29 September 2007

Pod Fest

We have lived in two houses, both on boulevards and both with female locust trees in the yard. Don't get me wrong...they are beautiful most of the time, but occasionally they go into distress and release a huge number of pods. The pods are fine (actually, quite decorative) when they are hanging up in the trees, but you can see what a mess they make when they fall.

Today was Pod Fest day. As soon as the wind kicked in this morning, pods began flying through the air. SMACK! They hit the house and windows, alarming Tinsel and Lily. They blew from our yard into our neighbor's yard (nice). And as bad as it looks right now, not even half of the pods have fallen.

A couple of years ago, I came up with an idea for a Pod Catcher. This device would fit around the tree and catch the pods as they drop. It would look sort of like a large trampoline with sides and a hole in the center for the tree trunk. When the pods finish dropping, you'd simply lower the sides, cinch the top and haul the whole mess to the local composting area. Don't you think it's a fabulous idea?

While I'm trying to locate a manufacturer for my Pod Catcher, I'm also open to craft ideas.

Anything to avoid raking.

26 September 2007

Your local copy shop: A very good thing

This week, I'm starting to prepare the kits for my Christmas card classes. After so many years of doing this, you'd think I'd be getting smarter about the prep work, right?

NOT! I guess I'm a slow learner, because this is the first year I've taken my cardstock to the copy shop to have it cut. This is a huge deal for me, because in the past, I have cut it myself or had students cut it as part of the class. But when you're making 20 cards in 3 hours, time is of the essence, and I'd really prefer students not have to spend so much of it cutting.

So today I had 1,200 sheets of cardstock cut to make 2,400 card bases. It took the guy at the copy shop less than 30 minutes to do it. And the cost? Less than $5.

Do you have any idea how long it would have taken me to cut this by hand? I won't even say how long, because my spouse reads this blog.
But I WILL say that seeing all of this cardstock cut (by someone other than me) and neatly stacked in boxes nearly brought a tear to my eye. I kid you not.

Keep in mind that this is only one part of the kits I'm making. But it gives me a big jump start and (most importantly) a psychological boost. With this part done, tomorrow I can start pulling the rest of the kit components together.

Next time you have a big project to do, I'd suggest asking your local copy shop if it offers this service. As Martha would say, it's a good thing.

A VERY good thing.

2 Peas Blogging Challenge: Scrapping with Others

Today's 2Peas Blogging Challenge is this: How often do you meet with friends to scrap? Do you wish it could be more?

My answers? Never and no.

This challenge caught my eye right away, as I've been meaning to blog about this very topic. Sad as it may be, I cannot scrap with others.

I'm not anti-social by any means, but I somehow become completely befuddled when it comes to scrapbooking with other people. This is kind of bizarre coming from someone who actually teaches scrapbooking classes. But truthfully, you might as well ask me to use the restroom with someone else in the stall. That's how pathetically intimidated I am when it comes to cropping with friends...or strangers, for that matter.

Don't get me wrong: I am completely in favor of the idea of crops, and I always recommend to students in my classes that they attend a crop to meet new people and be inspired. I actually envy people who go to crops and enjoy themselves. But, alas, that's not me. For me, scrapbooking is a really private thing.

In fact, the only way I can attend a crop is to take something mundane to work on, such as sorting or labeling photos. I have gone to crops and spent three days beforehand actually "pre-doing" everything, so all that's left to do at the crop is to glue it down. By the time I do all that work, it hardly makes going to the crop worth the time.

The other reason I don't scrapbook with friends is that I really prefer to work in my own space. I am completely dependent on my computer and printer for scrapbooking, and going to a place without them would be akin to roughing it in a tent without my curling iron.

So, dear scrapping friends, please don't take offense: I love scrapbooking, and I love you.

I just don't love you together.

25 September 2007

Organization: Card-Making Supplies

Last week, I decided to get control over my card-making stash. Most of my blank cards and envelopes were piled on my drawing table, and my embellishments for card-making were stored away in various places (out-of-sight, out-of-mind).

