Monday, June 29, 2009

Saint Meme

My Mother is a Saint. She and my father both, but especially (and he would agree) my mother.

This week is Camp Meme, which means my 2 boys have gone to my parents house for a week (yes, that 7 whole days my friends) full of wonderful adventures!!
Each summer my parents put on a week long camp-like experience for my boys - complete with Flag raising & Pledge saying in the morning, Arts & Crafts in the afternoons and KP duty for those who don't make their bunks. Or so I've heard. See I don't get to go to Camp Meme, but I do get to follow along with the adventures of both the staff & the campers on my Mom's blog, and so can you.
This years camp theme is Pioneer Days and already Saint Meme has got those boys baking bread and stitching a quilt, oh what fun to be a camper at Meme's!

Friday, June 26, 2009

playing with tools

Thanks for all the love my friends! I really have enjoyed reading each of your sweet comments about my magazine feature so much - I feel like I am about to burst from all the love and kindness!
Remember you have until next Wednesday to spread the word and get more entries!!

Here is a little project I finished today that I wanted to share...

A Birthday Queen sash for a 13 year old's birthday party, per her request...

This was a fun project because I got to use one of my favorite new tools - a shadow letter punch die cut set that I got for a song at a going-out-of-business sale.

I have loved playing with the letters & papers - the layering options are endless and I love mixing and matching the colors & patterns. I am still working on my technique and mulling over new ideas and ways to go further with the process, but as a first start I am really happy with how this turned out...

belated birthday, a dream come true and a giveaway

So in all the hub bub of April (and there was so much!) I totally missed my 3 Year Blog Birthday.
my little life all started with this little post in 2006, and so much has happened since, I can hardly believe it. I cannot believe the friends I have found through blogging, the opportunities I have had both personally and professionally that have come out of blogging, and the great inspiration and encouragement I have found through blogging. My life has changed in a lot of ways in the past 3 years, and I know there are still more changes ahead - some hard, some planned and hopefully some more wonderful happy surprises like this one I received this month:

My house, in a magazine.

It happened like this: Back in April, the lovely and talented Diane Carroll, new Editor in Chief of At Home in Arkansas (the home design magazine around these parts,) while working on a story for the June issue, found my house & my banners on Etsy.

She called, we chatted (me, of course trying to remain super cool & low key.) She asked if I would make a Welcome Summer Banner similar to my Welcome Spring Banner for their Cottage Issue, oh and would I mind them coming to my house to shoot the picture?

Would I? Oh my!

As you could have guessed I said "yes, of course please come" and
" just let me know when!"
Then I hung up the phone and did a happy dance - very uncool and chic I am sure, but I could not help myself. This was a dream come true.

The day itself, was even more fun if then I could have ever imagined. Once of those special days, where you do feel a little bit like all the stars align and God is smiling on you in particular.

This is my little scrapbook from that day....

Superb photographer Nancy Nolan & At Home Art Director, Mandy Keener ponder the setting for the shoot. I tried to stay out of the way, while still helping when needed as much as possible.
I had more fun with Nancy & Mandy than I could have ever hoped. They are very cool, down to earth, creative and a lot of fun. Oh, and they love Starbucks as much as me. Kindred Spirits as Anne Shirley would say.

Mandy & Nancy move a few things around to get ready. For color & contrast Mandy brought this great piece of framed fabric for over the mantle. After we had booked the shoot they realized they had already used a white mantle/map image in a previous issue. Even though the style of the rooms are completely different, they didn't want to repeat themselves too much, and who could blame them?

I love the framed fabric and have thought about doing something like that there eventually... If I ever find another great place for my beloved map...

The mega camera set up. The natural light was so great that day they didn't need lamps or funny white reflector thingies.

Nancy showing Mandy the shots on the computer so they could decide what needed adjusting or changing. They ended up just doing one arrangement and sticking with it, even though they had planned on doing a few just to be safe. This one just turned out so lovely I guess they didn't think they needed more...

How the shot looked from my perch in the back.

The actual glossy magazine... Amazingly beautiful.

My page.
Wow. That is my house, and Nancy and Mandy made it look so good.
I have to say I am pretty darn proud.
I am also extremely grateful for all the little things that made it into the shot - like the floor pillows that my mother made for me, or the old quilt on the bottom of the chaise that came from my Great-great grandmother, or the family pictures on either side of the mantle - my Maw as a young mother surrounded by her kids, my Paw as a little boy with his parents on their farm.
All the things that help make my house a home were part of the finished shot, and that really makes me as happy as any of it. Those are the bits make it personal after all....

