Thursday, December 13, 2012

orchestrating moments of bliss

Bliss is a beautiful word defined as "complete happiness" and so I tread lightly when using it because I don't want to diminish its power the way I do when casually dropping similarly strong terms like "awesome" or even "love" -- as in "I love that awesome dress!" I believe that bliss is fleeting, it's momentary -- but it can be created and experienced and that it's important to orchestrate moments of bliss when you can.

This post was meant to be about muffins. How on days set aside to write or create I will often bake muffins or scramble eggs to have with hot coffee served in my favorite mug, all to set the stage for moments of complete happiness.

Today I have the morning and early afternoon reserved for writing a magazine tutorial. Having my work published is something that still dazzles me like a waking dream and I want to revel in even the smallest moments of the process. Muffin, coffee, writing, quiet. Sigh.

When I am working on new projects, coffee is switched out for flavored seltzer: fresh, lightly flavored and effervescent or "crispy" as I like to call it, and quiet is replaced with favorite music on repeat (my crafting go-to is the band Luna which is familiar-to-me, energizing but not at all distracting) as tidy rooms become gloriously disheveled messes and I dart from idea to idea. {Cleaning up afterwards is the "crash" -- what goes up, must come down!}

Short blissful experiences can happen in many ways. Sometimes for me it can be driving in the car on the way home from an errand after-dark while listening to more favorite music (The Lemonheads or The Strokes) with the windows down (this can be done in cold weather, too -- just crank up the heat), sharing a great big laugh with family and friends, being outdoors in the fall with the fire pit going, seeing a city lit-up at night, being near the ocean, smelling a nectarine, dancing, being silly with my boys, night-blogging with a glass of wine, and much more. Not so complicated or time-consuming but still wonderful. I will often pause to realize the moment and close my eyes, even for a second or two ... to be. in. it.

Okay, well the seltzer is poured so I'd better get working on my tutorial. Do you set-the stage to make activities enjoyable? Maybe you'll orchestrate some bliss for yourself today. {Hope so!}


Thursday, December 6, 2012

tinkered snow globe

Ever notice how the shiny over-sized twist-ties on heads of lettuce are the perfect shade of red? Perfect for wrapping around the lid of say, a canning jar that happens to have a small tree glued to its inside-center.

Which I then filled with salt, layered with sprinkles of glitter and added a few pearly beads to ...

to create a tinkered version of a mason jar snow globe.

But wait! First I needed to try out a new trick I'd read about: mixing epsom salt with white wine until a mush is formed

which is then spread and patted-down on surfaces and allowed to dry to create a frosty effect

{which I am guessing is how this delightfully crusty vignette seen at Anthropologie came to be}.

Once "frost" has hardened, shake off any excess crystalized salt and display as desired.

Serving suggestions: Perhaps display on a cake pedestal alongside other salty-sweet projects like this one

and relax & enjoy!


{Please note that these projects should not be eaten}

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

sequin revolution

Lately I find myself being drawn to sparkling, glittery things more than ever. I think it kicked-in to overdrive around Halloween, a time of year when I become {a bit} envious of today's little girls who have so many poufy princess costumes and sequin-everything (!) at their disposal. I might have tutu-envy or something.

As I fashion shiny skirts and tinseled boas for my clothespin dolls and hang twinkling lights to decorate, I think: Hey, I want some sparkle too!

Last year I was smitten with the ad above for Ann Taylor which showed a sequin skirted Demi Moore looking as if she were walking through a winter wonderland -- not quite ready to attend a fabulous party but perhaps on her way to one after running an errand or two. What a great idea: special clothing for everyday use. And this time sequins didn't look matronly -- sequins looked cool!

But I didn't want to spend much money on this sequins-around-town idea, especially if I didn't end up with the mojo to get bedazzled on say, a Tuesday afternoon.

Today while sauntering through TJ Maxx I spied this dress. At less than $30 it could be the perfect dare-I-say "foil" for my shiny-bright idea. The cashier asked if I bought it for a special occasion. Nope. I imagine wearing a bulky sweater or even a cardigan over the dress and pairing it with tights and boots.

Kathleen Kelly could get away with it, for sure ...

So, what do you think: Sequins at the supermarket? Taffeta at Target? Let's start a fancy-meets-workaday revolution.

Who's with me?!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

don't mess with the tinkering mojo

I'm supposed to be tidying-up and styling the Girlie Office for a photo shoot to promote my book but keep getting struck with tinkering mojo and making messes instead. {You can't refuse the mojo!}

I suppose that making messes and creating go hand in hand.

It all started when I was figuring out where to store some gathered acorn caps -- which turned into making a clothespin doll. And the thing about making clothespin dolls is that you can't make just one.

So, I made a few.

Then I made a few more.

Okay, then two more. I put away all of my supplies and then ...

felt like tinkering a bit more. Making things is so pleasurable!