I decided to consolidate all of it in a three-drawer organizer. This ended up being no small task, as I had a lot more stuff than I remembered. After setting aside some things for a future garage sale, I put my envelopes in the bottom drawer, blank cards in the middle drawer, and smaller embellishments in the top drawer. While the smaller pieces are accessible, they are not particularly "containerized" yet, but at least they are all in one place. I'd like to use that drawer as a place to put embellishments that I will not use on layouts but might use on cards.

I also use a lot of cardstock and patterned paper scraps for card-making. I have those in separate drawers, organized by warm colors, cool colors, and neutrals. Right now, my patterned paper scraps are all in one big drawer.

This is not a sophisticated organization solution, but I think it will work well for me. The best part is that it freed up my drawing table so now I can actually use it!

24 September 2007

Modern Art?

No! It's our bathroom!

This photo shows the the progression of trial and error in our first floor bathroom.

This little disaster started back in May when I decided to remove the heinous wallpaper as a nice little weekend project. Turns out it was practically superglued to the walls. After weeks of peeling off pea-sized pieces, we were left with several large gouges and not much progress. So what's a responsible homeowner to do? We abandoned ship and worked on the other rooms instead.

Having finished the laundry room and the kitchen, we're now back at work in the bathroom, trying to figure out how to salvage it. We purchased some heavy-duty primer to see if we could paint over the wallpaper and stripped areas. Of course, the difference in texture is evident. Scratch that idea. We researched textured paint, looked into professional wallpaper removal, and tried an array of different methods for removing the paper. No go.

Finally (in a desperate attempt to save both bathroom and marriage) we decided to cover up the entire mess with a textured, paintable wallpaper. While we really didn't want to hang wallpaper again, the bathroom walls are in such dire shape (thanks to me) that we don't have many options. Over the weekend, we hung a couple of strips of the textured paper to get a feel for it. As it turns out, the stuff is extremely easy to work with and covers a multitude of sins. It has a troweled, stucco-like appearance...sort of Tuscan, as my friend Sharon would say. Once it's painted, I think it's going to look really nice.

And while I appreciate modern art, I believe the textured wallpaper HAS to be an improvement.

21 September 2007

2 Peas Blogging Challenge

Today's 2 Peas Blogging Challenge is this: Share something you have recently created. Well, instead of something I've created, today I'm going to share something amazing created by my friend, Darci. This perpetual calendar is truly one of the cutest projects I have seen in a very long time. And Darci is not planning to keep it!

You see, Darci is
not only a scrapbooker extraordinaire but also a volunteer extraordinaire for JDRF. No one could be more dedicated to the cause than Darci. This weekend, she'll be overseeing the annual fund-raising gala where many items, including her perpetual calendar, will be auctioned off to raise money for JDRF.

Let's hope that the bidding for Darci's calendar goes right through the roof!

Feline Friday: Straw Obsession

Visit our house and you'll likely find plastic drinking straws stashed in most any room.

Lily is completely obsessed with straws, especially Starbucks straws. But really, any straw will do.

If you happen to bring home a drink with a straw, watch out! She'll quietly wait until you're distracted, then she'll knock over the cup (spilling the contents) and pull the straw right out. She'll pick it up and run to some secret place where she can sit and chew on it until the ends are flat and slobbery.

Few things, I might add, are cuter than Lily running across the room with a straw in her mouth like a tightrope walker carrying a balancing pole.

This straw obsession started one day when Lily was just a baby. She was riding in the car on DD's lap and got squirmy, so we looked for anything we could find to distract her. There happened to be a Starbucks straw on the dashboard so we grabbed it, and Baby Lily (teething at the time) chewed contentedly on the heavy plastic like a dog for the rest of the trip. Since that day, she's been completely obsessed. She can spot a straw the minute you walk in the door.

Now when I go to Starbucks for my Triple Grande Caramel Latte with Whip and Drizzle Heated to 170 Degrees, I make sure I also get a cup of water, with a straw, for Lily.

