Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sketchy Template Tuesday 3, a Tea Party, and a Treasury

I love when my posts lend themselves to alliteration...
I am pretty sure I deserve some serious chocolate, because I have remembered to create a template for three whole weeks in a row. Seriously. Those who know me know that I get easily distracted, and often forgetful. So here it is: Sketchy template Tuesday III

As for the tea party, if you were one of the many fabulous hostesses on Saturday's Mad Tea Party, my hat off to you! What a lovely assortment of parties I attended! Of course, I was often a late arrival, but because of the magic of blogs, party goers can still attend days after the event! I am most certainly going to have to host my own fanciful tea party next year! The even is hosted by A Fanciful Twist, and I hope she is going to do another Halloween Party this fall!

While I was sketching this layout, I was playing on etsy, and saw that the treasury list was at 341. My pulse began to quicken, because I knew it was just a matter of time before that lovely, magic number of 332 would pop up, meaning that the treasury was no longer full, and if I got that golden ticket, I too could make a pretty treasury! If you have never made a treasury, my friend, let me tell you - it is way super fun. Etsy has a "how-to" with information and such on their blog. You should check it out.

Here is the treasury I created:

Hope you all have an enchanting, creative, and productive day!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

To title or not to title....

That is the question!

I am having the hardest time thinking of titles lately. Which is so wierd, because I am Word Girl. I love words. I admire adverbs, am passionate for pronouns, devoted to verbs... Yet when faced with making a "blank" layout or ready to assemble kit, coming up with a title lately has been a trial. Maybe because if I am not doing a piecing, it isn't as "themey". Themey is a word. Really. As of right now, themey is a word. Anyway...

Any of you know what I am going through? Trying to be versatile, yet specific enough to make an audience go, Aha! Yes, that is just right! Yet not so specific is narrows down your audience. And on the same token, you want it to be right, not just marketable, if you know what a I mean.

You know what I mean, right?

Well, I finally decided on "Live, laugh, love." I love that one, it is versatile, and makes me happy. Here is a sneak peek at the final kit I have listed on Etsy.

I would love to hear suggestions on where to find titles...

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Toast to My Sisters...

Sisterhood. I love my real, live, sibling-type sisters, and I just adore the "sisters" I have found in the art and blogging community. There is something magical about the connections made on Etsy and eBay, BlogLand, and Cyberspace. Being an "old-fashioned" gal myself who loves to live in the past with pretty and shabby trinkets, chippy cupboards, and antique photographs, I never would have thought that I would come to embrace Computerland.

But I have.

I have discovered women who share a passion for olde things, shabby pretties, and artists who appreciate the simple aesthetics of beauty itself. Photographers, graphic designers, cupcake makers, scrapbookers, altered artists, dress makers, collectors... the list, and magic, go on.

Although I love the nostalgia of the small town, where newspapers were black and white, postcards were the rage, and train travel was the only option, I recognize how lonely this existence might have been for the creative soul. Would it have been frustrating, dreaming of paints and Paris, to have to instead dabble in laundry and pluck chickens, darn the socks and pickle the preserves?

I am drawn to these homespun treasures, though. The tablecloth, which had been laundered with care, is made from heavy cotton with a bit of fancy lace edging. Was the lace necessary? No. Did it make cleaning more difficult? Yes. But it brought beauty to the life of the woman who made it, the woman who painstakingly stitched it and loved it. This same woman made pretty labels for her rhubarb raspberry preserves, and took pride in how the deep red fruit dazzled in her cupboard, and took pride serving it to her lady friends at tea. Because her friends appreciated the beauty, too.

This love for beauty and appreciation for loveliness is what brings a lot of us together. Blogs and websites have become our tea table, where we can pull up a chair, ooh and ahh over each other's creations, and gossip a bit over our tea. We decorate our blogs like we would decorate for a tea party - we put out the best linen and make sure there are fresh flowers in the pitcher. We want our guests to feel welcome, and to share the beauty that we have created.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Queenie's Kits!

