Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Go Have Some Fun

My friend Shirley has shared a tutorial on her blog explaining how to make stamps from flat sheets of foam. Her friend Pat Gaignat had an article published in Cloth Paper Scissors on this technique and Shirley has kindly agreed to give a detailed explanation of what was published in CPS and what Pat taught her. The stamps look great -- they turn out looking like silk screening.

I'm inspired tonight by Carol at Swallowcliff's incredibly prolific spirit. She buzzes from project to project like a honeybee, and though she wants her word of the year in 2011 to be "focus," I love this  flitting about because she is always inspiring me with something new.  Recently she was making babushka dolls (she's also calling them dottee dolls), and I'm inclined to try them myself. There are so many different ways you can do them -- from using fabric and paint or embroidery, to paper that is painted or colored or printed, stapled or glued or sewn -- and you can make dolls to hang on a tree or to sit on a shelf or even tiny ones for jewelry.  You get the picture.

And to round out the trio, would you like to make paper roses?  Here's a link to some lovely ones.  Now go have some fun.

Monday, December 27, 2010

City Sidewalks

You may have heard we got some snow on the East coast.  We woke up to a blanket of it this morning, transforming the usually noisy, busy streets into a sleepy village. Here are a few pictures I took this morning -- not your usual manic Monday in Manhattan.

Eli's Bread Truck

Birds in Trees

Restaurant on the corner

curved tree 

Downward facing man

9th Ave. Brownstones

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's a Wrap

I don’t give that many gifts any more.  But it seems to take me longer than ever to wrap them and I don’t know why.

I started earlier than ever this year. Usually I wait until the day before so I can see them all unwrapped and make sure my piles for each person are nice and even. Don’t want to give one of my kids a lot and the other too little. 

I tried various folding methods – you know, after you tape the long side you have to fold the ends.  You can fold in the two sides, fold up the bottom and down the top.  Or fold down the top, in the two sides and then up the bottom.  Or (and this is actually the way I was taught) you can fold in one side at a time, going around to each side in a 1-2-3-4 fashion. It got me thinking about who taught me how to wrap presents in the first place. I can’t remember. Can you?

However you fold, I’m finding that coffee liberally laced with Bailey’s Irish cream is helpful in getting the job done. Also, frequent checks on email, stopping to chat with friends online, getting out for fresh air on a dog walk, and chatting with the concierge downstairs are all useful.

Someone suggested I use bags instead of boxes and wrapping paper next year. That’s a great idea. I think I might miss the Bailey’s, though. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Starry Starry Night

Here's my entry for the scavenger hunt challenge I posted earlier this month. The items to include were a star, bird, ornament, pine cone, Christmas tree and snowflake. There's a bit of overlap here, as the ornament is also a snowflake, but there are snowflakes in the background as well.  I created this in all separate layers and added shadows with layer properties. The bird was actually a quilted bird I found on a website that I swirled and added details to make my own. Those pine cones started out as coloring book pages that I posterized, painted with blue and then white, and then added a few filters for effect.  Lots of digital fun here.  I pulled all of it from little bits and pieces of images I found on the web, but recreated them into something completely new.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Prepackaged Gingerbread Fun

Yes, I know I could have made the gingerbread cookies myself. But this time of year, I'm busy with a million other things. So buying this kit and bringing it with me to Ally's house seemed like a good idea -- and it was.  Especially when it turned out that her stove wasn't working yet in her new home, so the cookie dough we made for Christmas cookies was going to have to be wrapped and refrigerated for another day.  To the rescue:  our box of gingerbread fun.

We got the first few stars down for the base of the tree before the frosting in the green piping bag burst out of its seams.  So we transferred it to another plastic bag. Carefully. With a lot of laughter involved.

And eventually we had a tree waiting for decoration...

And finally our masterpiece

Aren't we good? Oh and then, the most important part, was that Ally put the tree near the mantle and Bill, Ally and I all stood back to admire the tree. It's always necessary to admire your work and make comments like, "Wow, that looks nice."

Thursday, December 9, 2010


What would we do without our friends?  You know who yours are. Those people you call when you're the happiest, the saddest or just to stay in touch. And definitely the ones you call when you need some help!   (I know you're thinking about yours as you read this.)  I told you last time about my friend who helped me with my knitting, and some of you asked to see it finished, so...... here is a section from the original bad news bears scarf.  All these stitches are supposed to look exactly the same. Clearly they do not. (Though, I have to say, isn't the yarn lovely? It cost me a fortune to make this mess.)

And then, thanks to my angel friend, knitter and seamstress fabulaire Rosie, I was able to create this:

Observe the perfection of the stitches.  The loveliness of the entire knittedness of it.  This only took 5 visits with Rosie to check on whether I was doing the right thing and for her to reassure me Things Were Fine (and to fix the occasional dropped stitch). At one point she thought I might have dropped a stitch 10 rows back and was going to make me UNKNIT 10 rows and re-do them. That was A Sad Day Indeed.   But fortunately, she discovered it was just a "loose stitch," so I was off the hook. :-)

And here am I modeling my new creation.  What?  You thought I would be gifting this?  Not on your life, baby.  This one goes into the Hall of Fame.

By the way, if you are mildly observant you have noticed that earlier that day I was trying on nail polish at Sephora. You scored extra points for noticing before I mentioned it. Very nicely done.

And in other news,

I have some new friends who live nearby and who love art too!  I would tell you all about our day and show you photos but since one of the ladies has already written about it on her blog, you may want to go here and see our fun day:
Reclineart Posterous