Monday, May 28, 2012

Quick Graduation Card

Our neighbor's daughter graduated this year.  Crazy…I remember when I first met them she was in 3rd grade.  How does that happen? How does time go that fast?  Now she is off to college in a few weeks.  True to my 11th-hour mentality,  I waited to make her a card until the day of the party.

I'm proud to say that I did get my flower beds weeded, planted and mulched with my signature cocoa bean hulls BEFORE the party….but again it was an 11th hour-kinda thing.   Usually, I am crazy to get my flowers in on Mother's Day weekend (in Michigan where I live you are a fool to put them in before than early May because Mr. Frost is sure to visit a time or two up until then).  This year the warm spell we had in March that brought 80 degree temps really upset my rhythm.  I knew March was too early to plant and it killed me, especially when my perennials started blooming…but I waited.  By the time May came…. I was over it.  But not wanting to look like the redneck neighbors with the flower beds full of weeds, I scrambled to get it all planted Wednesday night.

I made a card that really stunk. I mean it was so bad I tossed it- no point in trying to refurbish, it was that bad.  Thankfully, my second attempt was much better.
Ironically, her High School colors are the same as my Harrison Hight and The University of Michigan…both my alma maters.  Add glitter, distressed seam binding, Washi tape, a piece of Susan Lenart Kazmer's Industrial Chic ruler from Michael's….perfection.

Laters Baby….
I linked to the following Linky Parties:
Tea Rose Home
The 36th Avenue
Tator Tots and Jello
Twigg Studios
Sew Chatty

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Compendium Challenge Week 7

Linda's Compendium Challenge has reached week 7 with Brushless Watercolors.  I love the way the water blends the colors to give a beautiful, faded effect.   This technique is on page 49 of A Compendium of Curiosity Vol 2 by Tim Holtz.   As I've said in previous weeks- I will not be discussing the exact technique in the blog postings, instead referring you to buy Tim's book… you won't regret it.

Daisy at Eclectic Paperie is sponsoring this weeks challenge with a $25 gift certificate to her fabulous mixed-media store.  If you have never shopped at her store I recommend checking out her blog hop last week on Journaling.  Her team did a great job.

My tag for this week's challenge:
I used a Stampington stamp and an array of Distress Inks.

I linked this project up at the following Linky Parties: 
Laters Baby….

Friday, May 25, 2012

Martha Part 2

Part 1 is here

Ticket to the Martha Stewart Show are free but they must be reserved and you are sent a list of "do's" and "dont's" including a dress code.  Seriously…a dress code.  We were asked to wear bright, spring colors in business casual.  No Black, brown, white, or grey.  I literally had to go and buy something to wear because everything I own is black, brown, white, or  grey and I wasn't going to let Martha down.