So I am super excited about my new project - Page Kits! I realize how much I love sketching and playing with papers, and howI enjoy the planning process just as much, if not more, than the actual scrapping... So I am starting a new line of Page Kits.... called Queenie Kits (lots of imagination there, eh?). I just listed the first kit on Etsy. It is called "Life is Beautiful" and uses the cutest papers from Cosmo Cricket.

The kit comes with everything - papers, flowers, letters... I even pre-cut the mats and such. How easy is that? Check it out and let me know what you think :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sketchy Template Tuesday 2, Lemonade, and Dee...

So much to catch up on! I have a new scrapbook sketch to share, an award to accept, and some stories to share. Got your coffee? Fudcicle? Me too! Let's get started, shall we?

First, let me share this little template I created. It is for a 2-page layout. I initially created this for an 8x8 album, but just up the picture sizes and it works for a 12x12 too! Don't forget the ricrac layered over the strips of background paper...

I also woke up to a nice little surprise from Janny, over at My Little pieces of Art. She awarded me this sweet little lemonade stand award...

The award is for "Great Attitude and Gratitude". It works like this: After accepting this award ("I'd like to thank my husband, my kids, and all the academy..." Oops! Off track again...) I then award it to 5-10 others bloggers who make me smile with their great attitudes and sweetness. Then they pass it on, and those who receive it, they pass it on... I love spreading smiles and sweet lemonade! So, it is with great honor that I pass this award on to these wonderful ladies:

Andrea at http://andreaspaperboutique.blogspot.com/

Saucy at http://bloggedy-blog-blog-saucy.blogspot.com/

Rebecca at http://shopbyhand.blogspot.com/

Twyla at http://twocrazycrafters.blogspot.com/

Suzi at http://suziart.blogspot.com/

Speaking of lemonade stands, this past weekend my sister and I had a Craft Sale/Antique Sale at our house, and I helped the neighbor girls run a lemonade stand in my yard (seriously, how ironic and coincidental is that? Lemonade stands! Life is funny and quirky). I have a fancy stand with an awning and everything, so I set the girls up with a pitcher of Country Time Lemonade. They supplied the cups as I never seem to have paper cups. I tried to get my twin almost-four-year-olds to help, but they just wanted to dump the lemonade... So Hannah and Katie did the honors (and collected a nice jar of quarters to boot!).

We sold antiques, vintage finds, and other fun funky treasures. The best treasure of all, however, was Dee. She came to our sale each day and sat to visit with us. We drank coffee, and then I brought out my collection of vintage pictures. We had such fun looking at these timeless treasures! On Sunday, Dee surprised me by bringing her collection of vintage Halloween postcards.

I. Was. In. Heaven.

It is so nice to meet people who "get" old stuff, who love chippy cupboards and fancy a morning looking at old photographs of strangers. Dee is a treasure herself, and I am soooo glad we met!

With all this talk about lemonade, I think I might go mix up a cold glass of sugary goodness. It is supposed to be a hot one today, so join me in a glass! And be sure to check out the Lemonade Stand Award Recipients above - their blogs will inspire you and give you a smile, too!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Anyone feel like going to the carnival?

I love carnivals! Especially the small hometown variety. There is something oddly, and terrifyingly, alluring about thrill rides that can be dismantled faster than a fake Christmas tree... I love the food (elephant ears are a personal favorite) the sounds (cranking gears mixed with cheesy organ music, a mingling of screams from the brave souls on the thrill rides) and the sights! The colors, the fanfare, the baubles... Little kids are perched on parent's shoulders, balloons and lights are festooned to every possible surface - I love it!

Carnivals, though, are kind of eerie. The good kind, of course. Darkness falls, the lights become stage lights for the participants of the carnival theatre, and magic abounds. Old couples holding hands, young men tossing baseballs to win stuffed toys, and little ones up waaay past their bedtime make an instant holiday, no matter what day of the month it is.

