Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Here’s to a Smashing Good Year!


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Did you keep a scrapbook or diary when you were growing up? I used to love to collect ticket stubs, images, and various sorts of paper items, and tape them into a leather-cover scrapbook from “the dime store”, as we used to call it. Well apparently, I still do! Recently I learned about the concept of a “smash book” in which paper lovers do just as I used to. The big difference is in the kinds of materials available today which add a lot more interest to the collecting and the “smashing.” I’ll give you a little tour of my 2014 Smash Book now that it’s time to start one for the New Year.

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I tend to accumulate small bits of paper that I just love too much to part with. Things like attractive business cards, inspiring images… just bits and pieces, really. But the question remains, what to do with them? The smash book is the perfect solution. Instead of piling up in drawers, or being tucked out of sight in small baskets and boxes, they can all reside together in a meaningful and personal journal. I made mine using black cardstock cut to size, punched with holes, and bound with ring binders. So simple, and I can add pages as needed. Even the cover came from recycled mail art here, and created by Jan of Laughing Dog Arts.


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Here are a few things that just can’t get thrown out partly because of the memories and partly because they are just pretty or intriguing. That toothbrush is actually a coupon to purchase an electronic device. It’s not that I have fond memories of my trip to the dentist, but that coupon caught my eye and came home with me. I already have a suitable toothbrush, so it came just because the image had such appeal. It’s hard to explain why I had to have it, so I don’t. Instead, I just “smash” it into my book and enjoy thumbing through from time to time.

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Our guild newsletter had a photo and little article about me in it- into the smash book it went.


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The book is a home for special greeting cards…

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And colorful images… that chicken in the page below is from an original painting by Sonja Hagemann. I won some of her lovely hand-dyed fabric and the image was in the package.


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Odd things find their way into the book, too. That’s a bread wrapper tab at lower right serving as a page marker.


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Photos of a wonderful cruise to The Bahamas and memories of the quilt show held at a church in Nassau. The “keep calm” flyer was on my car windshield one day and seems to fit with this selection of photos. Some of the photos below were from art exhibits, but the photo of the cross is one we took in Yarnell, Arizona before the tragic fire that took the lives of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters there. The cross was located at the top of a very steep climb through boulders at the Shrine of St. Joseph there, and I it did not survive the fire. Seeing the image bring sadness, but helps to remember and honor the 19.


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I won’t make you look at all the pages, but you get the idea. Images worth saving go into the smash book, and become a keepsake. it’s been an enjoyable project, and I thought I’d share it here.
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Happy New Year, and many blessings for 2015! As always, many thanks for visiting my blog.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Joy to the World…


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I’ve always loved angels… stories about them, images of them, the whole concept of them! And I have a small collections of angel figurines that come out at Christmas. A few even stay out all year. But this trio of angels are the result of an online class called Journal Soup with Kate Crane. She taught students how to create interesting mixed media backgrounds, and then how to draw and paint these simple angel figures. I decided to recycle a plain white bag by painting my angels on it. It was fun to make, and I completed it by writing the words for "Joy to the World" around the outside of the image and on the gowns. I continued the recycling theme by tying the bag closed with ribbon and a strip of painted bubble plastic I had used to stamp dots on backgrounds. I filled the bag full of goodies and shipped it off to a friend in Pennsylvania. Below is a photo of what’s inside.


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The “small business Saturday” in which shoppers purchase gifts in local shops and small retail businesses is an effort I like to support. So most of the items I’m gifting were found in art and craft galleries and craft stores. The Redbelly notecard came from Cedar Key Arts Center. Below it is a hand-made vintage-look necklace from Artisan’s Way in Melrose, FL. The "Shine" zippered pouch came from She Scrapbooks in The Villages, FL. I don't shop just on "small business Saturday", but pick things up when I visit small communities in the area. Grumpy Cat is the only gift that came from a big-box bookstore, but I couldn’t resist. Do you know Grumpy Cat? She’s featured on posters that say things like “If you’re happy and you know it, get away from me!” A very charming feline-her face just says it all.


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And here are a few of my angels to say Merry Christmas, Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Some Wintery Sparkle…



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We’ve been so busy lately with our daughter’s (continuing) move, that it occurred to me that I had not posted on my blog in awhile. I have been sewing and crafting in odd moments, but she’s found a permanent home and it’s time to get her moved from her temporary rental. We certainly are enjoying having her here in Florida, and I know she is happy with the change. Still lots more to do, but her new home is just right for her. And there’s lots of wall space so I can help decorate with some of my quilts, so that's fun! One project I was able to complete are these sparkly vintage-look cards. They were in a kit I purchased at a close-out sale. They were simple to make, or I should say assemble, really. The design elements were punch-outs and were applied in layers on top of a base image to get a 3-D quality. All of the embossing and imagery were already on the card. I just needed to add pop-dots and glitter glue.

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The cards have such a nostalgic feel to them, and I like how they almost look lit from within. I had not seen anything quite like them before, nor have I since.


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I can’t really pick a favorite, but this little bird lover is certainly an appealing and sweet image. However, the first two cards almost look as if you could step into the landscape, and are inviting for that reason. Better bring boots and a shovel though! Meanwhile, thinking I may have more time to spend on projects in the New Year and after the final move, I signed up for LifeBook 2015 which is a year-long art journaling class and group. Time will tell, but I’m hoping to learn more about supplies and techniques, and this class is full of well-known, fine instructors.

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Speaking of birds, I thought I’d show you this visitor in our horse paddock from last week. It was not easy to get a photo, but if you study on it, you can see that it’s an American Eagle. So handsome, and he is a good-size fellow.  I’ll keep stitching and crafting… the clock is ticking toward Christmas!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Many Hands Make Light Work…



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This pieced quilt saw a lot of hands involved in its creation. Quilter Debra Johnston started the blocks, I completed a few of them along with the help of another friend at a quilt retreat. Then I assembled the top which will become a donation quilt. Our guild has an active program through which quilts of all sizes are given to local hospitals and agencies. This top will now go back to Debra for quilting, and back to me for binding before it travels on to its new home. I really enjoy collaborative efforts like this one where I can contribute a part of the whole. It seems to be a true reflection of the “community” that quilting has always fostered.

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I have a couple more quilts in the works, and my family and I traveled to Cedar Key, FL, to pick them up from the long-arm quilter. She did a great job and I look forward to sharing them with you here as soon as they’re bound. Meanwhile I’ll share some photos of the quaint fishing and arts community of Cedar Key. The colorful mural above is painted on the side of a building. It’s a perfect representation of this Gulf-side, island community which is known for its sunsets and pelicans. The little shack depicted in the painting still has remnants standing on stilts in the water. Each time we visit it seems to have deteriorated a little more, but still stands. Below is the artist co-op that offers the work of some very talented jewelry makers, painters, wood workers, textile artists, and more. I was very drawn to the exterior display of the prayer flags in a wide array of fabrics and colors. Very eye-catching, and right up my alley given the prayer flags I’ve made (shown here and here).


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After a visit to The Salty Needle quilt shop and lunch at Tony’s, home of the famous Cedar Key Clam Chowder (award winning!), we stopped by the local park. They have a non-traditional tree that looks very appealing with its Christmas ornaments and clusters. After biking around town, we called it a day and returned home.

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We enjoyed a really relaxing yet productive day! Now to get on with binding those quilts.