With tickets in hand, and appropriate clothes, Ryann and I arrived at 8:30 for what we soon learned would be the "Easter Show".  Because Ryann is sick, we were able to go right in and sit in the waiting room.
These are pictures of the waiting room.   After we checked our coats with an intern, we had to fill out paperwork.  Besides the expected permissions slips, we had to fill out the "Ask Martha" questionnaire.  Now this threw me because I had a great questions to ask her… and they ONLY wanted questions about Easter or Passover.  I didn't' have interesting questions about Easter or Passover.  Bummer.  I think I scribbled something stupid down and wasn't surprised when the young intern in charge of Ask Martha didn't call my name.   Yes, they screened the questions- and prepped the audience member- but I don't think Martha got any sort of "heads up"; if she did, it wasn't much time. 
Around 9:30 Joey Kola arrived to "warm up" the audience. He tells a few jokes, hints at the swag we will be getting, and goes over the directions.  Directions?  Yes, we had to practice clapping, clapping really loud with lots of energy, saying "mmmmm" for food and "awwwww" for cute.  We actually had to practice the hand signals for each.  He spent a lot of time talking about "high energy".  I take my directions seriously so you know I was yelling and screaming and clapping like a "high energy" fool.  This is for Martha!
Me…front row, middle in my "bright spring" colors
A bunch of interns herded us to the studio were we were directed to our seats by the seat-sitter person.  I'm not joking…there was one employee whose job was to size up the audience member and arrange them accordingly and it didnt take long to realize we were being seated based on how we looked.  No, not pretty vs. ugly but rather bright spring colors vs black, brown, grey, and white.  She wanted the camera shots to look spring and bright and we were warned after all.  Lucky us and my attention to detail because we got to sit up front and center.  It pays to read your email instructions people.  Honestly.  I'm a rule follower so you tell me to dress bright, I will be bright.  It was great to actually be reward for my rule-following issues.
That is one long camera. 
These photos were all from my seat since once they brought us in they wouldn't let us even stand up for photos.  We weren't allowed to take photos once filming started so my pictures aren't that exciting but I wanted to show the studio and the interesting things that caught my attention like the huge camera. 
The woman with the pink shirt was the seat assigner.
I tried to photograph the entire studio from left to right.  So starting from the far left side, this area was used for a segment on table settings (the white chair is at the head of the table) and a table used for a segment on flower arranging….
To the kitchen …panning rightward….
To the craft nook- my favorite….
To the greenhouse area.  The mats on the floor were moved and they set up for a bunny segment that was going to be shot at the 12:00 noon taping and aired 4 days later.
The Martha  show logo made me happy.
 I couldn't believe how big and how many lights were hanging from the ceiling.
I thought this basket was stunning.  Notice the golden eggs in the nest attached to the handle.
As they were counting down the last few minutes there was a flurry of people cleaning. I coudn't believe it but I guess even a single wayward piece of lint would be bad.
Last minute discussion between staff.
Martha was hovering in the kitchen waiting for the countdown and we had to put the cameras away.
After the show, Martha had to tape a few promos for the web so she had time to kill while they did the set up.  She took a few questions...
Joey ran around picking people who raised their hands…..He picked the first person and was running off to get the second when…wait for it…… the heavens opened up…... the earth stilled…..and Martha said "the woman in the front with the orange and pink" OH….MY….GOD…she is talking about me!!!!!!  I got to talk to Martha.
Ryann said she thought I was going to cry or lose it entirely but I was cool.  Somebody shoved the microphone in my face and I said "I'm DanĂ©e from Michigan (did she care? I'm not sure)" then I asked something to the effect of what craft stores should I visit while I am in the city.  That's a great question right?  She actually chatted with me for several minutes as she asked her staff for addresses of the places she mentioned and Joey scribbled the on paper for me.  It was so freakin' cool.  She was so laid back about it as opposed to the on-air questions doing the "Ask Martha" segments which were much more formal and not nearly as much fun.
She sent me to:
  1. John Derian Co
  2. ABC Home
  3. Toho Shoji 
  4. Tinsel Trading and I added 
  5. Papabubble which is a candy store she talks about a lot. 
My life is complete.  It was karma right?  It really felt like something happened on an entirely different level because I wanted to soooo tell her how much she has meant to my creative life and how inspiring she has been to me from my wedding to most of my craft projects and then there she was, speaking over Joey, over-ruling his choice….to pick ME.  For a moment the Earth stopped spinning…DIVINE MEMORY.

And you know the next day I visited all those stores.

I linked this post up to:

Laters Baby….

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Time With Martha Part 1

While we were in NYC visit my in-laws, Ryann and I sat in the audience of the The Martha Stewart Show for the "Easter Show".   I didn't know it at the time (I had heard rumblings), but this season is the final season of the Martha Stewart show.  The last episode EVER aired 2 weeks ago leaving me even happier that I got to experience it.

I have been a Martha groupie since her magazine was first published.  Actually before her magazine was published, I was a fan of the cookbooks.  Last time when we went to NYC, I missed getting tickets.  They open the window for only a short period of time per show; first I was too early, then too late.  This time I was determined to see the taping.  But more on that later…for now back to spring 2010.

