Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Good News! Bad News! Really Good News!!!

What a post title, huh? ROFLOL! But that is how my day went... well sort of! I managed to get myself into the "doghouse" today! {I hear my sister --- "what did you do now?"} So, let me explain...

Earlier today, I was cleaning up the kitchen after fixing Don and I a light lunch. So, here I was searching through drawers for my kitchen scrubber before finally giving up and continuing to clean my microwave without it. Mumbling under my breathe about how much easier this job would be if I had it, I didn't realize that Don could hear me. OOPS! {Any other time it would be "Huh? What? You talking to me?} Anyways, Don reaches into the drawer that I just looked into, pulls out the scrubber from between two dishcloths and hands it to me. He glared at me saying, "You ought to be more observant." I was like, "No way! He did not just say that to me!" Well, my sis can attest to the fact that I can often engage my mouth before my brain, so I retorted with, "You ought to be more observant! I usually put in the drawer up from that." Needless to say, Don stomped out of the room --- if he was a girl, I know I'd have gotten "that look" complete with the hair flip before he turned to leave, LOL! Anyways, I am now cleaning the microwave with a vengeance, scrubbing the remnants of reheated vegetable soup like it is the scum of the earth. Thinking to myself {since I now know better than to mumble anything else!}, I wonder why he thinks it is okay to talk to me that way but don't I dare repeat it in the same tone of voice back to him? Then, I find myself off on a tangent of intruding thoughts about men in general and their double standards. Why is it that they think they can just blurt out anything to a woman like they do their buddies? Don't they realize our feelings are a bit more tender? Well, mine are, sometimes, and this was one of those times! So, after scrubbing the microwave, I'm feeling better, ready to put this all behind me when I almost screwed up again by laughing out loud when I though to myself, "what the hell did I expect coming from a man who cannot figure out how to turn off the timer on the stove?" Trust me, I never said another word, especially that little phrase out loud!

Afterwards, I turn into the sweetest girl on all of the earth. I need his help searching for my camera. Huhhuh? Yep, so I'm pouring on the compliments before requesting his assistance. So, now he is helping me looking for my camera. I retrace all the steps that I took with it on Monday; from unhooking it from the USB cable on my computer to handing it to my dad. What I don't remember is him handing it back to me. So, I get to wondering if while him and Don were conversing and I was attending to stirring my vegetable soup and hollering at the darn dog to stop his whining if maybe my dad just slipped it in his pocket. Now, mind you, I really didn't think that happened, but at this point, I know cameras just don't evaporate into thin air. So, I telephone my dad and I ask him about it. LOL! He doesn't even remember me handing it to him!!! Can you believe it? So, now I start second guessing myself. I did hand it to him to show him a recent picture of Alexxis, right??? Well, of course I did; Don remembers it, too. But neither one of us remember the camera's existence anytime thereafter. So, we search for it. and search some more. Now, I'm upset... and being a girl, I'm almost ready to cry from frustration. {What the hell was I thinking handing my camera over to a man in the first place???!!} We re-trace our day verbally... after Dad left, we had lunch, I escaped to the studio while Don took a nap. Guess who was let out of his crate??? Yep, yours truly = Chaos!

Then, I remember that I did find a camera battery on the living room floor after I came in to retrieve it but thought that it was one I picked up out of the studio. So, Don and I decide to move the love seat out and check under it. Cool!!! There is the other telephone handset and my calculator along with Chaos' dog toys that has been missing for a few days. Next, we're lifting up the chair. Under it is Chaos' brush, three damn dog toy bones, his newspaper toy, and MY CAMERA!!!! I'm elated we found it but I have to scold the dog! Showing the camera to Chaos, saying, "NO!" sternly, he lowers his head... Guilty as charged!!!! Looking the camera over, there isn't a scratch on it but the battery compartment is open. I search for batteries, find some, charge them up, and insert them. Turning the camera on, I get a green blinking light and no light in the viewfinder. I sat down and cried.

At this point, Don's looking at me like I have two heads but his compassion rules out. "Oh, honey! It's just a camera!" Me, now turned into a blubbering idiot, says, "You don't understand! It is more than "just a camera". It's an extension of me! How can I share my life and my art and my anything with my online friends without it? I wanted to share my studio curtains, my recently created cards, and tags, and boxes." Now, he gets it!!! Really gets it!!! He starts off by saying, "Honey, you're always telling me that we need to start saving some money. So, I have been." {{{What??? He actually listens to me???}}} "If you want to get dressed {Yes! its almost 5 p.m. and I'm still in my jammies!} we'll run over to Best Buy and get you one! and Hey! why don't you call and see if your recliner is in? We'll pick it up while we're over there." {{{Huh? Is this the same man who spoke to me earlier today? I'm really confused now!}}} Anyways, not needing to hear another word, I pick up the cell, call out of town, and inquire about the recliner. It's IN!!! It's IN!!! You close at 7 p.m.? What time is it?" Don answers, "6 o'clock" Never mind that it is a 45-55 minute drive..."We'll be there!" I reply. I'm dressed and in the truck within 15 minutes, LOL!

Needless to say, I now am the proud owner of a new studio recliner and a new digital camera!!! I had to install the old software and install the new software, set up the camera, and tomorrow I intend to start learning and capturing the photographs I promised. I want to show you my curtains that I finished sewing and hung on the bookbinding cabinet, the new artwork consisting of two cards, tags, and boxes and maybe even the "surprise" that will going inside of them. I want to show you my drawers! LOL! {Pam would understand!!!} And maybe even a photograph or two of the men in life, Don and Chaos!!! Boy, are you ever in for some treats!!!! {SMILES}

Making more progress...

On Monday, I was feeling a little out of sorts over my recent flair up of neck pain and felt totally frustrated that the healing process is so darn long! I took me a while to come back to terms with it, but I did after remembering that everything has its own time and place. To get myself back on track after returning from the chiropractors and resting a bit, I did some light housekeeping and made a huge pot of vegetable soup! Monday evening found me tying up some loose ends regarding a few of my personal accounts and I completed my taxes. While working, I got to thinking about some of the swaps and artwork that I am desiring to get to creating. That urge to create was still with me when I awoke on Tuesday morning so I decided to do a bit of research on the computer in the morning to determine what I'd create for the "Surprise in Every Box" Swap.

Do you remember the matchbox slider style of boxes that I created at Christmas? Well, I had hostessed a Handmade Christmas Mingle with a group of online friends and the recipient of my box loved it so much that she decided to host a swap based on my design! Jan's instructions were to make/alter 2 matchbox style boxes with theme/scenes inside and out. They may be created in a 3-D/shadow box type style. However the theme, size, and style are totally open to allow those of us participating to share our own creative spirit(s). Each of us will also be creating something inside the box to share with our assigned recipients. Since one of my assigned receipients is overseas, I knew I'd better get started on this soon so that I could meet the received date of February 28th, leaving at least three weeks for the mailing process.

So, I created some sketches of what I desired to create and decided I'd like to add a card and a tag like I did for the Christmas Mingle, I also knew that I needed to get out to working on getting the boxes themselves created.

Before heading out to the studio, I started plugging away once again on the bookbinding cabinet curtains. Without giving anymore thought to trying to find the elusive fabric, I laid the last curtain I made onto my cutting mat, lined up the acrylic ruler and cut it in half!!! Before I knew it, two fresh new seams had been sewn and I was out in the studio re-arranging the placement of the previously hung curtains and adding a half of this one to each side. It worked and covers the cabinet beautifully; even with a few less pleats or creases in it!

Next, I focused my attention to creating for the swap. I created two complete cards with matching tags, got the "surprises" created, and even managed to get one of the boxes assembled. As I worked, one idea lead to the other and I was really involved in the process. Deciding to call it quits for the evening, I returned to the house to grab my camera. I wanted to photograph what I had created to share here when I couldn't find my camera. I remembered last having it while my Dad was here on Monday, I had unhooked it from my computer to show him the recent pictures I had snapped of Alexxis. Well, needless to say, that is the last time I actually remember seeing it, so the search began. I have yet to locate it so I'll search some more today.

I needed to return to the studio to turn off the lights so while there I measured the cabinet drawers for my ribbon storage. {I'm desiring to line them with something since they were originally file cabinet drawers.} I, also, grabbed one of the items that I've been desiring to paint along with a foam brush and some recently purchased milk paint. Once back in the house, I sat at the kitchen table and got it painted. I love the way the milk paint stained the wooden tray. I'll capture some photographs of the cabinet, the tray, and my recent creations when I located the now elusive camera, LOL!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Exciting news!!!

A few weeks ago, while Don and I were out at dancing at the Moose, Don and I ran into Jim's brother, Steve and his date, Joann. Since Steve isn't a member of the Moose, we took them under our wing and sat with them until the couple who invited them arrived. While waiting, JoAnn and I danced while Don and Steve caught up with one another's lives.

