Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Green and Peaceful

I love getting pictures of my nieces, they are the perfect opportunity to do something a little scrappy and a little different.

No matter what she does, Natalie is funny. Gets it from her Dad, I think. Always cute and always funny.

Here she is at an Irish Dance Recital, focusing on world peace :-)

Natalie the Irish Peace Dancer

I was able to use this for a "blueprint" challenge from Design House Digital, which essentially meant to use the template provided, or a variation. The template was actually made by Mango Island.
Papers and elements from Jill DZ, Kalina Green and cajoline.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Un-Christmas-Like Conduct

My mission today was to get a few photos to use in another challenge from Design House Digital. The challenge is to use a themed kit in a non-themed way.

Well, ever since I decided to organize all my digi-stuff categorically, I don't maintain items in kits. But I did save the Christmas kits from the Jessica Sprague new certified designers blog hop (phew, what a mouthful). I remembered there were some pretty vintage looking papers in the kits that were not in traditional Christmas colors or patterns.

When I got to the 10th tee at the golf course, there was a blue heron along side. I thought I would be able to feature him in a scrapbook layout.
Blue Heron

Then I got to the 17th...I love the 17th, with it's beautiful little "beach", lake and fountain, and the lovely weeping willow billowing in the breeze. Since it is so quiet on the course on a Monday, I went over to the lake to take a few pictures, and felt very smug putting the phone back into my pocket with what I knew would be good photos.

Then I got to the 18th hole, my final approach shot, and when I went to clean off my clubs, my towel, and the little bag with balls, tees, and MY CAR KEYS, was gone.

I will make a long story short. After a lot of running around, phone calls, help from a nice man named Dave with a fast golf cart in which we traversed the entire back 9, not once, but twice, my bag and towel were found, right there on the 17th under the weeping willow.

It took me a lot less time to make this layout than it cost me to take these pictures :-)

The great gridded template is from Inspired Perpetually. The lovely papers are from the Vintage Christmas collection from Memory Scraps. Some artistic masks from Tiffany Tillman for Design House Digital helped with the blending.
Thus, a non-Christmas layout with Christmas kits.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Long Walk to the Back Yard

This is our first holiday season in the house on the hill. We read in our homeowner's newsletter that it is customary to string lights on the back fences so they can be seen outside the neighborhood.

The lights went up today!

In order to get the full effect of the lights, we decided to take a walk to view them from the other side. Well, that's a half mile to get out to the main road, then another almost half mile to get outside the gates, then a bit more to get up the hill, and ah, there are our lights!

Christmas Lights

And there we were, no more than 25 feet from our back door, yet a mile to go to get back.
We need a rope ladder to toss over the fence!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Longest Journey Quilt

Who was it that said, "the longest journey starts with a single step:?

(According to Answers.com, it was Attributed to Lao-tzu (c 604-c 531 bc), founder of Taoism.)

This was quoted to me a long, long time ago by a young man, who I would not have thought capable of such worldly wisdom, when he saw me working on a hand-made quilt.

That quilt is still in progress, and this weekend came out to enjoy a place in the family room, to be worked on during TV watching.

I do hope some day I will finish it, because it is so lovely!
It is called Grandmother's Flower Garden, composed of hand-pieced hexagonal shapes connected by diamonds and triangles.
I believe I began it about 15-20 years ago.

GFG Quilt Top

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mickey in the Rain

Created for the November Swatch challenge at Design House Digital...definitely a challenge for me, as these are not my normal colors.
November Swatch Challenge

But the colors worked out perfectly for the pictures of my Mickey Mouse rain gauge and a closeup of some raindrops on a leaf that I took during the first heavy rains last week.

Mickey Swatch Challenge

All elements from the Kate Teague swatch challenge kit. Original layout and masks (yeah, I am using my own grungy mask!), font is called Miserably Loose.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Quiet, but perfect...
The newly remodeled dining room...
The coldest Thanksgiving I ever remember in the last 22 years of Thanksgivings in California, but inside it was warm and...perfect!

