Friday, August 30, 2013

Trust me on this

As good as this was...
... it wasn't even the highlight of my day.  And, yes, this Rocky Road Brownie with caramel sauce and ice cream is as good as it looks.

And I hate to say it, but even spending a day off work with my friend Gaye was not even the highlight of my day, even though I got to see her new purse.  I have shown her purse/backpacks here before.  She usually uses clothing labels all over them.  They are quite the attention-getter.  This is a purchased backpack, and she has added lots of embellishments.
Love the "guest" nametag on it, as well as that picture of "little Gaye".
On the back, she used a pocket cut from her husband's old army shirt.  How clever!
Yes, when I drive up to Louisville on my day off and spend some time with my best friend, that's usually the highlight of the week. But, sorry Gaye.  That heavenly BLT was the highlight of my day, if not the whole month! 

I don't have a picture of the BLT, but if I did, it would not do justice to just how awesomely good it was.  It was a pretzel croissant (soft and light), with candied bacon (never heard of candied bacon, but I could have eaten a whole plate of it if thay had put it in front of me), fresh summer tomatoes, and honey mustard.  The flavors blended perfectly yet each remained distinct. 

If you ever find yourself in Louisville, Kentucky, on Wallace Avenue, do yourself a favor and look for a little out-of-the way consignment shop called Ruby Slipper.  Go to the back of the shop and sit yourself down at Bloom's Lunch Cafe.  Order the BLT.  You're welcome.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Boxed Words

I love to browse other people's blogs and become inspired.  Sometimes, I can't wait to try out an idea or technique.  This time it was Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's blog that inspired me.  She shows how to make sprayed and boxed letters Here.  I like it when I have things on hand to jump right in and try it.

I used a smaller size journal and some letter stickers for my word "fun". I thought the stickers would be good to use because I've had them a long time and they are not very sticky anymore.  Therefore, it would be easy to spray the word, then pull up the letters to spray the word over and over. 
Of course, you know what they say about the best laid plans.  That little pile of colored pieces to the right of the journal are what's left of the stickers.  Since they were paper, the spray really got them wet. When I tried to pull them up, they just tore to bits.  Fortunately, each letter has multiples, so I was able to spell the word three times without running out of letters.  Live and learn.
But, my word "fun" seemed pretty big for such a small page.  I scrounged around and found some smaller press-on letters.  I liked the size of "play" much better.  Plus these letters are more durable yet pulled off the page easily to be repositioned four times.

I used Dylusions sprays for the boxed letters.  I used watercolor pencil (blue and yellow) to color the backgrounds, then brushed that with a water brush.  On the play page, I used pan pastel with a stencil to add a little more to the background.
Incidentally, the borders on both pages were done first.  I used stencils and traced the border designs in pencil, then filled it in with permanent black marker while sitting in front of the TV one night.  That was about a week ago, so when I decided to try the boxed words, I went straight to those pages.
It was fun, fun, fun!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Day Journal

I have been obsessed with a project the last few days.  One of the classes Gaye taught at Stampaway was a Day Journal.  She had some really great samples she made for class, but it never occurred to me to take pictures of them at the time.  Anyway, she had a couple of extra class packets and I asked if I could have one.  The book is so much fun and has so many variations to try, I really wanted to make one when I got home.  Before I even got home, I decided I wanted to make this book with a Stampaway theme, using the stamps and stencils I bought during the trip.

This shows the cover of my book (front cover on the right, back cover on the left).  Gaye designed it to have multiple layers for the cover, with windows cut out.  I will be adding beads to the red waxed linen sewing threads on the outside. 
 After our trip, when we stopped at Gaye's house so I could get my car, she gave me the "out" folder (from one of her yard sale finds), and I used that for my middle cover.
 The rest is self-explanatory.  I don't know that any of you are interested in reading all of it, but the majority of what is on the pages are the stencils and stamps from this trip, and a few from past trips.

 I added business cards, information, and notes about the stores we visited while there.

 The red "Friday" and the green "Saturday" are my wrist bands from the convention.

Great fun - I wish I had made one of these every year I have been to Stampaway.  What a collection that would make.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Rolodex

So, I've been playing around with this rolodex, which is not really a rolodex.  It's really a drapery hook with mini rolodex cards on it.
While in Cincinnati last weekend, I ran across this punch that punches out a mini rolodex shape. 
I'm sure the mini cards are meant to be used as scrapbook page embellishments, but I suffer from a disease called "is that all there is?"  It was just too cute to leave behind, so now I have been pawing through my metal parts drawer, looking for some way to make a mini rolodex.  So far, the drapery hook does hold the cards, but I'm looking for something that doesn't have to be propped up, something more like a rolodex.  I'll let you know if I figure something out.  Meanwhile, any helpful ideas are appreciated.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Dateline: Cincinnati

What another fun trip to Stampaway in Cincinnati, Ohio.  It just wouldn't be August without this tried and true annual convention for stampers.  Gaye taught four classes, and they were all successful, with a great bunch of students.  Everyone went home with completed books, bracelets, and gift card structures.  Lots of hard work on Gaye's part, but most of her students are repeat attendees, so that says a lot about her as a teacher.  Connie Williams continues to run the convention like a well-oiled machine, and it just never gets old.