It makes her day. And mine.

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Hey, don't forget to vote in Sharon's Informal Underwear Survey at the right of this page. We only have a few days left to gather this critical data. Thanks!

19 September 2007

2Peas Blogging Challenge: Christmas Cards

Today's 2Peas Blogging Challenge is this: With the holidays around the corner, are you planning on making your holiday cards? If so, when do you plan to start so you can get them all done?

Before I answer, let me ask: Do you know the story of the cobbler whose children had no shoes? Well, I am the card class instructor who doesn't make her own Christmas cards. How's that for ridiculous? We always laugh about this in class.

Truth is, we
don't always send Christmas cards. In years past, we actually sent New Year's cards, which sometimes turned into Valentine's Day cards, or even Saint Patrick's Day cards. Until last year, I had never sent many handmade Christmas cards. I'm usually so busy creating Christmas cards and projects for classes that I don't have time or inclination to make my own. I also have a deep aversion to making more than one of anything, so the idea of making 50 of the same card doesn't appeal to me at all.

Last year, though, I decided (at the very last minute, as a way to avoid Christmas shopping) to make a huge number of Christmas cards (each one different) using only scraps and leftover odds and ends. They actually turned out pretty well, so I decided I would try it again this year, only this time with new materials since I used up all of my Christmas leftovers. Fortunately, I happened upon a Rob & Bob Christmas Slab at our store's garage sale over the summer. While I love Rob & Bob stuff, I never buy slabs. But I decided that the three mixes of papers, stickers, and die-cuts would be perfect for this project. I'll throw in some cardstock, ribbon, ink, and brads and I'll be all set. In fact, I may be able to get two years worth of cards out of this stash, assuming I use most of the stuff this year and the scraps next year.

When I'll start making my cards is anybody's guess. It definitely won't be until December. Probably not until the snow flies and on a day when I really should be shopping. Let's just hope it's in time for Christmas. THIS Christmas, that is.

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Hey, have you voted in Sharon's Informal Underwear Survey? If not, please vote! (Survey is at the right of this page.) We only have a few days to collect all the data we possibly can! Thanks!

18 September 2007


I was tagged by fellow blogger Heather. This was fun and easy!

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car) Peanut CRV

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fav ice cream flavor, favorite cookie) Praline Toffee

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name) J-Pet (I have no idea what this is, but it works!)

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal) Purple Cat

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) Le Des Moines (sounds quite French, no?)

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first) Petja (kinda close to Ninja...)

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite drink put “The”) The Green Latte (Wow! I’m flying!)

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers) Don Harlan

9. STRIPPER NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne, favorite candy) I don’t wear perfume these days so I cannot answer this! Nor would you want me to have such a name, I assure you.

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ) Le Edwin

So now it's your turn! Lynn - consider yourself tagged :) Just copy and paste the above information on to your blog, change the answers to reflect yourself, and tag some fellow bloggers!

17 September 2007

Got cat photos? Got time to waste?

Thanks to my blogging friend (and apparently long-lost twin sister!) Maureen, I've now been officially sucked into the wonderful world of lolcats. You can get sucked in, too. All you need are a few cat photos (and if you're reading my blog, chances are you have 'em) and only a slight amount of creativity.

Visit lolcatbuilder for complete instructions on how you, too, can waste more time than you ever knew you had.

Fall is in the air

Just a quick post this morning with glimpses of some of our fall activities. Marching band season is fully underway, and that means 6:30 AM practices, invitationals, road trips, and football games. This past weekend was our school's Homecoming, which included a parade, a performance at the Friday evening game, and a dance, among many other activities throughout the week.

With these photos, I'm reminded why fall really is my favorite time of year.

13 September 2007

What's for dinner?