While I didn't see a taping of the show in 2010, my trip wasn't complexly "Martha-less".  We happened to be in town on the day she was celebrating the release of her sewing book Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts.  In true "Martha" fashion they held a cocktail celebration which was open to the public.  I bought two tickets and took my mother-in-law.  The event was billed as a cocktail party with demonstrations, samples from the book, and light h'ors d'oeuvres.  At the end of the party we all received a SWAG bag with product samples and the book itself.

The event was nothing if not interesting.  They had a signature cocktail, a few h'ors oeuvres, and the make-and-takes.  It was easy to pick out the stick-skinny interns wearing the latest fashion trends.  They spent the evening running around trying to keep things together.
see the cute mice?
Peering down the hall into the craft
There were samples boards sprinkled throughout the space.  They clearly came directly from the book.  Several crafters who worked for Martha were doing demos and there were even two Make-N-Take projects but they are so overrun with people I avoided them both.  We walked around, enjoyed the party, watched the guests and enjoyed the space.   We were in the middle of a big "loft" space that held the craft department.  I was fascinated to peek around the room-dividers and see the craft supplies, desks, and half-finished projects.  The picture at left is the looking down into the craft workspace.  It is hard to see but at the end of the little hall was a display with the newest- at that point, unreleased- scrapbook papers.  Although Martha was not at the party, I recognized several other staffers.  Does that make me a dork?  Would you recognize them?  The picture below left shows Darcy Miller, Weddings Editor speaking to the editor of collections.  I can't remember his name but would know him anywhere…he's the guy wearing a 3-piece red and black PLAID suit.  Oh, and he has a beard that reminds me of one I saw on the show "Moonshine".  I'm always amazed at how out of place at MSL Omnimedia headquarters this man is and yet he is her expert on collections.  The photo below right is Hannah Milman in the white hat- she developed all the glitter I love so much.  The staffers all stood around and talked to each other.  There was no way I was going to interrupt them and take pictures so I had to be sneaky.

Then da…da...dum….in she walked….
I was standing with my back to her, speaking to MIL when her eyes suddenly got big…. bigger than saucers.  I knew- without  word being said- that Martha was in the house.  Everything went into slow motion…I turned as I said the word "wwwwhhhhhaaaaattttttt? and there she was…a vision in brown.  My life is complete.  She wasn't there long; she walked around, looked at everything and spoke a few words to a few guests, chatted with her staffers and left.  I seem to remember she had another event to attend that evening and she wasn't supposed to even come to this party so it was all icing on the cake to me.

I know a lot of people aren't fans, let alone obsessed with Martha like I am.  I found a blog yesterday called Hating Martha.  You might be wondering Why do I worship her so much? Because unlike so many crafter today, she has an attention to detail that is superb.  She finishes all sides of a project, she is concerned with the heirloom quality of a handmade item.  I love her clean aesthetic-it's not my style, but I appreciate it.  She searches for and uses quality supplies and she she can't find something she makes it herself and sells it under one of her many collections.  She doesn't shop at The Dollar Store.  While I understand crafters on a budget love the Dollar Stores, 99.9% of the time I can tell they shopped at The Dollar Store.  While there is nothing wrong with that, I prefer the authentic, craftsman aesthetic.

Martha uses quality, high-end products and gets appropriate results.  She studies and then teaches…whatever it is..uses appropriate tools….the best materials and the correct techniques.  I Adore that she sets trends.  I cannot tell you how many times I have watched or read about a technique she loves and 3 years later it is EVERYWHRE.  Take Faux Bois.  She has been writing and doing crafts with Faux Bois (fake wood) for years and now it is everywhere.   Calico Studio just released a wood background stamp, Tim has a wood Texture Fade and you find Faux Bois in pillows, sheets….Google "Faux Bois" on Etsy and you will see her influence.
My determination to get tickets to the show paid off this time.  We were heading to NYC to visit my in-laws but I knew they would appreciate my trip to Martha's show.  Last year my sister-in-law was walking home from work and passed Martha signing books at a Barnes and Noble.  I ended up with an autographed book for my birthday.  I opened the package and without even opening the cover I know what she has done and I squealed.  Scared the kids to death.  