Check out the TREASURY I created on etsy. Inspired by thrills and wonder, popcorn and sodas, and fortune telling, I made a mosaic of mystery for you to enjoy. So come with me down the fairway and see what the carnival has to offer. Don't worry - there are no clowns at my carnival (they freak the bejezus out of me) just some popcorn, elephants, fabulous rides, and a slightly spooky fortune teller...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sketchy Template Tuesday...

I love working with scrapbook sketches, whether ones I find online, in magazines, or ones I create from layouts I have made. I used to teach journalism and yearbook, and I loooooved making templates and mock layouts! And playing with fonts. Actually, it was my role as yearbook teacher that earned me the "Queen of...." nickname.

My yearbook staff, bless them, had a habit of, ummm, procrastinating just a smidge. Deadlines were always looming, and the pressure to create an outstanding yearbook, on time and within budget, was daunting. I had a group of about a dozen girls. Teenage girls. Girls with boyfriends and basketball practice and Homecoming dances and part-time jobs and daily drama. You know the kind. Julie flirted with Amy's boyfriend after basketball practice and is now going to homecoming so now I have to cover her shift at the movie theater.....

But back to layouts. And deadlines. The girls started to refer to me as the Deadline Nazi. I was fine with that, I guess - I just wanted to make deadline, and I guess I was a little... intense. Hey, I bought them pizza and let them watch Legally Blond while they worked after school. Not so Nazi-ish, says I. Well, I let them have their little joke. But then we acquired an exchange student. From Germany. And I felt a little uncomfortable with "Deadline Nazi." So the girls decide I could be the Deadline Queen.

Much better.

Soon we had a little monarchy. We had the Proofing Princess, the Duchess of Photography... we even had a Font Fairy. And so that is the origin of the "Queen" thing. The nostalgia part came about because I just love old, vintage, nostalgic goodness.

But I digress. My whole point was about making layouts and templates. So I am going to try (note the use of the word try. I have, obviously, a habit of getting sidetracked, so I will endeavor to stick to my new plan. Really!) to share a scrapbook sketch each week. I like the sounds of "Sketch Template Tuesday" so I am thinking look for a new template next Tuesday. And hey! If you make a layout with this template, I would love to see it!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

You know summer is here when school is out. Johnny's preschool let out a week earlier than Mikey's, so the little stinker and I got a jump start on Popsicles and afternoon picnics. Last Friday, Johnny and I were having outdoor fun (him splashing, me running for cover) while Mikey had his last day at school, where I knew he was having a water play day too (where the kids were all splashing, and all those teachers were wishing they could run for cover) and celebrating all the summer birthdays (was I supposed to make cupcakes for that? Crap.) After school, Mikey had OT with Mr.B, then Steve and I took the kids to the Pizza Store (their name for our favorite pizza place) and then to the park. After climbing, sliding, running, and swinging in the sun, we rounded out the day by getting drive-thru ice-cream cones and MiracleShakes (that’s Johnny’s term for chocolate milk shakes). I was just excited to sit down a minute and lick my chocolate covered cone, even though I was making a mess out of the steering wheel.

Home again, my little ones were grubby, not to mention sticky, and were herded to the bath ("Don't touch anything!" I chanted as I chased them upstairs. They of course touched everything). Bath time pretty much involves a lot of splashing and fighting over who gets the biggest plastic dolphin and who has to have his hair washed first (neither seems to enjoy this part – Johnny often tries to persuade me that Mikey, and only Mikey, needs his hair washed). Johnny attempts to drink the soapy water and Mikey tries to swim, and I keep a safe distance with my Harry Potter book, amazed they have any energy after our busy day.

After I get them safely out of the tub (and soaking myself in the process) and get them into fresh jammies, (now I am in a sweat after chasing them around the bed as they bounce from one end to the other), I start to fold laundry, trying to make order out of the chaos that is my closet, when Johnny comes in the bedroom.

