Friday, December 4, 2009

Yesterday my son and my husband both celebrated birthdays.  I never begin decorating for Christmas until after December 3rd, which means the push is now on to buy a tree & crawl in the attic in search of 77 boxes of holiday decorations, etc.  I've been shopping for cards.  No, I don't make my own.  Are you kidding me?  Still haven't found the perfect ones, but I'm determined.

I loved this bowl filled with holiday stuff.  Could be gift tags or cards received.  Could be recipes for guests to take as they leave, assuming I was to get my act together and invite people over for nibbling of treats, and assuming they wanted the recipes.

Now I don't really do a lot of baking, but even I could make these cookies.  I've been saving my coupons for those refrigerated rolls of sugar cookes.  And surely I can stick a straw in the dough to make these little mouths.  Why I simply adore this idea.  How about you?

Where Have You Been?

I'm not lost.  I'm still here.  Up to my neck in alligators.
I survived November, barely.
December is racing along whether I'm ready to go with it or not.
I've begun my shopping if gift cards count.  They do, don't they?

I'll be back shortly...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween

It's been quite eventful in my little corner of the world lately.  Lots of hush- hush artwork I'm not allowed to discuss.  Lots of fun.  Lots of inky fingers.  Lots of late nights.

Half the decorations are on the front porch.  The skeleton still needs to be dangled from the wire spring, the ghosts need to be hung from the carriage lights, the strings of jack-o-lantern lights need to be hung around the front door, and the spider webbing needs to be stretched.  I've decided not to use the tombstones this year and may regret it when I look back at the photos, but we'll see.  Never did pick up a witch's hat and broom to go with those fabulous shoes, but it might still happen.

Have to tell you that I'm the Halloween nut in our household, humored to a point of course by my better half.  So when I pointed out all these things that we still needed to do, I got a big laugh at the "we".  I don't climb ladders.  Not even foot stools because I don't do well with heights, so I guess you could say I was using the royal "we".  The other day I was in the craft store and in front of me was this tall thin woman who had to be about 80 and she was buying scarecrows and pumpkins and such for her yard.  I smiled widely because I knew that would be me in 30 years, still going strong, still decorating like a crazy person for the trick-or-treaters.

It's supposed to be 80 tomorrow here in NC which means there will be some hot kids inside their costumes.  I can still remember the year my son was dressed in fake fur as a Star Wars character and I was in shorts and a t-shirt, knowing full well that he was dyin' in that outfit.  Seems like a lifetime ago...

Here's wishing you a Happy Halloween from the biggest kid of

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Big News for my B-Day!!

My birthday gift from my son this year was the announcement that they're having a baby.  Today I found out it's a boy.
Me, a in the world is that possible?
Have mercy...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me...

It's official...I'm old as dirt.  Had to happen sooner or later, right? 

Don't you love these clever gift wrapping ideas?  Maps, newspapers, & pages from old books used as wrapping paper are quite lovely when you add a pretty ribbon & bow.  And how about an old wall calendar?  How cool is that to circle the date?  Another inventive idea for those of us with lots of colored cardstock:  cut it in strips to create the look of ribbon, pull out a hand punch and punch out circles...I think that's very clever indeed!

Speaking of old things, isn't this a unique idea for displaying face clothes in the guest bathroom?  I use a wire basket shaped like a pig, but I'm thinking this is pretty cute too.  Especially today since I'm suddenly faced with an appreciation for old things.

Next time you're passing a yard sale or flea market, check out the old costume jewelry.  Sometimes you can find an old brooch that would be the perfect topper for a tiny gift box.  Or buy strands of dime store pearls and cut them apart, gluing them on individually.  Mother has given me tons of those pearl necklaces and I've been sharing them with the kids in the neighborhood who play dress-up, but now I'm thinking of new ways to use them.

