Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The big, wide world of New York

It's that time of year again.
Trade show season in NYC (also known as I-look-awful-in-this-photo season!)

It's bakery for breakfast time, too... and I have to sketch my food before I can take a bite.

And this year, my art was in my agent's booth only so I had a chance to walk around New York.
Look what I saw!

I let my eyes lead me all over the city, wandering for miles.

Oh, one eats nicely in New York.

The signs, the sights, the smells.
This is so not home- this is the big, wide world.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Creative retreat

When I read this sign I had to laugh... 
Gather a group of creative designers and artists in one place, each bringing an art project to share
and the laughter and imaginations run wild.

Brenda Walton had invited us to her studio for a weekend of art play. What fun!

"Would you like to make a softie?" Brenda laughed, and pulled out fabric, trim, and lots of goodies. Nobody had a pattern; imagination was all we needed. 

Debi Adams had made the most amazing cookies, painted with food coloring! 

And I had pressed spring flowers from our garden to glue on vintage papers.

When  Cathe Holden unfolded her bag of tricks I could scarcely believe her brilliant ways with all things vintage!

And Wanda Guess! She brought Tim Holtz Idea-ology bracelets for us to color with alcohol inks and assemble. If you're looking for a quick craft that's super easy and looks terrific, these are great fun.

And then Brenda and her darling husband Doug took us to Port Costa and Berkeley and oh, my! The shopping!
(And I don't even like to shop, but this was different. Believe me.)


A weekend retreat of crafting.
I think we should do this kind of thing more often, don't you?

Why not throw a retreat of your own, call up a few artsy friends and ask each one to bring something to the party. Unleash the coffee, tea and creativity.

And maybe a chaser of gouache paint- it was fantastic for me!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Easy tips for memorable celebrations

"I felt," she told me later, "like I'd stepped into a fairy tale garden."

I did, too! What a dreamy afternoon tea in the garden!

A luxurious party without exhaustion, stress or overspending.
Epic win! Want to know my secrets?

For my friends and me, making things look special matters. But I have a very limited budget of time and money.

Tip #1 - Buy a few beautiful crafting items and use them to the max. My new Sizzix Garden Party dies were used to make the coasters above as well as toppers for the Italian sodas below. They are as simple as turn the crank on a die cutting machine and you're done! Super simple but they look so fancy, don't they?

And since I'm so thrifty (ok, I'm absolutely cheap!) I want everything to work many ways. My welcome sign, the ribbony "treat" banner, and the albums we used for favors were all the same simple die: the bracketed album from the Garden Party Sizzix die collection.

Since gatherings are more fun when there's something to do, I gave each guest an album made of watercolor paper, along with paints and brushes, and we ventured into the flower beds to paint.

The other thing that made this party sing was the beautiful tea table.

I used my dear friend Brenda Walton's Sizzix dies  to make labels for the table and the all-important favor boxes, all of which I embellished with quick watercolor and calligraphy. Eye candy!

And a word about the food... Don't be shy! Ask for help.
My brilliant niece Janelle played pastry chef and her sweets and savories were scrumptious.

When my friends from ages 3 to 89 left, they took a bird hanging in the cherry tree as a reminder of the fun we enjoyed.

Yes, my garden was full of weeds. 
But nobody cared. We were too busy having fun!

I spent only a few hours to prepare. My budget was very small.

The sun shone, the party looked festive, and we laughed all afternoon.

We need more celebrations and more laughter, don't we?
The pretty Garden Party dies made it all fast and easy.
And yes- we are already planning another one!