Hair still damp and smelling like baby powder, wearing a little blue shirt from our trip to Chicago last year and a pair of summer sleep shorts with little doggies on them, he looked cute as could be. Looking closer, I saw that his eyes were barely open, and he was shuffling like a robot with broken arms. A quiver of fear tickles my belly. Too much sun? Too much MiracleShake? Too much swinging?

“Johnny? Are you okay?” I try to keep the panic out of my voice. He sighs, and bends at the waist, limply holding himself up.

“Can you fix me, MomMon?” He asks, a small smile playing at his lips, his eyes closed. He swings his limp arms, sighing again. The smile gets bigger, and he closes his eyes tight.

“Fix you?” My anxiety now replaced by curiosity, I found myself starting to smile. “What’s broken?”

He straightens up, sighs dramatically, slyly opens one eye and shuffles to the edge of the bed; he carefully slumps himself against it. He closes both eyes, fakes a snore, and then says, “I think I need new batteries.”

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Friend Flickr... and a treasury :)

I have finally figured out flickr. Not that it was crazy hard (it is very user friendly) but I finally got around to giving it a go :) What a great format to create an online portfolio! I made a little button you can click to go visit my previous works (it is on the right, right over there...see? :) ) After browsing through my photos, I was reminded how much I love making paperbag albums. I think I am going to do another soon...

Oh, and I am so excited! I got up early this morning, grabbed a Fudgcicle (hey, you can have your Wheaties, I am a chocolate-in-the-morning kind of gal), and checked my Etsy and saw I was in a treasury! I feel so fancy! This treasury is curated by LilyMoon, a fantastic artist, and I feel so flattered! Be sure to check it out...

Well, I need to brew some coffee (to wash down that fabulous frozen Fudgcicle) and then get scrapping...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Etsy should contain a warning label...

... because it is so addictive! There are so many absolutely beautiful handmade and vintage treasures to be found. Vintage children's books, charms and pendants, collages and paintings, prints and digital downloads, stuffed plushies and pottery, flowery bobby hair pins... I don't even wear hair pins - but I might now! I am seriously and literally and totally awed by all the cool things I find here. At the bottom of my blog I have a little gallery of my most recent favorites. Check it out! I am sure you will find something amazing.

And I have found the fun of making treasuries! I feel like I win the lottery when I am able to curate a treasury. My heart gets to pumping, I race to make my final selections, think of a clever title... Putting it together is such a pleasure, like creating a collage of the prettiest pretties I can find. I have only created two, but I'll admit it - I love watching the magic number climb down to 332 and winning that Etsy lottery! Now all I need to do is win the lottery so that I can own some of these beautiful treasures.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Teddy Bear Princess

I had made this cutie little bear a while ago, and couldn't figure out what to do with her... then I dressed her like a princess and gave her a castle.

I want someone to dress me like a princess and give me a castle...

Ah, but that is the fun of creating. In my non-princess life I get to make lush landscapes and fierce dragons, tranquil twilights and sleepy teddy bears. I get to create stories, not just with words, but with paper and ink, ribbon and fabric. Pretty neat when you really stop and think about it...

This little cutie is on a layout I have listed on eBay.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Winner!

After a very excited Johnny pulled out a scrap of paper, it was determined that the winner of my giveaway is....

Twyla and Lyndsey!

Wooo Hoooo! Thanks to the other posters :) I will plan another fun giveaway this week, so be sure to check in!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

It's the Climb...

I am pretty jazzed about the layout I have listed on eBay. I have had that Miley Cyrus song, "The Climb", stuck in my head for about a week, and I finally decided to put my inner concert to good use. I made this pretty floral layout, and I have to say, I super wish my real own hair looked like this gal's...

...plus I have been loving making trees lately, so it was fun to make these sweet little groves of trees...

Speaking of trees, don't miss your chance to win my "pixie neighbors" set in my giveaway! See the post below this one to get the details :)


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