Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Time

According to the calendar, summer officially began a week ago today.  With a very hot week to begin our summer season, it took everything to stay cool!  The weather today is how I like my summer's to be ... Warm, sunny, breezy and zero humidity!

The fact that we can think about summer beginning with the first day of June or June 21st, it is hard to believe that July is just days away.  Come the 4th of July, it tells me our summer is half over.  How can that
be?  I guess the fact that so much has happened since the end of May that I have just lost track of time.

So I'm taking time today to think of just about SUMMER.
I'm sharing a collage canvas that I made a couple of years ago.  My inspiration for this came from a similar project I made in a class taught by Tim Holtz.  I love seasonal decorations, so I came up with the idea to use the small stretched canvas squares to make a collage for each season that I can display on a small wooden set of shelves in our front hall.  The colors shout "summer" and clippings with related words and stamping add to the design.  The collage is covered with beeswax, imbedding the clippings onto the canvas surface.

As I sit here writing this blog post, I am enjoying an iced coffee.  In a a couple of hours it will be 5 o'clock and just like in the Jimmy Buffet song, it will be cocktail time.  My choice will be a tall "gin & tonic", before supper.

With the month of July quickly approaching, I'm hoping to share some photos and posts about many of my favorite things ...  everything Americana, "red, white & blue", 4th of July and USA related.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Just Down The Road A Bit

This post is about the area in which we live.  Our town is Hoffman Estates, which is a far northwest  suburb of Chicago.  We happen to be on the furtherest edge of our village, with the city of Elgin to our south.  This area is considered the Fox Valley area because the Fox River runs north and south just to the west of us.  The area has small towns up and down each side of the river, from the north to south.  The river is the main reason Elgin was the second largest city in Illinois, next to Chicago for some time.  Each town along it's banks grew because of settlers traveling by river to find a place to call home.
A five minute ride will bring us to one of the small towns that is nearby, which is the town of Dundee.  The Fox River cuts through the town and created East Dundee and West Dundee.  This is an area where you drive down Main Street and can visualize this area during the turn of the century.  Store fronts have remained intact, homes along the business district house businesses but remain beautiful facades to relish the good ole days. You pass a small park with the town's gazebo, already decked out with "red, white & blue" draping. But just blocks beyond the business district can be found the neighborhoods you remember growing up in.

One of these very blocks will be featured on July 1st, on Good Morning America, as the "Best Block in America".  We understand the GMA will be filming from Liberty Street that day.  I hope to post some photos from the area.  Hope you tune into see the"Best Block in America".

Monday, June 21, 2010


Yesterday was Father's Day and we enjoyed a lovely day at our daughter and son-in-law's house, along with the rest of our family.  The weather cooperated with the perfect temperature, no humidity or rain.
With so many different schedules that everyone must follow it's difficult to get everyone together.

Besides Father's Day, this week also brings two more birthday's - Maddie's 9th birthday on Tuesday and Joe's 43rd on Wednesday. So we celebrated their special days too!
                     (Maddie with her Godparents, Aunt Beth and Uncle Kevin.)
Always great food when we gather.  One of the guys favorites are shish kabobs on the grill.  So along with steak, chicken, shrimp, salmon, tilapia and a huge variety of veggies skewered and grilled, there was brown rice, corn on the cob and homemade potato salad.  As if that wasn't enough, desserts and birthday cake came later.

When my kids were little I enjoyed making them interesting birthday cakes.  It's been some time since I have had fun creating a special cake.  I suggested that I bring a cake for Maddie's birthday.
She ended up with a five layer, rainbow, vanilla cake.  Vanilla pudding was used between the layers.Made three batches of homemade buttercream frosting, but only used about two to frost and decorate the cake.  Wilton has so many new and interesting things to use for cake decorating.  I used the spray coloring   mist to add color to the white frosting.  Used a star tip to make a simple decorated top and edging.  Of course I found a way to incorporate my Sizzix dies into decorating the cake.  Used the Tim Holtz Ornamental die to cut printed paper and a piece of plastic.  Used Sizzilit "Groovy Girl" alphabet for letters to spell out "Happy Birthday Maddie".  Created flowers that were cut from canvas with the 3D flower die and leaves from two dies for reusable embellishments.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunday Showers

Yesterday I hosted a small informal bridal shower for one of our many nieces.  With the help of my daughter and daughter-in-law and a couple of my sisters-in-law, we pulled off it off.  There has been a variety of things happening the past two weeks that "should have, would have or could have" thrown a wrench into the day. Since we will be unable to travel to the Twin Cities for the wedding it was nice that we could share the afternoon with her and some family here.
Small favor boxes that I made for the guests using Eileen Hull's Scoreboard die with Bazzill cardstock and embellished with flowers cut from Sizzix Build a Lilac and a Sizzilit Lovely Flourish.  Tiny iridescent beads are glued into the centers of the flowers and a green bow was added for a final touch, using a silk ribbon from May Arts. These were filled with an assortment of Dove Promises chocolates.
This is a view of the invite that I made and shared in an earlier post.

Best Wishes to Colleen & Joe!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Felted Frame

Finally I get the chance to share with you another "experiment".  Knowing that Eileen's Scoreboard Dies will cut out mat board beautifully, I just needed to experiment with other materials to see how to expand their use.  That immediately made me think of fabric and felt, two of my favorites to work with.

This little project was a "learning experience".  I will be creating a couple of others using similar techniques to share with you, along with tips.

I used a piece of wool felt for the base of the frame that was slightly large then the pattern of the frame itself.  A good way to judge the size needed would be to cut the felt the same size of the whole die.  Felting will cause the bottom sheet of felt to shrink slightly.  I pulled out several balls of roving and some colorful yarns and small snips of organza with some sparkles on it.  Pull off small amounts of roving from each shank in any colors you may like.  Place them randomly onto the felt.  You can start with just one color and then continue to layer colors into the open areas.  I cut snippets of organza and placed them in random areas.  It's OK if the edges fray, it adds interest and texture.  Yarns can be felted on in any desired pattern.  Once the felting is complete, the piece can be run through the Big Shot and die cut.

The felted piece is fairly thick (comparable to mat-board), but not quite as stiff.  To help it hold its shape, I cut a piece of card stock with the same die, then glued the felted piece to the card stock.  A picture can be fastened to the frame on the inside with glue or tape.  Here again I needed to add something different.  I cut acrylic plastic sheets to make a pocket to fit the photo and then use thin strips of double-faced tape to hold it to the backside of the frame.  Cut a photo to size and insert.

I embellished the edges of the frame with some braided jute cording.  Used the Sizzix 3-D flower die to cut Lutradur.  Painted them with acrylic paint dabbers, using colors similar.  Formed the flowers and glued them to the frame.

Let me know what you think!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Busy Days

Since I have a little time this morning I thought I should write a quick post about what's going on.   I have several things that I would like to share but everyday life and unexpected family situations are too important right now.

In between all the "must does", I'm working on curtains again, making shower favors, playing around with Scoreboard die-cuts, trying to create a video of my little granddaughter on iMovie, get some quilting done and finish many unfinished projects in my workroom.   Life is never boring here!

I have a pile of box shaped die-cuts sitting in front of me that I have begun to construct.  Will be making some paper and fabric flowers to embellish them.

Will share photos later...  Another busy day ahead of us.   With Memorial Day last week-end, the summer season is officially here.  WOW!