While reading fellow blogger Maureen's recent post about Tupperware, I was reminded of my own fondness for containers. When I was growing up, I actually wanted to be a Tupperware Lady. In fact, my parents worried I'd leave college to pursue it. Maureen's story triggered this recent memory:

One day awhile back when Mom was at our house, I needed to locate something in one of our kitchen cupboards. I had to remove several plastic containers to reach the desired item.

"What do you have stored in all those containers?" Mom asked.

"Beats me," I responded.

You see, I routinely pour package contents into Tupperware, Gladware plastic containers, and glass jars. Left to my own devices, I would have no commercial packaging whatsoever in my kitchen. I just love the look of items stacked neatly in my cupboards. I especially like to be able to see through the containers.

The problem (and this is a fairly big one) is that I never think to label them. I recycle the original packaging, so what's in the containers is really anybody's guess. I probably don't need to tell you that this drives my daughter and spouse completely nuts.

When Mom opened the containers that day, she noticed right away that they were all filled with white powdery substances. Of course, I never have a clue what's what: Any given container could hold powdered sugar, baking soda, flour (or was that cake flour? or self-rising flour?), cornstarch, or something else I've purchased and forgotten. Since there are no labels and all the white stuff looks basically the same, the only way you can distinguish one batch from the other is by tasting it. And even that is difficult: I don't know about you, but I can't really tell the difference between flour and corn starch by taste.

(I know what you're thinking and to answer your question: Yes, this sometimes creates issues for me in the kitchen.)

To me, having unidentified (yet neatly containerized) substances in my cupboards is perfectly normal, but Mom could barely take it all in. By this point, she was laughing so hard that tears ran down her face. Had she been able to speak, I'm sure she would have asked how I can possibly function in the kitchen. (Or get through the day, for that matter.)

Once Mom recovered from that incident, I thought I'd show her my newly organized pantry cupboards. Awhile back, I decided to figure out why the shelves were always full but there was never anything to eat in the house. I spent an afternoon taking everything out of the pantry and discovered that, in fact, there were hardly any edible items in there. Most of the space was occupied by jar after jar of attractively displayed dried seeds, pine cones, acorns, and rocks I've collected and stored, conveniently, on the shelves. One peek into our pantry and a person might have thought a family of squirrels lived here.

In retrospect, I'm not sure if Mom felt better or worse after seeing my newly organized pantry. Maybe it's a good thing I didn't show her my freezer full of candle jars.

Feline Friday: Trail-o-Food

If you've been reading my blog for long, you probably know that kitty mealtime is a real problem around here. Lily is an absolute bully: She steals Tinsel's food every single time unless we are there to actively intervene.

For the past few weeks, we've been feeding Tinsel up on the ladder which was housed in the kitchen during our re-decorating project. That at least slowed Lily down a bit because she had to climb the ladder to get Tinsel's food. But now the ladder is back in the garage and poor Tinsel is stressing again.

Out of desperation, DD devised a new creative mealtime strategy which
actually has been working quite well (although DH finds it alarming). She scatters Lily's morsels across the kitchen floor. Lily dashes along from piece to piece, gobbling each one. By the time she reaches the end of her Trail-o-Food, Tinsel has had enough time to finish what's on her plate.

Dinner and exercise at the same time. Can't beat that.

Two Peas Blogging Challenge: A Good Read

A recent Two Peas Blogging Challenge was this: Recommend a book that others might enjoy.

In my personal quest for "ORDER" this year, I've been reading books on getting organized. (Note that I'd probably be a lot more organized by this time if I'd stop reading about it and start working on it, but hey...that's beside the point.) Last week, I spotted this one in the "New Arrival" section at the library: Christopher Lowell's Seven Layers of Organization. In reading the introduction, it would seem that I really should know who this dude is, but in reality, I've never heard of him. But what does that matter? I'm only interested in what he has to say about organization.

I'm about one-third of the way through the book and so far, I think Mr. Lowell has me pegged. He describes typical types of pack rats and alarmingly, I see myself in several:

The Appropriate Appropriator: A person who, fearing the wrath of an in-law or other relative, accepts offerings she doesn't want and then feels obliged to display them. Oh, yeah...I've got a LOT of this stuff and all of the guilt to go with it.

