Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Our waffle house

Breakfast for dinner happens around here at least once a month. It's quick, easy, inexpensive and ever so exciting. If you're within say 10 miles or so you can probably hear the screams of glee when I announce "Waffle Night." My kids are trained to hear when I get the waffle iron down from the top shelf..."Waffles Mom, you mean we're haViNG WAFFLES!!" running footsteps to tell the others.

Subbing half whole wheat flour (instead of all white) when making the waffle batter ups the nutritional value as does a good slathering of homemade blueberry sauce.

I tweaked and modified another recipe to come up with this one that I call my own. Quick, easy and delicious. You are more than welcome to try it out (and not just with patterned circles.)

And yes on waffle night we do it up right. The powdered sugar shaker comes out along with dollops of whipped cream and a bit of sausage on the side. Life is too short to miss out on waffle nights.

Note: here's a great link for smoothies if you have some extra frozen blueberries.

Monday, May 25, 2009

memorial day

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! ~Maya Angelou

Recognizing and reflecting on the ultimate sacrifices given for the ultimate gifts of freedom.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

'tis the season for Inexpensive and Inspirational stockpiling

Things aren't exactly organized by aisle and there are no guarantees that you'll find exactly what you think you are looking for, but the prices and the fun are worth it. Yard sale season has returned in my corner of the world. Actually it has already been around for several weeks, but track season prohibited me from doing anything other than watching my kids gloriously race to the finish line. This weekend brought my first free Saturday. And the sun was shining. I do have a list somewhere in the back of my head of things I'm hoping to score at yard sale prices, but other finds aren't even on my radar. Take the 35 cent grouping above. Not on the radar, but those little pieces have already sparked new ideas for future projects. And if the future projects don't materialize, I'm out 35 cents? Not a big deal (but I know I'll use the bits for something.)

Here's something I'm always in the market for (if the price is right). Not only do I use "pricey" ribbon for gift packages (all presents deserve to look fabulous), but it creeps into my collages and projects consistently. I have ribbon organized by color in my studio closet...just looking at that brings me a feeling that all is right with the world.

Yes peeps that's right. The entire container with practically full (and some never used) ribbon rolls was mine for $10 tOtaL (That $10 included the under-the-bed storage container which alone carries a retail price of $20+.) Did I mention that some of the full ribbon was marked at $14.99 and higher? It is a rare day indeed when I buy ribbon at retail price.

Here's something that was on the list. Storage drawer bins for my out-of-control collage pieces. Buying plastic at the store seems silly when it's hanging around in yards on Saturdays for a fraction of the price.

Pillowcase projects seem to be all the rage these days. I've seen crafters turn them into dresses, skirts, blouses, aprons and more. My problem was that sometimes I thought the end result looked a bit too pillowcasey. When I found these unpillowcase gems...let's just say I had a moment. AND then when the granny of the house came up to me and told me her mother hand smocked and embroidered them??? And she wanted 50 cents each?! I thanked her and promised they were going to a good home (pillowcase projects coming soon...can hardly wait.)

I wasn't looking to buy 12 yards of burlap fabric, but felt the deal was too good to pass up. I don't have burlap in my stash and though I'm not exactly sure what I'll use it for I like the alternative texture=creative sparks.

I didn't photograph less artsy/crafty finds like summer reading (25 cents per book) for kids and adults, a like-new wheelbarrow ($4), a flowery nostalgic vase ($1) and a princess memory game (50 cents). But I came home with those too.

Go out and hit 10 or so sales on a Saturday morn. If you're not already a convert, you will be AmaZeD at the new or likenew supplies being unloaded for projects that never happened (note: I do practice some restraint so that I can actually walk into my studio.) If there's a craft that you might want to give a whirl, yard sales are a great way to pick up materials without the investment. Veterans, what did you find so far this season?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Overcoming zipper phobia

This account does have a happy ending so I'm showing off the finished product first. Despite large amounts of work that has absolutely nothing to do with needing to make a zippie pouch I couldn't help myself. My zipper collection (unopened packages of zippers collected from thrift stores and yard sales) continued to haunt me until I could take it no more. I had to finally figure out how to sew something that zipped and conquer this overwhelming fear.

First, I gathered and cut everything I envisioned becoming part of my zippie pouch. Four 6" x 8" pieces of fabric (two rectangles from the print and two from the brown for the liner.) I also ironed interfacing to the print fabric to make the bag a bit sturdier. I cut a leaf shape from an upholstery kind of fabric on hand. Then the star of the show...the 7 inch forest green zipper...deep it laughing at me? no...just my imagination. Next, I went straight to the computer and googled, 'how to sew a zipper.' I came across this awesome self-help zipper tutorial that I highly recommend if you too have a phobia regarding making things that zip.

