You are wrapped around my heart...

You're invited to join me next Friday at Faded Elegance for "Craft Night".  Kimberly McIlrath, owner of Faded Elegance (and an artist in her own right, though she won't admit it!) has been hosting these enjoyable soirees where we get together, create a little, shop a little, nibble a bit here, imbibe a sip there and all in all, have a wonderful evening.  At this event we will be making spool valentines.  Using a wooden sewing thread spool as its base, you will create a valentine from papers, buttons and fibers combined in unison to express your heartfelt emotions.  The $24 fee includes everything you need to make your valentine as well as refreshments - all you need to do is register!  Contact Faded Elegance at 360-568-5333 to sign up.  Hope to see you there!

Spool Valentine Craft Class
Friday, February 5th, 6 - 9 pm
Faded Elegance, 1116 First Street, Snohomish



It was a sad day when Country Home Magazine ceased publication.  I had enjoyed reading the articles for glimmers of insight and studying the photos for sparks of creativity.  In fact, I had even appeared in the May 2006 issue with my "obsession" with suitcases.  Unfortunately the rest of the photo shoot did not make it into the magazine and I guess remained on the cutting room floor...

So I was quite delighted when I heard that two of my favorite contributors to that past publication, Ki Nassauer and Matthew Mead, were starting up their own magazine, Flea Market Style.

Slated to hit the newstands in late February, Flea Market Style promises to be filled with lots of ideas/inspiration/ingenious projects using discoveries from flea markets/thrift stores/garage sales.  In between the mayhem of launching a new magazine, they have a blog (see button on sidebar for link) that is chronicling their journalistic journey.  They have a fabulous photo from the upcoming issue that can be yours - details of this giveway is available on their blog today.  Its great to see what others on the same wavelength are creating - I can't wait for this first issue!


From broken to beautiful

My sister Stacey is a gifted soul.  She sees brilliant connections among/ between/ around things - and its so great because it is a different perspective from me.  That's what I love best about creating stuff with others.  Everyone sees things differently and the end result with the same ingredients always yields an exceptional outcome.

A couple of years ago I acquired a large amount of broken dishes and thought I would make something out of them.  A mosaic out of broken ceramic pieces came to mind.  I picked out some matching colors and shapes, arranged them in a mold of wet cement and then waited for it to dry.  It wasn't anything extraordinary.  Stacey took a totally different approach.  First she sorted all the pieces according to color, planned out a design, and then cut the pieces to fit her design.  I had never thought to cut them - I just used them as they were.  She also mounted them on top of a cement paver and then grouted/sealed the entire paver when it was done.  Working in this medium captivated her and she set about making doorstops to tabletops to decorative flower pots.  She made a series of pavers that are "planted" in my back garden as stepping stones.

Stacey recently moved into her own house and has continued her mosaic magic there.  Since the house numbers on the front porch were too small to see from the street, she took matters into her own hands - and now has this lovely placard that she created. 

She's been working on the back garden and planning a
potting shed.  Its been suggested that she cover the shed with a mosaic design - mmmm, that might be too much - but I'm sure she will do something - and I'm sure it will be extraordinary.


A day at the beach

We went to the beach yesterday - and though it wasn't the warmest and it was windy, the beach is always a changing landscape that I find inspiring.  Much of my work is influenced by nature.  Color, texture, pattern and tone, hallmarks of my creations, abound in the natural world.  The variations, subtleties, and complexities of these four design traits is astounding. 

I already have ideas for a new photo collage design - I'll post it when its done.


Travel is a process of discovery

I love to travel - near or far, it doesn't matter.  What matters is getting out of your space, breaking up your routine, changing your surroundings and exploring possibilities.  I find that shaking things up every once in a while makes it easier to go with the flow in life in general.

This week finds me in Florida, visiting with Monty's family.  When we planned this trip months ago, I knew that I would be ready for some warm, sunny weather in January.  Who knew that Florida would be climbing out of the worst freeze they have had in years!  But today the sun has finally appeared, and though it is not yet that warm, I'm sure we'll have fun.  I'll keep you posted...


