Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Threads

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
Isaiah 40:28

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Coffee, Knitting, Gardening--A Perfect Morning

A perfect morning begins on my greenhouse sunporch with coffee, kitties, and knitting.

This is my potting bench--handmade by my husband about 9 years ago. Sometimes it is covered with potting soil, pots and seeds. Sometimes it is nice and freshly cleaned with a candle lit. Today I'm planting more seeds and transplanting some seedlings into the garden.

This plant was a birthday present four years ago--it loves its little corner on the greenhouse and grows quite healthy.

 After coffee and knitting, I'll have a little breakfast and head on out to the garden with Minnie--she loves to follow me out there and hang around, like she's guarding me. 

I have no deck right now as it's being torn up and replaced--that will be nice! 

Minnie is sharpening her claws and getting ready to defend me against any predators.

Predators may include the little yellow cat next door, Simba, who is trying to live with us!

I'm sewing more seeds into the garden and doing a little weeding. After that, I'm picking some lettuces for dinner later.

A pot of Mesclun lettuces
 I'm also picking bunches of lemon thyme to make my Lemon Lemon-Thyme Squares. Everybody loves them, and they don't last long! I'll probably make them today and again on Wednesday to take to our Fourth of July family party the next day.

This year I've planted several varieties of tomatoes including Early Girl, Big Boy, Sweet 100, Roma, and an interesting purple heirloom variety. I can't wait to see how that turns out. 

Lots of tomato plants growing
All around the tomatoes I plant starts and seeds of basil--a companion plant to the tomato. All summer long, tomato and basil appear at every dinner. I also make things like a refrigerated ball jar pasta sauce--it features a mason jar with chopped fresh tomato, chopped fresh basil, a clove of garlic minced, a couple splashes olive oil, and chunks of mozzarella cheese. Make it in the morning, stick it in the fridge, and that night make a big pot of pasta, and toss the cold sauce right into the hot cooked pasta. Yum!
Baby basils
Walking around the garden makes me think of all these recipes and ideas--it's like having the best source of food right outside your back door.

My favorite squash is spaghetti squash--it's delicious without all the carbs! This year I've also planted eggplant, cucumber and zucchini--I think there are lots of amazing vegetarian meals coming in July and August! It's amazing how you can get something for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert from the garden.
Flowering thyme bed

Now it's time to finish up because this afternoon I'm going to sew some pages for my art journal, go use a coupon at the craft store to get a roll of stabilizer and some embroidery threads, and plan our meals for the week. Busy!

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Grow


Friday, June 28, 2013

Art Journal EveryDay Fridays--Upcycled Art Journal Page

An upcycled art journal is freedom. It's that simple! No rules, no special shopping, and nothing is a no-no. It's a world of "Yes!" Here is a page from my new/old upcycled art journal...let me tell you about it. The page began with a file folder--the word "happiness" stamped on the index tab. I ran a scrap piece of decorative paper through the embossing boutique, and layered on a piece of the instructions from a vintage dress pattern. This is why I keep my fun scrapbook paper scraps.

Lately, I've really enjoyed using my typewriter to type on vintage dress instructions, after I cut them into usable square pages. I made my own diecut little apron, used a dress tag with a flower and grommet added in the upper left corner, added a little tag, and then some lace, ribbon, inking and stamps.

This page is so fun, with so much texture--and it has some of my stitching to-do list!


So, here are the front and back covers of my upcycled art journal. Tthe original vintage file drawer divider I made the covers from is shown in the middle.
Yesterday I posted the whole story of my journal if you'd like to see more here: A Summer Art Journal. Happy art journaling everyone!

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Upcycle

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Upcycled Art Journal--A Summer Art Journal Made from Stash and Trash

Create a rag tag art journal from supplies and materials already on hand.

The cover as it was coming together, made from an old file divider.

Rule No. 1--Oops. There are, of course, no rules in art journaling or in creating art journals! So the rest are "nonrules."

NonRule No. 133--Cannot buy anything special for this project. And by the way, you can number NonRules however you wish!

NonRule No. 52--Upcycle as much as possible--make what was trash into usable stash.

The old file drawer dividers after trimming them up.
NonRule No. 51--Put your first upcycled journal together in less than a week, so that it (1) doesn't drag on and on (2) lets you get started using your art journal and (3) ensures you'll actually get it done. See NonRule No. 8 below for a great tip on making this happen.