Steve's family and Don have been friends and family as Jim and Steve's mom, Alice married Don's uncle. As childhood friends, Don and Jim always joked about being related to later having that dream fulfilled. Jim and his wife, Rosella, have been friends of Don's since, well, forever, so we weren't too surprised to be extended an invitation to celebrate Aunt Alice's {Jim & Steve's mom} 77th birthday party at Godfather's Pizza yesterday.

What I didn't know was that when we were at the Moose, Steve had informed Don that he was going to propose to JoAnn at his mother's birthday party! So, yesterday while we celebrating Aunt Alice's birthday party, having our pictures taken with family and friends, someone requested a photograph of Steve and JoAnn. As they were setting up for the photograph, Steve requested a prop, and someone from behind him handed him a single red rose in a beautiful crystal vase. Tied to the ribbons was JoAnn's engagement ring!!! Seeing the look on her face when she realized what was going on... was worth its weight in gold. Talk about surprised! And I was surprised as well... I cannot believe that Don had known this for weeks and never told me!!! We will have a wedding to attend on March 24th.

Alexxis playing....

The toy that gave both Alexxis and I so much pleasure all day Saturday.

Recent Pictures of Alexxis

Alexxis at 9 months old... She looks so serious in this photograph, LOL! She actually intently watching grammie assembling her new ride and stride toy.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Good "early" Sunday morning!

I didn't manage to make it out in the studio yesterday but I did get a lot accomplished in a short amount of time. Working around our home, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, sweeping and mopping the hardwood floors, cleaning the living room and bedroom, and even doing up a few loads of laundry in the course of three hours. By early afternoon, I was on my way to the grocery store, mainly to purchase baby food, formula, and tylenol so that I could the remainder of the day {and night!} with Miss Alexxis!

We had a great time together today; playing, crawling, singing, bouncing, coo-ing; you know all the fun things that babies love to do! The best part was all the loving and cuddling!!! Alexxis is 9 months old today and in celebration, we opened one of the remaining presents leftover from Christmas! {I purchased way more than I should have so we saved some gifts just for whenever!} Today's gift was Alexxis first ride --- a stride/ride and learning walker toy... although we didn't check out the walker part yet. She loves it! I tell you this toy does a bit of everything and is a great educational toy as well a physical/motor skills building style of toy. I has a key that turns while saying, "On, Off, and Let's Go!" A radio with a few varieties of songs. Turn signals and lights that light up and actually blink while a "clicking" noise is alternated with "right and left" while turning the steering wheel, which also features a horn that goes "beep, beep". There is a button style knob that sounds off "push and pull" as well as "lights on and lights off". There are three shaped and colored blocks that fit into the engine compartment which features a liftable lid for easy removal that sounds off "open and close" and "up and down" and as if that isn't enough, it sings "ABC"s", counts to 10, and "The wheels on the bus" song all sang in a singing style. Of course, Alexxis bounces and dances and her face lights up everytime the music comes on, LOL! {Can you tell I had a great time watching her play with it while playing with her and it?}

After dinner and cleaning up afterwards, with Don's assistance of course! We snuggled on the couch after a bath and lots of lotion! Shortly after a "power nap" we played until almost 12:30 a.m. Guess who's sleeping peacefully while grammie unwinds??? I did capture a photograph of Alexxis on her new ride which I'll upload sometime in the next several days. I'm simply too tired to mess with it right now.

Alexxis' mama will be here around 10 a.m. to pick her up tomorrow as Don and I have a birthday party to attend tomorrow at Godfather's Pizza. It will be a nice break for me not having to cook lunch as well as provide me with some time for family and friends. Life's been good! {smiles} And this girl is off to bed and ready for some sweet dreams....good night, sleep tight....

Friday, January 26, 2007

How can it be January 26th?!

The dates on the calendar are definitely closer than the appear! I cannot get over the fact that it will soon be February... so very close yet nearly a half week away! Or as the grandma in me would say, "...only four more sleeps." I am remaining hopeful that my chair will be soon be in.

Today, Don and I took a short road trip, in search of the elusive fabric. Unfortunately, I had no luck finding it. However, all is not lost, I've decided to simply cut the last remaining curtain in half and re-seam it. A few minutes of finagling the curtains around on to another curtain rod and adding one of each of the re-sewn curtain to them and all will be well again. I measured one last night, it is 50" long after sewing so cutting one in half and seaming it I should end up with 23"-24" for a grand total of 73"-74" covering a 46" area. I'll just loose a bit of the drape-y creases and fullness. Which will have to work. Afterall, the point was to hide clutter contained within and I will still be accomplishing that! {smiles}

While searching, I did pick up a yard of lovely cream and black French Toile and 2 yards of 2 different prints {$1/yd}, and two patterns for creating Miss Alexxis a few tops, crop pants, and summer dress and panties set with a pattern for a matching hat. I, also, couldn't resist purchasing a few yards of clearance trims and a few big bright buttons to enhance them a bit. I'm such a sucker, LOL!

Before I begin sewing anything, I really need to re-focus my attention back to finishing decorating and organizing the studio. While browsing today on Pam's blog I could not help but to see into her drawers. There I discovered a wonderful answer to one of my studio dilemna's... storage for rick-rack, ribbons, spools, and loose pieces. In Pam's studio, she has a wonderful vintage drawer cabinet {you can see a photograph here. I don't know if anyone will remember my rummaging around in the carport while I was remodeling, organizing, and cleaning, but I have a similar file drawer cabinet! It is a vintage find that I discovered a few years ago, then wondered if I paid too much for it, and what ever in the world will I store within it type of purchase that I recently dragged back into the studio. Well, now I know what I can store within it!!! I'll capture a photograph of it later to share.

Also, on my mind lately has been organizing my colored pencils. I think I may have mentioned that I've been saving my Campbell's soup cans to separate them by colors. Well, last night I re-read through the "Colored Pencil Solution Book" by Janie Gildow & Barbara Bendetti Newton and discovered a lot of cool tips on setting up a colored pencil studio that I can incorporate into my own studio. Not that it will exclusive to colored pencils, just that I am desiring to utilize them more than I currently am. So, I made a few quick notes on index cards to get me on track when I'm ready to accomplish that. However, once I got into reading that book, I couldn't put it down. I read again on designing a great composition using principles of design and elements. It is one of the best that I have ever came across and was like a breath of fresh air. I believe there are some that I want to try once I get back into rubber stamping soon.

And speaking of stamping soon, I really need to get back into the studio to do just that! I have two matchbox boxes with a surprise inside that I've got to get created and sent postal very, very soon. The sands of time is beginning to gently fall into the bottom of the hourglass.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Some "whimsical" fun...

Today, I decided to experiment a bit with my sewing machine. Not really having anything in mind to create, this is what I came up with. At first, I thought about creating a fabric banner, aka Fanciful Banner...Pam Garrison style, however, as I stitched, sewed, added to, and distressed the fabric one thing lead to another until I ended up with this whimsical bag. Now, I'm thinking I may just have to create a whimsical triangular journal and co-ordinating softie to fit inside. {{{The bag is actually flat and double-sided, I just poofed out to photograph it, LOL!}}}

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


This would be just my luck! I just returned from WalMart. I discovered while I was there that the fabric I'd love to have more of, is no longer available. It seems someone else loved the $2 price tag just as much as I did and purchased the entire remaining bolt. Oh bother!

I guess now I have to come up with a few other options. Search various Walmart's to see if they have it in stock per chance {although the dye lots may be a little different}, cut one of the sewed up curtains in half and re-seam both sides leaving an opening for the cafe style curtain rod and divide in half per each side of the cabinet, or sew up four more curtains in another fabric. Decisions, decisions...

Had I not had so much shrinkage with the fabric, I would have had enough. Losing 18" on 4 yards is quite I lot, I think, but then I'm not an expert especially with fabric, LOL! I, also, could have probably gotten by using the 18" scrap section had I not recovered the pillow and created the table topper, but then who would have guessed it would have sold out so quickly? Oh well....... maybe I'll get lucky yet and find some elsewhere. I am not going to lose hope that easy!!!! I am certain there is a solution that I can live with... I just need to determine what that is.... LOL!

Do you see this???

Can you believe it? I not only got the fabric washed, dried, and pressed, but I created two of the curtains for the bookbinding cabinet. I have enough fabric for one more curtain and a scrap piece of 45"x18". Talk about shrinking!!! But that is okay; I'm heading to WalMart to purchase more. Another yard and a half for my next curtain to finish the bookbinding table and possibly another 2 1/2" yards to create a few for the center island! I'm still thinking I'd like to do a matching pillow... the scrap above would make for a nice table runner.

Anyways, I am so stoked! I created these without a pattern and what little sewing experience that I have!!! Not bad, not bad at all!!! {{{big smiles}}}

***********************Edited to add*************************************************

I created the third curtain, use approximately half of the scrap piece to recover a 15" pillow I had laying around, and the remaining fabric is hemmed on all four sides for use as a table topper. I think I may just add a couple of small tassels to it and use it on the top of antique wood file drawers. I cannot believe that I accomplished all of these in 3 1/2 hours! Whoooo-hooo!!!!

Back in the Studio...

