Friday, April 30, 2010

It's Friday! I'm In Love!

Thanks to Sandy of Sandy's Creations for having this blog tour. I LOVE this idea!!! Sandy has a great blog and she is such a funny, kind and very artistic person. I hope you will stop by and visit!

There are so many things I love and it is hard to choose ones that are more important than others. These are just a few things I love. There are so many more.

I love being alive, feeling the wind touch my skin and the feeling of the water in the pool I go to each week. I love the feeling of hugs, hugging my husband when he comes home, hugging my daughter, hugging my dogs. 

I love sunsets. I grew up on the prairies of South Dakota, where you could see for miles. I loved watching the sunset over the prairie. It seemed to last forever and ever and was worthy of taking a chair outside and just sitting there and quietly watching.

One of my favorite sunsets is the one that I see out the window of the house my sister-in-law, Joan. She lives in Colorado Springs and has a panoramic view of the Rockies.

I also love the sunset in Arizona, seen from the back deck of my mother-in-law and father-in-law. We love to have a little "cocktail hour" and watch the colors change as the sun sets. 

I love my dear husband who is so kind and loyal and brings me hot coffee in bed every morning. I think he is so cute, even cuter than when he was young, and I love his bald head. It is really fun to touch!!!

I love all of my family. I love my four brothers and their wives and children. I love my husband's family, who accept me as a part of their family. I love my in-laws who have taken me in as their daughter. This is a picture of them at the Arizona Botanical Garden's Chihuly Exhibit.

I love my mom, even though she has been gone since I have been eighteen. I remember her as a loving person, who was very sentimental and cried easily (I think she loved to cry!). She rated events according to the number of Kleenex's she used. Easter Sunday's church service was usually a four Kleenex event while parades going down the street of our little town were three- kleenex events. My husband surprised me by framing her wedding veil. I love it because it represents his love and her love. She would have cried when she saw Jud's surprise.

I love this icon of a Lakota Baby Jesus. It was painted by Father John Guliani and hangs on the wall of the dining room. It has beautiful gilding. Baby Jesus eyes seem to be watching us! Father Guliani periodically sends us postcards. He likes to remember the people who own his icon. I love that!

I love my daughter, who is whimsical and kind, artistic and bright, who loves old films and belt buckles and vintage clothes from the Salvation Army, who loves me even when I am crabby, who is such a wonderful woman. She reminds me of my mother and I know my mother would have loved her. When she gets out of bed (she spent the night in a box on the campus of her college where she is a student and a co-chairwoman of the Poverty Project).

Here she is! (on the left)

I love my friends. I love the Committee of Mothers, who meet over dinner and coffee. We say that our children were so difficult that it took a committee to raise them. I love my friends, old and new. Some have been my friends since childhood, such as my friend, Mary, who lives at the corner and is always there in a minute when there is a crisis. I love my college friends, many of whom I still communicate with each year. This is my dear friend, Donna. We are in our chicken pajamas because we just got done doing the chicken dance! We lead a woman's retreat in the Black Hills every year. Next year will be year number ten!

I love the world of blogging. People who aren't involved don't understand that you really can make real friends on the computer. I love reading about the lives of my friends and seeing the beautiful things they have created. I love meeting my blog friends in person and finding they are just as I have imagined. 

So many things I love. I guess I would end as I begun, I love being alive...feeling the gentle breeze  as it comes through my window. 


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rare Zoological find- a hoax!

It turns out that this photo of the "rare six-legged sniffer" is really just Sophie and Harvey, the infamous fluffybutts!

I wonder what they've found... if it's stinky and dead, sweet little Sophie will probably try to roll in it.

Peter (or Petra) Cottontail

I went to let the Fluffies out and this little bunny was sprawled out on the grass in our garden.  He (or she) even let me do an impromtu photo shoot.  It must be spring.

Taking a pause from nibbling some tasty grass.
Mom thinks that the rabbits in our neighborhood are ratty, 
but I think they're pretty cute!
So sweet among the daffodils and bleeding hearts!

Pretty good camoflage!

- Kat

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Etsy Finds- We were featured!!!

Mom and I can hardly catch our breath from making loud exclamations!
We were featured in Etsy Finds!!!!!!!!!!!

Yup, that's a picture of Kat wearing the "On the Wing" necklace that Sue made!

Oh me!  Oh my!  So, so, so, so, so EXCITING!


- Kat

Monday, April 19, 2010

'Tis good to give...