Thanks to Earl for teaching me how to create my own grungy clipping masks and gradient, textured pattern background paper.
Leaf art from Katie Pertiet from Designer Digitals.
Thanksgiving word art from By the Shore Designs for Faith Sisters.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Hutch in my Giddyup

I've had this blond oak hutch for...hmmm, 30 or so years? A solid piece of oak furniture, but not very interesting, and oh so tired looking.
Hutch Before

Now, a couple of coats of Kilz primer, a couple of coats of mustard gold paint, some antiquing with cocoa rose tinted glaze, a few coats of satin protective finish, new knobs and handles bought on sale at Anthropologie, and now, it is interesting!

Refinished Hutch

Hutch Detail

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Capturing the Rain

"You're not going to put that outside, are you?"

"Well, what else would you do with a rain gauge??"

A little spritz of clear poly coat first for good measure, and Mickey is outside capturing the rain.

And boy has it started! 
Wet Mickey

Monday, November 22, 2010

Before & After Grad Scraps

As with any art form, it takes a little while to find one's style and to learn how to express it.

I look back to just this past May, to this layout I created of Megan's graduation using the lesson from Jessica Sprague's Photoshop Friday Episode #3.
I didn't know how to clip pictures into photo masks, I had no idea how to use a brush, and I didn't have much in the way of digital supplies. I also don't think I knew how to get into transform mode so it was hard for me to move and resize elements. How did I ever get this layout done?


Oh how much I am learning!
Last night I decided to recreate this layout for Monica's graduation, and realized my May prject needed a facelift.

Here is the new and improved version, with photos enlarged and better clipped (although I like the cut out versions of us in the center), and some stamps added for extra interest and to take up some of the blank space.
Megan's Graduation Update

And a new one made for Monica's graduation, meant to be page 2 of a 2-page spread (I have to admit I had the darnedest time flipping that banner):
Monica's Graduation

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Crafty Sunday - The First Pillow

Little by little, little things get done.
Like this little pillow.
Likely the first of the many it will take to convert the family room to its Country French destination, with a rooster from the drapes in the center, the gingham from the kitchen cushions surrounding it, and a rooster fabric completing the rest, surrounded by some Christopher Lowell trim.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Scrappy Saturday

We had several good rains this week, those strong ones where the raindrops linger on things, like on my geranium petals. I love to capture raindrops on colorful flowers.

The layout was an exercise in persistence. It was a challenge from Design House Digital, and was supposed to be done before midnight, which it would have been, if Photoshop had not crashed.

When I realized it was crashing, I looked up a the title and saw I had NEVER saved it, not once! Bad me. But Photoshop took so long to crash that I was able to grab a screen shot of the design and make it all over again, perhaps improving on it the second time.
Template from Katherine Hanson of Design House Digital. Elements from Simply Kelly, JillDZ, thaliris, kakleid, PMo3. Brushes from Mary Ann Wise of DHD.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Photoshop Friday Featuring Lily

Lily Scrapbook Page

Template from Jessica Sprague, Photoshop Friday episode #26, creating soft shadowed photos.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Card from the Turkeys

I had an interesting request this week.
I received a request from the editor of a golf course management website, asking if he could use my photo of a turkey on a golf course in his next newsletter.
Seems he had googled images of "turkey on a golf course".
Check it out.
Mine is the best photo that comes up!
How could I refuse?
Then I realized...this would make a pretty good Thanksgiving card.

Classic Brown 5x7 folded card
Unique party invitations and greeting cards by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shhh! Another Book Created

I an a discount code hoarder. I get daily emails from several companies all wanting me to use their discounts. And I save them, even if there is little chance I will use them. Every once in a while I go through my inbox and delete all the expired codes.

But tonight, once again I scored with my codes, saving 20% plus $10 plus free shipping!
I love you Shutterfly!

And this is what I made, but we have to keep it quiet, because it's aChristmas present for someone.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Friends Scrapbook Featured on Shutterfly

The digital scrapbook that I made for Laura just before she left for New York is being featured on the Shutterfly Gallery for the next several days.

What an honor! I can now add this to the "stories" about this book.

