Monday, December 29

ok, i had a bit of a heart attack today.....

so i am in my pjs still (hey, i am on vacation!) i threw on my big coat with the fur collar and my slippers and tried to sneak out to the mailbox this morning without my neighbors noticing. my box was stuffed clear to the top with envelopes, a little bit late padded mailers with things i ordered off etsy, and one big magazine from somerset. i could barely wiggle it all out. trying not to slip on the ice i sneaked back in the house and dumped the loot on the table.

envelopes, bills, the dvd i ordered-i think, and the new somerset life.
i tore off the plastic wrapping and let the paper cover fall to the floor and there it was.....the reason for my bit of a heart attack. i am on the cover of the new issue of somerset life!

**insert unabashed horn tooting here**

well, not me actually but my beautiful velvet valentine. noone breathed a word of this secret to me, this is the coolest surprise ever! it is one of the valentines i made for my little love notes article.

on page 34 here is my little dancing marie antoinette compact, and the tiny silver tinsel and felt kit i made in a vintage bird mold.

and here in the 'things we love' spread my love notes valentine kit.

this issue is packed with gorgeous photos of so many lovely, sweet things. you are going to love it. i heart mondays after today. xo julie

(all photos in this post are by somerset and can be found in the winter 2009 issue.)

Friday, December 26

santa calls. . .

i told my kids this year i had a direct line to the big guy himself. this little phone was my link to the north pole. as it turned out it was rather handy to be able to chat whenever i had an idea. the speed phone was manufactured by the gong bell mfg. co. in 1942. a little childs play phone that simply enchants me.
it may be the wonderful red paint worn by so many little hands. . .

one of our favorite christmas traditions is to buy a new holiday picture book each year. we read them all through the season. 'santa calls' by william joyce c1993 is one of my favorites. the illustrations are whimsical and fun. there is an adventure to the north pole, a battle with dark elves, a black licorice candy bomb, and little ester aimsworth gets her christmas wish.

try to find a copy that has in the back the lift up letters that ester wrote to santa and the one he gave to her on christmas.

it has been snowing almost every day for over a week. the big white flakes have covered everything in sight and we have huge piles of snow all around for the kids to play on. if you can believe the kids and matt are working on a big 5 foot hill in the front yard. they climb up the bunk bed ladder to the top and sled down with plans to make a run that goes through the gate at the side of the house and down the hill into the back yard and under the trampoline. it should take us all vacation to build it.
i hope your holiday is warm and filled with laughter. cheers, julie

Friday, November 28

the mrs. claus kit. . .

this time of year mrs. claus can be found quite often tucked away in her studio working a little christmas magic. you can't leave it all up to the elves, you know.
and this is where my little red lunchbox comes in.

it certainly had a wonderful life even before i found it. i can tell by the way the smooth red handle still dances a bit in my hand when i carry it, just begging for a bit of skipping. luckily the clasp is one of those no nonsense things that wont let my pretty things spill out all over the snow. (well, there isn't snow yet, but i am counting on a bit of the sparkling white before long.)

i have been busy all week gathering things to go in my lunchbox, everything mrs claus might need to tie on a package or tuck in a stocking.

here is what you need to do to get your own little box ready. find a festive paper box, a small vintage suitcase, or an old cookie tin and start gathering your favorite christmas things. pick a color scheme to help you pick things out and start adding them to your collection. i chose the colors i use on my little feather tree; red, silver, white, and aqua blue. anything that inspires you goes in the box. glitter, garland, buttons and trim. add little ornaments, and paper tags. don't forget some tiny pinecones and pretty rosehips. i also added some tinsel and glittered leaves. the most important part is put in what you love and having it all handy in one place will make it easy for you to add a bit here and there as you are making your gifts and sending out packages. copy a few pages from your journals to use to make tags and labels like this one here. i backed the image with ledger paper before sewing it and stapling the trim to the top.

a few of my vintage treasures i tucked into these funky old kodak film canisters. a holiday kit with lovely sparkling garland and shiny red glass balls. there is even the tiniest bottle brush tree complete with fake snow and a tinsel star tied on top for you to hang on your tree. i just listed them here in my shop

i still have a week before my art group gets together to exchange holiday gifts. imagine how much fun that will be! i am off to get working on my little art treats.
meanwhile, have fun gathering your mrs. claus kit and leave me a link so we can see what you packed up.
warmest holiday wishes, julie

Wednesday, October 29

tree of life

i have been watching out my window each day as the leaves have turned their autumn colors and begun to fall. with a hundred trees in the park behind my house it is quite the show. the late afternoon light has a golden glow to it reflecting off all the colors in the leaves. a little stack of wool on my desk just became this needle book. i wasn't even thinking about what i was sewing and then there it was. this delicate tree with leaves of many colors and shimmering silver fruit. i embroidered tiny seed beads on the leaves and added two of my favorite vintage glass beads for fluttery leaves high in the tree.

i love how the seed beads along the binding turned out. i made this needle book for my sisters birthday this week and felt such joy giving it to her. i know she will keep it always.
enjoy the leaves swirling outside your window and the lovely warmth of this autumn afternoon. julie

Monday, October 20

wool felt gifties

simply irresistable:

a stack of wool felt scraps on my desk
my new wool embroidery threads in a vintage square plastic sewing container
needles dangling colored threads over the edge of my pincushion

two sketched designs on the back of a receipt!
a little blue flowered candy tin from england with all my favorite tiny glass beads

fall break and four days off. . .

i tell you, i did see my neighbor putting up his christmas lights this weekend so it's ok for me to post these gifties in my shop!