Once the room was reassembled I began to think how it would be nice to have something on the blank wall. I searched around a bit online and offline but came up empty-handed and then somehow mysteriously ended up at Michaels where I purchased embroidery hoops and blank canvases (canvasi?).

I once saw the reverse of "canvasi" used as frames in a display at Anthropologie and decided to put my own spin on the idea so I painted the exposed pine, mounted decorative paper and attached two to a wide length of satin ribbon.

I also framed paper using the outer pieces of the embroidery hoops and attached the trio to the wall using masking tape (because I am way too fickle to commit to nails or screws).

Now, I just have to keep this room neat for a few more days until the photo shoot.

{FYI clothespin dolls, clothespins and even the decorative paper I use are included among the over 35 projects in Tinkered Treasures!}


Friday, October 26, 2012

tinkered treasures: the book!

This is the cover of my book. My book. Even as I type the words and see the image, it barely seems real ... this dream come true.

Tinkered Treasures will be out on Valentine's Day 2013 (how perfect) but is available for purchase now as a pre-order. I plan to list a supply at my Etsy shop in early spring to sign and sell. Again, barely real.

It was last year on my birthday actually (mid-October) that I received a confirmation from the publisher about my book proposal. And what a busy year it has been! My publisher is in London and I am in Rhode Island and it was decided that I would create the projects and ship them to London to be styled and photographed.

The very messy Girlie Office

I needed to provide step-by-step photographs for illustrations (!) and supply all of the text. The months that followed found me making glorious messes as I recreated favorite projects and worked out new ideas, shipped boxes of "makes" and crossed my fingers that they would arrive safely to their far-away destination.

Some projects ended up not being quite right for the book like the switch plate frames that didn't translate because the ones standard in the U.S. aren't widely available in the U.K.

For the book, which will feature just over 35 crafts, I probably created almost double that amount of projects.

With three batches of projects completed and shipped it was now time to write, write and write some more. I wrote everything from catchy titles and snappy introductions to projects steps, to descriptions of supplies, techniques and more. I was also sure to infuse my text with silly puns to keep "my voice" in there.

Next, there were many rounds of carefully proof-reading layouts to ensure that instructions and illustrations made sense and that terms were used consistently.

And now my treasured book is listed on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Something very interesting that I learned about myself during this process was that I am clearly not a perfectionist when it comes to the projects but when it comes to the text, boy, am I ever a stickler and sometimes even getting a phrase just right could take an afternoon.

Thank you for reading. I have so much to say, am a bit sleepy and just hope this all makes sense.

For all of you dreamers out there, remember that it all begins with an idea and it all began for me right here on this dear little blog.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

fall is here

Ahh, fall! The season that I liken to an oatmeal raisin cookie -- sure I want to believe that chocolate chip is my favorite cookie of all or that spring or even summer is my favorite season but when it comes right down to it, no other season is quite as tasty or makes me feel quite this way. The sights, the smells, the cool breezes, the tights! Did that make any sense? Anyway ...

The other day I was leafing through the new Pottery Barn catalog and spotted this charming idea of fixing a pennant to a pear. I didn't have any pears handy, just some short-stemmed apples but still had to try this out. In the midst of a.m. busy-ness, I began snipping small diamonds from patterned paper, folding and then adhering them to unsuspecting apples.

"Mom, can we eat these?" Sure, just remove the flags first.

By now my boys are pretty used to seeing me setting up impromptu photo shoots around the house.

Once I moved on from the apples I began playing with acorns and scattered them on this small plate with a different little pennant and then laughed to myself thinking how it looked like a dish left behind by a squirrel at a dinner party. (Did that sound nuts? Pun intended)

It's nice to make even a little time to play.

Happy fall!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

of popsicle stick boxes and blogging

I've been meaning to publish a new post but generally blog at night and have just been too sleepy to figure out Blogger's new "improvements." Well, tonight I'm sleepy but determined so please bear with any formatting issues or rambling!

I actually thought it would be easy to re-run an old post but as I perused my archives I discovered something: This very week four years ago I wrote a post entitled Ooh La La: Popsicle Stick Boxes. In that single paragraph I shared my enjoyment of cobbling these little boxes, how I was about to be a first-time vendor at a craft show, and would anyone ever buy one of these things?

Four years later I am excitedly putting the finishing touches on a book I have written of over thirty-five craft projects (backstory here) of all types of things I adore tinkering, set to publish in February.

With blogging, you just never know what sort of untapped passion you might uncover or discover. Perhaps it's finding that you have a natural eye for styling, photographing, making things, decorating, writing, connecting with others, and countless other wonderful things.

The online landscape has changed dramatically since I first clicked the orange "publish" button. Back then there were no "mom bloggers" earning six-digit incomes, no Pinterest or tagging images, no Facebook -- just a platform where many of us logged-on to share and stumble upon like-minded individuals with whom we literally clicked, often becoming special, supportive (and longtime) friends.

To me, there is still nothing quite like blogging.

I wish you happy blogging, always