Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting So Excited....Sent My Sponsor Gifts

I'm getting so excited I can barely contain myself.  With less than a month to go until departure I am busy.  Busy getting swaps finished & getting my supply list together.  I got my sponsor gifts completed & packaged & shipped yesterday.  I am participating in every swap that has been assigned because as Rachel suggested.... we might feel sad at Handmade U if we didn't participate when all the cool stuff was passed out.  I couldn't bare the thought.  So....I just signed up for each.  Sleep is over-rated right???  The one that has me slightly miffed is the ATC swap....I have never made one & really don't know what one is so I have been study-ing up on those. Thankfully we have blogs & pinterest these days or I would be in real trouble.

To get you all excited about Handmade U..... I want to show you some photos from some of the past art retreats.  Here are Rachel & Michelle  on welcoming day.  Everything is like school & it is so much fun.  This year it has grown quite a bit & won't be at Minglewood Lodge which is a quaint little lodge (which only had cell phone reception if you balanced on one foot & rubbed your head at the same time) & rather a hotel in Omaha....so I am liking this even though it has been fun at the lodge.  I am glad to see it has grown!  Fun new girls are coming like Suz & Gina who I have been so fond of over the years having met them at Silver Bella & have kept in contact with them over the years.  So Handmade U should prove to be especially wonderful this year with so many new faces.  Way to go Rachel for growing your fun retreat!

Here is one of the projects that Rachel taught.  We did this project on a 12 x 12 canvas.  Now to tell you the truth....I really think Rachel thought they would look more like traditional quilts than they actually did.  But as you fellow artists know we go outside the bubble & our 'quilts' turned out very individualized.  I LOVE my quilt to this day!  It hangs in my guest bathroom & you can barely see it in this photo.... it's in the bottom middle.  I was even a bit skeptical of the project (sorry Rachel) but ended up loving the final outcome.  I guess that's what happens if you push through a project & that's what I love about learning.  Way to go Rachel for pushing me through my self doubt....isn't that what a good teacher really is???  Those are the teachers I want for my kids!!

Michelle taught us these journals & they were fabulous.  I really loved making them.  They were tedious & hard for me. I immediately came home & started purchasing all the supplies needed even the silk Sari ribbon.  I had to have all the stuff.  I got home at 2:00 a.m. & was out by 9:00 a.m. Monday morning when Hobby Lobby opened to get the supplies they sold so I could start making one of my own.  I didn't want to forget my skills.  I loved the techniques Michelle taught so much & even came up with simpler versions of my own.

So that you believe me....here is the journal on the left that I made at Handmade U.  And here is the journal that I gave to my niece for her birthday just a couple of months later for her Halloween birthday.  She loved it & all the other nieces & nephews wanted one too!  What did I start??  By the way....using a readers digest cover made for the perfect cover since it was so colorful!!  So as you can see....I am very excited for my journey to Omaha for Handmade U.  Not just for all the fun classes that I will take....but for the friendship & fellowship too!  I just can't wait.  There are still some spaces left if you are available.  You can link on over to Rachels blog if you are interested.  Tell her Hope sent you!! We would love to create with you!   I hope you have a wonderfully creative & productive day.  Blessings!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Creative Wings Cake Swap...Tabitha's Cake

As promised I wanted to show you the lovely cake that Tabitha  created for me.  When presented to me, the candle was inside the cake on a lovely vintage card tied with pretty lace and as instructed I untied it & placed the vintage birthday candle on my cake.  That was a very clever touch!

Inside it was filled with just the most yummy vintage exquisiteness.  Vintage tulle, vintage millinery, vintage German scrap, of which Tabitha scored big time while out perusing her numerous haunts.  She is a fabulous shopper & quite the little savvy hunter.  It is amazing to shop with her.  So fun & she has lived in Indiana such a short time yet she knows the area so well, it's like she just scavenged the area....I love her adventureness.  I'm just not that daring.

...And then the best part...as I told you in my last post...her studio was truly the best...well Tabitha just started pulling out stuff for me!!!!  What do you love Hope???  What do you want Hope???  What is your hearts desire Hope???  I read your blog start to finish Hope???  I know what you LOVE???  Start choosing some things that you would like for your stash in addition to what I chose for you.....ummm like I can't do that Tabitha?????  So I said well that flocked wallpaper is really pretty....and that aqua velvet ribbon is pretty...& that pink rhinestone button is quite nice & they just started ending up in my pile & I started getting into it!!!!  Hey....it's fun to shop in Tabitha's studio!!!  I was getting into this!!!  WOWIE!!!