NonRule No. 8--Put your pages together quickly, and don't overthink them.  Just grab papers, sacks, packaging, tags, stamps, glue, vellum, paint, stickers--go crazy. The pages will just come together and be fun and whimsical. For example, I glued part of a vintage dress pattern to some deli paper on a piece of scrapbook paper and added a few dress tags at the top. I loved it. Make your supplies do double-duty. I used a brown ink pad for a lot of my stamping, and also used it to ink around some page edges to give a vintage look.

Remember--you are creating, in essence, a "blank" journal with fun and whimsical backgrounds, so keep it moving.

Here are a few photos of my upcycled creation--a mishmash of stash, trash, and most importantly, no extra cash! I am using it already and can't wait to make the next one.

Front cover made from vintage file dividers
Inside front cover
A page made with a vintage dress pattern package and tags
A page made with embossed deli paper, embossed scraps, stickers and stamping
Scrapbook paper scraps, dress pattern tissue, papersack, lace
Envelope made from scrapbook paper stash
A piece of aida cloth...for a day when I can cross-stitch in my journaling
A vellum sack that's been stickered and stamped--I can tuck a tag inside with my journaling
Tags are added to the rings throughout the journal
I love this page using clothes tags, dress pattern tissue and scrap paper.
The back cover--white paint used on the file divider, then tags, scrap paper, washi tape, stamping and paper ribbon.

NonRule No. 3--Mix upcycled design with no design. In other words, make your journal a mix of arty whimsical pages, and pages that are nothing but an index card or some scrapbook paper you like with nothing on it yet. These plain pages will let your doodling, creative mind go crazy later and give places to put things like to do lists and ideas. Although I type my to-do lists on other things, like those sewing instruction sheets in the vintage dress patterns.

NonRule No. 10--Actually use it and art journal it! Draw in it, paint, stitch, sketch, write lists, layer onto it, appointments, goals, and anything that makes you happy. Take it with you to the coffeeshop, the park or the library--it is a conversation piece.

Materials I had on hand and used to create my art journal:
  • Deli Paper (from my kitchen)
  • Foil Lid Liners (from coffee cans in my kitchen)
  • Paper Sack from Panera Bread
  • Starbucks Coffee Warmer
  • Old watermarked paper
  • Index cards
  • Scrapbook decorative paper stash and scraps
  • Plain card stock
  • Vintage file drawer dividers (decades old!)
  • Vintage dress patterns
  • Clothes tags
  • Aida cloth
  • Art tags I've made
  • Product packaging
  • File folders
  • Ribbon and trim
  • Paint
  • Stamps
  • Gelato colors
  • Markers
  • Glitter
  • Glue
  • Glue Dots
  • Embroidery Floss
  • Thread

Tools I used (already on hand):
Sizzix Embossing Boutique
Paper cutter
Scoring board (to make envelopes--I could make envelopes all day! That's another story.)
Bone folder

 Nonrule No. 16--Have a great time! Have fun! Let your mind go free. Upcycling is freedom!

I think that any time you upcycle, use something that would have been thrown away, and make the most of your stowed-away stash, you should feel good about yourself and your art! However, if you want to buy one or two things for your journal--if your stash is low--remember, there are no rules. You are still upcycling and being green! I was pretty stocked up on things when I started this project. I hope to make one every season!

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Upcycle

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

WOYWW 212--Tag Typing

 Somehow, some way, for What's-On-Your-Workdesk-Wednesday I managed to catch a reasonably clean glimpse of my workspace inbetween crafty tornadoes of papers, stamps, glue, fabric, embossing folders and stickers! I have the typewriter out, getting ready to type thoughts on a tag.

I have been putting together an upcycled art journal for about the last week or two, and it is all together now, waiting for entries about my summer, my garden, and my crafty warm days. The entire post about making the journal is coming Thursday.

This is the before and after with the front cover, the original file dividers (old and discolored, but with lots of grommets and metal stuff) and the back cover with both covers being made from the old file dividers. Everything being used is from stash and trash.
And I only have two squares left to knit before I can start the dreaded task of sewing the knit quilt together! If you love tags, check out my tag this week on Tag Tuesday--I'm on the Tag Team now! I'm so excited to be a tag-aholic! Happy Wednesday lovelies.

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Type

I'm on the Tuesday Tag Team!

Starting today--I've joined the Tuesday Tag team! I'm so excited to be a contributor to Tag Tuesdays, and to get buckets of inspiration and motivation.