If you've got any old hardback books around and feel like folding pages, why not make yourself a message center?  Tuck in the reminder postcard from the vet or the tiny appointment card from the dentist.  Rubber stamp envelopes for next month's bills & birthday cards, and tuck them into the pages too.  Save those coupons for delivery pizza and tuck a few of those in there as well.  You never know when they might come in handy.  Then add a favorite photo to make you smile each time you pass.  I recently received a postcard from Sweden and it would be perfect on display.  And if the leaves have begun to change in your area as they have here, why not tuck in a vibrant leaf or two?

It's a dreary, rainy day here but I've got a perfect cup of coffee, so life is good.  My old piggie bedroom shoes are looking worn & loved, but then so am I, so I'm still smiling.  If your day is less than perfect seek out a child and ask them to tell you a joke.  It'll be corny and the delivery will be less than perfect, but it's guaranteed to make you feel good about life. 

And one last thing.  If you don't know what a "dime store" is, you've missed out on a great childhood treat.  Which means there's something to be said for growing old.  Go ask your mother or your grandmother and get them to tell you about the great shopping you could do with loose change back in the old days.  I'm going to send an email to my big brother and remind him about those shopping extravaganzas we used to make weekly to the Person Street Five & Ten.  Paddle balls, silly putty, play dough, pick up sticks, a barrel full of monkeys, jump ropes, bubbles, balloons, and my favorite candies: BB Bats and Kits.  Suddenly I'm not feeling so old after all.  Happy birthday to me!

Friday, October 9, 2009


It's Friday and I've survived another week.  Just a few thoughts to share today.  First, I went antiquing a few weeks ago and added to my key collection.  It's truly a sickness.  You simply wouldn't believe the number of old rusty keys I've amassed but I can't stop now. 

We recently visited a boutique with a table front & center, and the bottom of each table leg was wearing a high heel.  Not a real shoe of course; just made to look that one.  But you know I went wild over the idea of it and now my mother is buying me wacky shoes at the thrift stores.  One pair looks just perfect for a witch so I've decided to add something new to this year's porch decorations for Halloween.  Those shoes, a black hat and a broom. 

Saw the Cake Mix Doctor on GMA this week and now I'm dying to make her crushed Oreo brownies.  Have mercy, I'm not a fan of chocolate, but they looked so good I think I won't be able to resist.  Went right to the library last night and put my name on the list for both her books, along with some new fiction, of course.

Tomorrow we're off at oh-dark-thirty for IKEA in Charlotte.  A bonus to reward me for rising while it's still dark outside:  they're giving away a free breakfast to everyone.  I was going anyway, but I'm telling myself it's a reward, so don't rain on my parade.

The queen-size bed in guestroom #1 is on a Hollywood frame with no headboard and it's making us crazy.  You know that's the only room on the first floor that's received a new coat of paint (Butter Cream), so it deserves a proper bed.  Since we can't decide on one we like around here, we're off in search of one, plus new bedding as well.  And I'm thinking I want new curtains for my bedroom, and a new long runner for my kitchen. 

I've got so many ideas in my head for classes right now that I dream about them!!!  Backgrounds, collages, books, techniques, and of course a new specimen box surprise.  And I've got a big order of new goodies on the way, so that's always a big treat.

One final note...I've had enough candy corn.  For today.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall is in the air! October has arrived

October's here already?  How'd that happen?  I've been distracted by several things in recent weeks.  My TV shows are back.  House is still an all-time favorite.  Liking the new Flash Forward...for now.  Old Christine is still a winner and so is the new Modern FamilyHank and The Middle were both dreadful out of the gate and I'm not sure I can give either of them a second chance.  I've recorded 5 episodes of Dancing With The Stars and the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy, but haven't watched them yet.  I've decided Jay Leno at 10 isn't much different from 11.  Tick tock.

I hate to even say it out loud, but we might have found the color for the first floor.  And you'll never guess where I found the new pantry.  It hit me this weekend when I turned on the lights and walked in there, realizing it was a nice creamy color.  We painted some on several walls of the kitchen so I can try living with it.  Might want to go a shade darker, but I think I'm onto something. 

I've been using my new convection oven.  (It should come with a warning.)  In one week we had chicken casserole, spaghetti, beef stroganoff, and London Broil.  Might be a record in my house.