And just yesterday I was filling a swap box for a partner....for Handmade U, a one on one, vintage ephemera cigar box swap, & Jeff was getting that sick feeling in his stomach like why are you giving so much away????  All that cool stuff!!!!  Don't give that away....you will use that....that is too cool!!!  But I like that....you'll use that some day!!!!  But Lincoln might like that????  Don't put that in!!!!  Ummmm wait....Hey...stop....Hope!!!  While I was showing my mother Tabitha's lovely box filled with the pretty bluebird button card, & the vintage German scrap, & the vintage tulle, & all the other cool stuff....he said....WOW she gave you all that pretty....cool stuff?  That girl with the sweet baby, that came to our house that day?  And I said yes Jeff, Tabitha gave all this to me.  Then he was resting a little easier & began feeling all the loveliness that I have felt for so long in this art world of ours.

So....another fun swap.  I just love the whole swap thing.  Tabitha hosts a lot of fun swaps.  I will send off my prize ribbon to Holly later this week, another swap that Tabitha hosted.  Then I will begin her Halloween Nut Cup swap.  That will be a fun swap.  I just know that it will get me into the excitement of Halloween.  So thanks for hosting such fun & exciting swaps Tabitha.  They inspire me to reach for my creative best & force me to challenge myself and pull out all that sparkles in my studio....I hope you all have a wonderfully creative day!  Blessings.

Creative Wings Cake Swap....Tabitha's Cake

As promised I wanted to show you the 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Creative Wings Cake Swap....Oh So Yummy

I like to participate in a several of swaps a year.  I'm not swap happy or anything because quite frankly I don't have a lot of time & I really like one on one swaps the most where you get paired with a partner.  So I had fun joining Tabitha from Creative Wings Cake Swap & when I became her partner I suggested I drive to her house & make a special bakery delivery & we swap cakes in person since we just live one hour away from each other.  Above is the cake I made for her...a 3 tiered bakery confection.  Adorned with layer after layer with vintage flocked wallpaper, vintage rhinestone buttons, hand dyed satin ribbon, glittered flocked wallpaper, & my very own hand dyed coffee filter 'icing flowers'.  You can't even imagine how much like icing flowers they look.  I sprayed them with glimmer mist which gave them a wonderful sparkle & Tabitha knew right off the bat what I had used....she is a product junkie....something I am not.  I am a make-do kind of gal & find out about new products very rarely because that is just the way I operate.....but this glimmer mist is wonderful....and I must say.....I will be purchasing more colors of the product.  It is great stuff.

Part of the swaps assignment was to fill the inside of the cake with supplies.  Now anyone who knows me knows that I love my supplies & also knows that I love to lavish my swap partners with anything that I have.  So....keeping with the theme of my layers....I tried my hardest to keep each of the layers with a color scheme.  Pink items went in the pink layer.  Blue items went in the blue layer & so on & so on.  I really don't know if Tabitha picked up on that or not.  I didn't go into that because I was too busy looking around at her wonderful studio.  It is absolutely amazing.  I could live in there & never come out!  Truly.....truly.....amazing.....call out to Where Women Create....Hello are you out there?????....contact Tabitha....you definitely want to put her in your magazine!!!!!  I kind of invited myself up to her house for the bakery delivery.....well she does have all the sweet adorable children....& I didn't want to pose any hardships on the young mommy....been there done that....so I'm hoping she will invite me & a friend over for creating day sometime this fall!!!!  I NEED to get my hands on ALL of her lovely supplies...I might just bring my sleeping bag & camp out!!  Stay for days....I need her stash!!

So you can probably guess????  Yes....this went in the yellow layer.  Isn't she pretty?  It was hard to part with her...but  like I said I like to lavish my partners with loveliness & I was pretty sure Tabitha would adore her.  I might add that I was so busy gawking at all of the wonderful things in Tabitha's studio Tabitha was busy snapping away all these beautiful photos of what I brought her.  So these photos are all courtesy of Tabitha.  Thanks so much Tabitha!!!

And anyone that knows me knows that I love Frozen Charlotte's.  Big ones....small ones...medium ones.  It really doesn't matter.  I love the story....I love the history....I love their broken dirty bodies....I love the dirt that falls out of the box that has traveled all the way from Germany and falls onto my counter top when I unpack them.  So....you can pretty much anticipate getting one from me in a swap because I adore giving them so much.  They are wonderful.  Tabitha was no exception.  I hope she loves her as much I do.  I hope she creates something special with her....or just loves her in her wonderful stash of loveliness.