As of today, I have completed: cutting the 1x4x10 boards and gotten them adhere to the center island, the cove base has been adhered, the curtain rods have been added to the front of the bookbinding cabinet; and my recently purchased fabric for the curtains is in the dryer drying! Soon, I'll press it and begin cutting 4 - 1 yd. sections for the panels.

I may just have to make another run to WalMart, Don thinks I should add one to the inside of the center island. I have to admit that might be nice. I can always push and tie it back to one side when I'm actually that area. We'll see....

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Fabric for curtains

I believe this is light enough to add some contrast to the bookbinding cabinet and the print is pretty, pulling a bit of the wall color and the countertops on the center island back once again into the room. Simple, yet effective.
Yesterday we managed to get the 1x4x10 board cut to length and adhere to the base of the center island before we ran into another problem. It seems the adhesive that I picked up to attach the cove base is too big to fit into the chauking gun. Should have grabbed two of the smaller size, hey? That's okay, we can work on something else... Using the extension cord that I purchased, I plugged it into the wall socket behind the bookcase, run it down the wall, acrossed the floor to the bookbinding table, plug in the showcase lights, and viola! One of the bulbs is burnt out! Remove it, lay it one the stamp table beside the cove base adhesive to be taken back and then, decide to call it a day! LOL!

Inside the house, I attempt to replace the ceiling fan globes. Easy enough job for a woman to complete, huh? You'd think so... That is IF you picked up the right size globes in the first place, LOL! Rewrapping them up in the bags they came in to return them, this time for the right ones!!!

While in the kitchen, my mind turns towards making us some lunch or an very early dinner. I whipped up a tuna noodle casserole complete with a layer of cheese and crunched up Ballrich potatoe chips. YUM! While that is cooking on the stove to be poured into the casserole dish for melting the cheese, I figure if I need the oven on , I might as well whip up a cake! So, we had a nice white cake with whipped vanilla frosting for dessert.

After eating, cleaning the kitchen again, I settled in to watch "Be Original" and fell asleep on the couch for several hours. I must have needed it as I awoke feeling a bit more vibrant and lively. I continued to spent the evening lounging and relaxing, figuring my body knows best.

This morning involved a trip to the chiro, then off to Lowes to return and replace the above mentioned items. While out that way, Don asked again about the curtains that I desire to create for the bookbinding cabinet, so on a whim, we decide to check for fabric at WalMart. I found several fabrics that would work well, then spotted a bolt of home decor fabric that I love! The good news is that it was on sale for $2 a yard!!! I also discovered some decorative trim that will work well with the curtains and it was also on sale for $1.36/yd. So, just under $12, and I will be on my way to sewing up some curtains soon. Who knows, maybe I'll even design a matching pillow, but first, its back to adhering the cove base!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Just a list to keep me on track...

Cut the 1x4x10 boards to length for center island.
Adhere cove base to center island and bookbinding cabinet.
Install curtain brackets and rods to bookbinding cabinet.

Finish organizing {loose odds and ends}:
Stickers and diecuts in P/S/B; and alpha stickers and rub-ons in crate.
Stamping cabinet: Add dowel rods for Iris drawers. Organize stamps, inks, and re-inkers. {Place ink pads in acrylic tray for portability.}
Variety of mediums: PVA, Modge Podge, Gel Mediums, etc.
Place loose embellishments in embellishment containers.

Office area:
Change Monitors. Install software for POS & Scanner. Hook up Printer and add ink.

Studio update and various thoughts...

Don and I made it to Lowe's yesterday to purchase the majority of the supplies needed to finish up my studio. Sometime today, I am hoping he will assist me with cutting two 1x4x10's to length for trimming the base of the center island and adding the cove base to it. We will need to create a notch in one board the runs along the front, just enough to run the extension cord through for the showcase lighting. I did pick up another extension cord and the duct tape I needed to do this.

I was unable to find glass shelving except in bathroom fixtures and unfortunately, those aren't the width I desire. I may have to resort to desiging my own using shelf brackets and having the glass cut to size; although I was prefering a safer edge to avoid getting cut. Using plexi-glass may even be an option. I believe I'll look around for awhile before making any decisions, you never know when you may stumble across something that will work better than you expected.

I, also, purchased the cafe style curtain rods for covering my bookbinding table, but didn't make it to JoAnn's to purchase fabric. I figured I have spent enough recently and it would be awhile before I could actually focus on sewing them up, so I'm waiting to purchase it. I really have no clue what type or style of fabric to use! I guess I'll just have to wing that one, wait for JoAnn's to put their home decor fabrics back on sale for 50% {I just missed the one this previous week...} and look then. We will probably make a trip to Polaris as the JoAnn's there offers a lot more selection than our local store does. Maybe I'll be able to find something nice on clearance.

I cannot get over the fact that it's the 22nd already! This month has flown by... I need to start focusing on creating my trinket and treasures for the Matchbox style swap soon. I am a bit stumped on what to create for putting inside the boxes, although several ideas are beginning to flow. So, I'll be focusing my attention on that swap while I wait for the verdict on the Gothic Arch swap regarding the template size.

I also need to get back to creating Birthday, Thank you's, and Thinking of You cards soon. It would be nice to get another three months created; that would get through to July.

One thing that I have discovered while cleaning, purging, sorting, and organizing the studio is that I have supplies for projects on hand! Probably more than I will have time to create, LOL! I believe before I do start anything new, other than these two swaps I've currently got going, I'll tackle some of the staining and painting of the crates, boxes, and trays that I set aside for organing and get my stamp cabinet re-organized. It is a complete disaster! These things should keep me occupied and out of trouble for the next several weeks! {wink}

In the evening, I turned my attention to cleaning our home! For the most part, we've managed somehow to keep up with it all. With Don's help, of course. Anyways, I knocked out the kitchen and bath, while Don finished a load of laundry I started and vacuamed for me. What a man!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

After creating the Gothic Arch and cleaning up afterwards, I returned to the house and spent my late afternoon and evening simply relaxing! It has been awhile since I have had an opportunity to do just that. I even declined an opportunity to have Alexxis overnight as I needed some "Me" time.

It is snowing in Ohio today; we've probably an inch so far and the fine, white, fluffy stuff is still falling. Perfect for spending another day indoors, although I do need to venture out but only a trip to our local Lowe's. I ordered three new white globes a week or so ago for our rear kitchen ceiling fan and have yet to make it out to see if they've came in. I also have a supply list of a few items I need to pick up to continue working on the studio. Duct tape for taping the electrical wiring to the showcase onto the floor, check for options available for adding a few shelves to the interior of the piece, a board to cap off the underside of the showcase, and cove base. Mainly, it is just little odds and ends, that will put some final touches into the space.

I may travel across town to check out JoAnn's Fabric for fabric for curtains for my bookbinding table. Although, I've yet to measure the area that I have to cover and look at how I can attach the cafe style curtain rods. And I've yet to completely reorganize the stamping cabinet. Can you where my thoughts are? Yep... in the home stretch of finishing what I've started! At least I'm staying focused, LOL!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

My first artwork since the remodel began....

When I first saw a link to this Gothic style arch, I instantly knew that I wanted in this swap! Although at first, I was a little intimidated by its shape, I quickly put that notion in the back of my mind. A friend of mine shared her rendition using Michelle Ward's line of Green Pepper Press images, I was truly inspired. Not owning any of Michelle's images although I have coveted them for some time, I decided to visit her Green Pepper Press website. I was once again inspired, especially by one of her images, "Blackbird singing in the dead of the night" which reminded me of yet another song... Simon and Garfunkle's Sound of Silence. So, I got into Microsoft Word, googled the lyrics, and pasted them in, played with text until I got it how I wanted it and finagled it around from there to fit the arch.

Next, I was stumped for images. I could go through my own stash but before I head to the studio, I decided to do another internet search for Gothic style artwork. It was then that I spotted the Madonna and Child images and instantly knew that was what I desired to use! Another google search led me to this one and although on a porcelain box it worked since I only needed it to be 2D! After chosing the image, I remembered that I had a rubber stamp that has the hands of creation in it and I though it would be cool stamped on a transparency and used within the piece along with some gold heat embossed swirls.

Once the idea was there, the rest, as they say was history. I couldn't work fast enough to get this assembled and I love the results. The gold tinsel was the perfect touch, agree?

From the carport entrance...

Looking into my studio... directly in front of my office area and in line with the bookbinding cabinet. This is another angle taken to show just how much space there is actually for were my new leather recliner will be going. Its placement will be between the center island and my stamping table with room to access the bookbinding cabinet.

They rolls of indoor/outdoor carpeting will be stored in the carport and my mop bucket will be stored once again in the entrance leading upstairs. I pulled it out as I am intending to give the space a good mopping. The rug was laid out to remove any of the wrinkles in it from being rolled up in the store.

The additional pictures, I promised...

In this photograph, I am standing directly at the NW corner of the studio, aiming across the bookbinding cabinet toward the entrance door. This photograph provides you with a clear shot of the inside of the center island. As you can see, I have plenty enough room for the leather recliner to sit on the rug and will have room to walk around it on all four sides. I am a bit uncertain at this point if I will be moving my card cabinet {a recycled VHS cabinet} to use as a side table or if I may search or end up creating my own... basically, I only need room for a cup of coffee or a cold drink while taking a break from creating to enjoy my space!