Wednesday, October 15

keeper of the light

i had such a wonderful week in portland at art and soul. i enjoyed so much seeing again friends and staying with the gals from my art group. this year i got to see more of portland as cassondra and michelle took us out for dinner several nights and then we spent the day in portland shopping at some fun antique stores. the schedule we took with us said vendors night began at 7:00 pm so we were an hour late when we arrived as it started at 6:00 pm. . .
we still had a great time shopping and i came home with some very lovely vintage velvet ribbons.
i loved taking a class from misty again. the little books we all worked on turned out so amazing. we painted over faces and collaged with the coolest images. i created backgrounds for 12 pages and finished 5 in class. here are the first few:

i did sneak this photo of deb working away at her book

the booksigning for north light was such a fun event! i brought lots of felt samples from the book to display and i enjoyed so much talking with everyone. i got to sit next to stephanie for the evening as we were at the same table.! she had such beautiful pieces of jewelry on display. i got a first hand look at what she would be selling at vendors night. i bought a lovely necklace with blue beads and a raven under resin. we each got to take home our book poster, imagine carrying that through security. . .

in my class with katie i worked at really breaking out of my normal color scheme and made these two pieces. the faces were sketched randomly with my left hand on phone book pages. i picked out two that i liked and used them for these two paintings. both are coated with wax and resin for such an amazing finish.
pushing daisies

two hearts are better

and here are the two pieces i made in susan's class.

the ring has the coolest green stone tucked inside the copper discs.
wishing i had taken more pictures.
the great news is we have the rest of the week off school for fall break and nothing planned. i am looking forward to marina coming home for a few days and hanging out in the studio.

Thursday, September 25

haunted and mysterious. . .

it all began with a wonderful old encyclopedia. 'M' is for Mysterious

i have been plotting for over a year now a book exchange to document all things haunted and mysterious. well, it has finally begun. our books have been mailed out and i am starting to see a few peeks out there. melissa posted today about her book and you can see marilyn's here. still waiting to see where candice and cassondra will post.

for a project i have been mulling around for months you would think i wouldn't have any trouble pulling it off. however, i have had the rockiest beginning ever. at one point i emailed the group and admitted the agony of defeat.
after staying up till 3:30am one night working on my book and then ripping it all apart i finally started over. what started out as a serious exploration of the mysterious has turned into a playful romp into the haunted past.

I have been cleaning up the disaster in my studio today. I had suitcases with all their contents strewn around, teetering piles of things, and bins spilling open as I have been digging. . . .
a neighbor girl wandered in yesterday and said 'how come this is such a mess?'
'because I make messes' I told her. especially when I am working on a deadline.

the cover is from an old encyclopedia with a raised design on the front that reminded me of symbols and signs. i really like the flocked wallpapers i used as endpapers and i only sewed in the page signatures so it would be easy to remove, but i already sent my book off to cassondra, what should i do?? i am wishy-washing drastically on this one.
here are two pages from the serious book that i ripped out. they don't seem to fit any longer but i still like them.
she is titled 'creature of the night' i didn't finish her background.

here is a peek at all the wonderful goodies that came in the mail last week to get us thinking about the realm of the haunted and mysterious. this first goodie bundle is from marilyn. that face really freaked me out, i had to use it on the sugared skeleton!

here is the fun collection of black and white things from cassondra. she printed the old cabinet card photo faces onto silk.

melissa created such a fun package of patterned papers and wrapped it all up in the greatest striped tissue.

candice tied this great black skeleton man on her package. i ate the licorice caramel she tucked in first thing!

Until Later. . . . keep your eyes open for black cats and ghosties, julie


Monday, September 1

end of summer flowers

this feels like the last long weekend of summer. already i think my roses are blooming their last wave and it is getting cooler at night. the the late afternoon sunshine has that fleeting golden glow we get at the very end of summer is here. it is wonderful for taking pictures and has a light all its own.
it is a melancholy end. i will be sad to see the flowers replaced by wind blown leaves and frost. so i have gathered a few photos to last me through till spring. . .

pink taffy crocheted flowers with mint green leaf.

one of my favorite little zipper purses. the tiny pom pom is off an old hat

a note i mailed off to a friend

these beautiful wool flowers came in the mail from cassondra! her shop always inspires me and she has the best eye for lovely things.

the page 'blossoming' from a linen book i made over the winter.

aqua blue applique daisies wrapped around an old remnant card from valarie. i nearly fainted when i unwrapped the pink tissue off and saw this. . .

bundle of millinery buds, can't wait to do something with these.

wool bead ring with silver beads and a pink millinery flower. one of the projects in my book coming out in a few weeks. i got my advance copy in the mail and couldn't believe i was finally holding my book!! i took it to art group and we made felt beads. I can't wait to make some more of these rings.
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