"Patience is the ability to count down before you blast off." - Author Unknown
I'm slowly making progress. It's taken 4 shows to finally get a handle on how to develop a collection of ideas that fully show off my range of skills and ideas. This is my table display at the CHA Summer 2012 Designer Showcase. I decided to go for a theme, specifically DIY wedding.
I had so much fun making everything, especially all the work with paper as my diecutter is a rather recent acquisition (ie - toy). I used it to cut out hundreds of paper flowers that I then snipped, bent and twirled into scores of flowers for the initials in the background. I considered different letters "I do," "We do" "Love" etc, but I settled on my own initials to advertise my business, LBO Studio, while also giving the impression that they are the monogram of a newly married couple.
There is a beaded bridal headpiece with matching groom's boutonnière and bridesmaid barrette. The French beaded daisy bridal bouquet is gorgeous and a great momento of the big day. The flowers are among the easiest to make, so a great project for those just learning the art.
I carried the beaded flowers onto embellished boxes for the safe keeping of wedding notes and cards. As I grew up with cornucopias as table top favors filled with candies and nuts, it was a nostalgic trip for me to make my own versions for the display.
I start several months in advance of the show researching trends and thinking about what resonates with me and my design sensibilities. The hardest part is settling on one concept and then carrying it through different mediums. I want to do everything, but have learned that without a bit of editing, I tend to confuse folks. Feedback has been that editors aren't sure how to market me and my work. Thankfully, that's no longer a problem. I am finding my niche. To anyone wanting to enter this business, I have to say - be true to yourself, be patient, and keep making!
The Craft and Hobby Association's (CHA) 2012 Summer trade show was full of crafty inspiration. This was my 4th show to attend and I finally got smart about it. I scheduled my time so I could fully walk the floor and enjoy as many make 'n takes as possible. Time to relax and play really helped me to learn more about the materials and see what they could do.
This holiday curmodgeon can't wait to start preparing for Halloween. Don't you love the owl I made at Floracraft! You can make one too.
These beaded trantulas from Blue Moon Beads are craftabulous!
I also love the other displays from the DCWV / Blue Moon Bead booth. This company never fails to dazzle with their displays. I must find a skeleton to bling out for my porch this fall. The neighborhood kids would flip out.
And talk about a freaking clever use for old lace tights and bits of broken chain!
Of course, Halloween isn't the only holiday. There was plenty Christmas fun too. This little wire tree with paper cut ornaments is so simple and so cute. I also like this use of acrylic board and paper. A great gift tag that doubles as an ornament.
The annual Crafty Couture display by the CHA designers group has inspired some fantastic booth displays. Check out the paper and crystal sparkle of this dress!
Here's a detail. See what I mean? Incredible! I also love the Hello Kitty bike. It is over the top cute, but in a way that works.
I always leave the trade shows utterly exhausted and yet refreshed. There are so many ideas to consider, new materials and tools to explore that I can't help but ignore my tired feet and head to the studio.
Mother's Day I got to thinking about Mom and created this box in her honor. I wanted a container to collect the bits of paper by which I remember her - little notes and cards she wrote me, photographs of her, etc. I kept thinking of a box she made with bits of Dresden papers that she used for her make-up. I wish I had saved it despite its ragged appearance, if only to have freshened it up with a new collage. Hindsight is always 20/20, as Mom would say.
I'm pleases with the result. I used an inexpensive box I found at JoAnn Fabrics, sanded it and gave it several licks of gesso, followed by acrylic paint. I used my zippy new Westcott paper trimmer to accurately cut the larger patterened papers. My inability to cut a straight line has been cured! I've been doomed since kindergarten when I received my first "Needs Improvement" for scissor skills. All I did was measure the size I needed, line up the paper with rulers on the trimmer and cut. Magic! Dresden foil papers trim the box while single motifs were added to the lid. The buttons and ribbons are from my bottomless stash.
Not to let a surface go unfinished, I had to embellish the interior of the box. The base is a silk that I fused to a piece of cardboard. It's lightly padded and has a lovely sheen as you open the box. The inner lid has a Japanese paper for the base and is collaged with Dresden reproduction scraps along with a few gold foil paper butterflies.
I'm now addicted to this process and have nearly completed another box with 2 more in line. I wonder if this is the sign of a new series starting to work its way out of my head.....
Now that I'm committed to renovating my kitchen, I am looking at websites and how-to projects pertaining to it. I've fallen in love with the website Ana White, homemaker which features hundreds of DIY projects such as this Wood Tilt Trash Can Cabinet. It's also a great way to add some counter space. Her simple drawer organizer is also ingenious.
