Wednesday, February 28, 2007

a place to create

I've been working on organizing my craft studio. Less than a year ago, I claimed this room as mine. I've enjoyed retreating here and making huge messes and lots of fun things.

Instead of buying expensive furniture to help store all the stuff I have, I snatched some of the industrial shelving from my stock room after shifting the stock over to a nearly empty shelving unit. It's definitely not the prettiest solution. But it was a great way to save a bundle...and it works.

One of the problems I needed to solve was to have a place for all the scrapbook paper I've accumulated. On their scrapbooking aisle, Target has these units that you can buy and add to. Some of them are on clearance.

This unit is actually from the closet organizing section. It's meant to be a shoe organizer. I've lots of these in my stockroom with little things lined up and ready to go. This one was nearly empty so I finished emptying it and brought it up to use for organizing craft stuff.

I've just been throwing like things into these bins underneath. I have to go back through and sort smaller things into jars.

It's really a struggle for me to be organized. But I need a system that makes it easier to put away supplies and things so that I can keep this room in good shape.
I am thinking that I will take down a lot of the decorations here and simplify the look.

I still have lots of work to do...I am still sorting through and organizing bits and pieces. I'll finish putting away a few things this morning but then I need to work on cleaning the house. My parents are visiting Friday and I need to get ready for them.
This is the table that I use as my work surface. I've put it aside here in the dormer window. I can work there or I can bring it out into the middle of the room.

I'll take more pictures as I progress. I'd love to paint the walls and hang inspiring artwork. I think I can make it even better...a bright place to go and make things and be busy. We'll see. At least, for now, it's functional.

Monday, February 26, 2007

lucky me

The mailman just delivered two boxes of pure happiness.

My sweet friend Wendy sent me this tin box full of special candy. For no reason at all. Little did she know how much I would need this today. I was feeling just a little...just a today. Nothin' a piece of sour cherry gum can't cure.

And along with the sugar box, she sent the nicest little note saying that she hoped I keep this box full of sweet candy as a reminder of how sweet I am. How nice is that? Thank you, Wendy! I'm not so blue anymore. Just a whiff of that box full of candy (geezy pete does it ever smell fabulous!) had me feeling much better. Much.

Last week, Robert declared that he was clearing out some old stock and was holding a drawing for box-lots of his magical products. Lucky name was among those drawn. The box arrived today and I love it all. I'm going to tuck some of the special toys away for when my little friends visit (Seth is spending his Spring Break with me!) My favorite of all the treasures is this wonderful elephant pull-toy.

Do you know how many times today I started writing a blog post only to delete it because it sounded so blah and blue? Oh, by the way, books...done! And on time.

Tomorrow, I'm cleaning my craft studio. It's a mess...I'm inspired by all the fabulous studios I'm seeing out there...fresh and clean and so pretty.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

skirting the issue...

Thank you for all of your support with the books fiasco. Tomorrow I'll be head-first in that mess.

Today, I'm daydreaming...

I keep looking at this skirt over at Anthropologie...isn't it adorable? I love the textured tights and cute shoes too.

h--e--double hockey sticks

There are some people who are not charmed by me. My accountant is one of them.

My books are due to him on Saturday. I had a little updating to do that I did mostly last night. Hate is a strong word, I know. And I reserve it for just a few things. This is one of them.

I just called Mr. Beankounter, bless his heart, to ask what I thought would be a quick question. "What do I do with all the sales that have come in through Paypal?" The discussion that followed nearly left me in a puddle of tears. I asked questions that he didn't understand. He told me directions that I didn't understand. We speak two different languages, he and I. And I'm convinced that I could hear his eyes rolling. I could definitely hear his exasperation.

What I must do now, before Saturday, seems insurmountable. I have to go back through the beginning of the year and account for every little bit of activity of my Paypal account. You should know that I treat my Paypal account like Monopoly money. Funny Money. I spend it freely. When I said this to my accountant, he groaned. He is not amused. Not one little bit.

There's nothing like tomorrow for a job like this. I'm working at the cottage today anyway. I will try to push these feelings of guilt, self-pity, gastro-intestinal unrest, and loathing back to the recesses. Until tomorrow. The sun ain't comin' out tomorrow...that's one thing I know for sure. If you hear a little rattle, it might be my tin cup against the bars.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

introducing...brocante market!

