Monday, November 13, 2017

Santa's Workshop Now Open

When the blustery days arrive, it's time to begin the Christmas preparations.

For me, that is just another way of saying "shut the doors and make presents in secret!"
Piles of detritus cover every surface. 
Knitting peeks out of my larger-than-usual handbag, to be pulled out and worked on at odd moments wherever I am.
Recipes for marmalade and fresh citrus wait on the kitchen counter.

Because for me, if it isn't homemade, it's not a "real" gift I'm putting under the tree.
I don't spend money for ready made presents often... I shop for ingredients and spend love.

This week it's felted headbands for the little girls on my list.
Want to try some? It's so easy!

I used two dies from Spellbinders Paper Arts but you can easily snip your flowers freehand with an ordinary scissors.

I begin with a rectangle 9"X4", folded in half lengthwise to 9"X2" and stitched around the edges.

Cut little flowers from felt. My friend Debi Adams designed this die called Oopsy Daisy and  this one called Hydrangea Florets for Spellbinders Paper Arts. You will want bright colors. I just used plain ordinary cheap felt but if you can find real wool felt in lovely shades, go for it! It feels fabulous.

Cut plenty of flowers and play with layers until you're happy. Stitch them on with pretty embroidery floss. You can experiment with little dainty stitches if you like. I have lots of ideas for you on my Pinterest board for felt. Add beads and sequins (little girls love bling!)

When you're finished, add a piece of elastic to secure on both ends. Your length can vary but I usually like something around 8-9" depending on the child's head size.

And that's it~ another gift (or three or four!) to tuck under your tree.
Don't you just love having your own Santa's Workshop? 
So much nicer than shopping!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

My Little Cottage Featured in Where Women Create Magazine

This month my studio is featured in Where Women Create Magazine, Winter 2017 - 2018.
It's especially meaningful since Jo Packham, the magazine's owner, was editor for my first book on paper cutting!

 Here's a peek at my studio on a day when it was all tidy at once! A rare occasion for 
this hard working little cottage in the garden.

Nobody succeeds on their own. I am so grateful for my friend Debi Ward Kennedy, (click for link) a gifted visual designer and merchandiser. In July 2016, Debi and I gutted my tiny cottage and did a major refresh on a thin little shoestring of a budget. She's a genius; if you ever need help with store or studio design, Debi knows how to make your space work harder while it looks so much better!    

The magazine featured some of my work... and I think all their readers could see what a passion I have for scissors and paper (and almost any other art material that happens to be on hand!)

Below I was able to explain my key to artistic growth, my philosophy that practice is all important.

The back walls are sometimes a smorgasbord of my recent art, with the old platen press in the center of the room.

When asked what is my tip for other artists, I candidly shared the joy and pleasure to be gained from being in community with other creative people. Thank you to Joan, to Barb, to Scarlet and Pearl, Bailey and Kate, to all the women who inspire me and live in my own neighborhood.

If you don't have a creative community, start by just finding one friend and bake muffins, stitch up a little something, sketch your own pets together... or dream up your own adventures.

So here we are again, counting our blessings, and among my favorite reasons for gratitude is YOU.
Thank you for following along on my creative journey.

You can find Where Women Create Magazine on news stands everywhere magazines are sold and in stores like JoAnn Fabric and Crafts as well as online at Stampington & Company.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Taking time for creativity

This year I've been away from blogging and other things that take time.
I gave myself a permission slip to be selfish with my days
and spend long hours in any creative pursuit I liked.

I wondered how my cut paper would translate to other subtractive mediums so one of my explorations has been linoleum block printing. I've even done the same image both ways!


One of the joys of being an artist is the genuine pleasure we derive from a lifetime of experimenting and expanding our art in different directions. For me this year, that permission to simply make art, whether it's salable or not, has been a great blessing.

So if you wonder where I've been, what I've been doing, now you know!

Friday, August 11, 2017

The back story... what you don't see

I design art that appears on products.
So it goes without saying that sometimes what I plan and work hard on is never seen by anyone but me and an art director or product development team.

Because everything I do is "on spec", I know in advance that everything's driven by the decisions of a buyer somewhere, someone I'll never see, I have no idea what will be picked up and what won't.

This is one I'm wishing had come to see the light of day on a store shelf. 
So today I'm sharing this little design that was meant to turn into a holiday greeting card, a cookie gift box, a sweet glowing lamp.

Our family's tradition of "hygge", or cosy comfort, gave me the idea for this sweet design.
The little votive version glows brightly from within, 
and when I tested it out in the studio, I was delighted with my simple project.

 When the holiday season rolls around, I plan to fill the windows with light and invite a few friends for cookies and caroling in the studio, surrounded by the cheerful light of glowing votives and the memory of the summer afternoon when I made multiples ahead for the holidays even though I knew it hadn't been picked by the manufacturer.

Because in any season, Scandinavian hygge is a beautiful way to live.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Pretty jam labels... win a crafting die!

What's better than a free giveaway?
A giveaway and an idea for easy make ahead Christmas gifts on a shoestring.

Today's your lucky day! Click right here to enter to win the die for the pretty paper above in the Spellbinders Paper Arts' Designer Favorites blog hop giveaway.

Every summer my garden and the Farmers Market tempt me to make Christmas gifts ahead of time.
The jams taste of sunshine, the sweetest of fruits and pure love.

Those gorgeous jams deserve a lovely label, don't they?
I used my design for a lacy little leafy heart from Spellbinders Paper Arts.

The how to couldn't be simpler.
You just cut the die from the paper of your choice

Write the name of the preserve on the heart shape center, then gently shape the paper into a slight curve so it conforms to the shape of your jar.

Glue to the front of the jar, add a little ribbon or paper cuff to the ring, and you're good to go.

Pour yourself a glass of iced tea and sip in the shade. Pat yourself on the back.

You, my friend, have Christmas gifts in the bag already.
Summer in a jar is going to be pretty wonderful in the middle of winter!


Want to see more summer fun using designer dies from Spellbinders?
Hop on over to Marisa Job's blog and see her pretty giveaway.
Click the link here to enter. Good luck!

Friday, July 21, 2017

England's green pastures

 England's green pastures and fields are charmingly filled with sheep and cattle.

Blissful as lambs, we lingered by the pastures and walked slowly past the sheep clustered in the hills.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Walking in the English Cotswolds

It's always been my dream to wander in England, free as a bird, sketchbook in hand and camera hanging around my neck.

Maybe you've had the same wish.
Come wander the Cotswolds villages and footpaths through my eyes.

You can walk miles and miles on the public footpaths,
visiting with gardeners, taking shelter from rain in the pubs,
and eating scones washed down with endless cups of tea.

This delightful manor house lies between the villages of Chipping Campden and Lower Slaughter.
Wouldn't you love to peek inside?
Even the little fence beside the tree is done with such care.

The public footpaths draw you down past farmhouses and fields of sheep,
past pubs that are almost irresistible in even the tiniest villages.

How can I walk by without tasting the shepherd's pie or the Sunday roast?
One stops. One eats. One walks on.


And one makes little pieces of art to remember the journey.