Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving in NYC

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. I certainly did! I have wanted to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade for as long as I can remember. Our youngest son Morgan lives in Manhattan now, so Raoul and I headed there for an action-packed visit last week.

You know your family truly loves you, when they wake up so early, that they can save the perfect spot for you right next to the parade route barricade. Raoul and Morgan got there at 4:30 a.m. and said by 5 a.m. the front row was filled. Morgan’s girlfriend, Eileen, and I even got to sleep a little longer.

Here we are at our ideal location. Everyone looks a little extra puffy as we were wearing layers and layers of clothing.

It was unreal to be so close to the balloons.

Here’s Cyndi Lauper. Lisa is one of her major fans.

Carly Simon was looking good.

These older gals were having the best time on their trikes.

But I couldn’t get enough of the balloons. And before I knew it, the parade was over. We had a spectacular time. -- Beth

Friday, November 27, 2009

A good thought

Just when you thought I was done singing the praises of Silver Bella, an art retreat I recently attended, there is one more tidbit. In our welcome folder was this quote, which I feel pairs perfectly with a recent photograph of our granddaughter Claire, now 5+ months old:

"to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." e.e. cummings


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving
to you and yours...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Anthropologie Always Delivers

Who doesn’t get a major kick of out of the displays at Anthropologie? Lisa and I popped into the University Village store and left with our hearts going pitter pat! They were installing these spectacular decorations. We really made out because some were on the floor, waiting to be hung. I asked if I could take pictures (which is always nice store etiquette) and they said sure.

Some of these white fluffs were created from chicken wire as the form with common sandwich wrapping papers smushed into each opening. Others were created like giant tissue paper flowers.
We especially liked the nuances of the creamy colors with an occasional clear, sparkly cellophane flower added here and there.And another great idea - they hung large hunks of metal fencing as their grid to attach each flower.

I really admire their constant creativity. - Beth

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rollicking Good Time at Ravenna Gardens

We spent our Sunday afternoon doing TWO (first one sold out, second one was added and also sold out!) sessions of Repurposed Holidays at Ravenna Gardens at University Village. It was a fast paced hour of show and tell ideas – quick, and as green as possible, gifts and wraps. We also showed some of our repurposed creations doing double duty as holiday décor. Lisa’s silverplate wind chime was holding holiday greeting cards, and my lamp parts birdbath contained ornaments. Ravenna Gardens is always a treat to work with, and their customers are a bunch of fun. How can you go wrong with people that like gardening and junk?!

This fabulous array of candle holders were for sale, with the proceeds going to Path with Art. Gillian, Ravenna Garden's owner, helped a friend make these for the friend’s daughter’s wedding. The array of clear glass pieces married with the brass bases looked divine together.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Silver Bella Workshops and Vendor Night

The Vintage Rosary Necklace workshop was the ONE workshop I really wanted to get into at Silver Bella. I’ve had a crush on Kaari Meng since I discovered her business, the French General several years ago. She was as nice as nice could be in person. I loved this workshop and am thrilled with the necklace I was able to make all from components she provided in our kits.

More of her treasures were for sale during our class.

Workshop number two was Victorious Medals taught by Teresa McFayden, the founder of Silver Bella. This is a shot of our table.

Such a clever idea. Teresa photocopied onto fabric paper some of her favorite vintage medals, which we then enhanced with glitter, trims, ribbons and all sorts of lovelies. Other ribbons were newly printed for the occasion, so everyone was a winner in this class!

Charlotte Lyons was my instructor for her Wonderland Mobile. We created little houses and trees to hang from an embroidery hoop. Then you could add as much bling as you saw fit.

As you can see, I am of the more is more school of design with this project.

I could make and decorate these little houses and trees until the cows come home.

There are so many distractions during these workshops. First you have to check out everyone’s jewelry and accessories. Then you hear their stories as you try to do your fun task. This woman is the mother of triplets, with twins on the way, and she was cheerful as can be! Plus she had this clear plastic bag with lots of little openings for her ribbon stash to come out of. Really a good idea, and I think easy to duplicate with something like those heavy plastic covers they sell pillowcases in or maybe an unused clear makeup bag.

This Hodge Podge Journal was the only project I finished 100% within the three hour workshop period. Rebecca Sower was the instructor, and she is a gem. Her kit was wonderfully complete, and she set sort of a fast pace, which totally worked for me.

My last workshop was Holly-Days Countdown with Pam Garrison. This is Pam’s sample, and the idea is each holly leaf represents a day for an advent calendar.

By my fifth workshop, I was used to the fact that some of these women were finishing their projects, and doing amazing jobs. The woman beside me created this fabulous design. And had a darling tool box with the blue pom poms too.

