Friday, May 30, 2008

Quote of the day

"Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open." -Elmer G. Letterman

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Immersed in inspiration

OK, so I'm still not crafting .... my parents have been visiting and we spent the last two days touring. First stop was Ten Chimneys, the home of Alfred Lundt and Lynne Fontanne. It was just fabulous, darling. Every room was a juxtaposition of elegance and humbleness, opulence and simplicity.You just wished you had been their friend! Here's a little picture I took outside. It's just of part of the compound -- see more about Ten Chimneys here. Then we were off and running the next day to Taliesin East, Frank Lloyd Wright's summer home in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Our tour covered a school, originally built as a boarding school run by his aunts, and later converted to his architectural school. The students had just returned from the winter at Taliesin West, so there was a nice vibe. It was a beautiful day. The lilacs were in full bloom, the peonies were about to burst forth, the grass was green, and there was a gentle breeze. We also toured his home. Meredith was photographer for the day. Isn't this a great shot?

On the way home, we stopped by the Wollershiem winery. On our quest to find a locally grown and produced wine, my friend Lisa and I discovered them. The yummy pinot noir is produced on the premises; the equally divine Domaine du Sac is both grown and produced on site. We arrived about 15 minutes before closing -- enough time to purchase some favorites and a few new varieties to try. I've got to keep my cellar stocked, you know. I'll definitely be back for a full tour and tasting. I'd really like to learn more about their operation.

Finally, I just have to show you this photo my dear husband took yesterday morning. If you look closely, you'll see the condition of my yard and perhaps understand why today will be devoted to yard work instead of crafting. So now I'm going to get to work. But my head is full of the images I've taken in over the last two days, so I know my gears will be turning as I pull those weeds!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Quote of the day

"Give to the world the best that you have. And the best will come back to you." Madeline Bridges

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Many people make inspiration boards by cutting out words and images that represent their goals. I think it's a great idea, and I've always meant to make one. However, I never seem to have the time...

I got to thinking about it, though, and I've always had this board in my work area:
Some of these items have been in the exact same spot for more than two years, but it seems like I'm adding and removing a bit almost every day. Let me give you a tour:

I made the board from Martha Stewart's instructions. I've made more than 15 of these, in many shapes and sizes. This one has a navy blue background, so if I hang projects I can see them, but the trim matches the curtains from a previous house (haven't updated to the new house yet).

Top and center is my beautiful daughter. This is a self portrait she took 3 years ago. Working around to the right, clockwise we find:
- a photo that inspired the shrug project in Altered You!
- a button from my company's first marketing effort into the craft arena "we're craftier than you think" I think it's funny.
- a gold paper mache figure said daughter made to display jewelry for art class
- a card from the same daughter that says "I dreamed my whole house was clean" given to me in love and acknowledging the chaos we live with
- fabulous keys from my father in law's workbench
- shopping mall photo booth photos of my younger daughter and her best friend from nursery school
- polymer clay beads that I made
- photo business card of my fab realtor and friend that makes me smile when I see it
- some jewelry idea sketches and tear-outs, and photo of younger daughter with basketball
- cool colorful fish picture from Disney World that older daughter took
- a bracelet that's unwearable but I like the colors
- misc. business cards to prove I used to be someone
- misc. trade show badges -- see above
- a crocheted flower that my dog stole before it could go into Altered You!
- Fabulous sterling silver calling card case that belonged to a great aunt (it has a slot for a nickle and a dime -- bus fare, just in case. I love imagining her life)
- beaded cell phone leashes from Altered You!
- my grandmother's ultra stylish, ultra modern choker from Mexico, cir. 1975
and in the center:
- flea-market crochet piece that I intend to cut apart and remake into something some day
- various beaded projects that didn't really work out but produced great color combinations
- my class flier from 2005 just to remind me that I need to get my act back together and start teaching again.

Whew. Well, that's my whirlwind tour. I love all my little things, and look at them often. Can I say it's an inspiration board? I don't know. It's more like an archaeological collection. But, I'm keeping it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Quote of the day

"We judge ourseves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have done." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mostly Metals is here!!

I'm so excited! Mostly Metals: A Beginner's Guide to Jewelry Design arrived from the printer! It's amazing how great it looks. Thanks, Thanks, Thanks to Mary, Lisa, and Becky who took it from a black and white manuscript to a stunning book. Check it out (and order your copy, hint hint) at Amazon. And, let me know if you make a project or two. I'd love to see your version.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Altered You Preview

Altered You is on its way to the printer -- at least it's in production and will leave the building very soon. Here's a little preview of one of the bonus projects:
These fun-to-make lunch bags are so easy. Just use a paper bag (carefully opened flat) as your pattern. Apply contact paper to wrapping paper, fold, and glue the seams (full instructions and a pattern appear in the book). The plastic grommets are from the curtain department. They're much easier to use than metal grommets for this project. Add some colorful ribbon, and you're good to go! You can pre-order Altered You right now at Amazon, or you can wait and find it in bookstores this July. Happy Crafting!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Quote of the day

"Failure is impossible." Susan B. Anthony

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Go Pack

I confess. I'm not a Green Bay Packers fan. I didn't really care if Brett was coming back or not. I never want to experience the frozen tundra. And, I really hate their colors. But wait a minute ... this brings to mind a favorite anecdote of mine. When I was editing a book called The Art of Bead Embroidery by Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini, a comment from Heidi on color was forever lodged in my brain. She said "nothing clashes in nature." So, when I'm stuck for color inspiration, I often look at the colors around me. And right now, all over the state of Wisconsin, we're surrounded with this: So I guess the Pack is not so bad, after all. I get plenty of inspiration from Nature, but I'm inspired every day by the artists I work with. View Heidi's work here and Sherry's here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Barren Wasteland?

...or Fertile Ground? The answer must be fertile ground. The older I get, the more I understand that we absolutely must go through life with optimism. The glass is always half full, the grass is plenty green where I stand, this field will be planted and the corn will be knee-high-by-the-fourth-of-July, and the sun will come up tomorrow. I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that said "Kwiturbitchn" and that's how I feel lately. So rather than moaning about not having a good work space, I need to take advantage of the optimism that comes with a bright spring day, and get started on a new project. I've been mulling over an idea that I'm ready to try, so look for future posts to track my progress. I'm ready to alter a skirt that's been in my closet for about three years, needing repair but lacking inspiration. Now that the books are done, I'm ready to craft for mysef again.