The Heartfelt Hoarder: A person who saves everything anyone ever gave to them. (OK, I'm not quite that extreme, but I'm somewhere on that continuum.)

The Keep-It-Till-I-Read-It Pack Rat: A voracious reader-type person who saves newspapers, magazines, old mail...This person would pitch this stuff in a heartbeat, but she has to read it first. Ring any bells?

The "Perfectly Good" Pack Rat: A person who prides herself on thriftiness and practicality. To this person, everything is "practically like new" so therefore could never be discarded. Remember the 20-year old wool suits I could barely part with at my garage sale? Ugly as they may have been, they were like new! Really! (I still can't figure out why no one bought them...)

The Possibility Procrastinator: This person sees creative possibilities in everything that catches her eye, but often underestimates the time, money and motivation it will take to actually get the work done. This is the demon who forces me to purchase strange items to alter in the Target $1 Spot.

Now, Mr. Lowell assures me that even if I recognize myself in all of these descriptions, all is not lost. Says he: "Have no fear. Recognizing the situation is the first step in getting to the root of why you attract and keep clutter."

So far, I'm intrigued by this "psychological" approach to creating an orderly home environment. If Mr. Lowell can help me get out from under the burden of "stuff" I've accumulated, he'll be my hero. If you're in the same (sinking) boat, you might appreciate this book, too.

12 September 2007

My new friend

A couple of weeks ago, I found this cute little acrylic birdie stamp by Autumn Leaves at the store where I teach.

Today, I finally got him out of the package. Now I have birdies everywhere.

Oh, my gosh: At only $1, who could resist him?

Important reminder: Have you voted in Sharon's Informal Underwear Survey? If you haven't, please do so today! See the poll questions at the right side of the screen. Thanks!

11 September 2007

A very expensive layout

Every once in awhile, I figure I need to stop blogging about cats and other random subjects and post a layout. It would help if I were actually producing more layouts these days! I've been busy with class projects and kits, so time for personal scrapbooking is limited right now.

Good thing we have our monthly book club at the store, as it forces me to make something to show for myself. We've been reviewing the book Scrapbook to Cards for the last quarter (good book, by the way, AND it has spiral binding...ahhh). Each month we bring in projects inspired by the book. Usually I forget to even look at the book. Good thing you can't get kicked out for not doing your homework!

Anyway, I put this layout together yesterday before book club (nothing like doing your homework right before class, huh?). I usually don't print photos at home, but this time I was in a big time crunch. After printing the photos and seeing my that DD's arms were a funky shade of purple, I discovered that my beloved Canon was out of yellow ink. I raced to Office Depot, bought a cartridge, zoomed back home, installed it and THEN realized it was the wrong one, even though it fit perfectly and was identical to the original in every way (except for that tiny little number on the side...).

Back to Office Depot I went, this time to pick up the correct yellow cartridge and a magenta one, too, since I noticed upon installing the yellow one that magenta was almost empty. Well, I could not return the yellow one ($11.99) and I could only buy the correct yellow and magenta cartridges in a ginormous combo-pack ($59.99). What's a scrapbooker to do? I swallowed hard, swiped my credit card, and drove back home with the goods. Then, as if to add salt to my wounds, when I walked into the house I found the green Prima flower I'd intended to use on the kitchen floor, partially chewed and slobbered on by Lily.

All told, I figure this little layout cost around $78.


08 September 2007

My New, Old Drawing Table

As of today, I have a newly functional drawing table in my scrapbooking area. It's functional now due to the new black board on the front. The board was originally painted 1970's orange. I took it off a couple of years ago, hoping to spray paint it black, but eventually I decided that it needed to be replaced with a heavier board in order to make the table sturdier.

