Thursday, April 30, 2009

sterling hand

i have two brothers who are jewelers.  they sit hunched over their jeweler's bench wearing a 20x magnifier on their head, hands always torn up from working with various metals, gemstones, chemicals and soldering sources.  unfortunately, we've always lived in different cities and learning the "tricks of the trade" from them wasn't an option.  so when an opportunity came up to take a metalsmithing class about 13 years ago, i grabbed it (and may i say that after taking this class, i have even more respect and admiration for the job they do and the artistry that's involved!) !  in this class i learned the "lost wax" method, where you sculpt an image from modeling wax, and then it's melted and cast into a mold that fluid metals are later poured into.  it took me about three seconds to decide that i would use my favorite heart-in-hand image....and about three days to sculpt the wax into my favorite image...and another week to do all of the other steps involved after it had been cast!'s quite a process!  my final result was a very rustic sterling silver heart-in-hand pin...and every time i wear it, i think about the fabulous work my brothers do, and i have a huge appreciation for it!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

heart-in-hand, part two

i have probably used the heart-in-hand image more in card making than for any other project.  this card was made using purple and blue paste paper, with arches textwove inside.

the hand shape was cut from the paper and then layered...and a sewn heart with a little message is revealed inside.

many years ago when i was president of our calligraphers guild, i made this small card for each of our board members in appreciation of their support, hard work,  and wonderful devotion to our group. 

cut in the shape of a hand, this one opens accordion style...

to reveal hand-marbled hearts surrounded by a special hand-lettered message!  i have so many more examples of cards (but, i promise, i won't bore you with them all!).  it's so much fun to take an image and see how many different ways you can use it!
please click on any image for a larger view

Sunday, April 26, 2009

inspiration monday

i am often asked if there's a story that goes along with my heart-in-hand avatar, and i'm reminded of a day trip i took about 20 years ago.  we lived in the midwest at the time, and a friend and i decided to head out to a quilt show that was being held in a nearby town.  we ended up driving through amish country, and while i had known about their lifestyle, i had never actually experienced it up-close and personal.  it's hard not to notice their complete devotion to such a simple lifestyle, but what struck me even more was how they were able to convey this same simplicity into their artwork.  some of the most beautiful quilts i've ever seen were seen that day...the patterns were uncomplicated, the colors were true and rich, and the workmanship was exquisite.  and just as we were leaving, a small pillow caught my eye, decorated with a heart-in-hand, and with the words "hands to work, hearts to God".  i fell in love with it then, and twenty years later i'm still loving it...and i'm still inspired!  

inspired by heart-in-hand, i created this small quilt almost 15 years ago.  i've used this image as inspiration for many pieces of artwork over these past years...i'll share some of them with you this week!  

Friday, April 24, 2009

saddle oxford into a stamp

several days have gone by since i carved an image of my beloved mary janes, and to continue on with the theme, today i decided to see if i could do the same thing with my drawing of the classic saddle oxford.  

it took a little longer to carve this one because of all of the tiny details...but i was so happy with the results that i decided to make a card using my new stamp!  i don't currently own a pair of saddle oxfords, but they're so cute that i may just have to invest in a pair!  have a fabulous weekend!!   click on image for larger view

Thursday, April 23, 2009

time out

i ran some early morning errands, and on the way i home heard the beach calling my name.  so, i took a little time out to let the wind blow my hair around, listen to the rhythm of the waves...and let this little guy entertain me for a bit.  i've missed my stamp carving...i think i'll take a little time out for that today, too!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

a song for bobbi

several days ago, i wrote about working on a piece of art for an upcoming calligraphy exhibit that a small group of lettering artists are participating in.  this exhibit is a little different from our others in that we'll be remembering and honoring one of our members, bobbi yoffee, who was tragically taken from us by cancer several years ago.  

bobbi was the thread that held our group together...always willing to coordinate our meetings and offer her beautiful home as our meeting place.  her enthusiasm for letterforms was contagious, and her letterforms themselves were imaginative, creative and absolutely beautiful.

bobbi created many pieces of art showcasing the beautiful Scriptures found in the book of Song of Songs.  so, in remembrance of bobbi, i chose Song of Songs 2:12 as my focal point.  she used to encourage my willingness to use "non-traditional" materials for my lettering projects, so i decided to assemble a small quiltlet using batik fabrics in vibrant colors to match her personality.  the Scripture was hand lettered on paper and then scanned and printed onto the batik, and the flower and dove were created from coordinating fabrics.  beads and buttons were hand-sewn to finish the artwork...bobbi always loved all of the details!  