Friday, January 19, 2007

It is finally coming together!

I have some sorting, purging, organizing left to do but to date I am so very satisfied with the progress that I am making. In just a few days it will be three weeks that I have dedicated towards working to create the studio of my dreams.

Over the course of the ten years that I have now been creating within the Paper/Book/ and Mixed Media Arts, I've learned several things: that things evolve! Supplies grow, storage options are outgrown, tastes change, interests change... I have learned a lot in that amount of time and I am looking forward to incorporating the skills, the knowledge, and the techniques that I have learned into my artwork. I'm certain that there is more on the horizon.... but for now, I am simply grateful that I have been blessed with so much! Now to start living up to it! This reminds of that old saying, "To whom much is given, much is expected." or something of that nature. It feels good to be in control, to be responsible, and to take care of what I've acquired.

I'm looking forward, with anticipation, as soon I will be working again, creating the artwork that I so love. To sort of celebrate, I recently signed up for a few small swaps. One is a "Surprise in a Box" sort of a spin off of my altered matchboxes that I created at Christmas. I have two to create for some very dear to my heart online friends. Another is more of Mixed Media collage style artwork swap, in which I will be experimenting with a fun Gothic style arch shape. For this one I will be created four of them and am looking forward to digging through some of my own ephermera for photographs to have copied to design with --- now that I can find them!

I am hopeful that I will maintain the balance that I've recently established. Be able to share my artwork, create for myself and others, will fulfilling some of my own dreams in the process. One of those is to create more item to sale locally. Wish me luck with that endeavor! I'll let you know how that goes when it happens.

I have 2 more photos to share...

unfortunately, I am unable to access my ACDSee software at this time to adjust the brightness and resize the photos. One is my new center island taken from my behind my bookbinding cabinet and looking outward towards the door. The other was taken from the doorway near my office area looking into the space. In these pictures you can see a few of my new purchases for the space. Don ran over to Gabriel Brother's and Michael's today while I worked in the studio, finishing cleaning and begining the organizing process. I think he was worried someone would purchase the rug out from under me, LOL! as all I've heard is... "You should have gotten it!" He also made a quick jot into Michael's to purchase me four more of the Iris Paper Holders since I only grabbed one before realize just how handy they'd be for me. Upon his return, I worked on filling them up... One with alphabet stickers, sheets of rub on's; another with paper, stickers, diecuts, ect. that I've purchased for Alexxis's scrapbook. The others were used mainly for printed papers that I use the most often... vintage and graphic style. I did fill one with stickers, diecuts, ect. that will later be going into my CIS PSB since I recently sorted and purged through it giving my daughter, Amber a lot of supplies to play with!

The showcase section of the center island...

This is looking in to the right from the door as you enter my studio. The cabinet to the left is the showcase cabinet that I am desiring to add two 12" wide and 28" long glass shelves to. Glass will allow the lights to shine through so that some of my smaller pieces of artwork can be displayed on them, while larger handmade books can fill the bottom.

Unfortunately, I do not have electrical access to this area although there is an outlet behind the bookcases. I'm thinking I'll run an extension cord and duct tape it to the floor since the lights will not always be in use. This will also allow me some access for doing some additional art techniques such as heat embossing or soldering glass slides.

The bottom of the center island will eventually be capped off and cove base added to dress this up a bit more. Thankfully, cove base isn't expensive --- I need 28' feet of it!!!

A section of the center island and stamping area...

This photographed was taken while I am standing in my office area looking outward into the creative space. There is still a lot of supplies that need to be organized although I have also made a huge dent in things. You can see a few piles of things that need to be sorted through. When these are done along with the stamping cabinet, hopefully, they will all fit in there!

This is the area behind my bookbinding cabinet. Remember all the boxes and supplies piled everywhere? Well, this what I am currently down to dealing with. The other picture is a close up view of what remains. One box is styrofoam cups/plates left over from the baby shower, another is a box of scrap paper that will be dealt with very soon!

Several other boxes of various supplies... I'm sorting through, grouping like items together and considering my storage options for. These may have to be purge through as I sort; although I am considering packing some things such as my tins to be altered up until I am actually desiring to alter them. I am also going to look at what I have an excess of and offer them as some RAK's to some wonderful ladies that I have swapped with for years. I believe I'd be happier if I'd simplify these things a bit.

More Studio Pics!!!

This is my newly revised office area. There will be some additional changes to it soon as I will be swapping out the computer monitor for the touch screen monitor and installing the point of sale system on the computer's hard drive. This will allow me to inventory all the supplies that I have for sale, print off bar codes, and use a bar code to remove items from my inventory as they sale. I'm looking into Quicken Quickbooks to assist with the financial and bookkeeping end of things. I'd love to purchase a computized cash drawer for assisting me further. One day, when the time is right all these tools will assist me to be where I desire to be! Gotta love that!!!

On the right mid-section of the photograph is a few of the trays, crates, and accessories that I am desiring to paint and/or stain yet. I placed them there to keep them separate while I photographed different areas of the space.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Back to the Studio...

As of tonight, the studio is approximately 80% cleaned! And do I ever feel it! Most of the day was spent washing the slatwall and walls down --- up and down off the ladder. I re-arranged several of the slatwall shelving once I was out of the office area. Leaving a large gap in the middle, I stair-stepped them on both sides for displaying some of my artwork.

Afterwards, I began grouping like supplies together for organizing further. The re-organization will take me the longest. I, also, made a list of items that I would need to assist with that and to complete the final touches. I was so happy when I went through my bookbinding cabinet to be able to cross four 3/4" dowel rods off that list as I was desiring to cut them to the needed length for adding another six drawers from an Iris cart into my stamp cabinet. Using my handy miter box, I managed to get them cut. Tomorrow they will be installed within the cabinet.

I am also hopeful to get the frames for my new pictures sanded and ready to be painted. I came across a variety of wooden crates in various sizes that I would love to paint and/or stain, along with another wooden tray --- similar to one I decoupage using vintage style scrapbook papers a few years ago. Those have been placed in near my new center island for working on as time allows. All in all, it was a great day! I got a lot accomplished! I promise to grab my camera, first thing in the morning, charge the batteries and snap some photographs. I think you'll be amazed at the transformation. I know I growing with anticipation of finally being done!!! {smiles}

On a sad note...

We lost our beloved, Jordan Wednesday night. (For anyone new to visiting, Jordan, was our cat of 14+ years). We last saw him as we were loading Alexxis and her carseat into the truck to return her home safely to her mommy. Jordan, aka Escort, always appear upon our doorstep shortly after Don's truck arrived in the driveway and would walk with us up to the door of our home.

Shortly after Don returned home, we heard a knock upon our door. After getting Chaos into his crate, we answered it to see our neighbor, Melissa, holding a blanket she'd so lovingly laid Jordan within. He had been hit by a car. With tears in her eyes, Melissa said, "I believe your cat was just hit." Grief-stricken, Don cried, "Not, Jordan." Shortly after we buried him our back yard.

Jordan has blessed our lives in so many little ways. Always there to escort us home, meow when he was hungry for food or attention, and you have never met a more lovable soul. I so loved his long yellow hair and have many memories of him chasing butterflies in the meadow behind our home. That is what I imagine for him, carefree, chasing butterflies across the meadows in heaven. We miss and love you, Jordan. Always and Forever.

Today is the day...

I get back to the studio cleaning and re-organization...but first a catch up of my last several busy days.

On Tuesday, I watched Alexxis. Spent the entire day from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. with her. When she first arrived, I had a battle on my hands re-establishing "personal space" between Alexxis and Chaos. Chaos instantly becomes a gentle giant every time "the baby" arrives. At first, it is fun to watch him as he sniffes and pokes his nose towards her attempting to smell every part and crevice of her... for all of about 30 seconds. As you have Alexxis who reaches and attempts to grab, claw, bite, and crawl over Chaos. It takes constant monitoring of both of them for awhile until those bounderies are established and respect is gained for one another's space. After that Chaos is the "hall monitor" content with laying nearby, ready to fetch a fallen toy at a moments notice and to investigate any strange and unusual noises coming from the baby. That is until a squeal of delight startles him, LOL! Having a bit too much excitement for Grandma to handle, Chaos soon gets banned to the tree outside for a while.

Afterwards, it is fair game exploring Grammies house and everything goes! From crawling under endstands to venturing off into adjoining rooms alone. It is fun to watch Alexxis' face as she begins to recognize her surroundings once again. I swear, she can crawl at the speed of light, maneuvering around and up on everything! As we settle in for the day filled with eating, diapering, playing, snuggling, and napping, life is good! However, it doesn't take me long to realize that Alexxis is suffering from "an identity crisis" not her own but what to call me. A constant reminder that I am "Grandma" not "Mommy" is rewarded at the end of the day by "Gee-ma!" She is too sweet!!!