For a variety of reasons, we never managed to paint or replace the board. I've been carrying it around in the back of my SUV for quite some time now. Finally last night, I asked the nice (albeit surly) Cutting Machine Guy at Home Depot to cut a new, thicker board of the same dimensions. In all of ten seconds, it was done. Today, Spouse drilled new holes and DD painted it. I attached it with six screws and the project was complete. Why, oh why, did this take two years?

My drawing table is actually very special to me. My grandma bought it for me when I was in high school. Like my grandma, I loved art. She told me that all artists need a table and she believed in me enough to buy me one, even though I'm sure she couldn't afford it.

Perched on my tall stool, I used the table for drawing, painting, and all kinds of creative projects...that is, until my perfectionist tendencies squelched all of my artistic endeavors. From that point forward, the table sat unused in my parents' basement.

When I started to dabble in scrapbooking about ten years ago, Mom asked me if I wanted my drawing table back.

That was like a wake-up call.

In a sort of silly, sentimental way, thinking about my drawing table reminds me of who I used to be. I know that somewhere along the path, I lost sight of that person. For the past ten years, I feel like I've been working my way back to her. I want to find her, because I think that is the person I'm really supposed to be.

Grandma is gone now. And for some reason, I've been feeling a need to get back up my high stool and work. I believe that my new, old drawing table will help me get back in touch with the person she believed in all those years ago.

07 September 2007

Feline Friday: Won't you please enjoy a nice, hot towel?

Is it the sound of the dryer door closing?

Is it the sight of the blue towel hamper?

Is it the smell of the laundry detergent?

Whatever it is, the very minute the towels come out of the dryer, two cats emerge. It's not unlike opening a can of tuna or changing the sheets on the bed. They instantly appear on the scene from wherever they've been napping.

On this particular day last week, we had the windows open. It was nearly 80 degrees in the house when the warm towels came out of the dryer. All day, mind you, the cats had been lying under the furniture, signaling to me that they could hardly bear the heat. Lily sprawled over the floor vents, waiting for me to turn the air conditioner back on.

But as soon as the laundry came out of the dryer, both cats pushed their little noses under the hot towels and found good spots to nap. Suddenly, it didn't matter how hot it was in the house. They wanted to incubate in some nice, hot towels.

Sadly, only Lily got to enjoy this weekly ritual. Shortly after this picture was taken, she smacked Tinsel on the head and a fight ensued. Lily wanted the towels to herself.

06 September 2007

One Hot Mama

At this very moment, my oven is heated to 700+ degrees. No, I'm not baking a cake.

I'm cleaning my oven.

In the 13 years we have lived in this house, we have never once used the self-cleaning feature on the oven.

I have cleaned the oven by hand all this time, but not as often as I should, I confess. You see, back when we lived in Chicago, I had an unfortunate incident with Easy Off Oven Cleaner. I sprayed the foam on the oven walls and was wiping it down when all of a sudden, I got an itch on the end of my nose. So naturally I scratched it.

And do you know what happened?

The Easy Off Oven Cleaner began burning my nose. Not just burning, mind you, but actually EATING a dime-sized hole in the very tip of my nose. The pain was unbelievable. Spouse rushed me to the emergency room where, after they stopped laughing, the ER staff plastered my nose with a white paste to stop the lye from doing any more damage.

Eventually the quarter-inch deep hole filled in with a lovely scab, giving me a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer appearance for weeks. Believe me, it's not easy to cover up a large black scab on the end of your nose. It's a good conversation-starter, though.

So tonight I'm celebrating my self-cleaning oven.

And my blemish-free nose.

04 September 2007

The Way I See It #282

Last night, I read this on the side of my Starbucks cup:

Childhood is a strange country. It’s a place you come from or go to - at least in your mind. For me it has an endless, spellbound something in it that feels remote. It’s like a little sealed-vault country of cake breath and grass stains where what you do instead of work is spin until you’re dizzy.
Lyall Bush, Executive Director of Richard Hugo House, a center for writers and readers

Over the weekend, I had a conversation with my mom about memory. We were standing in my old bedroom and she was showing me the hardwood floors she and my dad had just uncovered. For most of my childhood years, the floor in my bedroom was covered with purple shag carpeting. I told my mom how I remember sliding around on those floors in my stocking feet in the days prior to the purple shag carpet. Occasionally as I slid, I would hit a nail and snag my stocking.