This little sweetie was REALLY hard to part with....but sometimes giving is more special than keeping.  I knew that Tabitha would love her & she has little girls.  I also knew that she likes to create with her oldest daughter down in the studio....so I wanted to send wonderful things.  I love to inspire the young girls too.  So I wanted to send lots of little doll things in the cake.  This was such a fun swap to participate in.  I love doing swaps because they inspire me so much.  Thanks so much Tabitha for hosting this fun swap....I love playing & I loved being your partner.  I can't wait to show you my cake & the goodies that she made for me!!  Be sure to check back to see her lovely confection.  I hope you have a lovely & inspiring day full of special blessings.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Few Lasting Keepsakes

I love to make gifts that will have a lasting impression on the recipient.  My niece wanted to give a special gift to her best friend & didn't want to give that standard 'mall' gift.  So she asked her Aunt Hope for a little help....I think we came up with a very special gift for her very special bestie.  Sydney was really happy to give this special gift & Claire felt over-joyed.

After my niece's brilliant idea.... along came Sydney's mother....my sister & LOVED her idea.  She ditched the traditional 'mall' gift & decided on giving ornaments to her friends as well.  They were getting married & what better way to celebrate this union.  A silver soldered ornament of the two love birds.  I adored this military photo and added this cool vintage adornment to the bottom of the ornament.  I thought it added so much.  I just love how the vintage grey velvet brought out the richness of his uniform.  

And this simple photo just needed a little vintage rhinestone to balance off the shape. I think it gives just the right amount of sparkle.  On the backs of these ornaments I commemorate the special event.  It makes for a lovely keepsake.  A collection of these ornaments adorns my banister at the holiday time & it is my most cherished holiday collection.  They hang from red seam binding from evergreen garland & it just makes for the most sentimental, sweet keepsake.  I add a couple of favorite photos from the year.  I hope your day is filled with loveliness & inspiring things today.  Blessings.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Today IU Classes Start.... It's A Big Day

It's a big day in Bloomington today.  Classes start on the IU campus and my daughter Lindsey is 1 of the 40,000 or so students enrolled as she begins her day as a sophomore in IU's Kelley School of Business.  She was so excited when she texted me this morning on her way to her 8:00 a.m. class on the bus with her sack lunch that the Alpha Delta Pi cook packed for her.  She said it felt like high school all over again.  I am just thrilled for her.  I am so glad she is embracing her college education with such enthusiasm.  It makes a mom proud & content.  Good luck Lindsey on your first day today!

The photo above is of my soldered IU charms.  I have been making them by the truck load & taking them up to Lola Rue.  Go Hoosiers!  I hope you all have a wonderfully creative day!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Girlfriends on the Farm

 I have been wanting to redo the garage/barn since the day we moved into this mini horse farm 18 years ago!  We finally got the opportunity this summer & began the long process.  We are creating a space to house our very own Ellington's Mercantile.  This will be a special 2 room mini store where we will sell salvaged pieces, antiques, & oddities....I say that because you never know what might lurk up around here!  It will also be home to a very special place....'Girlfriends on the Farm'....a place where my friends can come & sell their finds & their hand crafted works of art.

Here is a side view of kind of the way things have looked for a very long time.  Pathetic huh???  I think in a better time this little out building used to be a blacksmiths shop.  Remember, my farmhouse & surrounding farm has been in existence since the 1850's so a lot has happened around here.....after all....it was built before the civil war.

 Here is a picture of how things are shaping up during the building process.  Jeff wants to put 2 windows across the front....and while I think that is a novel idea & I love natural light I really think a hand lettered sign across the front would look stellar!!!!  I'm really into old signage & I just think it would make it look charming.  We are going to put an old front porch across the front.  With some old rockers....maybe a liars bench so you can stop by for a slice of blueberry pie!

 Would a ceiling be a ceiling without it being tin?  Well not for 
Jeff.  There were numerous things I could have chosen...but I didn't get to pick this & it is fine really it is....& the lighting won't exactly be my choice either....but it WILL be okay as my shoulder stiffen as I type this...but it is OKAY...progress is being made & after 18 years I am happy for this....REALLY I am....because I get to have my dream.  Girlfriends on the Farm.....

