Thursday, December 31, 2009

thE thInGS I MiSS oUT On!

Living a few hours away from family, I of course miss out on quite a few fun things throughout the year. The latest 'miss' of 2009 was the ugly sweater party at my aunt's house. It looks like fun was had by all (which is not at all a surprise) and my mom took home the the golden barbie prize for sporting the 'ugliest'. Tough call for the judges, I'm sure.

my aunt dede has way too much time on her hands! :) If you're going to win an award though, that's definitely one for the mantel.

so proud, so proud!

a furry dickey......santa's gonna be looking for that, lady!

Are there no brunettes anymore? I mean, really.

Cheers to even more fun, more laughs and less 'misses' in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

thE GiFt OF HoW To

As the parent of a 7 year old, I work really, really hard to generate and support an enthusiasm and appreciation for hands-on doing, and creating, and individuality in her. I'm of course up against computers, video games, television, her little peers that are already into cell phones, labels, and a bunch of other stuff that I think robs kids of some of the imaginative, creative, hands-on experiences that those devices and interests can't give you. While I'm a big believer in balance and moderation and not anti-technology, by any means, I really want her to know how to do other things, basic things like gardening, cooking, sewing and creating. I won't deny that I love it whenever I ask her what she wants to do on a saturday and she says she wants "to go make stuff in the shop".
So while her friends and cousins were receiving nintendo DS game players, she got a sewing machine. I, of course was very excited about this gift she got from her grandma, and most importantly Madeline was thankfully, very excited about it too. She is always wanting to sew at the same time I am and it's a bit hard to get my work done while getting up and down every few minutes, changing out the thread and letting her sneak in with her 'urgent' tasks. For her to have her own sewing station next to mine will be a wonderful thing. My mom also gave her a vintage sewing basket filled with all kinds of old trims and accessories along with a stack of fabric scraps and some patterns for doll clothes. You have no idea how relieved I was to see her getting as excited as we were with it all, and digging through the basket talking about all that she was going to make and do.
It's only natural to want our kids to genuinely share in our interests and love a lot of the same things we do, but at the same time I want her to come by it naturally without feeling as though it's being forced upon her. A bit tricky since that's everything that this family is all about, but if we throw in a few moments of 'video time' and such here and there, hopefully we'll maintain a 'creative balance'.

Cheers to gifts that encourage 'creating'.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the LoVE foR a weLL UsED 200 Yr oLd giFT

You gotta love when someone really nails it with a surprising gift. This year, my parents gave us an old block table made out of a cypress tree. I don't know much of its' story other than it's been around since the 1800's and came from a bakery. I've oohed and aaahed over it the past couple times my mom and I were visiting one of our favorite little antique shops along the river, and I never in a million years would have guessed that was what was 'under wraps' Christmas morning. I'm sure not everyone gets as excited about an old (really old), used gift as I do, but man I LOVE this thing. I'm debating whether to use it in the shop as a workbench or to clean it up and make it a part of the kitchen. I'm digging the thought of having it in the kitchen to roll out breads and pizzas and would also make for one pretty sweet cutting board......hmmmmmm........

Friday, December 25, 2009


To the merriest of holidays, all!  Enjoy every moment, my friends.

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air." w.t.ellis


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

feStiVE sToCKinG reVaMP

We can only hang so many stockings, right?  And over time we tend to accumulate a few extras. Sometimes we get a gift or two packaged in them or someone creates a special new one for us, or our decorating tastes change.  Well, you can always regift them and use them as your gift bags this holiday season...or another fun way to utilize them is to turn them into holiday throw pillows.  Simply stuff them with filling, stitch the top closed and embellish with buttons, patches, etc.  These new upcycled stockings are also a fabulous gift idea!  Take it and run with it, my friends!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

kiTscHy HolIDaY WaLL ArT

They're great fun to collect and make!  I love the look of these and like to swap out some of my other prints on the wall with these holiday versions.  A quick easy way to decorate and they cater to my love of festive little surprises scattered throughout the house.  

Look for them at flea markets and antique stores or create some for yourself.  
  • Cover the backing to your frame with desired fabric.  Be sure you have a firm, not flimsy backing as your foundation.  (can create one out of a thin wood product or just be sure it's a very durable cardboard.) I use spray adhesive to adhere the fabric, so it's adhered securely and doesn't buckle after adding your 'gems'.   A lot of the ones I find at flea markets are some sort of a velvet type fabric. 
  • Arrange found objects, old necklaces, earrings, and other novelty items into a holiday inspired design. Try a stocking, or ornament, or of course the classic tree.  
  • Adhere to your fabric covered backing using a good quality adhesive. Hot Glue works great and gives you quick grab. Weld Bond is another one that delivers success.
  • Insert back into your frame and hang proudly. Create a large grouping for a jolly ole WOW!

Make them big or way to display those loose mementos or broken bits.
Cheers to creating colorful holiday decor!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Empty out that junk drawer and go to town creating the most playful, colorful wreath ever!  I shared these on one of our past episodes of B. Original and to this day enjoy creating new ones each year.  I'm aspiring to build quite a collection so I can display a really unique, festive arrangement of wall art.   All in good time, All in good time. :):)

Start with a foam wreath with a flat back (found at any hobby shop in the floral dept)

Cut a piece of thin wood or heavy cardboard in the same shape as the wreath for a backing

Secure the two with white glue and then wrap with metallic tape.

Cover with metal pot scrubbers. Staple to the backside if using wood backing or secure to foam using two pronged floral pins dipped in glue.

Add jewelry and other found objects using large head straight pins, beads, sequins, and a bit of glue on the end to secure into the foam.

Hang proudly and enjoy!

