Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holidays

Friends, family, fellow bloggers, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I have had a year's worth of joy to thank you for. I love receiving your encouraging comments, thus helping me to focus more on my art, my family and the blessings of life. I am so grateful for my health and the unpredictable joys of each day.

We all know that these are stressful times and I pray that this message finds you at a place of peace. My prayer for you and your loved ones this Christmas is that you can focus on the abundance and make it a point to chuckle now and then.

Take care of yourself this year!
Merry Christmas to all.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Yesterday we spent almost four hours traveling across and back the upper peninsula on our way to Marquette to do last minute holiday shopping. There is not much salt applied to roads up here, mostly sand. It looks rather slippery, however, it is not. Our first stop was the North Pole, in Christmas, Michigan. My mom had her Christmas cards to mail. How cool is that to have your greeting cards postmarked with "Christmas, Michigan" on every envelope?

Check out these street signs!

Our holiday visit is rapidly coming to an end. My dear husband has been so patient with three ladies for the week, driving us all over the place. He usually refers to me as "Miss Daisy" when asked what have you been doing this week with those back home. Tomorrow we will have to sadly pack up again on our long drive home to southern Michigan. We will, of course, stop in Mancelona to visit my daughter, Amy, and her husband Derek to spend a few days enjoying each other's company playing cards and more Christmas celebration.

I am keeping warm and knitting some last minute gifts for family back at home. I think it may be time for some of my sister's fabulous hot chocolate. Jim Carey's movie "A Christmas Carol" is scheduled for tonight's viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Downtown in Grand Marais, Michigan

Main Street in Grand Marais, Michigan East Side

This is the town where my mom and sister live in the upper peninsula. It is a very small town that is really quite lovely in the summer months. The winter months can be very brutal. The view of the bay is very picturesque. It is a great place to relax, feel the warm summer breezes, however winter can be menacing.

Main Street in Grand Marais, Michigan facing South West Side

Mini Street Plower, Grand Marais, Michigan

Medical Center, Grand Marais, Michigan

The post office in Grand Marais, Michigan

Tomorrow I will try to post some photos of the lake in it's winter fury.

Greetings, again, from the north country.


Holiday Visit to the Great Up North

Grand Marais, Michigan USA

Lake Superior, December 2010

Was it the "storm of the century?" Oh my goodness, it snowed and it snowed. We were trapped in the house for three days, but finally took a trip to town to see the waves on Lake Superior yesterday afternoon. It was brutally cold, windy, and the air chilled you to the bone.

Agate Beach, Grand Marais, Michigan USA

This is the famous agate beach in December. It is usually a nice warm beach that I visit in the summer months, so seeing it this way was incredible. We held on to the railing of the beach viewing deck literally, while the snow and sand blasted your face with a 35 to 40 mile an hour rate. Whew!

There are more photos to follow in the next few days. I have been having a great time craft supply shopping, and enjoying the company of my mom and sister in the upper peninsula since last Friday. It is difficult to stop playing to post the progress of the trip. I promise to show more very soon.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Over the River and Through the Woods

As the holiday season has officially arrived, my hubby Chuck and I will be making a call on Grandma (my Mom), and my sister Peg way up north in the upper part of Michigan. We have never made a trip to Grand Marais in the winter time. It will certainly be a major challenge if we are bombed with a huge snowfall.

I've wrapped a pile of gifts, packed my suitcase with art supplies, and began jamming clothes in another. We will probably be gone about 10 days. I can hardly wait to see their Christmas tree! Our ETA will probably be this Friday afternoon.

We love to watch movies when we get up there. Did you know that there is another Red Riding Hood movie lurking on the horizon? This flic was directed by the first Twilight director, Catherine Hardwick. It looks like the big bad wolf is doing his number disguising himself as Valerie's (Amanda Seyfield) boyfriend (Shiloh Fernandez), but really is a werewolf! The scenery looks absolutely gorgeous. Something to sink my teeth into this coming March in 2011. Ha! Ha!

I am going to be "back in business" on December 20th. I really want to show you photos this time of Michigan's beautiful winter scenery. It is like walking into the movie Dr. Zhivago.

(Remember to pause my music if you wish to view this trailer).

Hopefully, I can post some photos along the way. Have fun enjoying this special time of year.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Flapper Knit Hats

The 1920's have always fascinated me. (For that matter, so have the 30's and 40's.) So much happened. I am especially fond of the music that was born at this time. During the 20's came the birth of the Flapper. The Flapper was everything new and modern. I have put a little modern twist to these children "Flapper" hats with bright and bold buttons. I feel that vintage buttons would really be perfect, but as these are for my family's Christmas gifts, my nieces may just prefer the buttons of today.