.....and look what it used to look like!!!!  We have come a long way baby.  Not to mention.....this out building was FULL of J.U.N.K. and not your run of the mill good junk either.  It was full of junk that no one would want.  So it's okay if I don't get to pick out each & every light fixture & each & every ceiling covering....because huge progress is being made down on the farm & for that I am truly blessed.  Luckily for me....Jeff is a really cool husband...and we don't differ too much on what we choose anyway so it's all good.  So my dear blog friends...I will keep you posted on the happenings of Girlfriends on the Farm....maybe some of you will even want to road trip to the Hoosier State.  I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday....& many blessings always.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Lovely Little Give-Away

I am so excited to be showing you this lovely give-away today.  
I have made a new friend in the blog world & I am so happy that I have.  Not only is she very talented & lovely....but in reality she lives relatively close to me here in the midwest.  That is a real perk for me!  She is the lovely Kadee Metzger of Kadee Willow.com and please forgive me but I do not know how to link blogs for the life of me despite me trying desperately.  So you will just have to manually  to type in her address and not just click on my link.  But I think for this lovely give-away it will be worth it....don't you?

I am not exactly sure when Kadee joined my little Alanna George group for the 12 days of Christmas swap....but I am sure happy that she did....because that is how I met her.  I started doing Alanna's swaps about 3 years ago after Silver Bella as a way to stay connected with fellow artists.  It has really been a fun way to do so & now I have met this talented lady....one of the many....many reasons I love blogging & this wonderful art world that I have grown to love.

Look at the pretty detailing on this lovely bag that Kadee is offering in her give-away.  Look at the gorgeous lace detail and pretty buttons....I am sure they must be vintage & I love the distressed plaid in the leaves.  I just think it is all too pretty.  I think the green seersucker at the bottom is delightful....a sure southern detail as I know Kadee loves the South!!!  A lady after my own heart!!  Swoon!  I just love 
how 'mis-matched' everything is because it just makes everything 'go' together so nicely.  As my 15 year old son would say 'Mom...that doesn't make sense!'  But what do boy's know anyway??

.....and look how lovely it will look when I win this bag in Kadee's give-away & it is just casually slung on my entryway table (or in this case Kadee's entryway table) but envision mine please.... after a lovely day out shopping my favorite flea markets????  So scoot on over to Kadee's blog and join her give-away and a chance to win this lovely bag...actually I can't even believe I am telling the world about this????  Have I lost my mind???  Good luck Kadee...your bag is delightful & so are you!

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Daily Walks....They Do A Body Good

I am so fortunate that I live by such a gorgeous setting.  Last night we had a wonderful rain that left us with this beautiful morning.  Green & fresh.  Just the right kind of lovely.  I can't say that I have always taken advantage of my gorgeous setting & always walked my mornings but I will say that I am taking advantage of it now.  I am finally healthy.  Finally after   
46 years of unhealthy living I have wised up and shed nearly 60 pounds and gotten smart, gotten my act together, looked at my surroundings & taken charge.  Why not....wouldn't you.....when you get to see this every morning of your life!

It really only does get better as I meander on.  It truly is breath taking.  The deeper I go.  It is lush.  It is serene.  Mother Nature at her best.  It is so peaceful.  I think.  I pray.  I get to convene with nature.  After the rain things were so pretty this morning & the creek was just babbling on.

The moss was so vibrant....and then I looked down and saw these magnificent white mushroom flowers....and I had never seen such  pretty ones in my life.  I think the rain had made them bloom so exquisitely.  I really was stunned.

The petals were such a creamy white velvet....so soft & sponge like.  The centers were glistening with pearl like centers sparkling in the pale sunlit morning.  I really felt like I had stumbled onto to one of God's holy treasures.....and it only got better as I walked deeper I came onto another favorite spot of mine, water logged from the nights rain the moss loving the saturated soaking from last night as we all had

because we have just suffered so much with this summers drought.  So we are all just happy after the nice rain that we had last night.  It was very rejuvenating.  Like I mentioned earlier, even the creek was singing!  So as I walked along this morning.....every thing was very green.....every thing was very  
bright....& every thing was very dusted off & I was very happy to show you a little glimpse of the lovely walk that I get to take each morning.  This is the walk that I hope to continue as each of the seasons change to help me continue my journey on my weight loss goal.  I feel so happy that I am able  to do these goals daily & I am happy that the beauty in my life makes it easier.  Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Some Fun Summer Shopping

I had a lot of fun this summer shopping around the state of Indiana.  We didn't venture too far away yet I was still able to find some great finds.  One place I did score was a new place & it was at the Indy Vintage Market.  It is held once a month in Indianapolis & has been compared to the Paris Flea markets....now that is a laughable stretch & I will say I had a great time.....but NOT the Paris Flea Markets by any stretch of the imagination.