..but it is a whole lot of fun to receive! I can't wait to show you the matchboxes that I received from the Petite Inspiration Matchbox Swap. As I told some of my swap partners, I felt as if I had been thrown from the Farm Team to the Major League! I had previously looked at all these women's blogs and they are all VERY talented! 

I am so charmed by what I received and love this process of making something beautiful out of something as simple as a matchbox! So on we go...

First, the picture on the top. The box at the back is created by Steph Oyler. It is covered by the most beautiful sage green , pink and lavender glittered flowers and has beautiful sage velvet braided trim on either side. The bird is surrounded by flowers and has a beautiful tail feather, gracefully swept forward. You can see the adorable blue tutu-ed ballerina in front of her box. Love it. Pam Keravuori created the one under the first one. She used a two-toned blue polka-dotted paper and the same elegant bird as Stephanie. The box is edged with antique cream lace and has my initial on it (Yay! I love my initial) connected by a brad that matches the paper. In the front of the box, she has a pink frame with the word "nest" written on it in pencil (cool). It is hooked by four tiny brads. You can see the wonderful vintage (1940's) Japanese bird swooping in front of her box. I loved the bluebird button card with the different buttons. Isn't that cute?

This is a box created by Catherine Aguilera. I remember seeing Catherine and her beautiful daughter at Silver Bella. I should have said beautiful Catherine and her beautiful daughter...they are both stunning. Catherine's box has the sweetest pink bird in a white-washed nest with a fluffy pink feather underneath. It is flowing in the breeze right now (the breeze is from the ceiling fan!). I love to watch it. Well, as I would have imagined, everything Catherine placed in her pink-flocked, antique-papered box was done with such attention to detail. There are little tiny file folder labels at the top of some of the goodies, stapled with teeny-tiny staples. One of them held the most gorgeous white iridescent angel wings. There was also a set of the tiniest garden tools, with a beautiful brass patina. Many things were wrapped with thin bits of pastel seam-binding and had tiny labels. Just so lovely!

On the upper section is Steph's box again. You can see the vintage wallpaper border poking out. It is a nice-sized hunk of it. I missed the window of opportunity for finding vintage wallpaper and I treasure every little bit! There is also an adorable gold-wired nest that I am guessing she wove herself, with three tiny bird eggs inside. That is my family! Jud, Kat and I! Steph and I both love Easter so she included the sweetest little chickie gift tags! The chick actually has a party hat on! She also included some extra treats, including a black cherry scented pen (truly smells great!) and, joy of joy, some printed packing tape! Everyone's box was sealed with this tape except mine :-( but now I can have my packages that are pretty on the outside, too! :-). Under Steph's, is another picture of Steph and Pam's boxes. 

I just love them all! Aren't they little treasures? 

I laugh when I read some of this because I sound sort of like a cross between someone who is writing copy for a fashion show and a sixty-year-old kindergarten teacher! I think it is because I love these boxes so much. I just ooh and ahhh over every little part of them. They must sit by my bed for months before they move to the craft room and then a cannot take anything out of them for several more months. I am always a little sad because the creators make and place everything so perfectly inside the box and I can never get them to look quite the same.

And, yes, I am a little odd! But odd in a sort of...ummm...contented way. And I have found a whole tribe of odd people just like me. Really, there are many more of us. Be afraid...

P.S. Thanks, Kat, for taking picture for me. I was busy filling my May Basket. That's another story!

P.S.S. My dear friend, the talented Lynn Richards, has a beautiful give-away on her blog. Just click on Blue Skies under my favorites. Check it out! 

Friday, April 9, 2010

*Spoiler for my partners/Petite Inspiration Matchbox Swap: Nesting Edition*

Just a can click on these pictures and see them in much better detail.

I just couldn't wait to show you these pictures. This is one of all three of my matchboxes. The swap was sponsored by Heather of Speckled Egg and we traded with three different partners. Each of my partners struck me as very different women so I tailor-made the boxes to fit each person's style and tastes.

This one was made for a woman who does romantic and delicate work in pastels and lace. i covered the box with pale pink silk (well, it really was polyester, but it looked like silk!) dupioni and edged it with a thin gold and pink ribbon. The birds were dry-washed with a pale pink...both father, who is standing guard, and mother, who is nesting. The paper flowers were from Martha Stewart. I wanted to make flowers from the dupioni but these just worked better.