So many people believe that the women's movement started back in the 60's. I actually believe it started back in the 20's. The Flapper gave up the restricting clothing way before the liberated women burned their bras!

These adorable hats are less than a day project. Click on over to Justine from New Zealand at Just Jussi Knitwear Design. The pattern called "Poppy" is free! Thank you for sharing, Justine.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Father Christmas Greeting Card

"My Beard"

by Shel Silverstein

My beard grows down to my toes,
I never wear no clothes.
I wraps my hair around my bare,
And down the road I goes.

Here is the first in a series of Christmas cards I am making using this extravagantly bearded fellow. This vintage bearded man image was a freebie from Tumblefish Studios. I have been loving the creations that have magically formed.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Mini Christmas Card Banner

Making this miniature Christmas pennant banner is not very complicated, when you use these adorable digital collage sheets designed by Becky Loyall of Moonlight Journey. I printed each tiny banner approximately 3" in height. They have recently added "craft projects" to their line of beautiful art. As soon as I saw this digital pack, I just knew I had to do something cute with it.

I think it just might turn out to be a very special Christmas card!

"Go ahead--it's Christmas--
decorate every little thing in the house."
~ Mary Engelbreit

CREDITS: "BELIEVE" pennant craft project from Moonlight Journey, "Vintage Market Alphabet" from Tim Holtz Alterations die cuts, "Christmas Cheer" Grand Adhesions from K & Company, Ranger "Stickles" in turquoise, and sari ribbon.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Here Comes Santa Claus

Get ready! Santa's workshop has been temporarily relocated to my house. I have been very busy knitting up a storm, baking, and creating little gifts made with love. If you are serious about Christmas, you know it's essential to make sure Santa feels really welcome. Don't wait until the last minute to get ready for this important visit!

Making gifts at home is powerful when you like to give presents. It helps me focus less on my own wish list, and fosters an appreciation of the gifts I will be giving away.

This sweet Christmas photo card album has been a work in progress. I purchased a kit for the cover only from my friend, Norma Kooi, possibly five years back and began the process of adding family photo greeting cards each year.

It's truly amazing how everyone changes, and what a great keepsake of friends and family. So save those special Christmas and photo cards. I think it's maybe time to bring it along to family Christmas visits this year to share.

Dear Friends,

The holidays are over before you know it,
so each year I add a few more photos
to my Christmas Card art journal.
I think about what I really enjoyed,
and a jot down maybe things
I would like to do next year.
Then I let everything else go.
Nothing has to happen exactly
according to some grand plan.


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Bake a Batch to Share

It won't be long before the hustle and bustle starts for the holidays, but with a little pre-planning, you can whip up these wonderful mini bread loaves to share with family and friends. I love the aroma of them baking in the oven! I used instant coconut cream instant pudding instead for a change.

Mini Banana Bread

1 Pkg. yellow cake mix
1 Pkg. banana cream or vanilla flavor instant pudding (3.4 oz. size)
4 eggs
1 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Beat first 5 ingredients in a large bowl with mixer 2 mins. or until well blended. Add bananas and nuts; mix well until blended.

Pour into 5 mini loaf pans sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake 40 min. at 350 degrees or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool completely.

These mini loaves will keep about 3 days at room temperature or 3 months in the freezer.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Best Christmas Ever!

The holidays are back! The days leading to December 25th can be very exciting. Back in October, I felt the early whispers of Christmas when I visited the craft store in town. I feel like Thanksgiving formally introduces Christmas, but I like to begin my plan even before.

It's time to start my list. It will become my "making a list and checking it twice" list. Take a deep breath and imagine the Christmas of your dreams. I think of my childhood. Remember how you felt? I want to re-create that spirit and wonder now. I try to in my gifts, and in my hospitality. I truly do not yield to a tide of Christmas demands, but want the comfort and joy Christmas was meant to be. Let your emotions guide you through this holiday journey.

First Presents on my Holiday Workbench

Ever since I became a camper at the KC Willis Ranch a while back, I now experience a charge of excitement when browsing through dollar and resale shops. I saw these humble hangers, and began imagining how I could make them look more artsy. With just a little bit of sanding, some pastel acrylic paint, old sheet music, and a dollie head image, I began the process. Then finding just the right bow to top them off.