I got these great vintage typewriters which I have wanted for eons.  One is a gift for my 12 year old niece Lilly.  It's okay.....she doesn't read my blog so it will still be a surprise.  I am going to keep the aqua one for myself though because I just think the color is TOO cute!

I also got these incredibly cool Knights of the Pythias pins.  Well I couldn't resist their awesome charm & wonderful patina.  There stellar graphics were really grabbing me too....I took 10, and found out another lady had chosen 10 as well only to later find out the shopper was my dear friend Lisa from Lola Rue who was shopping hours before me.  We gravitate towards the same items....funny how we bought the exact same number too.  Knights of the Pythias is an international fraternal order founded in 1864 by Justin H. Rathbone in Washington D.C. dedicated to the idea of universal peace.  I think I might add one to a journal or maybe a sewing sampler.

Some time later on in the summer I was shopping in Lola Rue....my good friend Lisa's shop & got this awesome watchmakers cabinet.  It is made of metal & has four drawers.  It is wonderful and has all these little boxes as you can see from the above photo.  I can store all my bits & bobs!  It does away with most of my plastic storage bin containers.....which I detest with a passion.  I was so amazed by what I could get in the drawer system that I have freed up so much space.  I am loving life at the moment.  Basically....it has given me a creative outlet beyond belief.  Truly...I am on cloud nine.

This was something that I thought was exceptionally creative & interesting.  I really just couldn't pass it up.  This plastic canvas masterpiece......rightfully named.....would you not agree????  Well let me tell you.....it has over 350 vintage rhinestone buttons attached to it with pipe cleaners!  The person.....whose booth that I purchased it from wove each button intricately through the mesh of the canvas.  I personally could not believe it....so I just had to buy it. It is one of the most unusual things of interest I have purchased in the types of things that I buy anyway....I love vintage rhinestone buttons....& this was displayed so unusually that I just had to have it!  I think you will agree.  So I hope you have enjoyed some of my summer shopping spree....I didn't venture too far from home.....but I still had some fun & I didn't break the bank too badly! So as I end this little post of my summer escapade I hope you come back to my little blog.  I have been away for awhile, but am realizing how much I have missed this part of my creative world.  I hope I can add this back to my life.  So until I join you again.  Ta Ta for now!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I Can't Wait to Go To HandMade U Again

 Well I think it is funny that the very next post that I am doing is a post about Handmade U!  Truly I can't believe I have not posted in five whole months.  I don't know where the time has gone quite frankly.  Can you all just assume that I have been leading a hugely full life?  So my life begins and ends with Handmade U....ok...that is good right....because it is that fun!  So, this is my third semester to attend.  I have been to all of them and I love going.  I have learned so much.  Rachel has been so good to us.  Please, I know there are a few more spots available....if you have the time....sign up.  It will not disappoint....check out the awesome teachers below.....

 This is Hope Wallace Karney....and I have been dying to take one of her classes for so long.  I secretly used to be honored when people would get me confused with her because of our names.  She is so talented & I just can't wait to see what I will learn from her.  My head is swooning just thinking about it.  Maybe just maybe....I will pop open one of my new Copic Markers for her class!!!  Okay....I am liking blogging again...I have missed this....I really have.  

 This is an example of one of her journals.  I know I will never  be able to journal or write like she does....but I am sure she will have great techniques to show me how.  I know that Pam sure did teach me a lot last year & I was even able to do it when I got home so that was a true blessing.  I could even draw that crazy bird & teach my family how to do it too.

 This is the oh so talented Liesel Lund.  She is a children's book illustrator and jewelry creator. One of the really interesting things she does is she is an artist for Tommy Bahama one of Jeff's favorite clothing lines.  That is just too cool!  She is going to teach us how to do some cool distressing techniques in our own children's journal we are going to make.  I can't wait for this one!!

Here is an example of one of her journals.  I can't wait to see all the fun we will be doing.  Michelle Geller & Shelley Overholt are going to do some fun make & takes & there are oodles of sponsors including me!  There is a fun bus tour of Omaha NE going to Dick Blick & Archivers and some fun Antique hot spots along the way!  I really can't wait for all the fun....oh yah....and I forgot to mention the VERY best PART of the whole TRIP....my travel companion.... the lovely Miss Stephanie Oyler of Crowns & Pearls.  We have done this wonderful journey together each time and have loved every minute of it.  So check out Hand Made U..... book today or keep it in mind for the next semester.....it will not disappoint!