Visit Tag Tuesday Here

Today is the letter "Y" -- so I am jumping in a bit late to the end of their alphabet theme days. So, "Y" not? I'll do Y, and Z, and then we'll be on to some fun new themes. See you there!

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, and do it on a tag

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Threads

And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

Friday, June 21, 2013

Art Journal EveryDay Fridays--My Upcycled Art Journal Part I-- The Cover

Upcycling just makes me happy--and I'm especially thrilled to post the cover of my new/old upcycled art journal.

It all started when I was lucky enough to receive a huge stack of stinky decades-old very weird file drawer dividers. I don't even know how these things would have worked now. I'm sure they don't sell them anymore! Here's what they looked like, and then after I cut them up with a heavy duty guillotine papercutter. What I realized right away was how nice and sturdy the paperboard is. It became very clear that these old things wanted to be upcycled in many ways.
 When I see all the hardware on these things my imagination runs wild--the grommet holes just beg to have ribbons and beads strung through them!
My art journal is coming together nicely with pages that are made from everything from deli paper and scrapbook paper stash to old Vogue pattern paper layered onto a Panera Bread paper sack. I'm just putting the pages together quickly and even sticking in plain index cards, and enevelopes I've made. Everything is from trash and stash and then this will be a cool summer journal where I can talk about my garden, cooking, writing, and inspirations.

In the meantime, it was fun to get the cover done. It is painted and layered with scrap stash that I've embossed with my little texture boutique--so that provides great visual samples of what my embossing folders can do--stamps, stickers, ric rac, paper sack, a charm, string, ribbon and writing.

Happy Art Journal Friday everyone!

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Upcycle

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Loving My Yarn Life

I stumbled upon a very dated photo of me (on the top left) knitting in a class as a freshman in high school. I was probably barely 14 and it was around 1975. The girl on the far right is my friend Teresa, whom I had the joy of rediscovering her at a high school reunion last year, and now we get to be friends again, and she is absolutely as lovely, all these years later. What a huge blessing to rediscover dear friends like that!

I sort of feel like that about my yarn life too. My aunt taught me to knit and crochet when I was only ten. I didn't do it consistently, and I think whole decades went by without my picking up a knitting needle--but now, it is definitely another form of yoga for me. I've become a little co-dependent on a lot of my crafty loves--but yarn is the one thing that never lets me down. I always have a bowl of it, and I'm always making something, and when my needles are clicking together, the fabric that is produced right before my eyes is still like a miracle to me.

A saying I saw recently, "money can't buy happiness, but it can buy yarn, which is the same thing," made me think that the only thing that makes me happier than buying more yarn, is getting it on sale too!

There are many many things I am thankful for and happy about, and of course family tops the list. It just tickles me that one of these many things is as simple as a ball of yarn and two knitting needles.

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Knit

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

WOYWW 211--Upcycling My Creativity

Happy What's-On-Your-Workdesk-Wednesday deskers! Lately, I have been having an absolute blast putting together an upcycled art journal! Isn't it funny how, when you're in the middle of a big project, you just live and breathe for it? This art journal project is the first thing I think of when I wake up! (that, and coffee, and knowing I have to get on the treadmill)

By the way...I know I was whining about the dentist last week. My dentist happens to be amazing, and he fixed me right up in minutes, no problem, not even a shot! So I'm good. He upcycled least for this week.

So, the big mixed media item, laying there in the middle of my table, is the beginnings of the cover for my art journal. It all started with some ancient, really ugly file draw dividers! I have a huge stack of them. (so lucky to inherit such a thing!) So fun. These old file dividers have metal tabs and things, so I cut them into different sizes, and started painting them. It's going to be fun tying ribbons and strings in the grommet holes--some of them will become tags too. And the pages include things like a paper sack from Panera Bread (cause I LOVE Panera), pattern paper from an old Vogue pattern, coffee can lid liners I've embossed, deli paper, tea bag name it. And I'm really having fun embossing some of the papers, including just scraps and stash of scrapbook papers. What's really exciting is, I actually want to use the journal when I get it all put together. I can't wait. I'm keeping a list of all the materials I'm using, so I can share it later--the goal is not to buy one special thing for this project. It's all upcycling!

So while I'm using my trash and stash, I hope I get to visit your worktable--I think this is the most artspirational group on the blogosphere, even when you're not trying! 

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Upcycle