Cheers to kitschy holidays -- my favorite!
More kitsch to come this week, so visit often!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

cre8tiVIty N nuMbErS & tHe CaN DO spIRiT

So excited when I get the opportunity to get out and interact with other creative souls during our workshops. We had the most beautiful backdrop to our 'Natural Gifts' and 'Mosaic Toadstools' demonstrations this past Saturday in New York at the Mohonk Mountain House. The weather was incredible, the view out our conference room window was naturally refreshing and the participants were lively and fun! Can't ask for more than that. The best part is always watching how everyone goes about things and I inevitably walk away learning something new, myself. I was even inspired by the different structures and fencing that surrounded us that were brilliantly created simply by utilizing the fallen trees from their forests.

A big thanks to our friends at Dremel, Eclectic Products, and Liquitex for sharing some of their amazing products with our guests. It never ceases to amaze me, the number of people who have never touched a tool before or who are unfamiliar with things like jewelry pliers, woodburners, or artist acrylics. They are always so eager to try and the looks on their faces when they successfully have a go at something new is priceless.

I get challenged all the time to only share projects and ideas that are simple, do not involve any tools and to cater to 'the majority can't or won't do it' mentality. Now while I respect the guidance, with my own ventures I generally choose to not go that direction and instead follow my own instincts and beliefs. How else are we to elevate people to that can-do, resourceful, confident place without exposing them to the options that are out there and the different ways they can be utilized. I have way more faith in people's natural abilities than that and I am also confident that the more we all know how to do or at least 'believe' we can do, the better. Doesn't everyone want that empowerment, that sense of self-reliance to some degree? It's not even so much about the actual use of the tool per say, as it is about each and every one of us embracing the 'can-do spirit'. It's a beautiful thing.
It always brings me back to some of the words by Emerson in one of his pieces titled 'Self-Reliance'.
"There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried."
"A man is relieved and merry when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope."
"Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string."

Cheers to self-reliance and a can-do spirit! For those, I am thankful.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Create a PICTURE PERFECT table setting this Thanksgiving! Pull out photos of family and friends and make them part of each place setting. Customize one for each guest so when dinner is over, they can take them home to hang.

  • Start with an 11x14 picture frame or larger.
  • Paint the frame to go with your table scape.
  • Use a multi-picture matte and fill with family photos and a thoughtful, thankful quote, and reinstall the back and glass front.
  • Add felt pads to the bottom and you are ready to set the table.
The glass cleans up easily, so if there are any spills all photos are well protected.
You can also swap out the glass with a plexi-glas type of product, as an alternative.
(You can check out one of our video quickies for this project here -- click on the quickies box and scroll thru for thankful placemats)

I give a shout of thanks to the CREATIVITY that each and every one of us is blessed with. It truly makes the world a more interesting, colorful place to live!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It'S a WonDERfuL wORk SuRFaCE!

It's no secret that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the random beauty that happens on a work surface. The patterns, textures and color combinations are unexpected and unplanned.  They're the kind of designs that are very difficult to recreate.  I know not everyone appreciates this source of 'beauty', but I get so much inspiration and actual reusable material that can go into other projects that I always give special thought to my work surfaces so that I'm PREPARED to capture what randomly happens.  It's like having another project 'in motion' with a life all its' own, as my attentions are focused elsewhere.  

One of the materials I like to use is a roll of masking paper.   It comes in different widths...I like the 12 inch.  It's inexpensive and readily available at any home improvement store.  It's easy to store and easy to manage.   Just roll it out on your surface, tape to the underside and get to work. The brown paper is designed to protect your surfaces from water based products. The green paper goes a step further and will also protect from solvent based mediums. 

It also serves as a can draw out designs, capture thoughts as they occur, work through measurements and patterns.  I like to have a roll of measuring masking tape nearby, just tape it to your masking paper and you have a VERY helpful measuring aid. 
When the creative party's over, I can then tear down the pieces I want to keep and use in other art applications like collage.  I save some of the drawings and insert into my actual sketchbooks.  I can use the randomly designed paper as wrapping paper -- it makes for very interesting, (authentically artsy) gift packages.  I can throw it in the compost bin -- (being conscientious of the 'breakdown' of certain topical materials.)  

May sound crazy, but it really excites my creative mind to see the scribbles, the spills, the marks that take place.....I get something new every time and I love the whole 'double duty' thing! 
Explore your creative makes for a wonderful truly does! 

Monday, November 16, 2009

onE ON OnE w. moHoNk MoUNTain HouSE

I'm so excited about our workshops this Saturday at the Mohonk Mountain House. It's a destination that I LOVE because it embraces nature in all its' greatness.  The location, the programs, the rustic, relaxing vibe. Everything from the real wood burning fireplaces in the rooms, the absence of televisions in the rooms, (I know I shouldn't be advocating that since that is what I do in some respects, but it's all about 'balance' and 'moderation', right? shhhh, don't tell anyone):), afternoon teas, and the most spectacular views. 

We're joining them for their 'How-To Holidays' and sharing a couple of fun workshops with their guests.

  • Natural gift ideas that share how to create a plethora of beautiful things using only branches...everything from natural playthings to hair accessories, ornaments and jewelry. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE nature projects, and hopefully those who attend will share in the energy.

  • A colorful way to recycle by creating our one of a kind toadstools for the garden. It's a relaxing exercise in mosaic work and an enlightening, creative approach to repurposing things like wine bottles, clay saucers and broken dishes. 

All attendees will walk away with a newfound, playful appreciation for things they find on their nature walks, as well as items that get tossed in the bin.
See ya there!

Cheers to the upcoming opportunity to share ideas one-on-one!