Gotta say it again:  2 dishwashers are NOT a genius plan.  Both were filled with dirty dishes at once which means both had clean dishes at once, which meant dirty dishes went in the sink til they could be emptied.  And this is the funny bit.  I unloaded both and began to refill the one on the right after lunch on Saturday.  Guess who cleaned up after dinner and began to load the one on the left?  All I'm sayin'...

I've been busy on class samples, which has been lots of fun.  And my stamp club has decided to make 10 ornaments to swap in 2 weeks.  I've known for over a month what my ornament would be so it's time to get started on those.  We've also decided to do our holiday container swap again for November's meeting.  Any container with a tiny gift inside.  In the past I've disassembled Chinese take-away containers and decoupaged them with tissue paper painted with metallic paints, then reassembled them and filled them with Oriental goodies.  Another year I gave tiny wooden trunks inked & stamped, filled with push pins I made using flat glass marbles showcasing tiny works of art attached to the tops of the pins.  Others have made paper mache bowls, crocheted baskets with lids, decorated paint cans, altered books that were hollowed out and filled with ephemera...just lots of clever ideas.  I'll have to put on my thinking cap for that one but it's hard to think of holidays beyond Halloween.  That's my favorite holiday ever!  I've got to hang the skeleton and spider web on the front porch, pull out the big things for the porch, buy the pumpkin and get it carved, find that little witch that makes the eerie sounds as she moves around the floor with her flashing eyes.  Last year I was so tempted to buy costumes for the puppies but didn't, so this may be the year.

And while I'm designing new classes I've decided to make up kits for old classes, creating an online class  Will let you know as soon as that's ready to post, so check back.

I bought a new Fall wreath for the front door and I'm so glad I did.  Hope the neighbors are enjoying it as much as I am.  You can tell it's Fall in the neighborhood.  First a little cheerleader came around selling pizza boxes as a fundraiser (you take the empty box to the pizzaria to be filled) and then a Cub Scout selling caramel corn.  Worthy causes with bonuses.  Lovin' that!!

Shopping for a fire pit for the lower level patio so we can enjoy these cooler evenings.  Wish me luck.

And if you find time to read a good book or two, I recommend 2 by Maeve Binchy.  First read Tara Road and then read Quentins.  Loved them both.  I'm waiting for Scarlet Feather now.  I also read A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick and I enjoyed some of it but don't know that it would ever be in my top 100, so if you read it, let me know what you think.  I don't like a slow book and I don't like them when the ending is less than what I imagined.  Also on the waiting list for Robert B Parker's The Professional.  I just love his Spenser series and can't wait for that one.  But while I was waiting I read 2 of his that are westerns: Appaloosa and Brimstone and enjoyed both.  (Just thought you should know I don't limit myself to TV this time of year.)

Til next time, hope the colors of Fall are reaching your corner of the world.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Storage Flea Market Style

I'm a collector.  And I'm always trying to be better organized.  Which is why these ideas have such great appeal.  Why not combine the two loves into one and create some great projects?

An old tin can can easily be transformed into a lamp.  And I can see something like this on display in my studio, can't you?

This is an old metal heating grate that's been mounted on the wall with screws, transforming it into a really cool magazine rack. 

Wouldn't you love to find several of these?

This is my favorite idea of all time.  If you visit antique stores and flea markets as much as I do, you've stumbled across a lot of old drawer pulls.  Isn't this a simply fabulous idea? 

I should tell you all these ideas & photos came to me in an email from Better Homes & Gardens. 

I see old shutters at the Habitat Reuse Center all the time and I can never envision a use for them.  But once I saw this one painted yellow, I knew it would be a great display piece in my studio for displaying cards, ATC's, postcards and more.

Most bird cages I've seen didn't look quite this nice, but clearly they have potential.  Dowels have been run from side to side with a piece of glass (or plexiglass) resting atop them to create shelves. 

I probably wouldn't use this for mail, but instead as another display space for my dimensional art.  And since wall space is well gone in my studio, I could certainly suspend this from the ceiling in an unusual place.  Oh how I love these great ideas!