Yesterday, I received a telephone call from my dad informing he won't be making it over today to sand down and smooth the top of a piece of slatwall that we used to cap off one end of my cabinet as he needs a tool from my brother. So we decide to head to Mansfield for the day. A trip into Michael's, where I was good, picking up only a few item not on my list. I stocked up on 15/$1 foam brushes, 4 pkgs. of 250 count adhesive squares, and my on-a-whim purchase of A 12x12 Iris paper organizer. I have a feeling I will soon wish that I had grabbed a few more of those. Oh well, there maybe a next time... From there we ventured into Gabriel Brothers, in search of a few things, socks for Alexxis, and a rug for my studio. We found both, although I didn't purchase the rug as I was uncertain of the color. Once home again for the night, I wished I would have. A small lunch/dinner at Fazioli's. On the way home, we stopped and visited with Sheila and Dennis for a few hours.

Arriving home, Don tends to Chaos's needs as I settle in for the night, when the telephone rings. Answering it, I hear Don saying, "Your dad was here!" meaning he somehow managed to get the sander from my brother and has sanded off the necessary section of slatwall!" Yeah! So, shortly the cleaning spree begins....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Today was spend running errands and resting. While I was out, I received a message that my new recliner may not be in until January 31. It would be easy to feel a bit let down, but on the brighter side, I'm thinking that may provide me with just enough time to complete the cleaning and finish the remaining organization. At least it won't be in my way while I am working to finish up! {smiles... one less thing to consider...}

I went to bed early this evening, actually falling asleep around 9 p.m. while I was watching TV in my bedroom. I woke an hour or so ago, wide awake. My mind instantly began reeling with what has yet to be done. I'll have Alexxis with me part of the day tomorrow so I could just take an additional day before starting in again. Either way, I'll need to start by cleaning. There is sawdust everywhere, although Don did use the shop vac to vacuam up most of the floor. I'm thinking another 8 hours spent in there will make a entire world of difference. By then, I should have something accomplished so I can post some new photographs --- perhaps of the center island?

I really believe that I am going to find that area so useful! The height is perfect for standing and working at; while a bar stool could always be added later, if I desire one. The showcase countertop is wide enough for an adequate work surface, while the other cabinet is going to provide me with a lot storage for tools and supplies that are used frequently.

The thoughts and ideas for the space are begin to flow, regarding what and where I will use and store there. I thinking a piece of vinyl shelf lining for use under my rotary trimmer and it could basically stay right there on the showcase counter. That would provide me with nice cutting and pasting surface to work upon.

There are two cubbies in the other cabinet that could be utilized for storing the rotary trimmer, when it's not in use. The other could be a great spot for mailing supplies for swaps and things. I did put the shelf in the cabinet before we moved the two together forming the "L' shape. I'm hoping my 3 drawer organizers holding adhesives will fit without requiring any adjustments. I'm thinking I should have measured them, LOL! Oh well... a little late for that now.

I did start creating a list of some of the supplies that I'd like a bit more of and those that should be replaced soon... adhesives, foam brushes, paintbrushes, ect. I may be able to catch some of them on sale.

When my mind isn't on the organizing, it is filled with decorating ideas! Things I'd like to create, some I'd like to replace... like the piece of indoor/outdoor carpeting. I think I'd prefer a nice tweed or some textured rug; some nice fabric to create some curtains for the bookbinding table. But for now, those will have to wait. I am definately getting the horse before the cart again, LOL! Although, it is nice to think things through just a bit. {wink}

Monday, January 15, 2007


I created this in response to an ATC challenge in a Yahoo Group. The challenge is to create ATC's in the form of an art journal. I choose the word "Balance" for my art journal today as I am finding that there really is a very fine line between all aspects of my physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental capabilities, especially as I struggle to create and organize my studio. I have worked on an off in an art journal over the course of several years, so I took a twist with this challenge and created it with what supplies I had available to me. I think I'll use this in a page within my art journal and create a matching ATC later when I have the supplies available to me.
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Today's agenda...

* chiropractor appointment *

Then, off to the studio! I am so pleased with the progress that I am making that I am not ready to take a day off --- not just yet! Tomorrow, however, will be a different story as I will be watching dear little Alexxis to provide her other grandma a well-deserved break! I've offered many times to keep Alexxis a few days out of the week since I know all to well what a handful she can be to keep up with. However, I assure you it is a pleasure not a chore at all! So there will plenty of time to rest and relax then. I can get back to the studio in the evening after she has returned home to time spend time with Mommy.

I'd like to also share a major accomplishment that Alexxis recently made. I am afraid that if I don't share it here, I'll forget about it and I really desire to scrapbook this, so here goes...

Amber had given Alexxis a bath and handed her off to Chris to get her into her pj's for the night while she took her own shower. Chris took Alexxis to the living room, lathers her in lotion, diapers her, and gets her comfy into her duckie pj's. Thinking he'd surprise Amber if he could get her settled in for the night before she made it out of the shower, he fixes Alexxis a bottle. After several attempts of trying to get Alexxis to drink it and about half way through, Alexxis was having no part of the "settle the baby down for the night." She was far to interested in the toys scattered about the living room. So, Chris attempts to entertain her and still attempts to get her to finish the bottle, so he tells Alexxis, "...and the little duckie goes "Quack.Quack." for its ba-ba..." Alexxis looks at him like he has two heads. Deciding not to give up, Chris repeats himself, "...and the little duckie goes "Quack.Quack." for its ba-ba..." Alexxis pushes the bottle away. Chris laughs and attempts it again.. "and the little duckie goes "Quack.Quack. for its ba-ba..." only this time, Alexxis throws her hand up, pushing the bottle away, struggling to sit up. She looks up at Chris and in a serious tone of voice, says, "Quack.Quack." and continues to struggle to get on the floor where the good toys are. ROFLOL!

Up until this point, Alexxis daily vocabulary has been little words, "DaDa; MaMa; and BaBa" Just as plain as day and totally out of the blue comes, "Quack. Quack." The next day, Amber is telling me this on the telephone, Alexxis is playing with her toys on the floor, and she hears Mommy saying this... so here it comes... "Quack. Quack." over and over and over again. LOL! She is so adorable!

Also, hey! I have to brag --- she's my first grandchild! --- Alexxis is very independent. At a little over 8 months old, she now crawls down the hallway to her nursery to go play with her toys in her room. She will stay there for over an hour, playing all alone. Of course, Mommy checks in on her often and will just watch her while peeking her head around the corner of the doorway. And of course, Grandma cannot wait to share in some of the excitement of spending time with her and her sunshining disposition tomorrow!

Well, I'm outta here... gotta go get ready for my day. More to come soon...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hip, Hip, Hooray!!!!

My cabinets are completed! After spending approximately 7 hours working on them; cutting, measuring, cutting, flipping them over and over again, to finially positioning them in there current spot and shimming them to obtain a level work surface to avoid my unlevel concrete floor--- The work is done!!!

Now, I am waiting for the dust to settle, so that the paper racks, bookcases, ect. can be uncovered and the studio cleaned completely top to bottom. I am so loving the new space with new work surfaces and storage for all those items that I need close at hand. It won't be long before I will be putting the final touches on the organizing process and begin to finish up the decorating.

I am thinking some fabric curtains on my bookbinding table and on the new cabinet... something that I can slide to one side while working and close when not in use to avoid some of the visual clutter. I am believing the fabric will add a nice soft contrast to the all the wood and the concrete flooring --- although I will be adding in one of the two rolls of outdoor carpeting to soften it up a bit. I'll take some additional photographs soon, I promise! I am simply happy that I have set a goal to achieve this and have stuck with it. It promises to be a wonderful place to create.
I spent the day yesterday relaxing and resting. I enjoyed cooking a homemade dinner for Don & I and made the necessary preparations for putting a roast in the oven for dinner today.

Friday night, I took a tumble. Returning from the Moose, Chaos exited the house as Don opened to the door to go in, he came to greet me before doing a 360 and running across the road into our neighbor's yard. I managed to stay calm and went after him. Just as I got ahold of his collar and was making my way back home, I'm uncertain if he tried to bolt again or if I simply lost my footing in the wet grass, but either way, I landed on my rear right in the gutter at the side of the road. LOL! Yep! I was soaked from head to foot, and thankfully, only managed to get a bit bumped and bruised up. Unfortunately, my left hand didn't fair so well. I got quite a scrap on the palm of my hand and I think it probably could have used a stitch or two. Anyways, I picked myself up, made my way safely back home, into the restroom to get out my soaking wet attire, got my hand cleaned up, and myself into my pj's.

Yesterday, I noticed it appeared that I had something embedded in the palm of my hand, so I tried unsuccessfully to remove it. Being too tender to really mess with, I continued cleaning it frequently throught the day. This morning, however, was a entirely different story... it is definately infected. So, I had to perform a minor surgerical operation on it. Thank God for my medical assisting experience, I sterilize everything and had to lance it back open, do a debriment, and then cleanse it good. It is wrapped up with a betadine pad and gauze now to keep anything else from effecting it and if there is no improvement by tomorrow I'll be adding a visit the my doctor's office for additional treatment and an antibiotic.

