have proven to be a major inspiration for me. Through their blogs, I found another fabulous stitcher, Rebecca Ringquest, who has a darling alphabet sampler pattern from when she taught at the SQUAM art retreat.  What I loved about Rebecca's sampler was that it would actually help me review the stitches that I have forgotten how to sew.  So now the hard part is...
waiting on my little samplers to get to my house.  I do plan to work on my UFO and try my hand with the new samplers, too.  Hand stitching is such a grand activity for the cooler winter months.

In the mean time, I have been dabbling in some patina...yummm...

This luscious blue/green is one of my favorite colors to work with... just dreamy...

Speaking of this favorite color... I just have to share a photo of the delightful package given to me by dearest Kristi... No one, absolutely no one "fluffs" like Kristi...  My precious gift contained glorious treasures from Italy... It makes me weak in the knees...
 I'm such a lucky girl....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Clean pups, new fabric and some birthday show-offs

Buttons and Gabe are just back from their grooming appointment today... smelling so fresh...
adorned with cute little pumpkin/ Halloween bandanas...
Our fabulous groomer Margie always has them so beautifully coiffed after their monthly visit with her.
They are pretty pooped, though... trying to catch an extra nap.
I still remember a funny thing the late George Carlin said... "What does a dog do on his day off?... He can't sleep... that's his job!"... love it... so true...

The postman brought some new MODA fabric today... I can't wait to incorporate these yummy pieces into my collage work. These are from the new ETCHINGS collection. I adore that aqua color...

I got such wonderful birthday surprises last week from some of my awesome, creative pals.
These fabulous handmade cards and envelopes came from dearest Cathy, Linda  and Tonya.  Each of these talented gals could surely market their designs... they are just delicious...

Tonya sent the most gorgeous mailart package... I would have photographed it, but I have cut it apart to use in my journal... luscious... Tucked inside was a delightful bracelet... and oh, how I adore jewelry... especially with charms...

Cathy and her hubby Jerry collaborated to design and execute this spectacular bird journal, made of great watercolor paper and fabulous "girly" embellishments... can't wait to dream up ways to fill it with mixed media magic.

How does a girl get lucky enough to have such talented and generous buds???
 I'm yet to celebrate more later this week.  I think I am having a "birthday month".  
As I look over at handsome, clean and sleepy Buttons and Gabe... I know life really is good.

Monday, October 10, 2011


 had such an impact on me that I could not wait to dive into 
her SOUL RESTORATION 2, when it was offered again recently.

Melody's online classes are like none I have ever experienced. 
 They have the potential to be totally life-changing. 
 I can hardly wait for Tuesdays to roll around again, 
so that I can see all she has in store for the upcoming week.  
We are starting week 3 tomorrow, 
and I am so pumped about continuing this fabulous journey.

Thank you, "brave girl Melody" for sharing this unbelievable vision.

Here is the cover to my "big journal" for SR 2...
I am determined to live my best life...
to live my dreams...

A peep at an old photo of "baby jane"... 

May you live all your dreams, too...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

As the seasons change...

The seasons surely are changing here in the foothills... with warm days, chilly nights and tinges of color here and there. A visit to the garden shop brought some of the seasonal tones to my cottage doorway. The more colorful landscapes are surely just a few short weeks away as we move deeper into October.  

As I celebrated another birthday this week,  I took some time to reflect on the bounty in my life.  I have been blessed beyond measure... with family, two sweet dog-children, and some of the dearest friends on the planet...

The creative yearnings in my heart enrich my life every day... Having the strength and health to return to my little art table is a daily joy, one that I never take for granted.  My interaction with my "like-minded tribe" of friends fills me with inspiration and fulfillment.  

The end of summer has prompted me to complete my VELVET DAYS book, from the FULL TILT BOOGIE online class.  Here are a few more renderings, before I place it with my million other handmade journals that make my heart sing. Why do I keep making these books??? Because I have to, it seems.  

Plant some pansies... slather some paint... soak in these glorious days...
As Steve Jobs said... "Stay hungry... stay foolish"...

Monday, October 3, 2011

My completed BELIEVE, 2011 creation

Can you believe it is already October??? The shadows here in gorgeous western North Carolina have deepened, the days are getting shorter and there is a real crispness to the air.  It is just delicious, and a fabulous time to dig deep and create.  After attending last month's BELIEVE in YOURSELF retreat in Blowing Rock, I couldn't wait to complete the special project inspired by Kristi and Susan.  The theme, CREATIVITY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE, struck a note this time of year. The metaphor of the butterfly and the metamorphosis of the artist is such a timely theme, and one that spoke to me.  The colors I chose were bright green, hot fuschia and rust.

Isn't it strange how we artists collect treasures and hold on to them for sooooooo long?  I had found this great rusty metal butterfly years ago... and never knew exactly what I would do with it... It was an absolutely perfect element for this piece.

One of the most delightful aspects of this process was scouring for all these fun small elements like tiny bottles, vials, spices, corks, watch faces, vintage optical lenses, old hat pins, "frozen charlotte dolls"...

The richness of the fabrics selected made this one a pleasure to work on.  I just loved embossing the velvet.

I dug out the sewing box filled with beading supplies and set to beading the silk butterfly and butterfly book cover.  

My artist space has been bustling with activity and "creative chaos" as I worked on my project.  I guess I should straighten up just a bit before I start my next creation... or at least switch out the fabrics and other ephemera...  I can't really create unless my "stash" is where I can find it.... LOL!!!
Enjoy this first week of October... create something wonderful...