Now if you have a corner or wall space a tall shutter would work.  I'm not sure I have such a corner, but I still love the idea.

Add a bulletin board or chalk board at the top, and tuck in art work in the bottom. 

I'm inspired.  How about you?  This will be the last weekend of the flea market in Raleigh until November because they're shutting down on Sunday in preparation of the State Fair.  Maybe you should venture out and see what treasures you can find.  And there's always the local thrift stores & consignment shops. 

Let me know if you find anything.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

DIY Bangle Technique #1

Today's technique is a favorite of mine for journal pages so it was an obvious choice 3 years ago for my bangles.  First collect your supplies:
unfinished wooden bangle bracelets
Spectra brand art tissue which bleeds when wet
Mist It spritzer filled with water
styrofoam tray or plate

Begin by turning off the ceiling fans.  I have 2 going in my studio 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, but with tiny bits of tissue blowing everywhere, it had to be done.

They sell this tissue in rainbow packages as well as warm and cool color combinations, so choose your favorites.

Regular tissue paper will not work because the color doesn't transfer when it gets wet.

I separate my bits of tissue by color as you see here, though this is far more than I needed for one bangle.  This is a 1" wide domed bangle.

Spritz the bangle with a mist of water so the first piece of tissue paper will adhere when placed on the bracelet.

I began with red for no particular reason and I make sure it's wet by spritzing it again once it's in place.  The transfer of color begins immediately but still needs to be left overnight, or for several hours minimum til the water has evaporated.  When the tissue paper is dry it will turn a dreadful gray color and fall off the bangle.  If you've torn long strips and wrapped them around inside and out, you'll need to pull them off when dry.
If you don't want dye on your fingers, wear latex gloves.  But it will wash off so I never wear them.

I continue around the bangle alternating colors to give it a rainbow effect.  But remember your color wheel and kindergarten experiments.  When yellow & blue overlap, you'll get green.  Just as red next to yellow will give you orange.

One other note: when you place the tissue on the bangle and don't press it down flat, your end result will be spaces with no color, as you'll see in a photo below.

Once I have it covered inside and out, I store all my tissue paper in a ziploc bag.  Then I mist the bangle one last time, patting down as needed to make sure I have contact with the wood, and set it aside to dry.

If you pull the paper off too soon you'll have very pale colors.  By waiting overnight they're far more intense.

Can you see the areas on this bangle with no color? That's because I didn't press down everywhere with the wet tissue. Sometimes I leave it like this, but usually I'll spritz those areas with water and add more tissue paper, as I've done with this one.

Here I've gone back and added more tissue paper to get complete saturation of color on the entire surface. 

Once this is dry I seal the bangle.  Choices of sealant include Diamond Glaze by JudiKins, Glossy Accents or Matte Accents by Ranger, or even Mod Podge or Delta Ceramcoat Satin Sealant.  Just depends on the look you want.  Most of my bangles have been sealed with a gloss.

In the first photo of my last post the bangles haven't been sealed at all.  Hope you've found this helpful and that you'll give it a try. 

And if you're searching for the bleeding tissue paper, I've found it at Michael's on the far wall near the front check out counters where they have wrapping paper, ribbons and tissue.  Good luck!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bangle How-To's Coming Your Way

Last month at both CHA and the CHA Consumer Super Craft Show I had lots of inquiries for more bangle instructions. This weekend I'll be making lots of bangles and taking photos throughout the process so please come back.
And for those of you who took my classes at Stampfest and at Stampaway, you'll be pleased to see several designs. Hope you've ordered some bangles to play with by now!

And if you haven't, please visit to see one how-to slide show and also to place an order. Mention that you took a class with Lovely Linda, or that you visited my blog.

My plan is to decorate several different styles of bangles: flat, pentagon & domed, so you might want to order some of each.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tidy Studios are not Creative Studios. Tidy Artists are not Creative Artists

Remember last week when I spent days cleaning up the studio so my STARS club could not only enter the room & find seats, but also have clean tables to play on after being seated? Had to be done and the studio is gorgeous. But my creative mojo has flown right out with the trash in the dust pan. Gone. Vanished. I enter that room and can't think of a single thing I want to do.