Today's agenda, with Don's assistance get the roast put in the oven while work out in the studio again. My parents will be arriving shortly to begin working on the newest installment of cabinetry. I'm thinking I'll prep the area from all the dust and get to work on sorting some things out. As I work, I want to start a list of items that I need to address storage solutions for, access what I have available for use so that I am only purchasing exactly what I need. I have a few ideas in mind... using soup cans to store and separate my color pencils, stain and paint some existing storage items, ect. So, it is still a work in process but one that I am loving! I'll share some more as we continue to work on the space... and hopefully have some photographs to share with these thoughts and ideas.

Until then, take care of yourself and I hope you are working to achieve one of your goals, if not resting up and making time for family and friends. See ya....

Friday, January 12, 2007

What a day!

I hope you enjoyed being on this journey with me and that you will continue following along on the journey along with me. I cannot promise that there won't be a few bumps in the road along the way, but I will promise you that it will be a great ride!

Some of the additional progress that I made while organizing, sorting, purging, the office area workbench and shelving above. You can see I did make a little progress removing some of the boxes from behind the bookbinding area!

Also, before I decided to call it a night, I had to do something creative! So, I got out the miter box and cut the frames for all three of my new prints that will eventually be hung within the space. {I'm not showing you those until the final reveal!!! {*sticking out my tongue*} You are just going to have to wait and see as things continue to take place here! LOL! {Just like me...}

Oh, and before I forget to mention it, my dad is coming over Sunday morning to begin making the necessary adjustments to the cabinet for me!!! YES!!! Can you tell that I am totally flipping here? If I continue working next week, like I worked this entire week, I should have the studio in tip-top shape before my leather recliner comes in on Wednesday; although I may just wait to pick it up on Thursday afternoon --- depending upon how much I get finished up in the meantime. Anyways, it will be just in time, so that I can finish my organizing and start working on my next art swap and get back to some actual card making and artwork!!!

This has definately been a major undertaking for me. I know that once the remainder of the room looks as good as my stamping area does now, I will be so much more happier here. Although, when I think about it, I believe my first priority should be a well earned nap inside the newly revamped studio!!! Don't you agree???

More of the workbench...

and the bookbinding area as I continued to work to clean and organize top and bottom.

The slatwall shelving in the office area...

This is some of the progress that I made today! I lowered the shelving on the slatwall and removed another large section of shelving along it. I did some of the re-organizing of these shelves and the workbench cabinets below. A lot of the piles you see on the computer cabinet and bookcases in the front of the photograph is artwork, books, and items that have yet to be sorted. Now you can see why I'm organizing! LOL!

This is the workbench...

located along the west wall and in the office area of of my studio. It is the one that had the long 8' shelf that kept falling on me due to not enough supports. I worked today clearing it completely out, hanging brackets and shelving to rework this space.

The concrete block that you see here, is actually the studio footer. Remember before this was my studio, it was once Don's two car garage! I was right about at this point earlier today when I took the break and posted my previous comments. A lot of the shelving on the slatwall in this area was lowered and also re-vamped today. You can see more of that process in the next photograph.

Behind the bookbinding cabinet...

was this assorted mess! Boxes upon boxes of supplies, fixtures, and shelves. LOL! I'm am happy that when I look at this viewed on the computer screen, you really cannot tell that those boxes are actually several feet deep!!!

The sheets and the black table cover on the bookbinding area are used to keep the dust down and off of the majority of my supplies. I've used the table cover on my bookbinding area for over a year now to reduce the visual clutter in the space. They will one day be replaced with either wooden door fit into the sliding tracks or a cafe style rod and curtains to provide some softness to the space.

The bookbinding area and the workbench area....

are covered with supplies that need sorted through and a place for them to be fully utilized. I have to admit that trying to sort through them has been quite the challenge as I can only work in the office area currently. Any supplies that will be going into the long cabinet have to be stored elsewhere until the countertop and the cabinet cuts are made. So, today I focused my attention to the office area and the workbench storage area below. A lot of boxes that were piled up behind the bookbinding area {that you'll see in the next photograph} have been organized into this newly organized space. Also, let me just issue a disclaimer now, I am a one woman team, LOL! Please don't expect too much of a miracle as I show you these next several pictures. But hey! It is all progress!!! {*smiles*}

My Studio Office area....

taken when I entered the studio first thing this morning. Here are the piles of supplies that were moved while completing the remodel of the stamping area and off of the tables that used to be in the center of the room. Every square inch of available space was utilized!

This is the interior views of both cabinets. The smaller space that you see on the left side of the cabinet of the left is the actual space plus an inch or two that I will be losing once the position of the cabinets are reversed within the space. You can also see that there is just enough room on the backside of the second showcase cabinet to set a barstool style of chair behind this countertop for an additional work surface. The holes created previously for electrical components to be ran through to the cabinets will be recovered using a cove base vinyl.

The showcase cabinet...

This is the showcase cabinet. The area in the front extends approximately half way into the actual width of the cabinet and there are two lights inside the cabinet for display purposes.

Once the previously shown cabinet ends have been removed, both pieces will be rectangular. Their positions within the studio space will actually be reversed from what you see here. One end on this cabinet will be capped; while the other will tuck up against the interior of the previously one shown. You can actually see the small amount of storage space that I'll be loosing in the next picture.

What a difference a day makes...

Or maybe I should have titled this post, "TGIF!" LOL! Either way, what a day it has been! The photograph above was taken first thing this morning as I entered the studio. It shows one of the cabinets. You can see one of the weird angles that I was trying to describe before. This angle will be cut off so that the two cabinets can form an "L" within the studio space. The space there is sort of "dead" space anyways and is is unusable. The piece of glass on top is one of two of the other cabinets showcase doors, but in this photograph sort of references where the cabinet will be cut. The end will be capped with a piece of slatwall so that the finish of the cabinet is consistent with the the finish on both pieces.

Taking a "short" break...

to sit, relax, have a cuppa of coffee...Per Daria's request, LOL, I took some additional photographs when I entered the studio this morning. You will soon be able to see the "stacks and piles" of supplies that I am currently dealing with. I needed to set up a table for a temporary work space so I would not be using the tops of the cabinets and I could keep them accessible should my dad shows up to begin cutting them down.

Anyways, I had to finagle some items around just to get into the office area of my studio to begin working. I cleared everything out of the bottom of my workbench cabinet that runs the majority of the length of the west wall. Then, I was able to remove the troublesome shelf that has been falling on and off over the course of the last several years. In its place, I am using slatwall shelving brackets and the extra shelves that I have.

Next, I even sat down and sketched out a diagram of the workbench cabinetry, so I could dedicate certain areas along the wall for certain purposes. My office area within the range of the computer and bookcases in the front of it, another area for additional storage to be determined yet, and the opposite end is where more of my scrapbook supplies are stored --- 8 1/2" x 11 papers, albums, page protectors, Sizzix and alphabets, ect.

Once I had established the desired number of doors that will form my boundaries for each area, I started working on the office area. That is where I am continuing to focus my attention at the present time. Unfortunatley, when you are dealing with one area that functions multi-purposely, it is an on-going process! I am certain I will run across some office supplies in various spaces throughout the room; however, I am making progress.

I, also, received some great news a little bit ago. I will be getting a point of sale program installed into my studio computer! This will allow me to inventory all my "for sale/retail" items, set price codes, price each item, and inventory as it is sold!!!! I will also be able to keep a separate inventory of the artwork that I've been creating and selling locally and/or online should I ever decide in the future to venture into that area. Another possiblity is even setting up at local and not so local craft circuits. However, for now, I've one thing that needs my attention before any of the this to take place --- getting organized! I suppose that means my break is over! LOL! Back to work with a bigger incentive to do it right the first time!!!! {*smiles*}

It's back to the studio day...

Even though I spend last night barely being able to move due to being stiff and sore from all that I moved yesterday, I'm heading out again! Only this time I am taking a few Advil before I go.

I posted a couple before and after photographs on 2P's website so that others could see the difference in my studio. Kind of a comparison photo of the before and after. You can see it here The before photograph was taken in 2004 - right after I first moved in and got things in place. The after photograph was taken several days ago after the slatwall was hung and things were placed back.

An online friend asked me "where's the piles?" LOL! Trust me, I can show you piles! I guess she didn't notice that I didn't take any photographs of the opposite side of the studio, LOL! That is the area that I will be focusing my attention on today.
That and covering up all of my paper racks, the bookcases, and whatever else I can manage to get a sheet over before I leave for the day. I'm hoping that this will keep the dust down when my dad makes the cuts to the cabinets, although I know I'll have one last cleaning to be done before it is all said and done.

The good news is most of my supplies will be put away --- except those bound for storage within the cabinets. I'll capture some photographs to share here, but you have to realize, it is a continuing UFO! {= Unfinised object} I will still have the inside of the long wall workbench cabinet along the west wall to redo... unless I get lucky and am able to finish those up today. I don't know about you, but I am not going to hold my breathe waiting on that one! LOL!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Today ...

was spent with more organizing, moving, and removing; lots of everything. The tables that were once set up have again been cleared and removed. Boxes of supplies moved out of the way, only to be set down behind my bookbinding table. While floors and carpeting were swept, before the the carpeting could be rolled up, and then moved. We also managed to move the two additional cabinets and countertops into the space vs. out of it before a roadblock was hit!

