Friday, December 30, 2011

final post of 2011

As 2011 draws to a close and I wrap up my last project, I have done a lot of soul searching this last week to figure out how I want to go forward in 2012.  No doubt, 2011 has been a year of personal (many) highs and a few lows.  With that said, I vow to be more calm and enjoy the process of life more.  We artists have active imaginations and I often find I am a ball full of energy, wrapped up and trying to release my ideas.  Often, the stress I experience is self induced and many people have told me I need to not be so hard on myself.  This last project is no exception.

I have wanted to create an assortment of framed photos of Leilani going up our stairs for some time now.  I've had some frames laying around for years just staring back at me.  Not wanting to spend a fortune to have them custom matted and professionally framed, I took on the project myself.  Many hours, lots of paint, five stitches, a tetanus shot and a lot of frustration is done.

But, I learned a few things from it and in due time to go forward into 2012:

1)  I will not be so darn hard on myself and create goals & deadlines that are unachievable
2)  I will take yoga
3)  I will paint and complete projects out of sheer enjoyment
4)  I will be the best wife, mother, sister, daughter I know how to be
5)  I will slow down...and enjoy life more.

Oh...and I WILL de-clutter my closet!

the crazy frames I've been holding onto

creating the perfect color for the 3 matching frames...

and 2 mirrors (which were an antique white to begin with)

I had glass custom cut at a local glass shop. (Joann's was going to charge me $70 for 3 pieces but the local shop charged just $19!!)......However, I will say I ended up cutting my hand on one of the pieces of glass and ended up with 5 stitches and a $40 co-pay, sigh.

But, I think it was worth it...all in all this project cost me maybe $80 if you include my co-pay :) and supplies:

I love using architectural pieces to decorate with.  I have several funky painted shutters throughout our house and ended up using these two (which were once a hot pink, yikes) as part of the wall combo!

Oh, and lastly, Leila on Christmas day....on most likely her most favorite gift from Grandma and Grandpa:

Have a great new year, everyone!  See you in 2012....bring it on!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

accordian garland....and iraq

With the exception of Big Bang Theory, Access Hollywood, football and Baby Einstein....I watch zero television.  I know, it's pathetic.  But, don't worry, I log onto on a daily basis and that keeps me fully informed :)!! poor husband.  He came home today and asked me, " So, honey, did you hear what happened in Iraq today?  I obviously said, "No....are we in trouble?" (part of me actually enjoys not watching the news because it means I can be less afraid than I already am).  Sometimes I really do think the world has gone mad.  I am all the more thankful for where we live!

He told me the news of the bombings and it made me cringe. To be perfectly honest, the madness scares the s*** out of me.  I worry about the future of our kids! Sooo....that is why I stick to my love of being a mom and creating!  (but mind you, this post lacks a few photos because obviously I am too absentminded to take pics of the final product, sorry guys!)  But NO FEAR......the process is atleast HERE....for a lovely accordian banner (which idea I actually stole from my friend, Jenny) Thanks Momma!:

If you are like me, about 7 years ago when scrapbooking was hot, you collected a TON of scrapbooking paper with the idea of actually doing something with it.  Then you never did.  I simply am not that organized to's just not my thing.  That's why I keep a journal for Leila.  So, I am left with all this scrapbooking paper to do something with!  Aha!

Cut each piece you have into halves and fold them as you see above into little accordian pieces

Glue the edges together until you build a "flower".  I ended up using about 5 "accordians" for each flower in order to give it enough weight and depth (you want your accordian to look rich!) that one accordian flower looks like this:

You can decorate the center however you like...I cut out felt circles and then glued some pearl looking balls int the middle that I had stored away (not pictured).

I ended up stringing about seven of these together by glueing ribbon behind them.  You want to use a heavy duty ribbon because the garland is heavy when all is said and done.  For the middle garland, I cut out an M for my sister (since her last name begins with an M) and glued it on top.  This way, she can use it all year round. 

Unfortunately I don't have a pic of the final garland : (....but:

I promise, I did finish!  If you look close, beneath the Us really is there, folded up and ready to hang for my sis !  I won't lie...this project took me some time but it is SO worth it.  Your garland, in the end, really is very pretty and so special!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

good things

come in small packages.  At 87 years old my grandmother is pretty hip.  She sends some that are just plain fun to open.  In our Christmas box were a few things she told us we could open before Sunday.  In it, some Boucheron, Salvatore Ferragamo and Fresh Citron De Vigne perfume samples, which I can't get enough of.  Chanel No 5 After Bath Powder (because I ran out of the supply I regularly buy myself : /?!) and a box full of gorgeous gold jewelery for Leilani when she gets old enough from the Royal Hawaiian Heritage Jewelry collection.  I am smitten with the ring in particular!