And it's because it's just too tidy. I need that brown kraft paper back on the tables. I need to see all that ink and paint, evidence of my last guinea pig class where everyone was having fun.

So I made myself the card you see above. And I'm keeping it on file to remind me how to start a mess... I mean project.

I should tell you I love journals and I have dozens of them. When I travel I carry one with me to make notes. You should see me on long flights, scribbling away as the ideas come to me. Same thing when I get a new publication. I love to look at the photos for inspiration, though I never see what the artists have made. Instead I see something completely different that sends me down a totally unexpected path. It may be a color combination I haven't used before...or a shape...or a pattern.

Think about an old telephone with a rotary dial. It's not just a dial. It's a circle cut from bristol board. The holes are punched (where are my punches?) Now I can use foam mounting tape, or a brad, or a brad run through the bristol board, then a foam circle, and then my base cardstock. Now it's raised just like a phone dial. But I don't have to stamp numbers & letters on the base to show through the circles. I can stamp anything! I can punch clip art faces. I can glue on different colored buttons. I can stamp letters that spell out a word. I can stamp tiny words to make a sentence.

And while I'm cutting out a circle of bristol board why not cut out 2? For this one I'll punch a tiny hole in the center and add a game spinner. What will I stamp around the edges?

And that makes me think of a Crazy 8 Ball. Remember those? "Does not look good" "Check Back Later" "Try Again"

And that makes me think of the jar of fortunes I bought at Stampaway last week. Which makes me think of art using those fortunes. How about a journal with pockets...and a fortune tucked inside each pocket.

I've got to make a mess in the studio. Gotta do it. Soon.

And then I've got to start making my samples for new classes. Which reminds me of the lesson I've learned over the years. Don't send off the ONLY sample 9 months before you might be teaching the class. Make several while you're making one.

Gotta make another card...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reuse, Recycle, Think Green

Have you picked up a copy of the newest Stampington publication called Green Craft? I'm hooked! Little gift baskets made from cardboard egg cartons and peet pots...little paper packages wrapped with tiny bits of fabric & ribbon...paper garlands from used coffee filters...far too many to mention. But my favorite had to be the little gift packages made from those tiny cereal boxes. Way fabulous baby!!!
I've spent the last 2 nights in the studio, unpacking suitcases, sorting, stashing, trying to find homes for all my new goodies but it's impossible. My solution to overcrowding is to move box after box of supplies out of the studio and into the family room next door. But then I need to find a book at bedtime and the built-in bookshelves can't be reached for stacks of boxes. So I drag them back into the studio. And then it's time for another stamp club meeting and what's a girl supposed to do? Drag those boxes back outta the room or drag them downstairs, unopened and toss them in the trash can outside? Blasphemy!!

I'm a collector of all things...and a lot of those things are junk. I come by it honestly. Just visit my mother's house. Or visit mine since she finds these "great things" for me everywhere she goes. She's coming for a visit on Friday...spending the night and playing dominoes til the wee hours. What treasures has she found for me this time?
How do you like the bird on this cup? For months now I'm been whacko over birds. Not pigs anymore. Not monkeys. Not elephants. Nope. Right now I'm all about the birds. In the 100+ rubber stamps I brought home from Stampaway I have multiple birds. MaryJo McGraw was doing a demo in Carmen Veranda's booth with this huge crow and I swear I made her wipe it down with a nasty paper towel so I could bring it home with me. Also got a few more Coffee Break stencils of birds. In the last few months I've added 3 die cuts of birds to that collection. I found these fabulous little paper mache birds on etsy just this week and nearly fell right out of this chair when I realized they were selling for $65 each!!! Why it was like a dash of cold water in the face (or a bucket full poured over my head)!
It's time to fall in love again with things I already own. I should be creative enough to find new uses for old, much-loved things. But it might be worth mentioning this new fascination with birds to Mother, just in case...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chunky ATC Fun at Stampaway!