Over the past two decades of this convention, I find that I take less and less stuff with me.  I have learned that I'm really not going to spend a lot of time in the hotel room.  And what time I do spend, I'm not going to read a lot of books or magazines, or work on any big projects.  This time, I decided to take a small notebook I had lying around, a few pens, and my Zenspirations book.  The plan was to just play around with zentangle borders.  Here's my portable studio below.  In spite of trying to travel light, I did end up putting more and more things into the pockets.

I have had this so long, I don't remember where I got it.  Since it says Cover Girl on the front, I assume it is for make-up.  It might be for jewelry.  But it has two clear zipper pockets and one narrow pocket, and it has a hook for hanging.  I can fit quite a few supplies in there. 

I'm glad I took it, because I ended up making quick little journal pages instead of doodling zentangles.  I can later tear these pages out and just glue them down in my bigger journal.  Most of what I bought during this trip was stencils, stencils, and more stencils.  I kept running into them and could not help myself, especially the ones on sale.  I mean, how can you pass up a three dollar or one dollar stencil.

We did have a few surprises while we were there.  We went to the Friday night preview/shopping party, and for the first time ever, I did not bring a camera or a phone.  My purse gets heavier and heavier it seems, and I just decided there was nothing I needed to take pictures of that night and left my camera in the hotel room.  But what a surprise to have a rare sighting of a Pam Sussman!  That is an elusive creature indeed, and not one I have seen in Cincinnati in years!  You'll just have to take my word for it!
Seriously, though, it was great to see Pam (whose Book Arts Studio blog is listed in the sidebar, and who lets me try to shame her into writing about a book workshop she took.)

Also, I had a bit of a surreal experience I wasn't expecting.  One of the best booths there is always Stamper's Anonymous.  I knew Tim Holtz was demo-ing all weekend, and while I love his products and love to see him work, the crowd around that area is always packed.  I got kind of claustrophobic and moved away from the demo area and went to the other end of the booth.  There, I spied a table full of beautiful, colorful journals.  Sitting at the table was a woman with red hair and a polkadot dress.  There were bottles of Dylusions spray sitting on the table.  I literally had to remember to breathe for a minute.  I am not often starstruck, but I knew this could not be anyone other than Dyan Reaveley.  Unlike Tim's table, there were no on-lookers (she had just returned from a break she said).  I love her products so much and love watching her videos - how is it that I had no idea she would be at this convention?  I still didn't believe it, though, and had to talk to her for a couple of minutes to verify the British accent and know for sure it was her! 
She could not have been nicer to me.  I looked though some of her journals, she answered questions, she showed me some of the new things in her Dylusions line.  Plus I finally got to see the Dylusions blank journals available.  I've been hesitant to order one, not having held on in my hands.  Next time I need a blank journal, that will definitely be at the top of the list as it has great paper to work on.
When I went back to the Saturday convention, I made sure to take my camera and took the picture above.  And now I have a whole new Stampaway memory to take home.  You just never know when you make a trip to Cincinnati in August.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sketchbook Prompt

I posted previously that when I visited The Sketchbook Project mobile library, I bought one of their blank sketchbooks.  It's similar to the Keri Smith finish-this-book type of books. It's cover comes off, and you are encouraged to decorate it (which I'll do in the future).

 I flipped through the book and decided to stop at random and work on a page. The page I came to stated to make a plan to survive the end of the world. The first thing I drew was a solar coffee maker. I don't know if such a thing exists, but If push comes to shove, I will figure out how to make one! If I can't have my coffee, well, that Would be the end of the world!

I doodled a few other things on the page and had one spot left.  Then I started to wonder if it was a trick question.  If it is truly the end of the world, would I even be here to worry about all that other stuff?  Probably not!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bright Spots

Don't you just love running into an unexpected bright spot when you least expect it?

Recently, I said something to my friend Gaye about how I have been feeling all yucky in my head. A couple of days later, I found this in my mail box!  She not only knew what I meant, but she knew what to do about it! It really went a long way in perking up my head yuckiness. (Plus she got to try out the funky alphabet stamps she found at a yard sale.)
And then yesterday I happened to notice two sunflowers had sprouted in a neglected pot on my deck. My deck is a sad sight right now.  Flower pots sit empty, abandoned, and in need of sprucing up.  I can only guess that a squirrel or a blue jay hid some sunflowers in the pot for his winter stash.  Suprise!
Thank you, Mother Nature, and Gaye!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Lazy Summer

Happy August!  I am in a lazy, hazy, summer frame of mind.  Honestly, if I didn't have to work, I might just stay in bed and read all day.

On days when it's too hot to move too much, it's fun to use the scribble tool found here, where I practice making shapes and words like this:
And after that, I ponder what it would be like to wear a dress made of book pages. 
See the book dress here.  What fun!