Monday, December 19, 2011

donna walker

I am a big fan of the artist Donna Walker.  She is based out of my home state of Texas and her pieces are small, bold, gorgeous in color, reasonably priced.  She is just talented and I love looking at her work.  Visit her etsy shop here.  A few samples:

12" x 24" custom original oil on canvas based on photo

8" x 16" custom original oil on canvas based on photo

8" x 8" original oil on canvas  In The Fields

8" x 8" original oil on canvas Small Red Barn Farm Landscape

All photos credit of Donna Walker

Sunday, December 18, 2011

what a wonderfully fabulous, magical evening to remember forever!

Tonight was my husband's annual company party.  You may remember, I did a blog on their plans for it here.  Although Leila has been a teething mess the last two days, we stuck to our plan to have a sitter and.......oyyyyyy, we tried not to worry, so off we went....despite our worry, oh the fun we had!

first stop....Gordon Biersch Brewery, just a few miles from the country club where the event was held.  TJ enjoyed a Winterbock beer while I had a standard Chardonnay. 
But their was a HUGE selection of beers to choose from:

After our rendezvous, we made our way to the country club.  As we entered, there were two ladies who greeted us at a table with name tags.  One of them very quickly said something about a meet and greet and to hang our coats up and follow her.  I was still taking everything in because the surroundings were beautiful but then she said something about me meeting Vanessa just by myself.  I was flabbergasted, confused and not understanding what she was saying,

Apparently she had caught wind from my husband and my blog that I am a huge Vanessa Carlton fan.....and yes, I got a one on one meeting her!!!!! What a humble, amazing talent she is...people don't give her enough credit.  Her music has touched me in so many ways, for many years now.  And I am SO glad her voice is finally being heard.  Here is a snapshot of us meeting:

Her performance was surreal.  Her voice sounds EXACTLY as it does on her cd.  I would be lying if I said her voice didn't touch me.  I found myself captivated by her performace and twice tears in my eyes.  What a beautiful, artistic, magical message she wishes to send.  And I am all the more receptive. 
Thank you, vanessa!

Friday, December 16, 2011

and the winner is...

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in this FUN drawing!  Having left my career to be a full time mom to our little girl and pursue my passion and degree in painting, certainly has had its share of challenges.  So, every ounce of support I receive is appreciated more than you know.  Life is so short and for it not to be fulfilled by what you love would be a failure I think.  So, I know that as long as I persevere and continue creating,  it will shine through and make me the happiest mommy on the planet. (not that I'm not already)...

Drum roll please..................the WINNER is:

Sorry, had to share a picture of her painting first.  Oh, AND a picture of her holding your blank canvas which will soon be full of color and life:

Ok, the WINNER is:

CONGRATULATIONS, Meghan O'Neill Witte!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

christmas bliss

So, while the last week has been crazy busy cutting, glueing, bow making, wrapping etc...I can officially say my gifts are wrapped up and shipped out!  Let the festivities begin...the coming weekend, week following and following Christmas weekend will be pure fun!  Beginning with tonight....girl's night in historic Ellicott City with my dear friend Lisa...tomorrow my dad arrives for a quick overnight visit and is sweet enough to give us the night off for dinner at The Wine Kitchen.....and Saturday night is my husband's annual company party where Vanessa Carlton will perform.  JOY!

My grandmother, "Mackie", lives in an apartment in Honolulu.  All she ever wants is photos of the grandchildren and she has little space.  Wanted to send her photos in a creative way.  This way, they are compact and she can fold them up and tie the ribbon around them and put them in her purse to show off if she likes!

in preparing for tonight's girl's night and Bapa's arrival tomorrow, I am making a hearty stew to fill the men's tummies........Merry Early Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

shop local

You may remember, not too long ago I wrote a post on Karen's Emporium and Antiques in Churchville, VA.  On our way home from my parent's house yesterday we stopped by and saw Karen....she greeted us as any proper Southern lady would.  With a huge hello and an offering of apple cider and a tray of crackers and a delicious cheese spread.  What a sweet woman she is...and with a store to match!

I try to shop locally as much as possible.  It makes me feel so good to support the community and any local business.  You really can't beat it.  Karen's sweet 13 year old employee helped me with my bags and carrying Leila out to the car and I thanked her profusely and appreciated it more than she will know. (until she has kids of her own and knows what a precious offering that is....)

Here are some photos of her charming store.  But first, a few pics of the girl :):

Shopping at Wolf Creek Gallery in Lewisburg, WV

so proud of herself sitting in her chair!

in front of her fun tree!

got this cool old tin box...

and a sweet ornament handmade by a local artist from an old quilt

and a shoe (an old, old shoe :)

and I love it!

(and the tin too to house my beads!)