Junk is a term of endearment

"Junk" is the basis for many of my projects - and by "Junk", I mean this as a term of endearment.  Taking the bits and pieces (and sometimes even bigger pieces) of junk that people are throwing away and making it into something that is either useful / beautiful / functional / amusing is the crux of my work.  Giving new life to remnants of the past has been the tagline of my business since its inception.  This idea of finding a useful life for the remnants that others have tossed is also the basis for The Salvage Studio, of which I was a founding partner.  Our book, The Salvage Studio, Sustainable Home Comforts to Organize, Entertain, and Inspire is a compilation of 35 projects that one can make using readily available items from the dumpster, the local yard sale or the community thrift store.  Beth & Lisa are still continuing The Salvage Studio business - and in fact they have a great blog themselves - see the link under my favorite blogs and websites.

One useful approach in working with cast-offs and items of unknown origin is to look at an item for what it can be, not what it was.  Turning an item upside down often initiates  "eureka!"  and then I am off to my studio.  Here's a recent project that demonstrates what can done with minimal effort and a modicum of creativity, giving maximum results.

These are three glass coasters that either came from Goodwill or out of a "free Box" at a yard sale.  The two square coasters were hefty and had a substantial lip on them, the round coaster was heavy as well...paperweights came to mind.
If the square coasters were turned upside down, there was an open cavity that could be space for a 3-D collage.  I started to collect what I might use in my collage...

 a stash of old keys...

a mixture of orphaned buttons...

the ubiquitous collection of stamps...
combined with some leftover wrapping paper, a few stray feathers and a snippet of ribbon...

the end result!

close-up of the first square paperweight with stamp, button and feather as the design elements.

close-up of the second square paperweight with stamp, feather, old key as design elements.  I added a sealing wax impression for some extra color.

close-up of the round paperweight.  This one I did not turn upside down to use the hollow space for a 3-D collage but kept it as a coaster - making a 2-D collage under the glass with wrapping paper, dictionary definition snippet and a very light feather.  The idea of having it be a paperweight with using the coaster indent to hold paperclips or magnets or whatever else you stash on your desk appealed to me.

All three paperweights are for sale at my space at Faded Elegance.  Since I use original elements in the design, these three are unique and can never be exactly replicated again.  Start your own collection of stray items- tear off the stamps of letters you receive, clip the buttons of a worn shirt before it is tossed, cut out interesting photos from that magazine before it is recycled - you might be surprised at what you can make from this junk!


I dream of Paris

I have a "spot" at Faded Elegance in Snohomish - its a lovely home/garden/gift/antique store on First Avenue.  Kimberly McIlrath, the owner, is the most cheerful and enthusiastic retailer I know - to say nothing about her impeccable good taste.  Essentially Faded Elegance is an antique mall - but not like any of the others on the street.  Everything is blended so well together that you really don't know that there are booths there maintained by different vendors.  Since I had an over-accumulation of stuff in my basement, I figured that I needed to find a way to "rehome" these fine items.  Since June, I have had my own little spot at Faded Elegance which is stocked with my artwork, my greeting cards, great home decor fashioned from bits and bobs as well as interesting things I come across that just won't fit in my house!  I change out the displays about every six weeks so there is always something different to capture your attention.

Last week I took down holiday decorations and turned my corner into a little bit of Paris.

Faded Elegance is located at 1116 First Street in Snohomish, open Mon-Sat from 10am to 6pm and on Sun from 12-5pm.  I hope you'll stop by soon.


A start to a new year...and a new creative adventure!

The holiday season is over - all the decorations have been put away. 
I did leave this small vignette out for a little longer.  

With a new year, it is always time to start fresh.I take time to think about what I can do differently - especially in regard to my business, four corners design.  I thought that I might give blogging a try.  So many people are hooked into this community, I thought it would be a new avenue to spark creativity, encourage feedback and expand support. I figure that it might include a little bit of everything - art, design, photography, dogs, nature, food, cooking, reading, books, travel...and anything else that captures my imagination, interest, time or heart.  I hope you will check in on my journey from time to time.                    


worth a look...

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