I planned this book for a while, as I do all my projects. Getting photos out of these girls is always difficult. So I nabbed them mostly off Facebook, and digitally enhanced them for printing.

I am new to digital scrapbooking, so making a page is no small task. Making 20 pages is, well, also no small task, especially since I was dealing with several deadlines. Laura was leaving in a few weeks, and Shutterfly discounts were also expiring.

Amy referred me to a Groupon for a $10 Shutterfly book, which I bought in an instant.

So armed with my pictures, my pages, my Groupon, my discounts, I finally got to the moment of "Order this Book". I decided to buy 3 copies...one for Laura, one for Megan, and one for me.

But when I went to use my Groupon, it wasn't allowing it. I was crushed and started writing in to Shutterfly to ask them why, when an online chat agent popped onto my screen and asked if he could help.

"Whaaaa!" , I cried,
I am trying to use my Groupon for a book I am making for my daughter's friend who is leaving the area soon and I need to get it done and shipped and I worked so hard on it and now...whaaaaa!"

To make an already long story short, my hero Sandeep fixed the issue and 3 copies of this beautiful book were in my hands a few days later, in plenty of time to present to Laura when we went to the deYoung, where more tears were shed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

California Style Holidays - Part 2

Just off Arezzo Drive is Tiber Court, where we almost bought a house, but it was too small. My hat's off to Tiber Court, for all the residents cover their street lanterns with pumpkins for Halloween.

I saw this last year when we were looking in the area, and got to enjoy it each day of this Halloween season.

What I didn't know last year, that I know now, is that pumpkins give way to snowmen!

Snowman on Tiber Court

Sunday, November 14, 2010

California Style Holidays

The holiday decorations are up at Santana Row. I love the over sized elements they use there, and I love that it was 80 degrees!

Santana Row Christmas Tree

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Speed Scrap Saturday

Tonight I participated in my first real speed scrap, sponsored by Design House Digital.
Who knew such things existed?
The ides is a set of instructions are posted every ten minutes for an hour, then you have another hour to finish the page and upload it.
I got off to a rocky start...what photo to use??
The more I look at this photo of the wooly Christmas tree from Holt Renfrew, the more I love it. So why not feature it?
All the papers and elements are from the Christmas blog hop kit sponsored by Jessica Sprague.

Speed Scrap

Friday, November 12, 2010

Crafty Friday - Drapes for my WC

So, what clever and crafty project have I been up to today?

Quick and easy bishop sleeves draperies for my WC!

I may have a "before" picture of the WC, but I'll skip it. The master bath water closet was nicely faux-painted, but with a tile floor and a very small space, it echoed and felt kind of cold.

The first step was to replace the horrible seat (did this in all the bathrooms), which was quite a chore since we have old-fashioned don't-make-them-anymore Eljer square toilets. Then I made a custom seat cover.

I found a wonderful Laura Ashley toile on eBay in just the right combination of tan/taupe and gray, the same colors in the faux-finish. I bought all that the seller had, I think it was about 14 yards, and made seat covers for the two downstairs bathrooms plus a shower curtain for the other downstairs full bath.

Then once I was finished with work yesterday, which is always a nebulous thing when you work at home, I pulled out the fabric and whipped up these bishop-sleeve drapes to add softness to the WC and hopefully remove the echo.  Since I lined them with black-out, they should also manage to block some of the cold from this outside wall.

The formula is simple - 
2.5" header + 1.5" rod pocket (double each + 1" for hem), + rod-to-floor length + 4" double hem + 12" for the bishop sleeve.  Since my space was so narrow (less than 30"), I split the width of the 54" decorator fabric, and with the thick blackout lining, they are quite sufficient.

To make the bishop sleeve, I just gathered the width with ribbon, pulled it up and tacked it to the window frame with a thumb tack.

PS - Photoshop Friday is expected to return next week.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November Color

This time of year, I need to remind myself, that I can work after it's dark, for while it's light, I must go out and gather color...

Nov Gerbera

Gerbera November 2010

Oh and I found 3 pennies and a washer! And there is a new climbing wall at Hawkstone Park (so what if it is meant for 5 year-olds, I found it to be quite fun). 
What a great afternoon!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Yukata Blog It - Quilt Inspiration

What a lovely honor, to have several of my quilts chosen to be inspiration to others.