The sides had small pink beads dangling from the bottom and another pink ribbon. The birds were also embellished with a pink feather and "twists" of pearls and crystals. It was quite simple but I didn't want to mess it up by going any farther. You can see the mother here. She is sitting on three pale pink eggs.

This woman describes herself as liking things that "looked like they had been out in the barn for awhile." I toyed with making her something more rustic, but then looked at a picture that she said made her happy. It was of a Cath Kidston set of dishes, consisting of a polka dot plate and a rose-patterned bowl. It is hard to see the rose pattern, but it had yellow, red and green roses.

I found two small swatches of Cath Kidston material on E-Bay and anxiously awaited for their arrive. I was so disappointed when I got them...the scale was much too big for a tiny matchbox. So off I went to my local Staples and copied the prints at half size (they would not let me copy on fabric paper :-().  I covered the box with the paper and edged it with sky blue polka-dot ribbon. The inside, candle-cup feet and peg knob were painted a pearly blue. I painted polka dots on the inside. All the the boxes had the added feet and knob and I liked the extra height and details.

The red bird was "sugared" with clear glitter and rested on three pearly blue eggs in a nest. The vintage flowers just seemed to fit in.  I just realized I forgot to recolor the bird's black eyes. Kat thought they looked spooky...and they do look a little strange.

I did throw a few rusty keys in the box for fun!

This is an upright version of the last box. This woman had traveled to many places. I covered the box with some blue and navy silky material that  looked Moroccan, then glued a piece of flower embroidery from the same material on the bottom ot the inside box. The German scrap of a boy and girl holding flowers and the little vintage German corsage sealed the deal and it suddenly looked very Germanic. I put the butterfly on (it was on a spring) to give it more movement. It looked a tiny bit blah still so I glittered the sides of the heart with a fine Martha Stewart gold glitter that matched the gold ribbon on the edges. I put many things inside that were from countries around the world.

Here is a view of the inside of the box with unidentifiable treasures though I do see a wired Chinese pendant. Last time, I arranged my treasures in an orderly fashion. This time, I had so many bits and bobs that I just painted the inside and tossed them in!

I love decorating these matchboxes. I did my first one for the Silver Bella Advent Matchbook Swap and did Heather of Speckled Egg's first Petite Inspiration Matchbox Swap: Valentine Edition. These were so much easier to do. For the Advent Calendar, we made twenty-four of the same one, using tiny, tiny matchboxes. Fun, but harder for my first attempt.

The funny thing is walking into stores and looking for the boxes and the right size. Somehow the question always just seems to come up, "What are you using this for?" When I try to explain, I usually get blank looks or no further questions. A clerk once asked me, "Why would you want to decorate a matchbox?" He didn't understand:-) Only those who would do it, get it!

We also have sacks and sacks of matches around the house. Let me know if you need matches!!!


Friday, April 2, 2010

I'm Late!!! I'm Late!!!...Once Again

This is the cutest tag book I have ever seen. The Alice in Wonderland Tag Book Swap was hosted by Karla Nathan of Karla's Cottage and she did an incredible job of sorting almost 450 tags into books. She also made the first adorable tag with an Alice that she painted herself. The tag book also had a little "Drink Me" bottle attached, created by Karla.  Too cute!

This one is so cute. It has so much dimension...Alice is raised and there is glitter and flocking everywhere!

I thought the contrast of this one was just fantastic. The stark black of Alice and the Red Queen against the red tag was very dramatic. I also love how the artist worked outside the margins of the tag.

This is a very cute picture of the White Rabbit. I loved the little flowers at the bottom and the tiny butterfly. Again, the artist went outside the margins. I really like that.

This one is so cute and done by Stephanie Oyler. I adored the colors she chose! The green and blue were so unique and so pretty together! I also loved the little bits of vintage lace, ribbon and pearls. 

What an angle! Showing just crepe paper ruffles of Alice's skirt is very clever, as is the dimension of the larger shoes. Love that little seems to tie it all together!

This tag was also adorable, from the contrasting stitching of the lettered tag to the cute little clock charm. The red vintage seam binding and fine white lace are such a nice finishing touch.

Wasn't that a great swap? I am getting so hooked on swaps. Right now I am preparing three matchboxes for Heather of Speckled Egg's Petite Inspiration Matchbox Swap, Nesting Edition. When I am done with that I am will be finishing my May Basket Swap, hosted by Artsy Mama. In between, Kat and I are preparing all sorts of fun decorations for my annual women's retreat in the Black Hills. We will be sure and take lots of pictures!