I decided I was going to try all the embroidery stitches I haven’t done in ages. I’m saving the rest of my leaves for a long plane ride to NYC coming up next week.

Another gorgeous distraction. My new friend, Kay, had this amazing sewing kit with bark cloth pages. So functional and so right up my alley.

Vendor night was one of the best I’ve attended! Here is Beth Quinn and her marvelous jewelry.

I was charmed by Megan, aka Princess Lasertron.

Her felt flower pins are unbelievable with their beautiful stitchery. I bought a red number, and am kicking myself for not getting at least a half a dozen of them for gifts.

There was a ballroom filled with other tables like this. Vintage ephemera heaven! Willows Nest was there with their distinctive, romantic creations. This hand crafted bird was in the Raised in Cotton booth.

I have unpacked and repeatedly admired everything, and finished four of my projects (while hiding in my studio for several days this week).

I really can’t imagine I will forget how good this art retreat was. Silver Bella was very special. -- Beth

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Silver Bella Swaps

The three swaps I participated in at Silver Bella were crazy good!

This is my haul from the Bella Feltie Ornament Swap – 16 really charming ornaments. And let me tell you – each was packaged as the sweetest presents ever. We had a color scheme to work with – cream, pink, aqua and some green.

The ornaments were given to us in these snappy bags created by our swap hostess. Imagine a grocery bag brimming with 16 handmade little gifts!

My second swap was the Vintage Papers Swap. I signed up for this one because it was labor light. I mailed some vintage papers to our hostess, and she created these lovely folders – vintage wallpaper stitched around three sides and adorned with a gift tag I am crazy about. I am so happy with the very wonderful assortment of vintage papers I received.

And last, but so far away from least – the Sweetest Thing Recipe Swap. Eight of us each sent two recipes, each on their own decorated page, to our hostesses. We had a color palette of cream, chocolate brown, and gold with touches of burgundy and dark green. I was stunned and thrilled to receive this beautiful keepsake! Our hostesses took this swapping business seriously. The covers and assembly were breath-taking.

A few sample pages from this book:

And let’s not forget to mention that two of the swappers gave each of us samples of their recipe as additional gifts!

This closed out the first evening. Workshops and vendor night recaps will be in the next post. -- Beth

Bonus: If you are inspired to create some feltie ornaments of your own, we just listed 6 kits from our own Felted Ornament Workshop on our Etsy site. Kits include felted sweater squares, bling, trims, templates and instructions.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Silver Bella - Wow!

Usually I am not at a loss for words. But when it comes to articulating how absolutely wonderful this Silver Bella art retreat was, adjectives aren’t enough. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the creativity and generosity I received during the three days I was in Omaha. Every single person I met was over the top friendly and talented. I am still stunned by the fantastic items I received in the three swaps I participated in. The five workshops I took were the best ever. I believe it was such a powerful experience for me, that it will take time to fully absorb how much I learned, and had to stretch. I feel like my world expanded enormously.

I’ll save the pictures and more descriptions of the swaps and the workshops for a couple of future posts. Let’s talk about the people and the good loot! Here is the folder we received when we checked in. Our door prize number is a keepsake.

At the welcome dinner, this darling tote bag was waiting for us filled with all these swell gifts. Lots of clever craft project kits, handmade items, and vintage art supplies.

Our group project was sponsored by Fiskars. Each of us received this haul. I learned I have been mispronouncing Fiskars for my whole life – it is Fis cars (like you drive). They are the fifth oldest company in our country. They started making sharp things and stuck with it.

This was a gift each of us received from our Saturday luncheon speaker, Jo Packham. She is an inspiring soul, and brought tears to most of our eyes with her words. The lid of this box says: MAY YOU ALWAYS FIND NEW DREAMS TO CALL YOUR OWN, NEW ROADS TO TRAVEL, NEW DOORS TO UNLOCK ….. All that I do is created From a Woman’s Soul, Through a Woman’s Eyes, By a Woman’s Hands. Are you reaching for a tissue yet?

Here’s a cute shot of my roomie, traveling mate and friend – Christie (on the right). We met through the Salvage Studio. She attended Silver Bella last year, and was my Big Sister this time around.I like this shot of our tablemates at the first group workshop. It was a bonding experience, as a workshop for 185+ women is crazy.

We met this mom and daughter as soon as we got off the plane in Omaha. We saw each other in workshops, at breakfast, vendor night and other times throughout the weekend. I felt so very lucky to be with such joyful kindred spirits.

Stay tuned for the story on the swaps! -- Beth