"You couldn't possibly remember that," Mom said. "We put carpeting down in the house when you were 18 months old."

Well, I DO remember it, as clearly as day.

Or do I?

Mom said it didn't happen that way. Is she right? I think I remember seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. I think I remember riding in the back seat of the car and hearing on the radio that Kennedy had been shot. I think I remember these things, but do I really? Or am I blending someone else's childhood with my own to create false memories? Which memories are real and which ones have been patched together from stories I've heard over the years?

Sadly, memory can be a fluid thing. If only those true childhood memories could be sealed and preserved as they really happened. If only childhood really were a country you could visit. I'd leave the grown-up world and go there every single day.

And, if it could be arranged, I might just stay.


I'm pleased to report that a major task on the re-decorating checklist was completed this weekend: the kitchen. Well, a few things remain to be done, but the daunting tasks are finished.

I don't have a complete "before" photo to document the extent of this transformation, but you can see from the top photo that our countertops were white and that the walls were covered with a cream-colored, fruit-scattered wallpaper. (Truly, the wallpaper was beautiful 12 years ago, but not today.)

Being somewhat leery of patterns, all of the fruit eventually became unbearable to me. Perhaps if there had been a solid color to balance it out, it would have been less jarring, but there were no solid colors to be found in the kitchen, other than the white of the countertops and appliances, which actually clashed with the cream wallpaper. (How did I not notice that 12 years ago?) The fruit had to go.

In addition to removing the wallpaper, we replaced the countertops with a black flecked solid surface and painted the walls Behr Tate Olive green. We replaced all of the cabinet hardware, the faucets, and the switch plates. A new sliding door should be here in a few weeks. In the meantime, I need to pick out a few simple things for the walls.

I know that the green is a bold color and probably not for everyone, but I like it a LOT. And believe me, it is a 100% improvement from the fruit explosion.

03 September 2007

Just picked

One of the reasons I plant flowers is so that I can have bouquets like this one: nothing fancy -- just colorful, informal bundles of blooms tucked in a simple vase or jar.

I think we're just about at the end of bouquet season. The zinnias are in rapid decline, and the daisies are giving me a rare end-of-summer repeat bloom.

It's nice to bring a bit of the garden inside...while it lasts.

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01 September 2007

Inspired by: Tag

I taught a class awhile back about being inspired by packaging designs, advertisements, paintings, and more. If I recall, we made three layouts in that class, one which was based on a color scheme in DD's belt. I am always on the lookout for interesting designs and color schemes that can form the basis for a layout, card, or other project. Quite often these inspirational pieces kick me out of my creative rut by opening me up to new colors, an interesting layout plan, or a new way to work with a font.

A couple of weeks ago, I was emptying wastebaskets and happened to see this cute little tag at the bottom of my daughter's trash. I'm a firm believer that inspiration can be anywhere, including at the bottom of a wastebasket, so I fished it out and put it on my scrapbooking table.

I love both the color and design of this tag and thought it would make a great card. Because color was one of things that first attracted me to the tag, I wanted to come as close to the original colors as possible with the materials I had on hand. As it turns out, I have a flourish stamp and teal ink that worked for the foundation of the design. After fiddling around with a variety of Prima flowers, I decided that the colors weren't quite right, so I opted to use cardstock flowers made from punches and a QuicKutz die instead. The cardstock enabled me to get a closer (albeit not quite exact) match to the original.

This is a fun design and would be easy to replicate in different color schemes and themes by starting with a different foundation ink color.

My plan is to blog occasionally about things that inspire me in one way or another, so look for more of this kind of thing to come. How about you? What inspires you? If the spirit moves you, blog it!