Monday, April 20, 2009

inspiration monday

many years ago, we had the fabulous opportunity to live in brussels, belgium.  oh, the memories i have...the mussels, the fries, the belgian waffles, and, of course, the dark belgian chocolate!  and, just so you don't think it was all about food, the architecture was spectacular too (but i really did love the food!)!  but as beautiful as brussels was, there were a few times when we were able to take the train to london...and when that train would pull itself out of the chunnel and into the outskirts of the city, i was as giddy as a school girl on her first field trip!   so when i came across this fabric in my stash, all of those wonderful memories instantly came back to me and i was totally inspired to put that energy towards this new journal.  if you've been to london, you might spy one of your favorite landmarks on the covers.  and if you haven't been to london, i highly recommend it...and while you're over there, head on over to brussels and paris, too!
you can see more photos of this book here, and in my etsy shop here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

goin' green

while i was supposed to be in my studio working on my exhibit piece today, i ended up running a long list of "must do" errands.  so while i was out, i decided to stop by and check the progress of our house.  in a few short weeks, we've gone from this... this!  isn't it amazing what a little green can do?!  

Thursday, April 16, 2009

lesson unlearned

i have a deadline for an upcoming calligraphy approaching...that i kept putting off (because i was carving stamps instead!)...and the time is NOW...panic is starting to set in...that sick feeling in my stomach has arrived...yikes!...procrastination....i thought i learned this lesson already!
(i hope to have something to show you soon!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

i heart my mary janes

it's probably a little silly to be so attached to a pair of shoes, but i must confess that i love my mary janes.  i think that i've walked at least a million miles in these shoes.  i've been told that i need to give them up and wear something a little more "grown up", but instead i choose to replace the elastic under the buckles, for the fourth time now, so i can walk another million miles.  besides, grown up shoes hurt my feet.

i heart my mary janes so much that several months ago i took a drawing class and decided to use them as one of my models...and then make some note cards!

and to carry it one step further (good pun? bad pun?),  i just had to carve a mary janes stamp.  and this pair will never need to have the elastic replaced...

Monday, April 13, 2009

inspiration monday

i just love it when the day is winding down, the dishes are done, i have a chance to sit down and flip through some pages of my favorite pottery barn catalog...and inspiration strikes!  while i really like the cabinet, this "quote board" is actually what caught my eye!  it's 12 panels, most likely painted with chalkboard paint, placed next to each other to make one large panel, and finished with this wonderful thought written in white chalk:

into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, work, hope, fidelity, liberality, kindness, rest, prayer, meditation, and one well-selected resolution.  put in about one teaspoonful of good spirits, a dash of fun, a pinch of folly, a sprinkle of play, and a cupful of good humor.

thanks for the inspiration, pottery barn!
click on image (catalog, february 2009) for larger view.  click here for a great online image at

Friday, April 10, 2009

happy spring!

wishing you all a very blessed Easter and a happy spring!!  i hope that wherever you are, the weather allows you to go outside, soak up the sun, and witness all of this beautiful color that's blooming around us!!  enjoy your weekend!  :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

know life

i thought i'd share one of my most recent books with you today.  this blank journal is covered with linen book cloth and bound using a 6-needle coptic stitch.  the quote on the front is actually a clear sticker that i've had forever, and i burnished it onto one of the decorative papers that i used inside the book.  then, i inset it onto the front cover to help keep it protected.  i think that these papers have a little bit of a 60's can see more photos here!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

love stampin'

well, i'm still trying to "tidy up" my studio....and just as i was in the process of putting away my carving tools, i decided to sit down and create this little love stamp (this is why i hate to put things away, because i'll just get them back out again, right?).   since i was dawdling and doing just about anything i could think of to avoid my cleaning, i decided to sketch this funky little sign post around my "love" image just to give it a little interest.   and now, maybe i could make this into a card?  

Monday, April 6, 2009

inspiration monday

mother nature has given us a day filled with wind, rain and grey, grey skies.  normally, this would inspire me, as these are usually perfect days to head towards the studio and be creative!  however, one look at this desk and i'm thinking otherwise....that little three-inch-square piece of uncluttered real estate remaining on top of this workspace isn't exactly the ideal environment to create anything.  so today inspiration is calling me to get this stuff organized (yet, again?!).  clearly not one of my favorite things to do...maybe one of these days i'll convince myself to clean as i go before moving on to the next project.  maybe.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

dream house update

we paid a visit to the house that we're building (we like to go over there and pretend that we live there already!).  we have a couple of months to go before we can move in, but it's coming along so nicely!!

here's a little peek through the window on the landing that leads up to my future studio.  this house has so many charming details about it...i can't wait to share them with you!!
have a great weekend!

Friday, April 3, 2009

and the winners are....

the number picker chose #14 and #6 as the winners of the give-away!  which means that....

michelle, you have won the wish stamp....and lisa, you've won the art stamp!!  please send me your address and i'll send your goodies out right away!  thank you so much to everyone who helped me celebrate my big 200!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

back to the books

i've been so excited by my stamp carving lately that i've missed sharing some of my new journals with you!  this first one is a revisit to some of my favorite "circles on blue" can see the first book using this fabric here.

and, this journal may not look like much....but, that's because it's been left blank intentionally! created especially with the artist in mind, this blank journal is filled with 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper, and the covers were finished with arches textwove paper...perfect for most wet and dry media.  and, the binding is a 4-needle coptic stitch, so the book will lay completely flat while you're creating your next masterpiece!  you can see more photos and information about both of these books here in my etsy shop!

also, there's still time to put your name in the hat for my here to leave a comment before thursday, midnight!
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