With my friend, Corey Amaro, I am so pleased to present a new venture for Inspire Company. All the way from France, found with Corey's incomparable eye, here are some treasures for you.

handpainted angel face
vintage french bingo cards
vintage postcard stickers
Vintage Candy Box Pin
vintage lace bundle

vintage cupboard lace
vintage french bundle

vintage french tape measure

initiales ribbons

vintage keys on a ring

vintage souvenir matchboxes

paris souvenir photo packet

pink linens
vintage stamps

*Photos by Corey Amaro are used with her consent.


New charm bracelets just added! Click here to see!

Monday, February 19, 2007

all hearts

This very beautiful suede bag was the gift I received in the Free People Valentine Day Swap. There were delays in its shipment so I only just received it today...but it is worth the wait!
In addition to the bag, I also received charming heart notecards, delicious maple candy, and a jar of Herbes de Provence!
To see more items from the swap, visit the Flickr page.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

quiet sunday

I'm planted here in this chair, which I situated as close to the fireplace as possible. (Notice that I really do still have up the garland of the 9 ladies dancing, 10 lords a'leapin'!)

I'm reading a delightful book and, with each new chapter, I'm changing my sitting position. Sometimes I'm hanging my legs over one arm, sometimes tucking them under me. And then I'll try hanging my legs over the other arm.

But, oh! Do I ever love this book I'm reading!

It is "Joie de Vivre: Simple French Style for Everyday Living" written by Le Gamin owner, Robert Arbor. He is so charming and I love his celebration of the details of everyday life. Whether it is in his description of his family's everyday breakfast habits, including the detail about drinking coffee from a bowl (which happens to be how he serves it at his NYC cafe), or his detailed recounting of a simple day at the market in France with his boys, you can feel his joie de vivre. I am inspired!

Rich is reclining on the sofa, legs propped up with a pillow, with two more propping up his head. He's happily enjoying Jack Canfield's "The Success Principles" and, on occasion, recounts a bit of it to me.

It's a happy, quiet day here.

Friday, February 16, 2007


I wanted to show you these pictures of projects my friends made.

Maize Hutton used the goodies in her eye candy box to make these fabulous valentine hearts. You must visit her lovely spot on the web for beautiful inspiration.

Little Lovelies was inspired by the bon-bons I made last week. I love all of the embellishing she did! Great work!

I'm off to The Cottage today. If you're in the neighborhood, please stop in. And, yes! Sam, can you believe I'm just a hop skip and a jump away? You must stop in! I hope you can.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

my funny valentine

Hope you're having a very sweet valentine's day. We're having a quiet day, enjoying being snowed in.

Eleven years ago today, Rich asked me to marry him. Yay for love!

Here's a little something to help you celebrate the day...My Funny Valentine.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

a fairy tale for grown-ups

This movie has been haunting me since I saw it a few weeks ago. It is at once lovely and alarming, tender and violent, sweet and severe.

Watching it took me back immediately and completely to being a little girl told a story too scary for her ears. And, in spite of nearly fainting from fear, not wanting it to stop being told. I can easily imagine this feeling but it's been a very long time since I actually felt it. Sitting in that dark movie theatre, I was Alice shrinking in size.

The violence of this film is unmistakable. It is brutal, unpredictable, and unannounced. But there was something about even the violence that was innocent. It was as if it were imagined by a child. If you've ever talked to a child about gore you'll know that it's a mistake to assume they can't imagine it. But they often get it wrong, overdoing it in one area, underimagining in others. It is precisely with this sort of inconsistency that this violence is translated in this film. For instance, a gunshot to the face appears as just the tiniest hole in the cheek.

The movie is as much wonderful as it is disturbing. It is full of magic and surprises, fairies and secrets. It is a dream that has been brought to life, bringing with it the monsters from beneath the bed and the corners of the closet.

Go to the website to hear the amazing soundtrack.

Monday, February 12, 2007


We had a wonderful Sweets Party!

