Friday, January 30, 2009

Day dreaming (on such a chilly day)

Today I was able to fit in a bit of day dreaming in between the hum-drum reality that I call life. I'm in the delicious early stages of planning a new project. I love this phase, because anything is possible, and I can let my imagination run away from me. I sat in my sunny dining room and looked over my Rings & Things and Fire Mountain Gem catalogs. I usually have conservative taste, but I found myself dog-earing the pages with the brightest beads. Who knows what will come from it? I will keep you posted!

Monday, January 26, 2009

I heart Mondays (and my dd)

When you've spent your life collecting rocks at the beach as I have, you have to specialize a little. Some years I focus on friendship rocks (with a perfect ring around them), some years I'm obsessed with perfect white quartz ovals, and other years I'm drawn to the slate family. One year, it was all about heart-shaped rocks. Meredith scored this one, and gave it to me. It still sits on my bureau top today....

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Think Spring!

It's January 24, it's -12 degrees out the kitchen window, but I'm not going to let that bother me anymore. Here are two Springlike images, to keep the winter blahs away:

The first is a charcoal sketch my grandmother drew about 40 years ago. (My mom is downsizing, which means I'm upsizing...) I'm thrilled to have this sketch, though. Its casual style reflects the casual activity, and the casual attitude most of us have at 5. I wonder how long it took her to draw this, and I'm amazed that she caught so much emotion so easily. I've got it in my living room as a reminder that Spring is around the corner, and a reminder that I need to channel my inner 5-year old more often.
For those of you who live in the Midwest, you know that the silver lining of a sub-zero day is brilliant sunshine and blue skies (no cloud cover = no warmth). I love this vase Marty gave me for Christmas. The frog is built into the base, so it's easy to make a sculptural arrangement. These supermarket Gerbera daisies are just what I needed to remind me that gardening season is only a few months away...

How's your weather?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Time flies

So it seems I've barely been making it from one I heart Mondays to another....

This is a busy time of year with kids scheduling, tons of homework to oversee, permission slips to remember, reeds to buy, doctor appointments, dentist appointments, etc. etc. I haven't been posting much because I haven't been crafting much.

For a quick and easy jewelry project, try a charm bracelet. This cute charm is from I've never ordered from them, but I thought this image really summed up my mood.

The easiest way to make a charm bracelet is to buy a chain with the clasp already attached, and then add your charms with jump rings.

If you're feeling a little more ambitious, pick your chain, add your own clasp, and then intersperse purchased charms with some you make yourself. Here's one I made during my book signing and jewelry demonstration at A. C. Moore:

Monday, January 19, 2009

I heart Mondays & a new buzzword

First, here's the heart of the day ....

can you believe it? a heart-shaped potato.

Second, the new (to me) buzzword I have to discuss is "upcycle." It seems like recycling was for tree-hugging, granny-glasses wearing 1970's activists. The environmentally conscious eco-aware, savvy 2009 citizen is more about up-cycling and free-cycling. We're not only going to protect the Earth and free the landfills, we're going to do it in a way that produces a better, hipper result!
What's the tie in to my heart-of-the-day? I came across this potato as Haley and I were preparing a recipe from Food & Wine that pitched itself as "upcycling" kitchen waste (I kid you not) into edible hors d'oeuvres. We decided that the recipe as published had too much fat (and no solution to "upcycling" the quart of oil that was leftover after cooking). However, we've since modified it to our liking.
Here's our version:
1. Scrub potatoes until skins are clean.
2. Peel skins with a paring knife. You want thick peels with some white potato attached. Reserve potatoes for another use, such as mashed.
3. Toss peels with olive oil, cracked pepper, and coarse salt.
4. Bake at 400 degrees until skins are crispy and the white parts are soft.
5. Serve with sour cream (or our preference, plain Greek yogurt mixed with chives).
Look for more recycle-freecycle-upcycle projects to come, and feel free to share your favorites with me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I heart Mondays

For today's post I bring you the amazing artwork of Dalton Ghetti.
This is a postcard I purchased after seeing his work at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. The work is titled "Forever Linked" and was completed in 1998. Keep in mind that this carving is done at the tip of a normal-sized pencil, and though you need to use a magnifying glass to see it, the artist worked without one using a razor blade and a sewing needle.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Off Topic - For Parents

To all you parents of toddlers or teens, I offer this for your inspiration. Remember it really is "all about them."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fun gift wrap idea

Here's an idea for all you knitters, who have leftover skeins, or for anyone who's looking for an alternative to gift wrap. This worked for me, because I actually planned on giving my mom scraps of yarn as a gift (she's working on a special indigo fiber arts project). So when I saw this idea on I knew I had to try it. Just wind yarn around your tiny present until you have a nice ball, attach a gift tag to the end, and voila! a new twist on reusable gift wrap!

What was inside? A pair of Humblebeads earrings in my mom's favorite shade of pumpkin orange. Two gifts in one!

Monday, January 5, 2009

I Heart Mondays

Welcome to 2009! Between it being January, it being about 10 ice-coated degrees outside in Wisconsin, and the economy in the state it’s in, I thought it was time do my small part to spread some happiness. Here’s my pledge to you – a new heart to start each week for the next year. I think it’s time to stop calling Mondays manic, and even if it’s raining, let’s not let them get us down. So here’s the first of 52, from me to you:

This heart is a patch I made for the Moody T & Tote project in Altered You! It's a snap-on, snap-off mood barometer inspired by my friend Sandra. Here's a picture of the tote bag:

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Favorite Christmas Project and a Book Review

First the review ... you really must check out Jennifer Perkin's book, The Naughty Secretary Club: The Working Girl's Guide to Handmade Jewelry. Check out the book, her blog, and her website -- everything about this girl is fun. What I adore about the book is although it might sound gimmicky, and the jewelry is all of a certain bold and statement-making style, the projects are extremely creative and well made. You won't go wrong making any of them, and you'll learn skills and tips that apply to any kind of jewelry making. In fact, her cover project (Shredded Junk Mail necklace and bangle) inspired my favorite Christmas craft project of 2008. I'll let you consult Jennifer's book for the directions, but here's my version (made from shredded Black Friday Sale circulars):

This was just part of my Green Christmas theme this year ... I'll show more bits and pieces over the next few days. Happy New Year!