I received a request this week to have Yukata Cut It featured on the blog Quilt Inspiration.

I'd forgotten how much I love this quilt, how much time went into the design, how beautiful the quilting looks adding texture to the surface, how carefully each piece and element were chosen to create a balanced and interesting composition.

Yukata Cut It

I must dig it out and find a place to feature it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Toronto Color Scraps

We don't get to see sunrises like this at home, since the eastern mountains are in the way. And so it was just thrilling to open my eyes and see the sun rising up over Lake Ontario.

Toronto Sunrise

Template from Jessica Sprague, Photoshop Friday episode #25.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Toronto Color - Part 4

I love clever and interesting store displays, and this one, at Holt Renfrew in Toronto, certainly caught my attention.

A series of felted wool circles stacked lusciously to form a holiday tree.  Oh, how many wool scarves and sweaters gave their lives for this display?

Oh, and, can I have it when you are done?
Holt Renfrew Xmas Tree

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Toronto Color - Part 3

The day dawned with a breathtaking sunrise...
Toronto Sunrise

A mid-day colorful surprise came in the form of the beautiful stained glass dome which tops the Stanley Cup room in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Hockey Hall of Fame

And finally it was mild enough to take a little walk along the lake and revel in the fall colors.
Toronto TreesToronto Trees
Toronto Trees

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Toronto Color - Part 2

Notice that my favorite pictures from yesterday were all indoors. That's because it was COLD and GRAY in Toronto yesterday.

But this morning the sunrise held the promise of at least a sunny, if not warm, day.

And sure enough there was plenty of blue sky to provide the backdrop for the proverbial skyscrapers surrounding the Hockey Hall of Fame...

Hockey Hall of Fame

... and the CN Tower (which I did not go up... alas, chickened out.)

CN Tower

Friday, November 5, 2010

Toronto Color

Dominated by orange, or perhaps it is my perception that is dominated by orange, or drawn to orange...
from the pumpkins on display at Marche...
Marche Pumpkins

...to the foccaccia at Marche...

Marche Foccaccia

... to the logo of the Hockey Hall of Fame...

Hockey Hall of Fame

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Toronto or Bust

On our way to Toronto for the big Hockey Hall of Fame weekend, could not resist the colors of the sunset seen from my window seat on the plane.

Sunset from Plane

I am so fascinated and in awe sometimes when I peer from the window of the plane, down to the landscape below...sometimes so far between houses and buildings, so clearly the roads are seen snaking their way, or the curling of a river, or a tiny river in what was once a larger river that swept a valley, now greener and habitated. How far reaching are the streams feeding that large lake, how clearly the mountains rise into the cold air to be capped with snow. Only from the air can one see these wonders so clearly.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

So Many Books to Write, So Little Time

If I had all the time I wanted at my disposal to plan my holiday gifts, I would make everyone a book.

Picture books, story books, memory books, journals...how fun and creative it would be.

Oh if only I had the time.

One book I hope to be making soon is a book of my 2010 blog posts, and I will be using...

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Valances

I bought the fabric for making the draperies and valences shortly before we moved in, back in January.  I brought home samples and held them up to my new Provence Cream bedroom walls.

Finally, this weekend, 9 months later,  I completed the bedroom drapes!  The pinch-pleated cornflower blue gingham drapes were done quite a while ago, but the valances were a long time on the drawing board.  I had no pattern or instructions, just a picture from the Calico Corner brochure.

Before I did the final tacking and stapling, I had Tod put them up onto the mounting brackets so I could make sure everything was even.

Then when I walked into the room to see them, I actually gasped!
I think they are beautiful!

The blue on yellow striped  toile is called Brewster Toile by R Kaufman from Calico Corners.  The dream blue gingham is Linley, also from Calico Corners.  The valance treatment is called the Scalloped Verona.
How appropriate for my Verona model home.
The blue and cream tasseled tiebacks, not quite visible, are vintage and quite a find on eBay for $10!
Now all I need is to take a better picture.