The best part was decorating. My niece Maggie, nephew Seth, and I taped streamers to almost every surface of my mother's kitchen. We hung a banner from the ceiling fan. And two more in the windows. We made a panel of streamer ribbons for the doorway (and had loads of fun running through them!)

We had cupcakes with puffy pink hearts painted on them and we put a candle in each one. We sang "Happy Sweets Day to You!" at the top of our lungs and, together, blew them all out. There were party favors of phoney money and black velvet marker art. I filled heart shaped boxes with a sampling of fun and colorful candy in little candy cups. Seth tried to trade his half-eaten box with Maggie's nearly full one. Sneaky little boy!

We're already talking about what our next celebration will be. We were thinking about a pickle party for St. Paddy's Day. Maggie and Seth are wild about pickles...maybe we can do a tasting of a dozen different varieties.

I have a whole bunch of orders to get out today so it's off to work for me. I hope this Monday gives you a fresh and wonderful start to this brand new week before you.

Friday, February 9, 2007

box o' bon-bons

I just finished this little box of fabric bon-bons for my friend. They are simple to make. Just cut fabric circles (about 3 to 4" in diameter) and stitch around the perimeter with a knotted thread, just like you would to make a yo-yo. Just before you cinch it together though, stuff a ball of poly-fill in. Stitch the circle closed and glue the stitched part into a candy liner. If you want to add a button or pompom or bead, sew it to the circle before you do the cinching part. Experiment with fun textured fabrics like chenille, felt, corduroy, velvet!

If you make some, send me a picture and I'll post it.

Did you see our friend Betz White on Martha today? She did a wonderful job showing Martha (and us!) how to make her adorable cup 0'joe pincushions. I featured them at Inspire Co. during the month of gifts. Do you remember them?

Hope everyone's having a good friday. I'm excited because this weekend I'm going to have another Sweets Party with Seth! I wish you could hear some of these phone calls between him and me all about the intense planning going into this thing. We're going to build a fort, decorate my mother's kitchen, make valentine's, make Slurpees, and, most of all, eat sweets! This time I promise I'll take pictures.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

vday gift swap

This is what I made for the Free People Valentine Swap. I was inspired by the garland featured in February's Country Living. I used a chain and tied each glittered heart on with silk ribbon. I'd intended to add beads and baubles but I liked it best just like it is.

I made the box using one of the wooden cigar box bases from Michael's.

Oh, and I used my Cricut to cut all the hearts out. It was a fun first project...I especially love the scallop hearts. You should see me at Michael's jonesing for a new cartridge. Somehow I can fill my cart with ribbon, paper, beads, glue, paint and who knows what-all. But I can't seem to fork out $80 or more for a new cartridge. Maybe it's because they don't really have the best selection yet. I really want a font that looks like an old storybook font. Most of the fonts they have so far are gimicky and goofy.

There is a little usb connection in the back and I'd love for them to make it so that I can design something snazzy on the computer and then transfer it to the machine. If they do it with embroidery machines, they should be able to do it with this paper cutting machine. That's what I'm hoping for anyway.

I'm at the Cottage today. If you're in the area (Leesburg, VA) pop in and say hello. And, guess what! I'll make you a cuppa hot chocolate, espresso, cappucino, or earl grey. And I'll talk your ear off.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

snowy morning

I awoke this morning at 5:30. No particular reason. I opened my eyes, looked at the clock, and decided that it would be better to get started with the day than to go back to sleep for just two hours, risking grogginess.

I'd forgotten about the snow.

I peered out in the still darkness of this brand new day. A blanket of white was all around with sparks of light winking here and there. There were no tire tracks yet through our neighborhood street. No footprints on the sidewalks. Just freshly fallen snow winking, sharing a secret with me.

Rich is up now, making his good morning sounds. Shower water tinkling. And soon stumbling to get dressed. Splashes in the sink as he shaves. The sharp click of the medicine cabinet. And maybe, if I'm lucky and if he's happy, a little morning song belted out for just me. I look up at the ceiling, knowing without seeing.

And so this morning, like the snow, started quiet and blank, new and empty. Cars are starting out through the street, crunching new paths. The sun fills this room just as my mind is filling with thoughts of things that must be done today. The stillness of the snow's secret a quiet sleepy memory.