This kitchen has similarities to mine with the lovely wood drawers. I have a set in my pantry. What if I moved them to the kitchen proper? Too much fuss? I love the pops of color like the yellow chair.
I found this kitchen on Home Decor Concept. Anyone who ever shopped at my old yarn store knows I love wood. I think it makes a great neutral background for showing off yarns and in this case one's pottery colletion. With the rest of my house featuring the orginial 1920's woodwork and stained glass, perhaps a kitchen leaning more toward wood and copper would increase the sense of continuity between the rooms. I'm not so sure about the open shelving. It would certainly be a less expensive alternative to cabinets, but the thought of all that dusting.....
From Hutch Studio comes this light fixture and one I could definitely make. It won't solve all my lighting issues, but would certainly add a whimsical touch!
Another kitchen drawer broke. I caught it just before the knives tumbled onto my feet. My reaction was to have an old fashioned temper tantrum, grown-up style. There was no stamping of the feet, but the swearing was loud enough to send daughter and dogs scrambling from the room. I bought my house 13 years ago and considered the vintage kitchen to be quaint. What was I thinking?! I finally replaced the stove and fridge, but the floor tiles have come unstuck, the plaster walls are cracked and the wallpaper is peeling. The countertop is borderline unsanitary and why anyone would decorate a kitchen with plastic tiles the color of Pepto Bismol is beyond me. So when that drawer came undone, it was the last straw (fork, spoon, and knife).
Now what?! My budget is limited. One of the reasons I have put off remodeling the kitchen is the cost. I start to work the numbers, add 10% for emergencies, and then freak. But with two drawers out of commission, plus everything else, something needs to be done. So like billions of others, I sent out an SOS on Facebook.
Enter JB Daniel, fellow artist. You have to see his website I Think We Can Do That. He repairs and renovates homes as conceptual art. Genius! He charges relatively little by the hour and even less if you do the work with him. Yep, he shows you how. I missed the whole high school wood shop and dad-in-the-tool shed experiences, so my handylady skills are at a minimum. I can change a plumbing fixture, take apart a vacuum and unclog a drain, but forget fixing a drawer.
JB stopped by last week. No problem. He's also going to help me out with all the other repairs, plus help me find a cost effective way to renovate my kitchen. YEAH! Now I'm in full dream mode. Butcher block countertop? Restored oak floors? A dishwasher that sterilizes? The dishwasher is a 2nd tier dream as I really only want it to help sterilize dozens of jars at one go when I'm canning. Then again, it would mean more countertop space, hmmm. Oh yes, and a wall of cabinets that house my small convection oven and microwave, plus extensive cookbook collection. Yes, I own a cookbook with recipes for every dish mentioned in the Sherlock Holmes stories. Oh, dream, dream, soon to be a reality.
Restaurants are often trapped in decoration cliches, such as sombreros for Mexican and red checkered table cloths for Italian. Viewed as setting an ethnic ambiance, they do the opposite, these cliches come off as predictable and boring and are almost always a guarantee of a lack luster meal to be served.
Sticky Rice, specializing in Northern Thai cuisine, is one of those delightful exceptions to the usual Chicago Thai restaurant. I started with the deep fried bananas wrapped in wontons. Normally I'd think of this as a dessert, but it was perfect as an appetizer. The wonton wrappers were crispy while the inside was warm and soft to the bite. It was followed with the Pad See Ewe which was beautifully spiced. I love it when restaurants add vegetarian sections with appropriate warnings of which dishes may contain dairy, egg or fish. LOVE it!
Sticky Rice is bright and cheerful. The dining room is painted yellow and orange and filled with crafty touches. I adored the ceiling with suspended open umbrellas adding dots of color. The wall by our table had these sweet paper flowers made of tagboard, yarn, styrofoam and glitter.
Even the lamp shades were clever. I'm thinking of a version to update my front hallway.
Sticky Rice hit all the marks for me to return - great food with a good vegetarian selection, fun environment and under $10 for an entree. They receive extra bonus points for providing crafty inspiration.
"Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life." -- S.D. Gordon
Mom was always one to plan for holidays months before they arrived. Christmas started in July with all presents purchased and wrapped by mid-October and the tree up the day after Thanksgiving. Easter preparations began on Mardi Gras. I don't know how she did it as the holidays always seem to catch me by surprise. So when I craft for them, I make items that take only a few hourse to complete. This blinged out egg is perfect. It adds sparkle to the usual Easter line up and can double at Christmas as an ornament. I call that the win-win of crafting.