The long section of the "L" cabinet and countertop both feature an outward angle that I'd like to have removed. The one end comes out almost a foot, hmmm maybe 8" or 9" or so, and meets in the center forming a centerpoint; while the opposite end is off on some crazy angle. I am choicing on err on the side of safety more than anything and have choosen not to be constantly running into that one pointed end. Another factor was Alexxis' safety should she ever be in the studio with me, I would hate to see her ever get injured because of something I could have prevented. It would simply be just a bit too easy for her to run her little face into that point as she grows.

The opposite end is intended to come off of the longer cabinet, forming an "L" shape but the crazy angel prevents the smaller section of the "L" cabinet with the showcases in the front side from lining up correctly. I'm not exactly certain what is up with that but I am happy to know that with some sawing and removing some sections, we can correct it. Thankfully, I have enough of the slatwall left to cap these two areas off once they are removed completely and the finishes will be of the same warm oak veneer.

I also decided that even though I will loose some of interior storage space, to slide the smaller cabinet back so that the side is nestled up against the interior of the other cabinet. By doing this, I am shortening up 29" on the longer 89" cabinet piece which will increase the actual space that I have available to work with in the room. It will also enable the outside portion of both cabinets to lined up flush, one against one another in the "L" shape. Are you lost yet???? {big grin.. you'll just have to trust me, it will all work out! ROFLOL!!!}

So being kind of at a stalemate with the cabinets and countertops, until my dad has some time to correct the above mentioned items, I worked for a just a bit in my office area. More moving, rearranging supplies and more boxes, before I spent some time spent lowering some of the shelving that runs along the entire length of the west wall. I've decided break up this area with the shelving. I'd also like to create at least one open area to hang one of my large prints that I just purchased and have yet to make a frame for. I am thinking that I'd like to stair step the shelves that will go on either side of this piece of artwork and utilize them to display more of my own artwork upon them. That is the new game plan anyways.

Finally around 4 p.m., I gave up and came in to get dinner created and on the table. After eating and cleaning up the kitchen, I was completely wiped out so I went to bed and slept for two hours. Trust me, I don't remember much after my head hit the pillow, LOL! It has been a lot of work but the results are worth every minute and all the effort that I have put into it.

Tomorrow, I am planning to get back out there, do some more organizing, rearrange some boxes, and maybe possibly be ready to tackle the interior workbench along the west wall. We shall see... I really don't have a clue about the time that this will take to do but it is something that I know I'll be a lot happier with once it is!

I'll try to remember to take the camera out with me and capture some images for you. I am certain that will help you understand more of what I am discussing and talking about. Anyways, the saga continues...

Being Picked Up Next Week!

I suppose now you can see why I have some decisions that have yet to be made! I will have to create a wonderful place for this to sit and enough room to add a smaller side table. Of course this means that I will need to take down and store my tables. Am I serious? You betcha!!!

You see, I also have several other piece of store fixtures/furniture that I can bring into the space. They are actually additional store fixtures that I purchased years ago when I purchased my slatwall and what I call my bookbinding cabinet and the computer "L" section from a store liquidator. Each of them features that warm oak veneer that I so enjoy! One piece is a long "L" shaped cabinet with a beautiful marbled teal green laminate countertop that features an actual showcase in the shorter "L" end. I am considering adding it to my studio for several reasons: The showcase area would provide me with a nice display area for my handmade books while the larger inside the cabinet shelves could be utilized for out of sight storage of additional supplies such as those larger sheets of watercolored and bookbinding papers that should be lying flat. Of course, I have to obtain some measurements to determine just how and where I can set it, IF it is even possible to do so.

I am thinking that I could add a few bar stools in place of using chairs. I have noticed that I somehow seem to do more standing when creating than I do actually sitting, unless getting up and down constantly counts as sitting, LOL! So, it does have some great possibilities!

The only drawback to this piece is that it is huge... well, not so much huge, as it is long! Also, since it would need to fit in the area that my tables are currently in, I would not have any access to any electrical outlets unless I taped them to the floor. This is not really a big deal, as I have plenty of outlets along the west wall of storage cabinets, an outlet on my stamping table, and access behind the bookshelves. So, I could get by without electricity here. {Can you tell that I am trying to rationalize all this here? *smiles*}

Another option... would be to utilize one or two of my glass tiered display fixtures. They again host the same oak veneer wooden bases. They are approximately, 2 1/2' squares that would allow for a small amounts of storage in and on them. The shelving sections are glass; that form glass cubes, and can be stacked to any desired height. I wish I had some photographs of them to show to you... maybe then you, my dear readers, could help me decide what to use, LOL! I could display artwork upon and in them, rubberstamps, ect. The drawback to them is they are glass! Glass and concrete floors are not a good mixture! but then again, so aren't the flooring in many stores that carry fragile items. I guess, I just need to consider all my options, the pros and cons of each, and figure this one out on my own.

Maybe, I will get extremely lucky and be able to utilize both of these within the space. If I set up the long "L" fixture along the edge of the carpeted area, parallel to the paper racks along the south wall, with the showcase edge coming into the center of the room, I may just have enough area for the recliner and one of the wood bases. I could use only some sections of the glass cubes to form a table top height side table to sit next to the reliner and still have some room to move comfortably around the studio.

Anyways, there, my family and friends, you have the dilemna that I am facing. What to do, What to do, What to do??? Any suggestions? LOL! I have one... grab the tape measure, a roll of tape, measure off the area in question, and tape the diagram onto the floor and figure it out from there. I'll let you know what I decide.

Our Next stop...

was Value City Furniture. We thought we'd go in, meander around, see what they had, and check out their clearance section. Needless to say, I meander through furniture stores all day if I could. I love looking at all the displays, being inspired by different styles and seeing things that I wouldn't normally think of putting together. Anyways, we found some leather loveseats on clearance for a fraction of the cost that a chair and ottoman would cost me; unfortunately they don't do layaways or offer any fianancing on them as they are being discontinued. So, I decide to simply browse... and dream.... and consider my options.

So, we continue to look when I spot a beautiful leather recliner! Nice. A warm saddle colored that mmmm, smells so good! I love it! ... and sitting in it is a dream come true... It is so soft and subtle, I just sank into it as if it was molded specifically for me! We'll take it!!!

Good Morning! Is it my birthday yet?....

I am slowly waking up...{yawn, stretch, yawn..} Yesterday turned out to be an wonderful day! I accomplished so much in the studio, that this morning I am simply savoring the progress that I have made! I believe I could spend most of my morning sitting here looking at these pictures or better yet, sliding out the back door and slipping quietly through the yard to the door leading me there.

Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen for a while as there is a still quite a bit that requires my attention. However, each and every little thing that I am doing is getting me one step closer to what I am desiring for my studio to become. I still have a lot of decisions that need to be decided upon and work that needs to be done before the relaxing and enjoying stage of the journey begins. However, I am so pleased with my progress.

In the evening last night after Don returned home, we made the trek out to the studio together so that I could show him what I have finished so far. As I chatted along carelessly about more of my dreams for the space, I causually mentioned "and over here, I'd love to have a leather chair, an ottoman, and a small endstand just so I could sit, relax, put my feet up, read a magazine, rest, and/or become inspired." When Don suggested we go shop for one. I was in shock and disbelief, "Are you kidding?" I asked. Needless to say, several minutes later we were in Shawn's Jeep and on our way.

Having recently seen one in a color and style that I liked at Hobby Lobby, we headed there first. Upon arriving, my heart sank just a bit... the chair and ottoman were still there, but the price tag was much higher than I had seemed to remember! So, I quickly dismissed that idea and began browsing through the silk florals. A floral arrangement might be nice...

Anyways, as I continue meandering through the aisles, I ended up looking at shelving ledges, then into the pictures, frames, and photograph display aisles where I noticed a 50% off sign on prints. Thinking some new artwork would also spruce the studio up, I began looking and within minutes had three wonderful black and white Paris style prints in the cart, thinking to myself my mind raced about my miter box getting a workout as I create my own frames.

Next, I decided to head towards the front of the store to check out the clearance section, I meandered through yet another aisle where I spotted this huge black iron Eiffel Tower! And I do mean huge! This thing is like 2 1/2 feet tall. Needless to say, I was in LOVE at first sight!!! I picked it up and embraced it with not only my hands and my eyes, but with my heart. Asking Don, "isn't this cool?" I went to put it back on the shelf when Don asked me, "You're not leaving this here are you?" I was like, "Are you kidding? Did you see the price tag on that th`ang?" when Don told me to put it in the cart. Again not believing my ears, I quickly obeyed, smiling like a kid in a candy store.