Also featured in the June Cottage Issue are several Etsy Sellers from Arkansas, and I was again honored by having my candles pictured along with some other amazing products, which you can read about here.

This years Cottage Issue is one of my very favorites issues ever, and I was even more excited (if that's possible) to have been included in this edition once I saw the whole issue.
If you don't live in Arkansas or have access to a hard copy, make sure you take a moment and go look at the Digital Edition which I think is the coolest new feature on the At Home website.

But if you would like a hard copy to have for your very own self, then make sure you enter my Belated Birthday Giveaway!!

To celebrate my Blog Birthday & all the wonderful blessings I have received over the past 3 years in Blogland I would like to give a few things back - 3 in fact!

So here are the details:
There will be 3 Giveaway Items and 3 Winners

1) A $25 Gift Credit & Free Shipping @ Storia HOME

2) Your choice of Candle from the ones you see above as featured in At Home in Arkansas plus a few more treats

3) A Vintage Goodie Back & Copy of At Home In Arkansas, June Issue

You can enter the following ways:

1) Leave a comment telling me which items you would like to win - if you have a preference.

2) For extra entries you can blog, twitter or facebook about this giveaway. Then come back here & leave me a comment with a link to your blog/tweet/fb post.

the giveaway will close at 11PM on July 1 and a winner will be announced on July 3rd

Thank you all for coming by my blog week after week, thank you for the inspiration & encouragement you bring - through your blogs and your comments (which I love!) You all make blogging so much fun!!

Good luck!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Sub Fun

These are the boys under the dining room table - their "submarine" for the day, from which they launched torpedo's and such. Of course.
Things have been pretty busy around here and this week in particular seemed to fill up fast, but with lots of fun stuff.
Saturday the boys are off to Camp Meme for the week and before you know it we will all be celebrating the 4th of July together at my grandparents. I can't believe June is almost over - I have not been to the pool nearly enough!

OK, well I do really have a fun giveaway and lots of news, but you will just have to wait a tad longer...long enough for me to get these boys sent off at least!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Spoonful of Sugar

Sometimes when reality - or reality TV - becomes too much for me, I have to go to my Happy Place and get a Spoonful of Sugar - visual sugar that is!

Today, in the aftermath of Jon & Kate's ridiculous announcement I had to make just such a trip to my happy place - Martha

I don't know about you, but I was hoping against hope that some good sense - or a stern Dr. Phil - had gotten knocked into Jon & Kate, and instead of "separation" and "divorce" their announcement was going to be "cancellation" and "counseling." For the good of all involved.

But no. Good judgement and sound minds, great mercy and faith did not win the day yesterday- as they usually don't when emotions, pride, checkbooks, and paparazzi seem to converge and then run amok. And I am sure there are many layers to this story, more than we can see - as there usually are. But regardless of who is to blame (why do we always need to figure that out?) it made me very sad to watch. It made me sad for them, and for their kids, and for all the things you can do over, but never take back, and for all of us who some days hang on by a mere little thread, but hang on all the same.

And so I had to go visit Martha's site and look at all the 4th of July pretties, because there are so many there. And because sometimes you just need a really great Spoonful of Sugar to make it all go down a little easier...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day

to my Dad, whose heart is as big as his smile, who will always correct my grammer and who loves my mother still.

to my Sweet Man, who jumped into this thing called Parenthood with me . Who cooks, cleans and knows how to fix a toilet. And who would give me the moon if I asked, and who loves me still.

And to my Pop-in-law who gave me my husband, who would give any of us the shirt off his back if we asked and who loves my Mama-in-law still.

I love you all, & thank you each so much for being each unequivocally yourselves, and for loving my boys as much as you do. We are all blessed to have you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

show & tell

"Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal."
Kathleen Kelly, in You've Got Mail

More and more and more I have begun to realize that this sentence, maybe as much or more than any other sentence I could think of, sums up a huge chunk of my heart & how I exist in the world. Things to me are personal - very personal usually. To me, in my life, my home and my family, my friends & my faith, my work & my play, my creativity & my thoughts are all very personal. And they are all mixed up and jumbled together. I cannot usually - do not want to most often - separate them from each other. I am not the type of person - for better or for worse - that can put things in a box till later. I try, but it is a foreign & odd to me, and I am not very good at it. To me it matters. It matters how I spend my days, what I spend them doing, who I spend them with and how it all goes. It is important to me to care about what I am spending my time on. Like banners & crowns and blog post.