So I'm not going to lie. Even with the easy-to-follow tutorial on screen, I had an early zipper accident which forced me to rip (what's a seam ripper??) the zipper off the fabric, trim everything and start again. I muttered to myself something inspirational sounding about how mistakes are necessary for growth etc. etc. and started again. I would not let the evilzippermonster win. After rereading the tutorial and studying the pix very carefully, I figured out my error. The rest of the project went off without a hitch. It was magical really...flipping the fabric this way and that, turning it inside out and voila! Everything faced the right way including the liner PLUS the working zipper was sewed in exactly were it was supposed to be. What a trick indeed.

Before the pouch was all stitched together, I blanket stitched and back stitched (do I sound like I know what I'm talking about?) the leaf applique on the front. A little ribbon and some beads for a zipper pull and there you have my new...I'm thinking cosmetic...bag. Now I want to make about 20 more. "Hi my name is June...and I can sew a zipper."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Trap Opportunity

This winged opportunity has been flying around in my head begging to be painted for several weeks now. Every since my kids convinced me that we needed a Venus fly trap for a pet. Happy to hear about a pet that didn't come with vet bills or need to be walked, I conceded.

Meet Vivi. She's so much easier to care for than anything with legs. We purchased Vivi at case you're wondering where you might find a fly trap. Although we have yet to catch a live fly for Vivi (Murphy's a fly trap and suddenly flies become extinct), we've fed her beetles, pill bugs and an ant or two. She happily coaxes them into her traps and snaps shut. Amazing really and very entertaining in a warped kind of way.

Here's the painting in full ~prints for sale in my etsy shop. Yes, it was our little Vivi who got me thinking about opportunity and how you have to grab it when it buzzes by. It also helps to have an open trap or two so you don't miss it when it does.

Unfortunately, our new pet fly trap has not deterred my children from their incessant beggings for something furry. Mom and Dad are still thinking on that.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dear Teacher...

Poem written by me. Inspired by a sometimes mischievous, always loveable seven year old.

Frustration pencil craft kits are available for sale in a variety of colors over at my etsy shop. Each kit makes six pencils. That'll cover a bunch of ready-for-summer teachers (and I'll betcha they'll smile : )

Plus a little bonus to make the crafters smile too.

(poem for private use only...please contact me if you'd like to post or use elsewhere.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Booth Revealed

All the little bits and pieces of the booth I've been working on came together for the show over the weekend. The booth made me happy. Here was my total vision put together.

Unfortunately the show...well not so great. My firstborn will not have her first year (or first days!) of college paid for. I could blame lots of factors (you know now that I'm a veteran)...the crowds didn't come, the hotel (in the process of a brand switch) was poorly marked and hard to find, parking was bad, the crowd was museuming rather than buying, the economy stinks, etc. And finally, maybe I didn't fit this particular show after all. Not trying to make excuses, rather wanting to learn, put things into perspective and most importantly not blame myself. But don't think I was that clearheaded on Saturday. Hearing compliments was wonderful, but they sure don't equal the wonderfulness/confidence build of booming sales.

I will do this again now that I have a booth designed. I just need to find the right venue...and if you think you know of a good fit please e-mail. Suggestions are most welcome.

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new."
—Brian Tracy

No regrets. : )

p.s. thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the positive comments as i prepped for this. i can't tell you how much
your words mean to me!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

framing, packing, wondering

framing prints and originals...

packing craft kits, magnets and cards...

wondering where she's taking least we have extra bird seed.

If you're around Hudson, Ohio on Saturday make sure you stop by booth #48 and say hello. Until then, you know what I'll be up to. I'll tell ya how it all went down next week.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Making a list

I bet you've been wondering if I've been thinking about the clipboard that I would transform to match my booth that would hold my mailing list sign-up sheet? No? Well actually, it happens to be bullet point #15 on my "100 Things to Prep for Art Show" list. The scary thing is I'm not kidding. After digging into my closet of waiting-to-be-fabulous thrift store/yard sale treasures, I picked out this particular clipboard purchased for a quarter some time ago. Beat up and abused, but with the coolest metal clip in perfect working condition. I primed the board and threw a palette of paint at it (quite literally really) to make over into this...

tah dah! Now a much happier clipboard which also got a few coats of sealer.

This sign up opportunity will be out for those interested in hearing about my latest work, show schedule, studio happenings and promos including specials just for "the list." And BTW if you can't be at this show, notice the new little sign up button over there at the right (i'm pointing to screen.) Just enter your e-mail and presto you'll too be on "the list." And don't think you'll be bombarded with e-mail. It's a no-share, no-more-than-once-a-month update. Did I mention the specials?

Now in case you think I've gone over the top and become waaaaay too serious about all of this prepping, not to worry...'s the sign-up pen. Who says the pencils should have all the fun?

I'm typing slowly with eleven fingers due to a nasty x-acto knife accident yesterday. I'll spare you the details. Just a little reminder that I need to keep my mind focused instead of thinking (while cutting) about how I could next transform/embellish the boring looking cash box.

FYI: I'm drawing the line at least for this show.