Once we arrived at the clearance section of the store, I spotted another Eiffel Tower. This one a planter trellis... similar concept but 30% off; could be painted black... Hmmm, I thought, so I grabbed it meaning to inquire at checkout about the prices between the two. Another great find was a Fleur de Lis design element created out of a black resin. It is similar to, yet different than one I already own and cherish; add in the fact that it is a third of the original price tag, and into the cart it went. So, as I am pushing the cart on the way up to the checkout, reality hits! I am supposed to be shopping for the coveted leather chair and ottoman I really desired. At this point I am ready to ditch the cart and scramble towards the door. Don sees the "deer caught in the headlights" look upon my face and says, "Honey, will stop worrying, lets go purchase this stuff so we can get to shopping for your chair." So we did! Oh, and by the way, I did get the original Eiffel Tower for 30% off... seems they are clearancing that aisle out!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Another shot of the area I am currently focusing on...

My bookcases... I did a little re-arranging and I like the cleaner look since some of the 3 drawer storage containers have been moved and some of my favorite storage pieces are displayed more prominently upon the shelves. The corner where the door leads to more upstairs storage seemed a little stark white to me so I couldn't resist adding in my "Cathy Highland, Mixed Media Artist" easel that I once used for an art show in my friend, Becky's Rubber Stamp store. It filled the space with warmth and a sense of nostalgia... perfect for my old world traveler theme!

I am also considering painting! I know, I know... I said I didn't really need to paint but when I look at the space, I know now what I am desiring to do! However, since the idea was to organize and complete a small remodeling project, I think I may just wait for that a bit longer. Let the ideas brew for a bit more. {I'm envision some sort of warm brown, chocolate or mocha color on the wall with warm vanilla accents scattered somehow into the scheme of things. I also believe that I like to see my concrete floor black! There are certainly a lot of options: paint, carpet squares... things I'll need to consider once the remaining oganization is finished.}

Anyways, I hope you are enjoying being along on this adventure with me! All I can truly say is "What a ride!" {*big huge smiles*}

The studio remodel and reorganization...

is becoming a full-time job! But I have to admit, I believe I'm in love!!!!! I decided this morning to move the stamp cabinet; just to see what it would look like. Once it was in place, I instantly warmed up to the idea of it being there. It seemed as if it had always been meant to be here in this spot, like it is its home!

I had to experiment a bit with the shelving. At first I tried some wider shelves, only to discover that I didn't like them so I went digging in the carport! I cannot even begin to describe to you how that was a mistake. I ended up coming out of there with not only the shelves I was searching for, but an antique 6 drawer chest I'd picked up a few years ago, a small water jug {perfect for saving my pennies and spare change for items for the studio}, and another display piece that Don had discarded from his store. I'll have to find homes for them but that has been a part of the fun of this newest endeavor.

The slatwall is up!

Don and I worked in the studio until well after midnight. I am so happy to report that my slatwall is hung!!!! Special Thank You's to Shane and Shawn... We could not have done it without you! I, with Don's help, managed to get the floor swept and vacuamed afterwards, as well as the bookcases dusted completely off. While screws were being inserted in the slatwall, I worked on some organizing... mainly moving some boxes of supplies, putting some things away, and I cleared the top of my bookbinding cabinet.
There is still a lot to be done, but this is a great place to begin from...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Waiting for the dust to settle...

I didn't make it out to the studio until early this evening. Then, it was only to cover my paper racks with sheets so that Shane could cut the slatwall for us to the desire lengths needed for the wall. Don will be home from work soon, so we may yet make it out there to actual begin hanging it. I am so excited! I'm not to crazy about the dust part, however, I really feel that I needed to do a good, deep cleaning. At least now, I know that I will doing that! {smiles}

While Don is working this evening, I clipped some ideas and inspiration of what I am envisioning for the space out of my some my favorite Pottery Barn catalogs. Some of the clippings are color choices for paint (which won't be happening anytime soon as I am not ready to even begin thinking of painting it --- just some ideas for future reference for when I am.} while others are for display ideas, storage solutions, accents that I could re-create in artwork. You know, things that just seemed to keep catching my eyes because my heart embraced them.

I may just keep those clippings and design me a small book with notations of what my thoughts are and later, after the space is finished, add in some photographs of what I actually decide to do. I'm thinking that would be kind of fun and interesting, and it will be nice to see a comparision of the two. After finishing that and place those clippings lovingly into an envelope to cherish, my mind wandered off to some of the items that I currently own within the space that I'd love to spruce up and how I could go about that process. I'm thinking I may paint some wooden crates, while others will be stained, and what supplies I could store in them so that the area functions well for me. Of course, some of this could actual change but it was a good feeling thinking about it and considering those options. I think that is important to be thinking about so that I can utilize what I have vs. purchasing any additional items just yet.

The fact that I will soon have something to occupy my hands with while beautifying my space is an added bonus! You'll just have to trust me when I say, I have plenty of them!!! LOL! {Don't we all?} I am really begin to look forward to this project. I woke with a bounce in my step that has been missing for a while and it feels great to have something that I am so passionate about. Who would have thought I'd be passionate about the organizing process??? I can remember a time when I'd drag my feet just thinking about it, let alone taking the actual steps to walk out there. Now, it is as if a spark has been rekindled and has started a fire under my butt, LOL! I certainly hope it stays on fire and burns for quite a long time as I've lots to do ahead of me...thankfully my heart is embracing the process!

Monday, January 08, 2007

A Matter of Perception...

After working in the studio today, I had a host of other "To Do" items on my list:

* Go to UPS to ship a paper rack;
* Pick up Amber from work
* Go to the Post Office to send a few important letters, the Lace ATC swap, and pick up postage stamps for my stationery suitcase, ect.

While at the Post Office, Don noticed having to pump the breaks in our Ford Ranger to get it to slow down. Instantly thinking, our breaks are going out, he very cautiously made our way to our mechanics, once again. Sure enough, upon our safe arrival, we learned a break supply line leading to the master cylinder has broken and now requires immediate replacement.

However, what really shocked me was my reaction to it. Normally, I'd be upset, almost angry from being so disappointed, thinking to myself, "when it rains; it pours!" but today was different. Even in a recent conversation with my friend, Sheila commented that she noticed something seems different about me. Well, that is because there is something different!

It is a matter of perspective... of seeing the glass as half-empty or as half-full. Lately, I've noticed that I have been bummed. I have been down and out. I have been no fun to be around because it somehow seemed no matter how little or how big my personal problems were, I perceived my glass to always be half empty. I believe a lot of that perception came from comparing myself to other people, to the perceptions that I made and created for myself. It took me a while to realize this but when I did notice it, I am afraid to admit that it almost became a habit with me. I would instantly cringe and think, "Oh No! Here we go again!" when in reality, it was me and how I perceived it! Once I realized and seen this in myself, I gained some knowledge, some powerful knowledge about myself. I did not like the way I perceived things, nor did I like the way I reacted because of that perception. I also realized that there was only one thing for me to do --- change my perception!

Well, let's just say that I am working on it. I am trying to stay positive, to chase those thoughts away. I can assure you it has not been easy; it is a constant struggle. I find myself catching and asking myself, "why do I want to think and feel this way?" What do I actually accomplish with this thinking and this behavior that stems from it?" and you know what? I came to realize something else, I do not accomplish anything positive from it. In fact, the opposite is true. I make myself miserable, unhappy, and unpleasant. I acted just like I felt, half-empty. Lacking something of some unknown substance, feeling like I was missing out, and feelings that I desired some sort of expectation or entitlement to something. Well, I was missing out, alright. I was missing out on myself because I was letting myself down. It wasn't the things that were going wrong, it was me heading down a long, hard, wrong road.

Once I changed my perception, and started seeing the glass half-full vs. half-empty, I realized that I have been blessed in so many ways. Most of them too numerous to count. I have learned to be grateful, not because of what I or someone else expected, or because I am owed or entitled to something, but because blessings are a gift. Gifts that are bestowed by the grace of God to be counted as blessings.

It doesn't mean that I wish our truck's break line wouldn't have broke, it means that I have realized now that I've been blessed with a mode of transportation to break down! It means I'm thankful to have the health that I do, the house to call a home, food to eat, clothes to keep me warm, people who desire to call me their friend, and recognize me as family! It means my heart is now an open, empty vessel waiting to be filled with blessings such as those bestowed onto me by the grace of God that makes me, well ME... and to fill up the days of my life. As I acknowledged and learned this lesson, my cup overflowed with joy!

I know many people may read this and wonder why in the world I would post such an open and honest and personal thing. And my answer is... I would love to bless you with this knowledge. I hope someone can learn something from my shortcomings, I hope you are blessed with wisdom and I hope you will remember to count your blessing, too.

Lately, I've been desiring to get back to working on my Gratitude Garland. Can you guess what my first blessing is going to be? "I am grateful to God. For teaching me life lessons. For blessing me with knowledge so that I can make wise decisions. And for bestowing me with the wisdom to be able to recognize the difference between feeling half-empty to knowing my life is half-full; and knowing the other half is a vessel waiting to be filled."

Sure, our truck still needs its brakes fixed, but more importantly, so didn't my heart.