Tissue paper (I used pink scraps leftover from my Peony Tissue Paper Wreath.)
Collage Pauge® Instant Decoupage™
Aleene's® Original Tacky Glue
sequins, same or similar in color to the tissue paper
2" eye pin
8" of 1/4" satin ribbon
Cut the tissue paper into 1" squares.
Pour a puddle of Collage Pauge® onto the foil. Using the foam brush dab the Collage Pauge® over a portion of the egg. Add a few pieces of tissue paper. Dab more Collage Pauge® across the surface of the paper. Continue to collage in this manner until the entire egg is covered in tissue paper. Allow to dry.
Apply a thin coat of Aleene's® Original Tacky Glue over a portion of the egg. Use the side of a toothpick to evenly spread it out.
With a clean toothpick, lightly dab it into the glue. This will give the toothpick a slightly tacky surcface for using to pick up and position sequins. Apply sequins to the egg with the cup side of the sequin facing. (This side is more reflective and will provide maximum blingness.)
Continue adding glue and sequins until the entire surface of the egg is covered.
Slip the ribbon through the eye of the eye pin. Pull it through so both ends are touching. Tie them together using an overhand knot.
Allow the glue to dry.
Give some Easter Egg Bling as a gift, hang it in the window or display it in your favorite basket.
Hello sunshine! Spring is my favorite season, hands down, no question about it. I thought I would get a head start with it by making a wreath of peonys. Around Chicago these won't be in bloom until June, so I made mine from tissue paper. It's a great project to do with children!
1 pack each of 10 sheets of 20x20 inch tissue paper in red, hot pink, pale pink, white
1 spool of 26 guage green wire or 36 green pipe cleaners (chenilles)
1 18" wire wreath frame
1 1/2 yard of 2" wide green satin ribbon
1 wire cutters
Cut 36 12" pieces of wire or set aside 36 pipe cleaners.
Open a tissue paper pack, flatten it out and cut a straight line down the center vertically. You will now have 20 sheets of paper, each 10" x 20".
Take the first pile of 10" x 20" paper strips and cut horizotally across the stack every 4". This will make 100 strips of tissue paper each 4" x 10". I didn't use a ruler, so some were slightly smaller while others were slightly larger.
Repeat the previous step until all the paper is cut.
Stack 6-10 strips ontop of each other. They can be all one color or two-toned.
Continue making flowers and wrapping their stems around the frame until is full.
If you still have tissue paper remaining after making 36 flowers, feel free to make more. I kept going until my wreath was very "fluffy" and full. You may like a slightly looser look or want to purchase even more paper to make more flowers.
Once the wreath is full of flowers, slip the ribbon onto the back of the top of your wreath. Pull it through until folded in half.
Cut a V into the ends of the ribbon and tie them together.
Hang it up and enjoy!
** To keep it from quickly fading, do not place it in direct sunlight
or where it may get wet. **
"My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance."
-- Erma Bombeck
The other day I watched with horror as an evil, wool-munching moth flittered across my studio. It's a sure sign that spring has arrived - and that I need to do some cleaning.
Grandma hated the smell of moth balls. She swore by her time-tested recipes for herbal sachets. I've been making, selling and using these herbal sachets for years. They don't last forever, so it's time for me to make a new stash. I figure if I need them, you might too. So, I've started listing the first batch at Enjolive - my Etsy shop.
Keeping one's yarn inventory (or drawer full of gorgeous wool sweaters) moth free isn't difficult. First, make sure everything is free of food debris. This is less a problem with a yarn stash, but stains often end up on sweaters, so it is best to give them a wash or take them to the local dry cleaners before storing them for the summer. Once done, toss in a sachet or two and relax.
With the flight of that evil moth, I am going to do a thorough check of my yarn inventory to be certain it hasn't laid eggs. If you see signs of moth invasion, don't panic. Take the item and either freeze it in your freezer or take it outside for a few hours in the sun. Both actions will kill all larvae.
Now that I'm having to go through every bin in my studio, I figure I might as well give the whole house a scrub down. Ms. Martha always has excellent room by room cleaning guides, but I love these all- natural recipes from Rodale. They are non-toxic and cheaper than the store brand versions. Many of them also smell great with the addition of a few drops of essential oils.
As I really do find cleaning to be a bore of a chore, I think I might liven my spirits with a treat from Chel Domestic Goodies, a fellow Chicago Craft Mafia member and domestic goddess. Love the gloves!