When I return home from Stampaway I'm always exhausted and ready to rest for a few days, weeks, months... But that's not how it works. Applications for next year's convention will be showing up in the mail in the blink of an eye, and it's hard to decide what I want to teach next year when I just finished up classes for this year. But look at these photos and you'll understand why I always come up with something to guarantee I'll be back again.
The description for this class began with "what do wooden blocks, decorative & antique papers, clip art & vintage tickets have in common?" I think that sparked a bit of interest. But it didn't hurt that I mentioned play with Distress inks, Grungeboard, & Tim's Ideaology line either. We had a full house for this class, 41 very talented ladies, and there were no complaints about crowding or lack of anything. The round tables were a first for me at this convention and I loved them!! I think all these gals did too.

There's Barb, owner of The Creative Stamper in KY. She's been a regular in my classes for years, having fun and truly enjoying herself. The 5 of us who flew in from NC went to visit her new store late Saturday and as we wandered around I found so many projects on display that she'd completed in my classes. Made me happy to see them all, so thanks Barb for sticking with me when there are so many great classes to choose from at this event.

And Cecile...I was having such a rough week that I missed going to dinner en masse. My apologies for being such a harried mess this year, but you know I love ya!! And next year I'll be flying in under a cloak of secrecy so if you're still game, I've got a little surprise planned just for you.

Now doesn't this just say it all? Happy, pleased, talented gals who come back for more each time I come to Cincinnati. (You better email if you're serious about my retreat!!)

Denise wanted specific colors that I didn't provide. I made her stretch and I think she was pleased. Several ladies wanted Broken China, which is such an intense blue that I opted to save it. Instead I offered Weathered Wood which has a hint of blue and a hint of grey, and the stained papers were lovely. Each kit contained white silk flowers that we spritzed with Distress inks. And that's where they found the Broken China. Those little flowers made a far bigger impact than they would have on the blocks themselves.

Kelly and Shara (hope I spelled that right) were back for more as well, and were pleased as punch with their end result. If you look back at the Stencil class photos you'll see they were in attendance for that class as well. I don't know how I get so lucky each year to see these girls in my classes along with all the new faces, but it's a joy for me.

Kits contained everything needed and then some. I'd rather be far too generous and send you home with leftovers than have anyone feel something was missing.

And Tammy who lives for turquoise was a surprise this year. She took all 3 of my classes again, which I think makes 6 years in a row, but she actually used PINK this time. Oh My Word!!! You could've knocked me over with a feather. You go girl!!

I love funny sayings and passed out sheets I'd typed up with things that make me laugh out loud each time I read them. It's always interesting to see who uses them on their projects and who takes them home to photocopy.

You'd think this was a quiet, serious group but nothing could be further from the truth. There was constant chatter and lots of laughter.

The group gathered at the front of the classroom were spraying their silk flowers, using the Mist It sprayers by Inspired Crafts. These things are the best kept secret in the world right now, so if you can find them, you'll want several.

My suggestion each time I teach the class is to think of the potential these little memory blocks offer as gifts. Add photos of your grandparents or your mother as a child. Use photos of your children throughout the various stages of their lives. Two of these would make great little bookends and when it's time to dust they can take a few minutes to walk down memory lane.

See how those Broken China flowers pop? Told you so.

Kits contained silk flowers, paper flowers from Prima, and paper flowers I punched myself from old library books. Who doesn't love flowers?

I provided everyone with a metal tin that contained a piece of Ranger's Cut N Dry foam, and Lori and I dispensed 2 colors of Distress inks to create their own personalized ink pads. Several asked for a third color during the class for accents around the edges of their blocks. If you take a close look at the above photo you'll see she used 2 of Tim's tokens as wheels for the car photo in her kit. What a clever idea!!
An enormous thank you to everyone who joined me in classes this year. I love teaching more than you can imagine and without you, where would I be?
Time to put on my thinking cap and see what I can come up with for next August. Wish me luck.