Part two tomorrow….

Laters Baby….

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vintage-Inspired Notions Printers Tray

*Disclosure: There is a new trend in blogging that advertisers provide products to bloggers to then review.  As much as this post sounds like one of those, it isn't.  The information about French General or Jolee's it is in fact just my opinion.  I purchased all of the products used in this project at Michael's* 

Have you ever visited the beautiful world of French General created by the lovely Kaari Meng?  If you haven't, I highly recommend you fix a cup of tea, find a seat in the sunshine, sit back and relax and click here.  It is pure eye candy.  After you peruse the website head over to her Pinterest boards.  So much to look at but the French General Craft board is a fantastic must-see.

Kaari has created a world that is based on french linens, whimsical jewelry, vintage notions, and a dye-process called Woad.  French General is a blog, a commerce site, a workshop space, and a community.  Kaari hosts workshops at her California studio and a yearly getaway to a chateau in France.  She offers jewelry making workshops and a monthly Botanical Charm Club where she sends you the supplies to make the most charming pieces of jewelry.
Like so many of us, Kaari enjoys different types of crafting.  She has an amazing eye for jewelry, putting together pieces that are pure whimsy….and expensive.  She collects French fabrics and charming vintage notions and trimmings. Through her love of vintage trimmings and her beautiful book Treasured Notions was how I first learned of her.  She wrote the delightful book to show the craft projects and to tell the story of her discoveries in the basement of one of my favorite stores, Tinsel Trading in NYC.  Just looking at the cover you can see that Kaari has an amazing eye for displaying vintage notions.  

Besides Treasured Notions, Kaari has written several other books including French Inspired Jewelry, The French Inspired Home, Handmade Soirees, and Home Sewn.  Each book is full of amazing photographs that are truly inspiring.  

Her first foray into the craft market include Correspondence Cards, Mini Journal Set, and Labels and Stickers as picked here.  Aren't they just the most charming little books? 
Kaari hosts frequent workshops for jewelry making, sewing, and a dying process called Woad.  I fantasize about attending one of her classes but since she is in CA and I am in MI, I don't see it happening anytime soon.  The other hurdle is the cost.  She is expensive.  Of course you get what you pay for so that probably won't stop me if I have the opportunity to attend one of her workshops.  While I continue to fantasize about attending an actual class in CA, it is now possible to bring a little French General to wherever you live.  First, Kaari has written several books (all picked here).  Each one is beautiful book full of inspiration.  The second is through the products from Kaaris partnership with Jolee's.  Jolee's is a company that specializes in dimensional embellishment.  Together they have created the fabulous French General Collection.

The collection includes a variety of paper elements, patterned paper, fabric, and reproduction vintage ephemera.  This is just a sample of what is available in the collection.  The collection is widely available online and at Michael's.
Blue Scallop Tag Pad
a variety of ribbon and metal embellishment
 combinations each on the pretty lady tag
Bleu Fabric Remnants 
Ephemera French Paper Kit
Red Paper Pad 
Adhesive Fabric Sheets 
Shaped Gemstones 
Layered Metal Resin Cameos
French General Gift Pack 2
Glassine Envelopes with Seals 
Alphabet Pack
I couldn't wait to get my hands on some of these products and as thrilled when I went to Michael's for sheet adhesive and found the French General products on sale.  Immediately I envisioned making something for my grandmother to hang in her nursing home room.  I try to give her little items that make her room feel like home.   I   used 3 packages of French General embellishments and a 7 Gypsies Printer's Tray to make a sweet little wall decor project.  I chose the vintage-inspired notions because she is a very talented seamstress.
7 Gypsies Printers Tray
Pink Notions Kit
Red Notions Kit 
Metal Scene

Very easy to do.  The individual notions came with adhesive so I simply had to add adhesive to the chipboard cards on those items I left on the cards.

I linked this up with:

Laters Baby….