Christmas doesn't have to cost a lot of money if you give your gifts a little thought. For me, the joy comes in the making. Handmade stuff, whether it's just for a day or for a lifetime, is such a personal expression. And remember, perfection isn't the goal. It's often the little goof that is just the most precious part of a piece.

Start your list early, and maybe the spirit of the holidays just might be "Your Best Christmas Ever!"


Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Brown Lady Ghost of Rayman Hall, England

This ghost is known as "The Brown Lady of Rayman Hall, England. The picture was originally taken in 1936 by Indre Shira and Captain Provand, photographers working for "Country Life" magazine. The photographers were shooting in the hall when they noticed the apparition.

The first reported sighting of "The Brown Lady Ghost" was in 1836, when Colonel Loftus said he saw her in a brown dress. Loftus reported that her eye sockets were empty. The next reported sighting of "The Brown Lady Ghost" was in 1926 when two small boys saw the apparition.

This was the project I completed last Saturday, October 23rd, when I was lucky enough to be included in a very fun Saturday event entitled "A Halloween Tea" at our local scrapbook store, Artful Scrapbooking.

Even though I cannot take credit for the original design by Ellie,
I did add some of my own images from Moonlight Journey.

A Halloween Tea

The punch was spooktactular with a fine white rising mist, sandwiches, shortbread finger cookies, all amazingly arranged by our hostess Pamela. We even watched some classic scary Halloween movies while completing our haunted houses. Thank you again, Pam, for such great effort and a spooky project to make.

To my delight, I also received this gorgeous altoid tin last week from my sweet friend Becky Loyall, of Whymsical Musings.

This tin created by Becky Loyall.

I was so inspired with her amazing gift, that I created these two tins to share.

Halloween tin images from Seneca Pond and Shabby Cottage Studio.

Ahhh......the fun of Halloween!

'Just can't get enough.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Alice's Banana Bread

The original manuscript, "Alice's Adventures Underground," was published in 1865, by Reverend Charles Ludwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. Then later that year, the tale was published by Lewis Carrol as "Alice in Wonderland." Among it's first readers was Queen Victoria and the young Oscar Wilde. The book has never been out of print.

This banana bread recipe (one of my very favorites) will definitely be one of those baked goods that will call "EAT ME." Unfortunately, I cannot guarantee that it will not cause you to grow!!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mad Tea Party Brownies

Little did I know when I started an art journal a few years ago, that it was the beginning of a journey towards a series of of recipe cards with an "Alice In Wonderland" theme.

The roots of these cards came through the inspiration of my artist friends, Deb and Teri, when we began designing our "Mad Tea Party" books. That book still is a work in progress for me! Hopefully, within the next few months, I can present to you some of my special recipes focused on this "through the looking glass" theme.


Annabel Lee Artist Trading Card

Did you know that "Annabel Lee"
is the last complete poem composed
by Edgar Allen Poe?

"It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may
know by the name of Annabel Lee . . ."

Like so many of Poe's poems,
it tells the tale of the death of a beautiful woman.

"The wind came out of the clouded night,
chilling and killing my Annabel Lee . . ."

The narrator tells of a man who
fell in love with Annabel Lee
when they were young,
and even says that this love for her
was so strong
that even angels were jealous.
What a sad love story that
remains so strong even in death!

"For the moon never beams
without bringing me dreams of
the beautiful Annabel Lee . . ."

I created these artist trading cards
for a swap this month.
Edgar Allen Poe is probably
one of my favorite poets.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A Witches Life Art Tag

As the bewitching hour of October 31st fast approaches, I stirred up these art Halloween tags using a digital collage I created a while back and placed them into a scanned Mason jar photo I had. I further embellished them with black fun fur yarn and silken black vine ribbon.


Saturday, October 02, 2010

Witch Society Halloween Cards

Once upon a time the witches rode

In sinister and ominous parade
Upon their sticks at night, and queer lights glowed.

With eerie noises by the goblins made;

And many things mysterious there were.

For boyish cheeks to pale at through the grime

That held them brown and shadows queer would stir--

Don't you remember? -- Once upon a time.
~ James W. Foley

These "Witch Society" Halloween cards were created over the past several weeks by using some Martha Stewart holiday papers, and Ravenhead Manor Recollection sheets and frames. I love how they work so well with images from Lynne Tears and Becky Loyall of Moonlight Journey. The background within the frames "Extract of Witch Hazel" were stamped with an image from Tim Holtz's Haunted Mansion Collection CMS091. I glitzed them up with silver and gold mini glittered stars and tied with recycled sari ribbon.

Happy Haunting,