(picture from Wendy, a great customer)

I love it when customers & friends send me pictures of how they have decorated with items purchased from Storia HOME, or how they were inspired by a craft or design idea here on my little life or elsewhere - like on Blissfully Domestic or Vintage Indie Mag. I think about every banner I make, every noise maker I cut & glue, every crown I glitter. I do not always get them perfect, or on time or exactly as the customer wishes, and those times kill me, they really do. I have grace for myself in that I realize that I am only one person and I am doing my best, but still it is hard to disapoint because I do truly want my customers to be happy and to enjoy the thing that they spent their hard earned money on. There is no rule saying they have to buy my goodies, no extra incentive that I can see for choosing me over another seller. And so each order is somewhat miraculous to me, and always personal. And so to celebrate these little miracles, and to help me remember always the people behind the orders, on the other side of my computer,

I thought it would be fun to start a Flickr Group just for this purpose. I thought it might be neat to see how other people make crowns, or where they hang their banners, or how their lamp re-do projects turn out... A fun way to celebrate with each other and have a little Show -n-Tell!

Of course, maybe it won't be that much fun for anyone but me, but you never know... I thought it was worth a try and it will begin - as it ought - by being personal - personal to me at least & perhaps personal to you too!

If you would like to join the group and add your Storia- inspired photo's just click HERE

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hop on Pop

People, we have been hoodwinked. Think of all that money you have spent - especially during college - on microwave popcorn. All those lovely dollars, that had you not spent them on $5 plus boxes of microwave popcorn, you might have saved and bought something really useful, like a couch, or maybe a lovely bag.

Well now you can save those dollars and make your own microwave popcorn, for a fraction of the cost (if you are so inclined of course...) This may not be news to you, but this was very exciting news to me, so I decided I would try it out for myself and share it with you!

All you need is regular popcorn, a brown paper bag & a microwave.
Here is a little tutorial on Homemade Microwave Popcorn

1) Scoop a heaping 1/4 cup regular kernels

(like this, but a little more on the "heaping" side)

2) Dump in regular brown lunch bag

3) Fold over top 3 or 4 times in small tight folds.

4) Put in Microwave and cook for 2 Minutes or until the moment you hear the pops get further and further apart.

5) Top with your favorite toppings - salt, melted butter, brewers yeast, m&m's, a fake cob of corn....

Of course like all microwave popcorn, if you don't get it out in time it may burn a little. As mine did (don't worry I have done this successfully before) the day I decided to document it.
Of course.

Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

a little of this and that

A wee little lampshade embellishment tutorial is up @ Blissfully Domestic...

click here to check it out...


I was honored to be featured in this treasury - always a fun email to find waiting in my inbox!

OK, that is it for today, I am worn out and headed to bed with

this book...

Monday, June 15, 2009

5 & 10 Break

This weekend I went on a last minute overnight trip to Branson, Missouri with my Sweet Man.
He had a gig and needed a travel buddy, so I was happy to volunteer of course.
One of the best parts was that we got to stay in a great hotel right downtown where I could walk to all the shops - old & new - while he did his music thing (it was for a insurance convention, not exactly exciting stuff for me.) So all of Saturday evening I got to shop and browse kid & agenda free all I wanted. No one was waiting on me to get home, no one had opinions about which shops we should or should not go in, there were no banners waiting for me to string in my hotel room. Just me and my camera and a few spending dollars exploring Old Branson. ...

My favorite stop? By far Dicks 5 & 10.
Why did we ever let go of this store concept?
Let me share....

the best shopping baskets ever... I remember Hancock Fabrics having these when I was a kid.

Who knew hair nets came in so many shapes & sizes?

Panties anyone?

the BEST glue - real PASTE. You know I had to buy a bottle...

In addition to the 5 & 10 there were several old fashioned candy shops - always great for picture taking....

and last but not least, a sign in the cafe where we had Brunch on Sunday...
I think this is going to be my new fee structure.

OK, mini-break over.
Now it is back to work & kids & house & my lovely little everyday life!
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